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Alaska to Tierra del Fuego 2013 Stage 2

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Chapter One Dispatch from Helge

Seattle to LA


It was freezing cold as I drove down my driveway in Seattle and the only motivation to start out on such a wet and cold day was that I were going south to where the sun shines.

I had 4 layers of clothes on my lower body and 5 layers of clothing on my upper body. My outer shell for this ride is the Klim Badlands Pro Suit and I could not have chosen a better day to test this suit. The suit has already been on the GlobeRiders Silk Road Adventure and last summers Cape to Cairo Expedition. In other words the suit has seen a fair bit of harsh conditions and I am happy to report that it performed flawlessly once again.

It was raining cats and dogs with a few buckets tossed at me by oncoming traffic. But when you are keeping warm and dry it is not as bad as it might seem. First night was the best pit stop one can ask for after the full day on the road. Vicki and Perry had the Jacuzzi ready when I arrived in Roseburg. Always nice to visit with good friends so after a good nights sleep I were ready to deal with black ice on the road as I passed the highest point and 31 F on the way down to the coast. Heading further south on I5 would be pretty stupid so I enjoyed the coastal ride to California.


Three days on the road from Seattle and the last night before LA I spent with other good friends at Frank and Shirlee’s home just outside Springville.


At Irv Seaver BMW in Los Angeles the group had arrived for bike service and this was also my pit stop to get new tires mounted. I had decided to try out the Heidenau K-60 Scout, the same tires that we had decided to have shipped to Colombia for a tire change there. If you ever need good BMW bike service while in Los Angeles Irv Seaver BMW is the place to go, great people.



Mexico, riding South


As always it is very exciting to meet people for the first knowing that you will be traveling with for the next 3+ months. A few people are repeat GlobeRiders, but five of the group members are new to GlobeRiders and it was really nice to meet them in person after numerous emails and phone calls over the last year.


It was a rough start with rain and slick roads as we were riding south out of Ensenada, Baja California. We passed two really bad car accidents and I were already hating the new Haidenau K-60 Scouts tires that were sliding all over the place on the wet road. A long day in the saddle had made for a rough first day ride. Fortunately the coming days got much better, the sun was shining a new year had started and life was good.


After a overnight ferry from La Paz to Mazetlan we really enjoyed the ride up “Devils Back Bone”, what a great ride this is. If you never have had the chance to travel this road I highly recommend that you put it on your bucket list of rides to do in your lifetime. Just west of Mexico City we spent a wonderful night in Valle de Bravo. The next day 3 of us met up with 3 local motorcyclists riding out from Mexico City to ride to Nevado de Toluca, a dormant volcano. Fred, Jeremy and myself did the ride to 13,000 plus feet or 4,000 plus meters hight mountain. This was our first real dirt ride so far and we had a blast.

Having just mounted a set of Touratech Extreme Adventure shock absorbers on my BMW this was the first off-road test of how the bike would behave. I rode hard and perhaps a little to hard because the rear strap of my camera back back broke and the bag hit me in the back as I hit a ditch head on. Next for that the shock absorbers did great and I just love the way I have outfitted this bike, it is a great ride. Almost on the top our Mexican biker friends convincing the park rangers to open the gate and let us ride all the way up and in to the crater of the volcano. Here we found a light dusting of fresh snow and a beautiful lake. Thanks for the ride guys.


So far the first two weeks of the journey to Tierra del Fuego has been filled with great riding, wonderful people. So many people has warned us about Mexico and the dangers of traveling in Mexico. From our experience we can not say enough good about the Mexican people and their land. We have had great riding and several people in the group has already started plans to return and explore Mexico further.


In Antigua we said farewell to Jeremy as he had plans to stay for 6 weeks in Guatemala to learn Spanish. After this he plan to ride solo around the world. Best of luck to you Jeremy and we look forward to follow your adventures. Unfortunately there is not enough time to write long reports from this ride, we just do not have enough hours in a day to do this. Hopefully these short stories and our images will make you curious about what is to happen down the road as we keep riding south.


Thanks for your time.




Helge Pedersen

Helge's Photo Gallery


Chapter One Dispatch from Peter


Looking back on the past 18 days it sure seems that things have flown by. This was my first time traveling in Mexico and I was amazed at how much fun I had. The country and its people are amazing. My favourite town, by far, was San Miguel. I could have spent another week there no problem. Guatemala was short and sweet. I will have to return to Antigua to really get a feel for this beautiful and historic city.


The riders I am with are all real experienced and great to spend time with. The stories and jokes seem to have no end. One thing is for sure, I will not be bored. I am learning a tone every day. Great experience!


If any one is thinking about putting Hidenau tires on their bike drop me line. I hear they are good in dirt but let me tell you on asphalt, especially when it is oily, greasy and or wet they are downright dangerous. Now I know why I see seasoned travellers with an additional set of tires on the back. It's because they can't get good ones where they are going. I wish I would have TKC 80s with me now. Who cares if they only last 2500-3000 miles? These miles will be a blast as opposed to what I am doing now which is going around turns very carefully. Its a drag. When you have a $25K motorcycle why be cheap and go with anything less then the best?


Getting of my soap box now……Just my 5 cents.


More awesome miles ahead.




Peter's Photo Gallery



Chapter One Dispatch from Dan


The journey begins...


29 Dec 2012 - 13 Jan 2013


I left home on 30 Oct 2012 to ride my bike down to Anaheim. Why so early you might ask? I live in snow-country and this year the snow was predicted to fly early - the meteorologists were right. My ride down to the Los Angeles area was mostly uneventful with one day of hard rain and one very cold morning riding over the Siskiyou Mountains. Leaving my bike with the good folks at Irv Seaver BMW, I fly home to prepare for this incredible adventure.


The ride down through Baja started off with a cool day and as we cleared the border and headed south the rain began and was with us the rest of the day.


As we continue riding south in Baja I again experience the great plant life in the form of cacti and suculents but I didn't stop to take pictures since I have been here many times long ago - I will try not to repeat my lack of photo record as we continue south. We stop for a night in Guerrero Negro where much of the western worlds salt comes from.


We took the overnigth Ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan and as soon as we were docked we were off for our next stop Durango by way of Expinazo del Diablo (The Devil's Backbone) highway.





From Durango we continue our ride south through Mexico visiting several very interesting towns with historical pasts and tourism futures. Most Mexican towns were established around the Catholic Church but with few Spanish to the construction work the indigenous people were the primary work force. With little in the way of old-world craftmanship training, they produced some very beautiful work. The small town of San Miguel Allende has a strong connection to Don Quiote and I was taken by how much our intrepid leader resembles this historic figure.







Chapter One Dispatch from Bill


The more I learn the less I know.


Helge, Dan and Mack, our practiced, patient and encouraging leaders are impressive as can be. It's an excellent pack of riders, each guy brings unique assets, contributing to the whole. And while Helge humorously warns that the honeymoon is not yet over, I'm optimistic that this bunch will stand together through the long ride.


This first week I've been thinking about life choices, new opportunities, ancient spaces. Have been watching the play of light, the palate of plants, and the people who live here. I think the people, particularly the children, have been having fun watching the sidecar too; it isn't exactly subtle ....






Marty is piloting the sidecar with great confidence and skill and we're falling into the rhythm of the trip. The riding's been challenging at times, three wheels are not as nimble as two, and we're traveling more slowly than the others of necessity. A lasting memory of Mexico will be its ceaseless “reductores”. And Marty and I seem to be the only ones (thus far) in our pack who signed on for the full Mexican experience -- i.e., tourista -- which has complicated things for us just a bit.


Yesterday while in Oaxaca we visited the vast 2500 year old ruins atop Monte Alban: a Zapotec city that was one of the first and most important major cities in Mesoamerica, and perhaps as accomplished as any civilization of its day. Mind blowing art and accomplishment, and I'm transfixed by the geometry, scale and textures of the spaces.






Chapter One Dispatch from Marty

Left 12//12/2012 (tried for 12 noon but couldn't get out the door till 2:00 pm ) to ride cross country to join the group in LA, CA on 12/29/2012. Headed down Rt 81 to Knoxville, TN to intersect with Rt40 and head west. Smooth going except for a wind/dust storm near Amarillo, TX with winds gusting to 60mph. Snow on the ground in Flagstaff, AR but the roads were dry. Side trip to Joshua Tree National Park to celebrate Christmas and then on to LA and Irv Seaver BMW to have the bike serviced one last time before heading into Mexico.


Have communicated with the other riders in the group by e-mail but this is our first meeting. The riders are a diverse group, successful in their own fields, possessing excellent interpersonal skills and a strong desire to work together to accomplish our shared vision of arriving in Ushuaia safely.


Had met Dan Townsley before briefly at an Overland Expo in AR. The impression then and now is of a very capable, confident, direct man who I can trust to get me safely into and out of Central and South America. He is generous with help to insure that everyone's GPS unit is working. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder (Advanced Remote First Aid). He has an unobtrusive way of letting everyone ride their own ride but you know that he's always paying attention to cover your back if necessary.


Luis Mercado, 'Mac' is our sag wagon driver and general 'fix it' man for the tour. He is an avid motorcyclist. He is a furniture designer in Mexico City and also has a Mexico tour company. He is excited and honored to have been asked by Helge to assist with this tour.


Some time in everyone's life they might be fortunate enough to meet a man like Helge Pederson. It is immediately apparent that he leads these tours out of a passion to share the joy and wisdom he has experienced on his travels with others. He is quick to offer insights based on his seemingly bottomless well of experience on bike set up, riding skills, living on the road. He has perfect posture and an ever present smile. He rides a motorcycle in a fluid motion of great grace and strength.


The first day out of LA was a fast ride south on freeways to get to the border quickly. The border crossing was easy and quick. Then, after all the planning, thinking, dreaming, I am in Mexico. Helge waits behind to insure that everyone has arrived safely and then releases us to tour at our own pace. Everyone stays fairly close together for the first couple of hours and we arrive at a roadside lunch spot together. We break into small riding groups for the rest of the day. I am adjusting to the newness of everything, trying to look around but also keep my eyes on the road.


The second day was one of the best motorcycling days I have ever had. The roads are good, the mountain twisties are a blast. The bike is singing. We are in the desert. The plants are fantastic, new to me geological formations are everywhere. We ride by a roadside oasis with running surface water and a combination of large cacti and palm trees. There is a cave with pre-Columbian petroglyphs. The drivers of the cars and trucks wave and smile. We arrive at the hotel after dark, in hindsight not a good idea. There are potholes, pieces of cars and various objects on the road that can be seen in daylight but at night could be deadly. Many cars do not have functioning headlights or taillights.


The following days are full of great riding, the wondrous landscape and people. The people here are friendly. They have smiles that radiate across the road as we pass and wave. The trip gets better and better, twisting roads, views of the ocean, roadside food, good hotels every evening, delicious dinners. The ferry ride to the mainland is uneventful. We exit the ferry into a maze of roads with vehicles coming at us left and right. Street vendors approach from all directions selling roasted corn, food, drinks. The air smells of exhaust, diesel, cooking food. We approach the twisting delights of the 'Devils Backbone' our main ride for the day.


The sidecar rig is slower than the other bikes. I can't thread through traffic as easily as the narrower bikes. I don't have the speed on twisting roads. We are quickly at the back of the pack with Mac. By mid afternoon it becomes obvious that we will need to get off the Devil's Backbone and onto the toll road to make it to the hotel before dark.


Then diarrhea strikes. I hesitate to take the Cipro and Immodium I have with me and instead follow Dan and Helge's advice to drink water and let my digestive tract adjust. It is not fun riding with diarrhea but I've always liked shrubs so we form a new partnership. The combination of the diarrhea and resulting lack of sleep and 'reductores' and 'topes' and resulting sore shoulders and arms take their toll and I "hit the wall". I'm tired, sore, my whole body hurts and I'm afraid to buy roadside food for lunch for fear of further aggravating my digestive system. Mac comes to the rescue.


He shows me how to pick a roadside cafe. I'm vegetarian so I can always get a quesadilla. All I have to do is look for a refrigerator or Coke cooler to insure a cold drink without using ice. We make it the Oaxaca hotel after dark but the final miles are on the toll road where the road trash is at a minimum. Mac leads so I don' t need to watch the GPS and can concentrate fully on the road. Thank you Mac!


Mexico has been a blessing. My apprehension about drugs dealers and corrupt cops was unfounded. The people are friendly. Drivers move over to let you pass. It would be a pleasure to come back and explore in more detail.










Chapter One Dispatch from David

Hi family and friends. I am having another great ride of a life time. From LA to South Mexico I have ridden in rain, 50 to 104 degrees, poor to super toll roads. My R1200GS is fun to ride with Ohlin shocks tuned by Kyle Racing and the service and accessories by Ben's in Freedom. I would not have made it to LA without the help of my Grandson Kyle. He put the finishing touches to the BMW. Mexico has so much to offer like the devils backbone which is on my list of worlds most exciting roads, fancy hotels and resorts, delicious food and most of all friendly and helpful people. My fellow GlobeRiders are all excellent riders, fun to be with and I'm amazed at their life experiences that they share daily.


Riding On.




Brain operation 800AD not sure of outcome. Monte Abel, Oaxaca, Mexico






Chapter One Dispatch from Fred

GLOBERIEDERS - only motorbike riding or a PHILOSOPHY ?

My first long trip and my first trip with Helge Pedersen.
We are on the road since 3 weeks.

Everybody who likes to feel the flow of motorbike riding, to be one unit with your bike, with the sound and vibration of your engine, with the nature and with the life along the road.

Do it, do it now.






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