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Old 10-21-2011, 11:18 AM   #4891
VidereStudios
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My first post...

Well, first post here on ADVrider. Been lurking for years and read through this whole thread over the last couple months. Decided it was time to post up…I couldn’t find an appropriate sub-forum for this, so I figured I would post it where the like-minded people reside:-) Apologies in advance for the long post.

My name is Petr (Czech spelling of Peter) and I am more a traveler than a motorcyclist. Some background…I grew up in Springfield, OR and have been living within Lane County my whole life. Love this state…it’s got everything a person could want…especially Eastern Oregon! I started working right out of high school (took drafting program at the high school I went to) and got in with a good company. Started making good money…almost too good for a 20 year old. I spent money on guns, then more toys, then a new truck. Finally built my house in 2006 and in 2009, after trips to China, the Dominican Republic, and Uganda, I really started discovering what my passion was. I had been to Mexico in my middle school years (early 90’s) for a mission trip, but it was those three other trips further overseas that really opened my eyes. So starting about 2010, I started on a new gameplan. Got a second job, started selling the guns and toys and downsizing. Sold the truck and bought my dad’s beater pickup and then bought a 2001 Land Cruiser and started slowly outfitting it for a trip down to South America. However, there was a missing piece to the puzzle.

In about 1999, or maybe 2000, when I was about 21 or 22, I had purchased a 1981 Yamaha Virago. After riding it around for several months, I came up with the hare-brained idea to ride it to the Florida Keys and back. I had saved up about six weeks of vacation and cleared it with the bosses. I was good to go. However, on the day of departure (actually as I was ready to leave the driveway), a small hiccup in the starter on the bike decided that it would blow up into a major issue…my starter died. After a couple of days of troubleshooting with my dad and talking with a couple local motorcycle mechanics, it was determined that a new starter would be needed. Unfortunately, the cost and time frame wouldn’t fit into my plans (due to vacation time off from work), so I loaded up my gear into my Ford Escort and did the trip that way. It was a lot of fun and I had a great time visiting my sister in Dallas and then going on to the Keys and back. When I got back, life seemed to get in the way and I didn’t want to dump more money into the bike, which was getting unreliable, so I sold it. Several months later, a couple of motorcyclists were killed locally in freak accidents, and I decided to forgo the motorcycle hobby.


Anyway, fast forward to now. I have been getting the Land Cruiser prepped and been doing tons of research on Mexico, Central America, and, to a lesser extent, South America. I gobbled up everything I could find on driving in other countries and traveling by overland. However, I made the mistake of watching a video series by a famous actor and his friend who traveled around the world on their bikes. Oops. I started looking up stuff on the web, and ADVrider became my most visited website. After tons of ride reports, I just couldn’t help myself…the bug had bitten.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:20 AM   #4892
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...and my second post!

I learned two things when I watched Ewan’s and Charley’s trip – 1.) Unimproved roads (or roads in major disrepair) can lead to some of the most beautiful places, and 2.) heavy bikes suck on unimproved roads and single track. And unfortunately, those were the ride reports that I was enjoying the most. Ones on single track or unimproved roads or forest service roads or no road at all…especially ones overseas. So I have started entertaining the idea of getting a bike again. Now this is where I am at:

I am working two jobs…I am unmarried…I own my home and have quite a lot of equity in it (due to building it myself, even after the housing market crash)…and I have quite a bit saved up in cash and still have the majority of my gun collection (which is still in process of being sold). I am working on the goal of leaving (in several more years) on a Central and South America journey that could last five or six years. The plan after that is to come back, build another house, and sell it to fund the next journey – Europe and Africa.

I own a 2001 Land Cruiser that is in process of becoming a self-sufficient, solo overland vehicle. I probably need to put another $10K into the rig (armor, Baja 1000 type suspension, etc.) before it is ready. And that is where my conundrum lies…how to incorporate a bike into this vision. I am of two mindsets on this – 1.) Sell the Land Cruiser and get a KTM 950SE or 950 Adventure and use that entirely as my mode of transportation, or 2.) get a KTM 350 – 525 dirt bike and trailer it behind the Land Cruiser. Each idea has it’s pros and cons. However, I wanted to tailor it specifically to the ‘Yes, Mexico is Safe!’ crowd since I like you regulars whom I seem to have gotten to ‘know’ over the last couple of months and I have specific Mexico/CA/SA questions.

The thing I like about ditching the Land Cruiser and getting a 950SE or Adventure is the fact that I can save time and money on the venture and be off sooner. I am not in a cage and can explore to my heart’s content. No issue with having two vehicles, no trailer, not a lot of stuff…simple. Things to dislike…as much exploration these allow, they will never be up to par with a dirt bike on the single track, especially with having to carry gear. I like the idea of a Land Cruiser with a trailer with bunches of gas so I can explore nooks and crannies in Baja and further south with no worries on gas. I want to camp in places for days if not weeks at a time…and I don’t mean camping at a hostel or near a town. Somewhere where I need to pack in the food and water and gas. Going with a single big bike makes this much, much harder.

On the other hand, a Land Cruiser with a trailered dirt bike sounds supreme. A base camp with food, gas, and water. I can carry a lot more stuff (I am talking good stuff…camera lenses, audio and video gear, a mountain bike). And I have the best bike for the riding I envision liking…light, fast single track, dirt roads, and true off road. However, the cons are big here too. Having a trailer on the Land Cruiser means that the SUV has got to be rock solid for all the roads in Mexico and further south. Which means money. And time. Then there is the issue and concern of parking in major cities with a big rig and trailer. Security of the trailer and where the h*#l to park! I believe the entry requirements to Mexico allow a single person one vehicle and a dirt bike without plates, so that isn’t really a problem. However, would that be a problem further into Central America? Also, shipping a Land Cruiser and trailer and bike is more expensive than a bike alone. Ugh…

I would love any input you guys have on my ideas. I just have some general questions that I will blurt out…

Is parking in cities such that having a trailer on the back of a rig would be a MAJOR problem? Like a deal-breaker? On the other hand, did you ever feel hindered by your big bike and wish you had a small dirt bike to go explore that wash in Baja or try to get to those ruins of that hacienda in the Yucatan? Or are most places pretty accessible to, I hate to say it, bigger adventure bikes?

Do you think an older Land Cruiser would be a liability down there (highly desirable by cartel members)? If I go the Land Cruiser route, believe me, it will be sufficiently ‘distressed’ pre-trip to fit in with the older vehicles in Mexico…no flashy Yukon or Escalade here.

So it boils down to this…Land Cruiser/trailer/dirt bike or larger motorcycle. What do you guys think?
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:10 PM   #4893
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Welcome!



should soon be available
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:28 PM   #4894
Pedro Navaja
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Welcome!



should soon be available
Lol! I already hit the complaint button. He needs to start his own thread.
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:50 PM   #4895
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Is there a complaint button?

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At the bottom of each post.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:01 PM   #4896
VidereStudios
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Welcome!



should soon be available
Haha! Nice one...I'll keep them shorter from now on!
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:03 PM   #4897
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Lol! I already hit the complaint button. He needs to start his own thread.
Sorry if you feel I was hijacking this thread...wasn't my intention! Just couldn't find a good home for it without starting a new thread. And I did have specific questions regarding Mexico / CA safety...
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:05 PM   #4898
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This is a motorcycle website, so you know what we are going to say!

Any kind of trailer-caravan type deal is nothing but a huge PITA in Latin America. You want reliable low profile setup. Really, the only reason to take an expensive bike to LA is that it's so much more fun to ride than a POS beater bike like a KLR. Your trailer rig will not be any fun to drive or deal with, especially long term. It will be a hand break, guaranteed. Take you $10k and spend it on gas, lodging and beer!

That's my 2 centavos
Thanks for the valuable input. Trying to decide between the two has been wearisome to say the least. Low profile is the way to go, either route I choose. Obviously the bike by itself is better in that sense...
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:25 PM   #4899
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I am a full-time RV'er and I bought my 40 ft. motorhome with the idea of using it in Mexico. In hindsight I doubt if I'd go wandering around most places in Mexico without scouting them out first. For one thing it's too bulky for anything except the most open of motorways. For another (and this probably doesn't apply to your situation) I have never found a Mexican RV park with 50 amp electrical service and I just can't run my A/C off of anything less.

I have seen older Land Rover campers in Mexico. It's a bit overkill for most of northern Mexico, but if you are going well back in the boondocks I'd say that's not a bad idea.

I think that most of us would agree that avoiding new Ford and GM pickups is probably wise in Northern Mexico, although there are certainly plenty of them being driven around. But those vehicles are popular targets for hijackers. A pickup truck camper might make sense in Baja or once you get out of northern Mexico.

Then again, just about anything can be stolen. I saw a photo of a stolen Land Rover Discovery recovered near La Pesca that looked just like mine except for the color.

A Land Cruiser might or might not be a bad idea because they aren't seen that often (the trucks that get stolen the most seem to be the things that blend in or can be made to look like the military).

I will say that if you go much bigger then you might have trouble parking in the secure parking that most motels and hotels have.

A couple of the guys that post here are active in the Jeep community in Mexico. They could probably give you some of the best advice when it comes to 4 wheels.

Personally, I think that the idea of a small trailer for a motorcycle is pretty good, but I would suggest that you consider some sort of rugged trailer like a military trailer if you are planning to do much in the way of dirt roads. And with a trailer you are going to have that issue of being excluded from some secure parking areas.

Good luck!
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:26 PM   #4900
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Oh oh, now I know. Look out everyone!
Well, there goes about half of my posts.

Complaints, complaints, complaints ...
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:42 PM   #4901
VidereStudios
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Originally Posted by PirateJohn View Post
I am a full-time RV'er and I bought my 40 ft. motorhome with the idea of using it in Mexico. In hindsight I doubt if I'd go wandering around most places in Mexico without scouting them out first. For one thing it's too bulky for anything except the most open of motorways. For another (and this probably doesn't apply to your situation) I have never found a Mexican RV park with 50 amp electrical service and I just can't run my A/C off of anything less.
PirateJohn, thanks for the excellent post. Perfectly relevant information and exactly what I was thinking. Another pro to the Land Cruiser / dirt bike combo...the perfect scout bike to go out and check roads and tracks before committing.

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I have seen older Land Rover campers in Mexico. It's a bit overkill for most of northern Mexico, but if you are going well back in the boondocks I'd say that's not a bad idea.

I think that most of us would agree that avoiding new Ford and GM pickups is probably wise in Northern Mexico, although there are certainly plenty of them being driven around. But those vehicles are popular targets for hijackers. A pickup truck camper might make sense in Baja or once you get out of northern Mexico.

Then again, just about anything can be stolen. I saw a photo of a stolen Land Rover Discovery recovered near La Pesca that looked just like mine except for the color.

A Land Cruiser might or might not be a bad idea because they aren't seen that often (the trucks that get stolen the most seem to be the things that blend in or can be made to look like the military).
Concur on the Ford and GM vehicles. Land Rovers, while great, just don't quite have the dealer coverage that Toyota has worldwide. That's why I went the Land Cruiser route. It is a bummer hearing about that one Land Rover stolen. If I do continue down the Land Cruiser route, it will be to make it as stealthy as possible...and not as something desirable!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJohn View Post
I will say that if you go much bigger then you might have trouble parking in the secure parking that most motels and hotels have.

A couple of the guys that post here are active in the Jeep community in Mexico. They could probably give you some of the best advice when it comes to 4 wheels.

Personally, I think that the idea of a small trailer for a motorcycle is pretty good, but I would suggest that you consider some sort of rugged trailer like a military trailer if you are planning to do much in the way of dirt roads. And with a trailer you are going to have that issue of being excluded from some secure parking areas.

Good luck!
Yeah, I think when it boils down to it, that is probably my biggest concern. I'll have to think about that.

Regarding the trailer, yeah, I am looking at either a military trailer or building my own with matching tires (2 extra spares!). I just really like the idea of trailering a super nimble bike down there. That way I can eliminate the problems of a big, heavy bike.

Thanks for the considerable thought in your post!
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:25 PM   #4902
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[QUOTE=
Regarding the trailer, yeah, I am looking at either a military trailer or building my own with matching tires (2 extra spares!). I just really like the idea of trailering a super nimble bike down there. That way I can eliminate the problems of a big, heavy bike.

Thanks for the considerable thought in your post![/QUOTE]

There is a company that builds off road trailers that have some kind of U Joint in tongue. Cant remember name
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:19 PM   #4903
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There is a company that builds off road trailers that have some kind of U Joint in tongue. Cant remember name
You probably mean Adventure Trailers. They make some very nice offroading trailers...unfortunately they don't have a small model with an area for a bike. Outlander Trailers makes a very similar trailer and they do have a trailer that has some compartments along with room for a dirt bike. It is a nice trailer, but the last time I looked it was north of $6K. Too rich for my blood.

I think I would go down the road of either refurbishing a military trailer or designing and fabricating my own.

Adventure Trailers Multi-Axis Coupler is one of the nicest connections between the trailer and the rig. It allows for greater than 90 degrees in difference of travel between the trailer and the tow vehicle. Extremely nice...here's a link:

http://www.adventuretrailers.com/coupler.html
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:14 PM   #4904
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Why not take a month or two and do a motorcycle-only trip? You can offload the motorcycle and accoutrements fairly easily and should not be a huge investment if you buy used. Less is usually more; stuff just gets in the way in maintenance, hauling and worry. If you like the motorcycle only trip, there you go and if you don't well, there you go.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:38 PM   #4905
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If money wasn't an object you could always contract for something like the Perentie scout vehicles that Land Rover built for the Australian military. This model was designed to carry a motorcycle; add a sink and a chemical toilet and you'd be good to go.


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