April 28, 2003 GMT
Back to the Roots!!

The bikes are running well, luggage has taken a beating in the past week of
rough roads!! God damn the XR 600R is the only bike for me for a south american
adventure! We rode thru some real muddy dirt roads, I mean muddy, we were out
in the boonies!! One day we decided to get off the pavement and cut off about
80 kilometers of raod, however, the roads we wound up on took over 4 1/2 hours
to ride about 60 miles!! the chickens, the pigs, the cattle, the agricultural
land where many people were out and about working the fields, others hiding from the heat under shade, the rain was on and off, one series of pot holes and mud puddles were larger and deeper than I
had expected, I rode into it at about 35 miles an hour, started to take flight,
then agian, the luggage moving slightly but A.O.K, then snap, one of my metal
straps broke! I stopped to fix it with some bungees, and strapping, before I
knew it I had a few kids standing around me watching, Ed and Jim, in the
meantime, were well ahead of me, the kids multiplied, people started coming out
of their houses from the woods and from down the road, before I knew it I
looked up from my repairs and well over 25 people were standing all around me,
gaulking, kids smiling, The thumbs up works real well in this
country(definately an universal sign of `Totaly Good`!) The girls laughing and
intrigued by the gringo, by the moto, by the luggage, by all of it! I was
repaired for the time being and split, waved and the dozens stood there untill
I was out of site! Continuing down the road, the puddles got bigger & deeper, the ruts more numerous, the animals more prevelant, the palm trees, the fields of sugar cane, the rustic homes, women pulling water from a bucket drawan well, the kids playing soccer, the embanked curves, more throttle thru the deep sandy sections in the road, weaving the potholes and the ruts, the music pumping thru my head, the adrenaline pumping thru my veins, weighting my footpegs for more traction and better steering, the balding skidding rear wheel was at times barely holding on, however the XR
was meant for this road, we were back to our roots.......
oh yeah....XRS only BABY!!

Posted by Matt Stackpole at 08:39 PM GMT
BASE CAMP....per say!!

We are currently in Belem, Brasil!! Heading up the great Amazon tomorrow
evening, the boat ride should last five days to Manaus, then down to Porto
Velho.....just spending some time today walking the street markets and checking
out the central sites of this intrigueing city....its quite the port, lots of
fish markets, street food, plenty of wharfs and tight streets, some old
churches in disrepair, many buildings for that matter, a little paint or wood
work would do alot for this place! The materials and labor are cheap but it
seems like people are too busy doing other things.
The area we are staying in is somewhat comical, as we are staying on the boat, living on the peir for now. Its
sort of like base camp for the expedition, getting climatized to the conditions
around us. The local streets/corridors are small, they are seeded with local feel. The bars are simple, Eateries are everywhere serving salgados(various small pastries stuffed meats and cheeses and are eften fried), serving crabs with beer, egg sanwhiches, fried fish, fresh juices, rice and beans, Gaurana(the national soda which is very good) the music loud and distorted, the people are rough, the houses/shacks look very difficult for living but this is home for these people. The stenches of the streets differ from hanus to anus, and everything in between, trash is everywhere (big bummer) and the gutter water is infested.
The bikes are locked up on the peir,
other boats coming and going, lots of movement! Our captian is a little fat
golly type, always smiling, last night we went out partying with the bartender
from our vessel, getting him on our good side, WE had a couple of dock guys
wash our muddy cycles. Will hope to buy a hammock and mosquito netting today
for the extensive river journey, perhaps a couple of bottles of whiskey as
well! Health is good for now, and will hopefully remain that way, however I
have some doubts, will certainly be taking extra precautions throughout the
next two months!

I am sad to be leaving the beautiful coast line of Brasil behind...the past 6 weeks has been simply incredible, The good and the bad and I have so many wonderful memories and thoughts to keep within me for this evolving life of mine........ Sorry the details are spared!

Posted by Matt Stackpole at 08:55 PM GMT
XRs only.....

We stopped for some refreshing beer as the sun beat upon us at over 95 degrees, and the wind was not helping a bit.......the beer flowed, we were now ready to head out to the coast. The day was March 28, 2003, we were riding up the central coast of Brasil. Heading out to the waters edge to find yet another sleepy beach. the dirt road we were commensing upon had some road work machinery in action, we skirted around thru the deep mud and water, and wondered how the passing bus made it thru such a passage.......It had been several weeks since the last dirt, Ed & I were ready! Cruising side by side, headphones in tune, cruising top of fifth gear, standing on the pegs and enjoying the feeling! Suddenly ahead, a large undulation appeared in the road. Never before had we encountered speed bumps on the dirt, as we both saw this ahead, our eyes bulged with fright, this was no ordinary speed bump.....this was at least two and a half feet tall. Cruising a good clip we both realized the brakes on this compacted dirt would do no good........bracing ourselves to the cycle, all system a go, the suspension was prepared and we simultaneously took flight at over 60 miles an hour, Oh....#%&, burst out beyond my helmet for all the grazing cattle to hear! We were frickn motoring and there was nothing else we could do! Touching down was smooth and we both looked across to one another......... the smiles were grande and the eyes bursting with enjoyment! The thumbs up and hang `Hell Yeah` rang thru the minds!!!

XRs ONLY for these two riders!!

Posted by Matt Stackpole at 09:11 PM GMT

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