Filling in the gaps in Mexico, now with more insanity!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by climberevan, Dec 23, 2007.

  1. climberevan

    climberevan planning the next journey

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    i´m having a hard time finding a cafe that will let me connect my machine to their ethernet.... perhaps tomorrow will be better. it´s odd, because i´ve never recieved a reply other than ´do whatever you want´ before....

    anyway, i´ll get some new photos up asap!

    evan
    #21
  2. ST4Fun

    ST4Fun Proud to be an Infidel

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    :lurk :lurk NICE!!!
    #22
  3. ldeikis

    ldeikis Dirty daydreamer

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    Hey, I've been there!

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    Keep up the report!

    Luke
    #23
  4. Manwell

    Manwell Been here awhile

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    Great report… looking forward to more!

    I'd love to make a trip like the one your doing.
    #24
  5. judjonzz

    judjonzz Beastly

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    This is is good.
    #25
  6. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

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    Great report.

    BTW, it is good that you crossed where you did.

    There are no official crossings open between Del Rio and Presidio ... not that you cannot cross :D
    #26
  7. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    I hoped you would show up! Now I can look back through your ride report... :thumb
    #27
  8. climberevan

    climberevan planning the next journey

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    Ok, i finally found a place that isn't sketched out by me using their ethernet....

    I'm behind, so i'll try to catch up. first, by popular demand, here are a few climbing photos:

    Here is a little overview of the area. There are many, many walls and countless routes not yet done.

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    On Satori, a decent 7-pitch route visible from camp.

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    A friend on some route at the Mota wall, a popular place on cooler days. There are myriad 5.10 and .11 routes there, all somewhat padded and really well bolted.

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    Back to the motorcycling:

    The teaser photo was from Tabasco, on the coast north of Villahermosa. on some maps the road is shown as continuous, on others not. Bicimapas shows it, so i took the chance.

    First i had to get through some rather desultory places:

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    This was a really long and neat bridge along the coast. Apparently there used to be ferries, but now they have bridges that charge quite a bit in tolls.

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    It was seriously windy, and the surf on the Gulf was pretty substantial. I couldn't resist a couple of shots of the surf and the fishermen running across the road.

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    After a little while on the coast it was back to endless miles of swampy, flat lowlands. The vigour of the vegetation is pretty incredible, and some of the houses were pretty. In general, i think the Mexicans are more likely to paint their homes bright colours than we are in the US.

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    Before and after the road ended, it looked like this for long stretches. The riding was nice, and i kept it slow. Sand was everywhere, though.

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    They have great fruit and vegetable stands in many towns. In restaurants it seems impossible to get large quantities of vegetables, so i really wonder what happens to them all. Some suspect that Mexican home cooking is drastically different than restaurants, but i really think i'd have seen some vegetables by now. Who's cooking all of that beautiful chard, and what about the mountains of squash?

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    Many dwellings along the coast are really basic. They seem shitty until we think that they really don't need walls or anything--the temperature is always warm, and the only real threat is hurricanes and rain. Electricity is pretty much everywhere, and they have what they need, it seems.

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    So, i reached the section where the road was, apparently, built just a little too close to the shore. Those surveyors must be kicking themselves!

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    Ever ingenious, the Mexicans just decided to go around. Riding on coconut husks and palm leaves was interesting, but really not too hard. I took it slow, as did the other motorcyclists.

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    I finally finished riding through that section, and found a little town. I thought to myself, "hey, why not sleep on the beach and save a few bucks?". It was Christmas eve, and i didn't really anticipate a few things: mosquitoes, rain, blowing sand, and kids playing with loud fireworks until 3 am. It was a really, really shitty night, and i probably slept about 3 hours at best.

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    Early the next day i headed out and back inland. I was really happy to be back on the road, and my spirits improved greatly.

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    Back on the coast, and more beaches. There was this gigantic construction project out in the middle of nowhere--about 60k from Campeche, the nearest town. There were no beaches, and i couldn't figure it out. They had a huge sign with a drawing of what it would look like. My guess is that they just want to capitalise on the success of Cancun wherever they can.

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    On the way to Campeche the beaches became prettier:

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    What a beautiful city Campeche is! There's not much to do, but i stayed there 2 nights just to wander around and enjoy the general tranquilo attitude. It was once an important port besieged by pirates, so they built huge walls around it. Sections of them remain, and it was fascinating to walk along walls from the 17th century.

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    Well, that's it for this update. I have LOADS of photos since then, so i'll probably be updating frequently for a few days. I'll be in Merida for a little while, since i've wanted to spend some time there.
    #28
  9. cristofa

    cristofa returnee

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    The hottest chili peppers in the world are, if I remember rightly, grown in Merida - a kind of habanero. Buy a drink and you'll probably get a dish of them in lime juice, and perhaps tomatoes ... wonderful flavour but BEWARE - they are very very HOT!!!

    A great local dish is 'lime soup', with chicken, veg and chili.

    thanks for posting, BTW
    #29
  10. rides2little

    rides2little Braaaaaap

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    It wouldn't be the Surveyors, it would be the engineers that designed it there!! :wink:

    Digg'n your report and pics. Any more info on the climbing down there? Mostly sport routes? Cool looking rock.

    Hope to see more soon. Great photos.


    Snowed in in Utah.
    #30
  11. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Can anyone tell me if this route is [was] Mex 180? Where is this stretch?

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    Looks like a fun ride.:evil
    #31
  12. climberevan

    climberevan planning the next journey

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    well, on my map it's not numbered. Bicimapas doesn't know what it is, either, just calls it a 'carretera'.

    it goes between Coatzacoalcos and Frontera in Tabasco. it may have been 180 at one point, and definitely becomes 180 just before Frontera, but i think now 180 is more inland for that stretch. the really bad part is from Sanches Magallanes to Tupilco. there were probably 8 sections that did not exist and which had to be passed in the palms. it's not really hard to navigate, but sure is interesting.

    i'm thinking of riding into Belize and Guatemala on some possibly non-existent roads, now that i have real knobbies and no schedule....
    #32
  13. pistol777

    pistol777 Freedom Seeker

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    Question are your front shock different from stock they look thicker in the pictures.
    #33
  14. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Cool, Thanks for the info! I'll be interested in the Belize and Guatemala info when you get it, too!
    #34
  15. climberevan

    climberevan planning the next journey

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    #35
  16. climberevan

    climberevan planning the next journey

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    Campeche is such a beautiful city that i had to take more photos. I spent hours just wandering around enjoying the ambiance. Most of the central buildings are really pretty, but when you find a higher vantage point it becomes clear how many of them are vacant--just facades. That's actually a pretty common theme here: beside successful businesses will be empty, crumbling buildings. I haven't figured out the situation with real estate, but clearly it's not necessarily bad to have a broken-down hulk next to your nice store.

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    Campeche has a great market. The tradition of open markets is my favourite thing about Latin America. Wandering around them and talking to the vendors, asking what they have, where it's from, and what it tastes like (and most often, buying some) occupies large chunks of my time when i'm in cities. I'm on a sort of quest to discover as many crazy tropical fruits as possible, and i'll try anything. Once i bought some decorative berries in El Salvador because i didn't understand the lady's description of them. They tasted like shit.

    Get your flowers and your chicken carcasses within arm's reach!

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    Zapote, one of my new favourite fruits. It's very sweet and is abundant this time of year. It comes in two varieties, the regular and the black.

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    Kazuki and Italika seem to be the dominant brands of motorcycles down here. Most are in the 125-250cc range and are of the dual-sport-ish style. Some are designed to look somewhat like Harleys or big Japanese cruisers, but have 250cc engines. Scooters are also really popular. My 650 is a HUGE bike here, and people often comment on its size. The bags and boxes certainly add to the image.

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    Headed NE toward Cancun i passed through some pretty countryside. Military and police checkpoints are everywhere. The story seems to be that they're looking for drug smugglers or money launderers. I've been questioned a couple of times, but mostly just "where are you from/going?" types of questions followed by lots of curiosity about the bike. Not once so far have i had to produce even a driver's license, let alone my moto permit. Most of the time they just wave me through and it's a brief slowdown.

    This one had some huge combines trying to get through, but they wouldn't fit between the cones, so it was a decent delay.

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    A hint of what's to come. Mayan ruins and the beach are the two main tourist attractions on the Yucatan peninsula. This one, Kabah, is right along the road:

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    Small towns often have really impressive cathedrals. Those catholics are pretty dedicated to their edifices, and even in places where there's only one paved road, or none, they have really old, big places to worship.

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    I didn't take many photos of Cancun, since it sucks. I tried hard to like the city, and stayed away from the crazy hotel zone on the beach where everyone speaks English, but it was too hard. There's just not enough of what i like about Mexico there. The prices are high as well--M$300 was the cheapest room i could find.

    So, after i picked up my friend Katherine from the airport there we headed south as quickly as possible. Tulum was the first stop. It's a really mellow beach resort/town that exceeded our expectations. We found some bungalows just across the road from the beach for really cheap, and stayed a couple of days. The beach is really nice there--white sand, turquoise water, and not too many people.

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    The first night there i ran into Roboter, who recognised me from this report. It was pretty surreal...i haven't met any other motorcyclists and have only even seen a few. To have one on a KTM come up to me and say "i've seen your TR!" was pretty cool. Katherine and i were returning to the beach from town (about 4k) in full ATGATT regalia (shorts, sandals, etc), but Josh's camera battery was dead and i didn't have mine. We therefore don't have any good group shots, so these will have to do.

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    To come: Mayan ruins galore, and some crazy pink birds.
    #36
  17. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    :thumb


    :lurk
    #37
  18. climberevan

    climberevan planning the next journey

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    So, since we´re now 2-up and want to spend a bit more time exploring places, there´s not as much riding action this time. If you´re a fan of the Maya, though, you should be entertained.

    Cenotes are underground caverns formed when there is a roof collapse over an existing stream. They usually have openings that widen quite a bit under the surface. Many of them are commercialised and can be great places to swim, with stairs leading in and lights. it´s hard to see in this photo, but there is an opening on top and roots going down to the water about 20m below.

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    Mexican electrical codes seem to be somewhat...flexible. This is in the above cenote, a municipal place. One could reach over and touch this if desired.

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    We visited Chichen Itzá, but it was the tourist trap we´d expected. The ruins are very impressive, but i prefer the smaller sites. These photos are from Ek Balam, a smaller, less restored site north of Valladolid in Yucatán.

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    Ek Balam is famous for its big, relatively intact, carving on the largest pyramid.

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    Near the ruins is a co-operatively owned hotel with cabañas. It seems relatively unusual for the Maya to band together to accomplish anything, and we stayed there in support of that practice. It was pretty nice, and the numbers on the cabañas were in the Maya numbering scheme, a collection of lines and dots.

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    The next photos are from Cobá, another smaller site to the SE of Valladolid. It´s really spread out, but we found it to be one of the best. It was actually nice to just walk through the jungle on the maintained paths, as there are pretty much only roads everywhere else. After just a short time the jungle takes everything over, so there aren´t many trails. Some may recognise the ball court, a huge element of Maya life that seemed to play a quasi-religious role. Apparently it was as popular as futból is now.

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    Then it was north to Rio Lagartos, a nature reserve on the coast. The area is famous for its huge flocks of Flamigoes, and did not disappoint.

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    Right, back to the business at hand. We rode from Lagartos along the coast on a nice sand track for about 60k to another tiny town, and then south again.

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    I was so stoked to be on dirt again that i couldn´t resist fooling around a little.

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    On the way back to Cancún we passed this crazy trenching machine. It creeps along, creating a trench about 3 feet wide by 8-10 feet deep in solid limestone.

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    On the ferry to Isla Mujeres, just off the coast from Cancún but worlds away in terms of feel. I squeezed the bike on amid the full dumptrucks and whatnot.

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    Yes, it really is that crazy turquoise colour!

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    On the island there is a sea turtle sanctuary where they incubate the eggs and make sure they´re not poached. It was a rare opportunity to see the turtles close up.

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    After Isla Mujeres i dropped Katherine off at the airport in Cancún. With my new knobby tires, i am very motivated to find the crappiest roads around, which is just what i´ve been doing for the past couple of days. I´ll try to catch up quickly before entering Belize tomorrow or the next day.
    #38
  19. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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    :lurk
    #39
  20. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Great pictures, Evan!!! :clap
    #40