Welcome to the blog!

The main purpose of this blog is as a permanent record of my adventures throughout the Americas by motorcycle. Feel free to comment or ask me any questions - I'm an open book.

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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Bike

The most crucial element in this trip, and the aspect that is bound to cause the most frustration and joy is undoubtedly the bike. The make, model and intricacies of my (hopefully) trusty steed is something I've pondered for some time now, ans I believe I've picked a winner: the Kawasaki KLR250.

Designed from the ground up in 1986 as a dual-sport motorcycle, and remaining relatively unchanged until 2005, the KLR jr is a model of stability and reliable engineering. As a purpose built dual-sport, it avoids the weaknesses of both road bikes with knobblies, and dirt bikes with indicators.

Unlike the BMW equivalent, the KLR doesn't cost more than my car, and parts are available everywhere. This bike was used by the US army, and is still used by the Chilean national police. Seriously, if a village has even heard of the internal combustion engine, they'll have parts for a KLR.

Lastly, it gets ~65 miles to the gallon (28km/l) and I know I can pick it up out of the dirt when I drop it, unlike some of the behemoths on the market today.

Once I had made the decision to ride the KLR250 in the Americas, it was time to practice. So I bought a KLR250. And I loved it. And it got stolen. Lesson learned (And if I find you Mr Thief, I will take a body part of yours in recompense). I recently bought another KLR250, which didn't run (and so couldn't be stolen). It has been a steep learning curve getting it back on the road, but I now feel confident that I can deal with almost any situation that is likely to occur with the bike.

After getting the bike working (sort of - there's still issues), it was time to test out the bike. Called some friends up, this was the result. Clicky
While you don't see the KLR until the end of the clip, it's a rough guide to the kind of terrain I rode.

The bike held up ok, and my off road abilities are getting better. Definitely starting to feel more confident about the inevitable bad roads and jungle tracks.

I will be buying the bike when I arrive, as shipping costs almost as much as the bike itself.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The trip in a nutshell

The central rationale for this blog: an epic trip from Canada to Antarctica, through every mainland country in North, Central and South America over motorcycle. From polar bears to penguins on a pair of pegs, if you will.

Woeful alliteration aside, I expect to begin in New York City on the 28th of March 2012, before heading North to the border and the french-speaking province of Quebec. After working for a few months in Quebec (and brushing up on my french), I plan to try the Trans-Labrador Highway, before returning to the US for a barrel-run style ride across the country to meet up with friends and explore small town America. And Las Vegas. Definitely Vegas.

After crossing the border to Mexico, Chichen Itza and Cancun loom large as destinations of note amongst others. From the Yucatán peninsula, Belize and it's blue oceans beckon. Sticking close to the Pan American Highway through Central America, the bike (and my backside) will enjoy a break as both cruise on a yacht from Panama to Colombia (the Darién gap being impassable to people like myself not keen on suicide).

From Categena, Colombia it gets tricky. Travel in this country is, by most accounts, hassle free. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade beg to differ however, imploring travelers not to visit several key areas. Short of flying throughout the country, it appears most travelers must pass through areas DFAT consider on par with Chad, Iraq and Afghanistan.Yikes.

Crossing from Venezuela through Guyana, Suriname and French Guinea will involve a few day trips into Brazil and most likely a fair bit of off road riding. From French Guinea to Peru & Ecuador means crossing the Amazon at Manaus, and a considerable detour. Following the Gringo Trail to Bolivia, I should be heading due east towards Rio via Iguazu Falls and Paraguay. From Buenos Aires via Uruguay, it's south all the way to Ushuaia, the main port for trips to Antarctica. After what should be in itself a trip of a lifetime, I return through Chile to Santiago, returning home to Perth, Australia before Christmas. Hopefully.

Official opening and purpose

Ok, so here it is: my first blog.

Let's be honest - I was bound to give in eventually. Every animal capable of typing has their own blog, and it would be remiss of me not to add to the already startling array of motorcycling travel blogs available.

The purpose of this blog: to share my experiences on (and off) 2 wheels, traveling throughout North, Central and South America. To help others with what I've learned, and (most likely) demonstrate what not to do. Hopefully this will serve as a record of my trip, and reduce the exorbitant amount of time I continue to spend on Facebook (despite despising it, I remain an addict).

What this blog will not be: a model of perfect grammar and spelling (I am an engineer by trade after all!), or a reliable method of communication. Hopefully, this blog will not be boring!!!