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Discussion Starter #1
Its finally here. Posted an invite about 6 months ago and had no takers so I am heading off solo 12-27-10 from Portland Oregon to Panama.

I may have read one to many motorcycle books. I decided the only difference between the adventure authors and me was that they went somewhere.

WHY PANAMA?
You can drive out of your driveway in Oregon city and end up in Panama. No oceans, no unfriendly nations, nothing but road.

WHY NOW?
I am not getting any younger. Andy and Chris, my boys, are doing a great job of running the store and this is the slow time of the year for business.

WHY SOLO?
Because you are not going with me.

HOW FAR HOW LONG?
5500/6000 one way? About 4 weeks each way. Be back in March.

HOW LONG IN PLANNING?
Thinking about it for a year. Talking about it for 9 months. Gathering gear and prepping bike for 3 months. Finished bike this morning and have bags packed except for clothes.

Departure 12/27/10 9am

2009 Kawasaki Versys.

Add ons.
Garmin GPS, Spot tracker, handlebar risers, Lever gaurds, electric accessory plug, oversized windshield, Skid plate, Engine crash gaurd, Front fender extender, Metzler Tourance tires, Forward footpegs, lowered main pegs, Oversized kickstand pad, raised front fender, raised front fender, new lengthened front brake line, 43 tooth sprocket replaces 46 tooth, Rebuilt saddle. A really loud motion alarm.

Found the pelican cases on Craigs list and ebay. Welded my own racks. Installed LED lights on the back of the cases. Upholster made removeable bag liners for me and hard cases are on wingnuts for easy removal.

I am so ready.

I will be posting up here and also on my business facebook page. Friend Spicer Brothers Produce if you are interested.
 

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Good luck! Wish I was going with you. Be careful in Mexico and be sure to keep us all posted.
 

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Did you read this?

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=566414

It's a guy that did a similar journey on shoe-string budget. It's well written with nice pictures so you'll be entertained and maybe get some tips.

Very nicely set up bike.
May I recommend you put on a loud horn? Stebel Nautilus is popular around here but there are alternatives and it will set you back a well worth 30$.

Looking forward to the ride report.
Best of luck.
 

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May the good forces be with you and looking forward on your reports.

Wish you all the best and we are with you all the way.

:goodluck: & :cheers::cheers:
 

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I did a similar trip in 2004 on a KLR 650 and had a fantastic with time with no major problems. I rode through Mexico, Baja and the rest of Central America up to Panama city. You should have no problems if you follow some simple rules: Watch the speed limits as anything over the limit will give the local police a reason to stop you and possibly shake you down for more money or worse. There are few fences along the smaller roads and all kinds of live stock, dogs and wildlife will and do wander out onto the roads. You are also the smallest on the road and all other vehicles will assume the right of way. Trucks, buses, pickups, minivans and cars will all assume that YOU will move out of the way regardless of the situation. Never if at all possible ride at night. Try to get to border crossings early in the day and be patient, it can take a long time to get through. Personally, I would hire a "guide" at border who would help to show you the proper lines and windows to go through to pass customs. It would often save a lot of time and confusion. Generally they were honest and offered a good service, just fix the price right away ( usually 5-10USD) and never give them any of your papers, just the officials. I always picked some kid to watch my bike and stuff while I was processing the paperwork and would pay them the small change from the country I was leaving and never had so much as a pen taken from my bike.

As most others will tell you, the smaller rural roads are the best for scenery and meeting friendly people, the big cities are the place to keep your guard up.

Wish you all the best and keep up posted when you can.

Maurice
 

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I'm jealous, man. My dream is to ride to Ushuaia (and back) someday. Just waiting until my daughter is a bit older (and maybe until I have enough cohones). Wishing you all the very best on your journey and I hope you keep us updated. BTW, how is the slack on your chain? It looks a little tight in the picture. Well prepped bike. It doesn't take much, eh?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just adjusted the chain when I put the new 43 tooth sprocket on, but I haven't even ridden it around the driveway to recheck it. Chain check, pack my clothes and I am out the door. (In 8 days)

It is supposed to be a balmy 35 degrees and raining on the morning of the 27th. I have Olympic gear, (jacket and pants), Shark helmet, AXO waterproof lined boots, Hippo hands, and feet warmers for in my boots. I can't wait to get out of this grey and cold.

I have done over 80,000 miles around the western US, Canada, Alaska, and Baja in the last 6 years. It has always been my preference to find the road less traveled. With that in mind I plan to head straight out to the coast and go south to San Diego on 101 and 1. From there it will be over to Phoenix to say hey to some relatives, then south. Probably cross the border at Sonoyta. Quiet place with not much traffic. Plan to hug the Pacific on the way down and the Caribbean on the way back.

I have packed a collection of guidebooks that cover all of Central America. Hope to let them lead me to some must see, ultra cool, out of this world stuff. I have friends here in Oregon City with family in Panama City. Plan to stay there a few days and let them show me their country. That is as far as I have gone with my planning. Don't know where I will spend the first night but I need to be home by the middle of March.

(I have left open the option of going beyond Panama. Got the shots, got the Ok from the wife, got that option in place. Won't make that call till I hit Panama. But, and it is a big butt, if all the stars line up I will go on to Tierra del Fuego. But let's just keep that between you and me.)
 

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Wow! What a trip

keep us posted

Are you going to make your spot publicly available so we can follow you?

Cheers
 

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Spicerman... Have a great trip. When you initially posted it, I jokingly told my wife I wanted to join you and she said okay. After a while she said how will you get the m/c home. Spoil sport! She knew we weren't up for me to take the time off for a ride down and back and the 10 day vacation to Bocas del Toro (Atlantic/Caribbean side of Panama at CR border) she had planned in Feb 2010.

Places of interest: After crossing the border from CR; the city of David, El Volcan, the road out to Bocas, Boquette. Further down the road, the beaches at Santa Clara, the town market on Sunday at El Valle (75 mi from P City).

P City: Casco Viejo, Panama Viejo, Church of the Golden Altar, the causeway, Isle Taboga, and much more.

Caution: In P city, the lanes of traffic seem to be fluent. As in, they will change with no relation to the stripes on the road.

As has been mentioned, caution on the road. You are the smallest vehicle out there and YOU need to be the one to watch out for others.

Have a great and safe trip. Look forward to hearing about your experiences.

Frog
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Panamafrog thanks for the places of interest. I have friends here in Oregon with family in Panama City. They have invited me to stay and be my tour guides around Panama.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
What to pack?

Thought I would share a couple of pics to show and tell what I have packed.

Left side pannier is tools and such.
Tubeless tire repair, electric pump, Co2, tire irons (do not want to use), chain breaker, master link, tow strap, duct tape, nut and bolt selection, zip ties, vice grips, cresent wrench, multi tool, flashlight, chain lube (teflon), wd40, latex gloves, oil filters and remover, air filter, bungee nets, and guide books. In small cases: fuses, JB weld, super glue, spare keys, wire connectors.

Right side pannier is Meds and such:
Atihistimine, cold tablets, advil, sunscreen, aloe, sunscreen, water tablets, eyedrops, toiletries, earplugs, scissors, electric cords (phone, camera, webbook, gps), water bottle, laundry sheets, guidebooks, 5 copies of every piece of paperwork, gel energy packs.

Dry pack has tent, sleeping bag, mosquito net, camp chair, and sleeping bag. Still have a lot of room in this bag.

Total weight in all three bags is 46 lbs.

Third Pannier is for clothes and I will be packing that on Sunday to leave on Monday.

I am sure that I have missed something but with any luck it will show itself before I need it.
 

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