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Old 04-05-2013, 05:54 AM   #46
BcDano
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Hello from Panama

You are going to love the ride! We have just arrived in Panama ourselves and the ride has been nothing short of amazing.

Two tips though. First you are going to riding through the rainy season (I'm sure you know). Things are going to get very wet. Second tip is less stuff = less worries/hassles. Pair down your gear and you will have a better time.

Enjoy the trip. We will be watching.

Peace
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:38 AM   #47
Panama OP
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Departure!!!

Friday (4-5-13) morning we got up bright and early to depart Jacksonville to Tallahassee only to have a huge rain storm. We monitored the weather satellite looking for a break in the storm. 



By 11AM we finally left in a light drizzle that quickly turned in to a full on storm. The $19.00 Frogg Toggs rain gear work pretty good, but we were still freezing. We pulled into a rest area to put on extra layers of warm cloths and dry socks.




                              




Colin and I arrived at our Parents house cold and wet.





Once we changed into dry clothes we quickly got to work.


Colin installed a new larger windshield.






                                                       and Hugh installed his highway pegs.










                                                After dinner we compared camping pads





Eddie updated us on his status. He will be departing Kansas Sunday and meeting us in Texas on Tuesday.




Eddie has been installing auxiliary power outlets, and hard wiring his Garmin GPS.









 Today Saturday (4-6-13) we depart to my Grandmothers House in Dothan, Alabama for a over night visit. 






                                              From Dothan, Al we will head to Lafayette, La






















Panama screwed with this post 04-06-2013 at 08:58 PM
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:40 AM   #48
Panama OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
You are going to love the ride! We have just arrived in Panama ourselves and the ride has been nothing short of amazing.

Two tips though. First you are going to riding through the rainy season (I'm sure you know). Things are going to get very wet. Second tip is less stuff = less worries/hassles. Pair down your gear and you will have a better time.

Enjoy the trip. We will be watching.

Peace
Thanks for the tips, I am trying to consolidate/eliminate as much as possible now.

- Blake
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:36 PM   #49
The Fonz
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YeHaw,

Looking forward to reading about the trip.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:06 AM   #50
Panama OP
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Sunday 4-8-13

Sunday (4-7-13) we left Dothan, Alabama at 10:30 AM after a great visit with family at my Grandmothers house. 

We had a chance to dig through old photo albums and found some motorcycle pictures from the past we thought we would share.








Blake at age 13 on Yamaha DT 100 






Hugh at age 16 on his Montesa Cota 247 Trials






Hugh at age 17 on Yamaha DT1 250 Enduro 










We had a beautiful ride on the back roads along the Alabama/Florida line than took us from Dothan Alabama to Defuniak Springs, Florida. 



We pulled over to program the GPS, and Hugh's bike would not start. 





We quickly realized it was a battery issue and had to remove the side panels,  seat, and luggage rack to access the battery cables and tighten them down.  We then had to jump on interstate I-10 to cover some ground. 



We traveld on I-10 through West Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and entered Louisiana about 5PM 







We found a hotel coupon book at the Louisiana visitor center and got a cheap deal at the Euro Inn in Slidell , Louisiana It was basic with two small beds but clean. 







We locked the bikes up in front of the lobby 








Colin got to try out the Thermarest  sleep pad and his light weight sleeping bag.















Panama screwed with this post 04-10-2013 at 09:14 PM
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:50 AM   #51
Parcero
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Location: Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
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I did Chicago to Panama in December 2011. Never felt unsafe or threatened at any point on the trip. Met nothing but the friendliest people in all countries that I traveled through. The biggest danger was the road conditions in some countries, like in Honduras when oncoming traffic swerved into my lane at the last minute to avoid massive potholes. You will get used to that quickly. Have fun, it's going to be a great trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunz82414 View Post
Sounds like an awesome ride. My biggest concern would be safety; not worried about motorcycle related problems or the elements, but crazy people. Isn't theft and being robbed or attacked an issue? Maybe I am just an ignorant American?

I have been to Costa Rica and it was a very nice place, but I would be worried about everyplace between the US border and the Costa Rican border.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:00 PM   #52
Panama OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parcero View Post
I did Chicago to Panama in December 2011. Never felt unsafe or threatened at any point on the trip. Met nothing but the friendliest people in all countries that I traveled through. The biggest danger was the road conditions in some countries, like in Honduras when oncoming traffic swerved into my lane at the last minute to avoid massive potholes. You will get used to that quickly. Have fun, it's going to be a great trip!
Glad to hear the "Danger" is mostly hype!
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:02 PM   #53
Panama OP
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San Antonio !!

We arrived at our good friends the Medinger's on Tuesday (4-9-13) after a really fun ride down highway 90 into San Antonio, TX. We worked on the bikes for two solid days getting everything ready to head south. We put three new chains on the klr's, new tires, new brakes, cleaned the air filters, greased everything, and ave everything one last check before we are out of the country.









Bob Medinger, our host, servicing his son Trevor's KTM 65







        Blake and Hugh installing new tires.








Eddie arriving with his new KTM 990 from Kansas










Eddie helping Hugh secure the grips with stainless steel wire.

Panama screwed with this post 04-10-2013 at 09:11 PM
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:33 AM   #54
mvelazquez
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Panama City, one of the most beautiful cities in Central America.
I rode down the summer of 2012 from the Boston area.
You are going to have the most amazing time. The scenery is spectacular. Particularly when you start seeing the active volcanoes. The people are truly amazing in all the countries. Th only thing I hated was the border crossing, very expensive and time consuming. You have the right bikes for the ride. Enjoy.
I documented some of my ride here, http://www.missrider.com/

Madeleine (aka - Missrider)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Panama View Post
[COLOR="SeaGreen"]

Hi Guys! I have been following ADVRIDER reports for years and finally am venturing out on my own trip. I would like to thank you guys for your great post showing that you dont need to be rich or have a ton of gear. JDOWNS has been a huge inspiration in this aspect!
I will be traveling with my brother Colin (30yrs old), and childhood friend Eddie (32y yrs).
We will be riding our motorcycles from the USA (Florida & Kansas) through Mexico and Central America to the Darien Gap in Panama. 













Eddie will be ridding his brand new 2013 KTM 990 from Kansas City and meeting Colin and I in Texas before we cross into Mexico.










Colin will be traveling on a 2009 Kawasaki KLR 650 with 5500 miles on it.








`


And I will be on a 2006 Kawasaki KLR 650 with 8500 miles on it.










We  are on a tight budget so we plan to camp when when ever possible to save a few pesos.













We hope to cross the US/Mexican boarder about April 5th.





But before then we have tons of bike maintenance! 


So far I have done three full days of wrenching to minimize any breakdowns south of the boarder.



















The planning for this trip has been fairly minimal regarding exact routes and dates. We will most likely be hugging the Eastern coast of Mexico making our way south checking out national parks and ancient ruins alone the way. If you guys know of any must see spots please let us know.





Bike Prep has been keeping us busy.





Eddie has done the following to his KTM 990 Baja:





BDCW Skid Plate

BDCW Side Stand Relocator

BDCW Aux Radiator Fan

Touratech GPS Bracket and Garmin Zumo GPS

Touratech 38L AL Panniers

KTM HID Lights

KTM Side Stand Base

KTM Alarm System

Remote Fuel Mapping Switch








Colin's 2009 KLR came equipped with Happy Trails Luggage and rack, and he will be mounting his Tush Hand Guards, Happy Trails Nerf Bars and skid plate set in the nest few days.





The previous owner was a industrial mechanic and installed a thermo bob, 16 tooth sprocket, and a +1 dyno jet kit.











I have been in the garage non stop working on the 2006 KLR 650. So far I have completed the below list of mods. I have been lucky enough to score many parts used on Advrider.com wich has saved me a ton of money.










Dohickey






eagle mikes sub frame drill through kit






dual star radiator guard






skid plate






tall windshield






acerbis hand guards






corbin seat






MSR Carbon ATV high RIse bars






16 tooth Couter sprocket ( for interstate, may change to lower gearing in slower coutries)













Dual star water pump guard






ebay wide foot pegs






Trickle charger/ power adapter (to charge cell phone/camera/mp3)






Rat pack sport rack



Mermite Panniers project


plasic locking topbox



T- Mod


valves job


air screw out 1 full turn (was a ¼ turn)





Counter Sprocket Tools







A cool travel tool I am taking is a expandable baton used by police officers. I picked it up for like $8.00 and allows me to have 24" of leverage to change front sprockets.






























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Old 04-12-2013, 09:41 PM   #55
Panama OP
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Mexico

Today (4-12-13) we woke up after a late night of tough ridding into Laredo, TX. We took advantage of the great free breakfast at the La Quinta Inn, called our banks letting them know to expect foreign transactions, and packed up. While Hugh was packing he noticed he was missing his chain tensioner on his motorcycle.

Note: The chain tensioner is necessary to keep the chain from falling off.


















above is what fell off












This is what we rigged up with the help of Johnny Gregory






                                         If you are ever in Laredo and need a part go see Johnny Gregory









 He is a flat track racer who still races in the over 60 year old class, and is sponsored.




He races this Yamaha 500cc from the mid 70's








After fixing the bike we crossed the border into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Crossing was easy and we didn't even get off the bike, just pay $3.00 toll and your in Mexico.



After you are in Mexico you have to enter the immigration office pay for your tourist permit ($25.30), temporarily import the bike with a deposit of $400 that you get back after you exit the country.



Then you have to get mandatory motorcycle insurance that the office does not sell. We ended up going to a internet cafe and buying it online and printing the receipt ($56.00 for 10 days).







Then we exchanged our green backs for Pesos. The exchange rate is roughly 12 pesos to the dollar.



So after many delays we headed south for Monterey. Which is Mexico's third largest city.








This portion of the ride was really fun on the Mexican Autopista with amazing views.







Eddie didn't get to install highway pegs so instead he plants his feet on his crash bars. 


The mountains were picturesque all around us.









We also hit the city center at rush hour!! As we jokingly say, "No Bueno" :) Here Hugh and Eddie are

navigating through Mexico-Mahem!



We found a over priced hotel just as the sun was setting and are now falling asleep.  We were beat from the long day so we had some authentic tacos and guacamole to finish it off.



Eddie and I have been researching our next adventure whilst washing laundry in the sink.



The plan is to explore the mountains and camp for the next day or two.

















Panama screwed with this post 04-13-2013 at 08:30 AM
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Old 04-14-2013, 01:44 PM   #56
Panama OP
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Saturday 4/13 Chipinque, flat tire and push button hotels

4-13 Saturday

We checked out of our Best Western hotel in Monterrey at 1 pm. We went up the mountain to the Chipinque Ecological Park. The road winds up the mountain and the view is spectacular around every corner. There is a toll (85 pesos) to go all the way to the top of the mountain. The toll deters a lot of folks, however, there a lot of apparently well to do people driving very nice cars or riding mountain bikes or just walking along the side of the road. What a beautiful place. At the top of the hill is the Hotel Chipinque and restaurant. We walked around and checked out the views from the many miradors. Elevation at this point is 5000 ft. The city of Monterrey is sprawled out below for miles. We went into the restaurant and ordered a cup of cafe and used the free wi-fi while we planned our next move.



We each came up with a name for our motos today.





Colin's is black and he had already named her Black Beauty.









Eddie's is big and mostly white so he came up with Blondella.







Blake's bike is green so he's riding the Grasshopper.







Hugh's is red so we call it Red Rider.










We decided to go see some caves (Grutas de Garcia) that are about an hour away and since there are no hotels in that area we thought we could find a spot to camp out. We went back down and into the heart of the city again. Eddie has a GPS but not all the roads are on it and navigation is difficult. We pulled over to the side of the road to regroup and a nice taxi driver saw that we were lost. He stopped and offered to escort us around town and got us on the right road. How nice was that?He didn't want any money but just wanted to help us out. We have found that so many people are interested in us and all are very helpful and kind.





We finally got out of town and near the caves. We got hungry and bought two whole grilled chickens, eight sausages, onions, tortias, and salsa for 170 peso or $14. It was a great meal for $3.50 each.















when we pulled into a gas station to top off and get some snacks.





 As we all loaded back up and were ready to leave Blake discovered Grasshopper had a flat rear tire. Everybody unsaddled and we began the repair job. We are carrying a few extra inner tubes so it was matter of taking the rear tire off the bike so we could change out the tube. Eddie is the man for this job because he used to work at Joe Hummer's shop where he made $3 for changing a tire. We all had a role in this job and in not too long we had it back together. About that time Blake heard a leak noise and sure enough the tube they put in, which had been repaired earlier, had several leaks. This time we put a brand new one in and buttoned things back up again.
































 Grasshopper on one leg

By now it was getting late and would be dark soon. We asked around and the nearest hotel was back toward Monterrey. We couldn't risk driving out toward the caves in hopes of finding a place to camp so headed back toward town where had noticed some "auto hotels". In Panama these are called push buttons.




















These auto hotels are rented by the hour and have really great garages where you park your car. We made a deal for 2 rooms for the night. They gave us a pretty good rate of 460 pesos ($36.80) for 2 guys in a room with secure parking inside for the bikes. I have only heard about those push buttons but I'm pretty sure these are far superior to those. These rooms are really nice! King size beds, very nice bathroom and shower and super clean sheets. It was a great find and I'm certain we'll sleep in much worse along the way.





Anyhow, the plan for tomorrow is to get back out to the caves then head southwest to a town called Saltillo. It's at a higher elevation and we hope to camp (again).

Hoping to get some good sleep tonight. We can't hear the neighbors which is nice.

Hasta luego,

Hugh




































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Old 04-14-2013, 03:53 PM   #57
motoged
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Yep....those "Auto Motels" are designed for ...uh...."amorous pushers"
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:15 PM   #58
Panama OP
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Yep....those "Auto Motels" are designed for ...uh...."amorous pushers"
The one we got was spotless and very modern. Huge plasma screen, leather couches, large shower.

You could tell it was just bleached. Also the towels and sheets were hot out of the dryer.

good value and we got a safe place for the bikes in a not so great area.

- Blake
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:52 PM   #59
Panama OP
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Saltillo Mexico

We got an early start this morning due to the 8 am checkout at the push botton.







The ride out to Las Grutas de Garcia was easy since it was early Sunday morning.



We were in the first group to enter the attraction. The admission price was 80 pesos. There is a quick movie where they show a preview and a brief explanation of the caverns. Next is the cable car ride up to the entrance. It is very modern and we all felt very safe going in it. The tour is guided and it was very well presented. The cavern is really nice and they have done a nice job with the walkways and railings all the way along. There are several stops along the way where the guide points out a particular stalagmite or " tite". The tour is about an hour long and it was enough for us.







We took the cable car back down and went out to the parking lot to look for food at the street vendors.

There were many choices but we settled on the tamales de puerto y de pollo. Both were excellent and we had a nice visit with the lady who makes them and her daughters. They were very hospitable and interested in our trip.



































From here we headed to Saltillo which was only just over 50 miles away. There are 2 roads, one is a toll road, the other is free. We like free.

















 It was a great ride over some nice mountains. We reached over 4500 ft at some points.







As we got into Saltillo we pulled over to try and decide where to go. As it turned out there was a guy on a nice Suzuki GSX that had broken down right there. He had already called a friend with a truck to help him and the truck arrived a minute after we got there.









We helped them load the bike and they took us into town to a very nice but reasonable hotel. We got a room with 2 beds for 740 pesos. We have a/c, wi-fi, a pool and its all we need. We're planning the next leg. We've got to make some Kms if we're ever going to get out of Mexico.








































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Old 04-14-2013, 10:00 PM   #60
Bgunn
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This looks fun

Good job on the bike prep, now relax and enjoy the journey. Funny.. how sooner or later south of the border, we all eventually wind up in a.... auto (Love hotel) hotel.
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