Latin America!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bananaman, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    I stopped by Panama Bikers today and saw your guest book! I met this guy Ivan told me to stop by and while chatting with *lost name* <forget name=""> he told me about the guestbook... then it clicked, That's Bananaman's book!

    It was fun reading through the book and recognizing so many adv'ers (I think I saw 5? that I recognized?). It was great seeing handwritten posts :eek1. Anyway, it brings advrider more into reality. Thanks for placing it!

    There were 3 or 4 more pages since your tire update. I signed and most importantly pimped my blog: http://allthewaysouth.com :deal

    daveg</forget>
  2. rugger

    rugger 1 day at a time!!!

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    Hi, I'm on my way South, could go all the way, won't know until I get there. Earlier today I thought I read you used your garmin 60csx right out of the box. So I went out and bought the last one they had here in NW Arkansas. I've left it in the box just in case I was wrong about the right out of the box thing. I'm not that flash with tech. But if you say this will work down to SA, right out of the box, I'm going to keep it and learn how to use it.
    Just found your Blog today and already have gotten some great tips!!
    Cheers,
    Tim
  3. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

    Yep, I used it right out of the box. You can get a RAM mount online, and an external power supply. I installed a separate, fused 12v outlet, zip-tied it to my handlebar, and kept it plugged in, rather than rely on batteries. If you plug it in, it stays lit at night. On batteries it only lights up at night for like 10 seconds after you press the LIGHT button, or something like that. You might want to get a memory chip, because other, tech-savy people might have routes for you. You'll need the memory if you want to load them.

    The Central and South America maps pre-loaded, out-of-the-box, are pretty good. Do stop and ask directions. Always ask at least three different people. "Donde esta la ruta hasta .....?" is all you need to know.

    For the money, I think the 60CXS is the best deal out there. A friend of mine has the fancy, multi-thousand-dollar BMW GPS system. For all that money, it put the breafast joint outside Rocky Mountain National Park... smack in the middle of a glacier. He was an hour late getting back from trying to ride his brand-new R1200GS into that glacier.

    Do take paper maps. And then compare the GPS to the paper.

    Let me know if you have any questions about setting up/customizing yours. And send some kudos to Dave! He made it to Panama!!!
  4. rugger

    rugger 1 day at a time!!!

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    Thanks for the info, I'll open it up. I leave as soon as i finish putt'n things together, sometime in the next 2 weeks. I checked out the six things that worked really well for you and one was your discovery boots, the couple of stores i went to try them on didn't carry them and tried to up sale me to Sidi crossfire, awsome boot but do you think I need that much boot.? I couldn't compare it to the discovery.
  5. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    The Sidi Discovery is the same as the Aerostich Cambat Touring, with a few small differences. There's no comparison to the Crossfire. The crossfire is a full-on motocross boot. It'll give you awesome protection, but it'll also be more work to ride in, and a lot harder to walk in. It would be the perfect boot if you were only riding. But from the US to Argentina... it's not as wild as you'd think.

    Have you ever ridden a dual-sport in motocross boots?

    It depends on your planned route. If you're going seriously off-road, then go for the crossfire. If you were to ask Nata Harli and Jean Luck, they might both say that crossfires would have saved their rides. (They both broke their ankles.)

    For me, my style, and my standard of living, the discovery was perfect. Others swear by the Combat Touring boots. I'd suggest ordering a pair on-line, giving them a try, and then deciding. Let us know how it goes.
  6. rugger

    rugger 1 day at a time!!!

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    It's me again. Just wondering if I can get away with buying maps as I go ect. at border or first town??? I now also have the garmin 60csx.
    Did you have a medvac plan? I just looked online and they wanted $512 for a year air card.
  7. kennyanc

    kennyanc Long timer

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    Try MedJetAssist. One year individual with motorcycle recovery is about $250.


    Kenny
  8. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I bought maps at Borders, not borders. I was also given a set of maps- a good friend purchased them for me when I was deep in the planning process. They were really good. I think they also came from Borders Book Store.

    I did not see any maps at the borders. It's not like you come to the border of Honduras and El Salvador and there's a convenience store with a map section. There aren't any "welcome travellers!" rest areas, with nice old ladies handing out free maps. Once you're on the way, there isn't an Eisenhower Interstate Highway System with way-stations every 45-60 miles with clean bathrooms and vending machines.

    Lonely Planet has pretty sparse maps of each country. I only used my Lonely Planet a few times. Mainly because I wasn't on a backpacker-route. I tried to stay away from the treking-trail. If you follow the Lonely Planet guide, you'll just see the same people, over and over. I didn't do the ride in order to get drunk with German girls. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

    Lonely Planet was still kind-of handy. If I was doing the ride again, I'd take it along. My other guide book was "South America On A Shoestring." It's just like the Lonely Planet guide.

    My primare travel insurance came from www.travelguard.com. I had the annual policy. They were pretty good.
  9. Pockethead

    Pockethead Been here awhile

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    Well said, I feel the same way about the backpackers, in my opinion it's a bit like being on some sort of production line for tourists.
  10. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    San Cristobal de las Casas is beautiful.

    The Iguana, on Lago Atitlan, Guatemala, is very... interesting.

    The Oasis Hostel, in Grenada, Nicaragua, was ok. It only cost $8/night. Internet was ok. It was close to good food. They let us park the bikes inside at night. (You have to get up an 18" step, which is a trick.) Salcar recomended it, and he is pretty smart.

    The San Blas Hotel, in San Blas, is ok. It was about $40/night/person, including lobster for supper. The showers are cold and the bathrooms are stinky, but it's San Blas, Baby!

    The Platypus Hostel, in Bogota, is a safe haven. A single room is about $15/night. No food, but they have a kitchen. Some people stay up late, or all night, drinking good cheap beer. At night it's not safe to go out alone. Some of the residents do a lot of cocaine. Cops come in three times per day.

    The Turtles Head, in Quito, Ecuador, is the best bar in the world. I haven't been in every single bar, but between me, my friends, and their friends, I bet we've been in every bar worth going to, so I know.

    Cusco, the gateway to Machu Pichu, is ok.

    The Swiss Hostel, in northern Peru, is awesome.

    San Pedro de Atacama is cool. Ok, so it's freezing cold. But it's a good place to visit.

    Ushuaia is awesome.

    And that's all I can say is good about the back-packer trail. The rest that I saw wasn't worth seeing.

    One of the best things about riding a motorcycle- you can avoid the backpacker trail.
  11. Pockethead

    Pockethead Been here awhile

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    Cheers dude, I'll keep those places in mind
  12. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    It's not your fault. It's the motorcycle. You have fantasies of danger and excitement and adventure, and when you ride, your fantasies actually come true. You speed along and cheat death. You come close to dying but you live. There's nothing more exciting than the rush of adrenaline that you get just before you die. There's nothing more exciting than realizing that you're alive, and that the fantasy is your life. When you get off the bike all this adrenaline- all this living makes you more aware of everything. Food tastes better. You sleep better. Your friends are more important. It's better than being on drugs. It's better than being in love because you get to love everything, and you get to do it again and again and again. The people you share it with- the ones who were there, who lived with you, who died with you- all you have to do is share a glance and in a tiny moment you share everything again. You can't help it. It's awesome. You can't describe it to anyone in any meaningful way. Unless they already know it, and they'll understand when you try to explain and they'll understand when you can't explain. They'll understand when you say that it's not your fault. It's the motorcycle.

    [​IMG]
  13. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    I've tried explaining this concept to my wife, family and friends.... Only a couple of people really "Get it".

    And B-man, I'm giving my trip another go.... not as long as I'd like but I'm going at it again (2 weeks).
  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Pick an easy place to cross into Mexico, do it in the morning, and be well-rested. Then ride well into Mexico away from the trucks and crazy buses. Within a few hours you'll be in the real Mexico, and away from the very abusive border. Stop. Have amazing fajitas for lunch. Ride some more but make sure you're somewhere comfy well before dark. Start exploring on day 2. The farther south you get, the more interesting it'll be.

    Unless you're going to Copper Canyon. I've never been but I've heard amazing first-hand accounts.

    Take ten times more photos than you think you should, and they still won't be enough.

    Call me if you need any talking to. You can get a phone card with $.05 minutes. I'll send you a PM with my number.

    You know that feeling of impending doom? My first ride to Mexico, I thought the semis would kill me. I bailed after one day. I had ridden from Laredo to Tampico. I rested one night in Tampico. I didn't want to get back on my bike. I finally got started around noon, and then I wouldn't stop until I got to your neck of the woods. I was glad to make it to New Orleans. I was so scared that I rode straight through, Tampico to New Orleans.

    The beer that night in New Orleans was amazing. I think I had the best cigar ever. If New Orleans is usually... interesting... I'm sure you know exactly what I mean.
  15. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Imagine just being told about the gangs down around the border and then getting there.... alone.... having bike trouble and crossing incorrectly....

    I was scared shitless whenever I rode into Mexico into that slum east of Reynosa.... It didnt keep me from wanting to do it again. It did send me home with my tail between my legs (Not with the help of 6 inches of rain and over my budget).

    What border you reckon? I've been recommended Eagle Pass.

    Thanks for the number. I might call you soon, actually.
  16. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I've crossed at McAllen, Laredo, and one other one, somewhere close to McAllen on Pilot-the-Mod's suggestion. None were that bad. Laredo is a town that makes sure you keep your wits, but it's not that bad. I'd suggest McAllen or any of the crossings close by just because you're closer to the inside of Mexico. From McAllen to Tampico is only a few hundred miles. It's also not too far to Ciudad Victoria. Barb and I spent our first night in Santo Marina. There's a safe, bike-friendly hotel right on the main street. I'll try to remember the name, or I'll ask Barb, if you want it. Let me know.

    Practice riding like you stole it, and practice steeling yourself. Both are handy tricks. Once you've got them down, ride with Zen and Zeal. Got it?
  17. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Got it.

    I'm 21 of course I ride it like that.
  18. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Steel yourself. That's what you do when you're about to do something that's really hard. You know it's going to be hard. You know you're going to suffer. You hope that it'll be worth it. You steel yourself. You make yourself into steel. You become hard-like-iron.

    The bike makes you steel. You get on and you're stronger. You're faster. You look at something, twist the throttle, and you're there. You don't make the bike alive- you don't make it somehow human or horse; you make yourself into the bike, into the steel and rubber that makes the bike jump. The bike takes over. You're a new kind of animal, part machine, part human, 100%... 100% lethal.

    It's that first border that's the hardest. It's like jumping into cold water. Once you're in, you're fine, but that initial blast of new culture and new danger is hard to penetrate. But you're steel. You can penetrate anything.

    When you share this feeling with a pillion, there's new steel that we won't talk about here but you know exactly what I mean. Take that new steel that's part of you, mix in some of that adrenaline from almost dying, totally living; ah, that's good. If you're only 21... my god, man.

    You're only 21? Oh my god, man. You are going to have way, way more fun, once you steel yourself and get past that border.

    [​IMG]
  19. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Steel myself.

    Great analogy.

    I've already crossed that first border... just gotta steel over again, dodge the plywood panels and chupacabras and try again!

    Steel myself. Isnt there a song along those lines? A movie? Steel myself.

    F'n texas. long boring texas.
  20. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Next up: a trip to latin America. I'm planning on riding to Florida next week. I'll be in Orlando next weekend. Mainly I want to check out the Mexico exhibit at Epcot. I heard it's better than the original?

    I am so excited about riding to Disney World! This is going to be better than Machu Picchu. Better than the beach in El Salvador. Better even than Albert's bar in Quito! I can't wait!