South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Paulutions,

    This is my book and seminar. And it is free for the taking. I was fortunate to have an English professor stepfather who explained to me just how futile it was to think you could make money as an author. Although his books of poetry are in the Library of Congress, the pay was meager for the effort involved. Anyway, I enjoy writing and reading these stories later on. And I imagine people who like traveling light and cheap aren't the most likely candidates to pay big bucks for seminars.

    But I am definitely in the less is more camp. There are plenty of minimalist riders out there. Some by choice. Others by necessity. You are wise. I too started off for Asia in my younger years with a huge backpack and returned nine months later with a daypack having sent everything else home or given it away. Everyone finds what works for them eventually. But I agree that large expensive solutions aren't necessarily the best for everyone. Having hiked the AT I am sure you have noticed that mental toughness and perseverance in the face of adversity is more important than expensive gear.

    Anyway, thanks for the kind offer. Nice to know someone's got my back in the Land of Enchantment. Although there's not much I can't fix on the road. The Sherpa is dirt simple to work on. In fact I went to tune it up two weeks ago and backed out the spark plug only to find some piece of crud welded itself to the bottom thread and boogered up the spark plug threads as I backed it out. Had to take the head off and install a timesert:

    [​IMG]

    With the camera flash you can't really see the boogered bottom thread on the old spark plug in this crappy photo, but you get the idea. Anyway, that bike is like working on a riding mower only easier access. Although I did have to adjust one exhaust valve shim. It had tightened up a couple thousandths. I haven't had to touch the valves in 21,000 miles and had never done shim under bucket. But with the internet, and the Sherpa being a miniature KLR style there was plenty of info on the net for figuring out how to take the camshafts out and replacing the one shim. I just watched this KLR650 valve adjust video on Youtube and it was the same disassembly procedure:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2d-V4udwaA

    Anyway the bike is back together now. The hardest part of the job was figuring out how to reset the automatic cam chain tensioner. But I like taking things apart and figuring out how they work. And I know from previous trips just how thankful I have been that I took the time to put on new tires, fresh battery and fix everything at home instead of on the road.

    So if an old fart like me who has to remove the top end to do a tune up can make it to South America and back, just imagine how much easier it will be for you.

    Maybe you'll be hearing from me if the motor blows in Honduras.

    Thanks again. Nice to have you along for the ride. And who knows? Maybe that Galluping Sherpa has your name on it.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
    #21
  2. VooDooDaddy

    VooDooDaddy Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    SW Iowa
    My minimalist philosophy comes from my time on active duty in a Marine Corps infantry company. Humping a pack mile upon mile upon mile, you learn to "travel light, freeze at night". This attitude has stayed with me throughout my adult life, and I live a minimalistic lifestyle, and continuously struggle to keep things as simple and uncluttered as possible.

    Subscribed my friend, and I'll take you up on the offer soon. Me and some friends have been making some trips up into your area, and into southern S. Dakota.
    #22
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    You are welcome anytime. Plenty of flat places and even a couple beds to sleep in here in my house. Or camping in the backyard if I'm out riding. Anyone in Bassett can direct you to my house. Nice thing about small town living.

    And there is actually some decent riding heading west on the Outlaw Trail down the Niobrara over towards the Badlands, Blackhills, Spearfish Canyon etc.

    Hope to see you down the road.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #23
  4. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
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    Looking forward to this one John. The next full moon is almost a month away. Screw the Moon, get on the road already! :lol3
    #24
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Hey Vince!

    Welcome aboard! I feel like I know you well after reading your 1000 page ride report. But as you know, it is a whirlwind of last minute things to handle before you leave on a long trip.

    I think you are the one that needs to get back to South America sooner rather than later. It is calling. I can hear it!

    That orange bike of yours misses carrying around guapas chicas almost as much as you do.

    Hope to see you down the road someday.

    Suerte,
    Juan
    #25
  6. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
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    I hear ya. Yeah, I need to get my butt back on the road, on the bike anyway. :D

    Funny thing is, the most complicated thing was not bike prep, gear prep or any of that. It was getting my life in the states in order so it could run on autopilot while I was gone for a couple years.

    Suerte!
    #26
  7. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Yep, Vinnie recommended Drew's place to me in CR. It's a little slice of heaven up on that bluff overlooking the beach and Andrew is good peeps. Give him my best when you get down there. :thumb

    I'm looking forward to reading about your exploits. :loaded :ricky
    #27
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    I look forward to positating the negative in your honor hanging out on the lanai looking out over the Whales Tail as well as jumping off waterfalls. The view off that covered upper deck was nice even on a rainy day:

    [​IMG]

    Will be sure to say hi to Drew and crew for ya. I recommended that place to one of my sister's birdwatching friends and she emailed me to say thanks a few months back and Drew added a note at the bottom saying the valley missed me. Gotta get down back there. Can't wait!!!!!!

    Best,
    John Downs
    #28
  9. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

    Joined:
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    Subscribed.

    Again.

    rtwpaul just passed through here on his way south and mentioned your earlier RR which we both had read. You are one if a few riders who have influenced me to leave the GSA in the garage and get a 250 for riding Mexico and CA.

    Buena suerte,

    JD
    #29
  10. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Thanks for the new link.
    #30
  11. captkumu

    captkumu Adventurer

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    John,
    I like the whole Idea "Less Is More" I just finished my Mexico ride and and I was over packed.. I am thinking every ride I
    take I have learned how to shed off more weight....I like the 250 Idea as well.... You just do not need much.. The thing that is hard for a lot of people is to finding the time......looking forward to your Adventure...John
    #31
  12. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Señor SchizzMan,

    I've been following rtwpauls ride report. That man knows how to use a camera! I need to get on the road and catch up to that guy for some lessons.

    I will be heading over to Austin from Big Bend camping in a month or so. I will be sure to look you up if you're around.

    Suerte,
    John Downs
    #32
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola John,

    My advice is: Quit your job and sell the house in Newport Beach. That should buy you some time to ride.

    Just kidding. I know what you mean. I was thinking I would head to South America last year and suddenly one thing led to another and it's a year later and I'm just now leaving.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #33
  14. captkumu

    captkumu Adventurer

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    That idea has crossed my mind more than once.....What is you route crossing into Mexico? Just curious...John
    #34
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    At the moment I plan on zig zagging down visiting ADVriders along the way who have offered a place to pitch my tent. So my route changes depending on who invites me. Currently heading down through the panhandle of Nebraska through Colorado and New Mexico then cutting over to Big Bend national park and over to visit folks in Texas and down towards the toe of Texas. There are some nice folks in town here who winter near Reynosa so that is probably where I'll cross the border. There's some great riding in the mountains south of Monterrey. Have to check that out. Then, who knows...

    I'll be reporting back what I find so you'll have some good riding ideas. Mexico is huge. And that's just the first country I'll hit.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #35
  16. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    I think what is calling to Crash is nota the road, but his little honey!

    If I can keep track of your progress, I might meet you someplace in CA before you get to Panama, where I have a sofa. But do you have any qualms about camping in CA? So far, I just look for cheap hotels, problem is that often there is no hotel, or even a town, when I am ready to stop for the night.
    #36
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi CC,

    Your couch has my name on it!

    Look forward to visiting Volcan/Boquete Panama highlands. Beautiful area you live in although the 10 day forecst calls for mucho lluvia. But hey, rain keeps things green and beautiful.

    As far as camping in Central America, I'll let you know how it goes. I have been studying this map:

    http://www.talesfromthesaddle.com/route.shtml

    from Tales from the saddle ride report of Klous1 and zooming in see the kinds of spots he finds to camp. The map shows the GPS waypoints of everywhere he camps. But of course, I will be stopping in cheap guest houses and hostels to post ride reports,charge up batteries and take a shower as well. Should be interesting. I'll report back what I find along the way.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
    #37
  18. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    :clap:clap:clap

    In. Again. Can't wait! Three years and my mortgage will be finished and I'll be right behind you.

    So glad you are going to do this in real time. If you need anything just post up and we'll get right on it.

    John
    #38
  19. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    October is the heaviest rainfall of the year in Panama, lightens up a little in November, dry season usually arrives in December. But then the winds start!

    P.S. The rental on the sofa is a couple of ADV stickers.
    #39
  20. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
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    (Selected Quotes from multiple posts by JDowns)

    #1- I'll make some contributes to your S.America trip and when I am down there in couple of years, you can make some contributes when you are reading my riding report at your home in few years from now? :D :deal Setting Paypal is so easy.. just use the email addy you normally use to register for an account, then add your routing and checking acct info using your checkbook. Paypal will deposit few cents into your account for you to input and if your input is correct, your account is verified and set to go!

    #2- I have to say this that you and I are alike in most way. We are cheapskate and can survive to go as far as we want to go. This last summer, I decided to do TAT at very last minute joining my friend and I had a $1,200 budget to get to Port Orford from my home in Seven Springs, NC. In Moab, I struggled to decide if I should go on with my trip with low fund and no tools (lost it in Colorado) but thanks to friends via Facebook, I got few hundred dollars in donation to continue so I finished the trip the overall one-way was $1,390 making final cost $2,600 when I got home. This TAT trip was my prelude to Key West-Deadhorse-Ushuaia trip and now I feel confidence in doing the big trip on a very tight and restricted budget.

    So now I am going to keep a close watch on your Riding Report with a $5k budget to start with heading out with guts to do whatever it takes getting down there. Please do share your expenses of getting yourself and your bike over the Darien as this insight would give me some idea what to prepare. If you prefer, maybe PM me the total overall expenses if you are not comfortable sharing it on here.

    And out of curious, what is the main goal in S. America? Tierra Del Fuego? Ushuaia?
    #40
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