Trip Prep:

September 1, 2006

Trip Preparation Details

So far it's cost me about $13,000.  Here's why:

  • $8,200  Motorcycle expenses:
    • $6,000 Used 2003 Suzuki Bandit, 1200s.  The previous owner set it up exactly like I would have for this type of project, so I bought it.
    • $2,200 for helmet, new chain and sprockets, new tires, battery, full tune-up, leather jacket, service manual, and new foot pegs for up front so I can stretch out a bit.
  • $1,787 Laptop computer expenses:
    • $999 Averatec 2200 series, 12.1" from Best Buy.  Yeah, I've never heard of Averatec either but I was told by someone in the know that they are made by the same company that makes Dell's.  Wish me luck...
    • $330 Geek Squad warranty, and installation of various firewall and spyware software.  They promised that even if I'm in a foreign country they've got contractors in every major city in every country.  Do you believe them??  I'll let you know...
    • $200 FrontPage software to design this website.  The big selling point here was the ability to do all the updates off line, then connect to the internet and quickly upload all changes.  I've since learned that there are cheaper equivalents.
    • $190 iPowerweb, 2 year website hosting subscription.
    • $44 Laptop bag, which is actually not designed for laptops, but it fits and it's small.  And padded, sort of.
    • $25 Manual to figure out how to use FrontPage.  The page design is very intuitive if you've ever used Microsoft Word or Power Point.  Getting it on the WWW is not.  FYI - the book didn't help much.
  • $1,200 Digital Camera
    • $1,100 Nikon D70s SLR with Nikon 18-70mm lens.  I'm also bringing my Tamron 70-300mm lens.  I figured this would be the most compact and versatile pair.  A circular polarizer fits them both and it's the only lens addition I'll use.
    • $100 for 2 memory chips, a 256 MB and a 512MB, an extra battery, and something else - I can't tell what it is by looking at the receipt.  Maybe I lost it.  Or ate it.
  • $661 REI type of stuff
    • $361 Rain jacket (The North Face), rain pants, leatherman (lots of handy knives, pliers and can opener type of things), extra compact thermal blanket, super absorbent small towel, insect repellant, sunscreen and some large road rash sized Band-Aids and first aid stuff.
    • $102 Nylon socks, underwear, and light SPF 50 white long sleeved shirt for those super hot riding days.
    • $198 Garmin GPS 60 with handlebar mount.  I'm tracking this whole trip with my GPS.  I'll have tons of data including latitude and longitude, altitude, time at each "dot" it records (usually about 10 per mile), average speed per "leg" (the space between dots), and leg course and length.  This will all turn into something very cool when I become mister techno suave digital dynamic stud guy...
  • $400 Healthcare stuff (approximately), I don't remember the cost of each item but they were:
    • Yellow Fever vaccine
    • Typhoid vaccine
    • Hepatitis A, 1st and 2nd shot
    • Tetanus shot update
    • Doxycycline 100mg, Malaria tablets
    • Acetazolamide 250mg, Altitude sickness tablets
    • Ciproflaxin 500mg tablets, for "Fast Poopies"
  • $315 Learning Stuff
    • $245 Rosetta Stone Spanish course that I've hardly used
    • $70 Footprint Travel books, one for Central America, one for South America.  I've never used the Footprint Travel books.  I've used most of the others (Frommers, Travel Planet, etc.).  After several hours of comparing them all at Barnes & Nobles, Footprint seemed to have the greatest attention to detail in areas of my concern, like border crossings, and a great layout of how to find places of interest, and places to sleep.
  • $129 Expedited passport renewal - many countries will not let you enter if your passport expires within 6 months.  Mine was set to expire next April so I had to renew.  Quickly.
  • $260, or so, for new license, title, registration and plates so that all documents match perfectly with each other.  Central and South American border guards are very particular about documents being in order, especially with vehicles.

So that's a summary of the trip prep expenses.  I could have saved some $$ here and there with better planning but I wanted it to expedite things after wasting several months playing in Seattle. 

Overall I'm happy with the bike but I'm a little concerned about going with a chain instead of the shaft drive bikes commonly used on these types of expeditions (with BMW's, and many others).  Chains can break but that's the 'fate' part of the trip I'm ready to roll with.  Lots of chain maintenance (cleaning, adjusting, lubing) will avoid random 'fate delays'.

I'm very happy with the camera setup and the software to make pictures ready for the internet.  I'll keep a separate file for print ready photo's for the book project upon my return.  If you see any photos you'd like to print let me know and I'll email you the print-ready version. 

The laptop is great for now but it's a great unknown.  I hope it proves reliable...

Anything else I can pick up along the way.  That is coming soon and I can hardly wait!!


     It's Monday night, 8/28/06.  I'm home.  I've been in Newport for 2 days now.  My dad is getting better at landing the Cessna single engine plane on Microsoft's Flight Simulator.  It's the old '96 version and the background is hard on the eyes.  I'll be getting him the newest (2004) version in the next couple of days.  He deserves the best.  He'll land a leer jet long before I'm south of Texas. 

     I could stay here for another year, or ten.  Or not.  Mom & Dad have enjoyed feeding my chubby unemployed ass, but there'll be a point of diminishing returns to this boarding house.  Picture 4 years later:  [Mom]  "So, do you think your about ready to go on that trip yet??"  "Shut up mom, bring me a beer and a turkey pot pie!!".  [Dad] "I've landed every darn plane on that new 2004 version of Flight Simulator, maybe I should fly your lazy ass to Tierra del Whatever and you can feed yourself?!!??!"  Now that's familial paradise.  But the original plan sounds better...

     My trip?  I'll be here, Newport OR, for up to 2 weeks.  Which means an exit day of September 7-9th, give or take.  I'll need time for the following: 

  • The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or maybe a finger-painting attempt at maintenance.  I'm adding foot pegs in front of the engine, cleaning & lubing the chain, all sprockets, and all the 'splat' guards around those items that could develop enough muck to "F" up a chain and end things.
  • Air cleaner:  I know it needs to be cleaned or replaced after a gravel road trip I took during my ride around Mt. St. Helens, and another in the Columbia river gorge.  The amazing thing is that you have to remove the WHOLE GAS TANK to complete this task, but it's good to find that out here, in Dad's garage, instead of the end of some side road in Honduras.
  • Oil and oil filter.  This has been done more recently than necessitates repetition, but I should repeat it to start from scratch, and learn more about the bike, and use the best synthetic oil on the market to deal with those high temperature dessert 3areas.
  • Travel/Health insurance details
  • Bank transfers, other than bank cards
  • Automizing any credit-cards or other payments
  • Website details, I may be able to actually make this thing interesting!!!!
  • Steph, website helper guru, and someone who helped me move, and is nicer to people and animals than anyone I've ever met.  Ever.  Will give me some FrontPage clues.
  • Other motorcycle add-ons, technical issues, etc. that'll be learned over the next week.
  • Will, gotta set that up....
  • Etc, etc. etc.

When I leave??  I could continue South.  But that would necessitate my crossing the high dessert here in the US (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) or in Mexico (even worse).  All those places can reach 120-130 degrees on the highway.  I'm a little worried about the air-cooled motorcycle when the air is too hot to cool it.

I'll be heading East.  Not a straight line, I know, but there's lots of folks to see that can help me with making my bike look cheap - but not criminal.  We've got Mo, in Bend, and Roger S. too.  Eric M. in the Tri-cities, Chris W in Athol, I think.  Then Ken F. in Missoula.  After Ken and his great wife and kid, maybe she'll be there, I'll be heading further East.  Way out to Lincoln Nebraska to see Pete, Jeanne and their 5 kids.  Yeah that's right, 5!

So expect a few updates along these stops, but especially while I go from Missoula to Lincoln Nebraska, through Yellowstone.  I mean hell hath no fury like the possibilities through Yellowstone.  If there is a hell.  One way or the other, there's lots of big carnivores out there and I'll smell like BAIT!!  at least I can ride fast.  Really fast....