Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Preparations for South of the Border So Far

The time for heading out is approaching. Here, I want to list some of the preparations I'm making, for myself, and for the bike, and for documentation.

An international drivers license - $25 at the local AAA office which includes the photos

A Yellow Fever immunization. I also got immunized for Hepatitis A. I would like to have gotten more, but without medical insurance, the cost of all the shots starts to add up

A passport, of course

The original, and copies of my motorcycle title.

Copies of all of these documents also reside in a thumbdrive hanging around my neck.

Oh yeah, and learn Spanish. I'm using Pimsleurs audio CD's. I make much better progress and retention than my attempts at software tools. I am at a level where I can do basic communications - How far to the next gas, We're going to eat now, etc.

Research: Read what others have done and gone through doing the same trip. is rich with ride reports and travel stories. Same goes for horizons unlimited.

My bike, the F800GS:
I know I will drop the bike, probably more than once, so with that in mind I got the Wild@Heart crash bar set from South Africa. I like these because the protect the radiator, but are far forward enough so my knees don't hit them.

For the same reason, I decided on the Caribou Case system. The rack is very solid and the plastic cases are really durable and waterproof. I've used aluminum cases before, but they are a pain to lock and not really all that waterproof. I had an inch of water in my Zega cases in Alaska.

And to protect the expensive headlight I got a headlight protector. It's far enough away from the lens to protect it in case of a large rock hit and also, it's easy to get behind to wash it. The black rubber flap keeps the reflection out of my eyes at night.

Finally, I have mounted two POV.1 video cameras - one facing the front and one facing the rear. These work great in that they can record in "clip" mode. What this means is, you set a clip length, say 5 minutes. The camera will continue to record over a 5 minute loop. If something interesting happens, I just click the Record button on the remote and those last 5 minutes are saved and a new loop will start. In this way, I can record all day long and never worry about running out of room on the SD card.

Right now I'm running a Karoo on the front, but I'll also carry a D606. On the rear I'm running an Avon Distanza that is getting great mileage. I've got 3,000 miles on the one that's on there now and you can hardly tell it from new.

Finding a dirt/mud worthy rear tire for a 17" rim is more of a challenge though. In the end I'll be packing a TKC-80. The mileage you get from these is not steller by any means, but it will be good to have for the few gnarly roads I want to explore. It will spend most of its time strapped to the topcase. Otherwise, a 90/10 (street/dirt) tire on the back and a knobby on the front will get me through all of the blacktop, sandy roads and dirt and gravel roads.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, dude, don't you want to mount thos Bungee Buddies on the sides rather than on top?

    Seems they'd be more useful...