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Old 05-23-2010, 11:00 PM   #1
Misery Goat OP
Positating the negative
 
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Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Paradise Valley, AZ
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Same as it ever wasÖheading to Latin America

In their 80s pop hit ďOnce in a lifetimeĒ, The Talking Heads compelled us to ask ourselves, ďWell, how did I get here?Ē While I often enjoyed the song as a kid it was not until now I realized I canít provide a sufficient explanation to the question. One minute I was jumping out of helicopters in the marines and next thing I know Iím here asking this paradigm challenging question.

And since I canít remove the water from the bottom of the ocean Iím temporarily hopping off the career treadmill and on to my motorbike bound for Latin America. I have no idea where this trip will lead, both in the literal and metaphysical sense. I may get tired in a month and call it quits or my wife may need to send out a recon team to bring me home, who knows. This trip isnít about bragging rights or another notch in my belt, itís about knowing how I got here.

The general idea is to spend the next year or so on the bike riding throughout Mexico and Central/South Americas making my way to Tierra del Fuego. My itinerary will be very free form and I will ride when I feel like riding and hang out when I donít feel like riding. It hasnít escaped my attention that Iíll be making my way through Central America at the height of summer so weíll see how that shakes out.

I do have a few specific goals on this trip, most notable among them, gaining some fluency in the Spanish language. Baja is one of my favorite places to ride in the world and itís always bothered me I canít converse with the locals when I visit. Iíll be enrolling in various language schools and possibly immersion as I make my way south. I expect to take a lot of pics and will try to ratchet up my writing skills as well. Iím taking a recently acquired Go Pro HD video camera so Iíll have another arrow in my quiver of storytelling. Iím new to the video format and hope to tap into its potential. A trip of this magnitude comes with some risk so it goes without saying Iíd like to return in one piece.

I fully understand that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and Iím thankful for my friends and family who in spite of my quitting a well paying job in the worst economy of our lifetimes have been very supportive and encouraging. And a special thanks goes out to my lovely wife whose understanding and support make this trip possible.

Those of you who know me know how much I love music so Iíll leave you with this as I get my ducks in a row.



Next up: Bike Prep
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
FLYING EYEBALL
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in

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Old 05-23-2010, 11:28 PM   #3
Rangerrat
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Riding south

Yyyyyhhhhhaaa. Another epic journey down south. Got my Couch and Cervesa (beer) ready. I'm in......
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:15 AM   #4
Icewalker
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Have fun ..... stay safe!
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:21 AM   #5
ZONKR
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Looks like a good one! Have a great ride MG.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:27 AM   #6
4play
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Good luck, stay safe. I look forward to the reports.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:47 AM   #7
Misery Goat OP
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Bike Preparation

Should I take a thumper or a big twin? As I pour over the round-the-world (RTW) reports I canít help but notice the abundance of F650s making the trek. It makes sense, a bulletproof engine, chain drive, not too big, and itís a BMW. I went so far as to go to the dealer and sit on a number of F650s including the new twin and X-Challenge. Iíve been on the KTM 950 for 5 years now, 20K miles on the Adventure and 10K miles on the Superenduro, most of the miles offroad. In the end I chose to go with what I know. I feel confident tearing the 950 down in the field, the engine is bullet proof, and the ergos are perfect imo. While I realize there will be times where a smaller bike is ideal the SE handles very well in tight places so Iím willing to accept its shortcoming in this instance.

The SE only had 1200 miles on it when I bought it and aside from trying to get its over-sprung suspension right for my riding style Iíve had no issues with the bike that werenít self inflicted. Since the bike is set up for high-speed desert riding itíll need some modifications for the trip and of course Iíll need to renew all the wear items. KTMSER (Spencer) was key in helping me (ie he did most of it ) take care of all the maintenance and upgrades.

Anyone who owns a SE knows the pains of the bike's limited fuel range. So first up on the list of mods is a Safari tank. The 7.9 gallon capacity will come in handy in remote areas especially since I have a knack for getting lost.



(Spencer's mumbling something about the poor lighting in my garage.)



Mulie giving a hand as always.



Next up chain, sprockets, brake pads/fluid, clutch fluid, and radiator flush.







I carry tools as a practice for trail riding so Iíll expand my kit and remove redundancy to include items that will allow me to maintain the bike short of a major break down. I ended up with this (more or less) for the final pack up. No, I didnít take the big roll of duct tape. :)



I decided to go with PIAA aux lighting at the last minute. They are brighter than any lighting Iíve had and after getting caught riding at night in Kashmir on an old Enfield with poor lighting Iíll be happy to have them. Hopefully they wonít fail on me this trip. Also pictured is a new TT and Enduro Engineering GPS mount. I could never get the Ram mount to sit still with the Zumo when offroading so Iím happy to have this set up.



I prefer soft luggage as it holds up better for me offroad. Iím good for the occasional biff and soft bags just give more imo. The racks for the rear panniers stuck out too much for my tastes so we had our welder bring them in and he added a cross brace for reinforcement, much improved. There will be times where Iíll miss not having lockable bags but Iíll just have to deal. The waterproofing will be key and Iím anxious to document how these bags hold up to the rigors of a long trip.



The bike is wired for the usual USB powered stuff and Iíll have my Macbook so I'll be able to stay connected for the most part. Thatís about it sans some incidentals and a final oil/tire renewal so hereís the bike packed down. Iím starting with too much shit, camping gear makes it tough to stay light, but Iíd rather have too much with the option of lightening my load than not having something I need.




Next up, Leaving
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:04 PM   #8
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[quote=Misery_Goat]



JB Weld, duct tape and a tow rope- you'll be fine
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
dragoon
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Fuck yeah!
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Old 05-24-2010, 01:00 PM   #10
pdedse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misery_Goat
...The general idea is to spend the next year or so on the bike riding throughout Mexico and Central/South Americas making my way to Tierra del Fuego. My itinerary will be very free form and I will ride when I feel like riding and hang out when I donít feel like riding.
Hard to improve on that! Suerte!
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Old 05-24-2010, 01:16 PM   #11
Lobby
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°Orale!



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Old 05-24-2010, 01:34 PM   #12
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I've been looking forward to this one. See you around down South maybe. Goodluck with your trip.
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:10 PM   #13
enceladus
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I hear ya

I felt the same way about a month ago. Litterally packed up and left in no time. Iīm stuck in a little town called Pitalito in the south of Colombia right now waiting for the roads to be cleared. There has been so much rain down here lately that the road was blocked in 15 places. Besides that I had a run in with some bandits in Honduras who tried to take everything I had. Bike and all. Luckily, I was very suspicious of a car with blacked out windows following me as soon as I left the border. When they tried to block my way I was able to turn around fast enough to get away. The bastards tried four times but after the first attempt when I saw them I turned and headed back the way I came as fast as I could. Almost went into a manhole without a cover in Bogota. And had two cops stop me in PanamŠ for a document check. One had a shot gun pointed at my chest the whole time. The sound of a safety being released is not very assuring when its pointed at your chest.They were not very impressed by my Sinaloa liscense plate. If you get down any time soon let me know and maybe we can tag along together because one thing I have learned about making a trip like this is one person is a target. Im on my way all the way down. If you need any tips about the border crossings in Central let me know. I just did them all last week.
One thing to remember is dont leave that crossing from Mexico into Guatamala without that offical sticker. There are a lot of shisters who have offical looking fakes. You will have trouble at the other end of Guatamala without it and you will have to go all the way back to Mexico to get it.
Ron
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:11 PM   #14
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Old 05-24-2010, 03:34 PM   #15
crashmaster
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Nice start Goat!

I know a secret.....
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