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Thread: Ushaia to Prudhoe Bay

  1. #1
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Ushaia to Prudhoe Bay

    Just wanted to bounce an idea off y'all, see if anybody has any useful input.

    Just like everybody who's ever thrown a leg over a Beemer, I'd like to ride to Alaska someday. The original idea was take a few weeks off and ride up there and back to wherever I'm living when I get around to it.

    But I was talking to my non-motorcycling brother the other weekend and he said why limit it to that- why not ride up to Prudhoe from Ushaia, the world's southernmost city down in the tip of Argentina? Why not ride as to pole-to-pole as one can go on dry land? (Edit: I just checked MapQuest and it shows a couple of villages further south but not by much.)
    I know it's been done before so I don't have any illusions of being some kind of trailblazer, and in fact I think I read somewhere that all the roads connecting to form the route along the west coasts of North and Central and South Americas have some sort of official designation like Grand Sierra Highway or something like that???
    Anyway, the idea has my imagination piqued. I don't see doing it in the next five years but you never know. I also definitely don't see doing it on The BatBike, and in fact a non-BMW may be a great choice.
    Anybody done this ride, or know anybody who has? If so, I'd like any input specific to it (rather than general advice for interconinental adventure touring- I can get plenty of that from various sources).
    My big questions are how much time will I need, what's the best time of year to start and finish (considering the seasonal opposition of the hemispheres), ballpark estimate of costs (not including possibly buying a bike), etc.

    And the final question: would I be more completely nuts than usual to consider this???
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  2. #2
    BUBBAZANETTI
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    I know someone that did this ride (owns my favorite local bar), or at least tried to, he did alaska to southern california. he had a new ktm 950 and was defenetly properly prepared. i don't know why he didn't make it, but getting through central america and columbia i've heard can be really, really demanding. first you've got to contend with bad roads, then bad weather and even if you make it through that, there's a lot of bad people. i've heard of people figuring bribe money and whatnot into the expense of such a trip. i think this trip would be an ultimate adventure, but i'm not sure i'd want to get wrapped up in the international scuffles. i'll try to find out more info if i can from my friend about why his trip didn't work out.........

  3. #3
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    I believe that the Darien pass is the killer part. there are a few people who have tried and failed. But hey fun is fun.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  4. #4
    On the Road robdogg's Avatar
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    I know someone who did it; well, he went the opposite direction. Prudhoe Bay to Ushaia; then Ushaia back home to Wisconsin. If I recall, he did it on an R80 that had about 60k miles on it when he started; had around 90k when he finished.

    He recently bought my KTM 640 Adventure which he is planning on riding around the world for 4-5 years begining next year. While I have personally yet to pull off a ride like that, I am pondering such a trip in the next couple of years and the KTM 640 Adventure would be my first choice as well; especially if I were riding solo and I knew I would be riding areas with unknown road conditions. The F650 GS Dakar would be a close second choice for me.

    He might be on this forum; but I know he is on Advrider if you want, I'll ask him if he doesn't mind you contacting him via email or whatever.

    You might also check out the Horizons Unlimited website; lots of South America and Ushaia veterens on there and this kind of riding is right up they're ally

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by The Veg
    Just wanted to bounce an idea off y'all, see if anybody has any useful input.

    Just like everybody who's ever thrown a leg over a Beemer, I'd like to ride to Alaska someday. The original idea was take a few weeks off and ride up there and back to wherever I'm living when I get around to it.

    But I was talking to my non-motorcycling brother the other weekend and he said why limit it to that- why not ride up to Prudhoe from Ushaia, the world's southernmost city down in the tip of Argentina? Why not ride as to pole-to-pole as one can go on dry land? (Edit: I just checked MapQuest and it shows a couple of villages further south but not by much.)
    I know it's been done before so I don't have any illusions of being some kind of trailblazer, and in fact I think I read somewhere that all the roads connecting to form the route along the west coasts of North and Central and South Americas have some sort of official designation like Grand Sierra Highway or something like that???
    Anyway, the idea has my imagination piqued. I don't see doing it in the next five years but you never know. I also definitely don't see doing it on The BatBike, and in fact a non-BMW may be a great choice.
    Anybody done this ride, or know anybody who has? If so, I'd like any input specific to it (rather than general advice for interconinental adventure touring- I can get plenty of that from various sources).
    My big questions are how much time will I need, what's the best time of year to start and finish (considering the seasonal opposition of the hemispheres), ballpark estimate of costs (not including possibly buying a bike), etc.

    And the final question: would I be more completely nuts than usual to consider this???

    Veg check out a book that I read recently called Two Wheels Through Terror, that covered a guys trip from CA to Tierra del Fuego. Very interesting accounts on the various legs through the countries too, not just his kidnapping story but much more.

  6. #6
    Stuff2c
    Guest

    Thumbs up A must read if your planning for this

    Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan American Highway's Jungle Gap, by Ed Culberson


    Obsessions Die Hard chronicles Culberson's determination to fulfill his dream. Ever since he was a teenager he had a fascination with the Pan American Highway System, which runs the length of North and South America. In his early forties, he acquired another passion--motorcycling. It was only natural that he would merge the two. Culberson, then a retired U.S. Army officer, wanted to ride his motorcycle along the Pan American Highway's entire route between Alaska and Argentina, but in eastern Panama and western Colombia's Darien region the road is broken by an 80-mile gap filled with jungles, rain forests, rivers, and swamps, forcing travelers to detour around it by boat or plane. The area is so inhospitable and unexplored that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries, and a curse aimed at Darien trespassers shrouds the region. But the Darien Gap, known as "el tapon del Darien"--the Stopper, didn't stop Culberson's dream. It turned it into an obsession.

    Culberson set his sights on riding Amigo, his BMW R80 G/S, the entire length of the Pan American Highway--including the Darien Gap, a feat never before accomplished by a motorcyclist. He suffers failure before meeting success, encountering killer bees, arrest by a corrupt law officer, cycling injuries and back-breaking labor to get himself and his motorcycle through the torturous jungles and swamps. A story of one man's struggle with his own obsession, Obsessions Die Hard is an amazing tale of human endurance and perseverance in the face of staggering obstacles.

    The new edition of this classic adventure tale includes an updated Epilogue written by Culberson shortly before his death, and a new Conclusion by writer and motorcyclist Bob Higdon.

    About the Author
    When he wrote Obsessions Die Hard, Ed Culberson was a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines and served as a chief instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. He was very active in leading motorcycle tour groups into Mexico, Central America, and Panama. He died in 1995 of Lou Gehrig's disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

    As a teenager Ed Culberson was fascinated by the Pan American Highway System, which runs the length of North and South America. In his early forties, he acquired another passion--motorcycling. It was only natural that he would merge the two. Culberson, then a retired U.S. Army officer, decided to ride the Pan American Highway's entire route between Alaska and Argentina, but in eastern Panama and western Colombia's Darien region the road is broken by an 80-mile gap filled with jungles, rain forests, rivers, and swamps, which forces travelers to detour around by boat or plane. The area is so inhospitable and unexplored that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries, and a curse aimed at Darien trespassers shrouds the region. But the Darien Gap, known as el tapon del Darien the Stopper, didn't stop Culberson's dream. It turned it into an obsession.

    On Amigo, his BMW R80 G/S, Culberson suffers failure before meeting success, encountering killer bees, arrest by a corrupt law officer, cycling injuries and back-breaking labor to get himself and his motorcycle through the torturous jungles and swamps--including the Darien Gap, a feat never before accomplished by a motorcyclist.

  7. #7
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    Thumbs up

    Check out www.horizonsunlimited.com for a lot of info on the subject. I have been reading up on the same trip from different folks. It all looks very exciting

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuff2C
    Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan American Highway's Jungle Gap, by Ed Culberson

    Culberson set his sights on riding Amigo, his BMW R80 G/S, the entire length of the Pan American Highway--

    At the AMA Vintage Days a few years back shortly after Ed Culberson passed away.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Rally Rat YB in IN's Avatar
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    Check out Glen Heggstad's book "Two Wheels through Terror". He's had a thread going on now forever and a day over on Adventure Rider that has chronicled his latest trip. He's somewhere in Africa right now. The book is about his trip from SoCal to Ushaia, and how he got kidnapped by FARC guerillas in Columbia, got away, and then finished his trip. A good read, and the the Striking Viking as he is called is a pretty cool dude to boot.

  10. #10
    Registered User burnszilla's Avatar
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    This German couple stayed at our house.
    They did the pole to pole..

    www.bikes-on-tour.de
    Stephen Burns - 2011 R1200GS
    BMW MOA Lifetime Member
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  11. #11
    Live it, or live with it
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    On our way to Jackson, WY last August we talked to a group of Brits riding mostly GS's. They had flown into Anchorage in July, went up to Prudhoe and were on the way to Tierra del Fuego. They planned to be back in Britain by Christmas.
    Motor On '/,

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by JKERSH1
    On our way to Jackson, WY last August we talked to a group of Brits riding mostly GS's. They had flown into Anchorage in July, went up to Prudhoe and were on the way to Tierra del Fuego. They planned to be back in Britain by Christmas.

    Did those brits know there was a very large river to cross between Tiererra del Fuego and Britain?...lol The Atantic I think it is called...hehehehe

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