(updated 11/24/06 - stay tuned! things change every day!)
06 Oldrice SAT
2006 South American Tour
Nov 24 2006
The Adventure of a Lifetime!
Oldrice SA Tour 06 - Three amigos, on new tricked out (by Oldrice) KLR650's to the Southern Tip of South America - and back - from Detroit, MI!
Now THIS would be good TV!
Rider #1 - Gerard Belli - Saint Clair Shores, Michigan.
Gerard is a distinguished climber, caver, motorcyclist, and all around survivalist. Gerard has been all over the world jumping into some of earths largest holes and tightest, deepest caves without coming up for sometimes weeks at a time. He thrives on climbing up frozen waterfalls of solid ice. His adventures have led him to be stunt man/double in movies such as The Postman with Kevin Costner and on the cover of various outdoor adventure magazines. It was late 2003 when Gerard first got into motorcycling. He knew he wanted an adventure bike and he knew what he wanted to do with it. Gerard promptly set his sights on the southernmost tip of Baja, Mexico from Detroit, Mi. He rode all over Baja and if that wasn't enough, he came back riding double from La Paz Baja, to Detroit on the KLR650. Since then he's covered countless countries in South America doing research for Oldrice.com and The Adventure of a Lifetime and logged over 20,000 motorcycle miles (mostly off-road) of South America on the KLR650. Recently Gerard visited Peru and fine tuned his language skills for several months while living with a Peruvian family as one of them. One of Gerard's greatest attributes is his ability to put into words exactly what he's thinking. While the G-man is in South America he'll be documenting his daily adventures and emailing them to me when he can. Gerard's own expressive points of view on various topics you and I probably wouldn't think of will keep readers starving for more from beginning to end. Be sure to stay tuned as we chronicle the adventures of G-man, The Slasher and Smokedog while they traverse the unknown in South America!
Rider #2 - Jeff "Slasher" Dieterle - Chesterfield, Michigan
Jeff is an outdoor/traveling enthusiast
in search of adventure and challenges. He's a good old Kentucky boy that grew up
in Michigan. His accomplishments include: All-American Gymnast in 1993, climbed
Devil's Tower in 1999, graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2000,
completed a Wilderness First Responder course in 2000, hiked across Isle Royale
after college, worked for a computer hardware/software company, climbed 200 foot
Canadian ice formations in 2003 with Gerard, joined Gerard on his Baja
motorcycle adventure in 2004, climbed Castleton Tower in 2004, completed the
Ellisons through-trip with a group of cavers in 2004 (one of the deepest cave
systems in the U.S.), and traveled across the U.S. on a solo motorcycle trip in
2006 (9000 miles).
Gerard and Jeff met while attending
Northern Michigan University. They shared a common interest in rock and ice
climbing. Ever since, both of them have traveled to many adventurous places --
climbing in Arizona, Canada, Kentucky, Mexico, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee -
caving in Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia - motorcycling in Baja
Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee. Jeff has also traveled to: Canada, Germany,
Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico and Switzerland. Jeff has also traveled
extensively in the U.S. putting more than 9000 miles on his 05 KLR here alone.
As for the Slasher nickname, a girl named Lea called him this in Mexico. Jeff
thought some local banditos were slashing a tent and destroying a campsite in La
Paz. Jeff was wrong and the group of people were just setting up their tent.
Too much tequila!
Jeff in Denton Texas - one of the happiest guys I've ever met in my life.
Photo by Randy Honeycutt
Smokedog will meet up with them somewhere in Arizona. Together they'll ride down into Mexico and meet another motorcyclist (also on a KLR650) which they'll ride with for a few days then it's back to just Gerard, Jeff and the Smokedog.
Monday - Nov 20th - Good News/Bad News. Thanksgiving is already upon us, we're four days late, and our Mother has put her foot firmly down. No riding until after dinner Thursday. The good news is that this will give us a few extra days to recuperate from a recent bad turn of events. Gerard's truck was broken into night before last and the thieves made off with just about all Gerard's camping gear. Expensive sleeping bags, stoves, coolers, tools - much needed new Motion Pro motorcycle tools no less, expensive riding jackets and a bunch of other valuables. Can things get any worse? Very recently Gerard chopped his foot practically off with a hatchet while chopping wood in a small camp up in the high Sierras of North Eastern California. Solo camping with no electronics and no ride back into town, Gerard walked the long miles into town to finally reach a hospital at 3:00am almost seven hours after the incident. He isn't even limping now. Cool. I guess. It isn't my foot. Mine would be in a friggin cast but Gerard felt it necessary to shift while riding. Go figure.
Then there was the bikes chain, then the Maier Hand guards onto MSR ATV High bars, then the Happy Trails PD Nerf bars which won't allows right turns. Funny, you'd think they would have thought about something like that. Called Happy Trails - no luck. Typical customer service bullshit. Sponsor issues. Continental is lacking in support as well as communications. Maps - do you know how much Maps of South America cost? DAY-HEM! And I thought a $4,000 NavTeq GPS system was expensive! Good thing we stocked up on these stainless steel oil filters. (?!?) Let's not even go into logistics.
Now it's hurry up and wait mode. The tension is kinda high. All the hondas are out back and the kawasaki's rule the roost now with piles of gear, bags of this and boxes of that strewn around like some military barracks with names on everything and the clock ticking. Gerard's leg is shaking nervously while watching the latest weather reports studying air currents and precipitation measurements and trends. Mexico recently had a nasty couple of floods and storms and with political unrest just south of Panama the constant reminders of good beer and tacos rise to the top of conversation changing the mood safely back again. It's hurry up and wait mode. I need more coffee.
More in a bit...
Thursday - Nov 23rd - Well, last night we had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat. Lots of friends, family and FOOD! Oh the food though...man that is good. It's my favorite day of the year and I even get to eat all my favorite foods. Good stuff. Anyway, Gerard and Jeff and I met up this morning at Gerard's place - wait, lemme backup a bit here. First of all, remember the bit about Gerard's truck being broken into? Well, we had to visit a few of our local REI and Moose Paws stores to get back what we had lost. Another bunch of cash out the window. Fortunately, we were able to recuperate a bunch of what was stolen and let the packing begin. Thank GOD I'm not paying for any of this! WOW! Unfortunately, Gerard had to pay for all of it.
Once the goods were purchased, we set out to pack the packs, collect the tools, gather the camping stuff, DHO! BOTH bikes tags are about to expire! Off to Secretary of State to get new tags. Then shots. Lots of shots. Paperwork all laminated, duplicated and punctuated, stashed and loaded it's time to go. Hindsight is 20/20 they say and we DID know about these things ahead of time but the project manager lost the lists so much of what was supposed to be completed was either late or we'll just wing it. I think we got everything. We'll see. Probably somewhere out in the middle of nowhere they'll discover they brought enough for two years but forgot underwear or something like that. Lessons learned. It's an adventure right?
This mornings activities consisted of loading the bikes, and leaving. Easy enough you say? Heh, if only. Discovering lost items NOW is not what we wanted. So if you see two late model KLRs with Oldrice.com stickers and loaded up to the gills with ...stuff...wave. They'll appreciate it. Next stop is Lexington Kentucky for some much needed rest, Ramen noodles and more gas. Then on to Durango Colorado to meet up with SmokeDog and to pick up Ramen noodles, a couple throttle cables, a 10mm wrench which got up and ran away during the night, unload some unnecessary gear (it was *really* cold here when they left), deliver a few things to friends and supporters and then off to Tucson, Az where they'll get new tires and more ramen noodles. I'm supposed to be getting a call from them sometime in the next couple hours but if I know them, they'll say fuggetaboutit and just crash.
These were taken this morning. Click on the pics for bigger views....
It's early in the morning and my wife and daughter have already pissed off Gerard by stepping into the loading matrix. Panic ensues as Gerard wants their steps retraced in case evidence exhibits that anything he owns was viewed much less touched by another human.
A little while later a small gathering of friends and supporters show up. Coffee, donuts, bagels and things slow down a bit. The mood is high. It's foggy out and local traffic reports two main freeway closures due to accidents. Must focus. Coffee is good and personally, I'm still full from last nights fantastic dinner! Denise can sure cook! ...back to the trip. "All most there...stay on target!....all most there...." Star Wars plays in my head as we try to socialize, work, drink coffee, stay focused and socialize some more. All in all its a good time. What else have I forgotten? I'm wondering about every nut and bolt on the bikes. What could be improved? What else? Have I forgotten anything? Where's my coffee again?
Jeff shows up.
Here, Jeff is explaining to Vince and Vince's Dad the characteristics and properties of the stock balancer adjuster and the benefits and craftsmanship of a real Doohickey.
Jeff's bike all loaded up for the trip.
Gerard's bike all loaded up for the trip.
Just enough time for a group photo of friends and supporters. I'd try to name them all but honestly, I only know about half of them. Damn CRS. That's me in the red hat.
"Gerard, are you sure you know where we're going?"
Got enough stupid pics yet Geoff?
And here's Gerard and Jeff on their way out. One last wave as they sneak out through the neighborhood.
So, they're off and riding. I'll post more pics and news as soon as I hear form them. If you want to send me pics or want the large originals just email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
11-24-06 Down the road...
Monday - Nov 27th - The boys are in Baton Rouge! After leaving Kentucky, Jeff had an issue with his chain, but luckily they fixed it. Apparently it was too lose and fortunately, Jeff was able to tighten it again. I was informed again just before the camp spot in Tuscaloosa Alabama that everything was going well. They're fine. The bikes are fine. Everything's just fine. From Baton Rouge they'll be heading to Jamaica Beach Texas, should be there Wednesday and then on to Tucson Az sometime Thursday. From there it's Mexico baby! Gerard said he has some pics to send us - as soon as they find a spot to "hook up" they'll send em. I know library's have computers and there's a few internet cafes in the area so it shouldn't be too hard. As soon as I get em, I'll post em.
To email either of them, click these buttons - or
Gerard and Jeff somewhere in Baja 04
More Pics coming...
The Adventure began Nov 24 2006
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