Like most of us here at ADV Rider, I have ridden through a fair amount of North America, but I have always wanted to travel far and wide on my motorcycle. It seemed as though I was doomed to ride only as far as my three-week vacations would allow. When my friend Dan mentioned that he and his brother-in-law were planning a trip to South America, I was envious. Man, I really wanted to go with them. Dan works at a sawmill, and has saved enough time to take ten consecutive weeks off. Not really enough time for a leisurely one-way ride to Tierra del Fuego, but it is better than nothing. As it turns out, Dan’s brother-in-law is not able to get the time off. That is the rewards of being in management, I guess. It sucks for sure. As for me, after 16 years with a natural gas utility company, I was bumped up to 5 weeks holidays per year. I wondered if I would be able to take two sets of holidays back to back, or maybe even get a leave of absence. I figured it couldn’t hurt to submit a formal request and see what the response would be. A month later, I found out: "Ten weeks of holidays (07-08) have been granted as long as you remain in your current position during that time." No problem!!! Now the only other real hurdle was my wife. Well, maybe "hurdle" isn’t the right word. Let me say the only other concern was my wife. I knew that Conchita would have no problem letting me go on my own, but I just didn’t think that was a fair thing to do. She loves to travel as much as I do, and the facts that we would be going to Latin countries, her ablility to speak the language, and her growing up in the Caribbean (Curacao) meant that the only choice we had was to do the trip together - two up on a 2006 GS 1200 ADV!!! Conchita was not as fortunate as I was in the holiday department. She is a teacher and taking the months of October, November and part of December off just did not fall into that schedule. So she did the next best thing - quit!!! She doesn’t seem too upset about it either - imagine that!!!! C and I get along great, and I think it is fantastic to do a trip like this with my partner. Of course that has brought up some gear, space and weight (the gear-not us, well maybe a little "us") issues, but so far I think we have it figured out. Our 10-day trip to Silverton, Colorado, for a Horizons Unlimited meeting was a good test run. Turns out Conchita’s riding gear was way too hot, and we need to find her some good mesh stuff. So, the big day is Sept 28th, 07. We will be leaving our place in northern Alberta, and heading down to Waterton/Glacier National Parks. Then we will ride highway 93 south into Las Vegas, where we will be getting a new set of Tourance tires put on the bike (BMW of Las Vegas possibly??). Dan on his KTM 950 will be leaving a few days after us, and we will hook up with him in Tombstone, Arizona, on Oct 5th. After that, the only plan we have is to hit the Copper Canyon in Mexico, and then head south - hopefully updating our blog and this thread at least once a week. We had hoped to visit "the Striking Viking" on our way through Mazatlan, but it sounds like he may not be around at that time. Too bad, I was looking forward to meeting him. Maybe his schedule will change by then? I am curious to see how the two bikes compare to each other as far as maintenance, etc. It may be a bit of an unfair comparison, as the GS will be carrying more weight. As far as planning goes: Parts We are bringing a spare key antenna (the bolts have already been drilled out for a roadside repair if required), alternator belt, bulbs (headlight, brake light and signal lights), brake pads, and I am seriously considering having a spare ceramic clutch with me as well. I will Not be bringing a final drive (watch that be the thing that craps out on us)!! Tools Sockets and ratchet drive to remove both front and rear wheels. Torx sockets for all bolts. Tire repair kit with cycle pump and pressure gauge. http://flickr.com/photos/bckgsphotos/1171423241/ http://flickr.com/photos/bckgsphotos/1171424857/ Tire irons. Pliers, vice grips, spark plug tool with cap puller. Emergency head repair kit (condom type looking thing). Mechanics wire, duct tape, electrical tape, zip ties and jumper cables, etc. This Coors Light cooler bag seems to work perfectly as a spare parts and tool kit, not to mention the obvious use. It will fit right into the bottom of the case and has a bit of padding. Might work. http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1174740644&size=m (I cannot figure out how to embed the link in the photo - seems flickr and ADV are not good friends. Believe me, I tried!!). Gear Tent: el cheapo, a bit iffy in the wind, but we got lots of binder twine!! http://flickr.com/photos/bckgsphotos/1172442334/ sleeping bags, sleeping pads: we decided to take only the down-filled (grey) bags. They are plenty warm and pack fairly small. http://flickr.com/photos/bckgsphotos/1172286156/ towels: super absorbant and almost dry when wrung out. Well, I don't plan on showering too much really anyway.....:huh http://flickr.com/photos/bckgsphotos/1174742228/ Powerlet heated liners http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1172286784&size=m First Aid kit and all sorts of pills. Drugs: Lots-O-drugs!! http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1173887023&size=m Immunizations: Yellow Fever (done) Typhoid Fever (done) Hepatitis A/B (done) Tetanus (done) Rabies (2 out of three so far): Rabies vaccine was $625 for each of us. Interestingly enough, it is exactly the same shot you would get for free if you happen to be bitten by a dog!! Had I known a little earlier..........??? Hey, there is still time to convince Conchita!! Drugs: Malaria pills galore!! (1/day x2 and 4 weeks after returing home-150 pills. If the Malaria doesn't kill you, the drugs will!!!!) Pills to prevent altitude sickness. (La Paz in Bolivia is over 12,000 ft) Pills to deal with altitude sickness if you do get it. Pills to stop diarrhea. Immodium. Allergy Pills. Foot powder(stinky feet is bad). Photocopied drivers licence for the "nice" police people. http://flickr.com/photos/bckgsphotos/1171429735/ Let's hope it all posts....seems these photos are not grooving the whole process. It worked in the preview finally .....I am crossing my fingers.