Canada2Argentina - Going outside to play for 6 months!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by marcoue, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Will do! And I get it about the worries. Same feeling in 2008 for my trip to Inuvik. Once sitting on the bike, everything is just fine and you become focused on the drive and the day to day tasks, not what could possibly go wrong! Can't wait to leave!
    #21
  2. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Preparation of a motorcycle trip that will last for more than 6 months and on a distance of over 20000 km is not made lightly. This is certainly not an improvisation exercise and requires careful and meticulous planning in order to minimize risks and ensure that the time spent travelling is done so for the adventure and not spending time handling problems!

    I have prepared in different ways, for almost 10 years.

    The first step was to choose the right motorcycle. This is a matter of preference and taste and the options are various. Mine is a BMW R1200GS Adventure. But lets se how this came about.

    In 2007, I bought a R1200GS.

    2007-06-29-Maritimes-072.jpg

    That summer, I travelled for more than 20000 km. loved the bike but never the less, some issues pushed me to turn to the Adventure model of the same series, which offers the following benefits:

    • Substantial increase in autonomy with a bigger tank (600 km compared to 350)
    • Enduro transmission providing easier off-road driving or when the bike is loaded with heavy luggage with a shorter 1st speed
    • Better protection before with a larger windscreen
    • Better protection of the legs against the wind with a bigger gaz tank
    • Electronic suspension for adjustments in various conditions such as bumpy roads, off-road or with passenger and luggage
    • A more powerful electrical system for accessories such as a heating jacket, heated gloves, GPS, phone charger
    • Higher driving position, an advantage in trails or rough roads
    • Metal panniers that are more solid, offer more space and safer agains possible thiefs
    • Better lighting with the additional fog lights
    • Electrical outlets for accessories
    • Spoke wheels
    In 2008, I purchased a new GS but this time, the Adventure version. In July of that year, I travelled across Canada for 6 weeks, up to the Canadian Arctic Circle, in Inuvik, NWT.

    2008-07-16 Dempster Highway 055.jpg

    Here's what I learned from this experience.

    The positive:

    GPS: mandatory! The model chosen (Garmin Zumo 550) was perfect. Yes I know, some will say that the good old maps make are sufficient, but for my part, I have no time to lose toget lost. There are so many interesting things to see that I do not have a couple hours to spare each day to find an address or a motel. This is a tool I use to the maximum and even if things wiil be different (inacurate maps) in Central and South America, I intend to use this tool everyday.

    Lockable Touratech GPS mount: Provides peace of mind when leaving the bike a few minutes and the necessary strength to cope bad roads or trails in poor condition

    Widder heated vest with sleeves: I could not imagine doing a motorcycle trip without this piece of equipment, it's as simple as that! The advantage of the Widder was its strong connections and dimmer which offered the possibility of fine adjustments to the desired temperature (I now have the Powerlet model, allowing the addition of heated gloves).

    ASC Suspension: This option offered on the new GS actually provides clear advantages when driving off-road, especially with a heavily loaded bike

    Throttle Lock: Although this is not a cruise control as such, this little mechanism used to lock the throttle grip and to, time to time, rest my arm. In addition, I could handle things with my right hand (zipper, helmet, food ...) which is a great advantage. I could not imagine such a trip without this equipment!

    Luggage transport system: My strategy was simple: nothing should be free, unlocked on bike. This was simply not possible. The solution is to add extra carrying bag and lock them with a PACKSAFE net

    Lights: GS stock lights are not sufficient to comfortably drive at night, even with the fog lights turned on. Frankly, it's unsafe. I modified my system to HID

    Seat: The original seat of my BMW R1200 GS Adventure is firm, durable and comfortable for many situations, but is not designed for long days of driving and was certainly one of the most negative points of the trip. Despite the addition of an AIRHAWK cushion, pain appeared quickly and became unbearable. I purchased a saddle Sargent, what a difference!

    Helmet: I used a helmet Nolan N102 for 2 reasons. The first is that it is modular, allowing me to raise the entire front. For me it is a priority! It gives me freedom of action, but mostly makes hot days much more pleasant, besides the fact that you can more easily communicate (gas station, Customs and others). But frankly, I hate the helmet. Just too heavy, very noisy (wind), poor sound (music), bad sealing (rain enters the visor even when completely closed, very fragile ( I lost parts from the helmet because of the wind), the connectors must be handled with care, because the internal welds easily brokes (2 changes under warranty), expensive (with accessories, almost $ 1000 !!!).For a trip to South America for example, it is not an option. I turned to the BMW System 6 helmet that I've now used and loved for 3 years!

    These changes were tested in 2011 during additional long trips (Labrador, Newfoundland, California) and other shorter but off the beaten track in Vermont and Quebec. Nothing is perfect but I'm comfortable with my equipment and I am confident that everything will be perfect for a trip to South America. The preparation of this trip and the experiences I've had will be key to this journey.

    In 2010, the bike had already over 130000 km so I decided to sell it and purchase of the same model from 2010, in order to travel to South America (initially scheduled for 2012 or 2013). It is on this bike that I will do my journey in 2016. It has 53000 km on the odometer and is in very good condition.

    Tire change, basic mechanics: Having practiced tire changes and making basic maintenance to the bike, I felt prepared for possible problems.

    Weaknesses:

    BMW AllRound Gloves: These gloves made of leather work 95% of the time, but does not offer enough protection against the cold and rain. I now wear heated gloves and a waterproof Art'ericx shells in cold or bad weather and a pair of BMW GS gloves for hot days

    Sleeping bag: I tried to save space with a +7C sleeping bag. Well, it was ultra compact, but made in the majority of my nights uncomfortable. Unfortunately, a -9C bag is essential for this kind of trip with the consequence more volume of luggage

    2010-09-23-Arrivee-GSA-07.jpg



    The preparation of this adventure is therefore done in 6 steps:
    1. Motorcycle purchase
    2. Practice, practice, practice
    3. Adjustments and tests
    4. Listing equipment or items to bring
    5. Listing, taking photos and storage (many dry runs!)
    6. Maintenance of the bike (just before leaving)
    The last 3 points are divided into 12 categories:
    1. Accessories for the motorcycle (farkles)
    2. Parts for maintenance
    3. Tools
    4. Motorcycle clothing
    5. Equipment for camping / hiking
    6. Electronic equipment
    7. Clothing
    8. Medical, health, insurance
    9. Documents
    10. Maps (GPS / Paper)
    11. Route
    12. Budget
    The next posts will focus on each of these preparation steps!
    #22
    burley likes this.
  3. kaspilo

    kaspilo Been here awhile

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    that's my dream trip.... I live in NW Arkansas, but I'm originally from south america. Let me know if your route takes you by here, will be nice to meet you... cheers and good luck, ride safe!!
    #23
  4. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

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    Count me in. You've surely have thought this plan through very carefully. Ready to see the wheels heading south.

    John
    #24
  5. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    We do share the same dream! I might actually passing not too far from AR. My plan is really to race across the USA. As neighbors, the States are quite accessible so I want to spend the more time as possible in places where I can't go everyday! I plan to do it in 5 or 6 days max. I'll cross into Mexico at Piedra Negras. Might do a bit of a detour for New Orleans and definitely try to stop in Austin, TX.

    Capture d’écran 2016-07-10 à 16.45.12.png

    I'll keep you posted!
    #25
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  6. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Great, thanks John!
    #26
  7. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    The worst CDN card is TD Visa or TD cash card. The best is RBC visa and card. Every bank has there own security protocols, TD's are insane. RBC has never once been a problem cc or cash in either Latin America, Oz/NZ, SE Asia or China. But you should notify them in advance of the countries you are travelling through.
    #27
  8. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

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    Sub'd! Safe travels!!
    #28
  9. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Thank you sir!

    Just read you RR in Ecuador. Nice! Weill try to see a few places you've been to but some might not be possible on a fully loaded GSA!
    #29
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  10. burley

    burley alaskan wanderer

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    Go for it ,look forward to your RR. Keep on rolling. The adv community has you back.
    #30
  11. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Thanks Burley! I must admit that I do rely a lot on what I read here to prepare and once on my way, will still do to help me navigate passed all the challenges that I'll face!
    #31
    burley likes this.
  12. burley

    burley alaskan wanderer

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    And along the way you can rest assured that inmates are closer than you might imagine, got your 6 this fourm is awsome
    #32
  13. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Farkle (also spelled “farkel”) is a term common among adventure motorcyclists. Enthusiasts will “farkle up” their motorcycles with aftermarket accessories such as radar detectors, GPS units, tall windscreens, steering stabilizers, carbon fiber bits, cushy aftermarket seats, and so on…

    The BMWR1200GSA comes standard with an impressive list of equipment, but it is clear to anyone who engages in adventure motorcycling, that several items for protection or ergonomics must be added to the bike.

    Just like for selection of the vehicle, the choice of additional equipment is very personal and the list of what is available for the GS is almost endless. Unfortunately, the bank account is not and some choices have to be made.

    Here is the list of what I have chosen to add the beast in order to be more efficient, comfortable and safe.

    BMW aluminium case set, panniers BMW
    Sargent seat Front and back
    BMW Large Bash plate Part # 77 14 7 724 326
    BMW Power sockets 2X
    Kaoko Throttle Lock Kaoto
    BMW Aluminum Luggage Carry Handle BMW 3X
    Throttle potentiometer cover Touratech
    Lockable Cradle GPS Zumo 550 Touratech
    Rear brakefluid reservoir guard Touratech
    Front brakefluid reservoir guard Touratech
    Front clutch reservoir guard Touratech
    Cross Bar - 275mm Touratech
    Lockable oil plug Touratech
    Unifilter - "prefilter" Touratech
    Rear fender tabs cover Touratech
    Side stand extender Touratech
    Adjustable Folding Shift Lever Touratech
    One bottle holder (holder only) Touratech 3X
    GPS Zumo 550 Garmin 2X
    SPOT GPS gen3
    Bike mount for SPOT GPS Quadlock
    Extra motorcycle keys 2X
    Motorcycle Cover
    Compression bag for cover MEC 5 litres
    Jumper Cable Powerlet
    Micro-Start PPS XP-5 Jump Starter Antigravity
    USB Weatherproof Power Socket Burns Moto
    USB Cable iPhone Apple (2) Noirs
    Spider nets 2X
    Straps BMW 4X
    Flexible 10mm Steel cable 2X
    Locks Weather proof 2X
    BMW To Coax Female 10" Length powerlet - Backup for heated vest vest
    Powerlet SEA to double socket Powerlet
    RAM mount and iPhone 6 plus Craddle RAM
    iPhone 5 craddle (backup) RAM
    iPhone Bike Support Quad Lock
    HID lights DDM
    Rockstraps Twinpack 30" 2X
    Security net for backpack Pacsafe 85L
    Spider nets 2X
    BWM Led indicators

    2016-07-01-equipement-moto-42.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-27.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-30.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-31.jpg

    Let's start with major expenses.

    The BMW Aluminum boxes are a logical choice and easy to do from my side. They are very aesthetic, solid, safe and locked with the same key as the bike. They also provide an ideal surface for all the little stickers that I can collect during my trip!

    The second essential accessory despite its high price, is a saddle adapted to long trips. As experienced during my trip to Inuvik in 2008, suffering from this body part can make the experience of long driving days miserable. My choice was a model offered by Sargent Cycle. Again aesthetically pleasing, but above all, ultra comfortable and solid.

    I also added some protective equipment, mainly from Touratech. I tried to limit myself to the essential, but not always easy to resist (see images below)!

    Now about the instruments for navigation. There are now several GPS models specifically designed for motorcycling. My only problem with them is the "static" mode of navigation their provide. Traffic data is not dynamic, as with Google Maps for example. Even if there are paid options with Garmin or TomTom to add this feature, nothing can, as of today, be compared to the detail accuracy for or the number of points of interest provided by Google Maps, even if it is available for free.

    I purchased a Garmin Zumo 550 in 2007 and despite its questionnable reliability, I still appreciate the model and for the reasons listed above, I am not willing to invest more than $ 1000 to make update this piece of equipment.

    I own an iPhone 6 plus. I installed a USB connector and 2 brackets on the handlebar, close to the instruments. The primary support is a RAM type cradled and second, a support from Quadlock normally used for cycling. Although not as rugged adapted, it is solid enough and its advantage is that the iPhone is in a case that easily attaches to the support but also offers a waterproof cover in case of rain. I use the same system for running, cycling and hiking. I highly recommend this solution for its ergonomics, solidity and reliability.

    I must also consider the fact that the maps available for South and Central America are more limited in terms of accuracy. My navigation will therefore be primarily via Google Maps with my iPhone 6 Plus, in the cockpit, and my old Zumo in areas where the cellular signal is not available. I will write about the maps in a future post.

    Next post: The tools and parts needed for maintenance of the bike on the road.
    #33
  14. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    2016-07-01-equipement-moto-25.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-26.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-23.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-24.jpg More images
    #34
  15. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    More images (last!) 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-29.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-moto-04.jpg 2016-07-01-equipement-Moto-46.jpg
    #35
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  16. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    A 6-month trip to Central and South America comes with minor health risks. The rules of hygiene, water and food quality are highly variable from one place to another, and they are certainly not what my body is used to in North America.

    Certain precautions must be taken before departure.

    In Quebec, we are fortunate to have Travel Health Clinics and I just happened to had my appointment to see a nurse and a doctor yesterday.

    The biggest concerns for my trip:

    Vaccines:
    • Yellow fever
    • Rage (600$!!!)
    • Hepatitis (A + B)
    • Tetanus
    • Typhoid
    Medication:
    • Malaria (Malaria): Malarone
    • Altitude sickness: Diamox
    • Cholera: Dukoral
    The areas where I have to take preventive medication against Malaria (Malaria) are Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The other countries are not affected. These precautions are wearing long, loose fitting clothing, the use a bug repellent (DEET) and taking daily medication.

    Another good little trick that the doctor is mentioned me to keep my own needles and syringes in case of need outside the major centers. It is somewhat common that they are cleaned and reused to save on budget.

    Keep in mind that all of this must be done in advance, as some vaccines must be repeated (rabies and hepatitis) and may be subject to an audits to determine whether antibodies are present.

    As for water, I'll bring two filters, one for solids (Katadyn Hicker Pro) and one for bacterias (Steripen - UV Water Purifier). It is also important to remember that even bottled water can be simply filled with taped water in some areas.

    Hope these precautions remain just precautions!
    #36
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  17. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Long timer

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    From past RR's into that region of the world it seems you are taking more precautions than necessary. But that being said, nobody has every died from being overly cautious. Have a safe trip.
    #37
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  18. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    +1 on that but I have insurance and it's available so why not!

    My other big problem right now is that I have too much time to think, prepare, fine tune and yes, sometimes, worry about possible issues!!! I need to leave ASAP!!! Unfortunately, I can't before September 11th.

    :)
    #38
  19. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    I don't know how I missed this post for so long.

    I absolutely LOVE Montreal - we vacation there (in the Plateau) for 10 days every year. I would move there in a heartbeat - if Canada would take US immigrants!
    Subscribed...
    #39
  20. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Thanks Tony! Plateau is a great spot to get immersed in the city. Very European and multi ethnic at the same time! Do you drive up on the bike? Were you here already this year? This year's summer is incredible!
    #40