How to avoid seasonal depression when faced with the “Dark Months” - Planning

Discussion in 'Americas' started by 0theories, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    The goal: Get out of the Pacific Northwest for the winter so as not to get depressed and kill myself. :cry

    The man: Me.

    The bike: Fully farkled out 2002 KLR650. :evil

    More on the goal: I want to leave the depressing rains of the PNW and head south to warmer, sunnier climes. I think it would be fun to ride down to Panama and then back up (unless I leave the bike there to continue to S. America next winter). I have about four months, a reasonable budget of ~$25 a day, a good running bike (so far) and a desire to see more of the world. This will be more than just a ride, as I usually backpack foreign lands and want to see places that can sometimes only be reached on foot. The bike will get me to the general area, and feet will get me to the more remote destinations.

    More on the man: I'm 37 years old, an American via political refuge from the ol' USSR, have traveled most of my life; have lived in the same place for no more than 7 years, no more than 3 since high school. I've been to somewhere near 20 countries all in the northern hemisphere (including some of the ones I'll be seeing this trip), but only 5 on a motorbike. I work seasonally for the USFS from May to October. Generally I save up enough money during the summer to live in the winter if I go somewhere 3rd world (read: cheap). Previously I have taken 3 long distance trips on motorbikes: San Diego to Vermont (and back) on a Honda Magna 750, again San Diego to Vermont (and mostly back) but on a Honda VFR750, and Southeast Asia on a Honda Bonus 125 (and some Honda CB400), including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. SEA is the first time I ever rode dirt and I'm not very good at it (but I made it through several “roads from hell” in Laos and Cambodia). I practiced some this summer on the KLR, but mostly stuck to forest service roads. I don't think I'll do too much (if any) single track this trip. In conclusion: I'm fairly well educated, in pretty good shape and I like to expand on ideas in sentences with parentheses (see above and below).

    More on the bike: Last year I bought a fully farkled out KLR from an inmate here. This is the first time I have more than one bike in the stable. This bike has had almost EVERYTHING done to it. Seat, armor, suspension and so on. I will probably eventually remove some armor and get an IMS tank. I'd like to get Britannia Composites fairing, the 685 kit and a blinker cancel switch, but other than that the bike is complete. The only things I've done to the bike since purchase other than routine maintenance is the t-mod, a tool tube and the drill-through subframe upgrade.

    Okay, on to the plan: This is where it gets a little vague even though I'm publishing this in the planning section (is there an intro section?). I plan to leave somewhere in late Nov. (26th maybe?). The first leg (legs can and will be multi-day) will be to southern California to see an old USMC friend. Then I'll ride over to Phoenix AZ to see a college friend and maybe do some riding around the area. Then I'll head on south into Mexico. I plan on spending close to a month in Mexico then continue south and ride through each country in Central America until I reach Panama. I've never been to Belize, have spent less time in El Salvador than is worth mentioning and never to Panama. I've backpacked (and worked with sea turtles) in the rest.

    So, assuming you've made it this far through the post, thanks! I would love company along the way if you're heading along a similar route. I'm all for company, but an very comfortable traveling alone too. We can ride together for as long as we both want, but expect that we'll split up as soon us either one of us wants to do something different. No need to compromise your trip for me and vice versa. I know from this planning section that a bunch of people are doing a similar ride at similar times. Hope to see you on the road!

    If anyone has route advice, and especially “Places Not To Be Missed” I'm all for hearing about them! :*sip*
    #1
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    to me Mexico has it all: food, ancient cultures, diverse people & land.
    many blow through Mexico and then wish they would have spent ALOT more time there.

    baja > mazatlan > south on coastal 200 to Oxaca coast > Cyn Sumidero > San Cristobal > Aqua Azul > Palenque > Yucatan if you have time > Oaxaca > Puebla > Huasteca/Xilitla & more > Bernal > San Miguel/Guanajuato > Guadalajara > Back to west to see the ocean again > Alamos > Copper Cyn > Sonora river route > Arizona.

    that would take you several months alone...
    #2
  3. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Thanks eakins, that's a lot to look over. I do have several months, but not for Mexico alone :) I don't think I'll be riding through Baja. I'm going over to Phoenix first, so not sure I want to back track to the coast. Will head straight south then hit the coast approximately where the ferry from Baja would land. Of the places listed, which (from that point south) are of the "not-to-be-missed" variety?

    I made a pretty detailed plan of my lodgings in the US. I was planning on not planning too specifically, but got caught up in the excitement of the "Tent Space" thread and it's only polite to give inmates a (as close as I can) specific date for when I'll be passing through. So tentative plan (plus/minus a couple of days) is this:

    Nov. 27 Leave Portland Or and camp in the Six Rivers NF off of Rt. 199
    Nov. 28 Ride down to Mendocino CA and tent space with Medodave (thanks!)
    Nov. 29 Ride down South of San Jose and tent space/join Mognox (thanks!) for camping and a Cali ADVride on the 1st of Dec.
    Nov. 30 Visit with a friend in Santa Barbara
    Dec. 3(?) Cruise to Slab City CA and spend the night there.
    Dec. 4 Get to Phoenix and visit with a great friend.
    Dec. 6 or 7 Mexico!

    This is much more detailed than I like to travel, but once I'm in Mexico and hosteling it, it's wide open! I'm definitely open to meeting up with riders as they exit the ferry from Baja... Any amazing spots I should know about between Phoenix and Mazatlan?
    #3
  4. mundobravo

    mundobravo Long timer

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    I took 2.5 months last winter, rode down to Panama in one month , spent one month tripping with the GF who flew in , then 2 weeks rode trip home.
    Here's the first 34 days..
    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/42443080?badge=0" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/42443080">Driven Down - Yaviza</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user383158">Mundo Bravo</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
    #4
  5. BTL

    BTL No more snow!!

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    I hear yah...I am in my own personal HELL with winter!! My new bike is sitting in storage in Milwaukee!

    I stare at the app on my Iphone every day that does a count down to Fly N Ride day...:ricky
    #5
  6. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    coud not agree more.
    I think a lot of people will agree with me that once you get south of Mexico the food starts going south also...
    Just left seattle this morning, raining side ways and cold...

    sooo come on down...
    #6
  7. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    yes that is true, the food becomes simpler and less flavorful.
    mexico has the strongest ties to spanish flavor and cooking in their food.
    #7
  8. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Progress is being made. Installed the thermo-bob kit I got from a fellow inmate here in Portland: baroquenride. Thanks! Everything went in great for the most part. He originally bought it for a KL600(?). In the instructions I downloaded the barbs were facing a slightly different direction, but it's in and works. :clap

    One thing though: My Happy Trails skid plate was mounted using some sort of torx (?) head bolts - six sided star pattern. Is this standard? Why would they do that? :huh You have to remove the skid plate for all kinds of repairs and having a special tool to do it is annoying! Now I have to find a nut and bolt store to buy some hex replacements...

    I bought the bike pretty much complete, so it's nice to get my hands dirty (even if it's for stuff I may not really need) and see what she looks like on the inside :eek1

    I also changed the coolant, cleaned the air filter, aired up the tires, changed the oil and lubed the chain (have new chain and sprockets, but will switch these out in Phoenix as well as buy new tires. So if anyone is actually reading this:

    Who knows of a good place to get tires in Phoenix?
    Who has a garage where I can mount them and do the chain and sprockets? I have all the tools... and can acquire beer :ear

    Hopefully this will go from planning to full ride report pretty soon...
    #8
  9. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

    Joined:
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    Alaska, Mazatlan. sometimes seattle!
    Progress is being made: thats a good thing, and feels good!

    Just landed in Mazatlan yesterday from Seattle, it feels soooo good!!!

    Mexico awaits.

    Regards, Jim
    #9
  10. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    On your way home consider stopping in New Mexico near Las Cruces. Lunatic runs an ADV hostel there and we will show you more good riding as well:clap. See Tent Space section or PM me. He also has a fully equipped shop. I go down there for the winter from Jan to May. You would cross into the states at Palomas,CH MX.

    Bonus points........... His SO speaks Russian.
    #10
  11. David13

    David13 Been here awhile

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    Depression is a state of mind, not a state.
    A wood burning stove or a fireplace can make me happy in the winter.
    But Mexico is an excellent idea. Any time of year.
    Just go. You only live once.
    dc
    #11
  12. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    My Ricochet skid plate came with Torx bolts so I added a Torx screwdriver bit to my toolkit. The kit already has a socket and a screwdriver that take 1/4-inch bits.
    #12
  13. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Hey great video mundobravo! Gave me some inspiration and something to took forward to. I'll be taking a smaller bike and more back roads I think, but it certainly got me itching to go :evil

    For the record I'm not really depressed. I don't think I've ever felt depression in my life and I don't mean to make light of it for people who do... I just thought it would make a snappy title :deal I've been reading the "The Art of the Ride Report - Planning, Tips, Opinions, Discussion" thread and a good title appears to be essential :eek1

    I ended up replacing the torx bolts on the skip plate with some hex bolts I had laying around. They're not as low profile as the torx, but the center stand still extends below them when up so I don't think I'll loose them to debris in the road. Will bring some spares just in case... Just getting the bit is a great idea though. But where can I find a single #40 torx bit? Don't want to buy a whole set...

    Just taking care of some last minute details and then I'm off!! Hopefully tuesday. I hope it isn't raining...

    As usual, I'll end the post with some questions:
    Do people really make up these fake wallets with expired cards and such? Has anyone ever had to use it?

    Does anyone in PDX have the cheap hotel guide to Mexico and Central America by the Canadian HUBB guy they don't want? I don't have enough time to get it shipped here before departure... Not sure if I even need it, but it would be a nice back-up plan.

    Um... How important is the valve adjustment?!?! :ear
    #13
  14. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    For the record, I agree with you that the mixture of fasteners can be maddening and it's unnecessary. I think the Ricochet plate came with a bit and I bought some assortments so I'd have the right metric Allen bits.

    On the valve adjustment: KLR valves generally don't move too much but it depends on your bike. You can ask the PO inmate when the last adjustment was and how much change there's been over time. (I keep a chart of this but not everyone will do that.)
    #14
  15. tjt94

    tjt94 Been here awhile

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    I did pretty much the ride you are describing last summer from Imperial County, California to Copan, Honduras and back. We did not have a hotel guide or reservations and it worked out best. We found great places for a low cost all the way.

    I'm curious why you are looking to stay out at Slab City. Do you know someone there? There is not much there but the sight of Salvation Mountain is interesting as are the water tanks.
    #15
  16. mundobravo

    mundobravo Long timer

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    thanks O , have a great ride , adventure awaits. "Plus one" on not needing reservations . My ( everyones's) rule is never ride at night. About 4pm , best start looking and take the first room U see. Ride On
    #16
  17. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Well, tomorrow morning I set off for points south! :clap I'll be starting a ride report by the same name once I start riding :) Will post a link here for it.

    Grinnin - I ended up getting the right torx bit so I'll take the bolts as spares in case the hex heads get broken off from protruding too far. It fits great in my multi-bit screwdriver. Thanks for the tip!

    tjt94 - I agree about no reservations. Creates too much need to be at a certain place at a certain time. I just wanted the hostel guide as a backup in case I'm in some random town and don't really know where to go and am too burned out to shop around :) As far as Slab City; mostly I'm crashing there because it's about half way between Santa Barbara and Phoenix AZ so a reasonable location to spend the night. Also it's free and legal and I've heard a lot about it and wanted to check it out. As a "constant traveler" (read: mostly homeless [by choice]) it appeals to me. I may find people of similar disposition to me while there :) Plus there's a hotspring! :freaky

    Do you know of any excellent places to camp in the area where there aren't a lot of meth heads? :eek1

    mundobravo - No riding at night planned!! There are enough cows and deer and elk where I usually ride to teach me that lesson.
    #17
  18. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    73 in Las Cruces today:D. Better plan on a stay at lunatic dan keyhoety's place and some riding and great Mexican food there. Just PM him or call.
    #18
  19. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    #19
  20. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    #20