I'm not much of a writer, to put it mildly, but I'll try my best to document my motorcycle trip to Latin America. After years of drooling over other people's trip reports, it's time to do the final preparations and hit the road. I haven't been working for a while and it's a blasphemy to waste perfectly ridable time doing other things. Hence this trip - riding a part of the Pan-American highway while making various detours to visit nearby interesting places. The plan is purposely vague - head south from Los Angeles as far as the mule will go. The mule is my Kawasaki KLR 650, purchased for this trip for $3000. I managed to put 18000 miles on it while preparing for the trip. The mule has served me well in the deserts of Utah and Arizona and hopefully it will do so south of the border as well. There is no destination, only the journey. There is no schedule either - if I like a place, I will stay there till I don't like it any more. The trip will end when the bike develops a major problem or when I visit all the places I wanted to see, whichever occurs first. I created a wish list of places to visit. If I hit 80% of them, I'll be very happy. The weather, avoiding rain, will play a big role in which places I actually get to see. Riding in rain and mud just doesn't seem like a lot of fun for me. I've done some basic maintenance on the bike, changed tires, changed oil and air filters, sealed battery, the doo, sub-frame bolt upgrade, chain... But I haven't done any special mods for this trip. I had a long list of things to do, but after talking to the local dealership, I figured it would be cheaper to fix problems as they materialize. I am bringing some spare parts (dust seals for forks, cables, sprockets), so hopefully that will be enough to enable local mechanics to keep the bike running for a while. The departure time is still up in the air, but some time before Thanksgiving is probably quite reasonable. This is the most popular season for riding the Pan-American highway - the dry season in Central America and the west coast of the South America. I plan on riding alone, but I'm sure I'll meet many other travelers/riders on the way. In my mind, endeavor like this is best enjoyed alone. It is definitely harder to travel on your own, but it is also more rewarding. I've been inspired by numerous riders' trip reports on the net and in various books. I plan on using the vast amount of information found in trip reports. There were just too many trip reports that I've read and took notes from to name them. But main sources of information were http://advrider.com/ http://horizonsunlimited.com/ http://www.klr650.net/ I am deeply indebted to all the people who kindly shared their experiences with other riders. I hope that I will be able to give back a little to the riding community through my trip report. Toxic and Indy, avid advrider lurkers, did their best to teach me how to minimize the number of crashes in the dirt. I'm sure their advices will come in handy on this trip. Toxic and Indy in San Rafael Swell I'm also indebted to the Left Coast KLR Society for their help in doing bike maintenance and preparation for this trip.