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Old 04-06-2012, 12:01 PM   #211
eSTes1300
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Great Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBuck View Post
I apologize for not updating this report sooner. I am now in the US and spending time with my Dad and my son and dealing with some mechanical issues. I’ll strive to get it completed ASAP.

Woke up this morning to pea soup fog. Hopefully this will burn off soon so will kill some time. Too bad because I was set for an early start.

Wandered back down to the town square to see if I could find an internet place open and maybe grab a bite. Lo and behold there’s a happinin goin on. Every kid in town are all lined up. School kids in their uniforms and little kids in Halloween costumes. The Army’s drum and bugle group are there. Some of the High Schools have drum and bugle groups there also. All of the town’s suits are out in fine form. Apparently this is a national day commemorating Benito Juarez, one of the well known (If the number of streets named after him is an indicator) leaders in the mid 19th Century. Of course, not expecting anything other than a traffic jam, I didn’t bother taking my camera.

Finally by 11:30, I was getting itchy feet and realizing this fog may be here for awhile, headed out. Jeebus. Got in behind a pickup and just boodle on for about an hour and a half. It was a combination fog and rain so, not only couldn’t I see from the fog, my glasses were compounding the issue, so I just slid them down my nose and looked over them. Weren’t going fast enough for the raindrops to hurt and I wasn’t worried about bugs.

One of the reasons I was hoping the fog would clear as this road (Hwy 105) is a beautiful road and I’m sure the scenery was spectacular. Once below 5000 feet we were under the cloud and it was so much more fun. The last bit of 105 I rode was spectacular. I’d really like to have a do-over of that one.

Turned off to head over to Hwy 85. Took the road that goes through the little town of Coaculico over to Tamaxunchale. Great little road – varied between nice twisties and rolling farmland.




Got on 85 – another delight. All twisted up – nice scenery.

Kept seeing these "air plants" - have no idea what they are really called and if they are in fact, an air plant. I think I had a pic of some on the side of a rock wall awhile ago. See these things hanging on telephone wires to trees. Noticed most of the trees looked dead. Don't know if they are parasites and kill the trees or, attach to things that aren't alive.




Arrived in Xilita. Now this is more like it. What a nice town – very historical. Built on the side of a mountain. After asking a couple of Traffic cops, found the Hotel Guzman just up from the town square. Old building that has been renovated. Still doing a bit of work on it. Really nice. High ceilings, decent sized room with king bed.


Town closes down early. Couple of restaraunts by the square but they were closed. Probably because it’s a holiday? Found a couple of ladies set up on a wall in the square selling tostados and tamales. Had 3 tostados and a tamale for $14p . . . a buck for dinner.
Enjoying your trip report. I like your involvement with locals, pics of food (and prices) and overall emotional feel for the place. Too many trip reports read like an accident report. I'm planning a trip to Mexico in November/December and your writing has me excited. Gracias and stay thirsty, my friend.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:24 PM   #212
mark883
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Hey! Xilitla... I was there.

85 is a nice road, if a bit warm when you get down to sea level.

Good report!
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:51 PM   #213
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Zacatlán looks like a fantastic spot. You are sure getting way back there. Awesome trip. Great to follow along. Keep it coming.
Yah, that was the type of town I really enjoyed - make an effort to have an identiity, to have a soul. I suppose that can be said of towns anywhere. But, I loved seeing the locals using their town for enjoyment - whether larger towns like Oaxaca or smaller towns like Zacatlán - just a cool personality.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:56 PM   #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eSTes1300 View Post
Enjoying your trip report. I like your involvement with locals, pics of food (and prices) and overall emotional feel for the place. Too many trip reports read like an accident report. I'm planning a trip to Mexico in November/December and your writing has me excited. Gracias and stay thirsty, my friend.
Wow, thanks eSTes1300, I'm glad you are enjoying it. I'm glad you are excited, wait till you get there - you'll be ecstatic.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:03 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by mark883 View Post
Hey! Xilitla... I was there.

85 is a nice road, if a bit warm when you get down to sea level.

Good report!
Thanks Mark

It seems everything is warm when you get down to sea level. I have not sweated so much in years. My boots and pants are just nasty when they come off - particularly since I seem to spend the hottest part of the day riding slowly around towns looking for hotels. Of course, a little post-ride electorlite replacement and, good to go.
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:42 PM   #216
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Day 68 - March 22

Decided to stay in Xilitla another day. Go see Las Pozas and wander around town. This is a great little town. Perched on the side of a mountain, it has a lot of history. A lot of building going on and the town square was small but cool.
Decided to walk to Las Pozas. About 2 ½ km downhill - same distance coming back .
Finally find the place, big gate – little info board out front describing Edward James house.


Couple of workmen there. Ask if it is open – says sure, go on in. Was thinking somebody should be collecting an entrance fee around here. So I follow this great little path through the woods along a creek.


Went by some artsy barbeques / ovens


Even had a spiffy little bridge


Seems awfull low key and quiet for the amount of discussion about this place. Finally end up at this great little waterfall. Cool, but end of the path.


Then come back out to the gate and look around - spot this big honkin sign . . .





So where’s the frickin house or whatever it is I'm supposed to be seeing? Oh, about 100 yards further down.

Pay the admission, and start heading up paths – didn’t really know what I was looking for but every time I went around a corner some new weird image jumped out. It was like being in a real life design constructed by MC Escher and Dr Suess. Very bazarr.








Even has some fairly involved pens for ocelots.


Stairs . . .


Finally get to the top with a pretty set of waterfalls and a swimming hole




Went and stood under the back of this one - made it easy to just wet my head to cool off


This was all built by some British poet back in the 50’s named Edward James. Apparently he originally had thousands of flowers growing that all got wiped out by a hard winter So, he decided to build this surreal display of flowers, shapes and bamboo. Now, given the era, the location and the guy’s avocation, I’m suspecting there was a fair amount of reefer (gahnga, weed, wacky tabacky, whatever you want to call it) and/or some of the local peyote involved in the design stages of this thing

Talking with some American folks who live in San Miguel de Allende and telling them that I planned to go there tomorrow. They asked where I was staying because the town was apparently booked up. I guess some guy called the Pope is showing up in neighboring Leon tomorrow and all the rooms within a few hours of Leon are taken.

Well, that’s a pisser. I was planning on spending 5 days or so in the three towns in this area that seem to be so popular. I don’t want to give that opportunity up so, I’ll just bugger around for 3 days until the Pope has his Popemobile take him out to Air Pope One and we can all get on with our lives. (My apologies if I offended anyone since I realize I’m posting this on Easter Sunday) (See, not only am I taking artsy stuff in but I'm becoming sensitive - I'm guessing dementia)

Wandered around town again. Everything you can think of along this street


Some local folks sitting in the shade in the town square


Some Moms and kids enjoying some ice cream. Mexicans really like their ice cream.


The church here was originally a convent, known as Convent of Saint Augustine. The building is about 450 years old although it has likely been altered a bit. Bit of a checkered past. Apparently a few years after it was built, the locals attacked and pretty well destroyed the place but the main structure remained.



Back in the 50’s, they dynamited a big chunk of the convent and built the Municipal Market which houses all sorts of little shops for the community.

That mountain in the right side of the picture is called La Silleta -


So, later on I'm looking in my tank bag where I keep documents and my frickin Passport is gonzo. Blah! This will be interesting. Of course I had my Mexican Tourist card in there and it was gone too. Situations like this require a higher level of thought that can only achieved with the consumption of more than one Negra Modelo. So I did.

Decided to wing it. Have never been asked for my passport or the Mexican Tourist card while in Mexico so, will take my chances. Should be able to talk my way into Canada and have a spare passport from another country that will get me into the US. That should cover all the bases . . . una cerveza más, por favor.

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RexBuck screwed with this post 04-08-2012 at 06:55 PM
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:27 AM   #217
skysailor
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Thanks for the trip there Steve. Just found this today. After several cups of coffee, you've pretty much sold me on taking my bike through Mexico. Been to PV the last couple of winters, but I'll need a month or two next year! Look what you've DONE!!
Lyle
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:05 PM   #218
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Thanks for the trip there Steve. Just found this today. After several cups of coffee, you've pretty much sold me on taking my bike through Mexico. Been to PV the last couple of winters, but I'll need a month or two next year! Look what you've DONE!!
Lyle
Wow Lyle - thanks for that. That gets me excited knowing that I helped someone make the decision to explore Mexico. You won't regret it. There is still a lot of that country I have not seen and many places I'd like to go back to. Have fun planning.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:44 PM   #219
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Day 69 - March 23

So, since the Pope decided to show up without consulting me, I decided to do a big loop around Xilitla through Ciudad de Valles and back to San Miguel Allende.

Should be an easy route on the clutch. Starting to worry a bit about its potential longevity.

Talked to a fellow at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City. Told him what I was planning on doing – that I really didn’t want to have to ride into downtown Mexico to get a new passport. He said not coming into Mexico City made a lot of sense and was not too concerned about the whole deal. Will wait until I hear back from the hotel where I last saw it before he cancels it.

Left late. Had a pretty relaxing ride of some nice twisties with a bunch of straight stuff.






Started seeing a lot of these



Come around a corner and spot this really ornate church bell tower in the distance. Turns out this is the Mission in Landa which with 4 other Missions in the area are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apparently all 5 of the Misions are similar architecture. I didn't stop at the Jalpan Mision but it looked very similar.




Apparently, these Missions are credited to have been built under the direction of Father Sera who later went on to build the Alta California Missions. Apparently up until the mid 1700’s the Spanish were had ben having a hard time getting control of the natives in this region and establising churches/missions. Apparently the natives didn’t want anything to do with the Spanish and kept destroying anything built. Finally they sent in some troops and defeated the natives. They built these Missions and offered the natives accommodation around them. The natives were helped in their decision to move by the Spanish burning down their existing towns.

A word about Alta California. That would be the State of California which many Mexicans view as still part of Mexico. However, Alta California actually revolted against Mexico around the mid 1800s and formed the Republic of California with my somewhat removed ancestor, William B Ide as the one and only President. (I expect a little more respect now.) I've read some accounts that many of the people of Alta California didn't even know a Revolt was underway . . . I guess a precursor to modern day politics. The Republic lasted for a little less than a month before the US stepped in and assumed control.

Arrived in Zimapan. Had seen a place called Royal Spa. Stayed in spas in Calif and you can get some decent rooms when they aren’t busy. Came in by the back. At first, thought it was closed. Huge old place. Came around to the front and looks ok. Then I see they have a gate with a guard. Oh oh, this will be painfull. Go to the desk. Very elegent lady advises me the rate is $1100p – while that is still only $75 or so, I don’t think so – I'm in Mexico and not with my wife . . . it’s just the point.

OK, so as I approached this town, it seemed to belong in the dumpy category. When I finally found my way into town, it's not bad. Decent town square but traffic all around. Check out a few places. Finally decided on Central Hotel, right on the town square, cool old place, $250p – small room but good parking and no internet. Internet joint right next door $8p an hour.




Looking out the front gate


Walked around looking for food. Noticable absence of street food. Finally went to a place specializing in Hamburgers and had a Torta . . . giant torta. Couple of NMs and I’m good to go.

Wandering around in the morning at Sunrise and notice this building. I'm looking at the sign . . . _remeira _uper _ex - now my mind is quickly filling in the blanks. Have to check it out.


Isn't this is the greatest thing ever . . . see? They set up an ice cream shop and named it after me . . . glad they got the title right.


And it is appropriate that this is the first place I’ve seen in Mexico with designated Moto parking.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:07 AM   #220
RexBuck OP
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Day 70 - March 24

Nice ride up Hwy 85 (actually rode part of that before) to Ciudad Valles – great road, made up for some of Hwy 105 I couldn’t enjoy a few days ago.


Decided to stay at the Hotel Mision Ciudad Valles. Really nice place. More than I usually pay ($800p) but I figured with the loot I saved yesterday not staying at the Spa, I should go for it. Geez, starting to sound like a woman.




Still seeing lots of these guys on the side of the roads


In one of the valleys, came to at least a hundred loaded trucks parked up to three deep on both sides of the road. Thought it was a massive road block. Then realized they were all loaded to the gills with oranges and were waiting.


Guess they were going here


I'm starting to think a lot of those little lime orchards I had seen were probably orange orchards

The whole clutch thing really started to bug me. Baby it all day – trying to stay away from situations where I would have to slip the clutch (mainly stop and go traffic in towns and slow traffic through topes), staying out of sixth gear, no aggressive passing.

Checked on parts. Sounds like they can be accessed quickly and are abundant. Just a matter of time to get them into Mexico - probabably a week and a half for the dealer to get the parts and get them delivered in Mexico – providing Mexican Customs doesn’t hold it up too long.

Time to make a decision. The clutch thing is a bit of a downer and I’m not enjoying having to worry about it all the time. And, to be honest, the passport & tourist visa are niggling at the back of my head. So, either plant myself somewhere for a couple of weeks, get the parts in and fix the bike (and maybe replace my documents) or head north and try to make the current clutch last until I get to the US or even better, home.

One of the areas I really wanted to go to were the three cities of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and Dolores Hildago. I’m really torn on this. Waiting will put me home at the end of April, way past when I wanted to be there for a number of reasons.
My understanding is that the traffic is nasty in at least two of these burgs which won’t bode well for a clutch that may have a limited life.


This is going to be another huge regret for this trip but I decided to head north. Sucks! The bright side is I have lots to explore next time and still have some great riding left in Mexico.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:05 AM   #221
Pete_Tallahassee
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Thanks a bunch for your report. You know, you will never see everything you want to see.
I'm now in Oaxaca and will follow your advice and take 175 north out of here tomorrow. I stayed in Mazunte for three days and have found your report very helpful. As I am traveling on a K1200 RS I can't exactly follow your path.

Again thanks, Pete
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:24 PM   #222
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Bummer about the clutch. How are you going to get into the US without a passport? Hope the last hotel you remember having it, will still have it there for you.

Really enjoying your report and writing style. By the way the folks you rode with earlier in the trip, was that planned or did you just meet up and ride together?

Keep safe and hope your clutch holds out.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:28 PM   #223
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He said he has a passport from another country that will get him into the US.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:34 PM   #224
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Thanks a bunch for your report. You know, you will never see everything you want to see.
I'm now in Oaxaca and will follow your advice and take 175 north out of here tomorrow. I stayed in Mazunte for three days and have found your report very helpful. As I am traveling on a K1200 RS I can't exactly follow your path.

Again thanks, Pete
Hey Pete, glad you are finding it useful. Yah, I know you can't do it all and there are some real crown jewells left for me when I return.

There really isn't anything north of Tuxtepec that I was on that you would be unable to do on your K1200RS. The worst part was that little patch of gravel at the end of 182 but the scenery was so nice, I'd do it again on my Harley . . . just slower.

By the way, where did you find a place to stay in Mazunte? My wife and I went over there for a day and there looks like a lot of cool restaraunts and shops but accomodation seemed sparse.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:39 PM   #225
RexBuck OP
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Bummer about the clutch. How are you going to get into the US without a passport? Hope the last hotel you remember having it, will still have it there for you.

Really enjoying your report and writing style. By the way the folks you rode with earlier in the trip, was that planned or did you just meet up and ride together?

Keep safe and hope your clutch holds out.
Thanks again, man. As far as meeting up with people along the way, any bikers I met were "Holy cow, those folks are on something bigger than a 250 and look like they may be travelers - let's stop and chat."

And, as Ace said, I have a "Get In Free Card" for the US.
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