South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

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

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  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Deal! I know you've been wanting ADV stickers for a while now. I don't have any, but will look into getting you some. I'm thinking I could mail them to you if you PM me your mailing address. That way they'll get to you even if you're out riding when I pass through in a couple months and I won't have to worry about losing them on the way down.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #41
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Hey John, nice to hear from you. Glad to have you along for the ride. 2015 will be here before you know it. My house is paid off and I owe nothing to anybody and it is a freeing feeling. Look forward to see you riding long and far on that XR of yours. Perfect bike for Latin America!

    Cheers,
    John Downs
    #42
  3. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Ready for the ride along:lurk

    Not that it matters after the job is done but surely that Sherpa has got shim over buckets like its big brother KLR:huh They should be something like 23mm diameter where the shim under bucket is around 6-9mm like my little bmw sixfidy uses. I got a KLR or two in the shed:wink:

    Have a good ride John:freaky I'd take a 250 down South.
    #43
  4. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi WAWC,

    Wow! Thanks for the info and encouragement! I will gladly donate on your future ride report. And will get right on setting up a paypal account. I didn't realize it was so easy. I think it would be a good thing to have even if only so my friends and family can easily get money to me if the bike blows up or my wallet gets stolen or somesuch.

    I have no problem reporting back how much it costs. You don't hear much about how much it takes to get down to South America and back other than a lot or as much as you have.

    Mind you I am traveling on a shoestring budget which is not for everyone. But I know there are a lot of folks that can travel frugally and would appreciate hearing back how much to expect to spend.

    As far as goals that's a tough question. Last trip I was heading to Guatemala to the dentist since I hadn't been in 20 years and figured I needed root canals or something. I ended up riding to Panama and back after finding out it would only cost me 400 bucks to have my teeth fixed. I started out with 3000 and ended up with 700 when I got back to Arizona. So minus dental work it cost 1900 to get to Panama and back. But I didn't do much camping. Mostly stayed in Cheap Hotels. This trip, sure it would be nice to make it down to Patagonia or Ushuaia and see some penguins, but realistically I don't think I have the funds. I am getting older and have always wanted to make it to South America. And I'm gonna get there this time whicheverAnywayIcan gosh durnit'.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
    #44
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Hi Señor Throttlemeister,

    Glad to have you along for the ride!

    The Sherpa has 7.48mm baby shims under bucket just like your mule. I used the KLR video for disassembly procedure since I don't have a service manual and some Sherpa specific photos over on KLR.net to figger the shim under bucket part all out. It wasn't too hard. Luckily they have a chart over at:

    http://www.maultechatv.com/techguides/Valve Clearance Calculator/index.php

    for doing the math for figuring out what mm thickness shims you need from how many thou tight you are so you don't order the wrong shim size. Math was never my strong suit.

    You write a damn fine ride report. Have enjoyed reading about your travels immensly. I'll go over and hug your bike and reassure it Papa's coming down soon if I make it over to Venezuela and it's still down there.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #45
  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    12,971
    Location:
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    You gotta love the variety on ADV,I was just reading a guy's story about riding a new Ducati 1199 Panigale across the US with a backpack for luggage,testing it's 185mph top speed at times and just going where ever the mood strikes.

    The theres guys riding 250 Kawis down to Panama and back,with luck. Everybody does it different,I like the minimalist idea though,so much less to worry about on the road,easier to pick up out of mudholes.

    I will be checking in,best of luck,keep an eye on the scenery.
    #46
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Hi Footdragger,

    I could use some flat tracking lessons. Can't believe I recognized HumuHumuNukuNukuApua'a in your sig line.

    [​IMG]

    I remember those boogers swimming around the reefs back when I lived in Kona. Haven't heard that name in a while.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #47
  8. bikepharmer

    bikepharmer Baja is on the way

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    154
    Great plan, and great bike to do it on. I am on board with the 250, too. This isn't Dakar, but a leisurely trip there and back. Easy to work on (as you noted), and find parts for. Don't forget to call on fellow ADV Riders-- I just sent an SOS on my last trip and was welcomed with a shady place to change a tire, good company and conversation, and some good words of wisdom.
    #48
  9. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    USA
    I’ve been using my Honda CB250 Nighthawk for all my Mexico rides. I get the same reaction. I think these bikes are ideal for this type of travel. It’s a low profile bike and easy to maintain. I can fix just about everything on that bike myself while on the roadside provided the maintenance issue is outside of the engine. I’ve kitted it up special for adventure riding, to include dual-purpose tires.
    What? Too much stuff in your rucksack? US Army Ranger School graduate here. Went through similar experience with a 90-lb rucksack. No way I need all this stuff in here. Pare down. Less is more.

    Looking forward to this report :thumb
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    #49
  10. VooDooDaddy

    VooDooDaddy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    163
    Location:
    SW Iowa
    You Sir, have my respect. I know quite a bit about the Ranger course, and I have intense admiration for anyone who can complete that training! Ranger school is a real kick-in-the-nuts!

    Serving in an infantry company, you learn really quick that ounces turn into pounds, and pounds = pain! And I know this translates to motorcycle travel as well. I know I mentioned it already, but I am literally gob-smacked at the amount of crap some people take on their moto-trips; simply unbelievable, i.e. huge panniers, topboxes, tank bags stuffed to the brim on a huge 700lbs. Beemer GS for one person going across the USA? I just don't get it.

    I have Long Way Round and Long Way Down saved and I watch them with much pleasure. However, there is no facking way I would go around the world with such a huge/heavy machine with all the damn crap dear ole Charlie and Ewan carried; and I'm not even counting the huge SUV's full of $hit.

    One more cheer for the Sherpa traveling philosophy!
    #50
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    The few, the proud, the Marin... Minimalists.

    I realize traveling light and freezing at night isn't for everyone. I used to ride big overloaded BMWs down through Latin America in the previous century back before ADVrider was around. People thought I was nuts back then as well. Who cares? It was my comfort level back then. I quickly learned that a light bike is much more fun in Latin America and a small dirt bike is easy on gas and can take you to some really remote and interesting places that a bigger bike rider traveling solo might not try. But there is no perfect way to travel on a motorcycle. Everyone finds what works for them. I have nothing against people whatever or however they pack and ride.

    My hope is that people can follow along on this ride report and decide for themselves if this is something they would like to try. I know there are a lot of people out there that think, no way will I ever be able to do something like that. I think you'd be surprised how long and far you can go for less than you'd think if you are willing to give it a go. I'll be reporting back what I find.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #51
  12. Lee C

    Lee C Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    655
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    Well put John have a safe and great time :clap
    #52
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Thanks Lee. Will do. It is getting colder each day up here in the northern plains. Temp is 36F right now at 11 am. The more I think about it the better Vince's advice sounds. Just Gooooo.

    So I am moving my departure day up. I have to put some windows in a country church next weekend and as soon as I finish that it is time to hit the road methinks.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #53
  14. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,215
    Wishing you all the best on this trip and will be following along!:clap:clap It's vital that there are ride reports like yours....proving again that you don't have to be a millionaire movie star to take off on an adventurous ride. And 250 is NOT too small a bike for the job. There was a guy over on The HUBB who posted a nice report about a journey from Texas down into Argentina (as I recall) on a 250 Ninja....and get this.....his girlfriend was riding on the back.....AND they camped out most of the time......AND the guy himself was 6 foot 4! So......a 250? Heck yeah! I will now have to go back and read your earlier ride report!! I am always curious as to how folks who don't sell off everything and ride into the sunset manage to come back to jobs and stuff....i.e. everything they left behind for a while, 'cause that seems to be the biggest thing holding folks back: time off from work, bills, possessions.....any tips?
    #54
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hi Blader,

    Glad to have you along for the ride! As far as tips on how to take off on a long ride, that is a tough one. You just have to be determined to make it happen. Nobody will make these trips happen for you. I have the greatest respect for younger guys with families that work hard and save and plan and negotiate with a family or wife that thinks their motorcycle advriding ideas are nuts and still are able to take off for the horizon now and again.

    In my case it is easier. I choose to live simply and save as much money as I can. There is no twelve step program for me. And nobody to intervene since I'm a bachelor and self-employed contractor and can leave whenever I want.

    I have chosen to live in a very inexpensive area of the country. I rode my motorcycle out here 6 years ago to put a brick façade on my Aunt's ranch addition since there aren't any brick masons out in this sparsely populated part of the country. Used her ranch truck to pick up supplies in town and saw how cheap the houses were and I bought this house for 7500 bucks 6 years ago:

    [​IMG]

    in Bassett, a town in rural Nebraska. Cost less than a good used truck. And the taxes are 160 bucks a year. And soon people were asking me to fix stuff. Install garage doors, tile bathrooms, re-roof hail damage. That sort of thing. I figured when I moved here I would have to go back to the big city and work to make money and come back to visit my new hobby house. But six years later I'm still here. And I am really liking how friendly the folks are here. And I have learned from them a simpler less materialistic lifestyle. And folks are practical around here. Plus you don't have to lock your doors since everyone knows everyone and there is no crime to speak of. And the winters are severe, so good time to take off south.

    Even when I was younger and making a lot of money I found time to ride to Guatemala and Alaska. I just had to ride like hell since I only had two weeks max. The older you get the more time you will find to ride. So there's light at the end of the tunnel. But I don't look back on my life and wish I had worked more and ridden less. Take off now if you can swing it. The sooner the better. And especially for those younger folks reading this, take a long ride before you settle down, get married and have kids and a full time job.

    I don't know if this is much help, but it's what has worked for me.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
    #55
  16. TK-LA

    TK-LA SoCal Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    573
    Location:
    Southern California
    With a quest, such as his, I'm thinking of a different song, one from Cypress Hill; "Insane in the membrane, Insane in the brain!"

    Best of luck!!!
    #56
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hey TK-LA,

    Made me smile. 5000 miles of Cypress Hill might just make me live up to the song title. Thanks for the well wishes.

    I'm still stuck on:

    <iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qqszqHKIqEk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Cheers,
    John Downs
    #57
  18. TravlinLeoJ

    TravlinLeoJ Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Wildwood, GA. (near Chattanooga, TN)

    This is probably the best advice in the world.

    I'm gonna have to take it.

    :clap
    #58
  19. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,314
    Location:
    Alaska

    :freaky
    #59
  20. what car??

    what car?? down the road

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    372
    Location:
    Colorado
    I'm already down here in Guatemala. Was planning on leaving last year, kind of like you mentioned; one thing led to another and a year later I finally left. I'm on a KTM990, and after having to pick it up out of the mud and a few other times, makes me think about when I had my KLR, though that's still a heavy bike. I'm not loaded up like some people either, though I did bring more than I needed. First trip like this though. Felt like I was leaving quite a bit behind compared to what I have seen, but still more than I need perhaps.

    It's funny how the preparation gets you bogged down. Finalizing all those last minute details. Finally I said F~it man, I gotta go or I'm not getting out of here. I'm your neighbor the west, Colorado. I'll keep an eye out for you so we can share a beer or two :freaky. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to make it to SA this time or not. There are some time slots that already have been filled in December for Nicaragua and possibly back in Guate for the first of the year, she is a wonderful gal though!

    I love my bike and do take it places I wonder about sometimes. I guess when picking it up more than 6 times in a day might convince me that a mini bike would be better :rofl.... Keep in touch and let's have a beer!

    what car??
    aka Juan
    #60
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