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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 20 Apr 2016
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Post Questions for Pan-American Highway with BMW R1200GSA

Hi,

I'm planning to to ride Pan-American Highway this July and had couple of questions. I was wondering if you could leave me some comments and suggestions.

1- What would be the best choice for insurance? I spoke to some but they don't cover the North and South America. Would it better if I get that from Australia or better to get from States?

2-I want to start from Anchorage Ak and my bike R1200GSA. Got a quote from BikesAbroad and I heard they are good. But it's a bit expensive or they gave a good price? I'm not sure. they gave me $3760.20AUD/bike Inc. crate.
Just wanted to know does anyone have better price from somewhere else?

3- I love wild camping for two reasons. First to be in nature second its cheap! just wanted to know would it be safe or does it worth to camp in South/Central America? Any suggestions??

4- I have Hema GPS.(well I didn't buy that it was with bike!) it doesn't have North/South America maps. Does it worth to buy maps which is not cheap or get a Garmin GPS? if yes any suggestions for a cheap/reliable GPS?

5- I don't have proper toolkit. I saw Touratech toolkit and Motonhasa but they are expensive. Any suggestions for 1200GSA toolkit? does it worth to buy a toolkit set or just put some stuff together? if yes what would be the main parts?

6- Finally riding gear. I use Dryrider. I was thinking for better gear. Any suggestions for this trip? Klim Adventure or Bandlands. BMW Rallye Jacket? Does it worth to pay this much money?

Thank you very much for reading! I know it's a lot. But I'll appreciate all comments and suggestions.
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  #2  
Old 1 May 2016
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I and 2 friends rode from Texas to Panama and back in March and I'll give what little help I can for your questions since I see nobody else has.

1. I can't help with US insurance but for Mexico I use Mexpro, friendly helpful staff. When you cross the borders in Central America there will be someone at the crossings that will sell you a policy, usually about $10-12 USD.

3. I don't camp anymore but there are many hostels if you are on a budget and also plenty of cheap hotels. Some hotels are really just a room with a bed, might have a/c, water for a shower, sometimes hot water, definitely not safe to drink out of the tap or brush your teeth with it.

4. Good maps for Central America are rare as hens teeth. Some people have good luck buying maps at gas stations in the country they are in. We bought the Garmin maps for CA and they were worthless. There are some tracks people have posted if you want to go that route but if your goal is to stay mostly on the Pan Americana your mostly good.

5. My "tool kit" is an assortment of odds and ends but I do carry a set of Torx and sockets that will fit my GSA to include the ones from wheel removal. You should also carry a first aid kit, tire plugs if your tires are tubeless and always a roll of toilet paper as you will not find any roadside facilities. It is common to pay a few pesos to use a toilet throughout CA and paper is extra.

6. It will be hot as an oven in the southwestern US and well into Mexico during July/August. Even in March we had temps near 100 F all through CA. I wore Klim gear and also took a mesh jacket and would swap between the 2 jackets as the temperature dictated. You will be in Central America during the rainy season so good rain gear will be a must as it will be hot and humid when it's not raining.

I hope you have your vaccinations for this trip since your heading for the third world. If you can afford it a medical evacuation policy is handy if something catastrophic happens to you. There is no running down to the local clinic to patch you up if something happens, you are often in remote areas with no speedy ambulance service to pick you up and you can expect to pay upfront for services like ambulance and hospitals.
Be prepared mentally to deal with the most mind numbing, intentionally inefficient border crossings all through Central America. Only once did we cross a border in about an hour, usually it was 2 or 3 hours. Most of that is just waiting in long lines in sweltering heat.
I carried a bunch of ziplock bags for all my border crossing paperwork. Each was labeled with the country so when we would get stopped at a checkpoint I could pull out the documents I wanted for that country. And you will get stopped so don't carry any contraband or illegal drugs.
The roads got progressively worse with a few exceptions after leaving Mexico. You can come around a corner and find a herd of animals in it, broken down vehicle in your lane, or the road has fallen/washed away and there will be no warning signs. Those things mean, DO NOT drive at night.
The above is not intended to alarm you and hope you don't take it as such. You clearly have the adventurer spirit or you wouldn't be doing this ride. I hope you will have a grand adventure and one that will amaze your mates.

Buen Viaje,
D
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  #3  
Old 2 May 2016
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1- What would be the best choice for insurance? I spoke to some but they don't cover the North and South America. Would it better if I get that from Australia or better to get from States?

You can't buy just one insurance policy for the whole region. You'll have to pick up insurance country by country. I would skip buying insurance for some Cent. Am countries (like El Salvador) as you'll ride though it in a few hours. Most times it's sold at or near the border crossing. USA or Oz based insurance is INVALID in S. and Cent. America. Period.

2-I want to start from Anchorage Ak and my bike R1200GSA. Got a quote from BikesAbroad and I heard they are good. But it's a bit expensive or they gave a good price? I'm not sure. they gave me $3760.20AUD/bike Inc. crate.
Just wanted to know does anyone have better price from somewhere else?:help smilie:

If you don't mind dropping a boatload of cash to ride your own bike, then go for it. But it's much cheaper to buy a bike in USA, then re-sell before return to Oz.

3- I love wild camping for two reasons. First to be in nature second its cheap! just wanted to know would it be safe or does it worth to camp in South/Central America? Any suggestions??

BEARS. wild camping in AK or Yukon ... lots of Bears. Many split on this. Mexico is a mix, some good wild camping, some impossible, depends where you are. Holds true for Cent. America, but generally, along the Pan-Am its densely populated. Hard to camp, and not all that safe to do so in places.

But as you travel you'll get better sussing out situation ... then either camp or grab a Hotel. Argentina and Chile have good camping. Not so much every place else but if your good at spotting then can you can do fine, many have. In most of S. America, I prefer Hostals.


5- I don't have proper toolkit. I saw Touratech toolkit and Motonhasa but they are expensive. Any suggestions for 1200GSA toolkit? does it worth to buy a toolkit set or just put some stuff together? if yes what would be the main parts?

You should talk to other GS riders about what tools. But, YES it's important. And I would build your own kit, leaving out heavy crap you don't need. Be sure to be able to plug tires. There are BMW's dealers in just about every capital city from Mexico to Argentina. If you have a CANbus or F.I. or ABS problem it's doubtful you could do anything on the road. But you can do basics. (I hope, for your sake)

6- Finally riding gear. I use Dryrider. I was thinking for better gear. Any suggestions for this trip? Klim Adventure or Bandlands. BMW Rallye Jacket? Does it worth to pay this much money?

IMO, NO. Depending where you are and WHEN you're there, think super HOT and super HUMID in places. Then, in the high Andes you will freeze your tits off. But it's the heat/humidity that's tough, IMO. I'd plan for that with good basic Mesh gear and good dirt bike gear. Does not have to be Klim or BMW high priced gear.

Last edited by mollydog; 21 May 2016 at 17:59.
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  #4  
Old 3 May 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pejman View Post
4- I have Hema GPS.(well I didn't buy that it was with bike!) it doesn't have North/South America maps. Does it worth to buy maps which is not cheap or get a Garmin GPS? if yes any suggestions for a cheap/reliable GPS?
Good answers posted: GPS - IMO get a good gps and use free gps maps from Open Source Maps and others . If your hema gps will upload maps from OSM, you're good to go.

On HU here, for free gps mapping look at
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-america-58899

Zumo or Montana, as a refurbished gps unit have good prices and have a big screen. Considering you're riding a fairly up scale moto, I'd also spend the money on a decent gps and get good gps maps (for free), and forgo buying expensive Touratech tools or new riding gear. I use a small computer and route myself the night before using basecamp and OSM or other free mapping, then transfer my track or route to my gps. If you have a smart phone, there is an off line map app that lots of overlanders use, Maps.me maybe it's called. I find electronic mapping is the best way to navigate, along with having a paper map and also asking locals along the way. GPS is invaluable when navigating bigger towns and even figuring out how to exit a small CA or SA village.
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  #5  
Old 21 May 2016
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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The biggest question with a toolkit should be if a person can use it and realistically what tools specifically would you need regardless of skill level.

Beyond zip ties, duct tape, plug wrench, plug kit, small compressor, multi tool and wrenches for tire repair what else can you do on the roadside with a modern bike that needs diagnostics and special tools?
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  #6  
Old 21 May 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrekonwheels View Post
The biggest question with a toolkit should be if a person can use it and realistically what tools specifically would you need regardless of skill level.

Beyond zip ties, duct tape, plug wrench, plug kit, small compressor, multi tool and wrenches for tire repair what else can you do on the roadside with a modern bike that needs diagnostics and special tools?
This is true. If you have an electronic failure it will mostly likely take a BMW dealer to fix it. But the basics you should have ... and have practiced doing things that YOU CAN DO. Mostly, this would be tire plugging, oil changing, air filter changing.

You can buy an aftermarket diagnostic tool for BMW GS's ... about $500 IIRC. You plug in and it shows fault codes, allows some more info ... but unless you have all the spares ... what's the point?

Most of the GS's on board computers and sensors hold up well, it's the Final Drive bearings I'd be more concerned about. Take all the spare bearings you would need to deal with this. LOTS on the GS forums on this. Ordering in parts abroad can take weeks if not a MONTH.
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