Trip Update

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My planned trip through the Americas has evolved substantially in the last couple of months.  At first, I was planning on flying my bike and myself to Buenos Aires, Argentina and riding north back to Toronto.  Tom was going to ride with me for 3 weeks and as far as Lima, Peru.  This plan has since changed for a number of reasons.  Now, the plan is to ride south from Toronto to Santiago, Chile.  Tom will come as far as Guatemala City, and then fly himself and his KLR650 back to London from there.  One reason for the change in plans is that the cost of shipping motorcycles from Toronto to South America is prohibitively expensive.  Motorcycles are considered “dangerous goods” and it costs at least $2500 to for a one way trip south.  On the other hand, it costs about $1500 to ship a bike from Santiago to Toronto.

Perhaps the most important modification of my original plan, however, is the addition of a new travel companion.  One of my classmates, Ted Macher, is going ride with me for the entire 3 month journey south.  He had heard about my planned adventure, and one day in class he came up to me and said he wanted to talk to me about my trip.  The rest is history.  How cool is that?  I have to admit, I didn’t think anybody in my class would be into something as crazy as riding a motorcycle to the tip of South America.

Ted has since bought a 2007 Suzuki DR650 specifically for this trip.  Sadly, I was unable to convince him to get a Kawasaki KLR650.  Something about it being too tall of a bike…  I am relieved to have a travel companion.  Now the constant battle between the fear and excitement that has been gripping me in anticipation of this trip has tipped in favour of excitement.  I think the only person who is happier than me that Ted is joining me is my mom.

Ted, in true enduro spirit, wants to design and build his own panniers and mounting rack.  He intends to use two tool-boxes supported by a rack which he plans to weld together himself.  His workshop is the 14th floor balcony of his apartment.  After purchasing a stick welder, the next challenge was of course to learn how to weld. 

So far he has created a gnome and a picture frame.  He was able to further practice his technique by “welding” a plate to the bottom of Tom’s kickstand.  This is a useful modification, preventing the kickstand from digging into soft ground.  The kickstand welding job turned into a real work of art, as evidenced in the above pictures.  We tried smashing that plate off with a hammer to no avail, proving that the weld is also functional despite it’s artistic merit.

My only hope is that when it comes time to do add the “big foot” modification to my own kickstand, that Ted will not have lost his artistic touch.

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Left: Ted and his roommate Tim, Halloween 2006.  For some reason a lot of people get their names confused.
Right: Ted riding is new DR650 from the dealership. 

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