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Old 04-01-2008, 01:57 AM   #1
Trailblazer OP
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
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Mexico March Ride

Day 1. Sat Mar 8 2008
Austin, Texas, 114 miles to Devine, Texas

Each March, for five years running now, I dust the cobwebs off my trusty (+rusty) 1985 Harley Davidson Low Rider (aka The Green Hornet) and take it places angels fear to tread. Namely road trip Mexico way. This year were no different 'cept my usual riding partner would not be accompaning me. This would a solo ride. The Lone Wolf rides again.

At 6pm Saturday night, I was finally leaving my casa. Lord, why does it take me so long to pack?

Once on the road all my misgivings evaporate. I don't care about time anymore. No deadlines. I finally feel like I'm on vacation.

Logged 114 miles to Devine Texas, just south of San Antonio, where I checked into your basic overpriced ($60 night) frumpy motel room. Stained carpet. Torn upholstery. (No rooms at the La Quinta in San Antonio.) I was pretty layered-up against the cold, and almost warm actually. Tee shirt, long johns, long sleeved heavy flannel shirt, pull-over goose-down shirt, AlpineStars riding jacket, and finally the rain jacket for its wind cutting properties. The little East Indian man at the Country Corner Inn motel said, in broken English, "You-have-a-lot-of-jackets."
Yeah, lots of jackets.
Oh, you-have-motorcycle.

Oh, and by the way, I have no idea where I'm going. I'm just pointed south. Ok, I'm headed for Cuartocienegas, Coahuila, Mexico, but from there, I'm not real sure.

Day 1
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:09 AM   #2
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Mexico March Ride

Day 2. Sunday Mar 9, 2008. Mexico, otra vez
295 miles Devine, Texas to San Buenaventura, Coahuila



I left Devine at 8:30 am, headed south on I-35 10 miles to Moore, where I take a right off the Interstate and head for Eagle Pass. No lodging available in Moore, so I congratulate myself for the wise choice of stopping in Devine.

Flat empty road across south Texas scrub. Ahhhh, On the road again. Me and my bike and the kaleidoscopic carousel of faces, vistas and observations. Cloudy cold wintery looking day at first, gives way to clear skies.

53 miles to Batesville. Yoni´s (Mexican) Restaurant in Batesville. I'm the only white guy in the joint. The place is packed with Hispanics. I'm directed to the only free table which is in a side room next to stacks of soft drink cases. Many folks are chowing on bowls of menudo. The waitress writes my order on the palm of her hand.

63 more boring miles to Eagle Pass. Auto Zone stop for motorcycle maintenance. Top-off engine oil (low), primary drive case oil holding well. Brake fluid, tire pressure, good. Various bolts and nuts checked for tightness. This poor ole bike has seen it all. On past trips it has lost brake levers, foot pegs, gear shift levers, rear views, all. Even the transmission in 2005. But she´s looking good today.

The reduced traffic at the Eagle Pass crossing to Piedras Negras is a mixed bag. I can find no open Casa de Cambios on the US side. Its Sunday and the two available are closed. (I'm spoiled by Laredo's multiple choice of outfits open 24/7.) And then I almost lost the bike in a slick oil patch on the International Bridge.

And get this, you obtain your vehicle papers 50 miles inland, into Mexico, south of the border. This seemed so strange I found it hard to believe at first, and needlessly waisted time asking other people and chasing wild geese. But sure enough, at the 2nd check point, the inland check point, they processed my papers in record time, 10 minutes max. I was the only soul there. The Mexican Immigration official even filled out my Tourist Card for me. When is the last time you saw that? When he asks where I´m going I answer, "Puerto Vallarta". Seemed as good an answer as any.

Car permits granted 50 miles inland. No long lines here.


The Green Hornet gets right with Mexico


I am finally, really in Mexico. Strip coal mining near Allende and Santa Rosita. Man-made mountains of coal. Man-made mesas of eroding earth. And the landscape changes, now this is different. I make it to San Buenaventura for the night, which is not mentioned in the Lonely Planet tome, Mexico. San Buenaventura is 170 miles from the Rio Grande, technically north of Monterrey and Brownsville, due south of Midland, Texas and Sheffield, near Monclova which I am proud to report, I avoided altogether. The Monclova bypass took me across the wide open boonies thru some pretty rough, poor towns. One had a plaza that looked like the Sahara desert with sidewalks. No plant life whatsoever. I mean, what´s the point?

I arrive in San Buenaventura just after dark Sunday night and the plaza is popping. Police direct traffic.
Watch my bike, please, I ask in sign language?
Thumbs up, the cop replies.

Hotel Gran Plaza ($30) is the only hotel immediately obvious.

The manager goes out of his way to be nice, giving me extra towels and offering to help me put the bike in my room. (An offer I declined. I love my bike, but... Guess I´m not a real biker.)

Trailblazer screwed with this post 12-16-2008 at 07:05 PM
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:42 AM   #3
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Looks like a great ride

Putting your bike in your room is an ADV tradition! Plus.. you're sure it's still all there in the morning

Keep it comin'
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:44 PM   #4
AusFletch
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South Austin Unite!

Good to see a new report from you, Milton. Keep it coming. -Fletch
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...it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:00 PM   #5
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Doh!

I just found the post on the other site....headed back to read some more. -FLETCH
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...it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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http://trailblazer.smugmug.com/photos/273613989_v3WTB-M.jpg

Day 3. 44 miles San Buenaventura to Cuatro Ciénegas

Did some serious goofing off today before leaving San Buenaventura. Taking photos of bell towers and bicycles. Saw several trucks move through the plaza area with beautiful horses in the back, but I wasn't quick enough with the camera.




Compliments
I went to the bank in San Buenaventura to change $100. It was fairly crowded, all the employees were helping customers. I caught the eye of one gentleman behind a desk and asked if I would be able to change money here. He asked if I was changing Euro's.

I don´t know why, but I took that as an extreme compliment. Don´t get me wrong, I´m proud to be American and I'm proud of my country (ahem) but I was really proud to be mistaken for European. I think what I'm trying to say is I'm not always proud of all Americans, if you understand me.
I guess I´m so far off the Gringo trail, only European travelers pass thru here.
And...... another pearl. The bank gave me a better exchange rate than the Casa de Cambio in Piedras Negras. I was surprised. I always thought you got better rates at the Casas, especially near the border. A fluke? Maybe.

The road was under construction, led through some arid mountain ranges.


Cuatro Ciénegas, about an hour away, is a fine little desert town,

upbeat, painted with bright colors, laid back.


And internet.


Poked around, got the lay of the land


There are all these pools, or pozas they call ´em here. In the middle of the desert, and there are lots of them, like oasises. Lonely Planet suggested one in particular for solitude, and that´s where I headed, about 10 miles out, after finding out where it was.

Poza Churince


There were several palm roofed palapas available, the place was deserted.

Spent the afternoon there next to the water, taking photos with my new gigantic big-bucks lens. (Hard to even hold the camera.) Took a swim. Saw a turtle, and a lone duck. Both disappeared under the water and I never saw them again.

Then out came the maps and calculator and it was time to plan the rest of my trip. After careful deliberation, I decided on a big push to Guadalajara, before coming home. Towards the end of the afternoon the wind started blowing fiercely. I toyed with the idea of heading out tonight, towards Torreon, but there is about a 100 mile stretch with no gas and my tank was less than half full.

Then a couple of "older" guys (like in their 60's?)(joke, son) show up in a pick-up truck and proceed to sit with me at the table under my palapa and share their lunch of tortillas, avocados, sandwiches, coffee and sweet rolls. One of them, Raul, was described by the other, Jose, as the owner of this land. Well, Raul said he owned 17,946 hectares of it. That's 44,326 acres! Desert acres, but I was still pretty impressed. It includes these pozas. He admitted it was a lot of land.

Raul, local desert owner


Raul & Jose, after sharing tortillas & sandwiches

With the wind out of control, late in the afternoon, I decide to be nice to myself and go back to Cuatro Ciénegas and spring for a room. Finally nailed a nice room! Woo Hoo! I'm so tickled.
Check it out at Plaza Hotel.

Plaza Hotel. At $47, what a deal

Saltillo tile floors and spacious bath. High, rustic ceiling. Thank you Lonely Planet. It reminds me vaguely of the Hotel Hacienda Santa Engracia... only better.

Trailblazer screwed with this post 04-01-2008 at 09:18 PM
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