Las Vegas to Rio on DRZ 400s

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by tiernan, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. tiernan

    tiernan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    85
    This is a continuation from TRIP PLANNING

    The trip started as expected. We were totally unprepared. I packed all of my things (minus those which I forgot of course), about 20 minutes before leaving to Matt’s. When I got there his bike wasn’t starting and I had about 2 hours of packing video gear and mechanical tools ahead of me there. We left in the darkness (which we said we wouldn’t do the entire trip), and it took twice as long as expected to travel to LA.
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    Then there was a rained out day, followed by a late start that had us two days behind on the 4<sup>th</sup> day. Oh well, hopefully we&#8217;ll get better. We still have a couple of months to get back on track. We made our first connection at Suzuki, where the head mechanic steered us to Baja.
    Crossing into Mexico was a breeze. Matt split his first lanes to pass a half hour&#8217;s worth of traffic at the border, and then was splitting lanes throughout Tijuana as if he hadn&#8217;t told me two days earlier he refused to! That easy cross we found out screwed us when we actually wanted to cross to mainland Mexico from La Paz since we had no paperwork.
    Northern Baja blows other than Ensenada. Cesar the couchsurfer made our time interesting, and we met worlf famous ceviche street-vendor Sabina.
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    Roads were boring, the towns sucked, and things are not cheap. It was really just killing time until we passed Guerrero Negro to Southern Baja, where twisty, well-paved roads, surrounded by scenic landscape, made for a nice, enjoyable ride. Unfortunately we were in such a hurry we blew through it all in a full day, but that day marked the first great day of the trip, and really defined what the trip is and what we&#8217;re doing. We rode hundreds of miles and got sore asses, but enjoyed every minute of it.
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    I took a Mexican shower in the bathroom of a restaurant, and then while I was brushing my teeth in the street outside we were picked up by some girls who offered to give us a tour of the nightlife as well as a place to crash for the night, which turned into keys to an empty house for two days while we waited for the ferry to Mazatlan.
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    We&#8217;re doing some great riding, meeting people, playing it by ear, learning Spanish, and living without regrets.
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    I think Matt has finally stopped worrying about being kidnapped or robbed, since everyone we've met has been very helpful and cool. Other travelers have also reiterated my point, which is not to take heresay advice from people who haven't done anything like this or traveled to these places themselves.
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    #1
  2. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,571
    Location:
    427 miles ENE of Orla Texas
    Wow ... this looks REALLY interesting

    :clap
    #2
  3. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,012
    Location:
    Hotlanta
    Me thinks there are going to be some interesting adventures to be had on this one!

    Good luck fellers and keep posting from your journey!:thumb
    #3
  4. bosco

    bosco Raybanned

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,738
    Location:
    Atop the Bakken
    :ear
    #4
  5. artnet

    artnet i'm a motorcyclist

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Indonesia
    more pics please .... :evil

    and nice supermoto .....
    #5
  6. Flyingavanti

    Flyingavanti With the Redhead on Back!

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,550
    Looking forward to this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:clap :clap :clap
    #6
  7. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    13,778
    Location:
    NJ
    :lurk
    #7
  8. SteverinoB

    SteverinoB EstebanarinoB

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Oddometer:
    581
    Location:
    Orangeville Ontario Canada
    Carry on lads! Little Bikes Big Fun....Subscribed!
    #8
  9. schismatic

    schismatic Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    195
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    cool cool cool.

    i'll follow.
    #9
  10. Moraflex

    Moraflex Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,342
    Location:
    San Dimas California
    #10
  11. live2offroad

    live2offroad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    339
    Location:
    Livermore CA, gateway to the Sierra's
    This is awesome.. Two dudes livin' the dream.. Hope it all goes well, and keep on posting..
    #11
  12. r3r3r

    r3r3r Wildebeast

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, Ca
    I'll bet you were sore, I sat on a DRZ400S with a stock seat yesterday. Ouch! I didn't even have to ride it to know it wouldn't be comfortable for the long haul. Then I saw your saddle cover - good idea! :thumb
    #12
  13. tiernan

    tiernan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    85
    any suggestions? Right now we're in Pijijiapan...
    #13
  14. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,444
    Location:
    Rockford Wa
    La Mesilla is a easy crossing. The hwy 1 crossing was a pain for us, delays and rip offs.
    #14
  15. tiernan

    tiernan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    85
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    Mexico took much longer than expected. When we were planning looking at the map, we’d expected to cross through texas, which would have brought us down the East Coast, and we would have saved some time. As it was, we rode nearly three thousand miles of Mexico! (including Baja). Before going there, I had made up my mind that I just wanted to get through. I had thought of Mexico as a means to an end, and didn’t expect to find much that I liked there, and also had it in my head this would be the least American friendly place. I expected that since the country has enough money to have a taste of what we have, they’d want more, and to take it from us. I definitely expected haters… When we landed in Mazatlan, it started to fell like “real” Mexico- the city obviously wasn’t run around tourism. Right after getting off the ferry, we stop in front of a motorcycle shop and I tell the guy my chain “tiene sed.” He greases mine, then the other three adventure riders we were with from the ferry. They don’t ask for any money, but we tip them out a couple of buck each.

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    From there we got our first taste of riding in a group, and it feels pretty good. The group soon splits, and three of us take the free road while the other two rock the Couta. Then we lose our bunkmate Anthony when he doesn’t want to ride at night, and Matt and I press on to Puerta Vallarta, where we meet our couchsurfing host Rolando.

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    He speaks excellent English, and tells me my Spanish is basic. But I was so proud of my skills! I get a shave from an old man, who makes my mustache look just like his that he’s had for 40 years and also tells me my razor is ruined from letting Karem try to sharpen it with another knife when she wanted to rid the world of my ‘stache. Oh well.

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    We get a late start out and head to Manzanillo after an impulsive stop bungee jumping on the way out...

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    I had taken a screenshot of the map of the Mismo Sol Hostel, which takes us into a neighborhood where kids are playing soccer in the dirt streets with no shoes on, and nobody has heard of this hostel and can’t imagine why we don’t just want one of the roach motels down the street. We roll around looking for
    awhile, and finally hear and smell the resemblance of a Bob Marley concert.

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    We meet Buffalo Don, who lets us pull our bikes inside the gate, and we kick it with him for a bit.

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    He tells us how the medias exaggeration of Swine Flu has nearly put him out of business. This reiterates what Rolando had told us in Puerto Vallarta. Common story here: how the general public eats up stories of danger and fear. This is also why most people think this trip of ours is dangerous. It’s up to us really to figure out what’s true. What’s the credibility of the source of information? Like our Aussie friend says. “Mom says Russia is dangerous. ‘When’s the last time you were there mom?’” I only listened to people who’d done similar trips, and they all agree it’s safe and cool. But if you’re closed minded, and prone to believing fear-inducing stories, you’ll always remember someone who told you about someone they know who was robbed. If you believe everything you see on television, you’ll only turn the world into something George Orwell or Aldus Huxley might have imagined. I guess critical thinking isn’t for everyone though…

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    We didn’t make it too far from there after a late start, and tried to find a hotel at a random town, which was pretty basic. We take a wrong turn and wind up on a beach in the middle of nowhere that uses solar power only. We hit on the girls working there, whom are 22 and not allowed out at night without their family. They hand us off some beers, which we take to the beach and jump in the warm ocean water then cool off and get a beautiful timelapse of the stars and palm trees there.

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    We get to Acapulco and Matt’s headlight isn’t working, so we share a lane as best we can, which is really hard entering Acapulco from the north, where the roads are windy with heavy traffic and there’s no patience from any locals. Matt almost takes a digger after trying to pass a bus on the right in the sand! Nice save, thank P90X. We find our way to a hostel in the center of town on the beach. The bartender/laundry cougar hits on my mustache for a little while, but it’s not enough to coax me into giving her a ride home on the bike. “Lo siento, pero ya he tomado.” Acapulco is a night of dance party, where the local dudes aren’t too happy to see Matt and I getting attention from the hottest girls there. Fuck em, we checked the girls ID’s what else do they want from us? I also met some very cool guys that night too, but they weren’t form Acapulco. I find more locals in tourist towns represent this group of people that I expected more of in Mexico- haters that see what we have and think it’s not fair. The girls take us for some really dank midnight tacos.

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    We’re out of Acapulco by 11am on three hour’s sleep, and head out for about a half hour until we realize Matt’s bike isn’t running right. I noticed he wasn’t behind me, so I waited on the side of the road until he finally shows up 20 minutes later. I guess his bike is sputtering at high RPMs… Coupled with the headlight, I’m thinking this must be electrical. Anyway, the bike’s good enough to make it so we just ride it as is. We roll into Puerto Escondido, again with no headlight. At least we’re not in a big city. Again with the screenshot of the map, we’re lost in the town of people who don’t know what a hostel is. As we’re navigating the dirt streets, Steve rolls up on a moped and tells us to follow him to the Twin Bridge Hostel. He takes us out that night to meet some Americans hanging out with a Ed, who exports Mezcal from Oaxaca, and I enjoy the company of some chilled out dudes who share a passion for cold beer, warm weather, and motorcycles. Some of the guys live there, some just visiting. It’s interesting to meet the Americans who’ve decided to leave their homeland and live in Mexico- especially when they don’t speak Spanish!

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    We stay there for another day and I go “swimming with turtles”, which should go by the more accurate term, “molesting a turtle in the ocean.” I basically held on to an unhappy turtle in the water for a minute while he’s hogtied with a rope. The best part of that one was watching our man Felix bellyflop into the water trying to grab them as soon as he’d see them- fthird time’s a charm. I’m on sunset timelapse duty, but I might have boned the shot practicing my Spanish with a friendly server who makes a point to drop me her email.

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    We leave hoping to get to Salina Cruz for the night, and wind up there for lunch! Holy shit we’re actually ahead of schedule! Nice town, girls giving us the bedroom eyes from all over, and lunch only cost the two of us like $50 pesos. We make for the border, and get as far as a little town Pijijiapan, about two hours from the border.

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    Good night’s rest and we make for it. We get to the border and meet the “helpers” for the first time, who are trying to stand in front of us, but I’ve read about them on ADVrider.com so I try to run them over with confidence.

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    The aduana at the border tells us we need to go back to the bank in the city 25 minutes away, and gives clear directions. We follow them for a half hour, and finally I pull off to ask someone if they know where they Banjercito is. “Muy lejo, en la ciudad.” Okay, shit. The aduana (customs) guy seemed so good too… Oh well, we drop into an Auto Zone to buy some silicone, which we think may solves Matt’s backfiring issue since his exhaust is leaking so badly. We see a young, grizzly looking guy and approach him. “Senor, estamos buscando para-“ “Whoa there, let’s do this in English.” [paraphrased, this was Matt’s conversation.] The American is down there volunteering at a place that gives him a casita and free food in exchange for work.

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    He’s trying to learn the culture. Anyhow, he says he knows how to get to where he legalized his bike, but only from a certain place. We ride around for a half hour, and show up exactly where I had stopped to ask the women. Banjercito was right across the street. This keeps happening, I try to ask directions from an adult, and they are really ignorant of what’s around them. Which way to Antigua? I don’t know, that’s like 10 miles from here, why would I know? Malaria, what’s that? (at a pharmacy!) Anyway, there are some really ignorant people here. I guess there’s a correlation to the 13 year old boys trying to get money from me at a border at 10am on a Tuesday.

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    We get to the border, and luckily the power is back on. Apparently it was off for several days, which shut down that entry to Guatemala. It’s a zoo, and we take on a duo of helpers, which really make it easy because they know where to get photocopies, how to get in line, and the basic etiquette of how to approach the joke of a border, which makes the worst DMV you can imagine look like a German, uh, I dunno something really organized. 6 hours later it’s nightfall, lucky Matt had fixed his headlight, which was just some loose wiring. We stop in a Shell Hotel (behind the gas station) for the night. Finally, I was tired of Mexico! We have no chance of getting to Costa Rica for New Years, let’s go for Antigua.

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    Matt’s riding is really improving, and I’m loving wearing out the outsides of my tires on these great Mexican roads. We’re happy with those we’ve met along the way. No attempted robberies, only attempted sales. No threats to the bikes, only people giving us thumbs up and trying to befriend us because our bikes are so awesome. No corrupt federales, only young guys envious and wanting to see a nice wheelie. No corrupt policia, only guys who give decent directions! Both bordertowns we went to blow, but I guess that’s to be expected.

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    The bikes are doing well. I adjusted my jetting back in La Paz and mine has been good since, Matt’s has had a problem most of this leg of the trip. Hopefully his stator isn’t going bad… perhaps fixing the exhaust leak coupled with adjusting the jetting will solve the problem. The gas has been fine, we’re buying the cheap stuff everywhere. It’s odd how gasoline comes in such a variety of colors. The tires work great, though we haven’t done any offroading yet really… The DRZ’s go about as fast as we want to ride at speed, and I’m glad for all of the money I saved, and having a Supermoto for the fun roads and weaving through city traffic. Plus they’re instant street cred from locals, travelers, and riders alike.

    The video footage we have is mostly great, although it’s extremely hard to get as much as we’d like to. Being rushed all the time isn’t what we’d expected when planning the trip.

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    At the last minute we realized we were about 3 weeks shy of travel time we’d expected, and it’s really affected the journey. There’s a constant mental challenge of staying cool and enjoying myself while trying to push to Rio, and get awesome footage of everything.

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    Matt and I are close enough we’re really honest with each other, and often let each other know when we don’t like what the other is doing. Most of the time this is constructive… On a final note. I dunno. Mexico is huge. Glad to leave really, but also glad to have seen so much. This has been our first taste of Adventure Riding, so far so good.

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    that one was for Silas...

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    #15
  16. Tomos

    Tomos Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    11
    Awesome, I would love to do something like that.
    #16
  17. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    Birmingham,UK
    Great stuff, looks like a good time is being had:freaky
    #17
  18. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,444
    Location:
    Rockford Wa
    " The main thing is to avoid the Talisman Bridge crossing south of Tapachula, Mexico. There you’ll be harangued by a mass of people with fake government ID’s"


    That place is consistent if nothing else....:lol3
    #18
  19. tiernan

    tiernan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    85
    pick pocket! no other way to get cash except expensive Western Union! Think they do cash back at the grocery stores in Nicaragua? Shit!
    #19
  20. loudnlow7484

    loudnlow7484 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
    Wow that sucks...... did you hit up your card companies to make sure they lock out the cards?
    #20