Mexico and Central America Ride Planning and Road Wisdom

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Jeff Munn, May 30, 2006.

  1. shu

    shu ...

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    Fair enough, I hold a different opinion.

    I hand over whatever official documents are requested. If I was speeding, or committed some other infraction, I pay the fine at the police station, not on the street.

    I haven't had to pay a bribe anywhere. I have been successful at avoiding it, once in Mexico and once in Kazakhstan, by playing dumb, saying 'I don't understand" over and over. I figure I have more time to kill than the person asking for money. I sat on the Uzbek/Kazakh border reading a book until they got sick of me and sent me on my way.

    I personally don't like the idea of paying bribes just as a "cost of doing business" because I think it contributes to the amount of corruption in the area. And after I leave, having paid $20 bucks, which is not much to me, the local people are still stuck with those corrupt officers and $20 is a much bigger deal to them.

    Not saying that I can stop the corruption, just that I don't want to encourage it, if I can help it.

    ...........shu
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  2. infinityjellyd

    infinityjellyd Been here awhile

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    I like that approach. I've read of others using the I've-got-all-the-time-in-the-world approach to similar success.
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  3. toowoomba

    toowoomba Certified BMW Therapist MCCL Supporter

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    +1
  4. Matt

    Matt Dirt Virgin

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    SB, do you think it's necessary to use a Pacsafe type of thing for a duffle bag strapped to the rack?
  5. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Instead of cash, hand him a card that reads "Soy Sordo"
  6. Matt

    Matt Dirt Virgin

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    I just learn't to say that - I have a cochlear implant and Soy Sordo without it!
  7. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Assuming " Pasafe" is trademark of a secure wire mesh luggage cover or bag , no that's not necessary , at least I've never used such. I've been doing this with soft and hard luggage with never a theft .What I really meant to say was have no loose stuff hanging on the bike . Everything should be fastened down or out of sight . Don't give the impression there is valuable stuff in there. ( leave that at home) And never leave any papers of importance
  8. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    The product line is called Pacsafe

    I bought/tested their wire net once, long ago, to protect my dry bag on a GSA. Not my cup of tea, as is said. Too much of a major PIA to lock/unlock/remove/reinstall. For me, it didn't get past the testing stage and I got rid of it.

    But the more salient point is the fact that I had an epiphany - what the hell was I thinking I was protecting?

    Pacsafe has expanded their product line, check out the link above. Once the mainstay of their line were wire mesh handbags and backpacks and security nets to combat the slash & grab opportunists. There's more to them now.

    If in addition to money and credit cards and a passport the rider is going to tote an IPad, Iphone, MacBook, Canon EOS-1D etc., then you're going to spend your trip clenched up and you'll start additional threads about carrying knives and pepper spray.

    Your best security measure in CA/SA (and around the U.S. and Canada at motels and tourist attractions etc.) is a simple bike cover. It's tough for the mind to covet what the eye cannot see.

    Don't keep your main supply of travel money in your gas station wallet. Keep your credit cards out of that same wallet, keep them and a larger supply of money in your resupply wallet and that wallet doesn't see the light of day in front of cops or hotel clerks or anybody else.

    I've never, not once, experienced an episode of theft anywhere in Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, or anywhere else on the planet I've traveled. The casual reader can decide if I've been lucky. What I do know is when I leave the driveway, I'm at least mentally ready to part with whatever gadget I'm bringing should I lose it or it is taken from me one way or the other.

    I'm not betting against anyone needing a Pacsafe wire net or other products like it, but I am recommending acquiring the right mental frame of mind and some simple travel savvy skills (among them a keen sense of situational awareness) over a product you can order on the internet that may or may not provide an actual measure of security.
  9. toowoomba

    toowoomba Certified BMW Therapist MCCL Supporter

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    +1 Great perspective and excellent advice Trice! I used a bike cover every night when I was traveling through Mexico and I recently did the same on my sojourn up and down the west coast. Out of sight, out of mind.
  10. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos!

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    I used a packsafe mesh for my soft luggage side bags on my last Mexico/Guatemala trip. I was glad I had them for several different situations when I had to leave my moto with no one to watch it. I have inner/outer bags, so I put the mesh out of sight between the two bags. I bring a cable lock for my moto to connect it to something unmovable.

    That said, I don't dwell on loosing things, and if someone is going to try hard to get my things, they can. If you have hard bags plus a soft bag on your rack, don't put valuable things in the soft bag and just go with that. When you lock your moto with a cable, if you take that approach, also run it through a loop on your soft tail bag. Realize hard bags aren't all that secure for the determined. My approach is to minimize easy opportunity.
  11. Matt

    Matt Dirt Virgin

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    I hope I have that "item" already. I did a two month southern/eastern European trip years ago on a bike and had to listen to the well wishers telling me to watch out in the "Gypsy" countries. The only item I lost was my helmet which was ripped off the bike the day I got back to London.

    Thanks for the other tips.
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  12. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    All of the above makes sense.
    Problem with me was having too much time to plan and not enough 'getting on with it.' That all ends this Sunday.
    What was supposed to be a Patagonia retirement, ends up with a four week excursion.
    My itinerary is nothing more than suggestions from friends, family, and "The People's Guide to Mexico." My target for exploration will be the area west and south of Mexico City.
  13. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    Dag nabit! Hit the invisible post reply button.

    Earlier I wrote elsewhere ' TMeditaions On the Cost of Security.' Here are my replies for this trip.
    How secure am I ? I asked myself that question while deciding on whether or not to put on a centerstand.
    What is needed to make your trip a reality? Cash, credit card, passport, time and health.
    How much is enough to pay for the trip? still Kind of like getting married.
    Riding solo.
    Able to communicate decently in Spanish. 2/3 of the way through Rosetta Stone.
    How much stuff do you plan on taking? Traveling lite.
    How big of a bike is needed to carry it all? Suzuki DR650
    Are there sufficient dealerships to where I am going? probably, maybe not.
    Will the warranty protect me? nope, expired.
    New or used? could not find a used DR at the time 13k miles
    Hard cases or soft? soft E. German bicycle panniers. Canvas bag over the rear. Pac Safe for bag.
    Stock, spare can or bigger gas tank? Aftermarket 5 gallon tank.
    Chain link, alarm or cover? brake disc lock with alarm. about $7 on Amazon and a bike cover .
    Center, trail stand, or rock? last two.
    OEM tools , picked and chosen, or titanium everything. for 4 weeks, enough to fix flat, tighten chain, change oil, clean air filter.
    Drive or chain? new 525 chain.
    How many extra sprockets? originals working on second chain
    Wing it with a credit card, Slime, full kit with C clamp, or tubeless plug kit? tubes fit inside PVC tube. Motion Pro irons, Bead Buddy
    Hard long lasting tires/tubes or soft easier to change ones? Anakee III
    Stock or every farkle available? " moderate mods. Stock suspension. cannot with conscience upgade 16% bike cost for modulators.
    Map n compass, GPS, Spot, satellite phone, back up truck? Will I be sable to ask directions in another language? Yes, map & compass.
    Firearms, bear spray, or a smile and a prayer. :)
    Will I stay on the highway or do I plan to venture off the main thoroughfares? minimal offroading, for this trip.

    On the Pac Safe issue, I get it. I was told by a bike renter while riding solo two weeks in Peru, 'that its not needed." And it wasn't. The places I traveled were mostly too desolate. In large cities, it would find accommodations, unpack and then explore.
    Two bungee chords over a canvas bag somehow seem like too much of an invitation. Sure everything inside (change of clothes, tablet and chargers can be replaced. But it would be a pain to do so.

    I'll be sure to let you all know.
  14. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos!

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    This is the one that makes me chuckle; I, too, have enough Spanish to ask directions. However, understanding the response is another issue. Story: Looking for a small spring to fix an issue on my moto: I did understand directions to get to where I thought I should be, but I was not there. Of course, I asked a fellow near by who was sitting in his yard. I could not understand him - he was using words not in my vocabulary. Finally he came out of the gate and pointed down the block and across the street, and said in English, "yellow house". My response, "Ah, la tienda allĂ­. Gracias!" "Down the street and across the block," or something like that, in Spanish, was not in my ability to understand. Understanding un-scripted spoken Spanish is a challenge for me, but it's part of the adventure. Enjoy your trip!
  15. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    It's always good to be current on "activity" in your target area. More so west and south of Mexico City than some others. What means are you using to stay current?
  16. mundobravo

    mundobravo Long timer

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    " I, too, have enough Spanish to ask directions. However, understanding the response is another issue." .... true that , remember the happy friendly folks down south will never tell you " I don't know" . If they don't know or can't understand you they will make some shit up ... safe travels
  17. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    They wouldn't want to seem rude by not offering assistance. :lol3
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  18. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    "What means are you using to stay current?"

    Somehow perhaps because of the vulnerability of traveling solo or due to advanced age, cause it certainly isn't my looks, locals seem to open up. Sure there are the cautionary web sites and there is some of the acquired years of common sense to go by, but chatting up with a hotel manager seems to help guide my next destination.
  19. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    Sounds practical enough. Local knowledge trumps all.
  20. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Ah, so it's not just an African thing then...
    There, we also found that asking "How long to get to so-and-so?" was futile, as most rural dwellers had no concept of time and distance in a vehicle. It is wiser to ask, "How long to walk to so-and-so?" and work out an average pace for the terrain and extrapolate your own speed. In most cases, that's extremely accurate!
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