All The Way West - RTW on a DRZ 400

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by daveg, May 17, 2010.

  1. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Time to start up another ride report! My last ride was from Texas all the way south to Tierra del Fuego. This one is a bit more ambitious if things go according to plan:


    Edit - The actual trip starts on page 8 (!).
    The in between pages are about the preparation.
    [​IMG]

    The Route:
    Texas to Seattle to ship to Brisbane, Australia. Tour around Australia and ship from either Perth of Darwin to Singapore. From Singapore, tour SE Asia. Ship from somewhere.. don't know where to Mongolia. From Mongolia start riding west to Turkey via the 'stans. Once in Turkey, head north to Estonia. If I make it to Estonia, start checking out the rest of Eastern Europe. Drive towards Portugal and hook back up to Basque Country... Catch a ferry to England and depart from Scotland back to the USA! Leave West.. return East..

    Oh man.. writing it all out makes it sound even farther.

    Why?
    I wanted to travel more after making it to Ushuaia in December of 2008. This was the start of the "financial crisis" and I started to get freaked out that I was out playing around on my motorcycle while I still had a job back in Houston. I returned to Houston for a year and realized the world wasn't going to end so the itch came back......

    Actually, it never left.

    The best part is going to be living on my motorcycle. It is so nice to know every possession that you have. When I'm traveling on the motorcycle, it is the only time I feel that I am in control of my stuff, otherwise it is in control of me. No junk. Everything I carry has a purpose. Most have many!

    Which bike?
    2006 Suzuki DRZ 400 S. Yeah yeah yeah, I know. I'm supposed to be on a fancy BMW adventure touring beast but I learned my lesson last time. I spent a week or two traveling through Bolivia where not only did I not see a single street sign, but I didn't ride on any asphalt. When you're on a F650GS (supposed to be the small BMW!) and you have a choice between serious corrugation or deep sand... I really started thinking about my choice of bikes.

    I didn't drive over 55 mph for more than a few seconds in all of Central America. The only time I ever really opened it up was when I was on Ruta 3 in Southern Argentina. I'm generally too busy avoiding cars or looking at the scenery that I have no interest in buzzing high speeds.

    These two factors led me to my decision to take a significantly smaller bike. I did a test ride from Houston to Colorado last summer and it seemed to do OK.. so lets extend things out a little bit more this time :evil

    Timeline:
    Hopefully I'm going to have my house on the market soon. Either way, I'm going to take off in July-ish and travel over the USA a bit... I want to check out the rockies and find a place to move to once I finish traveling. Any ideas??

    I'm going to be in Australia until December/Jan.. Then maybe NZ for a month if things can work out right and I have a friend to meet up with and he has an extra bike to ride while my moto ships to S.E. Asia. SE Asia until March or whenever it gets warm enough to travel in Mongolia...

    Then I'll start heading west.

    Overall, I have about a year or so budgeted. But you know how it goes... maybe longer maybe shorter..

    Here's the DRZ when I'm on another ride in Big Bend State Park in west Texas. She's changed a bit... but I'll post more on my bike mods later:
    [​IMG]

    My plan is to keep updating the RR every once and a while but I'm going to try really hard to keep the blog up to date. You can check out the blog at: http://www.davegtravels.com.

    So much to do..

    Only 4 more days left of work... May 21st is my last day, then I'm full time mototraveler!

    #1
  2. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    <dl id="attachment_4" class="alignright"><dt>[​IMG]
    </dt><dt>Route Map
    </dt></dl>
    Planning a route is a hard thing. For this trip, I haven&#8217;t done a ton of research on route. I found with my last trip to TDF that the route naturally unfolded, even though the lines I drew on my map last time were just about right. I probably watched too much Indiana Jones as a kid.

    So these are the lines that I draw before I even prepare the bike. If you have any route advice, please leave a comment or send me a email!

    My main route planning is mostly relating to the logistics of shipping across oceans or impassable countries like China and figuring out what I need to temporarily import the moto into a country. For instance, there are many counties that require a Carnet de Passage, a prepaid bond that proves to the government that you&#8217;re not going to sell your motorcycle inside their country. A carnet isn&#8217;t required in any of the countries that I visited in Central and South America&#8211; but apparently it is needed in a bunch of countries in Asia.

    Who knows exactly which route I will take. One thing I do know is that I&#8217;ll leave to the West and come home via the East and prove to myself that we live on a sphere&#8230; or maybe a cone.. still not sure about the other way. I&#8217;ve never been good at geometry.

    Edit: Route update
    I've cut australia due to budgetary reasons, so here is the new possible route:
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    What an ambitious adventure! :clap Thanks for the intro.. and best of luck on your world tour! Keep us posted :thumb

    :lurk
    #3
  4. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

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    Will be keeping an eye on this one.:clap

    Todd
    #4
  5. Geoff D

    Geoff D Tenerista

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    Yeah good luck from me too. Will keep an eye on this one, when you get to Blighty I've a garage, tools etc you're welcome to use, place to crash etc, etc...:thumb
    #5
  6. Ekke

    Ekke RTW Adventurer

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    #6
  7. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer Supporter

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    This trip sounds like a blast! Here is to hoping it is the trip of a lifetime for you.:clap
    #7
  8. SCOTTSST

    SCOTTSST Adventurer

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    North Bend,WA-USA
    I'm in I will be watching this one for sure!
    #8
  9. Bluesmudge

    Bluesmudge Been here awhile

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    Portland, OR
    I like that you are going to be doing this on a DRZ. I'll be watching you for sure. I hope you plan on getting a new seat.
    #9
  10. mcc66

    mcc66 Been here awhile

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    Will be looking forward to following this. Good luck. see you in Perth, Western Australia.
    :thumb :lurk

    mcc66
    Michael
    #10
  11. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Thanks for the link. I don't know if I'm going to be north enough so quickly. It is kinda/more/less on the way.. plus, it'd be nice to visit a little bit of Canada.

    Yeah, the CAA website is fantastic, as well as the person who I talked to on the phone.
    #11
  12. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Thanks ya'll for the well wishes!

    Oh and yes, I do have a new seat. A way-too-pricey-unless-you're-going-rtw Renazco seat. It was a game changer. Without it, I would never consider riding the DRZ. I tried the gel seat and 3 or 4 different seat covers and nothing helped until I got the Renazco seat... man it is awesome.
    #12
  13. groop

    groop So much to ponder

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    Oddly, as a fellow DRZ owner this was my first thought while reading your first post.

    Enjoy the trip.
    #13
  14. lukeman

    lukeman Cool Hand

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    Looking like a great trip. If you're passing through DC on the last leg let me know. I know Lindsie is jealous of this trip, I am as well.

    Safe travels.
    #14
  15. Asphalt Assault

    Asphalt Assault Been here awhile

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    Tustin, CA
    This will be an amazing journey! Let me know if you need any help or a place to stay while you're in Southern California!
    #15
  16. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    Subscribed and ready to go! I can't wait to see this one! It's 2x Nate's adventure with Dot...holy cow.
    #16
  17. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    Nnnnnnnnnnnn :d
    #17
  18. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    I'll certainly let you know. I'm going to be running on a pretty tight budget when traveling through expensive places like the USA, Australia, and Europe.... anybody out there has a place to stay, I'll happily take you up on it. I truly appreciate the offer.

    Even more so, it is a thousand times more interesting to meet up with fellow riders than just sitting in a hotel room by myself watching TV:kboom. Atleast I'm going to be in english speaking countries for the first half of the trip. On my TDF trip, I'd catch myself watching Gossip Girl because it was the only thing on in English.

    I plan on hitting up the tent space thread and occasionally using couch surfing.com.
    #18
  19. RedWolf

    RedWolf Corporate Zombie

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    Slacking off
    Give me a yell if you need a place to stay while near Seattle, I am over on the Olympic Peninsula.

    I love your choice in bikes, hope it treats you well, it should.

    Subscribed for sure! :lurk
    #19
  20. ghostrider.y2k

    ghostrider.y2k ride enything but HD

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    NW Chicago burbs
    pm sent:thumb
    #20