Harleys 2 Mexico 2009 Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Trailblazer, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    Breaking all the rules.
    The Dynamic duo rides again. Clayton and yours truly. Off on another Add-ven-TOUR.

    This is the 6th annual Mexican March Moto Madness Tour, and a massive cold front hits Austin Texas on the very day we plan on leaving. Temps in the low 40´s. Accompanied by inches of rain. So....
    In typical Harley fashion we trailer our bikes. The first 300 miles at least. Hey, its freakin´ cold and we got no heated grips, no electric vests. Jay will drive the truck and trailer back to Austin.

    The Green Hornet (my 1985 Harley Low Rider) and Clayton's 2007 Ultra Glide, off loaded and ready to roll south, midnight in McAllen, Texas. Jay & Clayton.
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    This is Jay, ready to drive 5 hours back to Austin. Thank you, Jay
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    Now, lots of people on this site give tips on how to do Mexico. I know you've heard ´em before, but allow me review. Always pack lightly. Always get plenty of rest before you plunge into Mexico. You´ll need all your wits about you. Best to do your motorcycle papers early in the morning. You´ll need your title or vehicle registration receipt. NO COPIES. Everyone got that? And yada-yada-yada. So, how well did we do?

    We leave Austin, 42 degrees and raining, at 7pm and drive to McAllen. Laredo or McAllen? We pick McAllen in mid-flight. Plenty of rest? I sleep in the truck most of the way down. Arrive McAllen (49 degrees) after midnight. Pull into the Supermarke and unload the bikes in the parking lot. Clayton´s 2007 Ultra Glide and my 1985 Low Rider. We are like Mutt and Jeff. I continue to amaze myself. I have a pile of stuff stacked on my bike. I am overloaded to the max. Clayton christens me El Vagabundo. Change money, cross bridge.
    Vagabundo - green light
    Clayton - red light. (Hold it right there, pal. Lets talk about this bike.)

    Next in Customs (Aduana) to temporarily import your vehicle. Like I said. Early in the morning. It´s like, 2am and here we go. No lines.
    Vagabundo - Green light
    Clayton - Do not pass Go.
    Hummmmmm, seems Clayton has brought photocopies of his title. And no vehicle registration for good measure. They do not like this. Much head shaking. Hummm, title or vehicle registration, one or the other and NO COPIES. Clayton! How many times have you done this? 5? Oh, heck, and what´s this? Clayton ALSO failed to cancel his previous vehicle importation!!! Now a little history is in order here. In 2007 Clayton crashed his 2003 Ultra Glide attacking a speed bump at speed. He broke his wrist in several places, flew back to the states, and 5 weeks later we returned with a truck and trailer and picked up the crippled Ultra. We hauled it back across the border, canceled the car and trailer papers and totally forgot to cancel the wrecked Harley on the trailer. The bike was sold and a new one purchased.

    Gotcha! Now this is a huge NO NO. In fact this is the worse thing that can happen to you when crossing the border. Everyone knows you cannot bring a new vehicle into Mexico if you didn't cancel the last one. There was nothing for us to do but stand our ground and look pitiful. Heck we can´t go back. It´s too cold and nasty up north. Clayton becomes an ambassador. For Obama, that is. Yes, Obama would be proud. Clayton proceeds to spread the wealth. Now let me be clear, this never would have happened in the daylight. And as it were it was a most delicate matter. And that is all I have to say about that.

    OK. I´m old school. I pride myself in navigating by dead reckoning. Without GPS. Fumbling around Reynosa at 3 am? I take TricePilot´s advice and hire a taxi. He leads us out of town. Clayton & I talk about riding on. (Never ride in Mexico at night, by the way.) Gran Hotel, 800 pesos, for us 700. Fairly dumpy for a $50 room in Mexico. Can´t sleep. Too jazzed about Mexico.

    More to come.
    #1
  2. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    :lurk

    looking forward to pics.
    #2
  3. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Bring it on Meeeeltooooone! :wings
    #3
  4. RockerC

    RockerC Fuck Piece & Quiet

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    Hey Trailblazer, looking forward to your tales and pics.

    Subscibed
    #4
  5. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    Mike! Welcome back!
    #5
  6. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    Sorry, pics are gonna have to wait a while as I´m in the middle of Mexico as I write this, and it´s all I can do to jot a few words down. Pics will come, te lo prometo. In the meantime, use your imagination.
    #6
  7. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    Friday 13th of March, 2009
    Reynosa to Ciudad Valles, 377 miles

    The Tail of 2 bikes. The Green Hornet (El Vagabundo) on the left.
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    Fairly miserable day. Cold and wet. I didn´t sleep much. Couldn´t. Too jazzed about being in Mexico. When did we finally settle in our room? 4am? Finally daylight. It looks wet outside. Not raining, just wet. Piece of cake. It´s misting rain as we leave Reynosa. Just wet enough to form a thin layer of slick mud on the streets. It´s not rain. Not enough to wash the streets. It´s mist, just enough to turn all the dust to mud. Slicker than snot. It seems as though the cold front has caught up with us as we slept.

    Hwy 97 straight south. We deal with the cold. We pretty much have on all our cold weather layers. 77 miles to El Rancho Viejo motel and accompanying restaurant where we have breakfast. At Nuevo Padillo near Ciudad Victoria we stop again. It´s a Monster stop. I am so sleepy. Fighting to stay awake. Monster energia drink. The cloud level has dropped so that we are in the clouds. Not really raining, but a heavy mist. It is very cold. I´m in no mood for the natural orange juice sold along here. Too cold.

    Turn south on Hwy 81, signed Tampico. Just past the Cd. Victoria airport I loose my right foot peg. The brake foot peg. Stop. Walk back along the hwy and find it! My Harley has forward controls and the bolt that attaches the foot peg to the brake fluid reservoir didn´t just loosen and come off. It sheared in two. (Flash back to when I dropped this bike in a low water crossing 4 years ago. We just bent the foot peg back to place.) I fetch my bag of bolts in the saddle bags and try various configurations, none of merit. Damn! I´m wasting time with the damn footpeg! Screaming inside. Decide to just push on. Resting my right foot on the crankcase. Uncomfortable. Unsafe. Damn, damn, damn.

    Wasting time with the damn footpeg again!
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    Just outside of Mante in the late afternoon we stop at a roadside mechanic shop. I´m pleasantly surprised at how quickly the mechanic evaluates the situation and fixes the foot peg just as good as new. When I ask how much is the charge, he insists nothing. (?!) We both give him 60 pesos.

    The mechanic (white shirt) who fixed the foot peg. What's that? A used shoe store behind him?
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    Counting the miles to Ciudad Valles (57 from Mante) as the day comes to a close. We are deep into Mexico now. I notice round houses with thatched roofs, an old tire at the conical point of the thatch. This brings on a certain nostalgia that´s hard to explain. This is the Mexico I remember from high school, in 1965. It´s still here. My heart is aching in a good, sad way. TricePilot calls it an addiction. I call it a curse. Reach Valles just after dark. Welcome home, I'm hearing in my head. It´s good to be back, thank you.

    Check into the Hotel Valles. A veritable oasis.
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    Great meal at the Bonanza restaurant. Red Queen on TV. Sleep like a baby that night.

    There were street taco stands at every corner in our neighborhood in Ciudad Valles
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    The Bonanza Restaurant, just good eats, open 24/7 in Ciudad Valles
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    #7
  8. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    You betcha.
    #8
  9. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Ain't that the truth! I think that summarizes the same feelings I have when I am in out anywher in Latin America away from the big cities.

    Yeppers in this case you are both right.

    Nice narration Milton, and no pictures needed to capture the vision.

    Mike
    #9
  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    It's like I can't go anywhere else. Can't enjoy any place but Latin America. I just accepted this a long time ago. The people in the countryside, the Indians. There is something bordering on devine there. Like the oneness of mankind. I don't get that in the 'States at all.

    Tough day, today. Will try to post in the morning. Ciao, you'all.
    #10
  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    Saturday, Mar 14 2009
    Ciudad Valles to Huejutla, low miles day, 120 miles

    The Hornet and the Ultra, Saturday morning, Hotel Valles
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    Up at 8:30. Shower & shave.
    Hornet repairs: the brake light housing is loose and rattling, and the bezel of the ignition switch is off, the threads boogered.
    Breakfast at the Hotel Valles.

    Hornet repairs
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    Hotel Valles recepcion
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    #11
  12. divingbiker

    divingbiker True Blue Adventurer

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    Great so far. Looking forward to the rest.

    :lurk
    #12
  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    It's 1:30 (?!!) before we get off.
    Another wet day. Mist & slippery mud in Cd. Valles. Slow going on Hwy 85 south of Valles. Saturday traffic, the hwy is full of Mexican day trippers headed for Aquismon and Xilitla. Twisty road treacherously wet with thin covering of muddy slime. It's not really raining, the moisture and mist are suspended in the air. Everything gets wet. The clouds are low, maybe 100 feet ceiling, cover the tops of the forest covered hills, giving a rainforest feel.

    Hwy 85 south of Cd. Valles. Slick with slimy mud. Old tire at point of conical thatched roof, typical of the area.
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    Another wet day. Hwy 85 at the Aquismon cut-off
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    The clouds are low, covering the tops of the forest covered hills, giving a rain forest feel
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    We were curious about Aquismon, as we had spent a couple of days here 5 years ago on our very first Mexico road trip.
    Nobody was there back then. Its only a few miles off the Hwy so we made the short trip. Seems Aquismon has been discovered. Lots of traffic, congestion, and Mexican tourists.

    Aquismon. Much more crowded than when we stayed here 5 years ago. Such is life. Stay ahead of the curve.
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    A stop in Aquismon. Clayton has been to Sturgis a few times, evidenced by his sleeve patches
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    We parked our bikes right in the middle of the "taxi only" parking, good Gringos that we are. The taxistas were extremely tolerant and polite about the fax paux.

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    Aquismon juice stand
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    Plaza scene, Aquismon
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    Tamazunchale. Another muddy place. Bumper to bumper stop-n-go traffic thru town. Very unattractive town. Beautiful setting among the hills but an ugly concrete town.

    The Hornet gets down and dirty. Tamazunchale. Here you can see the infamous foot peg.
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    That's my 'Hornet. Slight seep at the solenoid.
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    #13
  14. captodport

    captodport Adventurer

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    I've been waiting to find a RR where someone does Mexico on a HOG.

    I'm subscribed to this one, I gotsa '07 Ultra too, and I ain't skeered to get it dirty.

    Great write up, keep it comming!:clap
    #14
  15. Ensey

    Ensey KLR Combat Touring

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    Great start......thanks for posting:lurk :lurk
    #15
  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    [​IMG]

    In the back county between Tamazunchale and Huejutla, twilight fading to darkness, ladies walking along the side of the road with stuff on their heads. People stirring big pots over open fires in front of their homes. The clouds forming tendrils among the hillsides and valleys. We're in Mexico now! Cold and wet. Always cold and wet. Lots of topes (speed bumps). We motor slowly. Consider staying in Orizatlan but pass on it, press on to the next town.

    Huejutla!! (say: way-HOOT-tlah). What a pleasant surprise. We land at La Posada Huejutla with minimal hassle. A traffic cop at the corner allows us to park in a No Parking zone. Clayton continues to spread the wealth. We're elated about our lodgings, getting dry, and the whole town itself. Open air restaurant next door. I eat a huge meal of arrechera (thinly sliced marinated beef) with lots of sides.

    The Posada is a rambling place with 4-5 levels. two open court yards, small pool, large tiled porches with fine wooden rockers. Maybe one or two other Mexican families are here as guests. For the most part the place is empty. We have the place to ourselves. We congratulate ourselves on such a great find.
    A walk around the plaza in the dark and drizzle, reveals an ancient church (finished around 1540) that was built on a man-made hillock, what originally was an Indian pyramid. The church is closed up but tomorrow is Sunday. Can't wait.

    We find Internet and waste an hour. Back at the hotel we set all our wet gear out to dry. High spirits tonight.

    Our hotel, in the morning. 450 pesos/night for double (less than $35).
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    Multilevels, two courtyards
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    Large tiled porches with fine wooden rockers
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    The church, the next morning, dominating the plaza
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    Built in 1540 or so
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    #16
  17. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Thanks for the link Sr. Otto. I probably wouldnt have found it otherwise. I definately want to check out more of the eastern part of the range the next time I go. Invitation is still open to you, of course.


    :lurk
    #17
  18. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    Early morning walk to the plaza. What's different? Hummm......Something is different. Oh! It's the SKY! The sky is clearing. It's not raining. Oh, joy.

    Sunday morning in Huejutla. No rain.
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    You can actually see hills in the distance. No fog or low clouds.
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    xx
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    Early morning, before the market really got started
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    Outside the church
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    Huejutla has a market every Sunday. It's a massive market, sprawling for blocks and blocks. Large sheets of plastic are fixed from building to building, stretching across the streets for shade. The market takes place in the streets but the streets are so filled with vendors and the make-shift plastic cover is so complete, that it is easy to forget you're in a city street. Everything under the sun is being sold: jeans, running shoes, shoelaces, cook ware, blender parts, religious pictures, watch batteries, fruit, vegetables, bread, dead chickens, hair combs, underwear, cd's, baskets, prepared food, on and on and on. We learned about zacahuil (zah-cah-WHEEL) which is like a gigantic tamale some 3 feet long oven cooked for 12 hours in a bundle of banana leaves, and some dish of sweet yucca. Clayton and I wandered down about 4 blocks and back, took a couple of hours, we saw maybe 25% of the place.

    At first I was prohibitively shy about using my camera, but once I got started and no one shouted at me or threw pebbles at me and everyone seemed to take it in stride, I enjoyed shooting pics more and more.

    This gal sang the prices of her produce
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    The dead chicken guy
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    Dig it
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    Scales and cell phone
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    Everyone was removing spines from cactus, which is cooked and served as nopales
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    The little birds, when cued, pick your fortune out of the little box
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    A campesino in typical garb
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    Zacahuil, I think
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    #18
  19. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Great photos there Milton. You can tell by the chruch architecture that the Renaissance hasn't quite taken hold of all of Europe yet. The structure is still medieval. The singing of the prices - I used to hear this all the time when I was a kid. This has died down since, and I am glad to read that it is still being done in some places. That's a great picture of the lady singing.

    Mike
    #19
  20. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer no cualquier gringo

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    Thanks for the input, Mike. Medieval is the word.
    and, Huejutla market is a good one.
    #20