Chicago to Panamá y Más Allá

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Parcero, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Finally.

    After three years of thinking about it, reading ride reports ADVRider and other forums, and doing a little planning, I will depart one-up from Chicago for Panamá and beyond on November 28. The basic plan is to take my R1200GS down to Panama, Girag it to Colombia, then fly home for the holidays. In January I’ll fly down to Colombia to begin the second part of the trip.

    I have traveled in Mexico by moto twice before, the first time through central México and the second on the Baja from Dan Diego to Cabo and back. I’m no stranger to long distance riding, and have no problem whatsoever with long days on the bike. In fact, I love it! Over my 20+ years of riding, I have covered the better part of the USA, western Canada, and of course, parts of Mexico on a bike, and many of those trips included 1,000-mile days, albeit on the interstate. And the GS fits me well.

    I am packing very light and plan to stay in small hotels along the way, so no need for camping gear. I do have some thoughts about taking my bag and bivy along, just I case, but that would be more for fun than necessity. I’ll bring along a minimum amount of tools, tire repair kit, oil, and first aid supplies. Two one-gallon RotoPax fuel tanks that stack perfectly on my luggage rack can be secured tight with Velcro strapping. I never had a problem with obtaining fuel in Mexico before, even almost 20 years ago, but I will not take the chance. I will pack a set of TKC 80s to mount when I arrive in Panama since the Heidenaus I mounted in late August now have just over 5,000 miles on them. After the 4,500 or so miles from home to Panama, they will likely be shot. And the TKCs will be a better fit for the routes I plan to take in Colombia.

    The Garmin Zumo has been updated to the latest maps of the USA and Mexico, and I’ll carry good old-fashioned paper maps for back-up and for use in Central America, where I won’t have detailed GPS mapping. The moto has recently been serviced, and should not need anything but a bit of oil during the trip. My friend Thierry set me up with some 3M reflective taping for the back of my panniers to make me a bit more visible. Insurance has been purchased for Mexico, and for the countries in Central America for which I can buy insurance in advance. Maybe this will save me some time at the border crossings, but I won’t know until I get there. The Blackberry and iPad will handle communications while I’m traveling, and my Spot will track progress.

    So—all that remains is to load up the bike and go. The weather is forecasted to be about 43 degrees F with maybe some light rain when I leave—no problem. I’ll wear my Gerbing’s heated jacket liner and gloves until I get to warm weather, and might ship them home before crossing into Mexico.

    The basic route will be Chicago to The Border, probably crossing McAllen/Reynosa, all interstate. Then head south and a bit west to pick up one of the cuotas to D.F., and then on towards Puebla, Orizaba, Coatzacoalcos on the gulf coast, then southeast through Chiapas and south into Guatemala. I am trying to make some time going down. I’ll have more time to sightsee on the return trip in the Spring.

    ¡Una semana más!
    #1
  2. djones745

    djones745 Been here awhile

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    Well it's about time Mike! Looking forward to meeting you in Columbia in January and hope to finalize plans tomorrow myself. :freaky
    #2
  3. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Sounds awesome, ride safe and post often!
    #3
  4. Brown E

    Brown E Adventurer

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    Consider me non adventurist but my biggest fear would being held up and losing all my assets including the bike. It happened to my cousin crossing one of the central american borders a couple of years ago.
    #4
  5. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Well Brown E, if that happens I guess I'll be flying home to buy a 2012 GS for the next try.
    #5
  6. Brown E

    Brown E Adventurer

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    I hope you have a great trip.
    #6
  7. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Thanks man!
    #7
  8. tcroullier

    tcroullier n00b

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    about your ability to just take off and make that trip possible. Make tons of picture for those of us out there limited in where we can go!
    #8
  9. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Packed up the bike today since tomorrow I'll be heading out of town for Thanksgiving. Except for the extra gas cans and TKCs, everything fits in the panniers and tank bag with lots of room to spare. (Sorry about the low-quality Blackberry photo.)

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. JJJZJ

    JJJZJ Been here awhile

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    Have a good trip man! I left Chicago 7 weeks ago for good and just finished riding Baja. Im jealous you get to go farther!
    #10
  11. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    Off you go. Have fun!
    #11
  12. rawdog

    rawdog Been here awhile

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    Bike looks good. ADVENTURE!!! Nothing better.

    :lurk
    #12
  13. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    A few friends have asked why my spot tracker hasn't registered anything yet. That's because early Monday morning, my scheduled departure date, I got word that my mother had passed away the night before. So--the trip got pushed back one week. I will leave on Monday, December 5, after her funeral.
    #13
  14. djones745

    djones745 Been here awhile

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    Sorry for your loss Mike.
    #14
  15. Quikegeo

    Quikegeo Been here awhile

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    I really dont know..
    I am really sorry about your loss. I send you the best wishes.
    #15
  16. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Thanks, Dave. Since you know how I ride at the track, I didn't want you to think that somehow I high-sided the GS while driving it out of my garage.
    #16
  17. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    I finally left Chicago yesterday at about 1:30 PM. I had a few things to take care of after being out of town for the funeral.

    It was about 42 degrees with very light rain when I got on the road. The rain stopped, but the temperature dropped steadily to 30 degrees for about the last hour of the ride, and I stayed overnight in Rolla, Missouri. The first stop today might be a motorcycle shop in Springfield, MO to buy some heated socks to go along with the jacket and gloves.

    Today's goal is to get to some warmer weather and as close to the border as I can so I can get an early start across the border on Wednesday. Might be a bit of a challenge with some light snow in the forecast.

    [​IMG]
    Probably how it all started. My first ADV ride--Around the Block, Solo. Thanks, Mom!
    #17
  18. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Uh oh...


    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

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    Sorry for your lost pal. Loosing someone like that isn't easy at all. Best of wishes on your way south man.

    Later
    John
    #19
  20. flatmo

    flatmo Americano

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    Have a good trip. I'll be following your report.
    #20