Journey through Latin America - Swede conquering one country at a time - Gustaf N

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by HiPERnx, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    22
    Hello!
    First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Gustaf N, born and raised in Sweden. Always loved travel and meeting people.
    In 2018 i bought a brand new Suzuki V-Strom 650xt in SF Bay Area, California, USA. The original thought was to use it as a daily driver while in the area (there a lot on business). My dreams got the better of me, and as easily said i did it. Equipped the bike for adventure travel. You know the deal, better suspension, panniers crash-bars etc...
    [Camping in Big Sur, California]
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    I've had bikes before, but never traveled with them, mostly traveled with my overland equipped 4x4 (Jeep WG/WJ -99).
    [Somewhere near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in Montenegro]
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    On December 1 i left the Bay Area and set of south towards Mexico.

    Episode 0

    #1
  2. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    22
    Episode 1
    Baja California, Mexico - Camping on the beach and what camping gear I bring

    After the last episode when i arrived in Baja California, Mexico i have traveled down through Baja, all the way to the southern tip. In this episode i spend a lot of the time camping in Baja California and enjoying the bike offroad on parts of the Baja 1000 route. Going from Ensenada to Puertecitos camping for one night on the beach, continuing on via Coco's Corner and following parts of the Baja 1000 to Bahia De Los Angeles camping for an additional 4 nights on the beach. Being tired of camping i continue to Loreto, staying for a few days before i do a impulse trip to Cabo san Lucas. After almost a week of relaxing ond resting up in Cabo the trip continues to the final destination in Baja; La Paz! In La Paz i discovered that i had some visa problem and had to fly back to Tijuana to get it fixed. I ended up flying back and forth within two days. In total ended up spending almost 2 weeks in La Paz. Staying positive, i had time to service my bike and i stayed at Casa Esterito, an absolutely amazing hostel! The boat from La Paz to Mazatlan was an adventure! See you in the next episode, touring Mainland mexico!



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    #2
  3. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    500
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Nice, I can never get enough Mexico!
    #3
  4. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
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    Really is! There's no limit to ow nice Mexico can be.
    Went as far as moved here, mainly because my girlfriend lives here (Mexico City) tho.
    #4
  5. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    22
    Episode 2
    Mainland Mexico - Gas shortage and Mexican Cartel territory

    Heading into mainland Mexico, arriving in Mazatlan by boat and continuing south to Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta. Then inland via Guadalajara to Jalisko, Uruapan, Tzintzuntzan and Morelia. Eventually ending up in Mexico City.

    During this time there was a huge fuel shortage in Mexico because of a political decision. The V-Strom has a large tank as it is, but i needed to go 1000km+ without fuel, Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City. I managed to find the last gas cans in a hardware store. In addition to the 3.8L rotopax i now had 4x 5L cans that i could squeeze 6L each into. It really saved me!



    The gas cans, 4x5L + 1x 3.8L Rotopax
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    Only one gas can left, but also just a few hundred KM left to Mexico City
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    #5
  6. Romero

    Romero At Cinépolis or OXXO Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2016
    Oddometer:
    660
    Location:
    Morelia
    @HiPERnx
    Cool!!!
    As a filmmaker, I appreciate your time shooting and time-consuming editing.
    Thank you!

    Also liked the Michoacán footage.
    Not sure why :1drink
    #6
  7. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
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    22
    Thank you! It makes me really happy, i try to learn editing and videography to the best of my abilities.
    Michoacán is absolutely my favorite state in Mexico, amazing nature and people. Ride safe :beer
    #7
  8. Romero

    Romero At Cinépolis or OXXO Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Morelia
    If you ever make it back to Morelia stop on by!!

    it is beautiful I love it, but there are so many more places.. check out the thread IMS
    #8
  9. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    22
    Episode 3
    Mexico City - Getting into an accident and saying goodbye to my camping gear

    After leaving Morelia i continued onward to Mexico City, i was planning on staying one month to catch up with work and explore the huge city. Ended up staying two months.
    I sent my camping gear back to Sweden as it's to dangerous to camp around Mexico City and south. Also threw in some warm weather gear that i needed earlier in the trip. Departing from Mexico City i continued along the coast of the Mexican gulf, took a detour to Palenque and eventually ended up in Belize where I'll see you next time.
    motorcycle travel central America



    [Climbing up to a temple with another motorcycle traveler i met earlier in the trip]
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    [Hanging out a Monkey Butt Cafe in Mexico City. A great place to meet other riders]
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    I work while traveling, the benefits of working as a programmer. Here's the view from my office in Mexico city.
    [View from office]
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    [Xochimilco, a really cool place in Mexico City]
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    [Hotel in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz on my way to Belize]
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    Attached Files:

    #9
  10. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Episode 4
    Belize - Getting lost in the jungles of Belize

    Crossing into Belize from Mexico was a big change. Suddenly i could understand what people was saying! Belize has a completely different vibe from Mexico. Stayed just a few days in Belize before continuing into Guatemala. Belize is a place i will return to in the future.



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    #10
  11. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
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    1,220
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Nice! If you make it to El Salvador before the end of the month I'll buy you Cervesa's! I'm near El Cuco.
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    #11
    knight likes this.
  12. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Looks amazing!
    I'm (or the bike more specifically) is already in Costa Rica, I'm catching up with posting updates. Parked the bike in Costa Rica to go back to Sweden over the summer and get some work done, now I'm with my significant other in Mexico City, Mexico. Back on the bike in a month. Packing my stuff as i write this.
    If/when you get down to Costa Rica I'll get you a beer :beer
    #12
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  13. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Episode 5
    Guatemala - Riding solo through the deep jungles of Guatemala

    Guatemalan jungle is thick and absolutely stunning, riding through all the small villages and riding the Pan American Highway is a dream come true. Guatemala is back on the tourist tracks, the tourist industry is built out, both for better and worse.
    I did have some problems with the bike in Guatemala, the sub-frame bolt was starting to come out by itself. Was just a few millimeters left when i caught it! Some thread-locker and put it back and it was all good.
    The bolt holding on the chain guard also flew off. Had another one in the "random bolt/nut bag". My ram mount also broke that i had for my phone, i did get a new one on warranty (really good service).



    The bolt that came loose. You can also see my aftermarket suspension ( TFX Shock )
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    Bye bye chain guard bold, RIP. New one in place.
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    When i chose the panniers i wantet to keep the bike under 1m wide. With the 37L (or was it 38L?) panniers from SW-Motech it's under 1m by a few cm.
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    #13
  14. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lafayette, LA
    Just curious about pannier width. Is 1m significant in that there are many opening less than 1m, or it just an arbitrary limit you came up with? Thanks.
    #14
  15. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
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    It started out with that i just wanted it as thin as possible because generally being easier to store and move around, 1m seemed like a good limit. But i have had many occasions where i fit by just a hair on both sides. I don't know what the standard outer door width is in e.g Mexico. But it must be close to 1m.
    #15
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  16. Dalmatino

    Dalmatino Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    609
    Location:
    Prison Planet Earth
    Great bike and great report!

    How do you like the TFX?
    Got one from Hans for my 14 DL650 and my DR650 but haven't ridden either bike yet since I'm still in middle of the build on both.
    #16
  17. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    22
    I'm by no means a shock expert. I'm happy with it, had it setup by Ted Porter's BeemerShop specifically for my weight + luggage.
    It never faded on long corrugated roads and absorbed all the impacts perfectly.
    Do wish i had the hydraulic preload adjuster, didn't choose it because of the price.
    #17
  18. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    22
    Episode 6
    Honduras - Breaking the SW-Motech rack and enjoying cigars

    Honduras! Oh amazing Honduras!
    First days in Honduras i stayed close to Copan Ruinas, a really cool ruin place. My second favorite after Caracol in Belize.
    I'm a big cigar fan, so a visit to a cigar factory was a must! I visited Plasencia's cigar factory outside of Danli, Honduras on my bike.
    Managed to break the rack holding up my SW-Motech top-case. It broke clean off! Managed to find a mechanic that could weld it up for me so it would hold up until i could get my hands on a spare part.
    Getting a spare part was not that easy, SW-Motech (while being very friendly) were hard to work with. I was getting sent around between SW-Motech in different countries.



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    The view from Hostel Iguana Azul in Copan Ruinas, a really nice hostel.
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    Big birbs
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    Broken top-case rack. Don't know how it happened, never overloaded the case.
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    One of the broken brackets, both sides were broken.
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    Nothing more permanent than a temporary fix! Jokes aside, already have the replacements and will put them on when i take my bike out of storage.
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    Some cigars, always traveled with my cigars! A small travel sized humidor kept them safe in the luggage.
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    #18
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  19. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej Supporter

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    Oddometer:
    673
    Location:
    Lafayette, LA
    I'm enjoying your report and appreciate the effort put into the videos.

    Just a thought on the brackets. As the OEM bracket broke, would the replacement OEM have the same weakness? Or do you think your particular bracket had a defect? Wondering if the welded brackets might actually be stronger.
    #19
  20. HiPERnx

    HiPERnx Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    You might be right. I think the original ones broke because extended vibrations and the original base rack on the V-Strom is made out of some aluminium alloy while the brackets are steel. They vibrate and bend at different rates.
    I'll keep the old ones just in case!
    #20
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