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Old 11-25-2013, 08:23 PM   #46
coolmom
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Ride safe....keep looking ahead/stay focused on the bigger picture. Things will get easier/better as you move forward and learn a bit more of the language. Keep in mind the experiences you have today will be great memories and stories for your future. Keep up with the emails and the posts.....
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:07 AM   #47
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I have a saying with my friend that spent 1 1/2 yrs down in Mexico. It's called rock n roll! I still haven't done my long trip yet but to me rock n roll means bring it on no matter what obstacles face you. Adapt overcome and try to smile when life throws a shit at ya. I think between he and I it means fuck corporate america but that's for another day. Just my .02 cents and good on ya for the effort! Keep going!
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:04 AM   #48
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Thanks

Thanks all for the replies. From all the travelers I have spoken with, I hear Guatemala is the best place to learn Spanish. I decided I am definitely going to take immersion classes there for at least 2-4 weeks and go from there. I think I will be much more comfortable and confident once I have a better grasp of the language.

As for right now, a few Brits I met back near Mulaje showed me where a great little campsite was in La Paz. It is cheap, has wifi, showers, and is close to Soriana. I'm pretty well set. Going to hang out here for a couple days, relax, do a couple things to the bike, and walk around a bit.

Cheers!
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:17 PM   #49
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Bahia de Concepcion & La Paz

I had fantastic weather heading down the rest of the way to La Paz. On the way down I stopped into a little place off Bahia de Concepcion. I setup my tent right near the water with no neighbors on either side of me. I walked into the bar and there was Green Bay Packers paraphernalia everywhere. It was like I just stepped into a bar in the Midwest. Everyone speaks English. I kicked tires with the guys there, had a few beers, and watched the Brazil Formula 1 race coverage.

I decided that two nights at the Packers bar was long enough. I was ready to get down to La Paz. Arriving in La Paz, I stopped at a motel to see what the rate was. $450 pesos advertised at $250. Why?? Well, the $250 rate is if you only want the place for a few hours. I tried in severely broken Spanish and hand gestures out of a bad kung fu flick to try negotiating the price for a full night to no avail. Hmmm, this is out of my price range. What now? A few Brits I met near Bahia de Concepcion the night before gave me the name of a few RV parks so I figured Iíd check that out. Rolling into the RV Park the nice woman there speaks English and says for me with just a tent sheíll give me a rate of $100 MXP/night, which includes wifi and showers. Nice. I stayed there for a few nights exploring the Malecon and having four of some of the best street tacos de pastor Iíve had. These street tacos are one of the best things in Mexico. Pastor is pork and they cut the meat right off the spit, which is a vertical pole that the meat is cut away from & cooked right in front of you. You then throw on the guac, cilantro, lime, and chile and it is some of the best, cheap, simple food you will ever eatÖ.all for about the equivalent of $4 USD.
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:26 PM   #50
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San Jose del Cabo & Cabo San Lucas

Finally having wifi for a few days in La Paz, I was able to make arrangements to meet up with Shawn who is riding his BMW F800 to Costa Rica. We agree to meet up at my campsite near Cabo San Lucas at 4:00. I roll in around 2:00 and am greeted by the owner of the campsite. He tells me the rate is $200 MXP/night, which is a little steep but itís cheaper than a motel. I agree and go to pay him. He sees a $500 peso note in my wallet and says ďor its $500 MXP for two nightsĒ. Obviously this makes no sense, so I just look at him and there is this awkward silence. I hand him the $200 peso note and tell him one night is fineÖ.jeez. Shawn, typical Midwesterner, is about 20 minutes early. Iím punctual as well and you just donít see any sort of punctuality here in Mexico. It is nice for a change. Shawn and I shoot the breeze and head down to the bars for a few beers. It is early in the night, but we try our hand at a table with two girls whose complexion made me unsure whether they were locals or vacationers. The conversation actually goes pretty well. They are vacationing from California and itís their last night in town. We join them for a few drinks and eventually make our way to the dance floor later on. Feeling bad for Shawn on the dance floor in his AlpinestarsÖnot going to bust out any moves in those things thatís for sure. Fun night.

Shawn invites me to stay with him at his friendís place in San Jose del Cabo, so I end up there for a few days. The days are pretty slow and relaxing. Full of sunsets, cerveza frio, and R&R.

Shawn and I decide to catch the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan together. We look at the dates available online and to our surprise it says the only date available in the next 3 weeks is this coming Sunday! Well, not sure if you can trust the site or not, but we certainly donít want to take any chances. I try booking online and the site is all whacked out. It tells me the ferry leaves at 12:00 (it doesnít Ė it leaves at 5:00). It takes my credit card and gives me a confirmation number and then tells me the credit card is declined. WTH? This is somewhat typical in Mexico. Iím getting used to things just not working or I will receive conflicting information, so it doesnít bother me so much. I call my credit card company and they tell me no one has even attempted authorization on my card. OK, well I guess we just arrive on Sunday early afternoon and hope for the best.

We arrive around 2 or so for the ferry. Shawn has to get his TVIP sorted for the bike, so he heads over to Aduana while I make my way toward the ship. Believe it or not, it goes smoothly. They check my FMM and TVIP, I buy my ticket and itís the same price as advertised online, then I make my way to wait in line for the ship. 25 minutes totalÖsweet. I pull up next to some other fellow motorcyclists waiting to board the ferry. They are a family from Tazmania, Australia made up of a couple in their late 40ís early 50ís with a son the age of 17. What a cool thing to be able to do with your parents. We shoot the shit for a bit and they tell me they had quite a time trying to get the paperwork sorted for their son because he isnít 18. Sounded like a huge hassle. I was also hearing that the TVIP may be a couple day process, so Iím worried Shawn wonít be able to make the ferry. About 30 minutes go by and here comes Shawn TVIP in hand, whew! Good to go.

Turns out Brendan, who I had met near Bahia de Concepcion is also boarding the ferry with his bicycle. Brendan is an Irishman from Belfast bicycling down to TDF then planning a stint over in Africa! Traveling is a humbling experience. I suppose it is kind of like doing track days. On the street you think you are fast, then you get to the track and are put in your place quickly. Traveling is the same. The travelers I have met so far are just amazing people doing incredible things. Brendan being a perfect example.

While waiting to board, we watched as semis loading large cargo boxes bottomed out as they attempted to load on the ferry. Just noise everywhere. Semis punched to the floor all the time, then immediately on the brakes hard locking up the tires, then a loud hookup, then to the floor again, then slamming cargo boxes into the ferry as they bottom out and require a hydraulic jack to get throughÖjust loud noise everywhere. Iím ready to board. The dogs look so sad. I feel bad for them. They are scronny, they have this droopy sort of face all the time, their eyes look tired, they are hungry, they are scared, and they have to deal with the shit I just described all the time. Get your pets spayed or neutered folks (does anyone remember Bob Barker from Price is Right?!?)

We were finally able to board, it is well past 5:00 of course. Fortunately, I had ratchet straps to tie my bike down with. Nothing is provided to secure your motorcycle. With Shawnís help, I was able to get a solid four point tie down so I was feeling pretty good about my bike. Shawnís was solid as well, but there was a guy on a Harley whose bike looked like it was about ready to fall over as soon as we encountered any sort of somewhat rough sea. Shawn was a good mate to this guy by using a few spare straps he had to better secure the bike. This wasnít all an act of kindness though, if one bike goes, it could be dominos for the rest. Good thinking Shawn.

Walking on board, we are shuffled into a room with a big screen TV showing bootleg American movies in Spanish. The room is pretty damn hot and a beer is sounding pretty damn good. Maybe the temperature of the room is just a ploy to get me to buy more beerÖit worked. We grab a couple seats, which are actually pretty comfortable. After eating and a couple beers, I hang out with the Irishman for awhile and we play a few card games to pass the time. I eventually retire to the floor where my sleeping bag is my bed for the night. I wake up to the sound of another American movie playing in Spanish. The breakfast meal is basically the same as the dinner meal the night before only prepared in a slightly different way (ok they added huevos too but pretty much the same). We got into Mazatlan after 12 noon on Monday. Long boat ride +18 hours. We get out to our bikes and the Australian notices that someone has gone through his stuff. Shawn and I had everything locked up, so we were good. The Aussie said nothing was missing but his stuff was definitely tampered withÖman stuff just happens like this at every opportunity here.
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:33 PM   #51
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Mazatlan -> Puerto Vallarta

We stayed in Mazatlan for a night. We went to the cheapest place in town because my budget is tight (after all, I have a long way to go). The place was in a pretty shitty part of town. We decided against it and landed on a nice place along the Malecon which made for an unbelievable view of the sunset. We were up early in the morning and took the toll road to Puerto Vallarta. The tolls are expensive here. Far more expensive than any tollway Iíve taken in the US. We made a quick stop in Sayulito but didnít stay long. I felt bad because I think Shawn wanted to stay, but we continued on to Puerto Vallarta. Shawn is much more into the smaller towns and Iím drawn to the larger cities.

We make it to Puerto Vallarta and arrive at the hotel advertising their price at $50 USD/night. Itís a nice place and a good price especially when shared with another person. I go to check in and they tell me the price is $75 USD/night. I tell them about the internet price and they tell me a bunch of lies.

1) That price is only valid online. My response, your website wonít let me book online. I will try going through Kayak instead.

2) You can book through Kayak but it will be several hours before we receive your confirmation. My response, grrrr. Canít you just give me the internet price advertised on your site?? Here it is and I show her the screen.

3) That price ended last week. My response, well the website shows the price valid through December 2013.

4) Oh, that was for promotional rooms. We are sold out of promotional rooms. Grrr, about this time Shawn arrives and asks what the hell is taking so long.

By this time, Iím ready to bounce on but Shawn mentions that we are bloggers and will tell about our story. Oh, well then the Manager says Iíll do $55 for you two with breakfast included. So frustrating. I just wanted to leave on principle alone. It just isnít good business practice. Anyway, we are tired and just go for the $55 deal.

Shawn and I get a good nights rest and decide to split off in the morning. Shawn wants to continue down the coast, and I want to cut inland to Guadalajara. We wish each other well and he is off. I decide to grab a hostel for a couple nights in Puerto Vallarta so I can take in old town, the Malecon, and work on my gringo tan.
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:37 PM   #52
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Guadalajara

I take highway 90 from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara and enjoy the twisties. I was moving along pretty good passing quite a few cars until I looked to my right and saw a massive chunk of road about 2 feet deep that was just missing. The hole was in my lane, about 2 feet deep, and 4 feet from my chosen line. Yeah, I better slow down a bit. The 100 miles take me a majority of the day to cover. I make it to my hostel at around 4:00 in the afternoon and make some new friends there. I hear there is some house music playing just down the road about a block so I make my way there. I get there about 11 and realize I am terribly early. Iím finding quickly that no one goes out in Guadalajara until around 1 in the morning. They didnít even have the dance floor open when I arrived. The nice bartender talked with me a bit in English and served me a pint for cheap. More and more people started to flood in after 1 and a girl from San Diego started talking with me. We had a beer together and introduced me to her friends. I hung with them for a bit but was getting pretty tired by around 3. After all, I had been riding all day & my mind & body were ready for rest. I decided to call it a night after being over-charged for my last beer (another gringo tax paid).
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:42 PM   #53
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Downtown Guadalajara & a USB Cable?

I walk from the hostel to downtown Guadalajara. I stand in awe at the churches dating back to the mid-1600s. Acknowledging that these structures date back further than the US as a country, and knowing they are the oldest structures your eyes have ever seen is something remarkable. I begin to walk through the city markets, which are sidewalks in every direction lined with people. On both sides of the sidewalk are blankets laid out selling literally anything and everything. To name a few things I saw – iPod cases, bootleg DVDs, Playstation portable, Nintendo 64, A/V cables, wrenches, a motorcycle helmet, belts, socks. I saw a USB cable that looked like it might come in handy. I asked how much and he said Vente. In the moment for some reason I thought this meant 40 (it means 20) so I tried negotiating by offering treinta (30). Nice negotiating Cody. He just looked at me and then said OK. Turns out he gave me a better price anyway. So long story short, he said it was 20, I said I’d pay 30, and he charged me 15. Welcome to Guadalajara.

I couldn't help but laugh as the porno dvds laying on the blankets clearly showed women bearing all on the covers. Little kids about the age of 6 were in front of me with their parents getting an education of a lifetime as they looked around with their big brown eyes. I'm betting those kids love going to the market with their parents. I imagine you grow up fast in a city like Guadalajara.
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:58 PM   #54
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Do you like boys or girls?

Iím rejuvenated and ready to go out. Just by happenstance there were two parties that were relevant to go to in Guadalajara that night. The first was a party that an acquaintance from Atlanta was playing at. I messaged him and he said heíd get me in free. The only issueÖI canít find it on the map. The Facebook event page provides no address and no map. There is no other information online. The promoter tells me it is right near Scotia bank after turning into the plaza. Thatís all I received. I look at the map and the closest Scotia Bank to where I think the party might be near is at least 2 miles away. Ugh, everything is hard here. OK, writing that party off. The second party is relevant because the DJ is from Minnesota and Iíve seen him play at a small party in Minneapolis earlier this year. What are the odds he is here the weekend I am?? Pretty unlikely Iíd say. I have a couple beers with the guys at the hostel then hop on the bike over to the party a few miles away. I know how it works now. I donít leave the hostel for the party until just before 2 AM. I get there and security charges me to park the bike and tells me they will watch it. He speaks English so I talk with him a bit to feel him out before parking there. I decide to park there and head toward the entrance. I get a pat down by security and Iím in. That easy. No fake line, no cover charge, no BS, a relief. The party is in full swing. The DJ from MN is already playing and the place is packed. Itís dark, the sound and lighting setup is proper, the prices for beer are advertised on a chalk board and posted on the wall. Iím liking it. I grab a beer and head to get my groove on. Iím offered all sorts of drugs and I say no to all of them. Just what I needÖanother vice, right. Iím good with my beer I tell them. I start dancing a bit and out of nowhere I see this woman has started looking at me. She whispers something to a guy and the guy comes over and asks me something in Spanish that I donít understand. Hablo Ingles. He speaks English as well. Here is what he says ďthat girl over there wants to know if you like boys or girlsĒ. GirlsÖthat was easy. He relays the message and the girl makes her way over to me. She is at least 10 years my senior and isnít very good looking. But hey, she is willing to put in the effort and I could use the companyÖwhat the hell. She speaks very little English and quickly realizes I speak even less Spanish. We have a couple beers together and she introduces me to her friends who also are not very good looking. We struggle with conversation for quite awhile and jam a bit to the music at the bar. She is pretty drunk and Iím sort of being used as a pillar to support her at this point. She uses the bathroom, I have to help her navigate there, she needs a drink, I have to help get it done. This is getting annoying. She all of a sudden wants to exchange information and I tell her I want to stay in the place rather than leave. She looks at me funny and then drops the bombshell. Trabajo aqui (I work here). Jeez and I though she liked me for my stunning good looks and gringo charm. I tell her encantado and good night then run like a scolded dog back to blend into the dance floor crowd. The next several hours was all about connecting with the music. I had a little space toward the back of the dance floor and the crowd was really into it. It was a fun vibe and the time went quickly. The lights came on and the music came to a stop. I donít wear a watch and my cell is useless here, so I donít have any idea what time it is. I go up to the DJ and tell him Iím from MN. He enthusiastically gives me a hug and wants to chat but the crowd is chanting ďuno mas uno mas uno mas!!Ē. He is back on the decks and it isnít uno mass. He goes right into another set. Drinks are still being served, the crowd has as much energy as the start of the night, and the DJ shows no signs of slowing. By this time, Iím getting tired. I want to chat with the DJ a bit after but Iím really ready for bed. I turn on my phone to see what time it is. 7:40 AM. Shit, I need to get out of here. I leaveÖthe sun is up and everyone has started the day. It is a relief to get back to my bike. Security is still there and I tell them good night. They laugh and say itís morning buddy! What a night.

The following day I end up hanging with one of the guys at the hostel. His name is Dan and he is from Perth, Australia. We head to the international book fair together and get lost on the way. After asking 3 times for directions, we finally find it and make it our goal in life to find the English section. We find a small space set for the US and the UK with books in English. After walking around a bit, we start making our way back to the hostel only to stop by a Tacqueria for a huge plate of greasy tacos de pastor. I shouldnít have ate all of it but I did. Loosening our belt buckles for the walk back to the hostel, we walked right by it. I think we are both too full, too tired, and exhausted from late nights in Guadalajara. I hit the hay early and plan for Mexico City in the morning.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:05 PM   #55
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Distrito Federal, Mexico City

The ride to Mexico City was uneventful and expensive. I paid close to $30 USD to travel 330 miles. There is a couple in Mexico City that are friends of a friend. They were kind enough to let me stay with them for a few days in Polanco. Polanco is the nicest part of Mexico City. I see Ferraris parked on the street. There are Porsche and BMW dealerships just down the road and are situated just a few blocks from Louis Vuitton. I need an oil change so I locate the closest shop in Polanco and see it is a Honda dealer. I head over in the morning. After unsuccessfully trying to communicate that I want to buy oil and change it myself, the guy gets sick of me and grabs an employee in service that speaks a little English. After 5 minutes, we have it all sorted and he helps me out. His name is Peter and he is a great guy. He hands me a pan, a rag, shows me where I can change it, and tells me to get him when Iím done. Oil & filter done in less than 30 minutes. I really need to learn Spanish. After Mexico, Iím thinking at this point of just skipping Belize and heading straight for Guatemala where I can focus on Spanish immersion for cheap. I need to focus on it and with all the English speaking folks around I find that itís difficult to find the desire to learn it. I think I need to be in a place where Iím forced or it wonít happen.

Iíve been hanging out with the couple Iím staying with each night. Their names are Jacquie (Jacks) & John. Jacks is a good cook and it is nice to have a home-cooked meal. Weíve gone out for beers a couple nights at some of their local favorites around Polanco and itís been fun hanging out.

I went to the Modern Museum of Art as well as the Anthropology Museum. The Anthropology museum is huge. I spent more than 6 hours there and after awhile it becomes an information overload. It was well worth the paltry 57 pesos to get in.

The plan is to stay with Jacks & John until Saturday where Iíll move on to a hostel for at least another 5 days. Javey (mentioned earlier in this report) put me in touch with one of his friends, Jenny, who Iím planning to meet up with next week. Things to do include Frida Kahlo museum, Reforma, Zocalo, Teotihuacan, Chapultapec Castle, just to name a few. Lots to see, do, and experience here. Weíll see how the next week goes!
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:15 PM   #56
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Hey Cody,
Glad to hear you getting on well... I was starting to wonder if you had ran into some jeopardy . Great writing and very descriptive. glad you didn't run off with that woman. I still think you will find her in Columbia be careful and have fun. Moment by moment .
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:56 PM   #57
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:33 PM   #58
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Keep it up homie!
where will you be spending the holidays?

so I finally got settled here in Charlotte, picked up my R1 today. gonna start riding again soon here. been 1.5 years man. cant wait. Next is a DS bike.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:43 PM   #59
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Cool2

MN representin' Yo!

Just getting out of a cold spell up here too.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:55 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazn View Post
Keep it up homie!
where will you be spending the holidays?

so I finally got settled here in Charlotte, picked up my R1 today. gonna start riding again soon here. been 1.5 years man. cant wait. Next is a DS bike.
Nice. I miss my Gixxer terribly badly. Thinking once I'm back in the states, a full-fledged sport bike only ride is in order...at least a 4 day trip through the Smokies. I have no idea where I'll be or what I'll be doing for the holidays. Probably just trying to make sure I have wifi to call home.
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