The America’s: North to South or South to North?

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Gbags, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Gbags

    Gbags Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Oddometer:
    33
    The America’s: North to South or South to North?

    I have a pretty nice problem that I’d like some help with.

    In about September this year I plan to ship my bike to either the US east coast and ride down to Argentina or ship it to Argentina and ride it back up.

    The season seems to me to be the main point here. If we, (wife and I on one bike) head south in September the weather in the southern US states and Central America shouldn’t be too hot but we’d have to get down to Ushuaia within a few months to hit the southern summer. I hear it’s way too cold out of summer.
    Anyone been there and know when it is best?

    If we ship south to Buenos Aires in September we can mooch down south in their summer to Ushuaia, then head north. I have no time constraints and want to take my time and pootle up on small roads. If it takes six months, that’s fine, I want to take our time and get off the beaten track.

    This is a firm trip, not a wannabe trip, but we are always very flexible and never have fixed itineraries so please don’t confuse my not-committed-to-the-route-yet for being a dreamer.

    Can any of you who’ve been this way before offer any suggestions/opinions about the seasons and your experiences? I especially love mountains so I need to get the weather right.

    I’ll also picking people’s brains along the way for border crossings, great roads, mountain passes and things that crop up along the way but not yet.

    Thanks All,

    Graham
    #1
  2. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin'

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3,311
    Location:
    Seattle & Phoenix
    Given the 180 degree flip on seasons you definitely want to ride N to S. Our September is their March. Keeping that in mind, “March” can be kind of rainy (or not) down in ARG. The good weather really starts in December there. So if you have the time, ride it.
    #2
  3. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    657
    Location:
    Bellingham, Washington
    Hmmmm. I once left Washington State in September, spent Christmas in Cuzco, took an Antarctic cruise in January and was headed north again the following month (although I did leave Ushuaia during a snowstorm). That was a fast, fast trip, and I missed a lot, only some of which I managed to see on my slower return trip home.

    You say you have no time constraints on the far end of your trip, but are limited to "about September" on the starting end? And yet you're "very flexible?" And are ok even if it "takes six months?" I'm getting some mixed messages here. Six months is not a long time for a US-Ushuaia trip--despite rushing on my trip south I took a full year to do a round-trip. Start with that simple fact.

    Best in my book would be to start a month or two earlier--June in the USA--and finish a month or two later, like February or March. That'll give you ample time to dink around wherever you might find yourselves, and although you'll miss out on a lot, you'll not be rushed. As an alternative, ship into B.A. a bit later, like November. That'll allow you to head for Ushuaia early in the season, and will eventually have the added benefit of missing most rainy seasons on your trip north. In six months you'd at least have time to follow the Andes north, catch relatively agreeable weather in Central America, and springtime (with many roads still closed by snow) in the USA. Extending by another several months would allow continuing on to Alaska, which is much to be desired if you can manage it.

    Hope that's helpful.

    Mark
    #3
  4. Gbags

    Gbags Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Oddometer:
    33
    Thanks guys,

    To clarify, I’m a Brit and have a family commitment in August which I will certainly stay for so leaving early is not an option. The September I mentioned is the probable start date. We can start any time after that and can take plenty of time. If I want to take a year, that’s fine but I don’t want to race down there and spend the whole time racing along major highways.

    I’m leaning towards starting down in Argentina and heading up towards the states, then from the US we have lots of options.
    #4
  5. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    You may want to delay a few months to synchronize up more with the seasons. My wife and I are planning a very similar trip (like you, no time commitments) and plan to leave The US (Oregon or California - long story) around Dec/Jan and take a full year to reach Ushuaia same time a year later. Would work in reverse. I say this not as someone who has done this but as a fellow committed non-dreamer :-) So I bow to the wisdom of others with actual experience, but if time is not a concern, give it thought. More time to plan!
    Jim


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #5
  6. Gbags

    Gbags Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Oddometer:
    33
    Hi Jim,

    I think if I slip down to Ushuaia as soon as the weather warms up then spend 6 months getting to the states it’ll give me some months to look around the US before your cold weather comes down.

    What bike will you be riding?
    #6
  7. Reaver

    Reaver How Did I Get Here?

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    15,588
    Location:
    Zona Sur Costa Rica
    In my experience, going North means much more Police Inspections (time, hassle) as it's the drug route to the US. Esp in Mexico.

    Anyone else see this?
    #7
  8. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    657
    Location:
    Bellingham, Washington
    I never noticed any difference. I assume it would have been different if my essential gringo-ness was not so obvious, e.g., large thumper with aluminum boxes covered with stickers, grey and black riding clothes, motocross boots, etc.
    #8
  9. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Hi Gbags,
    My wife and I both ride, and will be on BMW GS rides. We have had BMW's for years and I'm very comfortable maintaining them. But we have had street-oriented bikes before (R1200RT/F800ST me/her) and part of the plan is to sell those and move to GS's bikes. My wife already made the switch last year and is now riding an F700GS (which she loves), and that will be the ride she takes on the "big trip." I am actively shopping for a low-suspension R1200GS or GSA. We don't plan on any aggressive off-road conditions (will not seek them out anyway) but recognize that we will be spending a lot of time on dirt. I don't need the low suspension, but I have tried both that and regular suspension, and I like the added control it provides at a stop in off-camber situations it gives, and given intended riding environment, I can live w/ the reduced suspension travel. We have ridden on fire trails here in the US and on dirt highways in Mexico (Baja) on our RT/ST combo. I am giving the F800GS consideration as well, but I've had 1200's for so long and love that platform. Obvious advantage of the F800GS would be the substantial similarity to my wife's F700GS, in terms of parts, tools, etc. I'm leaving work ("retiring", for now) soon and am looking forward to being able to devote full time to planning. Can't wait.
    #9
  10. Gbags

    Gbags Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Oddometer:
    33
    Hi Jim,

    We’re pretty similar except my wife is behind me. She rides small bikes in cities but is only very small and likes to sit at the back and watch the world go by. She sometimes even nods off and I have to nudge her to wake her up!
    We’ve been spending weeks, then months around Europe over the last few years and then three months in Africa last year.
    We had the 800GS which I loved but traded up for a 1200 GSA as we intend on being out for a long time this time and I like the shaft drive and the extra oomph when loaded up and riding over mountain ranges that the 1200 gives.
    I wanted the 1200 GS but after looking at all the extra bars, bash plate, screen and fuel bottles I’d need for Chile or somewhere way out, I plumped for the Adventure.
    I like gravel (dirt) but will avoid sand whenever possible two up on a big bike.
    Like you I’m coming to the end of my working shelf life and can’t think of a better way to merge seamlessly into late middle age!
    #10
  11. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    29,819
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Do you want to end you adventure in the US or Canada countries with too many rules and uptight people...or the opposite?
    #11
  12. Gbags

    Gbags Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Oddometer:
    33
    I don’t want to end the adventure in either place, but to carry on. That’ll be a decision to make after we complete the America’s and see if we have the desire to keep going.
    It’s always a bugger being months out, far away, and then flying home to ‘normality’.
    #12