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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jamie Z, Nov 29, 2020.
Go for it Jamie, I will be following along, good luck!
Budget Travel the JamieZ way. I’m looking forward to it. Good luck and you are welcome to stop by on your way South or North. Safe travels amigo.
For the vast majority of the seven years I’ve been saving for this trip, I haven’t done a lot of real planning. Reading ride reports, looking at maps, forming ideas in my head, but no wheels-on-the-ground kind of preparation.
Until January 2020 when I purchased a brand new 2019 Honda CB500X ABS. My friend Tyler loaned me helmet and jacket because at the time I owned neither.
My first new vehicle purchase of any kind.
For the next few months I didn’t ride it much, but I scoured the internet looking for and ordering just the right gear and equipment for a round-the-world trip.
I practiced new recipes with my camp stove.
And when it began to warm up again, I stayed in the garage for hours installing parts and accessories, and for those of you who remember me from my ST1100 days, no I didn't bring the whole bike into my living room.
The electrical doodads required some careful work, but keeping in mind the threads from Hodakaguy, I took my time and always kept the idea in my head that, “This needs to take me around the world.” Don’t worry; I’m not going to sell my bike.
Cutting into the factory wiring to install auxiliary brake lights gave me a little fright, but I got pretty good at soldering after a while.
...and let’s not fall into the hole of debating soldered connections. I used crimped connectors on other parts. Maybe we can see which lasts the longest.
At the same time I started selling off my belongings including books, furniture, and loads of camping gear I wouldn’t be bringing with me. I still had many months before departure, but I didn’t want to get into a crunch when it came close to my departure date.
Ah, yes. My departure date. My projected date of departure has been an elusive target. In the very beginning, Brenda and I had set our original departure date to sometime in 2015. After Brenda backed out of the trip and I moved to Colorado, I figured I could leave by 2018. Then I had to push it back a year when I realized I just wasn’t going to reach my savings goal. And then had a minor vehicle accident where my Uber van was totaled, putting to an end a big portion of my spare income, forcing me to yet again push back my starting date, this time to 2021.
I set my departure date for May of 2021, until I looked at typical weather during the summer in Mexico, which is where a May departure would put me. I crunched some numbers and figured I could leave in January.
So for the past year or so, January 2021 has been my start date. But two weeks ago, I was laid off from work (for the second time) owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. I make less in unemployment than the cost of my monthly rent, not to mention heat, electric, and internet. I’m not going back to work. I’ve already reached my savings goal. Two weeks ago I called my landlord and told him I’d be moving out December 15.
Where did you get the soldering jig? Want to drop it off in AZ when you come through?
I see they are very cheap, wow, I didn't know they existed!
IN and safe travels.
Good luck man, we're all counting on you!!
You are very thorough, I have followed you on many different forums seeing you ask many great questions about the bike and gear and locations. I have a 2018 CB 500X which I purchased because of Ed's Mexico ride reports, I needed a second bike so my Spanish friend could ride my 650 V Strom when he visited from Spain. I'll be following along Thanks!
Budget post coming up soon.
As for mistakes... Obviously I'm not on the road yet, but so far most of my "mistakes" have been financial. Most frequently I'll research a piece of gear, buy it, then realize it's not quite what I wanted. I've been through three tents, three sleeping bags, four sleeping pads, three riding jackets, two sets of boots in order to find just what I'm looking for. Some of the time I was able to return the item for a full refund, but other times I had to sell my stuff on the used market for a loss. And my other mistake is probably being impatient. A few times I've purchased brand new gear, only to see it in the Flea Market here in great condition for much less than I paid. I could have saved a lot of money if I had spent more time looking at used gear. I got a little careless spending all the money I've carefully saved.
I was inspired by a lot of those epic ride reports. Learned a lot; gave me a lot of good ideas. Maybe I can inspire others and pass on a few ideas along the way. And yes, this has been in the planning stages for a long time. The plan is, no plan.
Estimated departure date, December 15, plus or minus a day or two depending on weather. I had been hoping/planning to have a big going away party, but I'll be foregoing that idea for now. I do have plans to be back in Denver this upcoming summer, so perhaps I'll get some friends together then.
I might be coming through your way eventually.
Where in AZ? My first stop is going to be near Phoenix to spend a couple of days with my cousin and his family.
Yeah, not too expensive. I got the soldering gun from Harbor Freight, replaced the crappy solder with some good stuff, as well as a shrink tube kit and the alligator arms. I think all in, was around $75. An hour or so of watching YouTube videos about how to properly solder and a couple of practice runs, and I started cutting into the stock wiring.
Probably too thorough, but I've been unemployed for most of the past eight months, and with a lot of time on my hands, staying home, I did a lot of reading and research.
I'm in the Phoenix area/West Valley.
If you come through the Santa Cruz CA area, I've got a place for ya.
Returning the offer.
Current plan is to ride to Phoenix to visit with my cousin for a couple of days, then head over toward Baja, where I'll likely enter at Tecate. Looks like I won't get up into northern California in the immediate future. Thanks for the offer!
I've been fortunate to have met Simon and Lisa, as well as a few other high-profile adventure riders, and especially in Lisa and Simon's case, what I've learned is that it's a job. A lot of people might think you're on holiday, but to keep at it for year after year is work. Simon and Lisa are polished and professional. Lisa published a book on the road, and their presentations provide proof that they don't simply lounge on the beach all day drinking cocktails. They work to live the lifestyle. Other long-term riders I've met have that same sort of determination. I'm approaching this as a new job and lifestyle, and I'm sure to encounter those who dismiss me as "being on vacation every day." I'll have to learn to deal with that.
As for the bike, what you write is what eventually turned me away from the DR650. While it's possible to find a bike which is small, cheap, and light, with any thumper, you're giving up longevity. The DR (and other similar bikes) seem to have a lifetime of 75,000 miles or so before they need some sort of major engine rebuild. I'm hoping to get well over 100,000 miles on my bike before it needs anything major. My V-Strom took me 135,000 mostly trouble-free miles before I sold it. It's probably still on the road now. I did look at some smaller twins like the Ninja 250/300, but even those only last 30- to 40,000 miles. The CB500X was the smallest twin I could find for which I could reliably expect 100,000 miles out of. While it doesn't win the gold medal, it also does pretty well in the small, cheap, and light categories.
If you need to store anything here while you're gone, I have room at the house.
Also, when you get back this way, plenty of extra bedrooms here as well.
good to see you finally rolling...buena suerte
Congrats on putting it all together and for gaining some positivity through what seemed like a negative situation!
Looking forward to your journey!
Thanks for the offer, Eric, but I won't have anything to store. I'll be carrying everything I own. The remainder of my belongings are being sold, donated, or passed along to friends and family. I do have a small box with a few important documents, plus a handful of hard-to-get replacement parts which I'll be leaving with a friend in Denver.
I might hit you up for those beers when I'm back in town.
Thanks Paul! I used a couple of your ride reports and videos in my preparation.
Jamie, hope you changed out the stock tires for something more aggressive and long lasting (i.e. Mitas E07, Heidenau K60 etc..) for the trip. Take care hitting those "topes" (speedbumps) in Mexico. The bike and RR suspension will do fine but check the SW Motech rear rack connection under the seat periodically. The irregular and frequent speedbumps can fatigue the steel rack with top box. Bon Suerte!
Subscribing and hoping for the best in your travels!
So, in a fit of pandemic shopping a few months ago, I found a deal on Revzilla for a set of Shinko 705, tires I've used in the past and have been satisfied with. Worked out to be about $140 for the pair. I bought them with the idea that I'd put them on the bike after the stock tires wore out, and then when I was ready to head out on this ride (which wasn't supposed to happen for at least another month) I'd research some good tires to install. As it is, I had the Shinkos installed a few weeks back, and they are basically brand new... so I'm going to run those until they wear out.
The SW Motech rear rack is one of my concerns. It's really cantilevered and I'm worried about a failure as you describe. I'm also not particularly impressed with the plastic quick release adapter plate for the top box. I've bolted the adapter plate to the rear rack to stiffen it up, and I've also modified the rack to move the top case about an inch forward. It's not much, but that's as far as I could go before it interfered with seat removal. Are you aware of any SW Motech rear rack failures?
Fortunately my top case is mostly used for incidentals. My cook kit, food, rain gear, and bike cover are the main things that go in my top case. Mostly lightweight stuff. I have a purposely oversized top case so that I can stuff my jacket and pants in there, or other stuff as needed, but it generally will not carry a lot of weight.
I'm in for your RR and adventure. Best of luck to you.