Follow the published narration and story of two friends traveling South, through 15 countries and two continents. From Ottawa Canada to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Rob and Nik are set to embark on a journey meant to take a year, to be completed in a mere 2 months.

January - March 2011 : A year in the making..

We promise this blog will not only be awesome to read, but PACKED with info on how to plan your own trip........

the RIGHT way.

With only two months to complete the trip, we'll be cramming in tons of VIDEOS, PICS and useful and hopefully funny info.

Stay tuned for the Extended Video Log on my YouTube Channel after the trip; this blog is only the beginning....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Final Touches

Because there's ALLLWAYSS something you forget...

I've been MIA for the past month, hard at work figuring out every little detail to tie up loose ends. It's actually been the part of planning that's been the most fun, because with major details out of the way the trip begins to come together. I still haven't gone through a lot of what I've been preparing for and a lot of things have changed in the past month too...gotta break up this post like sooooooo:

Step 1: Equipment

- I've lined the panniers with felt for that soft, fuzzy feeling. I can use it for a snuggly blanket when I finally realize its gonna be colder than I think.

- I'm now bringing two cameras, the SLR for amazing HD video and the point and shoot for quick snaps. I've created a homemade camera mount using PVC for the handlebars to get that personal cinematic POV experience for you all.

- We scrapped the Bully Alarm lock, and went with a more traditional approach: one huge ass armoured cable lock (OnGuard Rottweiler 5025) and an army of padlocks and cables. We figured it would be an easier and cheaper method of keeping the bikes together. Also wanted the Fagghedabout lock from Kryptonite, a real contender rated at the 12th security level (and there are only 12 levels), but it was 12 the hell do you carry 12 pounds of chain.

         <---my new set-up..........^ the ultimate protection, but way  too heavy for us.

 I am also using small cable locks that go through the top handles on the pannier to garner added protection because I've heard Happy Trails panniers can be pried open from the latches. The lock passing through the tops and around the bottom should prevent that. These stupid ideas took the longest to figure out haha.

- The new shock along with all the maintenance is finally done. I now understand a little bit more about bikes now that most of it was taken apart and put back together again. This felt like the biggest accomplishment, but the worry for me now is that I haven't gotten a ride to test out and make sure everything works. I don't want to get 100 miles into the trip and have the rear shock explode into my arse (as much as Joey or Dan would like to see this). It's been snowing EVER since I put the last bolt back in, I'll just have to take a polar ride before I go.
The milk crate is an amateur motorcycle mechanics' BEST friend

Out with the old and in with the new, the rear shock is surprisingly easy to install

The biggest pain in the ass is re-aligning the rear tire. This is what scares me, but its an easy enough fix as long as it doesn't align me with the front of an 18-wheeler first.
Even with this experience, me being me I can never be 100 percent certain of myself unless I'm packing a couple of these along with me in the laptop, just to be sure:
All the KLR installation and repair videos I could find on Youtube
- I direly needed a tank bag because I didn't want to lug around a backpack the whole way, plus I need a way to see my map along the ride. When I do things, I tend to make a big deal about it, or attract attention to myself. I'll be the guy that rides around in a car whose sound system is worth roughly a third to half the price of the car. Case in point: meet the Eiffel tower....

Yeah, its actually that tall...
This is sort of the bag that you would bring to move your house on your motorcycle. Its 3 bags in one, so I can take it apart and not have to worry about cocking my head 90 degrees towards the turn signal. Got everything I need and the reason I bought it, well tank bags are not cheap, but this one was $49.99 and free shipping through the U.S. I got it shipped to my aunt's in New Orleans (our first stopping point). VERY CHEAP. Thanks to Motorcycle Superstore for their ridiculously cheap prices and awesome closeouts. My $200.00 jacket is on sale for 50 bucks.

Step 2: Clothing

- So far the clothing preparation is taking the hit. Both me and Nik have decided to bring what we already have for jackets. My Fieldsheer with two layers will be alright in normal weather, but useless in the prolonged cold or heat. Nik's jacket is not waterproof, but don't worry Nik, its stylish and we know that's what's most important.

- I dunno about Nik for now but I don't have boots unless I find some last minute on closeout. I'll be wearing shoes the whole way, bringing a spare along with me; but my most grateful gratitude goes to Victoria for passing along not only that REALLY heavy duty padlock but the waterproof shoe slips and the tool bag. I would have totally overlooked a waterproof solution to shoes.

- I'm just bringing the one helmet I have, Shark RSF-2 racing helmet; I plan on racing mopeds and scooters in central america to boost both my ego and morale. Besides, who wouldn't want to wear a super-tight and form fitting, low-visibility and hot as hell helmet in hot as hell weather??

- Gloves again, same ones I use here, simple off-road/ casual riding gloves. I plan not to fall a lot, I should be alright with these.

- We also don't have motorcycle approved pants, but we do have waterproof overalls to pack along with us through the rain. Look people, all we're planning for here is what seems to be a casual ride. Haha, we're young and we're poor, there's no need to feel pity or make fun of us as you read this, we'll make it. Hence the next section's importance.

Step 3: Health

- I did of course buy a first aid kit, its not in the pictures but it'll do when I stumble off a curb or something; i'm pretty sure it's not meant to heal any form of high speed motorcycle accidents....

- Health care comes at a pretty decent price here in Canada. I've barely looked but I'm being quoted $219.00 for 60 days of medical travel coverage. Far cry from the $400.00 I though it would be. This is through my CIBC bank institution in case someone was wondering. This doesn't cover Mexico because they require their own motorcycle insurance, quoted at $43.00 or similar for only like 4 or 5 days. This seems nearly invaluable in the need for medivac or if I fail at motorcycling in the States.

- The shots/vaccinations (yes up to now all this was overlooked, well, I'm not as irresponsible as you all might have assumed huh huh) I looked into were very expensive. I think if you were to get all the shots you would be looking at $350-$400 canadian. I'm lucky to still have my Hep B vacc. from my school days. I'm not getting the Hep A shot, it's too late anyway. If you were to get Twinrix it takes a full 6 months to complete the procedure (3 shots at $70 a pop). Its been said that if your safe and responsible, its nearly the same risk of getting the virus as here in don't drink the water. Cholera shots are often recommended, as are Rabies. The only shots we are getting are Yellow Fever shots because I have heard that proof of vaccination receipts are required in certain countries if you travel through hot zones in other countries (panama and a few northern south american countries). That one is $70.00 alone, and can be taken 10 days prior to being in that country.

- Malaria pills are last but not least, but they are another hugely expensive purchase at $150.00 a prescription. I will take my chances until Mexico where I have heard they are infinitely cheaper, as are the shots, but you have to be weary of the fake clinics.

Well, I think that sums up a lot of the planning up to now, the "book" I'm writing is almost finished, and I will post most of it up here. Just basically a compiled list of all dealerships, country info, packing stuff and wisdom for on the road emergencies.

Until next post my friends and followers and especially to all those at the Wine Station, employees and customers alike who are following me along on the adventure. I'll use your support as strength to post and post some more!


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