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 Ill 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. Im 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. Ill 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 Ill carry good old-fashioned paper maps for back-up and for use in Central America, where I wont 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 wont know until I get there. The Blackberry and iPad will handle communications while Im traveling, and my Spot will track progress. Soall 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 leaveno problem. Ill wear my Gerbings 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. Ill have more time to sightsee on the return trip in the Spring. ¡Una semana más!