Texas to Panama: Feb 2018

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Fatty2018, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    Inmates,

    We are planning a three week trip to the end of the road, the Darien Gap. Google says the dry season is January-March.

    Anyone who would like to join us is welcome.

    The meet up will be in the southern most tip of Texas on Friday Feb 16th, leaving out the following morning. We will return no later than the Saturday March 10th, three weeks later.

    The plan is to meet in the southern tip of Texas and ride hard for the end of the road. Once there we will have a photo op and then party for a week or so in Panama. The grand plan is to make a yearly expedition to a different Central American country. This will be the first year.

    We are not looking for sponsorship nor to making a documentary. If you are the type who needs to film everything, that is fine as long as you don't slow things down.

    I just picked up my Africa Twin (manual shift) last week and am in the process of outfitting it.

    We would appreciate suggestions on the following items:
    1.) A GPS that will be reliable all the way down there
    2.) Comm system for multiple riders/cel phone/radio (are wireless earbuds better?)
    3.) Things to see and do in Panama (besides the canal)
    4.) Suggested route and overnight towns there and back, preferably a different route back but with similar time
    5.) A simple GPS bike tracker where friends and relatives can see where your bike is real time on a website

    I'm leaving from South Carolina a few days before the Tx meetup.

    -Fatty
    #1
  2. Bigsmokindaddy

    Bigsmokindaddy Adventurer

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    Get the Garmin InReach Explorer for a device that will allow people to follow you


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #2
  3. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    #3
  4. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    We used a SPOT for family tracking. Currently using SENA 20s EVO for comms. Seven days there and seven days back doesn't leave much time for side trips....... a surprise highlight of our ride was two nights in El Tunco, El Salvador. Want to spend a couple of hours free fun in Panama.....find an amateur soccer game on a park. A lot of people miss Colon in Panama....one night there is a thrill!
    #4
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  5. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    Thanks for the tips. Hurricane Irma is headed right for my house at the moment. Hopefully I escape unscathed. Otherwise I may have to postpone for a year or two. I'm evacuating now. Just received all my bike gear! Bike is at the dealer for the 600mi service and heated grips. Hope she makes it thru...
    #5
  6. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Fatty , I wish you the best for coming through the hurricane with minimal damage .

    Now for your proposed "three week "trip to the end of the pavement in Darien province , Panama - that will have to be in Yavisa town.
    As Tuckers has already pointed out , if you are only allotting three weeks for the ride Texas -Yavisa-Texas AND expect to be lolling around and partying for a week in PANAMA you will definitely be having a " hard ride " .
    Have you or the members of your group ever yet ridden in Mexico or Central America ? Have you considered the time consumed in --border crossings ? -- unfamiliar roads? -- scenery along the way ? -- limited daily riding time in DAYLIGHT ONLY? --group dynamics in dealing with all of the above and more variables ? What sorts of motorcycles do you ride ?
    Getting to Yavisa from Texas in seven days is of course possible but you won't be having much memorable fun along the way .
    This hard riding bravura may look impressive on paper but it really is going to be a drag if you expect to see much of Mexico and CA .
    .
    I think you have your plan backwards if you can only allow such limited time slots . -
    I would suggest that the first year you restrict your travel to exploring Mexico into its southern extreme for three weeks . This will get you familiar with how things work . The next year expand it to pass through the now- familiar Mexico and spend the major part of the trip exploring Belize and Guatemala . And so on for the next several years , adding perhaps two countries each time to culminate in the trip to Yaviza .
    Central American countries may be small when seen on the map but there are lots of things to see and places to explore which can take up your time- available very easily .

    Do some research and reading here on advrider to get an idea of what other travellers have found out , do not just pick a bunch of suggestions without considering what they actually involve for time of travel required. Any item you select to see will automatically swallow a good part of a day.
    There are enough alternate routes through Mexico that you need not repeat the same roads very often- if you can give yourself the time.There are really only four or five practical border crossings out of South Mexico and about seven practical border crossing points from Texas into Mexico .But if you insist on such a strict limited -time schedule you will probably force yourself to retrace much of the routes on toll roads to make haste - not fun .
    #6
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  7. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer

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    If they can go from Texas to Panama and back in three weeks then I will worship them as Gods....will be a great ride report :thumb
    #7
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  8. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Fatty is on an Africa Twin , I hope none of the others are bringing Groms :jack
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  9. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    I concur with SB; I believe you'd have a better time confining trip to Mexico.
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  10. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    Thanks for the wishes, no significant damage. Just a lot of yard work.

    I agree a trip to southern Mexico would be a much easier ride and likely a lot more enjoyable. This trip is something I've been wanting to do for 20 years now but have been too busy.

    Mostly my post on here was in search of others who would like to make the trip and/or someone who has done it.
    #10
  11. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    I'm not in the market for going currently but I have done it a handful of times .

    Perhaps you should step back a bit and give some thought to what you just wrote .
    Why are you still forcing yourself to plan for making a ride straight to Panama your priority when you conceded that starting off with a Mexico - only trip first would probably be easier and more fun?
    Twenty years of waiting and wanting is no reason to over- do it . If you are now retired or otherwise more able to do these trips why rush into the long one that might prove tough on your psyche? Do it in stages just like a mountain climber who works up to the big ones with several easier hills as training .
    Putting out a challenge like yours will not likely get many takers who want to join in .
    #11
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  12. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    Bakker,

    This is just something I'd like to do. I understand there won't be too many who would like to do a trip like this. That's precisely why I'm posting on here.

    Can you please give me a run down of some of your trips? Timelines, problems, where you stayed etc? Any info would be much appreciated.

    -Fatty
    #12
  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    :-)Travel should always be fun and as painless as possible ,
    not self inflicted discomfort .
    PM. sent
    #13
  14. Pete Hoefsloot

    Pete Hoefsloot Adventurer

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    I am planning on doing a similar trip around the same time. I have four weeks to go from San Antonio to panama and back to Texas leaving around Feb 22.
    #14
  15. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Here's some input for ya -

    One of my favorite quotes is " 'One Day' and 'Some Day' ain't comin', so if you have a dream, do it now". That was by a now deceased Air Force Major General who had big retirement plans until brain cancer had other plans for him.

    The next tip is on riding buddies and whether or not you'll go on this trip and whether you'll go on this trip with one or more of them or by yourself. Carefully consider if you're willing to push your chips forward and bet your Big Adventure on someone with whom you know little or nothing about. You may win the lottery, but be prepared for the opposite and/or to go it alone. I'll just leave that here.

    Finally, you're casting a thread in part to search for "someone who has done it". Lot's of folks have done it and have done ride reports or started threads on it. Your research of ADV can be done with "site:advrider.com trip to Panama". "site:advrider.com" is required. "trip to Panama" can be changed to "Texas to Panama" or "Mexico to Panama" or whatever you are searching for on this site. There is an encyclopedia of experience on your very topic but many if not most of those who wrote the book on it will probably not see your thread. You can go after them with the search protocol I just gave you.

    Good luck.
    #15
  16. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    Thanks for the tips!
    #16
  17. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    Unfortunately I cannot take that much time off from the salt mine. Any way you can chop a week off?
    #17
  18. Fatty2018

    Fatty2018 n00b

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    Thanks for the search tips and advice. I appreciate it.
    #18
  19. Pete Hoefsloot

    Pete Hoefsloot Adventurer

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    Nope, if I could,I would add more time not take any off. It can be done in three weeks but you might find it a bit rushed.
    #19
  20. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend

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    I have done a Panama ride with a couple of other riders and it took us a month round trip with very little time off the bikes. Riding hard in MX is 300-400 miles on a good day and it will get slower and more challenging in Central America as the roads can get worse. Crossing from TX to MX will be the easiest of your border crossings, after that expect to spend 1-2 hrs at each countries border, (that's 20 hrs or more for borders R/T), those are precious hours if you only have 3 weeks. Navigating through towns that have little or no signage (even with Garmin maps) had us going in circles more than once. It is best to leave what you know about rules of the road in TX and figure out what the locals do, there is an order to what looks like chaos. I am not trying to dissuade you, it's your trip and I hope you have a good time. I really enjoy MX and am planning to head south this month to catch some Dia de los Muertos festivities. There is plenty of information available using Search and reading every RR you can find. Buen viaje.
    #20
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