Alison’s Wanderland: the journey south : a solo adventure through the America’s

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by alison's wanderland, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. hilljak

    hilljak Hayseed

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    Lost in the mulligrubs...
    :clap

    Have a great trip bubbles...

    Be safe and report much!
    #61
  2. CORider

    CORider Adventurer

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    Northern Colorado
    Wow... you've done some traveling since then, enjoy you're newest adventure!
    Happy travels!
    Mark
    #62
  3. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

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    Somewhere in Latin America
    THIS. So much this.

    Excited to watch it unfold :lurk
    #63
  4. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    How did I end up in Panama?
    Its fun to see those I have met on the road before find this thread! There have been so many miles since then :D

    ****
    We crossed the border in Tijuana, MX without troubles and carried on south… A varied group of 5 strangers met with similar intentions: adventure.


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    The many many miles of Baja:

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    some rock climbing:


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    Great food (yes, lots of tacos)

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    And haciendas with secure parking for the bikes:

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    And lots of gas stations:

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    and so the adventure begins....
    #64
  5. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    Visalia CA
    :clap :lurk
    #65
  6. biowil

    biowil will ride for beer

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    Cabbagetown, GA
    :lurk
    #66
  7. mint julep

    mint julep Been here awhile

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    Canada
    I'm in!!!

    Good luck and happy adventures on your journey.:clap

    I'm hoping I can do this same run in the near future.
    Your shared experiences will be appreciated.

    You go girl! Ride on...thanks for taking us along for the trip.:D

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #67
  8. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Great start!! Looking forward to following along on your journey! :clap
    #68
  9. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    How did I end up in Panama?
    There seems to be a lack of information out there for what it takes to get you and a motorcycle across the Sea of Cortez. The group of 5 of us had an unspoken goal to ride through Baja Ca in a time efficient manner. Collectively we were more interested in seeing the mainland. When we crossed in Tijuana, MX we did not stop at Imagracion because we didn’t have to. We rode on. We kept seeing signs for it where we would stop for the night, but the consensus was that we could get all the appropriate stamps for the ferry crossing in La Paz. Maybe that was true if we had not arrived on a Saturday afternoon in preparation for a Sunday ferry crossing. Through Baja Ferries, passage from La Paz to Mazatlan is only Sunday, Tues, and Thurs. When we arrived at the banjacito to get the needed paperwork, we were informed that it was just the paperwork for the bike importation (this was after waiting an hour and a half for it to open.) But since we didn’t have our tarjeta de tourista (tourist card…with the stamp that show we imported ourselves) we couldn’t do anything with the bikes, nor could we buy ferry tickets. We would have to wait until Monday for the Imagracion office in La Paz to open (but still wasn’t guaranteed to give us a stamp since we should have received it in Tijuana). Other options were riding down to Cancun (about 300 mi away) or as two other travelers aboard rode back to Guerro Negro (again 300+ mi north) to get the stamp. It was the brilliant idea of one of the crew to get the stamp at the customs office at the local aeroporto (which was luckily an international airport and open on a Sunday morning). The officers there were kind enough to help us out with the tourist cards we needed. Rushing back to the office to get the paperwork for our bikes (processing 5 motorcycles takes some time) only to find out my bank decided to not allow any more use out of my debit card and no amount of phone calls would connect. After pooling for the needed funds, we weighed our motos (aout 330Kg a piece) and went to the ticket office to buy the last 4 seats (there are 5 of us and I freaked out a little being the last in line told that I wasn’t going to have a seat…not understanding I was still allowed on board – I really need to learn more spanish). Alas, we made it on the ferry for a 16 hr crossing and met up with 8 other motorcyclists on the same route.

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    Right after this shot, the KTM on the far left fell over, causing the second to tip and hit the ground then any hand close by rushed to the third, just in time to keep the rest of the bikes from the domino effect.
    #69
  10. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    260
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    How did I end up in Panama?
    Had to enjoy the sunrise over the sea of Cortez

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    After the loading off the boat, we went hit up a hotel in Mazatlan to relax for the afternoon and catch up on sleep we missed on the ferry.

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    2 more were added to the group (rounding out the number to 7) and in search for food for the evening, we hopped on a taxi truck and got the scenic tour of the resorts only to return to our hotel and walk to a taco stand just down the street.

    It said hot wheels on the windshield...how could we go wrong...

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    On the road with 7 proved to be max capacity as we made our way to Puerto Vallarta. Our fearless leader makes it official as to where we are headed next:

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    Somehow we found a hostel on the steepest street in town.

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    From Puerto Vallarta, we split the pack...two headed south along the coast, continuing in the warm and humid tropical miles, one headed off to find long term parking, and so we the remaining four went inland to the highlands with promise of cooler temps and colonial cities:


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    #70
  11. Xequence

    Xequence Adventurer

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    Alberta, Canada
    Subscribed! Following you on Facebook as well, have a great and safe trip Alison! :clap
    #71
  12. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

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    Glad to see you are finally on the road! Have fun and be safe! :ricky
    #72
  13. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico
    Glad things worked out with immigration and you had a good voyage.

    For those of you planning a similar ride into Mexico, you need a visa or tourist card if you will be in Mexico for more than 24 hours, even in the free zones of Baja, Baja Sur and western Sonora. There is a lot of good info on the ferries on ADV and lots of other good info on crossing the border here and in other places. The "Is Mexico Safe" thread has ferry info if you search. The website for our hotel has specific and up to date info for crossing at Nogales, Naco and Douglas/Agua Prieta including working through the visa and TVIP process. Check <cite>http://www.losarcossonora.com/index.php/thehotel/maps/attheborder</cite>
    #73
  14. BullShatter

    BullShatter Been here awhile

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    Scottsdale, AZ
    Thanks for the Hot Tip on the Ferry Schedule...I am headed that direction in January from Phoenix on a 3 month walk-about!
    #74
  15. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    How did I end up in Panama?
    iding in Puerto Vallarta with a group of 7 proved to be max capacity when traveling along 2 lane mexican highways. Some gestures to pass slow semis took upwards of 10 min for the entire group to re-gather. So the group dispersed: 2 headed south along the tropical coast, 1 stayed, and 4 of us rode into the highlands for cooler temperatures and more colonial cities.

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    the town of Tequila came later in the day than expected, so we ended up paying more than we wanted to for the evening since the only place we could find in a lively town with secure parking was one of the nicer establishments in town.

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    The next morning the group split again, 2 of us taking off early, me in hopes of being able to stop and take more pictures (like the girl that i am), and a leisurely walk through a town market. Besides, knowing the other 2's speedy capabilities, we agreed to meet in Patzcuaro for Dia de los Muertos festivities. They made it, but we never did. We stopped just short of it in Zacapu as night settled over us and enjoyed a festivities on a small town celebration.

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    We liked it so much, we stayed another night at Hotel Plaza Zacapu (I highly recommend) and caught up on things like laundry. Plus we couldn't beat the secure parking next door at the conveniently closed doctors office:

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    #75
  16. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    How did I end up in Panama?
    Over the next 4 days we rode through Toluca, Cuernovaca, Izucar de Matamoros, then finally arriving in Oaxaca for some down time to explore the city. The other towns were nothing exciting in accommodations or eateries, it was just a path of 600+ slow moving miles taking the small roads in order to avoid the hefty toll ways.



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    The road to Cuernovaca was beautifully paved, gaining elevation and twisting through alpine like foliage. It was so lovely I stopped to take a picture, but when I went to restart my machine, there was nothing...not even the click of a starter trying to engage. I ran through a quick checklist of what it could be, but trying to figure it out on a goat path next to twisty roads in which cars believe its a good idea to pass even though you can't see around the corner, I decided to not take too long. We tried to push it to bump start it and again nothing. Gaining the help of local policia, We finally pushed it far enough over the crest to gain downhill speed, let the clutch out and vrooomm...back to life he roars. It was an easy downhill coast most of the way to the city, but finding a hotel for the night with parking and wifi proved to be hard. I left the bike running knowing it wouldn't start again, but all the running around and then becoming stuck in tight traffic, my bike overheated and died. I pushed my KLR onto the sidewalk and began tearing it apart, looking under the seat in hopes it would have been as easy as a fuse. Nope. The other rider in scouting out hotels, noticed another hill (luckily these towns were full of them because this became common this night) I could bump start it. Finally finding a hotel that met our needs, the staff was kind enough to laugh at me for being a woman mecanica as I dug into the bike yet again. With the help of Randy and diagrams, we chased it to the ignition only to find the connection had come apart. Less than a minute to fix and the bike fires up again. I was glad I didn't have to spend any more time there than was needed.

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    Heading south along Route 190 thankfully turned into big sweeping curves, a needed relief from the previous days slow miles of towns and topes.

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    I was excited to finally make it to Oaxaca, be able to wander around town and try some delicious mole! We found a hostel right near centro with decent parking for the bikes. Even ran into another rider who was packed high taking a passenger and his gear to a beach south of there....

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    Next up... crossing the border into Guatemala ...
    #76
  17. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Location:
    How did I end up in Panama?
    We tried to find a halfway point between Oaxaca and Tapachula, where we planned to cross the border. When we stopped in Juchitan for the night (I believe the joke was, “it must be you they are staring at, because I am starting to blend in.” I have never felt so much on display, as if we were beings from Mars, riding into town on massive, loaded bikes, wearing astronaut suits. I have also never been so grossed out with the only accommodations we could find with decent parking. Seeing as how night was creeping in, we conceded to not having internet for the night, since the hotel did not offer any. After unloading the bikes, I proceeded to get into an argument with the owner about where our motos were parked, which was currently taking up one space right in view of our window. He wanted us to move into the corner for to make space for all the cars that were supposed to show up late at night, which not a one did. Agreeing we were going to make this stay as short as possible, Randy and I barely unpacked in preparation for an early departure in the morning. I didn't even bother to change out of my clothes and slept on top of my motorcycle gear. I considered sleeping in my boots, but decided to try for a little comfortability while I slept, but mostly I wanted to be ready to go first thing and get out of that room and out of that town.

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    After a taxing morning ride through a wind farm on Hwy200, we settled for the night at Hotel Los Portales ($450 pesos or $34.62/night), which was so much more tolerable with a/c, hot water and comfortable beds. It also helped that the hotel had lovely dark wood and wrought iron décor, painted sinks, as well as internet and parking, worthy of mention, a guy to point exactly where to park, right in front, who watches the vehicles all night. Little did we know that arriving in Tapachula at 3pm on a Friday afternoon was when the Banjercito (where we get our $300 USD motorcycle deposit back) closes for the weekend. We didn't realize until Saturday when we showed up at 8am, and was greeted by closed doors, our hopes of making it to Guatemala that day sunk.

    We decided to ride to the closest border crossing to see if they would direct us to a Banjercito that was open. We talked with immagracion, who was no help, and whose only interest was to charge us $294 pesos for an exit stamp. I found this funny since a fellow motorcyclist who crossed the border before us was charged $294 pesos because he had no receipt for his tourist card. I kept saying I am not going to exit Mexico without going to the Banjercito first, so you might as well tell me where to get that done. Finally understanding he was not going to get any pesos out of me then, he shoed me away and pointed me to another office. It was there a woman in uniform was kind enough to tell us where to go. Relieved to find out there was one back a ways out of town, we headed off in that direction. At the office, with parking for motos right in view of the window, we efficiently made the transaction and returned once again to the Tuxtla border. This time I walked up to a different window, and a different officer took my passport, stamped it, gave it back, and I was on my way without having to pay anything additional. Randy walked up to the window next to mine, with the officer from that morning’s interaction sitting behind the glass partition, noticing the quickness of my transaction, stamped his passport and sent him on his way too. Easy, now it’s off to the Guatemalan offices.

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    Just around the corner with a dozen helpers chasing after us, we had our bikes sprayed for pesticides, but it didn’t seem to extinguish the amount of flies buzzing around us. One of these flies, Victor, was very persistent and Randy decided to let him help us. He pointed to the immagracion office, which was aptly marked, so one minute and $10Q ($1.30 USD) later, we were moving again. Importing us was done, now to import the bikes. At another office, also easily marked, Victor was very good at translating Spanish between the administrative woman and us, which also could have been solved with basic finger gesturing of the needed papers, and had I not known what she was asking for already. It was all a racket. I had to make 4 trips to the copiers office across the way before they would fully process our papers. When we walked up to pay the $160Q fee ($20.50 US) for importing our motorcycles, we had arrived just in time for the woman to be at lunch for the next hour. Not to worry, the guard for the back (he could not have been more than 5 feet tall and a shotgun to match) was watching out for us. Enamored with the motorcycles, as soon as the window to the bank opened, he motioned for us to stand at the front of the line, which had accumulated a dozen plus people over the course of her lunch. Within 5 minutes, our fees were paid and we were suiting up to ride beyond the white and red striped barrier that had kept us for 2 hours and into Guatemala.

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    #77
  18. athensugadawg

    athensugadawg Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
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    13
    Hi Alison, I would like to recommend the following place to stay in Quetzaltenango (also known as Xela):





    Location​
    Casa San Bartolomé is located in 2a Avenida 7-17, zona 1, Barrio San Bartolomé, very close to Quetzaltenango's Central Park. It can be accessed easily from Barrio de la Transfiguración, el Barrio La Ciénaga, el Barrio Cenizal or directly from the Central Park, near Parque Simón Bolívar. (See Map) ​
    If you wish to get in touch with us, you can call us at the following numbers:
    (502) 7761-9511, (502) 7763-0649, (502) 5574-9049, (502) 5859-3985 y (502) 5859-3985 or write to us at casasanbartolome@yahoo.com - http://www.casasanbartolome.com


    Ask for Anabella, she has lived in the U.S. for quite a while, and speaks English. She can guide you to where Casa San Bartolome is located, which is bike friendly and very walkable to downtown Xela. Keep posting, great read!!!
    #78
  19. gallinastrips

    gallinastrips Been here awhile

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Taos NM
    Awesome trip:super
    #79
  20. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    Aug 28, 2009
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    Visalia CA
    Still loving this RR. :lurk :ear
    #80