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Old 04-22-2010, 08:52 PM   #1
Johnnydarock OP
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John Juan's Ruta Mexico 2010

Just so you know what you're getting into...this is a two week moto trek through Mexico by two guys named John...hence the name John Juan.

A little background: Three yars ago I bought a 2007 BMW F650GS to do a moto trek with my two best friends who got into the sport several years prior. Well...the news of all the Mexican drug violence got them too scared (pussies) to venture into Mexico and so I called a guy I met on a Baja trip last year, John, and we decided to put a trip together through mainland Mexico. We both have real jobs so we knew we couldn't get more than two weeks off and even that request got the "stink-eye" from my boss. My wife was a little more understanded and just wanted me to make sure that my life insurance was up to date. Our motivation comes from looking at all those other riders going to Tierra del Fuego (something I did with my wife via "chicken buses from hell" many years ago) and we wanted to put that kind of third-world adventure into a ride...and Mexico was clearly the answer. I did most of the planning/research and Big John just said "yup" to everything I suggested. I wanted to "do" and "see" it all so it was nice to have him agree with everything. I was an adventure camping/mountain guide in Mexico many years ago so some of this was familiar but much has changed in the past 20 years since I was there.

Since we were short on time we decided to ship our bikes to McAllen, Texas, to save those three days of hard riding from California. Long story short we ended up shipping the bikes to the Harley dealer...who couldn't have been more accommodating (great guys). I'm new to the whole motorcycle scene so I put out a request for some info about McAllen on ADV and I got hooked up with a great guy named Juan. He insisted that we stay at his place and he arranged a great fajita BBQ with some of the other local riders. They were a wealth of knowledge as several of them cross the border into Reynosa every day for work. We weren't too happy to hear that 10 people were gunned down in the streets of Reynosa the day before we arrived but I told John we're going no matter what. So here's our story...

Flew from LA to McAllen on a Friday...gettin our bikes back from the Harley dealer.


Check out Juan's famous fajitas.



Fajita party in Juan's garage. That's me on the left with Lucio and Juan (standing).


DAY 1 - Saturday, April 3rd, McAllen TX to Galeana (267 miles)

Crashed at Juan's place the night before and a buddy of his, Cory, rode with us to the border to get us pointed in the right direction. That's Juan on the left, my Baja buddy, John on the big 1200GSA, and me on the right.


I intruduced John to what I called "road-kill chicken just south of Monterey in the town of Santiago.


I hooked up with a guy from Texasnamed Richard Gibbens, via the internet that runs a ride to the Monterey area every year called "MexTrek." For $25 bucks he sent me some great maps and a little book called the "MexTrek Ride Guide" that he wrote on the rides in the area. The descriptions are a little short on actual directions but we decided to bite off a ride he called "The Gold Standard." It goes from Santiago--Laguna de Sanchez--Mesa de Oso--Las Trancas--Casillas--Rayones--and finally ending in Galeana. Most of these places are not big enough to put on a map so you'll be lost without the map from MexTrek. It's all dirt from Laguna de Sanchez all the way to Galeana...maybe 50 miles. The riding made for a very challenging first day and the scenery was spectacular.

The canyon just before the pavement ended at Laguna de Sanchez.


Finally getting on the dirt.


The road climbing over the mountains near Mesa de Oso.






The day went on kind of long and when we arrived in Galeana we found all the hotels fully booked for some wedding or something...so we had to scramble to get the last room in town in some flea-bag where you could hear everyong snoring at night. Anyway we were dead tired and couldn't really care less. Great first day with some fantastic riding. Only fell over once when I was standng there trying to take a picture.
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:12 AM   #2
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mas mexico..

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Old 04-23-2010, 04:42 AM   #3
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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My part in this...

I'm the other JOhn.

Last year I met John and his Swiss friend Ralph on the side of the road in Baja.



So John from SoCal and I kept in touch. We did a ride in the fall to the Saline Valley (I know this Trona, but honestyl we did Saline the next day).



We decided to go to Mexico for a couple weeks. I told John I would go wherever he wanted, and let him make all the plans.

You can see from the partial map below that 2 weeks is an aggressive seeing that we need to ride the bikes home.



SO come along for the ride.
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:14 PM   #5
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Looks like a great RR!!!!! more pic's
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andres A
Looks like a great RR!!!!! more pic's
OK More pics from the first day:

This is a picture of Juan's most excellent sirloin fajita meat. Juan is the guy we met on ADV who opened his house to us, made us dinner, bought us beer. These were great and I ate 4, which was important cause I found out johnnydarock does not eat breakfast till lunch.



Then we have this real narrow canyon that we rode though.Lots of traffic up to this point. I think if it was not the day before easter, or a weekend there would have been less traffic.




Now a nice vista. We had to ride to the bottom which meant some steep switchbacks.


The cloud rolling in the distance

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Old 04-23-2010, 03:20 PM   #7
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Old 04-23-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:38 PM   #9
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Mass More

Good Start....don't leave us here beside the road!!
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazard

Then we have this real narrow canyon that we rode though.Lots of traffic up to this point. I think if it was not the day before easter, or a weekend there would have been less traffic.





is one of may favorites scenary roads, when is totally zero trafic, the sound of the eco and the chirp of some hawk predating, is just awesome.


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Old 04-23-2010, 07:45 PM   #11
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:32 PM   #12
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John and John!

It was great meeting you guys -- mi casa es su casa.

Wish the rest of the gang had been able to join us at the Fajita Fest Friday (FFF). A number of 'em know Mexico well although the positive side of not having them there is that there was more beer for us and it gives me an excuse to get us locals together for another fajita/beer fest.

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Old 04-23-2010, 08:53 PM   #13
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Day 2 - Galeana to Real de Catorce (167 miles)
It was some tough riding through the Sierra Madre Oriental the day before and John bought some extra strength Advil that went down with a couple of fine Mexican beers and I was ready to go in the morning. Our daily plan was to get up early and get an hour of riding before breakfast and if nothing was available we look for lunch. It became the two meals a day plan and I don't think Big John was too excited about it but he lost 10 pounds over the entire trip.

I wish I thought of it before we left but Big John had some stickers made up before the trip and everywhere we stopped he put a sticker. Here's our first stop of the day and I ran over to an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere to take a pee and John put a sticker on the door.


John's last name is Hazard so look for these stickers throughout this story. They were also a big hit with the kids.


We found a great breakfast place in the small town of Doctor Arroyo.


In all my research in putting this epic ride together I continually came across one word that describes Real de Catorce...magical! This reawakening ghost town was once a silver/gold mining center with over 40,000 inhabitants until the early part of the last century it was abandoned. No one remember the exact reason for the sudden drop in population but some say it was because of the decline in the price of silver in 1910 and others say it was because the Mexican revolution was raging in the countryside nearby. Either way...it has recently been "re-discovered" by adventourous travelers and now boasts a perminant population of 400 residents. Even though there are many new hotels and restaurants that cater to the western crowd the town has mantained it's "Lost-in-Time" feeling...for the moment.

The 20 mile approach is no less dramatic than the town itself with it's cobbled stoned road cut into the side of the mountain. The town is at over 9,000 feet and the scenery is similar to the high altiplano of the Bolivian highlands. Here's the beginning of the road. Where else can you get this experience north of the Panama canal?


You enter town via a kilometer and a half tunnel called the Ogarrio tunnel.

Unfortunately the tunnel was closed to car and motorcylce traffic because it was Easter Sunday so we had to park the bikes outside and walk into town. That's me in there somewhere.


Once we got into town we saw this sign that reads " welcome to Real de Catorce, please don't drink alcoholic beverages in public." So...we drank in the many bars and restaurants.


We set out to find a good hotel and settled on the Hotel de la Abundancia. We got a two room suite with our own patio over looking the town for about $100 bucks. It was worth it after the crap-shack we had in Galeana.


Check out the size of the door ways. This place was old. It had iron doors throughout and I was told it used to be a bank.


After we settled in...we had to have a few beers and relax.


Then we had to go and check out the town. Here's a typical street.


Walking around we found a good vantage point of the whole town.


Exploring all the streets.







Some local Huichol Indians selling stuff. They were one of the only indian groups never subjugated by the Aztecs and remain fiercly independant. They travel to the area around Real de Catorce every year to find the peyote cactus. They use this powerful hallucinogenic drug for their spiritual visions.




Had to have another beer on our patio before we went to get the bikes at 7:00pm.


We were feeling a little lazy so we took the horse cart back to the bikes.


When we got outside the tunnel we found "2uprtw" Marie and Brian from Montreal. I knew who they were instantly as I read most of their blog.


Had to take these hardened travelers out for dinner as they've been on the road for 2 and a half years...and now they're headed to Alaska before heading home. They were good fun and Marie tolerated my crass stories.


Marie and Brian were the only tourist we ran into let alone riders before we got to Puerto Vallarta. We had the whole country to ourselves. We wish them well and hope to see them again somewhere. Saying good night in front of our hotel.
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:18 AM   #14
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Lets be clear. I was a pig pussie as walking in through the 2k tunnel in motorcycle boots gave me a nice blister. It was me who wanted to take the very cramped cart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnydarock

We were feeling a little lazy so we took the horse cart back to the bikes.

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Old 04-24-2010, 10:16 AM   #15
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Great photos Johnny. I can’t believe you called me a pussy!
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