Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2009

Motoventure Day 10: Finally IT BEGINS!

After all the waiting, after all the drama, after all the jealousy, hype, rage, fear, disappointment and pain…  We shall begin!  Though I have to admit, reading about a car falling into "the abyss" and some guy getting robbed of s/3,000 by two guys in a mototaxi made a weird start to the day.   I have been assigned a mototaxi, I had literally the very last one in the hat when we drew (all remaining teams but four or so will be leaving tomorrow).  I have named my trusty steed "Jau" in honor of Jau-Ling Chou, who did the Rickshaw Run earlier in the year and inspired me to do this.   Lucky me, four out of the 18 bikes were 150cc instead of 125cc and all the kind people accidentally left one for me!  This means I will have a slightly easier time of it, as my extra 2hp (for 13hp total) gives me a noticeably smoother ride when starting and getting going.  I'm quite excited!   Paperwork just arrived from Lima and we will be set to go shortly – they

Motoventure Day 9: The Plot Thickens

Supposedly as of yesterday everyone in Group 1 and Group 2 has been off except for one team. At least two of those teams returned Thursday due to problems, and apparently one team lost a mototaxi after hitting a pothole and rolling it down the side of a mountain into a river (not sure on the details here, but apparently it almost rolled over a girl but everyone is all right). Mototaxi update: We are supposed to find out around noon to 2PM today how many will be ready to go Saturday morning, currently expecting 8 to be ready out of the 22 left. The rest may have to wait until Tuesday. We are now looking at shipping the remaining ones to Cuzco and having a launch from there, so the rest of us may fly over there in order to do some exploration while waiting until Tuesday (Macchu Picchu and all that). I will update this afternoon. I spent most of the afternoon with Scott and Nate from team Hombre Lobo (who are sadly almost definitely dropping out now due to the delay) and


Due to the INCREDIBLY poor planning and naivety of the Adventurists about South American politics, we´re now being told it´s entirely possible we may not have our mototaxis until Tuesday. This would be nine days beyond the original start. A few teams took off but apparently two have already returned. Again due to poor planning, one team had problems with their mototaxi not being built properly and effectively dying an hour outside of town, while another crashed a few blocks away from the launch because the brakes were not properly set up on the recently assembled bike. This has turned into chaos and perhaps quite a bit more personal risk than originally intended as well as a massive inconvenience. We´re looking at other options but at this point I expect to be out a couple grand more than expected as well as needing to take an additional two weeks off work and risk being asked to leave early... or I could give up and lose the three to four grand I´ve already invested in this. Quite uni

Motoventure Day 8: WTB Motoventure

Yes, 8 days so far and I have yet to leave on a mototaxi. In fact, no one has I believe! It looks like Group 1 got their paperwork around 7PM tonight though, so they should be off in the morning. A glimmer of hope for the rest of us. Right now, I'm expecting to be stuck here until Friday, which completely destroys any possibility of completing the trip without delaying my return. I'm looking at options but will probably need to extend my vacation by another week and eat a grand worth of plane tickets – I want to experience something beyond trying to kill myself getting to Asuncion. I've now been in Huancayo sitting around for 4 complete days. :( We had a parade today. Instead of a police escort out of town for 61 mototaxis rolling off in grand fanfare, we had a little ceremony and a police escort of 13 mototaxis back to the school where they are staying until the paperwork is done. >_< Not much else to say. We're all accumulating all sor

Motoventure Day 7: Ugh

Delayed again.  They have 16 mototaxis ready to go tomorrow morning, another 25 they are hoping to have ready in the early afternoon, and 22 more arriving at some point tomorrow to be ready late afternoon or early morning Thursday.  We divided into three groups based on how soon we had tickets out of Asuncion, though I was really quite surprised about all the selfish bickering – so many people seemed to think they had a better reason to leave early.  Hopefully that attitude won't translate into people being abandoned on the side of the road, heh.   Anyway, I slotted myself into Group 3 (possibly leaving Thursday) because I'm just one person to change a ticket and I figure I can push harder than most of these people as well – I'd have likely been in Group 1 but ah well.  I figure I will extend the trip another week depending, though it'll cost me quite a bit.   Until then, let's just stick with a quick recap to entertain yourself:   Photos of the mototaxi

Motoventure Day 6: Can We Leave Already?!

We've moved downtown to the center and into rooms at Los Balcones today near Plaza Constitucion. Yay for internet and being centrally located to all the happenings. Boo for dealing with noise again. I'll make this update quick since I've just uploaded two long updates from the last few days: - Edited some video this morning while chilling and have a pretty cool ~3min vid of some mototaxi action. Conversion is taking quite awhile though, hopefully I'll be able to upload it tonight. - I spent most of the day with the guys from Mayan the force be with us and even more wandering about with Rob & Will from Valsava Victory as we had a bit of a common bond being in the middle of nowhere for the last couple days. - Spent a long time walking and driving around to find parts with Rob & Will. Ended up with a replacement tube, a patch kit with ~20 patches, a tire iron thingie, and a pump. Good stuff. I apparently still need a couple wrenches and

Motoventure Day 5: Sporting and Marketing

(written 10/25 @ 11PM) No internet at all for an entire day and a half now! It's a bit annoying as I have tons of photos to upload and some really fantastic video (though I do need to edit that still). Today started somewhat oddly – I woke up and noted that the power was out. Grabbed a quick hot shower (the first truly HOT shower I've had since last Monday in the US) and breakfast then headed out towards downtown to meet up with the three other solo people. I was shocked to discover that the power was out over the entire town and was unable to upload last night's blog and photos as planned. Breakfast was interesting. Of the other solos, Peter (yes, there's two of us) and Sarah (alas, with an h) both expected to take their time and were planning on sticking around for many days after. April was looking about between, and I personally was concerned more about having fun and the spirit of the trip rather than being a tourist. It was interesting how differe

Motoventure Day 4: Insanity Ensues

(written 10/24 @ 11PM)  I have seen a mototaxi flipped on its side, I've seen (and been) crazy people hanging off them at all angles, I've seen high and low speed turns resulting in a three wheeled vehicle becoming a two wheeled vehicle…  and it's all been awesome.   WARNING:   This is a long update.  ;)  Today was action packed!   Today started at Hotel Kiya in the Plaza Constitucion.  I decided last night to move out to this hostel Peru Andino because it looked cool and over five days would save me a few bucks.  So I packed all my gear, had breakfast (2.50 soles), showered and all that, then grabbed a taxi to the hostel to drop my stuff off around 11AM.  The taxi driver didn't know where Pasaje San Antonio in San Carlos was, but that's all good - "lo buscamos!" (we'll search for it).  We drove around for 30min asking people if they knew it, got horrible directions a bunch of times, but finally found someone who pointed us in the right dire

Beware of high altitude!

Holy crap. I know they say to be careful to adjust to the altitude (13k feet here in Huancayo if I recall right) before doing anything strenuous but I didn't realize how bad it was. This morning I felt fine and decided to see what's up, so I started my morning wakeup routine of pushups/situps/handstands. Um, yeah, no. About 15 pushups in I started to feel a weird spike of pain in my head and I decided to keep going. At around ~25 pushups I almost blacked out. Seriously. My vision almost completely disappeared accompanied by migraine level waves of pain. Even 30 minutes and two excedrin later I'm still wracked by these spikes of pain in my head and a low level of background pain. All this from ~25 pushups... I wasn't even breathing hard and my muscles weren't even noticing it yet. Insane. Methinks I will be taking it a bit easy for a couple more days.

Motoventure Day 3: Who Needs Planning?

Okay, to be fair my plans were confused by the train that was cancelled – I didn't find out for sure until late last night and wasn't able to really do any research.  This morning I woke up and talked to the hotel people who recommended I go to a teleticket at 9AM to buy a ticket on Cruz de Sur Tours.  Unfortunately, I found out they were all sold out for today.   I went back to the hotel and got a phonebook to look for other tour lines.  I don't have a phone and I hate talking on the phone in English, so when I noticed most of them were grouped together I decided to check out and grab a cab out to that area of town.  Long story short:  I spent two hours wandering the streets talking to tour place after tour place.  Every single one had no room on buses to Huancayo before 10PM.  Ugh.   I was literally about to give up and get a ticket for the late night trip when I spotted a place I didn't notice the first time.  They were also sold out, but this nice lady told

Motoventure Day 2: Lima

Lima is pretty cool, it really is very similar to Bogota as well as sort of being a dirty, more chaotic version of many European cities. Of course, I'm making this judgement based on a small portion of the downtown area, so it's not a holistic statement. I basically spent most of the day wandering the streets with my eyes wide open enjoying everything. They are currently in the process of a huge rejuvenation here in this area, many buildings and statues are being worked on, some of the streets are being widened, and there are a couple fantastic little parks. It's pretty neat. To get an idea of what things look like, check out my GPS track with geotagged photos or punch into my photostream on flickr . Random bits: - Had lunch in a pollaria, quite good. I just sorta picked one at random – they are all over. The one thing I had read about but I think is weird still is that even in a restaurant you don't actually give money to the server or waiter or wh

Motoventure Day 1: Arrival!

(note - this was written last night on arrival) What a weird day, though of course mostly anticlimactic. The nutshell is that I made it to Lima without any problems and am happily chilling in my hotel room at the Gran Bolivar trying to unwind and get some sleep (it's always hard to sleep after long travel days for me). Other random bits, since I don't feel like writing cohesively: - Travel is boring, no interesting pictures or video really. Bummer. - Even though I have a full CDMA 1xrtt signal on my 8830 and can apparently receive SMS messages, I get rejected trying to send them. Bummer. - No internet at my hotel, I am writing this on live writer and will have to upload it later - Not sure if my SPOT was able to get a location message out via satellite during the trip from the airport, and my hotel room is very blocked. I will definitely head outside in the AM to get it set. - Lima reminds me a lot of Bogota. Weird combination of modern and old, "civilizat

All packed and ready to go!

As of right now all of my to-go gear is fully stowed and set. My carry-on needs some final tweaking and packing but overall I'm ready to rock. After this blog update I'm going to catch a movie and try to keep unwinding. Here's a picture of the final gear layout, this is almost everything I'm wearing/taking with me for the trip, it's actually a pretty light load ( full size on my flickr ): I made a timelapse of the packing process just for the fun of it, you can really see how light and simple I'm packing in it ! Total weight is only around 34lbs which is incredibly manageable, I'm really excited about this. I almost didn't pack my tent, but I had plenty of room and at 2lbs it's good to have "just in case." Tomorrow I head into the office for a bit in the morning to say goodbye to everyone then I'm off!

Delay without delay

First of all, check it out , got my SPOT tracking widget set up and embedded in my blog! As you can see it's not perfectly accurate especially in an area with a lot of buildings (it's sitting on the ledge by the window in my office right now), but general location seems to work especially when it has a halfway decent view of the sky. I'm going to leave this puppy on from now until I get back, so enjoy! Note that you can click on the "full screen" button to get a much more interactive view. Now, on to the craziness. We found out yesterday that the original Honda mototaxis won't be available and they had to switch to these Lirfan Trooper 125's. Apparently the paperwork for these might not be ready until Tuesday, which means our launch will be delayed from Sunday to Tuesday. This of course means arrival in Asuncion will be delayed, which may mean I'll have to take a few more days off and change my plane tickets (ugh). On the plus side they finally t

Drama begins early

Apparently all is not well with the Mototaxi Junket. :( Based on last minute e-mail updates tonight, it sounds like the mototaxi's may not be ready for pickup on Sat/Sun - but in fact we may not be able to leave until Wed. This may require an extra 2-3 days of vacation and associated plane ticket drama. Not cool - but part of the adventure and thus all good! In spite of all this I wanted to really thank my friends for coming out to RFD today and saying "goodbye" to me, especially Kim, Jason, Amy, Jason, Andy, Sarah, Sanil, Cat, Jacky, Rachel, Kurt, Mike, Hector and all the other awesome people that swung by - it was nice to know so many people were worried and happy for me. If I had a dollar for every time I heard "I wish I was going...." Two days from now at this time I will hopefully be catching a cab to my hotel in the Centro Historico de Lima. The next morning I will be exploring, then I will be catching a train to Huancayo on Friday and practicing with

Less than 7 days now...

In exactly one week I will be in the air towards Lima via Houston. My preparations are nearly complete, tonight I head to REI to pick up a SPOT satellite messenger and tomorrow I will head back to AAA and get a new International Driver's Permit with the proper Category A stamp that they missed on the last one. Work stuff has been completely transitioned and I'm confident they'll hardly notice I'm missing. I've made some loose plans for the beginning of my route from Huancayo, expecting to include one of the world's highest roads and well as most likely the road of death . Research has indicated that the first few days will be by far the hardest, slowest, and most dangerous as well as the most interesting - this is actually pretty great. Making this trip in the other direction would suck, but this way I get the insane stuff out of the way while I still have energy then get to relax and enjoy the second week at cruising speeds. The image here gives you an id
Indian buffet for lunch!
I have three year old slides discussing some of the points being presented at this 'cutting edge' technology briefing.

Training and Fundraising

After the last few days of my ankle holding up under some fair beatings (albeit with pain) I decided that today I would go back to Primal and start trying to get back into things – but I got distracted and missed the 8PM class! Instead I decided to try pushing things in a self controlled environment and was able to practice some good wall runs and crane landings amongst other things without the ankle hurting too much. Wicked – I think I’m ready to push it harder for sure (haha famous last words?). While I was training a bit, I decided to get out the camera and muck about with some more fundraising photos! Since these are always entertaining, here you go, some examples of thank-you photos you might get if you donate to Operation Smile – except they will be cooler because they will be somewhere in South America! Precision jump down a flight of stairs: Overbalancing a handstand (actually takes a ton of control to not destroy yourself on stairs when doing this) then nailing a
Crazy people are running down my street!

I've been shot!

Three shots, a bunch of pills, a prescription, and $350 later I'm set for travel to South America. The primary culprits were yellow fever & tetanus immunizations, though I grabbed a flu shot as well. The pills are for typhoid, I need to take one every other day for eight days with no food for two hours before or after to get eight years immunity. Prescriptions are for high altitude meds (since a lot of my trip will be well over 10k+ feet) and antibiotics for traveler's diarrhea. Tomorrow I have an eye exam and will get new glasses, then next week I have a full physical. Hopefully that will completely conclude the medical related festivities!