A motorcycle-surf journey through Baja, Mexico and Central America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SoloSurfer, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. SoloSurfer

    SoloSurfer iheartwrrs

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Rossland BC, Canada
    Hola ADV Riders. I'm new to this Forum but want to post this adventure for folks to follow along and perhaps to link up with a few fellow riders on the roads south. I also think it'll be an excellent resource for possible/likely mechanical issues en route.

    I will be cut/copy/pasting from a blog I am writing over to ADV therefore I hope it doesn't get all wonky with formatting and the like.

    My blog: http://the-alexander-project.blogspot.com/

    My plan is to ride my KLR 650 from Northern California to the Darien Gap and then back to BC taking the next x3 months to do so. I'll be riding through the Baja and then pretty much the coast routes south. My plan is to ride, but also to surf as much as possible, we'll see how it goes. Oh yeah, I'm also planning on taking a surf board with me on my KLR. Last fall, I was researching information of boards on bikes and came across a few really good write-ups and rack designs. One was of a guy on a fully loaded GS with board and the other was of x2 guys traveling the Baja on loaded XR650s + boards. I'm going to give it a 'go' and hopefully I won't wreck myself and/or my custom board en route. All I can do is try...

    I would like to send out a special THANKS :clap and kudos to a few fellow ADV'ers who gave me inspiration and the drive to make this trip happen.

    Without reading each of their posts, I wouldn't be doing this trip. You all rock and kick-ass, thank-you SO much for posting:

    IslandSpark/Lonewolf - Patrick
    roadtripp - Seattle Joe
    drifter dave - Dorian and Jay
    igorshen - Igor
    betitolara - Alberto and Naomi

    Directly from my blog:

    Crunch-Time: ETD: T minus 3 days...


    3 days to go and then I'm jumping ship, hitting the road south. The last few months of planning all seem a bit of a blur right now, and my excitement of getting on my bike is superseding the anxiety. Well, I'd be lying if I didn't still have a hint of anxiety, I guess this makes me human.

    I've set this blog up with a few sections that are 'tabbed' on the main page. I've included 'the Catalyst' which explains what got me into this adventure, 'mi motocicleta' which is a run down of my motorbike and the modifications I have done to it. I also have a 'Surfs Up' tab explaining the custom board that I'm taking and finally a GPS maps tab which I will update as the trip progresses. I've also received generous sponsorship from the guys at GPS Travel Maps.com with amazing map sets of ALL of Central America. Check their link at the bottom of most pages.

    My plan: the goal is to ride my Kawasaki KLR 650 as far south as the road goes physically. Southern Panama is the goal, turning around at the famous 'bridge' at Yaviza, the start of the Darien Gap.

    I have also upped the ante and have decided to make this a motorcycle-surf journey. Some people deem this as a crazy-nuts idea and this includes me. I had a custom surf board made last fall and now have a custom rack for my KLR. I've ridden motorcycles with surfboards on racks in Indonesia, but the bikes were super light and 125cc, which is a different story than a fully loaded KLR. I just shipped my board to Southern California (see pics below) in addition to a few other items. I hope to 'baby-steps' the bike + board through the Baja to see how it handles, surfing along the way. I was lucky to drive the Baja with a buddy a few years back, so I've got some primo surf spots lined up.

    I plan to pull chute and leave the board and rack in Cabo at my Dad's place if it doesn't work out and I hope I don't break myself or my board trying :) If it does work out and seems feasible - it'll be coming with me over the ferry to mainland Mexico and further south, I'm going to see how it goes every step of the way, thus part of the adventure.

    [​IMG]

    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">My bike 'Rojo' all waxed up and ready to go...


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    [​IMG]
    My first bike - 1978 Honda CB 400




    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Command center - planning and prep zone

    </td></tr> </tbody></table><table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Books, maps, ziplocs for country-specific paperwork

    </td></tr> </tbody></table>
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Getting my board prepped to ship to Southern California. I sandwiched it between 1/4" plywood so it wouldn't get dinged while shipping.


    I am leaving Thursday with a fantastic neighbour here in the Kootenays. He is heading to Northern California to pick up a tractor therefore it is working out perfectly for me and my bike to travel with him out of our 'BC Snow-Zone'.


    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Getting the stink-eye from my girl for leaving...</td></tr> </tbody></table>
    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Peace-out to a fantastic ski-season and a safe trip!

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    Feel free to follow along in this adventure. My next post will be somewhere in California in about a week. Wish me luck, send out the good-vibes and I'll see you on the road... ​

    #1
  2. TK Baha

    TK Baha Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    45
    Looking forward to lots of surf reports. :thumbup
    #2
  3. SoloSurfer

    SoloSurfer iheartwrrs

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Rossland BC, Canada
    ... the journey is the destination...


    This adventure is a direct result of a hand injury I sustained last summer in June 2010. I randomly hacked into my left hand with a tool from Sweden called a 'Sanvik' - similar to an axe, but very light weight. I was out of commission for 3 months and it was one of the greatest challenges I have ever had. We take for granted our healthy bodies and the ways in which we use them on a daily basis. Even though my injury was not life threatening, it fully took me out of the game that I am so used to playing. Both my work and recreation halted abruptly. Without the ability to get outside and participate in the facets of life I truly enjoy, I instead started reading books and threads of adventure motorcycle travel. Why... I have no idea? I just got into motorcycles a few years ago and knew nothing much about them, only that I have always thought they are cool and fun to ride. There are a great deal of motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide who load their bikes to the gills and hit the open road.
    I am now going to be one of them.

    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">the tool with the 'tool' in the middle of this collage </td></tr> </tbody></table>

    I have now had x2 hand surgeries and all of the splints and physio I can manage over the last 8 months. My left hand is now in working order (for the most part) and I'm hoping 'clutching' my motorcycle through the USA, Baja, Mexico, into Central America as far as the road goes (Darien Gap - Panama) and then ALL the way back home again will be the ticket for a full recovery.


    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">(top L-R) post surgery #1, surgery #2 starts pic #12 </td></tr> </tbody></table>


    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">the plethora of splints and 'finger-bending' devices</td><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">
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    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    64,676
    Yikes! that's quite a detailed and graphic intro... and quite the setup on the KLR

    :lurk
    #4
  5. Norry

    Norry A Great Bloke

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Straya.
    I'm in for the ride. have been sitting here for 5 months with a badly smashed right leg so i know exactly where you are coming from regarding life changes.
    you sure did a number on your hand. why did you do it ? were you bored at the time or was it just something to do that you hadn't done before ?
    Now, does anyone know how to clean puke off a computer screen ?
    #5
  6. SMURPH

    SMURPH Smartass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    429
    Location:
    Western Canada
    subscribed :). Looks like we're in the same line of work and i've been fortunate to not have any serious injuries. Kudos to you and your determination to live in the now. I'll be following your tracks in a few months. Safe travels.
    #6
  7. scottmac

    scottmac Long timer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,019
    Location:
    La Selva Beach, CA.
    Subscribed!

    Surfing is my primary love. I'm looking forward on how you,
    the bike and the boards get along.

    :clap
    #7
  8. T

    T --------------

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,584
    Location:
    DE
    Have a good trip, hope the surf cooperates, and wear good gloves damn that looked painful...
    #8
  9. SoloSurfer

    SoloSurfer iheartwrrs

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Rossland BC, Canada
    mi motocicleta


    I'd like to formally introduce my trusty steed that I'll be spending the next x3 intimate months with...


    'Rojo' - my 2005 Kawasaki KLR 650


    First off... 2-3 months ago, I knew virtually nothing about motorcycles. I knew how to put gas in the tank of a bike, and how to crack the throttle, but that was pretty much it. Upon committing to this adventure, I figured I'd better learn the way of the motorcycle, so I started by pulling my bike apart. It has been a truly intimidating task for me as I'm far from mechanically inclined. When it comes to oil changes in my truck, I've always used the philosophy, 'Theres people for that'.

    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">my bike feeling pretty naked and chilled...

    </td></tr> </tbody></table>
    [​IMG]


    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">taking a dremil to the rear fender, making room for my new Supertrapp muffler

    </td></tr> </tbody></table>


    I worked on my KLR throughout the winter months and with each passing day I felt better and better about 'knowing my way' around the bike. I still don't really know what the inside of the carburetor looks like, but I do know where it is, so at the very least I can point at it and look cool... and I can take it off if I need to.





    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">**Note where my left hand main index finger is... it didn't bend after my first surgery therefore hand surgery #2
    (Gotta love the stalker safety glasses)

    </td></tr> </tbody></table>
    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">installation of x2 PVC 'tool tubes'... (got the idea off ADV Rider)</td></tr> </tbody></table>
    After deciding to embark on this adventure, I figured why make it easy and just ride my motorcycle through 8 countries? Why solely ride south physically as far as the road goes to the Darien Gap and back home again? Is this challenge enough... through 16 paper pushing borders, dealing with Central American corruption, bribes to policia, crazy drivers and rogue pigs?

    Nope. I figure I'll up the challenge and bring a surfboard!

    Let the night welding begin...


    [​IMG]


    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">



    </td></tr> </tbody></table> [​IMG]




    My buddy Chris helping weld up my surf rack. Thanks to Tom and Chris for a great design. ​


    [​IMG]
    Surf rack is complete, ready for my custom Olea board.


    [​IMG]


    <table class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">A much better design than surf racks I used in Indo!

    </td></tr> </tbody></table><table class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td style="text-align: center;">[​IMG]</td></tr> <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Snowboard bindings with ratchets to secure board

    </td></tr> </tbody></table>

    Below is a list of after market modifications that I have done to my bike in addition to maintenance I have completed before the trip (the first x4 items were on the bike when I purchased it):

    - aluminum skid plate *on bike
    - oversized front disc *on bike
    - rad guard, nerf bars and hwy pegs *on bike
    - oversized rear luggage rack *on bike
    - oversize front disc
    - washable K&N air filter
    - subframe bolt kit - replaced all
    - center stand
    - T - mod (re-routes carb vent hoses)
    - SU rack (off main frame of bike for panniers)
    - Happy Trails 'Teton' aluminum pannier kit w/locks
    - front fork brace
    - rear license plate moved up to fender (so it doesn't get sucked up by the back tire)
    - Supertrapp ISD2 muffler
    - IMS pro pegs
    - Corbin 'flat' custom seat
    - 'doohickey' - KLR balancer chain modification
    - MSR heavy duty shifter lever
    - RAM mount for Garmin GPS
    - magnetic drain plug
    - rear master cylinder guard
    - upgraded hand guards
    - Wolfman Explorer Lite tank bag
    - oil change with new K&N filter
    - PVC tool tubes mounted

    I also have a nice-new-knobby Dunlop D606 rear tire that I plan to switch up in southern California. In addition to this I have new front and rear brake pads that I'm bringing, spare clutch and front brake levers, spare clutch cable, spare front brake cable, and spare front/rear sprokets w/new chain - I might get these items prepped for shipping if need be while I'm on the road - my drive train looks to be in really good shape therefore I assume and hope it'll last the trip, no need to pack a heavy chain and sprockets all the way if I don't need 'em.

    Below is my bike built back up again almost ready for the trip... although I'm certain more modifications will happen.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Crazylegs Bob

    Crazylegs Bob Tiger Tamer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    Dundalk, Ontario
    Surfboards and motorcycles..... the 2 best tools to search the soul with. Count me in!:D
    #10
  11. oscar_champagne

    oscar_champagne Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Sweet! I'm curious about how the board mounted to the bike looks..

    I'm also Baja bound out of San Francisco early next week - perhaps we'll bump into each other on the road - you shouldn't be that hard to spot. :D
    #11
  12. Patrick46

    Patrick46 visionary

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,994
    Location:
    Oregon Coastline
    My buddy lived with us for awhile, and rode back and forth to the beach (his only means of transmode)...HAULING HIS SURFBOARD & his wetsuit...was on a 1100GSXR!!! Just about every day he'd ride out there...was quite a sight ta see!!!!

    Have a great trip!!! Remember us up here in these cold-ass waters when yer out enjoying that nice warm surf!! Oh, and be careful too!!


    Godspeed!!! :clap
    #12
  13. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,400
    Location:
    N.California
    Great luck to you!
    RICE!
    I don't miss the lay ups and rehab!!
    Your pics are a reminder of what you said, how we take the freedoms of our healthy bodies for granted....

    Be safe.

    IN.
    #13
  14. O'B

    O'B Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    4,455
    Location:
    Passing By The Highway
    This will be good!
    #14
  15. Patrol

    Patrol VALE 46!

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,365
    Location:
    Little Mogadishu, Canada
    Very cool. Subscribed.
    #15
  16. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,855
    Location:
    Playa del Carmen
    This is going to be good :lurk Definitely in! Great bike setup :clap
    #16
  17. balloonman

    balloonman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    231
    Location:
    CoMo
    Have you done the starter relay bypass or hot wired the fan?

    Most surf places rent boards, cross winds can rough in some places toating a board or not.

    www.tomzap.com

    Click on Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido then scroll down in the text to the blue letters Zicitella Beach and click. The Garden of Eden campground is cheep and Alba the landlady. Carmens Cafe Ceta for breakfast and coffee, Teos for dinner and Rockaway for happy hour. Have fun Captain Tom
    #17
  18. AdventurePoser

    AdventurePoser Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    1,985
    Location:
    in The Cloud
    I'm in! This is gonna be a great ride report-once I got past the gory pix. Could lived without them, especially since I'm surfing the web while eating dinner!:rofl
    #18
  19. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Redondo Beach CA
    I know everybody's thinking it...so I'm going to say it. Leave the board at home. I've experienced some nasty cross winds in Baja many times and that board will make it impossible to ride safely. You literally will have to pull over and wait possibly days till the winds die down. It's not like riding to the beach from your house. There will be days will you will have to make some miles and you can't. You can borrow or rent a board at virtually every beach in Mexico. It's not worth the hassle. If you only have three months and you want to make it all the way to the Darian Gap and back...the board will slow you down. Also...what if you want to take a dirt road...you'll have to pass. What if you meet some French girl with a morally casual attitude who wants to ride on the back...you'll have to chuck the board.

    Be sure to surf "The Wall" in Baja, Sayulita, Nexpa and Puerto Escondito on the mainland. Have a great time. I'll be following your journey. Ride safe!
    #19
  20. ElJorgio

    ElJorgio Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    Gainesville, Florida, USA
    I too would leave the board behind, not because of the winds, not because of the inability to hit interesting and random dirt roads, but because of that chance of coming across that open minded and adventurous french girl.
    Vive la France!
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    #20