Going South On A Stupid Budget And a Broken Bike

Discussion in 'Americas' started by kalachakra, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

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  2. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    Having been all through Central America I think you are having a bit of a knee jerk reaction. I get it, for you the risk vs reward is not weighing out. For a lot of us here we love it. We use a little common sense and throw it out there. What is adventure without some risk? Some adversity?

    So am I encouraging him to ride through countries I have already ridden through myself. No. I can't make that decision for him and wouldn't dream to.

    Let me quickly name a few highlights of my trip though...

    • Climbing Mayan pyramids as the only person on the site.
    • Climbing into an active volcano then sleigh riding down the side of it.
    • Being charged by a giant Brahma bull while riding
    • Riding to 9000 feet, descending into low desert, and then crossing a ridge into a rain forest. All in the same day.
    • Coming around the corner to see a tractor trailer overturned and about a million oranges everywhere!
    • Meeting super nice people and eating with them in road side restaurants
    • Being scared shitless while riding across bridges made from parallel pipes
    • Riding along a dirt road while a roadrunner paces beside me.
    • Having to stop for monkeys in the road.
    • Wrecking in Nicaragua. Getting back up and kicking a few things straight,adding some duct tape and riding on.
    • Standing on amazing beaches with crystalline blue waters.
    • Discovering a part of myself I didn't know existed.
    It took me until I was damn near forty to do it. Shit, how I wish I had done it earlier.

    But don't listen to me OP, go read trip reports of the people riding there everyday and having nothing but troubles...you are going to have to look real hard to find them though.
    #42
  3. Dr. Breedlove

    Dr. Breedlove Been here awhile

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    How long ago was that? I'm guessing it wasn't recently? Also note that you were forty and this kid is 18. And he barely knows how to ride. And he doesn't know how to do menial maintenance tasks.

    Before you encourage this kid to do this, consider whether you'd encourage your own kid to do the same under similar circumstances.
    #43
  4. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    You know what I mean, doing something stupid in Canada will get me killed just as easily as doing something stupid in Honduras you can't experience the world if you're too afraid to J walk accross the street,

    4092 pedestrians are killed walking accross the street per year, should I just never walk accross the street anymore?

    It's all about being prepared for risk, hence why I'm on this forum asking a plethora of questions I also said earlier that I know spanish and at gunpoint I would obviously be fucked but I can speak the language well enough that I know a scam when I see it I can't not travel anywhere interesting based on the odds that I might get robbed at gunpoint. Based on your logic I shouldn't travel to the Philipines or India either.
    #44
  5. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    Damn just this post is getting me super fucking exited I love how a large majority of these things aren't places or attractions they're events and could be viewed as downsides to the trip, yet the mentality to make something like getting chased by a bull a highlight is the exact kind of mindset I want to put myself in which just makes me want to leave for this trip sooner. It sad that I have to work for the next few months to get the funds but I suppose the more exited I get the more rewarding it will feel.
    #45
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  6. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    Thank you.
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  7. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    I can't encourage him. There is no way he can do this if he isn't committed. It's up to him. I don't know what he is or isn't capable of. Maybe he is an idiot that would get himself killed. Maybe he is a one good push away from being an amazing man. I have no way of knowing.

    At 18 I was married and in the Marine Corps with a ton of responsibility thrust upon me. I was a new rider myself having my own adventures out of my comfort zone.

    So I can't judge the OP based on his age or experience. How the Hell do you get experience without going out an doing something.

    Should he take some time to learn about fixing his bike? Absolutely. It's your lifeline. You will depend upon that machine for everything. It is literally one of the most important things in your life while on the road.

    Obviously he needs to do some planning. One simply doesn't walk into Mexico. But do you know what document you need for Mexico? If you could figure it out so could he. He needs to know what areas are to be avoided. He came here looking for help. We have the choice to be mentors and advisors or to be naysayers and detractors.

    I won't tell him to go because quite frankly he could be killed. Do you get that OP, you could honest to God be raped, robbed , and murdered. But I can't guarantee you won't trip on your front porch and die either.

    But neither can I tell him that seeing the world, the most valuable thing I have done all my life is a bad thing. No, in fact it would be disgraceful for me to do so. For all I know he is the next Hemingway, Audubon, or Ansel Adams. I have been travelling all my adult life and I have spent a small fortune doing so. I would not trade a single memory for any amount of money. It is priceless.

    So I won't instill my own concerns and fears in him. I will tell him to live life in whatever way he sees fit. I don't have children. I am sure I would be worried and scared. But I would also want my son to be a man and face the world with courage in order to see with his own eyes and not what the machine allows him to see.

    My trip was four years ago. Things aren't getting better. But for travelers they aren't likely getting worse either. I think it might do you some good to go and read some epic trip reports as well. Fear is the compatriot of age.
    #47
  8. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    Like I said I wouldn't be here if I wasn't willing to learn and noone here is deciding for me wether or not to risk my life or go on this trip. I just want to learn what I need to do and get the experience I need so I can do this trip and have the opportunity to do many more I appreciate your conscern but this was exactly the kind of response I wanted I've heard enough about what the dangers are and how I could die or get raped or kidnapped or taken for ransom you can't predict those things so it's useless to not do something out of those kinds of fears. If I'm making mistakes in my plan I encourage you to call me out on it and if you have information on what I would need to learn maintenance wise I would love to hear it, but I don't need to be told I could die for the 100000th time that's what my parents are for.
    #48
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  9. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    And fear is important I have it I have alot of it but fear is also the driving force for my trip it's something everyone needs to overcome the anxiety of not knowing what is next is powerfull but far less powerfull than the ability to overcome it and evaluate a proper response, canoeguy you have been a huge help (also Ansel Adams is litterally my idol along with Sebastiao Salgado and John Muir) so yeah I'm really bad when it comes to sticking my neck in a book but if someone shows or guides me through something I can hold on to that forever and since I know litterally noone with any mechanical experience especially with motorcycles I'm asking you guys. I suppose to formalise my questions I need to know a few things:

    1) What kind of papers do I need to travel through Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile (I know as a Canadian citizen I can get a travel visa but does it change for motorcycles like I know I could theoretically walk accross each border no problem but could I ride accross)
    2) What do I NEED to know maintenace and mechanics wise how to do before I leave (ie. Tire change, carb cleaning, chain replacement, how to put a tube in a tubeless tire just in case etc)
    3) What areas of each country should I avoid

    Any of these things would be greatly appreciated
    #49
  10. todd900ss

    todd900ss Been here awhile

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    You trying to discourage isn’t going to work any better for you than it did for his parents.
    So bring some guidance, encouragement or knowledge and quit beating a dead horse.
    #50
  11. Dr. Breedlove

    Dr. Breedlove Been here awhile

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    You're misinterpreting what I'm saying. I'm not saying "Don't go anywhere, you might get hurt". I'm saying that you're not old enough, and not anywhere near experienced enough to take on a trip like this. You're planning a trip, your first motorcycle trip - alone and inexperienced - across some of the most violent and corrupt countries on earth. And as if the criminals aren't enough of a concern, you have to worry about the cops, too.

    When you get pulled over in Mexico and the cops ask for a bribe, what are you going to tell them? What happens when soldiers ask for bribes? Will you understand what they're asking for? Do you have connections down there? If you get tossed in jail, who will you call?

    Have you researched the weather? Do you realize that the time you plan to make this trip is smack in the middle of the rainy season. Have you ridden in rain before? On bad roads? On bad mountain roads??


    Sounds like you've watched "Motorcycle Diaries" and thought "hey....I want to do that!" You need to set your sights lower and take a more sensible trip.
    #51
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  12. Dr. Breedlove

    Dr. Breedlove Been here awhile

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    The kid hasn't thought this out. Me offering guidance or encouragement for a stupid idea is nigh unto becoming an accomplice.

    If some kid says "I'm going to pick up a heroin habit this summer", are you going to offer him encouragement and guidance because you can't change his mind?
    #52
  13. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    I don't think I need to compromise if I'm forced to give a bribe if it doesn't screw me so be it. I actually rode it back last friday for the first time when it was pouring rain so I've had a little impromptu lesson in riding in the rain (and I will obviously do it more when I do some smaller weeklong or few day trips before the big trip) and yeah you're right I watched motorcycle diaries, then read motorcycle diaries then read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and decided to go on this trip, but since then I have read and watched everything there is on motorcycle touring like this at least in the realm of narraitve work. I don't think having a spark of inspiration is bad as long as you make an effort to prepare. Which is what I'm doing now as for the cops I can just offer them a blow job that normally works right? And for the weather you are correct about the fact that it will be the rainy season but it's not like I can wait for next year so I'll just have to deal with a little water if that means I have to get off early and pitch my tent and tarp so be it, also my friend is giving me his old rain gear so that will be a plus.
    #53
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  14. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    Thats next summer, I'm on a different forum for that :D
    #54
  15. todd900ss

    todd900ss Been here awhile

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    I would never condone drug use, but we aren’t talking about that are we, this is a motorcycle trip. Personally I would never travel to SA alone, but that’s me. As I already stated there is plenty to see north of Mexico and I think that is a better option for a first motorcycle trip. There WILL be problems along the way no matter the destination, how much risk is acceptable can only be answered by the OP.
    #55
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  16. Dr. Breedlove

    Dr. Breedlove Been here awhile

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    You got a sense of humor, kid. I'm gonna miss you.
    #56
  17. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    Kalachakra, it's time for you to get serious. Things change so you need to go to trip planning and read up on what's happening. You will need your passport, the title to the bike, insurance papers and about a dozen copies of each. Having the copies beforehand will make your life about a hundred times easier at border crossings.

    For Mexico you will need a TVIP and specific insurance for Mexico. They require more documents but they also are more together at the crossings.

    We can have the DMV issue us a new and official title if we "lose" ours. If you can do this then definitely do.

    Try to get an extra drivers license as well and an international drivers license. If someone asks for documents try to use your copies unless they are insistent on originals. Even then make sure you keep a reserve set.

    I tried to cross at smaller border crossing and was never tied up more than an hour. Some are aggravating and some are a breeze. I found the borders at Nicaragua to be the worst. Having fluent Spanish will make things much easier for you than I had with my poor Spanish.

    For the record I was never pulled over until Panama and never was I asked for a bribe. It happens though. My advice is to act stupid and not be able to speak Spanish if you get pulled over.

    I ran into so many people that wanted to help or just wanted to talk. I often had great conversations with police and one insisted I sit on his motorcycle for pictures. At times you feel like you are a star.

    But there are some areas you will want to avoid. You need to get the scoop on these. And there are rules to follow. One of the most important is never ride at night.

    Really you are in the wrong section of the forum for this. I never could have imagined a time when I would see people encouraging others not to travel on an adventure motorcycle forum.

    I tell you what OP, I am going to the Barber Vintage Fest in October. I already have a camp site. If you aren't gone by then and can make it to Southwest Virginia you can ride on to Alabama with me to an amazing motorcycle rally weekend. Just buy your ticket in advance. If you come through earlier you can stop here and stay.

    In fact there is a whole tent space list on this site that could help you get through the U.S. a little cheaper.
    #57
  18. stillwater0302

    stillwater0302 Been here awhile

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    Buy a torque wrench.
    Buy a $20 multimeter and learn how to use it.
    Buy a compact set of tools.

    USE ONLY THE TRAVEL TOOLS you will be taking and do the following:

    Replace the spark plugs
    Replace the oil and filter
    Check the valve clearance
    Check and adjust the throttle cable
    Sync the carburetors
    Adjust the clutch
    Set / adjust the shift pedal linkage.
    Clean the fuel system per the maintenance manual (gonna get chitty fuel from time to time)
    Check/adjust the air pressure in the front forks. Do they need to be rebuilt?
    Set/adjust the springs in rear
    Replace the chain
    Replace the front/rear sprockets
    Replace the tires if date code is over 5 years. DO IT YOURSELF. Puncture one before replacing... patch the tube/tire depending on whether tube or tubeless.
    Perform factory steering adjustment - bearings good?
    Lube the cables. Replace them unless really good.

    Sift through those tools you bought. Remove the sizes you didn't use on above. Add the ones you borrowed or bought.

    None of the maintenance items above are major overhaul items... they are simple bloody maintenance on a bike. Stuff you should be doing now in your garage so that you are not left swinging in the wind on the road.
    You don't need someone "to show you how to do it." You've got the manual, the internet and the ability to take a break for the night in the comfort of your own home. Once you're on the road, you will only have the manual. Feel free to reach out and a thousand people online will be happy to help... but don't use them as an excuse for why you've only read the manual but not performed the normal, routine maintenance that it suggests.

    I'm not going to attempt to dissuade you from the trip. I'm months away from 50 and I've made stupid mistakes and taken incredible risks when I was young too. A decade as a whitewater kayak instructor/competitor and recreational boater on some gnarly water. A climbing accident that could have paralyzed me. Three Fiats and one Triumph (car) in the eighties... I learned lessons slowly. Hypothermia on a mountain top overnight that almost cost a companion and myself our lives (as opposed to simply losing feeling in a couple of fingers.) I ultimately think that the gene pool gets diluted through too much imposed caution on young adults. :-) I'm also happy to have had the experiences. Experience is an excellent teacher but pain is faster and more effective.

    So... no. I won't try to talk you out of it. What I will tell you is - if you meant to do this - nut up with the bike and dig into it. Being daunted by a charging issue is r-e-a-l-l-y small potatoes compared to what you should be prepared for with an epic adventure like this on a 35ish year old Honda.
    #58
  19. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    That seems absolutely perfect and I would love to ride with you to Alabama October since thats exactly the time I planned to be in that area, I messaged you and we can swap contact information to discuss more, as for the insurance stuff I'll look into that more, I'm currently scanning all my information to pring 20 and put them in my trip pile (the basket where I keep all the stuff I want to make sure I have and don't loose, ie paperwork etc)
    #59
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  20. kalachakra

    kalachakra Adventurer

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    Thank you I'm currently going through all of these and working our what needs to be done, I'm going out to buy the torque wrench and the other stuff in about an hour and I'm gonna get working on it.
    #60
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