New Color, New Dimension, New Value

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Eclecticmale, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Eclecticmale

    Eclecticmale Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    N. Charleston, SC
    THE MISSION/PLAN: Sell 98% of everything I own and take a 2 year trip from Atlanta, GA to Central America (Panama). I plan on spending most of my time in Panama, just seeing and doing whatever want. I am a photography buff, and I would like to become better at that craft. I have set aside some money to fund my trip, but also plan on trying to get some type of employment (maybe teaching English) while in Panama. I will depart on 15SEP12, and take my time heading south, seeing what life has to offer in a different environment.

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    Me and my Doctor at my last physical in April 2012

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    Getting my necessary shots at my local health department

    THE MOTIVATION: Tired of doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. I am recently divorced and I have downsized my worldly possessions to six boxes, that is being stored at a good friends house. Over the past two years I have had some low times, mother and sister passing away and other things I would rather not discuss. So, last year I got this religious email from a friend:

    Stir Up Your Dreams
    “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you...” (2 Timothy 1:6, NKJ)
    Do you need some freshness in your life today? You may simply need to stir up what God has placed on the inside of you. Stir up those gifts, stir up those dreams, stir up those talents inside. Start stretching yourself. You were created to be a dreamer and pursue the desires God has placed in your heart.
    These words are my motivation for the remainder of my life. Instead of sitting at home and felling sorry for myself…I decided to stir things up!
    I started reading all of the ride reports on the ADVrider.com and Horizons Unlimited, and then decided to get a motorcycle license (took the MSF training course) in July 2011. In August 2011, I purchased the bike, started riding, and outfitted the bike for my Adventure.
    Family and Friends thought I was crazy, and I just told them this is something I wanted to do, and nothing was going to stop me.

    THE MAN: My name is Raymond, and I am 45 years old in decent physical/healthy condition. I currently work for a small government contractor as the Director of Contracts. It is a great job, but it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. As I mentioned previously, I am recently divorced and have no children. So, right now, all I have now is to depend on and take care of myself.

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    Me and the bike at my last days at work

    THE BIKE: 2011 Suzuki DL650 – I did extensive research on what bike would best suit me, and my type of Adventure. I heard great things about the DL650, so I pulled the trigger. I did not have to make any major modifications, just some modifications to make the bike fit me better.

    Farkles:
    (Yann D) Skidplate
    (Yann D) Radiator guard
    GIVI Crash Bars
    SW Motech centerstand
    Richland Ricks forkbrace
    Richland Ricks mirror extenders
    GPS mount
    RAM GPS shortie GPS arm
    Garmin 200W GPS
    Twisted Throttle Footpeg lowering kit
    ALTRider Large kickstand foot
    Fenda Extenda
    Speed bleeder valves for front brakes
    MadStad
    Lighting LED Kit
    Suzuki hand guards
    Givi Trekker Luggage

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    #1
  2. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    San Diego
    Cool! I'm in.
    #2
  3. Eclecticmale

    Eclecticmale Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    N. Charleston, SC
    I had to delay my 15SEP12 start by 2 days. I finally left Atlanta, GA on 17SEP12 at 12PM, due to the fact that I realized that I had too much crap. I thought I had trimmed everything down to the essentials, but I had to send 1/3 of the so called essentials to storage. I will probably have to trim down again before I enter Mexico. All that being said, I made my way from Atlanta, but suddenly got tired after I had a bite to eat and decided to bed down in Carrolton, GA. (Only 2 hours from Atlanta) I was a little disappointed in myself, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Got up the next day and headed out, I rode for about 7 hours, and ended my day in a town called Hammond, LA, about 40 miles from Baton Rouge, LA. The ride was filled with rain and dark clouds, but it ended with 2 hours of sunshine. I will try and make it to Victoria, TX tomorrow, another 7 or 8 hours ride.

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    Getting new Anakees II mounted prior to heading out.

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    Getting gas in Jackson, MS
    #3
  4. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    734
    Location:
    Southeast Lower Carolina
    In.
    Gonna put on my Aero and follow you. I think the shots are a great idea and investment for your travels. Vaya con Dios.
    #4
  5. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,130
    Location:
    Steamboat Springs, COLORADO
    Hi Raymond,

    I'm subscribed! :D

    Looks like you got your bike kitted out pretty well.
    Do you speak any Spanish?
    I've got some amigos in Panama, so lets chat when you get down there.
    Sounds like you've been somewhat tested the last year or so ............... I hope you find what you're looking for Raymond.
    Thanks for posting and taking us along!

    Ride safe and enjoy your journey.

    Enviously Yours, Rob
    #5
  6. Hendo66

    Hendo66 Hendo66

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Perth, Down Under
    Best of luck Raymond, you situation seems to be a common theme in our hectic world we have created. People just seem to be fed up with life and the rut they are in. Good for you for having the courage to break free and get out and live your dreams. Stay upright.
    :freaky
    #6
  7. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,809
    Location:
    SoSoCal
    Best to ya Raymond.
    Looking forward to your slow adventure through Central America as I've never been there and a first timer's report will be of real interest.
    Remember counter steering and avoid target fixation. :wink: :gerg

    Subscribed. :thumb
    #7
  8. Scubalong

    Scubalong Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    884
    Location:
    So Cal
    Hi Raymon

    I have been in your sittuation few years back, I am totally understand, have fun with your trip and be safe. Take it slow. I am looking forward to your report and pictures.

    I'm subscribed!:lurk
    #8
  9. norcal1

    norcal1 Cameron Park, CA.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    217
    I am in! :lurk
    #9
  10. freestate

    freestate Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Stockholm, Capitol of Scandinavia
    Jealous as hell. More pics mate.
    #10
  11. Eclecticmale

    Eclecticmale Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    N. Charleston, SC
    I left Hammond, LA this morning around 9:30 AM, and all was well. Today was a great riding day, 80 degrees and full of sun. The only interesting thing I noticed today was that Texas drivers, love to speed. I tried to maintain a steady 80 miles per hour, but kept getting passed by every driver. Texas drivers treat the entrance ramp to the interstate like a NASCAR driver leaving the pit, they are at 80 miles per hour before they hit the interstate. Other than that, I made it to Victoria, TX at 5:30 PM without any issues. I will head out in the morning, and get to Brownsville, but will make a stop in Corpus Christi. I will be searching for two pac-safe nets for the two dry bags, I have atop my GIVI side bags…just a little extra security and peace of mind.

    Everyone, thanks for the kind words of encouragements, and I will have better pictures once I get into Mexico. Right now I am just blowing through the states trying not to stop.

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    Ready to ride out of Hammond, LA

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    Getting gas on Hwy 59 South

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    Motel room in Victoria, TX
    #11
  12. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    449
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    All the best on your journey.

    Look forward to reading more.

    Cheers,

    JM.
    #12
  13. norcal1

    norcal1 Cameron Park, CA.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    217
    Quick question. Where did you get those world decals on your side cases? They look great.
    #13
  14. Laros

    Laros Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    Aurora, Ontario
    Subscribed!!

    Wonderful start to what promises to be an epic journey. I really like the email you quoted from your friend. Sounds like you needed a fresh start, and I admire you for "stirring things up".

    Ride safely, and make sure you update us when you can. Especially looking forward to some of that photography you promised us. :clap
    #14
  15. Reverend12

    Reverend12 Well there it is..

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,472
    Location:
    Classified
    Raymond, I'm in, Bike looks great! Safe travels to ya.
    #15
  16. Wheat State

    Wheat State Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21
    Good on you Raymond! Looking forward to following your journey! :clap
    #16
  17. Eclecticmale

    Eclecticmale Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    N. Charleston, SC
    My ride from Victoria, TX to Brownsville, TX was relatively uneventful, but I had great weather, and I took a detour to Corpus Christi, TX. When I headed out for this leg if my trip, I noticed that one of my auxiliary head lamps had lost some of its small nuts. I use some small zip ties for a quick fix, and I made a stop at the Corpus Christi Home Depot. As, I was leaving the Home Depot, I ran into Shadow and Pappy, members of a local motorcycle club (Harley guys). Told them about my trip, we chatted for a while and they gave me directions out of town. They seemed like really great guys. Two hours later made into Brownsville, got my motel room, did laundry, and replace the bolts on my auxiliary light. Did a final overall maintenance on the bike, air, fluids, ect., and called it a night. The plan tomorrow is to hit the border no later than 9:00 AM, then head to Ciudad Victoria, MX.

    ROAD DAMAGE – I speak no Spanish, and I will most definitely get in contact with you, when I arrive in Panama.
    norcal1 – I don’t recall exactly where I got the world decals, I think I just did a google search. Thanks for the compliment.

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    Shadow, Pappy, and myself
    #17
  18. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,310
    Location:
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    Good Luck Raymond....Godspeed....ride safe....ride far! Will be following you...:clap

    Cheers...
    #18
  19. Eclecticmale

    Eclecticmale Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    N. Charleston, SC
    I crossed the border in Brownsville at 9:30 AM, paid for 180 day visa ($25), temporary vehicle import pass ($400 refunded when I exit Mexico), insurance for 180 days ($100)…hour later I was on the road to Ciudad Victoria. It was about a 250 mile ride, mostly farm land until you reach the mountains. The city is located at the base of a mountain range, and is more modern than I anticipated. Made it into town around 2:00 PM, and started my hotel search, stopped at first hotel and they wanted $85…not in my budget. The expensive hotel recommended another hotel within my budget, clean but no AC for $22…jackpot! Checked in and unloaded the bike, then started a search for food, walked a couple of blocks found a Panda Express with internet access. Only one guy could speak English, his name was Carlos the cook. Carlos and I conversed for about an hour, and he told me his story, he use to live in Durham, NC, until he started to sell crack. He got locked up for 2.5 years, and then he was deported. Carlos is a good guy who made some bad decisions, and now has since changed his ways, he now has a wife and kid and is doing well for himself. I am glad I met Carlos, and learned his story, I wish him well.

    Decided to leave Ciudad Victoria the next morning and head to the beaches of Tampico, about a 250 mile ride east, headed toward the gulf coast. It was another great day to ride, but the temperature started to rise, and became uncomfortable every time I had to stop. Arrived around 2:00 PM, and got lost trying to find the beach, I ended up driving around the city for an hour. I stopped in a small shopping, and ran into a teenage girl, who spoke some English, and she and her friends offered to guide me to the beach…that was really nice…I will most definitely pay that forward! I found the beach area and checked into my hotel…I will have more updates on Tampico tomorrow.

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    My TVIP...I can now legally roam Mexico!

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    Scenery on way to Ciudad Victoria

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    Scenery on way to Ciudad Victoria

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    My $22.00 Hotel

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    My $22.00 Room

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    This is the night shift guy at the hotel, who says he will keep an eye on my bike...hilarious!

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    Kid selling candies in front of the autozone

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    Me and Carlos
    #19
  20. Saeed

    Saeed Life-long learner

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    UAE Dubai
    Looking forward to your trip reports<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #20