Duck Notes - Our Pan Am Adventure..... underway!!!

draker3838

New member
Hello everyone! I figured it was a good time to post here now that there is a little meat and potatoes to our blog. I've been on Expo for 2 years or so and about a month ago, my wife and I left our home in Casper, WY to begin our journey down the Pan American Highway. Right now we are "staging" in Phoenix as we will be visiting family and friends before heading to Baja around December 10. I started a thread earlier this summer after we picked up a rig and began prepping for the trip but life got in the way in preparing for our departure and was neglected, but here is the link:

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/155257-86-Alaskan-94-Dodge-CTD

Anyhow, as you will find out, we are traveling in a '94 Dodge 2500 with the Cummins and 5 speed and have an '86 Alaskan on the back. So far we have racked up 5,000 miles on our journey and have many more ahead of us.

I am not a blogger, but we are learning so we hope the blog but don't judge us too much! That said, I would love some input from you so please send me messages through the blog or through Expo and I would appreciate it.

I don't get a chance to get on Expo as much as I would like especially since we are traveling and don't get much Wifi but we would love to meet up with some folks along the way so if you will be in Baja or mainland Mexico in the next month or so, let us know and perhaps our paths will cross.

Check us on out at ducknotes.org and also follow the links to Facebook and Instagram from our blog if you like.

Cheers!

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Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
I don't see an exhaust brake in your account but they work wonders for stopping all that mass. Stronger exhaust springs are necessary.
Dodge engineers didn't specify the best 2nd gen brakes.
I had a 98.5 24v standard for seven years.
 

Jaunt

Observer
Good luck with everything!

We have been in Guanajuato for a couple weeks now, gonna start heading for the pacific coast/Oaxaca in the next week. Following on Facebook!
 

draker3838

New member
An exhaust brake would be an excellent idea and I'll have to look into it ASAP. We had to park for a while after the hills in San Francisco!
Thanks for the words of encouragement and we will try to keep expo up to date.
 
Really look forward to your thread and will follow along with your blog as well. Be safe out there and remember you're "off the clock" so take it slow and easy. Best wishes.
BTW. Wife and I are selling our home and just about everything we own, perhaps our paths will cross one day.
 

draker3838

New member
Really look forward to your thread and will follow along with your blog as well. Be safe out there and remember you're "off the clock" so take it slow and easy. Best wishes.
BTW. Wife and I are selling our home and just about everything we own, perhaps our paths will cross one day.
It's tough to remember we are off the clock especially since we have been visiting family and friends in the US who are on the clock still! I'm sure it will set in that our reality has changed once we cross the border.

We sold our house, a vehicle and countless other possessions to make this trip possible. We have an 8X24 enclosed trailer with our remaining possessions we kept but I tell you already it's an amazing feeling to be "lighter" and I am sure we will try to maintain a simple lifestyle when we return.

We would love to cross paths if possible in the future!
 

sg1

Adventurer
Enjoy your trip. We have been (temporarily) on the PanAm for 3 years now and it is fun. I would definitely upgrade the brakes if you had to park after the San Francisco hills. The roads in Latin America will be a LOT steeper and the grades much longer than anything you have seen in the States. I have seen quite a few trucks (including RAM) with serious brake problems, even brake failures.
stefan
 

RMP&O

Expedition Leader
It's tough to remember we are off the clock especially since we have been visiting family and friends in the US who are on the clock still! I'm sure it will set in that our reality has changed once we cross the border.

We sold our house, a vehicle and countless other possessions to make this trip possible. We have an 8X24 enclosed trailer with our remaining possessions we kept but I tell you already it's an amazing feeling to be "lighter" and I am sure we will try to maintain a simple lifestyle when we return.

We would love to cross paths if possible in the future!
Hope to see you somewhere down there on the road! Have fun, stay safe and enjoy every minute of it!

Cheers
 
We just crossed from Mexico to Belize. Your about to have a great time. We spent six months in Mexico and felt like we could do another six with out coming close to seeing all the cool stuff there. We are moving slow (18 months from here to Panama planned) so maybe you'll ketch up. Safe travels. have fun!
 

draker3838

New member
Its been a while since Ive logged into Expo but we are enjoying Mexico greatly. Baja was a ball, but we were ready to move on and are now in mainland Mexico. Unfortunately/fortunately we are stuck in Manzanillo for 4 days as we are repairing a leaking axle seal that we had replaced before we left WY. Sounds like they took the shortcut and just replaced the seal when there was more to do.... Awesome! But we are at a cheap hotel with a great beach so we can't complain too much! Cheers!
 

sgltrk

Observer
On the topic of exhaust brakes I don't think you need one. I have a 98.5 RAM 2500 CDT with an automatic (so no engine braking on down hills). If you have drum brakes on the rear just replace the stock wheel cylinders with GM part #4637337. I believe the NAPA part # is 37337. You can get them at any auto parts store. They cost about $15 bucks each and are very easy to change. You might experience some lockup if you are running with an empty bed but with your camper you won't have any problems. Go to high quality front pads for the discs and you won't have any braking problems. I once stopped on a downhill from 60 MPH towing a 10,000 lbs 5th wheel after the trailer brakes came disconnected. I know you load isn't that heavy.

Exhaust brakes can cause engine problems down the road, are much more expensive and require much more work to install.

What I think you really need is a FASS system. http://www.fass-fuel-systems.com/ This is an electric fuel pump combined with a water separator and a 3 micron fuel filter. It mounts on the frame just in front of the fuel tank. You can also run engine coolant through the FASS system's manifold to pre-heat your fuel on very cold days. Carry a couple of extra filters and you're good to go. The FASS system isn't cheap but, contaminated fuel can result in very costly repairs and maybe get you stuck in the middle of nowhere.

My two cents worth,
SGLTRK
 

draker3838

New member
Hi All, figured it had been an awful long time since I had been on Expo so thought I would share a few of my favorite photos so far. We leave Antigua, Guatemala today and enter El Salvador tomorrow. Trying to keep the adventure juices flowing for everyone! Cheers!

fullsizeoutput_84a by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

IMG_7772 by Ryan Drake, on Flickr


IMG_7495 by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

Untitled by Ryan Drake, on Flickr


Untitled by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

Untitled by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

Untitled by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

IMG_6254 by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

IMG_8519 by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

IMG_8331 by Ryan Drake, on Flickr

IMG_8287 by Ryan Drake, on Flickr
 
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