So where to start. I’m Dan, a 57yr old DWM (edited August 2019. Am now 59, having spent two birthdays on the road) with, like many of you, an insatiable Wanderlust. I left my Corporate job two weeks ago. Have almost finished cashing everything in. The plan is to leave NE Ohio on June 16(ish) of this year, and do as so many others have done, or tried to do, ride to Ushuaia via a TAT ride (and then, in my plan, return ride, taking more time) It started in the mid-70s when a friend’s older brother gave my friend and I an 8mm copy of a movie titled “Cycles South”, a 1971 docu-funny movie about 3 friends who decide on a whim to head south on motorcycles, Freewheeling hippy-styled adventures ensued. I cannot recommend watching it enough! Watched that over and over projected onto a white sheet in his basement I think of myself as a Hippie, and do my best to spread peace, love, understanding and compassion wherever I go and to (pretty much) whomever I meet. I know a LOT of time has passed since the days of yore when Peace and Love was (at least in my perception) more prevelant, and today’s current climate seems light-years away from the peace and love era, but I really want to do my part to bring it back, if even just in my own mind. 13 years of a failed Marriage wasn’t enough to dampen the overall desire to ride (she wasn’t into it really) and since the Divorce a bit over a decade ago, my riding has exploded, Mostly Sport-touring, ripping around the USA and Canada Typical stuff, but for me never got enough. My favorite bike amongst many was the blue ‘03 SV pictured. Sold with well over 200K on her. (miss that bike) The riding was only limited by a couple of broken legs (#1 hit a deer, #2, hit some ice) and limited mainly by my most pronounced life problem, Cluster Headaches. They are a neurological disorder, sometime thought to be caused by a malfunctioning hypothalamus gland. They aren’t headaches in the traditional sense, and not related to Migraines (though I have much compassion for sufferers of Migraines) The attacks are shorter lived than a typical migraine, though much much more intense. Often referred to by researchers as the highest level of pain one can experience. If not aborted by a Sumatriptan injection (which are in themselves hard on the heart) the attack lasts perhaps an hour...only to be repeated again...and sometimes a third time. Every single day of a “cycle” You see there are two types of Cluster sufferers. Chronic and Episodic. Mine are Episodic, and a “cycle” of attacks lasts from around 4 weeks (short one) to as much as 4-5 months (my worst) before they end and a remission begins. The drugs given during the cycles are done to try to end the cycle. Most of them cause problems of their own, and NONE of them allow normalcy in one’s life. Work is impossible. Sleep is impossible. Cluster headaches are nicknamed “Suicide headaches” for a good reason. Some promishing research is being done in the UK and AUS on Clusters using specific molecules associated with Psilocybin mushrooms. Some report remissions for the first time in years. Some have had total remission. Let’s just say that one goal on my trip will be …..to trip. We’ll leave it at that for now I could go on...and am certainly willing to answer any questions you might have, but will stop talking about my problem now...as I have been in remission now for 14 months. One of my longest ever. Let’s talk about my upcoming trip….my bike prepped for the Journey….how I am affording it...whatever. I have somehow maintained decent jobs throughout the decades of dealing with this problem. But that Divorce/Custody battle lasted 18 months and cost me everything. A NICE big house in a great neighborhood in Cleveland (Shaker Heights) and much much more. It threw me into financial chaos. The decade since, I have tried to live an economical life, but paying off the nearly $100K in debt was VERY hard. Harder than it should have been. But...as my Son prepared for College entrance exams, and yet another financial burden was staring me in the face, it happened. I was beyond broke and had MAJOR debt Ex-wife had nothing to her name aside from the huge house (she still has) and she had little income. Because of these factors, and along with our Son doing very well in both the ACT and SAT tests, the offers started coming. HUGE low-income Grants were procured. Combined with academic scholarships, he graduated from a GREAT college with honors and two degrees (Neuroscience and Microbio) and get this….with NO debt. None! Then he went and moved to Baltimore and got a great job at a Brain Research Lab. In August of this year, he’s moving again...to Boston as he just accepted a FULL RIDE to Grad School at Boston U, along with a salary! So, he’s off on his own...and my job as Father is partly successful. I can go now. That, and my total debt is now VERY close to ZERO (and will be after a chunk of the nest egg is thrown at it) So, to the point. My only funds are the measly $$ from the past 10 years 401K plan at a Corp Job (Senior Buyer/Sourcing for Biotech Co.). I qualify for the “55 Rule” for 401K closures. 1) I am at least 55 yrs old 2) Have been working at the Co. where the plan is at least 5 years and: 3) I am no longer working there My last day at work was April 16th!!! So I can take it all out w/out penalty, althogh I do have to pay taxes, The call has been made. The check is, as they say, in the mail. Once in my hands, it’ll be split into different accounts, etc for the trip Passport has been secured Routes through Mexico determined. Room enough on the Nov 3rd date with the Stahratte confirmed. Bike build completed yesterday. Bike started. All is well. Getting it plated this week. Bike is a 2011 DR650 that I got from a dealer with 62 miles on it, so essentially new. Heavily modified for the trip, having gone over pretty much anything that could be done to a DR to prepare, outside of welding reinforcements on the frame. There she is on the left, next to my friend Ed’s DR that he built for the same trip (has since gone to a new Honda AT) Here’s pretty much the entire Procycle catalog, along with full Cogent suspension...lots of stuff Basic list of mods done to date Cogent springs and DDC cartridges up front, 5W oil. Honda Dominator front fender Warp9 fork brace Custom upper triple, Rox risers, Protaper EVO bars in CR High bend Oxford ADV heated grips Galfer brakes and brake lines Trail Tech Vapor guages Dual USB charge port with built in voltage meter (switched on dash) 30W Phillips H4 LED bulb in main light (KTM 690SM headlight bucket) 30W LED light bar, combo spots and floods (switched on dash) Yenkro tower and rally fairing assembly Safari 30L tank Corbin Saddle TCI Skidplate/engine guards, with highway pegs mounted NSU screws safety wired Countershaft seal retainer installed High Output 250W stator installed Mosfet R&R installed. Upper chain roller removed Lower chain roller replaced with improved unit with sealed bearings. Full LED turn signals LED trail light in DR350 shell (Sylvania ZEVO...freaking BRIGHT brake light) Custom tool holder for Snap Jack (no centerstand) Moose Expedition rack system Mule Pack poly molder lockable panniers Givi Trekker Outback monokey top case Cogent Mojave shock All bearing gone over and greased (every one on bike) Procycle mid-pipe and Suzuki x40FOx can from GSXR (the Holy Grail!) with spark arrester added. JNS Sproket cover/case saver JNS lower and further back footpeg brackets Promoto ADV giant footpegs Wheels are (for now) stock. On way to the West Coast, will be stopping at Woodys Wheel Works and getting hooked up with a set of custom wheels for the trip (Rachelle is AWESOME!) with gold hubs, black rims, rear sealed for tubeless, stock sizes Running down 1 tooth in front for now. Will decide after break in miles whether I like it. And as she sits today, nearly completed. Just started her yesterday and all seems well. Mule Pack poly panniers on Moose Expedition racks. Top box is Givi Outback Trekker monokey If anyone has any specific questions about the mods, feel free to ask! As far as gear, will be hauling a pretty extensive spare parts bag to hopefully get me out of trouble, including full rebuild kits for both the forks and the Cogent Mojave rear shock. NSU safety wired, Stator replaced with higher-output and Mosfet R&R installed. Running Oxford heated grips, and have SAE plug for my Gerbings jacket liner. Using a lightweight Kelty Gunnison 2 man tent to start, with 15deg synthetic Big Agnes sleep system with 4” insulated mattress. Extensive cook kit (gasolone burner, custom fit to Trangia winscreen/pot set) , as I LOVE procuring fresh food for the night’s meal when camping. And speaking of camping, not planning on doing much in MX and CA, but all bets are off once I reach SA. Will be visiting a friend and her family in Ecuador at Christmas, and I believe they have a secure address, so am thinking of shipping my Redverz Solo tent down there, to avoid haluing that heavy thing all the way down, before I can really enjoy it. So...just wanted to get this out here finally in ADV. I’ve been doing some posting in the DR650 thread and a few others, mostly asking for advice. And now, the trip is rushing up at me like a freaking freight train. I am a bit scared right now. Vascillating between fear and depression at times. Slacking lately in my daily Spanish practice (Duolingo says I’m 45% fluent lol) but as the Earth rotates around the Sun, time is NOT waiting for me to get going. I’m at the point of no return now!!! A group of riding friends from Ohioriders.net are having their annual Deals Gap trip in June. Ed and I will be joining them in the Smokys, and then leaving on 6/24ish to ride the TAT West to the Oregon coast. From there, South until the road runs out. My plan for this RR is simple: Raw unfiltered posting and pictures will probably be posted live on my FB page as they happen, assuming I have cell signal etc. When I have a restfull place and decent Wifi, I will update this RR as well as the one already going on Ohioriders (link in my signature) with such content that your head’s will explode. Guaranteed, So please have patience with me. And I hope you enjoy following along, even if for a short while. There have been a ton of Ride Reports here on ADV that have fueled my dream. Too many to try to list, but all I can say is thank you Michnus/Joseph/Charlie/RainbowFarm/ and sooo many others for having the courage to share your life with us, and taking the time to do so. In the next week I’ll get the bike plated, get insurance worked out and begin final packing and prep work like that.