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Old 04-25-2013, 11:08 PM   #16
rcroese
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Wicked

Excellent report and pictures, amigo! And I see you are learning some Dutch: "Baby head rocks" (kinderhoofdjes).
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:45 AM   #17
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Wow, what a beautiful area, great report and pictures! Seriously front page material in many of those shots. What is that fancy-dancy camera you got there?

Hi Joseph!
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:54 AM   #18
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Hey Steve! You guys getting good riding weather yet?

Cameras...



My primary is the Panasonic LX7 and stays with me all the time. Secondary is the larger silver one - Sony Nex5N.

LX7 has a wide Leica lens and wide aperture - F1.4 - so it's good for catching some lower light images. Lens range is 35mm equivalent of 24-90. Excellent video as well.

I use the Nex 5N exclusively for longer shots and leave the 75-315 equivalent lens on it. It has a very large sensor in a very small body and the ergos are good. Video is right at broadcast quality some say. It looks weird, handles great and produces some fantastic images when you need to shoot fast. As Sony develops smaller and faster Zeiss lenses for the NEX series, it may eventually become my travel system exclusively.

LX7 isn't small enough for a pants pocket but is easy to keep around and in the tank bag. I came very close to buying the pricey Sony RX100 compact which is amazing, but went for the Lumix and it's slightly wider lens.





Rob - thanks my friend! Some day I'd like to hear how Flemish differs from Dutch or is it the same language???




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Old 04-26-2013, 12:26 PM   #19
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*** Just added another video to the end of the last post ***
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:41 PM   #20
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Amigo, the word "Flemish" actually refers to the people of the northern part (roughly) of Belgium, not their language. Technically, the language of the Flemish people is Dutch, just as it is in the Netherlands, the country to the north of Belgium, and the Flemish people are taught standard Dutch in school. HOWEVER, the dialect variation(s) of Belgian Dutch differ(s) rather greatly from the Dutch dialects in the Netherlands. In fact, in many cases the northern Belgian vernacular is not easily understood by standard Dutch speakers. This is probably more than you wanted to know and I challenge you to ask another question.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:33 PM   #21
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Actually that's exactly what I was wondering Rob - thank you! The reason I asked is that Katlijn the Belgian girl made a comment about a distinction between Flemish and Dutch in language and that's likely what she was referring to. Of course both she and Ariana from Holland were fluent in English, Spanish and Dutch and likely adiitional languages, as most Europeans are.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:23 AM   #22
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Great report and images as usual!!

Wonderful scenery and around town shots.

How do you like the Montana, I need to replace my GPS and have had my eye on one.

Speaking of which, can you post a map of this trip?
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:11 PM   #23
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Heading Home

After a goodbye breakfast wherein we were crowned "Cool Motorbiking Guys", and with lackluster enthusiasm for leaving, the bikes were readied and gear donned. I wanted to stay, as did Hank, but he'd gotten many messages of bikes on the way to his shop and had to get back. The original plan was for two days in Real, and we stuck with the plan.










"El LeatherPouchMan" found Hank at breakfast, having made a custom one the previous evening sized for specific doodads.















El Puerco de El Puerco


We rumbled out of town and through the tunnel, the remorse of leaving tinged with the need for speed. The curse of motorcycle travel. That joy of discovery and yet the need to remain moving, the soul soothed by the flow of wind and weaving roads ahead.

All too shortly, we were down the mountain and through La Luz, then past Potrero and onto the long straights of the cobblestone highway. The higher speeds smoothed the staccato of the cobble, and I cleared my mind for the long day ahead.

Cedral came too soon as well, and we pulled in for gas, both of us hitting the ATM for a few extra pesos. From Cedral we detoured through Matehuala and circled the plaza in the thickening traffic, stopping briefly for refreshment before putting in the ear plugs, cinching down and heading out onto the highway.

MX 57 was a fast and furious ride back to Monterrey, the winds as we neared the mountains hitting with a punch, a pop and push to the other lane. Monterrey was thickly clouded in haze and smog, and descending into the city's 100 degree heat felt like a furnace compared to the cool air of the previous days in Real.

At a weary and late lunch break, Hank said he wasn't sure whether to head on into Nuevo Laredo and sit in the long lines back into the U. S., or to detour 30 miles out of the way and up to the Colombia International Bridge crossing. Either way it was a wash, but I said I'd rather be moving than sitting still in the heat, so we headed for Colombia. At the border, there was only one other vehicle besides the two bikes.

I watched as the Border Patrol agent motioned him ahead to the booth, and wondered what questions he was being asked. I saw him dismount and open a side case the man tapped on, a brief cursory look all that was required, then Hank gearing back up and moving on as the agent motioned me forward. He was nice enough, asking for my Passport and where I'd been, tossing some general questions and slipping in a quick "What day did you go into Mexico?", which seemed to be the trigger question for detainment and further questioning if I'd answered differently than Hank. He tapped loudly on my side case and asked me to open it, please. I stepped off and opened the case, unzipping the bag liner and lifting out my GoPro case at which point he said "Fine." He asked me about the bike, and seemed genuinely interested in the concept. When I told him the year of my bike and the low entry fee for that model. his eyes perked a bit. After saying thanks, I pulled on out and caught stride with Hank's bike out onto the tollway that leads to I-35 North and home.

Shortly after reaching speed, we passed under the camera stations, and I knew I'd be getting a nice letter and bill from Texas Tollways, as I do not have a toll tag. Hours of high speeds and hard winds, followed by the intense heat of the border region began to make it's way known, and I began to feel dehydrated and weary. We raced on at 75-80, my fuel light coming on about 25 miles from Cotulla, where we exited for gas and fluids. I grabbed two bottles of orange juice and a water, guzzling all three as the light began to fade.












Hank's exit for Dilley was a few miles up the road, and I felt somewhat envious, knowing I had another two and a half hours ahead. We geared up and hit the highway, the light fading and distant lightning on the horizon where I was heading. At eighty miles per hour, the exit for Dilley came up and I pulled alongside, giving a thumbs up as he peeled off like a wingman in a fighter plane.

I checked mirrors, tucked in and hoped the rainstorm I saw was not on my way home, though it lay directly where I headed. It was dark by the time I reached Devine, and the Valero station at the exit. I was bushed and knew I had to go slow from that point on due to deer, so I stopped and topped off with gas. Against my wishes, I had to settle for a McDonald's fish sandwich and Coke, leaning against bike in the dark with my ears ringing from 10 hours on the road. I watched as the local customers filed in and out, feeling their awkward, unspoken tension at having to walk past the sunburned, long-haired man on his strange motorcycle. Hee hee.

Finally a Hispanic man in his pickup struck up conversation while his wife went inside to play with Mickey D. He asked if the bike was a Triumph, and when he found out I'd just come in from Mexico he responded with incredulousness. "Man, you're lucky you didn't get killed down there!" he said. I just smiled.

It felt good to ride in the darkness at a slower pace, despite my desire to be home, and I stayed alert for the ever present armadas of deer. Reaching Bandera in the dark, I cruised slowly through, hearing the loud shouts of a few Harley riders on the sidewalk, undoubtedly fueled by alcohol.

Finally, coasting down the drive in the darkness, my headlight illuminating the river in front of my house, I killed the engine and sat on the bike in the dark, listening to the tink and pop of exhausts as they cooled down in the night air.

It was a great trip.


Adios my friends!


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Old 04-27-2013, 07:53 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deco View Post
Great report and images as usual!!

Wonderful scenery and around town shots.

How do you like the Montana, I need to replace my GPS and have had my eye on one.

Speaking of which, can you post a map of this trip?
Hey Deco! Thanks man

This is my 2nd trip with the Montana - last month I spent 2 weeks in the mountains in west Texas shooting some mc video. I'm not a power GPS user, but chose the 600 over the Zumo's because it recorded tracks. I also decided that being a newer software technology it might have the ability to grow and change somewhat as apps are developed or upgraded. Whether that proves true don't know but figured it might be the future of GPS.

As to usability it's quite easy, the screen is very easy to read in bright sunlight and scrolling apps is easy with glove on. (Apps may be the wrong vernacular) On this trip the screen was at a flat angle to the sun and getting glare constantly but I was still able to read it clearly. Reason the angle was wrong is that I changed to a City tank bag for this trip and they sit so far forward that I had to move my TT locking cradle off the crossbar. That took some last minute doing the day I was leaving, as I had to modify a GadgetGuy crossbar radar detector mount to work with the TT - it moved it about 3 inches forward but I couldn't rotate the cradle up or it would entirely block the gauges. Further mods will come

Hank was using a Garmin 378 on the trip, as he likes the ability to see the charging voltage displayed in the side menu (great). I was able to configure the Montana to duplicate the side menu but unable to find any way to show voltage so it may or may not be possible. Probly not a biggie but I liked the idea. I was messing with it on long highway stretches so I wasn't able to dig deeply into all the configuration settings. Possibly an update would allow this.

It does so much I haven't scratched the surface but I'm happy with the GPS, the screen and functionality. Once I get it mounted the right way will be in the zone As to the TT locking mount, it seems needlessly complex and bulky, but what choice do ya have

Will get a map posted shortly - I knew I was forgetting something lol
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:05 AM   #25
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Shingggggggg!

(The really freaky thing upon re-watching this video is I can't figure out how I held the camera AND used two hands for the machete)


We Come From Outer Space




Hank and I came from Texas.




And speaking of random thoughts...

Nuevo Laredo to Real De Catorce



Google shows it roughly 375 mi from Nuevo Laredo and from Dilley it was about 460 mis. My trip from the Kerrville area was about 600. Google maps doesn't reflect the cobblestone road accurately to Real. It will route you the wrong way from the western side. The map pic shows the correct route from Cedral but Google doesn't show the road connecting to Real - it does.

Leaving NL around 10:30 am we were in Real by 5:30 including toll booths, lunch and gas stops, photo stops and waiting on the tunnel.


Other random thoughts:

• Heidenau K-60's continue to impress the heck out of me. Approaching 10,000 and still much life left. Tougher than a boot and I've used them hard in rocky terrain, dust, gravel and long highway runs

• Feelings of goodness for the Montana 600 GPS

• Lovin' the Nolan X-Lite X551 helmet

• Sidi Adventure Goretex boots are breaking in nicely and liking them

GoPro notes
GoPro Hero2 camera has been better. If you've read my last Mexico trip they were maddening and I got very little footage. The issue was resolved when I spent 2 days charging and testing all 7 of my batteries by turning on the cameras and letting them record til dead. I had 5 GoPro branded batteries, of which 4 were brand new, and two Wasabi branded ones. It turns out that 3 of the 4 brand new GoPro batteries were bad, lasting only 5-15 minutes even after maximum charge. I would have expected the cheap Wasabi's to be short lived but they work well. Soooooo, be aware that the GoPro branded batts can be crap straight from the package.

I used the wireless remote back and iPhone app and it worked really well. I just bought the new Hero3 Black and took it with me, but didn't get the chance to film with it.

Camera NerdNotes
The LX7 produces stellar images - especially if you are a RAW shooter.

The Nex 5N was grabbed on closeout at Best Buy months ago. The offset lens makes it easier to hold the lens than the traditional centered style, as with my GF2 and a host of other cameras. Image quality is very good, due to an APS-C sensor in the tiny body. The 5N is an old model now and was the midrange model, the Nex 7 being the "pro" version - its 21 mp images overkill. 5N's successors - the Nex5R followed by the 6 - these use downloadable "apps" - time-lapse, etc. The APS sensor requires larger lenses and they make a great 18-200 travel zoom but too pricey for my needs.

I HATE carrying two camera systems, but until they make an LX7 size camera with fast, tiny interchangeable lenses, I'll carry both for the time being. Together they are still smaller than DSLR's and lens(es), with the flexibility of leaving one in the pocket all the time.

MotoHank.com
Hank carries Ohlin's, Touratech, Heidenau and other goodies, but especially a head full of knowledge of extensive travel and what works. His shop is in a very cool old gas station, and is currently transforming it into a travel center/hostel/shop.

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Old 04-28-2013, 04:07 PM   #26
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LS;
Very, very nice photographs
While I enjoyed looking at them, I most looked forward to your writing.
For me your words capture the emotions of a road trip.
Example of what I like is this: "Finally, coasting down the drive in the darkness, my headlight illuminating the river in front of my house, I killed the engine and sat on the bike in the dark, listening to the tink and pop of exhausts as they cooled down in the night air."

Most ride reports authors' aren't able to capture the essence like you have.
I hate to see the trip report end.

Richard
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:48 PM   #27
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Photography

Amazing photography and writing. You know, LS, I can shoot pictures, but I can't seem to upload them to this site. I already have a photo sharing site so I don't want to subscribe to Photobucket or Smug Mug. Last time, the best I could do was post the link. I did get a fairly decent photo of the GS with the iPhone on Saturday.
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:09 PM   #28
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:25 PM   #29
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Hootowl - thanks man I appreciate that very much!
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:06 PM   #30
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Really nice rr!

The photography is fantastic, but, as a previous poster said, the prose is what makes it ! Really well done! BTW, I have done several trips with Hank to Mexico and one to CA. Knowledgeable guy and great rider...

fletcher clark
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