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  • 2 Post By markharf
  • 1 Post By Turbofurball
  • 1 Post By LD Hack
  • 1 Post By Flipflop
  • 1 Post By Alanymarce
  • 1 Post By JMo (& piglet)
  • 1 Post By LD Hack

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  #1  
Old 22 Nov 2023
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Family of Four to South America: XT250, Versys 300, CRF300L, ???

Hey all. I had another account here from a long time ago, but I'm restarting afresh...

I'm starting to plot a 1-3 month trip with my wife and two barely-adult kids in 2025 or 2026. The options are:
  1. Ride from WI to Chile.
  2. Fly to South America (Colombia?), ride around South America, sell the bikes (back in Colombia or ???), fly home.
  3. Ride and camp from WI to Alaska (likely sell bikes once we arrive and fly home).
  4. Ride from WI and camp in national parks of the Rockies and West Coast.

My kids (daughter is 20, son is 18) just did the rider course and got their licences. I found them a local, private XT250 I found (2018 with 1300 miles, very clean, for 4K). They're both into it, riding and learning. They're safe, thoughtful drivers and now riders.

He's 5'10", 150lbs, and plenty strong. Sizewise, he looks and feels fine on a DR650, the latest Transalp, and the CRF300L Rally.

She, however, is smaller (5'7"?) and light (120lb?), though she's strong (also athletic). She's comfortable on the XT250 and the Versys 300, can barely touch on the standard CRF300L...

Then today, I picked up a local dealer 2017 Versys 300 with ONLY 300 MILES for 3500 plus tax, title, etc., 4100 OTD. Apparently the only owner is a chronic bike buyer who then eventually trades bikes in for the next toy. Crazy.

My wife and I have ridden thousands of miles, mostly in South Africa when we lived there. (XR125, CTX200--you can see this trend of small dual sports/mini adventure bikes...).

She's 5'8", 135lbs, fit. She would be happy on the Versys 300. The DR650 was a little bit of a stretch (heels were up a bit but not totally tiptoe), but I bet she could do it fine with a bit of practice.

I grew up on an XR80 on a farm, and had a KZ750 as my first road bike. I used to have a Concours in the US, too. Then I got sponsored by Honda for a hot second (I'm a writer and photographer), and they lent me a had a Transalp 650 in South Africa for a trip I called "8 in 8: Eight Countries in Eight Days" (South Africa, eSwatini, Mozambique, Zim, Zam, Namibia, Bots, and Lesotho)! If memory serves, it was about 3600 miles in those eight days, with some sketchy border crossings and back alley gas purchases in Zim. Oh, and I'm 6' and 190 but dropping some pounds, should be 180 shortly.

So I guess I'm here to say howdy, and also to ask for some tips on where to find some threads/tips on the following...
  • Forums/threads/people doing long trips on the XT250, Versys 300, or CRF300L(S)...or other candidates you'd recommend!
  • Mods and gear lists for these bikes (especially luggage systems/ideas...)
  • People doing long group trips, all on the same bikes or at most two models (maybe my son and I step up to something in the 400-800 range and my wife and daughter each take one of the aforementioned bikes. (Or is it silly to all try for the same bike or similar, like 2x CRF300LS and 2x CRF200L Rally?)
  • Threads or experts on buying bikes in South America (e.g. Honda XRE300)
  • Ride reports and perspective on WI to Colombia to Chile (yes I know about the Gap)

Thanks so much! It'll be good to connect with y'all. Happy, too, to offer my perspective for others.
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Family of Four to South America: XT250, Versys 300, CRF300L, ???-img_5560-copy.jpg  


Last edited by 8in8; 23 Nov 2023 at 11:21.
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  #2  
Old 23 Nov 2023
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Welcome to The HUBB.

First tip is to remember that this is an international forum, and many of your readers will not know what "WI" means. Their first stop will be the upper right hand corner of your post, where there is no residency information, so that won't help. A different few will fail to get beyond your mis-spelling of the South American country Colombia.

The more substantial issue here is that you're asking so many questions in such broad terms that I, at least, would hardly know where to start--even if I had enough information to form opinions, which I don't. The choice of whether to start off with Alaska, parks closer to home, Colombia, or Chile covers a LOT of ground, and will likely look very different by the time 2025 or 2026 rolls around anyway. Same with choices of bikes for your kids, who are after all new riders and can hardly have developed durable opinions of their own yet. And unless I miss my guess, it'll work out best if they discover their own likes and dislikes instead of responding to your generous purchases. If they enjoy riding, they'll figure this stuff out for themselves during the next year or two.

My opinion about matched bikes is that your best bet is always having everyone riding whatever best suits them--not some middle-of-the-road selection which suits no one, but which all can tolerate. There are exceptions when you're doing all your own wrenching, but even so....

Couple of ideas which may serve you well: First, you won't really know what such a trip will look or feel like without trying less ambitious stuff between now and then. Take some trips--day trips, weekend trips, weeklong forays. You might learn that you or they don't really care to spend several months together, particularly when subject to riding stress, mechanical issues, cultural barriers, and more like that. You are bound to discover areas where your preferences diverge--dirt or pavement? Mountains or coasts? Carvers or straightaways? Lots of saddle time, or short hops separated by rest days?

Of course, you might all get increasingly gung ho with every trial run. I just think it best you find that sort of thing out before getting too invested.

Last general suggestion: Use the search function on this forum to find an almost-infinite number of reports by people asking--and answering--the same sorts of questions as you. That means trip reports, bike choices, purchasing and selling when far from home, mods, luggage and gear lists, you name it. But don't confuse the kind of knowledge which comes from reading and discussing at exorbitant length for the kind that can only be learned by doing, especially where your kids are concerned.

Hope that's helpful, and hoping if it's not you'll feel free to ignore completely.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 23 Nov 2023
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That's quite a list!

For me and my other half we've had MUCH greater success using the same bike, but then I have enough experience that I don't feel "restricted" on a small bike and don't feel the need to rush. My preference is to use small light bikes when possible because when stuck you can pick them up, so if I were going somewhere remote in South America and I didn't plan on racing around I'd be thinking of an XR150 or similar.
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  #4  
Old 25 Nov 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8in8 View Post
  1. Ride from WI to Chile.
  2. Fly to South America (Colombia?), ride around South America, sell the bikes (back in Colombia or ???), fly home.
  3. Ride and camp from WI to Alaska (likely sell bikes once we arrive and fly home).
  4. Ride from WI and camp in national parks of the Rockies and West Coast.
Any of those on your list is a great trip. Your group will have to decide. I've ridden through a number of the places you list. All are great trips. Is everyone in your group experienced with long travel and on board? Group travel dynamics can be an issue.

You should read ride reports, one source is Adventure Rider. Another, watch the YouTube videos of Itchy Boots that cover her trip up South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

Riding your own motos from Wisconsin; I'd stick to the area starting at the Darien Gap up to the Arctic Ocean. South America, for 6 weeks or more, fly and buy a moto. Otherwise rent. A 200cc to 300cc moto will do you fine in SA.
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  #5  
Old 27 Nov 2023
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My thoughts on your post - well you did ask

Having ridden Canada to Patagonia recently I would say 3 months is not long enough for such a trip to catch your breath and look around.

Alaska is beautiful wilderness and I love that stuff now but when I was a younger traveller I wanted a bit of life and culture.

So I reckon a combination of wilderness, culture/action, exotic destination and holiday time would make the perfect first trip for a family - something for everyone.

My option would be ride down the Appalachian MABDR (wilderness plus lots of iconic routes such as Skyway, dragons tail etc), down to New Orleans (culture), then down into Mexico (exotic) If you go down the east side (not the coast) you’ll come across very few non-Mexican tourists and be in the real Mexico. There are beautiful mountains with waterfalls and Cenotes without the crowds. head down to Oaxaca for food and cool beaches then if you still want a bit of main steam holiday head for Yucatan.

Back via the west route - I’m sure I don’t have to list the stuff to see on the way back.

If I hadn’t already done most of this I’d be planning a trip now

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  #6  
Old 27 Nov 2023
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So, I did guess that WI was somewhere in the USA and not West Indies : )

Lots of good thoughts from others; my reactions:

Ride from WI to Chile.

- this would take us at least a year - 3 months is not nearly enough if you plan to see anything.

Fly to South America (Colombia?), ride around South America, sell the bikes (back in Colombia or ???), fly home.

- same comment - it took us 11 months to travel "around South America" and we had already made a lot of trips in SA, have done lots since then in SA, and live in SA.

Ride and camp from WI to Alaska (likely sell bikes once we arrive and fly home).

- you could probably do this in 3 months, although I'd think that double this would be better. We wandered around Western Canada (BC, Yukon, NWT, and a little bit of Alberta) for 3-1/2 months last year and didn't touch the USA, so it would take us at least twice that to do the WI-AK trip.

Ride from WI and camp in national parks of the Rockies and West Coast

- see above comments.

The point I am seeking to make is that you could do some or all of the trips you're considering, but will not see a lot, in my opinion. If your goal is to ride through interesting country and not spend any time getting to know the towns, taking hikes, etc., then things are easier.
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  #7  
Old 29 Nov 2023
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As markharf suggests, there really are too many variables to consider at what is still the embryonic stage of planning such a huge trip.

fwiw. [as Mark suggests] I'd get a bike for each of you (which suits the size/strength and experience of the respective rider) and plan a shorter cross-country style trip or two next year in and around the United States - Colorado and Utah for example, or Montana/Idaho/Washington, or even south to New Mexico & Arizona - and basically get a feel for what it's like travelling as a [family] group on individual machines.

Not only will you all gain valuable experience (both as individuals and as a group), but you'll soon know what it is you don't like about travelling/the bikes you've chosen just as much as the things you do...

And if you're still all in agreement, then spend next winter planning your 2025/26 'big' trip.

Jx

ps. there is also a huge difference between a One month trip and a Three month trip with regard to where you can go, and whether you fly/rent or buy/ride your bikes - again, this ought to become clearer after a couple of shorter trips next spring/summer.
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  #8  
Old 30 Nov 2023
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: South of the border (MN)
Posts: 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8in8 View Post
I'm starting to plot a 1-3 month trip with my wife and two barely-adult kids in 2025 or 2026. The options are...
Agree with the above posts. More throughs after my earlier post:

Start in your back yard! There is great riding near Wisconsin. Get the family dynamics of riding worked out first. It has to be a passion to everyone to work for a long trip.

* Ride around Lake Superior; beautiful trip. Visit Silver Islet east of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Maybe head north to Armstrong; a bush/railroad town. Wawa, the goose.. Bush plane museum at the Soo.
* More remote blacktop adventure: There's Radisson PQ and the hydro dams. You can reach the shore of James Bay at Chisibi, PQ. There's also the North Road; a remote gravel road. The whole trip is rather remote; blueberries in August; moose, Cree culture.
* Then the AlCan to Alaska, or to Tutoyaktuk NWT, or to Deadhorse. Tuk is a native village right on the Arctic Ocean. Eat muktuk and arctic whitefish. Experience the arctic culture. Even more gravel riding.

Seed and nurture the passion first with these trips. Then go for the southern continent where the culture and language are different. The traffic and driving habits are different too! Expand your frontier and start with trips to Mexico. Then farther south!
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  #9  
Old 14 Dec 2023
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Very fun idea, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipflop View Post
My thoughts on your post - well you did ask

Having ridden Canada to Patagonia recently I would say 3 months is not long enough for such a trip to catch your breath and look around.

Alaska is beautiful wilderness and I love that stuff now but when I was a younger traveller I wanted a bit of life and culture.

So I reckon a combination of wilderness, culture/action, exotic destination and holiday time would make the perfect first trip for a family - something for everyone.

My option would be ride down the Appalachian MABDR (wilderness plus lots of iconic routes such as Skyway, dragons tail etc), down to New Orleans (culture), then down into Mexico (exotic) If you go down the east side (not the coast) you’ll come across very few non-Mexican tourists and be in the real Mexico. There are beautiful mountains with waterfalls and Cenotes without the crowds. head down to Oaxaca for food and cool beaches then if you still want a bit of main steam holiday head for Yucatan.

Back via the west route - I’m sure I don’t have to list the stuff to see on the way back.

If I hadn’t already done most of this I’d be planning a trip now

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  #10  
Old 14 Dec 2023
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Wisconsin, USA
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Yeah, we're definitely assembling a set of machines and doing some test trips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
As markharf suggests, there really are too many variables to consider at what is still the embryonic stage of planning such a huge trip.

fwiw. [as Mark suggests] I'd get a bike for each of you (which suits the size/strength and experience of the respective rider) and plan a shorter cross-country style trip or two next year in and around the United States - Colorado and Utah for example, or Montana/Idaho/Washington, or even south to New Mexico & Arizona - and basically get a feel for what it's like travelling as a [family] group on individual machines.

Not only will you all gain valuable experience (both as individuals and as a group), but you'll soon know what it is you don't like about travelling/the bikes you've chosen just as much as the things you do...

And if you're still all in agreement, then spend next winter planning your 2025/26 'big' trip.

Jx

ps. there is also a huge difference between a One month trip and a Three month trip with regard to where you can go, and whether you fly/rent or buy/ride your bikes - again, this ought to become clearer after a couple of shorter trips next spring/summer.
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  #11  
Old 14 Dec 2023
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Location: Wisconsin, USA
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Great ideas, thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LD Hack View Post
Agree with the above posts. More throughs after my earlier post:

Start in your back yard! There is great riding near Wisconsin. Get the family dynamics of riding worked out first. It has to be a passion to everyone to work for a long trip.

* Ride around Lake Superior; beautiful trip. Visit Silver Islet east of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Maybe head north to Armstrong; a bush/railroad town. Wawa, the goose.. Bush plane museum at the Soo.
* More remote blacktop adventure: There's Radisson PQ and the hydro dams. You can reach the shore of James Bay at Chisibi, PQ. There's also the North Road; a remote gravel road. The whole trip is rather remote; blueberries in August; moose, Cree culture.
* Then the AlCan to Alaska, or to Tutoyaktuk NWT, or to Deadhorse. Tuk is a native village right on the Arctic Ocean. Eat muktuk and arctic whitefish. Experience the arctic culture. Even more gravel riding.

Seed and nurture the passion first with these trips. Then go for the southern continent where the culture and language are different. The traffic and driving habits are different too! Expand your frontier and start with trips to Mexico. Then farther south!
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