Belly of the Beast... 3 MN amigos to ride KLR's through Central America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ringobus, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Ringobus

    Ringobus Been here awhile

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    Wake up, get ready for work, go to work, go home, eat dinner, go to bed and repeat. Are you tired of this kind of life and watching reruns of cops each day? We are to so here we go again. This time it will be much different than the last 14 epic trips in the past 12 years of riding together.
    This time we are off to Mexico and all of the countries in Central America. Why you ask? Because we can and those countries are there and they need to be experienced and we need adventure. This is not a Shackleton or Columbus type expeditions but over the top travel for the average leg draggers like us. Will the locals be happy to see us? Of course they will and who wouldn't be.

    Most people would never dare to step outside of their comfort zone of their own mind, living room or their own state of residency but we do and we will. These poor short sided people think we are crazy. Well crazy is as crazy does and we are not rubber room or straight jacket material but we do like a challenge and this is a big one for some of us everyday guys. Check your fears and apprehension at the door inmates and get ready for some fun or as Andy Dufresne says "get busy living or get busy dying," which we fully intend on doing Starting Oct. 31st.


    A LITTLE BACKGROUND
    Our other trips have mainly been a group of 6-8 riders and much shorter in distances. Most trips are a week or less. This time we are a lean unit of 3 riders largely due to our regular riders having time constraints, fear of the unknown and guys still vacuumed up in the vortex of kids and their jobs.
    Our crew has done Alaska, 14 Summits in Colorado, The Pacific NW tour, Key West - Miami to Washington DC, the Bourbon Trail (Tail of the Dragon) tour and Minnesota to Cabo on $1,000 bikes down the Baja in 8 days. Check out our story on ADV Rider where we donated the bikes to an orphanage 2 years ago. None of these past tours even come close to what we are about to embark on so kick back and tune in often.


    THE RIDERS
    3 riders…. Ringo, Sweet Johnny A and Norm (Berg is support staff back home). We depart from Northwestern MN and trailer the bikes down to our good buddy Garth’s house in Houston, TX around the 1st of Nov. and start the ride from there. 1 day of riding in SE Texas along the coast as much as possible and cross into Mexico to kick start this epic run. We anticipate 18-19 days out of the US and we will drive to the end of the road south of Panama City to the Darien Provence and return. I know, I know…. It isn’t a long enough time to experience these countries the right way but this should give each of us a good taste of life south of the boarder.

    We are NOT retired yet so there is some level of excuse. For Sweet Johnny A and I we have both been riding together for several years and roll pretty well together. As far as Norm goes you couldn’t ask for a better dude with an easy going personality but we haven’t spent days together riding and he will undoubtedly get sick of my flap about 6-7 days in. Ha.

    After all Norm is the FNG (Farging New Guy) and he will just have to put up with me and my ongoing freak show.

    Sweet Johnny A with his green sparkle Barbie

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    THE BIKES AND GEAR
    3 Kawasaki KLR 650 (the Swiss Army Knife of motorcycles) 2 are 2011’s and John’s is a 2016.
    Why KLR’s you ask? Lets dissect a bit.

    Fewer moving parts
    One lung and long lasting
    Carburetor for fuel not a fancy injection systems
    Most shade tree mechanics can work on them
    Parts are available almost everywhere or things can be jimmied.
    Very dirt and road capable
    Light and nimble through traffic and for dodging the random chicken or donkey
    Inconspicuous to the natives. Too flashy means you get pulled over or possibly robbed
    Comfortable enough to put 10 hours in the saddle and still walk without a cane at the end of the day
    Ability to haul gear? Yep!!! If it doesn’t fit it doesn’t ship.
    Lastly price. Expensive and new enough to make the trip and cheap enough to leave behind in case of a catastrophe

    Gear? We will be lean and mean. We will haul only 1 set total of spare tubes, tube repair kits, compressor, misc tools, chain lube, spare sprockets, a spare front tire, a quart of oil each, bike covers (theft deterrent) bike cable & lock and tow-tie down equipment in case we need to hitch a ride on a chicken truck into town for repair.
    I will be bringing a computer to keep you all posted along with some micro cameras for filming portions of the ride. Giddy up.


    ROUTE AND TRIP PLANNING
    The basic route it try cross on south Texas either in Brownsville or McAllen into Mexico and follow as much of the Gulf of Mexico as possible to Belize and into Guatemala then Honduras, Nicaragua into Costa Rica and finally to Panama.

    Scan 1.jpg

    It was our understanding we need to load up on pills and immunizations. Well we completed the shots last week at the travel clinic in Fargo. We received shots for Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Measles, Mumps and Rubella, Tetanus and Typhoid Fever.
    We will also take malaria pills a few day prior to entering into Guatemala and through the entire trip. As much as we don’t want to take these meds in fear of sprouting a third eye, going into convulsion or dragging a leg, we knew if we didn’t we stand the risk to not get in or out of these countries.
    There has been conflicting reports of riders not getting out of Panama without proof of the Yellow Fever vaccine or being held up for days waiting to get their passport stamped. I guess having to be admitted to a hospital in a third world country because of a mosquito bite is reason enough to get the immunizations let alone getting sick or dropping dead from a bite. Probably most important is the anti diarrhea drugs. Our great friend and mentor of this trip Dave B. (who took this trip in reverse last year) gave us some great insight on diarrhea on how to get your pants and underwear laundered on the road when you crap yourself. Mud butt is a hell of thing when you get food poisoning which is most likely inevitable. I can't wait... when it happens to John and Norm.

    Anyway we will continue putting together the final plan on route and approximate locations to stay per night. This will be a fluid trip since we will NOT preplan cities or towns to stay in and having to hold a certain schedule. We want this trip to remain spontaneous and as stress free as possible.
    We will go with the flow!!!

    Stay tuned for more and thanks for following along.

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. FTL900

    FTL900 White and nerdy

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    Hokay, following!! I have a street-bikes baja trip planned for next spring, so I'll be watching you guys and waiting my turn.
    #2
  3. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

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    Looking forward to this! I enjoyed the Baja run you did, this should be good!
    #3
  4. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Sounds like a great trip you have planned. Having worked in Guatemala a few times and ridden in all the CA countries numerous times I would say you are being a little paranoid with all the meds! Are you mostly camping in the jungle in open hammocks or hotels? Malaria in Guatemala? Better start taking the pills up in Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche and Chiapas as the climate and area is similar to Guate.

    Following along have a great trip
    #4
  5. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a great trip. I lived and worked in Mexico for about 40 years but just moved to Corpus Christi Tx. If I can help or you want to chat about Mexico on you way through send me a pm and we’ll meet somewhere. Have a great time. I’ll be following your report.
    #5
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  6. Phlyn' Phil

    Phlyn' Phil Been here awhile

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    Ah shit, you girls are gonna have fun. Im in.
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  7. Ringobus

    Ringobus Been here awhile

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    #7
  8. Ringobus

    Ringobus Been here awhile

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    The last supper (lunch actually) with some of our fellow riders and we 27 hours before departure.
    The trailer is loaded down and we are all packed. We just need to finish up a few things and we are on our way.
    Mexico.... Here we come..

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    #8
  9. discochris

    discochris Stayin' Alive

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    This sounds cool! I'm following!

    (BTW, I think we've met. I think I bought your 2002 V-strom - I still have it, though it has more than a few more farkles now...)
    #9
  10. FTL900

    FTL900 White and nerdy

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    Just a paranoid suggestion... the bike loaded front right might consider pulling the top box off for the trailering portion. I trailered my FJR1300 to Colorado and back. On the way there it was fine, but on the way home, the wind pulled the color panel off my top box. It's a top plastic cover held on by several screws. I had no idea there was so much wind force back there with no rider onboard.
    Good luck!
    #10
  11. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    I'll be watching you boys . Duct tape that top box cover until it will never blow off . . If you are starting with new tires,chains and sprockets you should have no trouble doing the entire trip, KLR are not noted for severe tire consumption .. if you arent wheel spinners .You can easily buy new tires in Guatemala City
    Just get some spare brake pads though ,you never know how often you want to slow down . And maybe one water pump rebuild kit . I wouldnt count on there being many actual spare parts available at small Mex and CA shops , it would require an order and a long wait .
    #11
  12. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    I like the fact that you say you want an adventure but I have to tell you that if you are planning 19 days to get to the Darian Gap...you will spend about a quarter of that time just crossing borders...hours sitting in the hot sun or pouring rain...and then you're turning around and crossing the same borders all the way back. Not to mention paying all the border fees a second time. If you have 19 days down and 19 days back...I would spend the whole 38 days in Mexico and maybe Belize and Guatemala. Mexico is so diverse that you will not get bored in 38 days. The people are great...the riding is great...and the food is great. Not that anything I said will change your minds but I will still follow along.
    #12
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  13. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Its been a few years since I went all the way to Panama but I do remember not paying the border fees a second time on the way back, I just kept the import permits open for the return ride. 38 days is doable for a first time ride if you like to ride every day. Crossing borders taking 4 days total, a bit of an exaggeration Si/No?
    #13
  14. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    Each crossing, about half day.
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  15. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    After above post, I realized more illustration is needed.
    This is how it will go down. You will arrive at border to exit. One of you, the most experienced will take another rider to do paperworks while the third watches over your bikes. While the most experienced shows how to do the process second one will pay attention and while the paperwork is processed second one will switch place with third one for the fire watch.
    Once you are done that, you go cross the border and have to do the entry portion of it in above mentioned order. Plus you might have to purchase insurance, SIM, etc.
    Another suggestion is, your ride down to Gulf of Mexico side looks uninteresting. If you need to gain time that's ok, I guess,.
    #15
  16. Ringobus

    Ringobus Been here awhile

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    Thank you all for the tips and suggestions. We depart at 4:00 today and excited beyond belief.
    Yes Discochris, that is my old V-Strom you have. We buy bikes each year for the type of trip we ride and you just happen to own the bike I took on our bourbon tour and Tail of the Dragon run.
    I loved that bike. It served me well and a blast to run the Dragon's Tail!!!!
    By the way we are 19 days total but the ride is fluid and can extend if needed. We will see how the borders go. If we have to cut the trip short we will. We anticipate about an AVERAGE of 300 miles per day.
    Cheers!
    #16
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  17. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    19 days total...down to Panama and back to Texas. You are crazy...in my humble opinion. Even on the best roads in Mexico you will be lucky to do 300 miles a day. Then you add in even crappier roads in Central America...good luck with that. 19 days down to the Yucatan and circle through Belize and Guatemala is even a push for 19 days. OK...I'll shut up. Ride safe.
    #17
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  18. wilddoktor

    wilddoktor Adventurer

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    I'm in! Man...those bikes look so clean right now. :D
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  19. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    I'll be following along with your report. Your daily mileage amounts are high as every one has said . Go for it and get as far as you can in 9 days and then turn around and return. I have ridden in Mexico a lot and there have been times where I have done 700km days usually autopistas.
    #19
  20. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Your Gulf coast southbound route is the quick way to and through Honduras but would be quickest if you crossed into Guatemala by way of El Ceibo ( SE of Tenosique) and skipping Belize . THAT way you could hit Yaviza in about ten days of pushing yourselves . No way , if you run out east in the Yucatan to do Belize .
    Aiming for 19 days Texas to Texas is very optimistic . And your hopes for a daily total of 300 MILES ( 480km) is not going to happen once you get away from the faster highway in Mexico .
    If you have the flexibility you should add at least a week ( more is better yet) and have a trip memorable for the right reasons , not a race back along the same route .
    What’s the hurry for getting back to the US ? - its going to be lousy winter you hit !

    As to the plan to do the border crossing routine in that complicated relay fashion , it will severely stretch the time required as you have to get into the back of the lineup three (3 X) times .Don’t be so paranoid about watching your bikes . If you have no bling dangling loose on the bike , everything of interest stashed and locked up well out of sight nobody at the crossing is going to steal anything . Get the lead guy in the know to LEAD the other two and get it over with in one pass . The two will learn the process and should be able to get it done by themselves pretty quickly .
    #20