Wanted to mention a few things about packing for the trip...
Jeff had aluminum panniers for his 09 KLR. Very nice and roomy. He could leave them on for the most part, had easy access, was able to pack quickly...but for some reason all the military and drug police wanted to search them and not my soft saddlebags! My saddlebags came with the bike when I bought it used two years ago. They don't hold enough but do the job ok. When I took a low speed spill, no damage to them. So while I like the price, and they worked for me, I envied Jeff's locking system, ease of access and room.
A few more...
The locking hard case mounted easy on my rack. It worked superb! No water got in at all.
We didn't have GPS, just used the Guía Roji, made photocopies of the pages for the day, and asked people. Worked 99% of the time just fine. Ok, the one day in Guatemala, it would have been nice to see the topo layout of a 50 mile as the crow flies section that took 5 hours, but other than that...great map.
The Motion Pro bead braker. I had my doubts when I ordered it and it was untried (thankfully, no flats!) until we put on Avon Gripsters (more on that in a moment) at Casa de Tricepilot. Before the trip I struggled to break the bead on the rear particularly when I put on Kenda 270s. But after letting the air out, slipped the bead braker in and with a couple of wacks with rubber mallet and bead broken! Very quick, less than 20 seconds. Nice.
Combat lite boots...you know the item is good when you don't even think about it the whole trip...just put them on and go. Several river crossings, multiple rain storms, numerous standing water crossings...very comfortable and one sock got a little wet once.
The Avon Gripsters...Wow!! Like I mentioned, I had the Kenda 270s on for the trip down and liked having them in the mountain non-paved roads of Guatemala. Tested between Dallas and San Antonio and I got 35 MPG. Put the Gripsters on (but also new chain and sprockets, don't know they would significantly affect MPG), and gas mileage improved to 43 over very similar roads. These were perfect for the slab riding home...quiet, roll easy, lower rpm at similar speeds than with Kendas, solid on cornering (the Kendas were a bit squirly there), and not much tread wear on the 2000 mile trip home from Texas. Gracias de nuevo Tricepilot!
Finally, my riding buddy Jeff is a road warrior with an awsome sense of direction, making him a great navigator! My favorite mental images of Jeff are when he would be at a taco stand, striking up conversations with the owners and other folk there. He would be totally in the moment, soaking it all up. Thanks again for putting this trip together!
I've got some video that needs editing, and hope to get that up within a few days...good to be back home.