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Old 04-09-2010, 11:58 PM   #211
Jammin OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter
Couple things I noticed:
Enlarging the valve stem hole in the wheel won't do much to protect the tube if you spin the tire on the wheel. If it really spins (very unlikely) it will tear the valve stem out anyway.

I also notice your spokes nipples and wheel look a bit corroded. (from Salt back East?) Watch for cracks!

I was curious why you were grinding down the Chain pins? (Rivets) If you have the Motion Pro chain tool then you can just push the pins out in order to cut the chain. No grinding needed. A chain tool is faster and easier.

I forgot to mention one thing I noticed on your bike regards overheating.
Front Fender: I notice your fender is cut. There is a reason Suzuki (and off road bikes) have the back part of the fender there. Mud splatter.

- I used washers on the valve stem nut and that covered up the hole. I hope it's enough.
- Yeah, stock wheels from 1998, Michigan bike. I'll keep an eye out for rim cracks.
- Yup, know that I can break the rivets with the tool, but I've had friends damage their tools easily like that and since the grinder was there, why not take the safer approach with the tool :)
- My Acerbis fender had huge vents cut in it and I figured cutting off that section wouldn't be that much worse :p I'll keep an eye out in mud riding on the oil cooler.
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Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:45 PM   #212
salcar
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simply awesome!!!
I'm planning to do afrika in 2012 so i'll be following you very very closely!!! i sent you a PM with my house directions in Mangua. I wont be there but you are welcome to stay, relax, work on the bike and enjoy some quite time
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:34 PM   #213
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Enjoying the company here in San Cristobal. Was making a chicken curry for 5 people, the word spread and it turned into a party for 30! More chicken. One of the Argentinians is a musician and has been playing wonderful music, with a vibrant voice. I took some video, will get it posted.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:03 PM   #214
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Mexico Part 1: Border to Michoacan

March 30 - April 4, 2010

Feeling good about the bike and the trip, I casually crossed the border line and said good bye to America. I was now in the South heading one-way. I'll return some day as a big part of my life happened there with many happy experiences.

Being the third time crossing into Mexico, I knew the border process quite well. First to migracion (immigration) to get my passport stamped in, get a tourist travelers permit and then head about 20 kms south to the customs office to temporarily import the bike. Then on, it was riding through the dry and dusty Sonoran desert heading to the Pacific coast. I worked my way down the coast, staying with CouchSurfers along the way. Some of them didn't speak much English and it helped me get immersed in speaking Spanish.



Swinging through one last US National Monument on my way to the Mexican border. I saw quite a few of the US National Parks during my time in the States and they are a treasure to the whole world.


Cactus resembling organ pipes; all the branches stemming from one main trunk.


Last few miles of America. The Mexican border is by those mountains.


Welcome to Mehico! I crossed at the small border town of Sonoyta. I got my tourist permit and passport stamped and was heading inland to the customs office since 20 kms from the border is a free trade zone to encourage trade with America, where import permits are not needed for vehicles.


Processing the temporary importation of my bike into Mexico. When I leave the country, I need to check my bike out of the country and then check myself out of the country.


Changing money into Mexican Pesos ($1 = 12 Pesos)


Riding through the Sonoran Desert of northwest Mexico. There were lots of straight flat roads and a few corners. I was listening to my Spanish audio book and preparing to use it for my first night in Mexico.


Staying in a small hotel in Guyamas on the Pacific Coast.


Dinner from a road side burrito shack. Locals were driving up specifically to eat at this stand - always a good sign that the food is good.


If you can see it being prepared, that helps to ensure the food is safe. She spread avocado first, some tomatoes and then fried beef.


Putting my feet up and enjoying dinner by the road side.


Mmm, it was good after a long day in the saddle. And it came with a variety of salsas in varying spiciness.


The hotel I was staying at for P180 for which I got the info from my Lonely Planet guide book.


Getting secure parking for the bike at the hotel. As long as it's away from prying eyes on the street, it should be safe.


The only way to get down the coast in some places is to take the toll freeways, which are usually in good condition with adequate signs. Slower traffic stays to the right and I would say most drivers were respectful. Lots of double trailers in Mexico.


In some places on the libre road, it was marked as only 2 lanes (1 each way) with a nice wide shoulder on each side, which became a de facto slow lane. Vehicle speeds vary greatly with slow old vehicles and brand new SUVs whizzing by. I was limiting my top speed to 90 kmh (55 mph) and thus was in the slow lane most of the time.


Inscription on the hill: "Jesus Christ is the way". Mexicans in general are a deeply religious people.


A few hills were crossed along the coast, but otherwise the ride wasn't that exciting up north.


I pulled into Los Mochis and saw a RV trailer park that was mostly occupied with Canadian Snow Birds heading back home from Mazatlan for the summer. I got to pitch my tent for P100.


The compound was guarded at night and the setting was quite nice under this beautiful tree.


Having dinner in downtown (centro) Los Mochis.


A beef Sope, which is a hard tortilla with a brown paste and then beef and some veggies with cheese on it. Was quite good.


The next morning having Birria for breakfast, goat meat stew at a road side restaurant on the highway. This is one of my favorite dishes and I tried to have it as much as I could as it's only available in this region.


On the road to Mazatlan.


Seeing a nice sunset in Mazatlan. The beach was crowded as the next two weekends were national holidays for Easter (Semana Santa).


I stayed with CouchSurfer Bryan, an expat from the US who retired to Mazatlan.


In Mexico, when they have a toll road (cuota), they usually provide a free road (libre) heading to the same city. The libre is usually the older way and generally is more fun as it might have more twists in it and go up and over hills. Whilst the cuota is a high-speed 4 lane freeway blasting through the terrain for a hefty price.


But still the libre road is in good condition and well signed with distances to the next petrol station and services.


A typical Mexican gas station. The petroleum industry is nationalized in Mexico and there is only one type of petrol station, Pemex, the national oil company. The price of petrol is also the same throughout the whole country (varying by a few cents between some regions) and it's P8 for a litre, which is about $2.50/gallon. The stations are full service with attendants and have free air for tires and water for radiators and there are plenty of them everywhere.


On the way to Puerto Vallarta on Hwy 200, which I would be taking for the next few days down the coast. The roads through here were real fun to ride but traffic was very heavy with inland city dwellers rushing to the coast for the holiday weekend. These were also familiar roads as I came this way during my first trip around Mexico in 2007.


The foliage was quite dense with no space for shoulders on the road, but it makes for an enjoyable ride, being so close to the trees.


Visiting Sayulita, a surf town near Puerto Vallarta. I stayed here for 2 days on my previous trip and really enjoyed it.


Staying with CouchSurfer Su in Bucerias, near Puerto Vallarta. Using a bike cover when I can't park the bike in a secure place.


We slept on the roof as she had other family friends staying downstairs in the house. They were here for the holiday weekend. It was a good sleep and the mosquito mesh on my tent worked well and I put the tarp on as the humid air produced dew in the morning.


Steps leading to the roof.


Su's backyard, which she's slowly transforming into a garden, hopefully to grow some vegetables. Drying my base layers on the clothes line. I've been rinsing them every night in the shower and since they're synthetic and silk, they dry fast.


Su preparing breakfast. She's a singer and mostly does reggae, ska, punk, etc.


Yummy French Toast.


A life quote on her fridge.


A nice view from the stove, pondering which countries to travel to.


The house was beautifully constructed with brick and the ceiling had curves in it, which Su said helped to keep the house cool. It's a traditional way to build houses in this area.


No A/C needed here. Wonderful coastal winds, natural ventilation.


The road south of Puerto Vallarta turned inland and went through some forests.


Agave plants, that are used in making tequila and mezcal.


Staying in a seaside hotel on the Michoacan coast, in San Juan de Alima. I managed to negotiate the price down from P400 to P300. It was getting late and there were no other towns in the area.


Sleepy town during the day but it was hopping in the evening with holiday traffic. Had to sleep with ear plugs in.


I was getting "meated-out" by having meat with every meal and needed to get some fiber.


Mangoes! Even though they were green on the outside, this variety was very sweet on the inside.


Breakfast by the ocean of two avocados, a mango and a banana.


The remote Michoacan coastline. There are very few resorts and developments along the coast in this state and there are still many pristine beaches.


On Hwy 200 heading down the Michoacan coast.


Enjoying the twisty sections.


The roads are well designed with regards to banking, camber and the pavement is mostly in good condition.


A natural rock arch, carved either by water or uplift.
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J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos

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Old 04-12-2010, 08:01 PM   #215
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Green

I am very green Jay, with envy.

Your trip looks better with every mile!

Enjoy.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:58 AM   #216
Jammin OP
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Mexico Part 2: Beaches and Oaxaca

April 5 - 8, 2010


Camping on the beach in the small surfer's enclave of Barra de Nexpa.


Camping for P35.


Beach cabanas. I was invited over by a Canadian who was staying here for a few months and spent the evening on his porch, meeting some locals.


The beach front.


The beach on one side and mountains right on the coast.


Wonderful setting sun rays reflecting of the clouds.


Heading down the coast the next day. A restaurant with a great view.


The coastal highway, heading towards Acapulco.


In Acapulco where the classic VW Beetle is still used as a taxi. It was fun seeing a whole bunch of them buzzing around the city. Most other cities have banned them as they only have 2 doors. Note the zip-ties on the wheel rim. Maybe it's holding the brake rotor on :p


The Acapulco skyline. My CouchSurfing host, Eduardo took me for a driving tour around the city.


I stayed the night with CouchSurfer, Eduardo.


Trying to find the free road to Puerto Escondido and I got turned onto the toll road. Arrgh, one last cuota of P25. But the cuota are very nice roads and usually with little traffic, since they are quite expensive for the average person.


Entering the state of Oaxaca (wah-ha-ka), which I was looking forward to as it is less developed than the rest of Mexico and has less traffic.


All throughout Mexico I saw fires going off and most didn't look like they were controlled. Lots of fires just on the road side, mostly garbage being burnt and also brush clearing. I had to hold my breath through some areas, thick black smoke wafting across the highway. This was the end of the dry season, as the rains will be starting shortly and that's probably helping the easy starting of fires.


Even though there are cuota roads that are meant for commercial traffic, some trucks still take the libre roads and ruin the twisties.


And of course, a fine example of impatient drivers overtaking over a blind hill. I just stay well behind until it's clear to pass.


Arriving at Zipolite, a beach community on the Oaxacan coast.


Staying at the beach-side hostel, Shambhala. I took a dorm bed for P100.


The view from my hostel room of Zipolite Beach. The west end of the beach, from the small rock outcrop toward my hostel is the only sanctioned clothing optional beach in Mexico. I wanted to come down here on my previous trip, but it was too far south.


Shambhala with the dorm beds on the upper level.


A small private area on the beach.


Waves crashing through the hole in the rocks.


The view from the beach towards Shambhala and these photos were taken au naturel, after a dip in the ocean, being totally free. It's a wonderful feeling. When I interned in Ft. Lauderdale, I frequented Haulover Beach and loved being free. Clothes definitely have their uses and since getting into motorcycling and skiing, I've seen them more and more as just gear for different settings to protect the body, since the skin is fragile. Besides being stylistic and traditional, I wish we didn't have to wear clothes all the time :)


The walk back up to Shambhala.


Live guitar music for dinner on the beach.


Dinner on the beach under a starry night sky.


Breakfast the next morning of curried eggs with veggies and rice and beans for P40. I was craving for some curry.


Fresh papaya juice with a covering to keep the flies out.


The view from the restaurant. I spent the morning reading before hitting the road.


Heading inland from the coast to the small town of Juchitan de Zaragoza.


The central market of Juchitan at night.


Staying with CouchSurfer Nizbeth, who didn't speak much English but we still had good conversations the whole evening in my broken Spanish and I could understand most of what she said if she spoke slowly. Total immersion is the best way to learn. Here, we're getting a local drink made from cocoa and vanilla.


It was very frothy and warm.


Quite tasty cocoa drink.


Dried fish stands.


Fresh cheese. And I had samples from each stand.


Dolls with the traditional costume of the region.


With Nizbeth, who took me around her town and was proud to show it off. She's a psychologist and works for the state.


A poster in Nizbeth's room with English phrases that she's practicing. We also talked in English as she wanted to practice.


At Nizbeth's house.


Inside Nizbeth's house, which is very similar to many Indian homes.


A huge wind energy farm east of Juchitan. This region is known for really strong winds during certain times of the year. Tall buses are known to be blown over. However, right now, there were no winds and very few turbines were spinning.


Entering the southernmost state of Chiapas, considered the poorest in Mexico with a large indigenous population of Maya, who've been marginalized. The state is also known for a rebel uprising in the 1990s of the Zapatista, who were representing the indigenous. Things have quieted down now.


Heading up from the hot and humid plains into the highlands.


Heading into San Cristobal de Las Casas, where I will be spending a week to rest and learn some Spanish before crossing into Guatemala.
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J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos

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Old 04-13-2010, 11:49 AM   #217
ruedaloca
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Hey Jammin, you´re riding pretty fast ! eh ?? you almost crossed the hole Mexico.
You're near here ! and you're welcome here if El Salvador is in your route, so you can eat some pupusas ! eh ?

enjoy the ride !! very good places !
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:04 PM   #218
Jammin OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruedaloca
Hey Jammin, you´re riding pretty fast ! eh ?? you almost crossed the hole Mexico.
You're near here ! and you're welcome here if El Salvador is in your route, so you can eat some pupusas ! eh ?

enjoy the ride !! very good places !
Hola Daniel, Si, trying to get to Panama by May 9th to catch a boat to Colombia. I've stopped for a week in San Cristobal, resting.

Lo Siento, but I will be by-passing El Salvador on this trip, going thru Honduras from Guate and into Nicaragua. I will come there some day in the future :)
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:41 PM   #219
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Awesome Trip Jay, keep the updates coming and be safe!
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:28 PM   #220
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Free

Sounds like an amazing trip! Best of luck to you. I aspire to be that free someday.
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:46 AM   #221
dwj - Donnie
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Hi!

I have followed some of your other RRs and looking forward to this one!

Donnie
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:41 PM   #222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin

Heading into San Cristobal de Las Casas, where I will be spending a week to rest and learn some Spanish before crossing into Guatemala.
Very nice! Really enjoying the pix.

BTW, my Guatemalteco friends have informed me not to address any
male person in Guatemala in the informal - this is considered very of-
fensive. I'll leave it to others to explain. Applies to other CA countries
as well.

Thanks again for all the pix. I appreciate how much time it requires.
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:03 PM   #223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizzMan
Very nice! Really enjoying the pix.

BTW, my Guatemalteco friends have informed me not to address any
male person in Guatemala in the informal - this is considered very of-
fensive. I'll leave it to others to explain. Applies to other CA countries
as well.

Thanks again for all the pix. I appreciate how much time it requires.
Latino Culture 101
You are a bit off here but your idea is "sort of" correct. First, using informal forms of verbs to any adult stranger (not just men) is not really polite, but for a foreigner, you will be cut some slack on this. So it's not just men, it's any adult. They expect some mistakes from you, the fact you're trying to speak their language goes a long way to forgiving your bad form.

With children (and animals), it is generally OK to use the informal form ("Tu" for example) Also OK with good friends and relatives. Best advice is do what others do. (listen! ... and learn!)

These are subtleties within the culture that take time to grasp. Using the wrong form is not really "Very offensive", but not correct. Use Usted, not Tu, and on and on. They don't use the Vosotros form much in Latin America, but very much so in Spain.

Gringos do MUCH WORSE things to offend I am sad to say. Like wearing shorts all the time. Not Cool away from the pool or beach. Or not being CLEAN or well groomed or coming to dinner in filthy riding gear. Not Cool. Or getting drunk (and loud) in a restaurant. Not Cool. (more or less OK in a bar, but NOT a restaurant)

Some of this varies from country to country.

The other thing Gringos forget are greetings and introductions. Very important and RUDE not to greet first. Never just barge in with a question or when asking a favor.
Make small talk, say Buenos Dias, introduce yourself. NOW ask your favor or question. Some N. Americans and Euros can be very brusque to Latin sensibilities. They do not appreciate this. Same with the French.
In general, Latinos tend to be very polite folks. Best to reciprocate in kind.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:31 AM   #224
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Zipolite

Jay, you're going to miss being in Zipolite
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:32 AM   #225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter
The other thing Gringos forget are greetings and introductions. Very important and RUDE not to greet first. Never just barge in with a question or when asking a favor. Make small talk, say Buenos Dias, introduce yourself. NOW ask your favor or question. Some N. Americans and Euros can be very brusque to Latin sensibilities. They do not appreciate this. Same with the French.
In general, Latinos tend to be very polite folks. Best to reciprocate in kind.
+1
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