The ride from Los Angeles to Tierra del Fuego is step two of a three part ride from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to Tierra del Fuego on the southern tip of South America.
The first leg of the journey was completed last summer riding the Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada and was documented earlier on this site.
The LA to Tierra del Fuego part of the journey began by convincing Helge Pedersen, one of the all time greats in adventure motorcycling, to let us join him on a reconnoitering trip of Mexico, Central America and South America (Helge also led us on the Silk Road tour).
We had our initial planning session this fall and poured over the maps and discussed our views of the forthcoming trip for Helge’s video documentation of the trip.
L-R Dan Moore-Vincent Cummings-Helge Pedersen-Roger Hansen
We decided that 70 days was on the long side of being OK – but clearly Helge didn’t feel that was long enough.
Helge – telling us we can make the trip in 70 days.
Roger Hansen is not only a card-carrying jack-booted republican but is also a phenomenal motorcycle rider and construction executive with a dog’s breakfast of fascinating projects.
Vincent Cummings, masquerading here as a camel, runs a fascinating commercial diving business. His organization has the capacity to replace a plate from the bottom of a supertanker that’s run aground without a dry dock. He also works on oil rigs and all sorts of other dangerous activities in addition to his motorcycling adventures.
Both Roger and Vincent are experienced riders and are mechanically adept. We all rode together on the Silk Road tour.
Although I am the oldest (70 years in two days), I am the neophyte of the crowd and eagerly learn from each of my riding companions.
Our bikes were shipped from all points to Irv Seaver motorcycles in LA. Owner Evan Bell has a remarkable collection of vintage BMW motorcycles and was of great help to us prior to beginning our journey. I was having a problem with my HP2 gas tank venting – a vacuum was forming and the motorcycle was stalling. Irv’s shop was able to solve the first of what will be many problems which one expects on a trip such as this.
I am trying a new approach for my motorcycle this trip - - I decided on an HP2 BMW, which is nearly 200 lbs. lighter than the normal bike I would ride - - but it required extensive modifications. I made a new seat for it, lowered the suspension, installed an extra storage tank for gasoline and a variety of other enhancements.
Bike in preparation for journey
Ready to roll
The morning of our departure, during the time when Helge was downloading the route for the trip on our GPS units, I discovered that the GPS unit that I had brought did not have a data card - - so I will go without until I hook up with Marge (who will bring the correct unit) in San Miguel.
We left LA at 11:00 a.m. on the 5th and headed down Route 5 towards the Mexican border.
As we rode down Route 5 towards the Mexican border there were two glorious views – one of Pacific as calm as a mill pond with a beautiful blue-green hue as far as the eye can see.
The second view was the nuclear power station near San Clemente - clean, neat and efficient, producing approximately 2,350 megawatts of nuclear power - - the equivalent of almost 9,000 wind turbines. Wind turbines produce on the average 18% of their rated capacity on a continuous basis.
We arrived in Tijuana and took two hours to clear customs. Roger had a copy of his motorcycle title but not the original – this required considerable discussion, making copies, apologizing, etc. But all of the officials at the border were polite and eager to please. When compared to other countries I’m sure that crossing into Mexico will be the most positive.
Helge snaps a photo of me among the cactus
We headed south on Route 1 in Mexico through Escanaba – a coastal road with magnificent cliffs and rocky beaches. Along the road there were many unfinished luxury apartments with signs in English offering discount prices. The road was excellent, and I discovered that my motorcycle could not travel at high speed without developing a rather distressing front-end shimmy. I am having a new shock absorber system with stiffer springs shipped to San Miguel. I’ll tighten the front steering damper and inflate the tires more to hopefully solve the problem.
Darkness fell about 1.5 hours before reaching San Quintin – we encountered heavy fog that limited visibility and flowed off the wind deflector as if it were rain. With no reservations we were able to get rooms at the Desert Inn, which gave me a flashback to the famous Clevelanders that with the help of the mob established Las Vegas as a gambling Mecca. We covered a little over 300 miles today.