First things first - I do have all country's frommer's and lonely planet's guides; I find them a tad useful, but for our trip, because it is so short, it's nearly useless because there is SOO much information of stuff to do we are focussing on only what we can see along the map we created. If the trip is longer I definitely recommend obtaining them, I use this term loosely because I found them all online (argh matey, alast I am guilty of staying on a cheap budget and have succombed to the seduction of Torrent sites and for those of you who are not calling the internet police on me, yes...they can be found as torrent files).
So besides the books, I compiled a few documents, a "master plan" of a bunch of dated facts, thigns to pack, prices, distances and everything, like most people will do. I won't quite share the document only becasue it is specific, but here is a few charts and data I found useful to carry over to the book I'll be compiling to bring with me before I go; a sort of "master guide" to everything that could go wrong or might happen).
|The climates of Central American / South American countries and the best times to go (damn Ecuador)|
The EXTREMELY EXTENSIVE Packing List
This list is hugeeeeee, but it gives you an idea of EVERYTHING you could but might want to bring.
Next I made a price list of everything I was bringing, and as time went on, I made the list smaller and smaller to make up for whats left to buy. Right now the biggest things I still need to get are a new progressive rear shock (i've been riding on a blown shock for a while now) and new tires (one to bring along, and front to put on before I leave); I'm buying Shinko 705's only because we won't be offroading too much, and we need a lot of mileage out of them for a REAL cheap cost, yes we are cheap and they are only 45.00 each.
We decided against the GPS, we haven't made up our mind yet about a microphone head set to keep in contact with each other, but other than that, its the simple stuff, harddrive, lock, sleeping blanketm, easy stuff to buy.
We decided on going with this lock:
|Bully Alarm Lock|
http://www.lewkiw.com/html/theft1.html -- a good resource on protecting ur ass-ets.
The best microphone set we found was the Scala Rider G4, but its a bit pricey:
|Good for not running into each other with shoddy hand signals|
http://www.ridersdiscount.com/ -- awesome for apparel, helmets, boots.
http://www.aviciouscycle.ca/KLR4.html -- particularly good for Canada residents
http://www.jcmotors.com/ -- cheap for just about everything
For our gear, we'll I'm thinking of keeping it cheap, I have a fieldsheer jacket as it is, two layers, more of a street jacket, as does Nik, and we will probably keep these as we are riding in the summer months and in relatively weather-consistent countries. I was thinking of the Fieldsheer Adventure:
I'll be wearing my RSF-2 Shark helmet. I might bring a second helmet if I have room to gimme some more breathing room. Yeah, overall I'm a be uncomfortable as hell, I know this, but I'm a stubborn cheap bastard with a strong ability to settle easily under these such circumstances.
Onward to a most valuble resource that I read regularly in the attempts to memorize everything I should know about Central America; I found this on ADVrider.com after a bit of searching and I believe tis the most essential piece of information you can have in planning a southern trip:
Central America Guide - The Wisdom
After this, if you're looking for places to stay, another must assuming you have Google Earth is this "little" plug-in that a whole bunch of ADVrider members put together over the course of a few years. This world map shows a COUNTLESS number of campsites and hotels/hostels around the world, nearly essential for just about any trip anywhere in the world.
Places To Stay On Google Maps
Alright, so with all this information, I ended making a calendar in Word to make sure I stayed on track with all the things to do before we go. Bah, I might as well throw that in there too ( at least the last three months until our trip) just to give you guys an idea of how long to plan ahead for certain events.
Calendar.docx From Rapidshare
And last but not least...at least for now, is another INVALUBLE tool I found on ADVrider, thwe budget calculator. Now I took a bunch of stuff out to make it personal to my trip, but if you can search it on the website, you will find the full calculator. If your lazy like most people, just click....
This excel document will do all the calculations for you, how much you need to save, how much you will spend everyday, how much you need to put aside in case of emergencies and other events. Really helpful to make sure you're on track.
Well, its a couple of resources to keep the planners busy, if you're a go-getter i just wasted your time, but I hope this post finds helpful to a bunch of people thinking about doing trips, but having a hard time finding some info.
There's still much to look forward to, when I finishing compiling all the embassy info, I'll have a list of all the Border entry/exit requirements, avg wait times, costs, insurance fees, and contact information (for Canada anyway). That will be coming in a couple more posts....
Until the next post: Where in the World ARE we going??