You'll have a fantastic time!
Took a vstrom 650 instead of the KLR this time. For the long hauls... was very happy I did. Even the mid-level offroading I did worked out just fine. Scraped on topes some... something the KLR never did... but learned that if I just hit the topes at some speed 5mph instead of going over slow... I popped right over without scraping. One guy went with me on a KTM950 adventure... and after a particularly bad road that included erosion, large rocks, and crossing dry river beds... he said that he was going to sell his heavy KTM when he got home and was going to pick up a strom instead.
BTW: He had a KLR before the KTM950. He had a better experience with his KLR than I did... but he still felt the strom more than made up for the little you lose in off-road capability with punch and comfort for the long hauls. For example. I had some problems at the border with getting a new vehicle permit. When we left Laredo to try my luck in Reynosa instead.. we hit some pretty wet weather. After I struck out at the second border crossing and decided to take my chances riding without a vehicle permit.. it took us 15hrs to get to the first destination... cold, rain, loads of 18-wheelers, dark, and hail. Neither one of us could fathom doing that miserable ride on a KLR.
And then there was trying to get around buses and trucks on the road through the Sierras between Rio Verde and Ciudad Valles. GREAT road, wicked twisties, and awesome scenery... but often you don't have much room before the next blind curve to pass the buses and trucks, etc. I did it once on a KLR and it was very difficult. Most of the time I just had to wait many kilometers until I had enough stretch to make speed and pass. On the strom, it was always nothing more than a quick throttle twist and I was quickly/safely around the truck or bus well before the next blind curve.
I try to have my ducks in a row with all the permit and visa stuff.. but this current problem of how to get a new permit when I can't take the old bike back to the border has me stumped. I've now been to 5 different border crossings with a copy of the transferred KLR title showing someone else in Texas now owns the bike, a bill of sale, and a few hundred pesos for bribing, but no one will budge. They just keep telling me I have to cancel out the old vehicle permit before I can get a new one. And, they won't cancel out the old one unless I bring the old KLR to the border.
I sold the KLR in parts to a user in Dallas a few months ago. I think he was going to rebuild it and then resell at a profit. So I can't take the bike there any more.
They gave me a form to fill out to send to Mexico City.. but my guess is that I'd never hear anything back. I might try the Austin Mexican consulate to see if there's anything they can do to help.
Basically, they only check for that permiso when you're going in at around the 25mile mark. Most of the time they just wave gringos on through without checking... as they did this time. But the problem came when I went to the wrong bridge that was for cargo instead. I got pissed that even though they wouldn't let me pass.. they still charged me the toll just to turn around. The mistake I made was arguing with them. This drew some security and another official who then asked for my vehicle permit.
Nervous.. I thought I'd just give them the old one and hope they didn't notice it was for a Kawasaki and not a Susuki. But, then I realized they had no way of knowing where I'd been in Mexico. So, I just told them I'd traveled along highway 2 for a month visiting border towns and never went into the interior. I'm pretty sure they knew I was lying but they had no way to prove it and had to let me go.
The official in Reynosa told me that they can issue a vehicle permit with either a passport, birth certificate, OR voter's registration card. He said that my current permiso on the old KLR that still needs to be cancelled is in the computer system under my passport number.. but, that if I had a voter's registration card he could issue me a new permiso for the Susuki under that instead. Not sure if that's true or not since I didn't think I'd need my voter's registration card while in Mexico and therefore didn't have it with me.
One thing I never mentioned... when MikeA expressed interest in tagging along with me into Mexico.. and, after I'd decided it'd be ok... he dropped on me that he's an evangelical Christian and can't ride on the "true Sabboth" Saturday.
I was taken aback at first and asked, "you have read my travel reports haven't you? I eat peyote in Mexico.. will likely drink some mescal... and will certainly cuss and take the Lord's name in vain regularly..."
He agreed to live and let live... as did I. Needless to say... we had some pretty good conversations over the course of a month of riding together... and, never once had the other in a half-nelson threatening a Mexican swirly. And, thankfully.... there were no "Dirty Sanchez's" ever involved either.