Slowphil gathers momentum
The time has come, the walrus said,
To speak of many things
Of sailing ships and sealing wax
and cabbages and kings
with that in mind and after much harrassement from friends and relatives I've finally started my ride report, I should mention I left on the trip 0830 hrs 31 July, 2012. I hope everybody finds this as interesting as I've found doing the trip has been so far.
I'll start at the beginning of the trip with a quick synopsis but for those who would like to know exactly where I am now here you go.
Before I continue I must comment, I lost my notebook yesterday and had to do this from memory so it's a little abbreviated. The descriptions will improve
The first part of my journey was done in a bit of a hurry as I was heading down to Revzilla in Philadelphia to pick up some new riding gear.
Decided I would stop at the US border In St Stephan New Brunswick, get a motel room the first night due to the threat of rain, grabbed a nice bottle of local wine and settled in for a quiet night
Planning next day, trying to be organized
The border crossing went well but pictures are not allowed so I was informed.
A quick couple of days took me down to the Casa Icewalker where he had put out the welcome mat
A very gracious host with a great family
what should have been another quick run would take me down to a little place called Langehorne PA where Alex, another Advrider, played host, the theory of that ride was a lot better than the actual carrying out. Some how I forgot while previously playing with my new Nuvi gps I set no highways and no toll roads in the directions, so I managed to send myself through downtown New York City and New Jersey in the middle of rush hour. On arrival though I managed to learn something about how to become a classical pianist from Irideaslowbike who was kind enough to put me up for the night and feed me
Alex really has talent and is entered in a series of prestigious competitions in the future, the way everything went I never managed to grab a picture of him and his family, my apologies Alex.
Finally made it to Revzilla and my awaiting riding gear
this stuff really makes a fellow look good doesn't it! Well that may not be true but it makes me feel a little safer anyway. kudo's to Revzilla's staff by the way, knowledgeable,friendly and really helpful
Following Revzilla's excellent directions put me up on the SkyLine Dr, what an amazing ride, followed right away by riding the BlueRidge Parkway
There's been a lot of work done on the BlueRidge to try and highlite the areas as you travel through, one was a rebuilt watermill and a small slice of what life was like in the old days
the flumes that fed the watermill
As interesting as the rides are I think the people you meet are better
Here's two guys I met and spent the evening talking to, my age and biking the BlueRidge Parkway, now that's macho!!
This bridge is the lowest elevation of the BRP
This picture was taken by a person I met, Rodney Laughon, who is an artist, look him up(shameless plug for Rodney)
and the sign makes this self evident
Came down off the BRP and headed over to the IronHorse Lodge for a couple of days (pictures didn't turn out) and rode "The Tail Of The Dragon" most of you already know what a great piece of asphalt that is!
Even with all the rain there was for the previous week there was still a large number of riders there
It doesn't look like a lot but there are two parking lots. While I sat had a coffee and watched, the bike turnover was high, one group would leave to ride and another would fill their spot immediately, the lots never got emptier than this
having done what I wanted on the eastern side of the US I immediately headed off to Texarkana Texas where I ran into a wall of heat, just spent two days laying low in the campground swimming pool.
Just below Texarkana is the little Civil War period town Jefferson, the town doesn't seem to have seen many changes in all this time, as the saying goes the whole town reeks of history
One of the original taverns in the town
At the local emporium they had two original stocking ladders, one of which
is still in use
They had quite a selection of goods for sale
Having been invited down to Casa Tricepilot to work on the bike if necessary or just sit and talk I took advantage of his kind offer, Little did I know he only extended the invitation so he could make fun of me
Here, put this rag on your head it will keep you cool
but I have to admit it did work, got the oil changed and was ready to gird my loins and cross my second international border
Here we are holding each other up in the heat you will of course notice Tricepilot has pushed me back out in the sun again
Next installment, crossing into Mexico and being unable to locate the huge Aduana and migracion setup.
Nice start to a great ride Phil. :clap I'm looking forward to reading all about your adventure over the coming months.
Buen viaje mi amigo.
So you finally got tired of all the PMs, eh? Great pics Phil! And as I read, I could detect that hint of old codger's voice in the words on the page. :lol3
I'm glad you're finally posting - with BlueNozer back, there's no one local to live vicariously through - so be prepared for me to play virtual fender bunny on your journey.
Waiting' (not) so patiently for more...
Mrs Stain just read your first post and said, "Well, he's been gone a month, it's about frickin' time!". Aren't you glad she's not a member of ADV too? :lol3
After arranging Mexican bike insurance and full of self confidence and false bravado I crossed the border. Heavily guarded, they asked to see my passport, asked a couple of questions and kicked me out the other side into Mexico. Simple, now to head down the highway to Allende to clear customs and immigration.
Even the small towns have impressive entrances
All the information books say Aduana and Migracion are in Allende, I guess nobody has ever immigrated there because nobody knew where they were. After riding around this small town for what seemed to be an hour with the military suspiciously watching me everytime I drove by I gave up and not knowing what else to do headed out of town,5 kms out there they were, a huge structure across the highway with a huge sign saying Aduana y Migracion stopping and inspecting traffic in both directions
The dreaded aduana and migracion
Half an hour and some laughs later and I was officially in Mexico
Stayed in Monclova for the night but that was just to get out of the rain
It's hard to understand how harsh the desert is until you see it
Anxious to keep moving I rode late and left early for a few days so finally decided to stop in the little town of Parras, famous for it's wines and chapel
arroyos cutting right through Parras
The town is celebrating it's 414 birthday
Thought the wall of the daycare was cute and since Winnie the Pooh has a Canadian connection added this picture
The mariachi dummies were playing their hearts out
Hotel in Parras
Morning I left I had to convince the caretaker, who was really helpful, to have his picture taken
but once one was taken he was more than eager
it was a little overcast when I left for Durango but there were times it really didn't look good
There are farms dotted across the desert and they seem to be succesful
Next: I arrive in Durango and am surprised
Arrived in Durango, headed down to the centro area looking for the Hotel Catedral Park, aptly named because it was across this street from the
Parking the bike for a couple of days in the lobby
The surprise of Durango is how beautiful and clean the city is, I was up early the next day and the cleaners and gardners were already at work. There is a tremendous amount of renovation going on as is in the rest of Mexico as they repair their history.
I had got in touch with a fellow advrider by the name of SR and we were going to meet for lunch but until then I wandered around and gawked at the city
Tram over the city
The mechanics of the tram
view from the tram, preHispanic silver mine site
Chapel at the top of the tramway
mural on the wall of a government building
Doing the touristy bit I went to some cultural exhibits
Next up: Meeting SR face to face
It seems SR is a working man, slaving from dawn till dusk earning his bread unless it's a holiday or happens to be a day that starts with an S M T W or F,
on those days he likes to relax a little bit. Anyway met him for lunch and a quick tour of the city
The man himself with his collection of bikes
after a quick tour of the city where I had no idea where I was it was decided to pick up his kids and visit the site of an early iron foundry
It's a little hard to picture the iron works today
looks like the inside of an early bessemer furnace
carried on to supper where I met the whole family
SR decided we had better disguise ouselves
man I love good Mexican food
ended up the night by being introduced to a drink called the Mexican Flag,shot glass of lime juice, a shot glass of tequila and a shot glass of clamato juice -SALUD-
once again thanks for the great day SR and the chance to meet your family
Next: I ride the Espinoza del Diablo WOW
Slowphil, it was great to meet you! Thanks for taking the time to start a do a RR. We will be following you right along. Saludos
PS. Careful with those Banderas, they go down smooth. That's the problem.:freaky
Up early and headed down the road to the Espinosa del Diablo, Spine of the Devil, the government is building a new toll road to take the traffic off this road but it won't be open this year. The highest bridge in the world is being built right now, it's just visible from the old road. The reason it's called The Espinosa is because it is 300 km of winding twisting road with corners that semis can't get around without taking 3/4 of your lane as well. In comparison with the Tail of the Dragon, TTOTD is a more technical piece of road but the EDD is much more of a challenge. You have to stay alert constantly for hours. Enough chit chat, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the air is cool, on with the ride
Espinoza Del Diablo
There is no such thing as a guard rail for 300 km
One of the major landmarks of the trip encountered here
One thing I forgot to add, about 5 minutes after taking the picture I came around a corner there was a tour bus which hadn't made the turn. It's nose was stuck down a ravine and all you could see was the rear of the bus showing out of the bushes. The police were on the scene and things looked like they were under control so I kept on going. No I wasn't going to stop and take pictures!!
This is what happens when you tire and don't pay enough attention
I pulled off to get a picture and didn't look where my foot was going, the ground was a long way down and with all the weight up top over it went, the sad part was I had to unpack the bike pick it up and then repack the whole thing:D
Once you reach the turnoff for Tepic the road has become a jungle road but that's a story for another day
Next: slowly broiling in San Blas
Well, it's a good job you headed south Phil, the weather in Nova Scotia this summer has been terrrible. It has rained non-stop, even snow flurries a few times.You best enjoy your ride, although at the rate you're going, you will be done and back here by Christmas. Keep the rubber side down buddy.
Great ride report Phil ,keep it coming.
Hi guys good to hear from you
after coming down off the Devils backbone the climate changes, becomes lowland jungle
and also becomes a lot wetter with plenty of mangroves in the brackish water
This should have been my first clue to what the climate was going to be like in San Blas but no, it was so hot and humid I talked to the hotel receptionist with a tidal wave of sweat running off me, the good thing about that was it kept the jejhunes from chewing on me
this is the hotel I ended up at to get into air conditioning
the pool was really nice, San Blas has one little secret though it's the wala wala restaurant, owned by Pedro
the food is excellent, there's lots of it, it's cheap and you get good conversation with Pedro
there were torrential downpours both nights I was there, since there's no drainage in San Blas this is what you get
I actually liked San Blas but decided to leave and get up into the hills so headed to Magdelana on the way to Guadalajara
This was the road out of San Blas, all you can do is stand on the pegs, slip the throttle and hope you don't hit a misplaced cobblestone
next: a REALLY NICE LITTLE TOWN
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