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I'm leaving Alaska in September of 2012 riding to Ushuaia then up to BA.
I may ship the bike to Capetown after that If I'm not too much of a wreck physically by that time (scheduling seven months).
The Alaska to San Diego mileage will be done in ten days as I've done this portion of the trip a number of times on H-D bikes over the years (at least from Fairbanks and Homer, AK, if not Deadhorse).
I'll be sixty years old by the start of the trip. I've done lots of long distance riding on H-Ds over the past thirty years but it's been a few years since my last long one (2005, 13,000 miles) and this trip will be done on a BMW R1200GS that I will ship north in a friend's Tracter-Trailer truck to Prudhoe Bay from Seattle.
I'll fly in on Alaska Airlines to Deadhorse.
I'm a big guy so that's why a R1200 rather than a KLR650 for me on this trip.
Any info from you bit older riders concerning being "on the road" south would be much appreciated.
Best place to buy "nappies", ect. (only joking, maybe Viagra?)
Curious as what you feel is a good daily range (I realize it's subjective, and depends on the roads and time schedule, if any, but what worked for you?)
Losing weight now and exercising more. Outfitting the bike starting in January. Wish it were an R1200GS Adventure model but price was right with low mileage and little use. It has the spoke wheels and BMW's three panniers.
Any suggestions from you older guys and gals would be appreciated.
A hearty thanks goes out to all of you whom have blogged the trip south, no matter what your age. It has helped immensly in preparation for the trip.
I don't plan on doing much hard-core dirt riding. I'm fine with fairly long distances on gravel roads though.
If anybody has any ideas as to making the R1200GS a bit more trip worthy please feel free to add your thoughts also. I probably wouldn't buy $1700 add-on fuel tanks but any ideas that don't go over about $2500 total would be appreciated (that's not including the costs of the personal and outfitting gear and spares). It has a good bash plate but I know it needs valve cover protectors and crash bars.
Thanks for any input.
Hi Imdok, you're not old, another decade then some mornings you start to feel old, but 60 is nowt. I'm bimbling around Chilean Patagonia at the moment on an R1200GS with 140,000 miles on the clock so if you want any info give me an e-mail. Ride safe.
Here's a link to my blog from 2010 concerning the Dalton & Dempster. I rode a GSA1200 for this trip so you can compare models/mods if you wish.
Age doesn't matter....my friend Ian Coates is 68 now and has been riding RTW for the last 13 years!
I don't think 60 is a significant age at all so far as riding is concerned. I'm 56, and still try to do long-distance tours about 6 to 8 weeks a year.
The only change I have noticed since I started riding in my 20s is that I'm probably not still up to doing really long days (over 1,000 km) in really crappy weather, and keeping up this routine day after day non-stop. However, I don't find that to be a restriction, because to be totally honest, I no longer have any interest in just 'transiting' - meaning, just putting miles behind me, and covering really long distances.
I have found that my interest has evolved over the years - I'll still ride 8 or 10 hours a day, but I'll do it on the secondary roads, not on the expressways, and I'll get off the bike and 'smell the roses' more frequently. I take more coffee breaks, I spend more time looking around the places I ride through, and I'm more inclined to spend a couple of nights in the same place periodically - in other words, I'll take a break from riding every 4th or 5th day and settle into a hotel and spend a day looking at the town.
This cuts my gross mileage down a bit. Now, I'll perhaps average 1,500 to 2,000 km a week. It's a more relaxed style of touring, no longer an 'Ironbutt' kind of trip to just rack up the miles.
This change has not been prompted by any health or personal endurance issues, it's been prompted entirely by a change in my interests.
I would be delighted to do a trip such as you propose (Alaska to San Diego), but there is no way I would attempt to do it in 10 days - to me, that's 'transiting', not 'touring'. I'd set aside 30 days for that kind of trip, and make sure I thoroughly enjoyed it, took the time to enjoy the communities I rode through, was relaxed all the time and not under internal pressure to make the next milepost, etc.
If you only have 10 days (meaning, if you can't extend the time you spend on the road), why not consider doing a shorter segment of the same route? The rest of the route will still be there next year, if you know what I mean.
Okay, I guess I am getting old as dirt. I hope to be in South America riding next year too. Hope to see you down the road. I rode down to Panama and have ridden (is that a word?) to Alaska . You can look forward to some fantastic roads and scenery.
You don't need to be a physical speciman to ride a motorcycle. I have gone riding with plenty of big older guys with creaky bones. The thing is, mental toughness in the face of obstacles is a virtue when travelling long distances in foreign countries. Older experienced riders generally excel in that category.
You may also be pleased to know that Latinos respect their elders much more than their anglo counterparts, so on the portion of your trip through Central and South America you may be surprised at that. Of course, smiling and being friendly always helps. Especially if your R1200GS tips over at the gas station and you need a hand getting it back upright.
As far as how far to ride each day, that is so variable it's hard to say. If your last trip was 13,000 miles on a Harley, you know what your capabilities are better than anyone. I ride until I feel like stopping. Spend a day or three in nice places and keep riding through less nice places.
A stock R1200GS with luggage doesn't need a whole lot of farkling. The only thing I can think of is a spare gas can for the run from Deadhorse to Coldfoot, as that is the longest distance you will ride between gas stops and I have heard of GS12 riders needing a scosh more gas than the stock GS gas tank holds. After that you should be golden.
My only other advice is to stick to North and South America if you only have seven months. Why rush? Save Africa for another trip. South America is HUGE! With lots of great places to explore. Not to mention Mexico and Central America. Heck, I could spend a few weeks riding the backroads of Oregon and Northern California. They don't give out medals in Ushuaia for getting there the quickest. In fact the only reward you will get comes in the form of personal satisfaction and the wonderful memories of great roads, beautiful scenery and the nice folks you meet along the way.
Please take lots of pictures and share your adventure with others stuck at home.
I've done the Alaska to Seattle/Montana round trip via two different routings and "smelled the roses" both times. I've done the Seattle to San Diego trip on a bike ten times via at least four different routings. So I'm really just doing the Deadhorse to Fairbanks, Alaska portion on the bike for continuity of the route.
I've been up and down the "Haul Road" (Dalton Hwy) many times starting back in 1974 when I first helped build it when in the trades as a young man, so I'm no virgin to transiting the road itself. I know the family that originally put in the "Cold Foot" services facilities decades ago.
I'm really doing the Deadhorse south on the R1200GS because I never tire of the "AlCan" itself, better known as the "Alaska Hwy", having driven it at least seven round trips over the years (five in car/trucks and two times on a bike)
Things such as a good soak in Liard Hot Springs or running the Cassiar Hwy, ect. will always do it for me, even if only semi-blasting through this time.
I rode Baja thirty years ago. I rode south out of Arizona along Route #15, eventually to PV and then took the ferry (that stopped that crossing years ago) from PV to Cabo San Lucas. Cabo still had mostly dirt streets back in those days and I should have bought the land offered for sale to me (;>). Took two months on that trip with an extended stay in Mazatlan.
This trip, I'll be taking my time from Mazatlan south after crossing over from La Paz (Baja) on the ferry. I plan a few days (or week) in Barra De Navidad where I went often as a kid with my family in the late 1950's when we lived in Gaudalajara. It was pretty basic back then and I remember them slaughtering a pig in the street.
I play in a blues band and I have a lot of older muscian friends that winter out down in Barra just playing music and sipping s. The stop will be a good acclaimation to being south of the border again and to bone up on my rusty Spanish
I feel better about riding the R1200GS (not GSA) knowing a number of you have used it on the trip. Thanks for your replies.
I hadn't planned on the five nation Southern African ride as being part of the North/South American trip's time schedule.
What I'd like to do is somehow store my bike in Buenos Areas without it affecting the Carnet somehow and then come home for five or six months and "rustle up" some extra dough for the continuation of the trip in South Africa, leaving again in mid September, the bike having been shipped from BA timed to be there for my arrival in Cape Town. Shipped at any point, depending on where it would be cheaper to store and/or rules governing abscentee storage of a bike.
My lady will be staying home and working our/her business (God bless her, and God bless Skype) She is fine with me taking the trip as long as I'm home for the holidays (fair enough). Outside of that she's "How long do you want to go for, and how much money do you think it will take to do the trip?" (or rather "trips", I haven't mentioned the extended annual continuations yet. We'll see how the first one goes)
So I'm figuring on a two and one-half week break leaving December 14th and returning January 3rd probably from Panama or Columbia, dependent on the legalities. Hopefully, being able to exit the country without the bike for a few weeks visit home (with the bike possibly stored in a bonded warehouse?).
Then riding to Terra and back up to BA over the next three or four months.
The following September I'd do roughly the same ride schedule (seven months trip with a break in the middle at Christmas) for the South African trip, shipping the bike on to Australia during the Christmas break
I'd then fly back into Australia from home after the holidays to pick up the bike for the second three to four months period of riding about a bit, coming back home from there for five or six months of work.
After Australia/Tazmania, I'd again store the bike and then ship it to New Zealand (I did almost 8,000 kms in NZ back in 2006, but not on a bike).
I remember the whole time I was driving the roads in New Zealand I wishing I was on my motorcycle. Almost painfully so.
It will be fantastic biking all of NZ for three months and then ship onto Singapore, riding up the penninsula and maybe Cambodia and northern Thailand the second three months period starting on my return from Christmas break after NZ.
I'll eventually be shipping the bike from SE Asia to maybe Ireland via container ship.
That's four major trans-shipments and then the final leg to Ireland, all done over a three year period.
I'd like to finish out with a full six months in Europe and the Isles on a "best weather" schedule with my lady coming over for a couple of "two weekers" rather then me going back home. I'd park the majority of my onboard gear with friends and relatives in Europe (they're all over) while "two-up" and just stay in hotels during those periods she's along for the ride.
It's all just in the planning stages and subject to change obviously, but it is a good solid outline plan to work from until I hit the usual road blocks and will be tweaked from there.
India is one of the few major places in the world I've never traveled to over the years, but as much as I'd like to, I don't think I'd be up for it on a motorcycle at my age. My reaction and heal-up times aren't what they used to be, if still not too bad. Given the traffic reports on India's drivers I'll have to take a pass.
Check out my "Two Passports" post I'm about to put on here and tell me what you think.
Thanks for all of your input.
So here are 2000 words plus. I am 65 years old and we, Elisa says she is 29 but I believe she is closer to my age than 29, within the last 3 years have ridden 6 South American countries and all of Mediterranean Europe including Central Turkey and Turkey's three coasts for a total of more than 50,000 K each.
Photo is us with our 2 Honda NX 400s Falcons - our South American bikes. We have 2 BMW G-650 GS for Europe and beyond.
Oh yeah, and that's me on my 25 year old 1986 Harley Sportster touring Argentina.
Oh My God, you're that old? And planning to ride to Ushuaia? Madness...You will be robbed by bandits, fall into the merciless hands of corrupt police, be held up for years at frontiers by border officials demanding immense sums - and all this in addition to the certainty of heart attacks, malaria, yellow fever, bubonic plague and enumerable varieties of dysentery. Give up. Stay home.
Or put an end to your illusions of fearsome adventure and face facts:
millions of people ride to work every day.
You will merely ride further and (I hope) have a much better lunch!!!!!
My only worry would be the weight of your bike. How do you lift it after a fall?
I ride a 125 (150 miles to the gallon) and am off round the world to celebrate my 80th year. May be we will meet up.
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