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Old 02-13-2012, 02:06 PM   #6586
ArcticRider
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Pero....

Disclaimer: In no way is this an attempt to argue with guys who live or ride in Mexico like Schizzman or others.

I spend roughly six months each year down in Costa Rica and I have talked to plenty of riders passing on to Panama who have made the trip south with no issue except at the bogus Tapachula border crossing.

But...

Every Mexican I know back in the States says that they don't even drive down there for the Holidays anymore because it is so dangerous. (Some areas more than others, obviously). And right now, Honduras is ranked the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere and many say the real risk is Guatemala and Honduras.

When I hear that its safe to make the trip, I am reminded of a recent thread on here about 'hiking boots vs dedicated motorcycle boots' and the theme seemed to be everyone that currently wears hiking boots and has never been in a wreck thinks they are perfectly safe to ride in (I happen to wear my Danner Pronghorn hiking boots riding all the time.)

But...

Then you get all the responses from guys who 'used' to wear their hiking boots riding and 'used' to think it was no problem UNTIL they got in a wreck or rode to close to a rock or stump hidden in the grass. Their responses were full of words like "six months out of work" and "stainless steel pins" and "hurts 10 years later" and "Don't be an idiot".

I really do appreciate any experienced responses but can we leave out the stuff like, "Well, you could slip in the shower" so nothing is "safe". All of us here understand risk, take risk, and we all understand level of risk and mitigating risk. My hope is to more fully identify the risk by you guys that know the place. And any suggestions on best route would be appreciated and followed. I will be riding a 690E down from AZ.

FWIW, I haven't ridden down in Mexico for about 10 years...but my buddy was killed and robbed 4 years ago in an intentional traffic accident outside of Veracruz. He was towing a boat to start a fly-fishing venture down in Xcalak and someone liked his boat and his packed to the gills Suburban with gringo plates. They drove him off the road, sent him to the hospital, he got out a week later to find everything had disappeared from the impound yard. He died of a blood clot breaking lose from his leg shortly after. Neither of us were ever considered very "risk averse".

Thanks!

ArcticRider screwed with this post 02-13-2012 at 04:06 PM Reason: Get rid of the Bold
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:16 PM   #6587
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So sorry about your friend, ArcticRider.

I wear Danner boots myself and recently decided to buy MC boots that provide greater ankle protection.

Just returned from Guatemala last week and my Guatemalteco friends in Mexico City were very concerned about my safety. Gotta say, zero security issues anywhere along the way. Personal or property. Did avoid the SW route around Lake Atitlan as a known trouble spot. Did avoid riding at night (except for the last 45 minutes into Catemaco) and kept the bike in secure parking using a bike cover at times.

You might open a thread under "Trip Planning" and state your basic plans/goals for the trip, soliciting advice from the inmate population. Expect you'll get some very good input. Many of us have gone about it this way.

Buen suerte,

Schizz

EDIT: there is a known pattern of criminals preying upon Mexican expats returning from the USA for the holidays as they are known to be carrying cash and valuables. Doesn't relate to MC touring, IMO. Neither does the drug violence unless you have some association with it. You're greatest risks are road and traffic conditions so it's critical to understand how to ride down there and to have really good insurance. I buy Mexadventure's Ace Seguros Platinum policy plus MedJetAssist with bike evac rider. PM me for details.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:33 PM   #6588
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OK, taking in all the helpful info I decided to call up BMW FS to see what they had to say about this matter.
Seems like it's really no problem, except if I want to stay more than a month... Not sure on this one, but will cross that road when the time comes.

Problem is I don't know when I'm leaving, I'm unemployed currently and am waiting on a check to finance this trip.... might be next week, might be next month.
From what BMW states it a seems I could get the letter quickly if need be though.

Luckily I also have option B, which is to take the bike probably betted suited for this ride anyways and take my R1200R which is still registered in Illinios, without the bank info on the registration.
I don't need a GS with knobbies to ride gravel roads, or most of the copper canyon region from what I've seen and plus would enjoy no need for any maintenance while down there on the R. It's not like I'll be doing hardcore single track while traveling solo in Mexico.... I think. On the 8GS there'd be at least one oil and rear tire change (18" rear, I only run knobs) possibly more depending on how long I stay and ride. That's a discussion possibly for a different thread though.

Thanks again.








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Old 02-13-2012, 02:40 PM   #6589
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Rider View Post
OK, taking in all the helpful info I decided to call up BMW FS to see what they had to say about this matter.
Seems like it's really no problem, except if I want to stay more than a month... Not sure on this one, but will cross that road when the time comes.

Problem is I don't know when I'm leaving, I'm unemployed currently and am waiting on a check to finance this trip.... might be next week, might be next month.
From what BMW states it a seems I could get the letter quickly if need be though.

Luckily I also have option B, which is to take the bike probably betted suited for this ride anyways and take my R1200R which is still registered in Illinios, without the bank info on the registration.
I don't need a GS with knobbies to ride gravel roads, or most of the copper canyon region from what I've seen and plus would enjoy no need for any maintenance while down there on the R. It's not like I'll be doing hardcore single track while traveling solo in Mexico.... I think. On the 8GS there'd be at least one oil and rear tire change (18" rear, I only run knobs) possibly more depending on how long I stay and ride. That's a discussion possibly for a different thread though.

Thanks again.
Not to take anything away from the R model, but what you really need in Mexico (TopeLandia) is the 8" suspension travel of the GS to handle topes and rougher roads. On my last two trips down south we all sang the GS's praises for its ability to consume rough road with excellent handling manners. Especially in the turns.

I really encourage you to take the GS. Simply no better bike made for road touring Latin America. Oh, yeah, "IMHO".

Running TKC80's at the moment for an upcoming dirt rally but for an all-paved trip I strongly favor the Metzeler Tourance.
TKC80 front with Anakee II rear makes for a great DS combo, IMO. The Anakee might get you there and back without a
tire change.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:47 PM   #6590
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcticRider View Post

Every Mexican I know back in the States says that they don't even drive down there for the Holidays anymore because it is so dangerous. (Some areas more than others, obviously). And right now, Honduras is ranked the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere and many say the real risk is Guatemala and Honduras.
Consider who your source of information is. Around the Holidays lots of Mexicans who live in the US go back to Mexico to visit family. They drive the most expensive SUV they can afford, filled to the gills, sometimes even pulling trailers full of presents including bicycles, electronics, toys and cloths. They come down to party and blow cash for a month. They go to tiny towns in places like rural Zacatecas, Durango, Michoacan. The law out in the country is weak and there is very little sympathy for the "Pochos" that left the rancho and now only come back once a year to party. Right or wrong, the attitude is, if they get robbed so what, they can just go back to the US and make more "cueros de rana". So for those guys, Mexico could be kind of un-safe. Also, the astute observer will notice that generally Mexicans in the US will say Mexico is worse than it really is and Mexicans in Mexico make it sound better than it is. That's basic human nature.

I don't know you ArcticRider, but the average motorcycle tourist that I have met in Mexico has a very different profile and therefore a different risk profile. In my opinion there will never be anything more dangerous to a motorcyclist in Mexico than driving at night, with the animals and vehicles without lights. Avoid that and you can take away most of your risk in a single stroke.

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Old 02-13-2012, 02:56 PM   #6591
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+1



Again.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:46 PM   #6592
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SR,
Yep, I have thought about those very things you describe when I went down to retrieve my buddy and tried to understand the 'why'.

I ride at night all the time in Costa Rica. Like Mexico, its a land of no headlights, drunk drivers, pedestrian traffic and cattle. We also have alot of manholes missing covers and asphalt roads that wash down a mountain and disappear after a rain, which is frequently. There in the morning...gone that night.

Closest I came to biting it was in Guanacaste (ranch country) about 7:00pm, it was a rainy night with no moon--just black.
I caught a brief glimpse of a heeler in the edge of my headlamp beam and instinctively let off the throttle and feathered the brakes. A second later and a few meters further was the outline of a cow standing in one drainage ditch and a cowboy with horse in the other. Between them was his rope strung across the road like a clothesline at torso level. Hadnt of been for his dog and things would not have been pretty.

If you think there is no risk to getting caught in a drugwar gun battle or getting my bike and gear pinched by some dudes on a lonely stretch of road, then thats what I wanted to know.

Now does anyone out there know about conditions in Guatemala and Honduras?

Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:52 PM   #6593
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Originally Posted by SchizzMan View Post
+1



Again.
If you would have time, what route would you choose if riding down from AZ?

Thanks.

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Old 02-13-2012, 03:59 PM   #6594
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As I posted earlier I was in Guatemala within the last 2 weeks and experienced no security issues at all. Entered at La Mesilla to overnight in Panajachel, Lake Antitlan, then an overnight in Antigua followed by a long day's run (CA9 & 13) through Rio Dulce to Tikal. Exited the next day into Mexico at La Ceiba, a fairly new crossing.

No border crossing hassles. Forfeited our Mexico visas but held our TVIPs when entering Guat. Got new FMM's re-entering Mexico at La Ceiba.

Encountered two mud slides but neither required a detour. Guat cops are apparently told to leave tourists alone as we passed a few at "higher speeds" without consequences.

Not yet been to Honduras.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:10 PM   #6595
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I believe Arte needs to file a intellectual property theft lawsuit against the BMWMOA.

I got their magazine this month, and they had an article entitled "Is Mexico Safe?"

They also have an article on some of the intrepid folks that made the trip to the Mexican Rally this year.


You don't even need to borrow / steal / buy the magazine:


http://www.bmwmoa.org/files/news/fil...port_02-12.pdf

they also stole my avatar line "Rodando por Mexico" what the heck??
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:26 PM   #6596
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If you would have time, what route would you choose if riding down from AZ?

Thanks.
I've known several riders to extol the virtues of various Az routes but I'll leave it to those with experience to guide you through that section. As I understand it you have a coastal route and a highland route (Copper Canyon/Colonial Cities). I rode CC last spring and it's truly an experience to be had. Even just the paved route. Much history and architecture in the colonial towns.

Culiacan, along the coast, has a pretty heavy reputation but I know of no riders having issues. I plan to ride through there in April.

The road from Durango to Mazatlan is famous for it's twisties. Highly recommend it. "Espinazo del Diablo". Ask SR about routing through this region.

Look into the state of Michoacan for some beautiful wooded countryside. "Mil Cumbres" from Morelia to Toluca is worth riding then head south to Cuernavaca and see Cortez's palace and enjoy fine food. Then Cholula/Puebla (mole poblano, huitlacoche, flor de calabaza, mercado, architecture, etc.) then on to Oaxaca City. I'd use Tricepilot's Oaxaca RR as an excellent travel guide here. Then Puerto Escondido, Zipolite beach, etc., then the highland route through San Cristobal de las Casas and enter Guat at La Mesilla. I enjoyed Lake Atitlan and Antigua. Couldn't have navigated Guat City on my own. Trice hired a taxi to lead us through.

Just a partial route example. One of many great routes from Az to CA.

Have fun planning,

Schizz
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:27 PM   #6597
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Guat cops are apparently told to leave tourists alone as we passed a few at "higher speeds" without consequences.


"higher speeds" is a gross understatement
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:31 PM   #6598
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they also stole my avatar line "Rodando por Mexico" what the heck??
plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery//el plagio es la forma más sincera de adulación
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:34 PM   #6599
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If you would have time, what route would you choose if riding down from AZ?

Thanks.
I'm assuming you're on a big bike: The route I would suggest is A. Prieta-Moctezuma on route 17. From Moctezuma there is a small but paved route that goes down to Sahuaripa and on down to Hwy 16. From there I would take Hwy 16 to Basaseachic then the new paved route to San Juanito then Creel. From Creel I would suggest riding down to Batopilas and spending the night. Then back up the canyon and on to Parral or stop in Guachochi if you don't get an early start. From Parral I would go to Durango and prepare myself for one of the great motorbike rides anywhere, the Espinazo to Mazatlan.
The other route I would suggest is going to Alamos and connect with the road to Choix and eventually to Chinipas and Bahuichivo and from there up to Creel. This is dirt for much of the way if that's what you're looking for.
Leave with new tires and a range of at least 200 miles. Have fun. Jim

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Old 02-13-2012, 05:38 PM   #6600
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"higher speeds" is a gross understatement
Was going for vagueness over accuracy.
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