Around South America and beyond

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cejnys, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    May 27, 2013
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    575
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Winter is coming to the north hemisphere so it is time to load my bike and head south.

    After 10 years in corporate word, I have handed my notice. After several months of planning suddenly everything becoming extremely real and it is time to leave Texas and to head south on my 990 Adventure.

    As you can see I will not be traveling alone, we will be doing this adventure two up with potential purchase of another small bike somewhere in South America.

    The plan is to leave from Texas and ride all the way to Panama, then take a boat to Colombia and go all the way to Ushuaia. From there we would like to go all the way back to Colombia via the east coast.

    We are planing to visit all the Central & South America countries and would love to hang out with local guys (and girls) as much as we can, so anybody out there who wants to go for a beer or two with us just give me a shout.

    First report from Mexico should be out shortly.

    Radim & Lauren

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    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

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    Portland, OR
    Headed to columbia in late November , maybe we'll meet. Safe travels
    #2
  3. khan46

    khan46 Been here awhile

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    "ride all the way to Panama, then take a boat to Colombia"

    why are you not riding into Colombia? why're you taking a a boat?

    Sorry just trying to understand what your plan is as I'm planning a ride south too.

    if its possible, upload a map with your route
    #3
  4. jgbnm

    jgbnm Been here awhile

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    Darien Gap.


    Sent by a way I don't really understand.
    #4
  5. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist

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    From Wikipedia:

    "The Darién Gap (Spanish: Región del Darién or Tapón del Darién) is a break in the Pan-American Highway consisting of a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest within Panama's Darién Province in Central America and the northern portion of Colombia's Chocó Department in South America.

    It measures just over 160 km (99 mi) long and about 50 km (31 mi) wide. Roadbuilding through this area is expensive, and the environmental cost is high. Political consensus in favor of road construction has not emerged.

    Consequently there is no road connection through the Darién Gap connecting North America with South America and it is the missing link of the Pan-American Highway."
    #5
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  6. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    @ KHAN46, I guess other guys helped me to explain this, we are taking a boat to "bypass" Darien Gap as you cannot cross it by land.

    We have website set up www.aroundsouthamerica.info where you can see our roughly planned route. It will probably be changed but it will give you an idea.

    @ John, Lauren is already working on the jacket not to look so shiny :D and she is quite successful. It would be pleasure meeting you down there.

    @PDX Alamo, lets stay in touch and we can defo meet there. Hoping to cross to Colombia early Nov.
    #6
  7. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
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    Houston, TX
    Before I start with the first journey info I want to share some of the upgrades I made to the bike. I had soooo much fun reading all the articles with recommendations and tips. It took me about 6 months to get the bike when I was happy to go for this ride. Also I want to say huge thank you to Craig Johnson from CJ Designs who gave me really good advice and helped me to make the right modifications.

    This is her fully dressed up as we ride right now:

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    These are the mods:
    - Touratech Zaga Pro Panniers & Locks
    - CJ Designs Fuel Filtration Caps
    - BDCW Side Stand Relocation Bracket
    - Wing Exhausts
    - CJ Designs Tail Rack
    - Rade EVO6 Windscreen
    - Touratech Folding Break Pedal Tip
    - Slavens Skid Plate
    - Kaoko Throttle lock
    - GPS Garmin 62 S & GPS Touratech Mount
    - RAM GPS Holder & Arm
    - ADVmonster Auxilary Lights with Remote Dimmer and ON/OFF swith
    - Uni Pre Filter
    - Touratech Large Sidestand Foot
    - Touratech Brake Cylinder Guard
    - Spot Gen3 & RAM holder
    - KTM Heated Grips
    - Heated Vests Wiring
    - CJ Designs Large Footpegs
    - Slavens Front Springs 43mm x 465mm 0.58kg/mm
    - Slavens Shock Spring 62-225 16.2 kg/mm
    - Operation Manual Storage Tubes
    - CJ Designs Kick Stand Safety Switch Removal
    - MITAS E-07 21 90/90 front & 150 70/18 rear tires
    - Heavy Duty Michelin Tubes

    These are the spares/special tools we are taking with us:
    - Bearings & spacers (Front & Rear & Steering)
    - Fuel Pump Kit
    - Water Pump Kit
    - Break/Clutch Leaver
    - Spare Tubes (front & rear) & repair kit
    - Chain Tool, Front & Rear Sprocket (Terra -X, DID 525Zvm-x, 16&17/45 sprockets)
    - CJ designs ECU Cable
    - 1liter Motorex motor oil
    #7
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  8. Reaver

    Reaver How Did I Get Here?

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    Location:
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    I'm in.

    I'll be headed for Panama in a month on my GS so will be watching with interest!
    #8
  9. luckychucky

    luckychucky Long timer

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    Location:
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    I'm in just to see how long that white KTM jacket last!
    #9
  10. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    Houston, TX
    Our plan to ride through Mexico was pretty straight forward, we decided to cross it as fast as possible. I can imagine that most of you is shaking your head and saying "why?". Well the main reasons that we live fairly close to Mexico and visited many times before and also Lauren was a bit worried (bit paranoid) about our safety while riding the bike.

    First day we made it from Laredo down to Matehula and checked in Las Palmas hotel which was a bit pricy for our budget. We felt safe, bike was parked right next to our room nicely covered. We had even a game of night mini golf....



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    Lauren's jacket still nice and shiny

    [URLhttp://s1381.photobucket.com/user/aroundsouthamericainfo/media/mexico/DSCF8075_zpsd8c4d3f1.jpg.html]
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    Next day we wanted to get as close as possible to Mexico city. Few friends told me that going through this huge city can take some time mainly during afternoon so we picked a route around. Unfortunately I messed up a bit, instead of taking 040D road we took 45. It was a bit longer but it was really nice ride through some hill country with nice bends. Also for the first time we experienced road bumps which are extremely annoying. At the end of the day we ended up in Pachuca. Fairly large city located about 2500 m above the sea level. For the first time we took Motel; also recommendation from my friends. Well I had kind of idea but when we checked in it was mixture of feelings. On one side I was extremely happy that the bike was parked in a garage, on the other side the room was kind of empty and not really inviting. Well it served the purpose to get good sleep and to be ready for the next day riding.

    This is motel garage, from here you walk straight into bedroom and bathroom (quick in and out)
    [URLhttp://s1381.photobucket.com/user/aroundsouthamericainfo/media/mexico/DSC_2210_zps30b01609.jpg.html]
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    One thing I noticed during the first two days was that the bike was doing extreme milage on the full tank. One point I thought that the reserve light was broken when we covered 190 miles on the tank and the orange light was off. Still do not understand why? Eventually it dropped to 140 miles which I was experiencing before.

    Mexico is absolutely stunning place
    [URLhttp://s1381.photobucket.com/user/aroundsouthamericainfo/media/mexico/Weather_zpsb8880aab.jpg.html] [​IMG][/URL]

    Despite the fact that we were going petrol station to petrol station we could not resist Mexican food
    [URLhttp://s1381.photobucket.com/user/aroundsouthamericainfo/media/mexico/DSCF8092_zps89a41411.jpg.html]
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    Our third day took us to Veracruz region; we were happy that we made it close to the coast. The ride was pretty straight forward and boring, except the part when we descended to Orizaba. In about 10 miles we dropped close to 2000m of altitude. The air become more thick and more hot.

    When we were getting closer to Minatitlan we noticed higher presence of heavily equipped army. We did not pay much attention to it. When we got there and were looking for a hotel we experienced army blocking the main road of Minatitlan and controlling documents of everybody stopped. When we checked in a hotel we found out that government started special operation to fight trouble in the town about two days before we arrived. It was very intense night, even considering the fact that we were sleeping in a hotel. I would not recommend anyone going into that region right now. We were absolutely safe but did not have good feeling about that place.
    #10
  11. TurboTagTeam

    TurboTagTeam Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    San Diego
    Oh how I envy that 990!

    How are you crossing the Darien? I'm making the same trip next month :clap
    #11
  12. Medisingutten

    Medisingutten Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
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    37
    Location:
    Norway
    feed me with a good report :tb
    have a awesome journey!
    #12
  13. lukeman

    lukeman Cool Hand

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    Nov 22, 2008
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    Location:
    Washington DC
    Good luck. Looking forward to the RR.
    #13
  14. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    we are planning to take a boat; I do not know which one exactly yet. I have few recommendation so will see when we get there.

    I believe there is also chance that the Colombia - Panama ferry is in service at that time. We will see when we get to Panama.
    #14
  15. Meme

    Meme Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    Irving, TX- El Salvador
    Will be following!!:1drink I hope you consider go through El Salvador. If you do, shoot me a PM and if I'm around will be happy to go around. I live in Dallas, but I go down there quite often that's why I said "if I am around".

    FYI: Usually a "MOTEL" in Latin America is a place where you pay for the night, for 6 hrs, or even hourly with the only purpose to have "le sexy time:D. If you pull into a garage, knock on a little drawer or cabinet, handed money to a person without even looking at them... that's what it was! Opposite to the motels in the US which are considered cheap hotels on a side of the road. Anyway, is a good option to keep the bike safe without even unpacking :evil.

    Diviertanse!!:freaky
    #15
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  16. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    When we safely left safely Minatitlan and then Veracruz state mood very quickly changed. Police and army presence was considerable lower and we were on nice road to Villahermosa. We were not planning to stop there but when we got into the town I was really tempted to stop and explore (it felt like to be in Florida), Really nice town with very good vibe. Our aim was to get to the coast so we would have a nice swim, so we pushed a bit and made it to Ciudad del Carmen.

    Bridge taking to to the city:

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    When we crossed we found very industrial town. Oil and gas companies everywhere you look. I was a bit surprised as I was expecting see side with white sand and blue/green water. We had to wait another 15 miles before we reached Isla Aguada where we found Freedom Shores rv park. It felt like a heaven after 4 days of traveling throug the whole Mexico and we finally could use our camping gear.

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    Lauren was also very excited to inflate our mattresses

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    We had good sleep after our previous night in Minatitlan where we not sleeping much and set off for the final day in Mexico. The next day we needed to cross from Gulf of Mexico to Caribbean See. Sounds like very easy task, well it would be if the bike did the same milage per the petrol tank as it did in previous days. I still do not know why but suddenly the reserve light started to shine on mile 140 (instead of 170-190 couple of days before). We checked with locals and realized that we would not make it to the next petrol station (100km more to go). Fortunately we found THE MAN in the village who was selling petrol from coke bottles

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    Feeling lucky we jumped back on the bike and made it to Chetumal where we found very nice hosted which was nearly empty so we had the whole dorm for ourselves

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    Next morning we were ready to cross the border to Belize. Deposit for bike was returned by Mexican bank so we headed to the Belize border.
    #16
  17. DustDog

    DustDog Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
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    54
    Location:
    Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean
    Safe routes and have fun. Did Cartagena to Patagonia last year and it was a blast. Will keep going South in January. Tell me about the hydratation pack you have in the picture were you are refilling from a Coke bottle. It looks very slim. Looking for something like that
    #17
  18. luckychucky

    luckychucky Long timer

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    Location:
    SE Missouri
    That is one clean looking Hostel.
    #18
  19. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    Houston, TX
    Hey DustDog, thanks for your message. The water bag i have is 1 liter camelbak, I think that I got it from Academy. Its brilliant you hardly feel it on your back and even when you ride 2 up it does not take any space for Lauren. It has even a small pocket for little camera or documents.
    #19
  20. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    I have not experienced more relaxed border crossing than to Belize. All the official were extremely chilled out. We of course had to go through the standard procedure of de-fumigation and paperwork filling but it was done fast and in no time we were crossing the border. Unfortunately we did not take a photo of the guy checking our documents as he was totally relaxed with two 6 packs of corona laying right next to him.

    Lauren relaxing while I am taking the bike for de-fumigation. You pay for it $2.5 but it is a bit of joke. The guy who sprays some kind of chemical on your bike wears a gas mask, he sits in a small shed which is full of that crap anyway.....right use of PPE i guess :clap



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    We were sailing through the country until we hit little town called Belmopan, while we were filling up our petrol tanks we spotted little bar with BBQ happening in front of it. We could not resist and went to visit. That was the first time we had a chance to talk to locals. What a great guys!!! The atmosphere was sooo chilled and we had very nice break with pretty tasty chicken.

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    That night we made it to Hopkins village (Funky Dodo Hostel) where we were planning to stay couple of nights to have a rest after nearly one week of heavy riding.


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    We did various normally very boring activities like hiking to top of a jungle waterfall for little swim in a waterfall pool

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    sleeping on a beach

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    swimming in the sea

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    fishing

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    I need to mention that Lauren had also few of hers FIRST's while staying in Belize:

    The first time she was hanging clothes outside after washing (not tumble drying.....proper Texas girl, right I know)

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    The first time she was frying fish which we caught that night.....with heads on

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    #20