Help! Starting Plans | Denver > South America 2013

Discussion in 'Americas' started by d_mob, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    **EDIT** - I've started a blog to keep friends/family up to speed on my trip planning thus far. Feel free to check it out here: www.somedaynevermaybe.com

    Fellow inmates,

    I've been reading, lurking, and contributing to other's trips on here for years and can't believe that I'm finally starting to plan my own trip after all this time.

    After riding and racing motos for some time, I've decided to finally check off the 'ADV travel' box on the bucket list. For the longest time I wanted to race motorcycles. Then having checked that off, it was to 'win'. Well, I did just that this year/season winning a class championship in the MRA (Motorcycle Roadracing Association) here in Colorado. Check out some pics and season race videos here if interested: http://www.mobster78.com/

    I would love to continue racing, but being the responsible, frugal, and loving husband that I am, I know I need to pick one or the other. Who am I kidding, I have to pick my battles and I can only sell her on one thing at a time. :D

    Anyway, I've hung up the race leathers and gear, sold both my R6 race bike and CRF450R supermoto trainer and have picked up a new (to me) BMW F800GS. I've been working to kit it out and have LOVED riding it thus far.

    That brings us to the trip and a few questions that I would be indebted to you all for any answers/help provided. I'll spare you the details around work and all that jazz. Just know that I've secured 'permission' from the wifey to take off for three months sometime next year (2013). I can probably stretch it to four, so that is the timeframe, 3 - 4mos. I can leave whenever, but the two realistic windows are around summer (July'ish) and then again at the end of the year (November'ish).

    Originally I got cocky and thought hell, I'll just flog it down to the tip of South America and back in three months! Unless I want to stick to asphalt and ride 400 miles per day via the Panamericana, that doesn't seem feasible. That being said, I'm thinking of sticking to NW S.A. to enjoy the trip more (i.e. Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia). My wife is from Medellin, so I have connections and family/friends in Colombia. I also have a friend that runs a sailboat around San Blas, so she will be assisting me in booking a boat from Panama to Cartagena (and back). That is how I plan to get across the Darien. I also have contacts/friends in Venezuela and Bolivia, but not necessary to visit them.

    Questions here (sorry, I'm sure these have all been asked a thousand times):

    + When riding similar routes (US > S.A.) w/ similar timeframes (3 - 4mos), do people typically ride down, through and back or do they ride to and ship/fly back? The reason I ask is b/c these guys (http://www.houseofmotorrad.com/Riding_south.html) seem to be riding all the way down to the tip in four months and I can't tell if they plan to ride back or ship bikes and fly back. Seems like a metric $hit ton of riding if they are planning out/back (25k - 30k miles right?).

    + Regarding departure date, I'm leaning more towards June - Aug/Sep timeframe as that is the dry season correct? I'd rather be riding hot and dry through Peru and Bolivia than cold and wet. Thoughts?

    + Does anyone have a recommended route and/or know a link to pull a few? I've found several ride reports, but nothing that seems to match up with my goals. Again, sorry... I know these types of things are asked very frequently.

    Other than that, any additional advice, tips, pointers, questions, comments, and/or concerns are MUCH appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

    ~ David

    PS... One other thing. I'll probably have a mate ride out with me from Denver and through Mexico and some of Central America, but for no more than one month. After that, I'll be solo. Not sure if that changes things with regards to the recommendations/pointers.
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  2. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    David,

    I am currently on my way back to Denver having spent the last two and a half months riding down to Panama and back. I am still in mexico, but for a beer, I would be happy to share my thoughts when I get back. I too managed to engaƱar a loving wife into allowing the trip. And I have done it solo the whole way.

    The biggest problem..... only heroin is more addictive.
    #2
  3. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    My friend, thanks for the response and offer to assist!

    I'll feed you as many beers as needed to keep you talking as I'm sure you are full of useful and valuable info.

    When do you anticipate returning?
    #3
  4. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    Christmas is the deadline. But I should be back in the US within the week.

    And sounds like a plan.
    #4
  5. timbercat

    timbercat Texas ADV Rider

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    Watching with abated breath :-)

    Timbercat
    Tapatalk HD from my iPad
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  6. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Jay has a solid rainfall/planer guide
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=556240
    sounds like you'll connect with wildrider. he's done some great traveling as of late.
    crossings http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=845398

    read this book: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1905864469/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1905864469&linkCode=as2&tag=butmaptou-20">Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, 6th: Worldwide Motorcycling Route & Planning Guide (Trailblazer Guides)</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=butmaptou-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1905864469" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />
    I have a blurb in there too about lessons learned traveling in Mexico.

    Roughly C.A. rainy season ends oct 16 and starts again june 15th.
    Most all thru riders enter into mexico aprox nov 1 and head south.
    That is the ideal method to stay drier north of the equator.

    Ben did that but i'd argue he missed a ton cool of incredible cities in central mexico, because he was so route focused. because the spanish were focused on the area what is now mexico, the most specular colonial cities exist in mexico. i've visted many of them. by sticking to the west coast only you miss a ton of culture & the locals. the food is also the most flavorful in mexico in all the places you'll visit. once again because of the european/spanish influence. many have said the food is downright bland in some countries as are the cities.

    my point is take some extra time a explore more of mexico than just the west coast.

    i'd enter mexico into baja around mexicali (get your 6mo visa and TVIP - vehicle papers) at the border! > east side hot spots and make it down to cabo pulmo (stop at the port and buy ferry tickets for a few days latter and then chill at cabo pulmo till you leave) > la paz > mazatlan > devils spine and back > sayulita. you are now in the west coast where you can travel south a bit and then head inland to colonial cities and then back down to the coast etc. the roads the connect the high elevation center of the country and the coast are always the curviest of all. the best coastal section for awesome road is michocan. places to not miss are guanajuato & san miquel de allende (hot springs there - la gruta), zacatecas (if possible), morelia & patzcuaro, bernal, xiltla & the huesteca, canyon sumidero, palenque/agua azul/san cristobal, oxaca city and coast line and so much more!
    #6
  7. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the advice. I'm currently reading the recommended book (amongst several others) and am learning a fair amount, dog-earing page after page, and getting more and more excited with every chapter. This seems to be (by far) the best book I've read on the subject thus far (in terms of planning/preparation).

    Regarding Mexico, I was actually thinking of hoofing it due south, entering through Nuevo Laredo and making my way to Monterrey and then down the east coast. However, after some research I've decided against this as I don't particularly want to get chased down, robbed, shot and/or hung from a bridge. Am I being overreactive? http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/9-more-bodies-found-in-Nuevo-Laredo-3866368.php
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  8. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    You have me worried about the rainy part though. I'm now all focused and pumped about leaving June 1st for 4mos. That puts me dead in the middle of the rainy season for Central America, but within the recommended timeframe for north central South America (i.e. Peru, Bolivia). I was roughly thinking 3 weeks through Central into South, 6 - 7 weeks in South and 6 - 7 weeks to get back home. Thoughts???

    PS... For what it is worth, I've spent time in Guatemala, Belize, and Panama. Also, since mi esposa es Colombiana I've spent some time there as well. In fact, we'll be in Cartagena in February for my sister-in-law's wedding and plan to head over to Panama (San Blas) aboard a friend's boat. That being said, I plan to spend the least amount of time exploring these countries. Although advice is MUCH appreciated, I would love some tips/pointers on the other countries in Central and South America.
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  9. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    It's a big fucking continent. There's no such thing as just-one Rainy Season. Some places have no seasons. Some have every season you can imagine, every day. No matter when you leave, you'll find warm, cold, hot, fucking fffffreezing, rain, snow, sleet, storms, and gorgeous women.

    Unless you want to get to Ushuaia in the dead of winter, don't worry about when you arrive, because it's always fucking cold. Or so I've heard. When I was there, one day it snowed, the next day I was running around in short, and then it snowed again.

    Yes, it's a metric buttload of miles to go down and back and if you do that in 4 months you're hauling ass.

    3-4 months to get down is fine. Less time and all you do is ride ride ride. More time and you're not so much *riding* as you are *fucking around in new places, and you happen to have a motorcycle.*

    There's tons of info on the Latin America Ride Report thread at the top of the Latin America forum.

    When you get ready to come back, stop in at Dakar Motos in Buenos Aires and talk to Javier.
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  10. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the info. I'm thinking I'll stick w/ the plan and leave May/June'ish and make it down into Peru/Bolivia. Won't be able to hit Buenos Aires this round, but it is HIGH on the list (moto or not) and I'll be sure to stop in for a chat when I'm there. Hasta pronto!
    #10
  11. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    plenty have travel during that time too, just plan on getting wet & it will be very hot & humid on the coasts. the mountains are cooler. it's well know that the CA dry season is in the winter and the temps are milder. that's just the way it is in a general sense. in SA things change. i've travel mexico, guatemala & costa rica so that's what i know.
    #11
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    the chances of problems are very slim. straight down is nogales and you can hit up rio sonora, copper cyn, alamos and such that way.
    since your heading out in the summer angle towards zacatecas and the central highlands.
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  13. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    Awesome advice/info. I just flew back and was reading the book a bit more in detail and saw your MEX section. Some great advice in there as well.

    Plan now is to leave on/around May 15th'ish. Head down through Nogales. Ultimately end in Bolivia and back. I've been in touch with the Stahlratte and plan to use the for one, if not both crossings. Interestingly enough, as the stars align, I'll be in both Cartagena and Panama City in February and plan to spend a half-day in each researching other options and getting comfortable with the crossing areas. I've spent time in Cartagena before, but it has been years.

    Trip coming together nicely. I have a 'dude brunch' on Saturday to discuss with three mates. I'm hoping one or all of them can pull the trigger and at least be a part of the MX/Central America portion.

    Thanks for all the advice and PLEASE keep it coming. Specifically, I'm looking for recommended routes that I can replicate.

    Cheers,

    ~ David
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  14. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    Tentative plan for now...

    - Leave on/around May 20th.
    - Denver --> Nogales (approx 900 miles)
    - Nogales down the coast --> Sayulita (approx 971 miles)
    - Sayulita down the coast to Aquila and then inland --> Morelia (approx 528 miles)
    - Morelia through Oaxaca --> San Cristobal De Las Casas (approx 816 miles)
    - Possible add'l stops in Puerto Escondido and to see Canyon Sumidero in the last leg

    *NOTE* - "legs" aren't non-stop. There will be stops in between (obviously)

    - Must be in Panama on 13th to load Stahlratte for trip (June 14th - June 17th)
    - Return from Cartagena to Panama aboard the Stahlratte either August 2nd (preferred) or August 30th

    Things to see in S.A. (trip/route through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia not planned yet)...

    - Colombia: Santuario Virgen de las Lajas
    - Ecuador: Montanita (beach town)
    - Peru: Lima & Machu Picchu
    - Bolivia: La Paz, Yungas Road & Salt Flats

    Thoughts??? Mexico route? What are must see sights in remaining countries in Central America and the countries listed in South America?

    Any add'l feedback appreciated --
    #14
  15. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    nogales to sayulita is 3 days
    w/ over nights in San Carlos and Mazatlan.

    that part of Mex is boring however and hiway toll roads.
    have you considered entering in Douglas and taking 17>14 or Rio Sonora route to Hermosillo? you could also bag san carlos and ride out and back east on 16. no time frame right?

    on the way back west on 16 take 12 south and then head to Mazatlan.
    other options are take 16 east and then hit copper canyon and the mtn road south to durango and then devil spine to maz or the alternative paved route that SR (live in mexico) know about and come out farther south.

    either way you drop down to the coast at san blas exit ans then it's costal roads to sayulita. make sure to stop in chacala along the way and maybe spend a night!
    #15
  16. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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  17. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    Alright then...

    How about enter through Douglas then head south on 17/117 to San Nicolas (bypass hwy 14 and Hermosillo). Then east on 16 to a small road that heads southeast (28.339286 -107.440066 - through San Juanito, east of Copper Canyon, Guachochi, Balleza) ending in Hidalgo del Parral. From there head south on 45 to Durango. Then from Durango over to coast and follow the rest of planned route.

    Seems like essentially the same distance overall, but would take much longer due to roads, curves, etc, etc, etc... I'm assuming it would be MUCH, much better than the boring semi-coastal highways from Nogales to Mazatlan as planned before.

    Thoughts?

    PS... Thanks again for all your help! I'll owe you several beers and a meal after this. I have a HUGE map in front of me as we speak looking at routes alongside Google Maps and am using your advice while marking routes. :)
    #17
  18. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    if your gonna do the mainland and not baja then
    you'll enjoy that much more than 15/15D south plus the tolls start adding up real fast.

    i then assume after Durango, you'll head into old town Mazatlan and find a place to stay for the next night. there is a guy on ADV who lives in Durango and another guy who has a rental in Maz

    when you leave south from Maz, i'd pay for the toll road (15D -cuota) here as it's smooth and real fast concrete till you get off at the san blas exit & drop to the coast. make sure to fill up with gas as there is none on that section of toll road.

    at that point you'll go through San Blas and you can check it out and stay if you want or continue south to Las Varas and then left on costal 200.

    you see the right to Chacala after you leave Las Varas and by all means check it out and maybe spend a night here. Like i said this is the nicest beach in the whole region.

    After that is maybe an hr to the turn to Sayulita. The Hotel Diamante - http://www.hoteldiamantesayulita.com.mx/ is the best hotel deal in town and last winter we convinced them to pave a ramp to their inner court yard so you can bring the bike in for the night. If you want to camp, the Cameron campground is around the corner with camping right at the beach, just be aware for gear security. If you do not camp here at least come for a drink as they have the coolest beach bar. After the run down to Sayulita most stay and chill for a few day and recharge. You may end up staying for a long time as it's that sweet of a beach town. :evil

    i could go on and on about things i've learned & how things work (it's 180 degrees opposite of the US) living south of the border but maybe latter.

    #18
  19. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    Eakins, I was in Denver BMW the other day saying hello to my buddy Tally (also picking up a steal on a Remus for the F800) and he mentioned that you guys have a movie premiere coming up there. I forgot the time/date of the deal. Can you remind me? Also, will you be there? It would be great to put a face to the name...
    #19
  20. d_mob

    d_mob Been here awhile

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    Answered my own question... Looking forward to this event. Hope to meet you there in person.

    FILM PREMIER- Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route

    <!-- AddThis Button END -->The guys at Backcountry Discovery Routes have just completed their documentary about their expedition across the state of Colorado and we are a key sponsor! BMW of Denver will be the VERY FIRST to offer you a chance to see the film and purchase the Butler Map and/or DVD. Sat., Jan 19th, 2013. RSVP NOW AND RESERVE YOUR SEAT AND A COPY OF THE MAP/DVD TODAY! more info
    Where: BMW of Denver
    When: Saturday, January 19 - 5pm-7pm
    #20