My year of Motorcycle Vagabonding Part B: Mexico-Central America-South America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MotoAdventureGal, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    995
    Location:
    Gearing up to ride...
    After three years of thinking, planning, reading, researching, and getting rid of stuff, I am finally on the road on my grand adventure. When I quit the corporate world three years ago and got back into motorcycling, an idea began to form that I would take a 'year off' and ride to and through the Americas ans Central / South America. The idea blossomed as I met more and more motorcycle travelers doing just that--taking a year off and riding their dreams.

    Originally I planned to ride to South America with my cousin, Ken (ADV = lildirtrat), leaving the USA Nov 1, 2009. In March Ken had something come up that prevented him joining me. Bummer. Disappointed, but still determined to go, I continued on with my plan.

    Part A of my year off began July 1, 2009, when, ahead of schedule, I was able to rent my house and motorcycle-friendly B&B business (in Falls Village, CT). That meant I could ride the Trans America Trail with my boyfriend Questor ( Our RR= http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=510958 ). Part A also included riding the Continental Divide trail (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=530998) . What a lucky girl! TAT, CDT, then Mexico-Central America-South America.

    Anyway, I put about 15,000 mostly dirt miles on my poor little DR350SE, and she's now burning oil like crazy, So I circled back to Connecticut for three weeks in October, and bought a 2003 DR650SE. A little heavier, but better for the long highway down to south of the border.

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    The engine looked nice & clean so I snapped it up:

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    Again, I got lucky, and Twisted Throttle (www.TwistedThrottle.com) sponsored me. So I brought my DR650 up to them, and they threw tons of staff time into getting my bike ready in less than 2 weeks. Monster Energy Boy (Dereck) was the main mechanic, and he thought of *everything* to make my new ride work well, perform well, and give me maximum comfort for the 30,000+ mile trip I am embarking on.

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    Questor helping me figure out where to put everything.

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    Twisted put on every accessory they could think of !

    While setting up the bike, they also suggested with the extra weight I was putting on the bike (a 37 liter side Trax box, a 45 liter side Trax box, and a 38 liter Trax Top box) I should consider beefing up the suspension. They directed me to Cogent Dynamics in Fletcher, NC (www.motocd.com), who also came on board as sponsors. We shipped the rear spring and front forks to them, and amazingly they turned them around in two days. For those of you setting up one of these lighter bikes for Adventure Travel, I highly recommend upgrading the stock suspension. It's amazing how quickly the weight adds up, even though you think you are "packing light". My left (45 liter) Trax box + contents ended up weighing 38 lbs, the Right (37 liter) Trax box + contents 34 bs, and the 38 Liter Trax top box 22 lbs (and this was supposed t be EMPTY for my helmet and GPS at border crossings!)

    The most amazing thing to me was my riding gear...I carried it in a bag up to Twisted Throttle headquarters in Peacedale, RI for their send-off Oct 31, and out of curiosity put the bag on the scale...FORTY 40!!! pounds including my motocross boots (I since decided to ride in my Daytona touring boots so take off a coupe of pounds). Jeez, and I thought I was packing light.

    I spent a day organizing, packing, culling, reorganizing, repacking (I've done this about 15 times now, taken everything out and done a cull). I think I'm around a similar weight because I did add some stuff that people along the way suggested. (Hennesey hammock, Steripen water purifier, extra tools, etc.)

    <>

    So Nov 1, 2009 I began Part B of my Year of Motorcycle Vagabonding. It took me 3 weeks visiting friends and family to get to Big Bend, Texas, where I stayed with international BMW superstars Voni & Paul Glaves. They are just awesome folks. and Voni rode with me the morning of November 24th when I crossed the border into Mexico at Presidio / Ojinaga.
    #1
  2. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,440
    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    Go Motoadventuregal!!! :clap

    I want you to have an amazing trip, and know that I'm following your progress.

    I miss ya.
    Q~
    #2
  3. selkins

    selkins No hay banda!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,529
    Location:
    The Frozen North
    Congrats on taking the plunge. I look forward to lots of great updates and PICS!
    #3
  4. MK96xj

    MK96xj 100% Seat Time

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    403
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    Good luck on your trip. I will be following alone.

    BTW how does one get sponsered for such a trip? Will you be doing articles other than posting on ADV?
    #4
  5. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,735
    Cool bike!
    I'm N :D
    #5
  6. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Apr 30, 2006
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    Location:
    San Antonio
    :lurk :wave
    #6
  7. j2beers

    j2beers Taxpayer

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    I know this is going to be epic and inspiring.

    Have a great adventure!
    #7
  8. Captbb

    Captbb Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21
    Glad your back ridin South. Im in.:clap
    #8
  9. fastredbike

    fastredbike out riding

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
    I've been getting your updates and following your trip so far with great interest and envy. I know you'll have a great trip and I'm looking forward to sharing the adventure vicariously!
    cheers!
    d
    :clap
    #9
  10. DingWeed

    DingWeed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    4 Corners
    Have a blast!!! And be safe!!!!:lurk :clap :clap
    #10
  11. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Location:
    USA
    :lurk
    #11
  12. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    995
    Location:
    Gearing up to ride...
    So I've read a lot of RRs about CA and SA adventures, had a general idea of what to expect at the border crossings, and went my merry way crossing at presidio / ojinaga. The nice folks on the Mexican side waved me through, and I KEPT RIGHT ON GOING! Ojinaga had some road construction, and I evaded several woman-eating potholes, then the road got really interesting and climbed up a mountain, and with a smile of my face I kept thinking , alternately, "wow, that was easy!" and "hm, am I missing something? that was TOO easy".

    I stop, take some pictures, enjoy the curvy road heading towards Creel, and about 30 miles in I come to my first aduano checkpoint. No problemo. The guys are really nice, ask for my paperwork, um, nobody gave me any paperwork?? he laughs, and politely but firmly tells me, no, you have to back to the border. Really? Can't I do my paperwork here? I ask. Nope, back to the frontera.

    So I re-ride the lovely road, laughing to myself the whole way. I'm on Mexican time now, my vacation has TRULY started, and other than a commitment to my sponsors to blog twice a week, my time is my own. No biggie.

    So, 30 miles later I get back to the border, get my paperwork (free), my tourist visa ($24) and post the bond for my bike ($380, which will get credited back to my VISA when I exit Mexico--as long as I do the proper paperwork!)

    OK, so this time I know where all the potholes are, so it's easier to leave town. I gas up and head back down the delightful road to the Aduano. Yes, the dogs bark at me again, yes, the aduano agent is still chuckling at me, but hey, I have my paperwork, I'm on the trip of a lifetime, and what the heck. Live & learn.

    Riding past the American side
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    Entering the Mexican side
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    I'm through (So I thought...)
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    Main Street, Ojinaga
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    nice roads
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    My first TOPES
    (little did I know the truly evil ones come later...)
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    Nice curves
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    Virgin de Guadelupe, the Protector of Mexico
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    Top of the Mountain (Canon del Peguis)

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    back to the Frontera to my paperwork

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    Back around the road construction

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    Back up the Canyon
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    1st aduano (customs) check inside Mexico on 45 (about 30 miles in to Mexico from Presidio/Ojinaga)
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    <>

    I only made it 60 miles into Mexico when I looked at the map and realized I was two hours away from Chihuahua. I didn't want to ride after dark my first night in Mexico (or hopefully ever!), so the rest of the evening consisted of several laps around the town, a police escort to a hotel that wasn't open, and a negotiation of my room in the unfinished and unopened hotel from $50 to $30.

    Not a bad first day of adventure!
    #12
  13. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    995
    Location:
    Gearing up to ride...
    Sell your soul :shog...
    #13
  14. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,328
    Same thing when leaving. Nobody asks you to cancel your permismo temporal and so it's easy to cross into Guatemala or back into the U.S. and not process it.

    Sounds like a wonderful trip and very cool to see the changes done to the bike.
    #14
  15. cholla

    cholla earth rover

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    162
    Location:
    Mojave Desert
    Wow! All you had to do was sell your soul?:lol3 Not bad! Which one did you sell, the left or the right? That could make for some funky shifting or braking!:D Plus, you always have one more you could sell if needs be!:wink: I think you made a wise choice. You definitely got the better end of that deal. I have a soul or two for sale if you know any buyers! I could use a life long vacation. Anyways, have an awesome time out there!
    "To trip is not to fall!":D
    #15
  16. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
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    Location:
    Lone Pine, ON, Canada
    :lurk ....................
    #16
  17. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    This is off to a really good start. :lurk

    Your updated blog looks great. Even more pictures...

    Q~
    #17
  18. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    995
    Location:
    Gearing up to ride...
    I sold the lesser soul. The good soul is still in tact... :norton
    #18
  19. scoon66

    scoon66 Who is the Coon?

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Conway, AR
    Yay :clap

    I'm following the blog too. loving it.
    #19
  20. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
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    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    I'm in...
    #20