South America: Until our Luck or Money Runs Out

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Charles Seguin, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    523
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    Tucson
    My brother Joe (J_Seguin) and I graduated college this last Fall. The winter before that we decided it was time to do a big ride: through Central and South America down to Tierra Del Fuego. When I called him the conversation went like this:

    “I think we should ride South America or Europe the summer after we graduate”

    “Europe? Screw that. We’re going to South America.”

    “Ok, we’ll go to South America”

    “How am I going to get the money to do this?”

    “You’ll find a way.”

    “I don’t know how I’m going to get the money.”

    “You’ll find a way.”

    “Ok”

    “Ok, talk to you later.”

    “Ok, bye.”

    We later decided to take about 6 months to do the ride, which involved putting off our career plans for a year. I had an offer to go to Princeton for graduate school and I told them where they could stuff it (after unsuccessfully begging them to defer me for a year). And Joe told Teach for America where they could put their offer (after unsuccessfully begging them to defer him for a year). :lol3

    There were and are a lot of people who thought and think that we’re crazy for riding to South America; people afraid of disease, banditos, rebels, corrupt cops, crazy drivers, insufficient engine displacement etc. While we’ve taken all reasonable precautions we can, in the end we decided it’s worth the risk.

    The machines are to be a 1990 DR650 (my brother’s) and a 1990 KLR250 (my own). I’ll have to post later with a list of the things I did to prepare the 250, I’m sure my brother will do the same.

    The route is to be roughly down the west coast of Central and South America until we reach Tierra Del Fuego. After that? We’ll ride the bikes off into the ocean, swim back to shore and fly home.

    We’re funding the trip on student loans and an insurance settlement for a motorcycle accident I was in 2 years ago. :deal

    I’ll be leaving Kansas City on Labor Day to meet my brother in Colorado Springs, then the trip begins. Stay tuned… :ear
    #1
  2. j_seguin

    j_seguin Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    736
    Location:
    Superior CO
    Whats wrong with the normal text color? :csm






    :augie
    #2
  3. NomadRip

    NomadRip Always a n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,366
    Location:
    Chiang Mai, Thailand at the moment
    This should be fun... :lurk
    #3
  4. j_seguin

    j_seguin Been here awhile

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    Jul 20, 2007
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    Superior CO
    I purchased a 1990 DR650 with 8k miles on it last October. A friend of mine drove me up to outside Bailey Colorado to pick it up one day after class / work. We got a late start so we didn't arrive at the guy's house until dark. Then we had to adjust the suspension because I am, as my boss calls it, vertically challenged. Once the suspension was adjusted we also had to fashion a new kickstand. Luckily the guy had all the tools we needed and a welder, as well as a shop full of about 20 really cool old and new bikes.

    I had been feeling under the weather for the past week and when we got there I had a pretty wicked fever. It was well after dark when we left and the temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees. It was now around 28 F and snowing outside his shop. The bike was still too tall for me, I used to ride a KZ650 that I could almost flat-foot and this bike was about 6 inches taller. So I suited up and began to ride at a snail's pace down the gravel road from his house with my friend following me in her Xterra.

    The bike ran out of gas at the bottom of the hill leading to the highway. I wasn't totally convinced until I kicked it for about 15 minutes, thinking that I had stalled it and it wouldn't start easily due to the weather. We moved the bike to the side of the road and drove back to the guy's house, got him out of the shower and into his truck with a gas can. Put gas in the bike started it and were on our way.

    As it turns out the battery was dead and wouldn't take a charge. The headlight was so dim I had to follow my friend a lot closer than I would have liked just so I could see the road. The temperature kept dropping and it started to snow even harder. My neck was numb and I was getting even more feverish. We got home at like 1 am, and I went straight to bed. Over the next week I proceeded to get so sick that I didn't eat anything for well over 48 hours, and was so dehydrated I should have been hospitalized. I lost 10 pounds over the next four days.

    But it was all worth it, I had the bike I'd take to South America
    #4
  5. Bonnie Abbzug

    Bonnie Abbzug Property of Hayduke

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    Location:
    on the couch pm'ing Hayduke
    :clap I'm looking forward to this one! Klay has been telling me all about it!

    Good luck guys and have a great time!!

    :lurk
    #5
  6. j_seguin

    j_seguin Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    736
    Location:
    Superior CO
    Preparation:

    What I've done so far:

    Vaccinations (Hep C, Yellow Fever, Tetanus Booster, some other stuff)
    Anti-malarial and antibiotic perscriptions, inhaler for high altitude exercise
    Purchased new all purpose boots for off the bike
    Purchased new 3 man tent, large enough for the two of us and any gear that we really don't want out in the rain
    Researched roughly one half of the countries we will visit on our way South. (This included where to go, how to get there, what to do, when to do it, and developing a list of contacts for overnight stays and country specific advice)
    Assembled the trip toolkit

    Still to do:

    Laminated color copies of driver's license
    Obtain and copy international driver's license - complete 8/29
    Copies of all important documents (title, registration, passport, etc.)
    Develop some sort of filing system for said documents
    Purchase Medjet Assist insurance
    Purchase ulitilty shirt and pants w/ built in bug repellent - ordered 8/26/08
    Purchase new riding pants and waterproof them
    Purchase new riding boots and waterproof them
    Purchase topcase ordered 8/26/08

    Bike prep:

    New spark plugs
    New air filter
    Acerbis handguards
    Universal windshield (still needs some adjustment and modification)
    Valve adjustment
    Cleaned and greased all electrical connections
    New chain and sprockets
    New chain guide
    Mermite side cases (thanks for the inspiration Hondo: http://advwisdom.hogranch.com/Wisdom/Mermite%20side%20case%20project.html)
    New fork oil
    New break fluid

    Still to do:

    Balancer chain adjustment and oil change
    Fabricate rack and mounts for side cases - complete 8/29
    Install new break pads
    Mount and balance new tires
    Clean carb and replace seals
    Cable lubrication
    Order spare parts for trip - complete 8-27

    I'll post pics of what I've done with the bike eventually
    #6
  7. j_seguin

    j_seguin Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    736
    Location:
    Superior CO
    Charles and our father are coming out, and I'm going to take them for a two day southern Colorado ride, leaving the 3rd. I was thinking we'll probably head down 50 through Salida to start the ride, so if you and Duke are going to be around we'd love to meet you.
    #7
  8. Incredulous

    Incredulous Peanut Gallery

    Joined:
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    579
    Location:
    The O.V.
    I am so jealous. I did the Europe thing after college (backpacking.) Kind of wish I had gone your route.

    :lurk
    #8
  9. humvee

    humvee Long timer

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    Winterpeg, MB, CANADA
    A ha....I've been looking for this one too. Good luck fella's
    #9
  10. Bonnie Abbzug

    Bonnie Abbzug Property of Hayduke

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    That sounds fantastic, we'd love to meet you too! Klay knows where our house and shops are, so please drop in!



    edit: Klay just informed me that he would not be the one coming with you :doh ! But we would love to meet the two of you and your Dad, so I'm gonna send ya a pm with our contact info!
    #10
  11. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
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    9,848
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
    You guys didn't mention medjetassist or travelguard or something similar. Or rabies shots. It's oo late for rabies shots, but not medjet.

    I was glad to have my big GS, but there were a few hundred times I wished I had a 250. You are going to have so much fun with both those bikes!

    Have fun!
    #11
  12. j_seguin

    j_seguin Been here awhile

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    I mentioned it (medjet assist) as something we still need to purchase. We'll have it for sure. As far as rabies goes the vaccination is something crazy like $1300, I beleive my insurance covers that but it seems pretty rediculous. If I get bit I'll go in somewhere and get the treatment I guess.
    #12
  13. ecampo

    ecampo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Central America
    DOnt worried about rabbies, over here Guatemala at least , and im pretty sure all south america, its normal to any hospital or centro de salud (free medics, ) have vaccination for rabies, the only bad thing its going to be like 10 shoots :rofl , well a few years ago was 21.:eek1 . so avoid dogs bites.. :D .

    with this kind of small bikes , you will be able to do a lot of more dirtroads, and all latin america has a lot of them...... enjoy it, and when youre in guatemala and need any help you can PM .:freaky


    #13
  14. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    Nov 19, 2005
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    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    :lurk
    #14
  15. guesswork

    guesswork Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
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    265
    Location:
    So. W. Florida & N. Ga.
    Rent the movie "Motorcycle Diaries".....
    #15
  16. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    523
    Location:
    Tucson
    List of preparations for the KLR250:
    (I never would’ve got this all done without the KLR250 forum at KLRWorld.com)

    -New rear turn signal

    -New clutch cable

    -New thermostat

    -Bleed front brake (thanks Klay):D
    -Bleed front brake again with racing fluid (thanks Bill):baldy
    -Install steel braided front brake line, rebuild master cylinder, bleed front brake :deal
    -Replace front brake pads

    -Install rear rack
    -Install top box
    -Install PVC-tube luggage on skid plate

    -Take to the welder’s to install ammo-can side cases ($200 total with cases)
    -Prime ammo cans and mounts
    -Add reflective tape to ammo cans and radiator shroud

    -Pull apart rear brake drum, clean with brake parts cleaner.:D
    -Pull apart rear brake drum again, hit liners and drum with sand paper, brake parts cleaner and compressed air. :baldy
    -Pull apart rear brake drum again, install new liners, clean drum with brake parts cleaner, grease brake cam :deal

    -Adjust valves
    -Inspect cam chain

    -Rebuild Petcock

    -Clean carburetor

    -Install new air filter
    -Change oil and filter
    -Replace spark plug
    -Install inline fuel filter

    -Re-solder 2 broken unions in the wiring harness (thanks Josh)
    -Re-wire high-beam (thanks Josh)
    -Re-wire ground to regulator/rectifier (thanks Josh)
    -Clean all electrical connections with contact cleaner
    -Coat all electrical connections with dielectric grease
    -Wire connection for electric vest
    -Install new battery (thanks Ken)

    -Replace brake light and tag light with led bulbs (to reduce load for operating electric vest)
    -Replace tag light housing

    -Install new Tourmaster switchgear (allows for turning off the headlight and has better ergos)

    -Install Acerbis hand guards
    -Install Aerostich sheepskin seat pad
    -Install lower handlebar
    -Install new grips
    -Replace left side mirror

    -Install new Avon Distanzia tires and new tubes; front and rear (thanks Dave and Josh)

    -Replace chain and sprockets (thanks Klay)

    Still to be done:

    -Bring wheels to shop to be re-laced

    -Zip-tie spare clutch and throttle cables to originals

    -Replace clutch


    I'm probably forgetting something...

    Total Cost:

    $900: Motorcycle
    ±$1000: Parts, Tires, Farkles
    ±$100: Labor
    ----------------
    ±$2000 Total :jose

    #16
  17. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    523
    Location:
    Tucson
    The different text color differentiates the main "body" of the report from the comments, replies etc. It helps to organize and is easier to follow.

    c.f. Metal Jockey; Angola: It's Not They Said
    #17
  18. Bajarider2000

    Bajarider2000 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    194
    Location:
    Bocas del Toro, Panama
    EPIC!!!!!!! :lurk
    #18
  19. LoJack

    LoJack Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
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    1,622
    Location:
    B.G., yo!
    You guys don't seem to be crazy at all. At least I doubt anyone here will tell you that. Have a great time!

    Ahren

    p.s.- Have fun with those malaria pills ;^)
    #19
  20. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
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    Location:
    Ensenada, Baja California
    If you come thru BAJA be sure to say HI, and the ridding we will go.

    Best of luck, learn spanish (some) and you will be ready

    Damasovi
    #20