Tag Archives: South America

ADVrider Mini-Motorcycle Diaries: Monkey Love

 

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The trees rustled in the wind as a young monkey played in the boughs. Lounging in a hammock near the Amazonian town of Tena, Ecuador, I marveled at the creature above. My biggest wish at that moment was to hold that monkey. It would be the pinnacle of happiness.

A branch snapped and the monkey tumbled a few feet down the hill. Springing up he scampered over to a neighboring hammock and swung in gracefully. Maybe he thought it was a better bet than the thin tree he had been playing on, or maybe he was just looking for some company, but I could barely believe he was so close. I held my hand out, not expecting anything to happen, but grabbing it, he lept into my lap in one quick jump, put his long arms around my waist, and immediately snuggled into my body. I could feel his little hands squeezing my sides tenderly. “Is this really happening?” I said aloud to Justin, frozen for a second in disbelieve. I didn’t know what to do, so cradling him like a baby, I laid gingerly back down on the hammock. He sat up, delicately rolled my t-shirt up with his long, slender fingers, exposing the warm skin of my stomach, and snuggled in again. A few times I pulled my shirt down, and he’d immediately sit up to carefully roll it up again.

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He stayed with us for almost an hour, sometimes napping, sometimes playing, very gently nibbling on my shirt, ear or fingers, or picking through my hair with his human like hands. His mysterious big brown eyes would sometimes wander up to my own, staring at me intently and calmly. The wilder monkeys hooted and called from nearby trees, much bigger and looking ferocious.

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Taking a bus to Lima from Huaraz the second week of May, I picked up Ash from the airport and rode the nauseating 7 hour bus back to Huaraz after spending the night in the beautiful Miraflores neighborhood of Lima, reminding me so much of Melbourne. After months of riding my own motorcycle, being a passenger would have been unbearable if Ash and I didn’t have so much catching up to do, distracting me from theIMG_1489 lurching bus and speedy hairpin turns. I was so happy she was with me. We had much to discuss. Wedding and bridesmaid dresses, flowers, invitations, cake, food, guest list and the music selection for her September wedding. One real regret on this trip is not being home to help her plan and prepare. I just had a dream I was in charge of the music, but could only get the Lion King soundtrack to play as she prepared to walk down the aisle (Ash, if you’re reading this, it was a terrible nightmare so please don’t put me on music duty!).

The next morning we set out on her first South American adventure. She had plenty of experience riding around Europe with me, but this time she was on her own bike in an even more foreign place. The keys to the Storm had been passed off by Tom, and she was both excited and nervous. She knew the driving conditions in Peru were perilous and that constant attention to the road needed to be maintained.

For the next week Peru introduced her to the glorious world of off-roading and insane Latin American driving. And she loved it. We have a bad habit of having motorcycles break down on us when we’re together though, so by the time we made it to Chiclayo on the Peruvian coast, and were just about to head into 200km of barren desert, my bike started stalling and we could go no further. Within a couple of hours, we had made it to a bus station, boarded the bus with motorcycles in the cargo hold below, and were on our way to Mancora, via Piura where I left both bikes to get serviced, and a new magneto for mine.

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We spent the next couple of days catching up and relaxing on Peru’s most famous beach before she had to head back to the States.

The day after she left Justin arrived and we spent the next 8 days blasting through some of the most glorious rural roads of the entire trip, 1300km to Quito, following the western edge of the Amazon. The lush jungle beckoned, river crossings were plentiful, and steep muddy roads tested out our skills. An experienced mountain biker and world adventurer, Justin gave me a run for my money. His glorious pictures tell the story much better than I can.

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Goodbye Australia… Hello… Chile?

As much as I loved Australia, it was time to say goodbye for a while. It was an incredible 6 months that will be in my heart for a long, long time, and I hope to return one day. A turn of events has found me home in Seattle for a brief two weeks, coming up with a new last minute 2014-oh-my-god-I’m-turning-30-adventure.

On January 1st, 2014, I’ll be landing in Santiago, Chile, where I’ll buy a motorcycle and ride to Patagonia and wherever else the wind blows me.

This isn’t exactly the Mongolia to Europe overland trip I had in the works for this June, but life is unpredictable and if you don’t have cat-like reflexes, you’ll land on your face. When life throws you a curve ball… You go buy a motorcycle in a foreign country. Right??

Maybe this trip will show people that you don’t need to spend a year planning and agonizing over the details of an adventure motorcycle ride, at least in a continent that doesn’t require Carnets. No shipping your passport off or dealing with expensive paperwork beforehand, no need to save zillions of dollars, and no need to bring your fancy BMW12,000,000. Just peruse Horizons Unlimited for a bit, buy your ticket, get a cheap bike, and off you go.

And if you don’t believe me… Well, just watch this site and maybe I’ll prove myself right. Or wrong. Either way, it’ll be an adventure, and TravelBug loves a good adventure. And what better way to survive life’s curve balls than touring South America on a 125cc mini motorbike?

Wish me luck, world.

Thanks for the picture, Internet. This'll be me soon enough!
Thanks for the picture, Internet. This’ll be me soon enough!

Here’s a packing list that I’m sure is missing a few things:

Latin America Motorcycle Packing List

CLOTHING

  • Grey rain jacket
  • Down jacket
  • 1 Sweater/warmer top
  • 1 Black longsleeve merino shirts
  • 1 Black tshirt from
  • 1 Sports bra
  • 1 Sports tank top
  • 1 Regular tank top
  • 1 Black skirt
  • 1 yoga pants
  • Yoga shorts/pjs
  • Two pairs merino socks
  • Undies
  • Bra
  • Hiking/moto boots
  • Flip flops
  • Scarf
  • Hat

MOTO

  • Small toolkit
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Bike wheel lock
  • Bicycle cord lock
  • Cigarette charger
  • Helmet
  • Two pairs gloves
  • Motorcycle jeans
  • Motorcycle pants
  • Motorcycle Corazzo Design armored jacket
  • Motonaut “Adventure” Motorcycle bags

CAMPING

  • Sleeping bag
  • Stuff sacks
  • Lightweight rollup backpack
  • Pack cover
  • Foam sleeping pad
  • Headlamp/batteries
  • Stove and pots
  • Cutlery
  • Mug
  • Knife

ELECTRONICS

  • Laptop and charger
  • Kindle and charger
  • Camera and charger
  • iPhone and charger
  • Adaptors
  • Headphones

TOILETRIES/OTHER

  • Hand sani
  • Toiletries/meds
  • Earplugs
  • Fem products
  • Sunglasses
  • First Aid kit
  • Sunblock
  • Tiny towel

BUY THERE

  • Lighter
  • Stove fuel
  • Deet/bug spray
  • Tire tools