Leaving Tacos. Entering Burgers. Riding Mexico & Northwestern USA

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by jocejas, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Hello ADVRiders!
    I am originally from Guanajuato, Mexico. I'm 28 years old, and this year has had plenty of riding!
    I moved to Mexico City 5 years ago, right when I finished College and worked there for the same amount of time, first at the Commercial Service, part of the Department of Commerce at the U.S Embassy in Mexico City, and then switched fields to do Pharmaceutical Sales at Eli Lilly and Co.
    Awesome experiences, I met a ton of new people, and I made my way in one of the largest cities in the world. But you know, not everything was 'perfect'...my VStrom was parked back in Guanajuato, about 420km away from me, and my mind was constantly thinking about it. So I set my mind and body to work for up to 3 years, save money, plan a mayor trip.
    I've been a rider since the age of 5, but it was until I turned 20 when I started riding across Mexico on my 1999 Honda CBR600F3.
    So I saved my money, and March 2011 was the right month to 'quit' my job.
    It is November 10th and I will start writing about my story:
    I just finished a dream ride on my 2007 Suzuki VStrom 650 across Mexico, the U.S, and back.
    A total of 80 days and 13,500 miles.
    Previous to this trip I rode across Southern Mexico, for about 4 weeks.
    Please read along!

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    After quitting my job, getting my bike all tunned up, checking up maps, and brushing my teeth I was all ready to go!
    This is me that Tuesday morning when I left, on August 9th.
    I had been planning this trip for months, but for some reason or another I had been delaying it.
    The night before I thought to myself "the day is here, and that day is tomorrow". I barely packed. I've always ridden my motorcycle very light, strictly the necessary things travel with me. My dad rode with me that morning, he wanted to have lunch with me and wish me luck on my adventure. Dano, a good friend of mine rode with us as well. The three of us had great food, a cold Sprite and no dessert. We took care of the bill, and then I was ready to go....all by myself. A bit scary, but plenty full of excitement. First scale : Torreón, Coahuila.

    Attached Files:

    #2
  3. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Riding through the state of Chihuaha was a little fast since my goal was getting to the border with Texas as fast as possible.
    I couldn't stop thinking about making a detour to the Copper Canyon as soon as I saw the exit on the road..Not this time. I had to concentrate in riding North to Ciudad Juárez, up to a thousand miles away from my hometown. I was happy to stop in Torreon, Coah. to see Eugenio, one of my best friends from high school and recently married to Analya, both are Chefs so you can imagine how well I ate, they even fixed me a lunch to carry on the road!
    Chihuaha is huge! but I finally made it to the border. I had all my documentation, but the officer "needed" some extra paperwork, so I had to ask Ber, my girlfriend, to scan a few things and email them to me. I spent the night at El Paso, TX because I thought it'd be safer than Juárez. Following morning I had to enter Mexico again, and wait hours and hours to do all the paper work again. Horrible. I was anxious to ride in the U.S already. This is something I don't understand:
    My country, Mexico, gives me a Passport. The United States gives me a Visa. Legally I can leave my country and enter the U.S, right? Well, for Customs Officers it doesn't work this way. They always need something else, they always need THAT document you DON'T have with you. It's just frustrating.

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    I don't like border towns. Entering Texas through Ciudad Juárez.
    [​IMG]
    I don't want to think about the border again, not until I have to go back to Mexico. I left Texas behind! I was entering New Mexico, and nostalgia flooded my mind, since family trips always took place in Ruidoso, NM, and it is a must-stop on this trip, too.
    [​IMG]
    Riding through Mescalero and getting to Ruidoso under a very light and refreshing rain was a blessing after hundreds of miles of desert and dry heat. First thing to do? Buy some food including oatmeal, fruit, pasta, granola bars.
    [​IMG]
    I was getting ready for my first night of camping in the U.S. and I had no clue where that was going to be or anything until I asked a guy who was parking his car. He kindly explained where a free campground was, not too far away from the town, so I followed his directions and made it. Time to set up my tent, to have some food, and to relax. It got dark very quickly and I realized it was cold; I got concerned because my camping gear is not designed for cold temperatures.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I heard some hikers coming down the trail, I got out of my tent and we talked for about 40 minutes. They had cigarrettes and beer, so I thought it was a good sign, a good sign for my trip across the United States.

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Does anyone know how to add more pics at a time? I want to write and add 3, 4,5 pics but it only allows one upload at a time...Help!
    #5
  6. mark883

    mark883 and the mysterians

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,612
    Location:
    Buckeyeland
    joacejas-

    Great to see someone from Mexico doing a trip of the US- its usually the other way around on advrider!

    You can only attach one pic per post here. So you could have a message with just the pic and a caption. However, writers are encouraged to use an outside image hosting service (smugmug.com or something else) and use the image link button to include images. I think you can learn how in the 'Ask Baldy..' forum under 'fluff'

    Hope you enjoyed your trip, I've enjoyed mine to Mexico. I'd like to hit GTO someday, I loved SMA.
    #6
  7. brittrunyon

    brittrunyon R 100 GS F 650 GS

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    562
    Location:
    The High Desert of New Mexico
    I'm in :lurk

    What document did they need........that you didn't have?
    #7
  8. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Jorunny, at the border I was required to show proof that I live in Mexico City, so I had to have scanned my utilities (electricity, water, telephone) bills to my email. They were a little skeptic also because they noticed I am currently unemployed. But I managed to get around and eventually I was given a 6 months permit to travel across the U.S. I was a little impressed since I travel 2-3 times a year to the U.S by plane.
    Mark883 I know most of the times it is Americans riding to Mexico. I thought of riding to South America in the first place, but that is one trip I want to take with a friend, different bikes, not too shiny, not too recent. Lower profile is required down there, specially these days. At least in my experience.
    So! Camping in Ruidoso was a little colder than what I expected! At first I thought "well, it's summer up in the States, right?" I 'forgot' to consider the altitude. Sierra Blanca has a summit of 11,877 feet, so it gets cold.
    [​IMG]
    Santa Fe and Taos were not very detailed stops, since I'd been there times before with my family. I was more excited to keep riding North and start discovering new scenarios. A thunderstorm was just behind my rear wheel for almost 3 hours, but I didn't get a drop of rain at all.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I met a biker on a Honda RC51, I heard him from a far away when I stopped to have a cigarrete. I was impressed with the views on highway 64 from Taos to Pagosa Springs, Co.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    At this point I've seen a lot of riders, and I really like the feeling of riding in the U.S, everyone waves, everyone is willing to help, give you advise, recommend highways, have a cup of coffee, etc. My first impressions are great.
    "Welcome to Colorful Colorado". What an afternoon! What a ride, spectacular views, trees, rivers, twisted roads, very low traffic. After riding up to 2000 miles of desert and dust, this is HEAVEN!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I found a small motel, where two riders were staying so I thought to myself, "we might as well chat about motorcycles for a while"..and we did, for hours! We had dinner together, had a couple of beers..we got along just perfect, age is not a factor when true friends are found on the road. We were talking about airplanes, trains, motorcycles. We just had a wonderful evening. Jim and Ron, from Phoenix, AZ.
    I told them I was heading to Aspen, Co to meet Brian, a high school friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in 11 years! They told me one thing : "Make sure to ride across Independence Pass". They showed it to me in the map. They told me it'd be cold up there since it's the highest paved road in North America. I was again a little skeptical!
    [​IMG]

    So I kept my riding across Gunnison National Forest and followed Jim and Ron's directions to the Independence Pass.
    Rain came along, it got cold all of a sudden, I had to stop to get a layer and my rain jacket since my Joe Rocket "waterproof" jacket leaks some water on the arm pits and after a while it just gets a little bad. Colder and colder, higher and higher!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I pulled over at the summit, asked a guy to make a picture of me,
    [​IMG]
    and he accidentally dropped my cell phone to the ground! You gotta understand that at this point my cell phone is my camera, my email gadget, my "traveling computer"! I just gritted my teeth and hoped it didn't break. It didn't. He took a nice shot at least. New task: get a cell phone protection. Soon!
    I made it to Aspen, found my buddy's place
    [​IMG]

    . He had white wine in the fridge, two cups, a case of beer and we just sat, talked about life, motorcyles, high school, and fun memories. I spent a week with him. We rode all over, climbed Aspen Mountain on his Honda XR400 and my Vstrom 650, which behaved SUPER! It feels like a delicate Enduro bike, you gotta treat it with love, but it does the job GREAT! I gotta give some credit to my Metzeler Tourance's, and that I did Enduro for years during my youth.
    My buddy was working, so I planned a trip to Moab, Utah.
    to be continued...

    Attached Files:

    #8
  9. zadok

    zadok Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    998
    Location:
    Western Australia
    Well done, mate. Should be an exciting trip.:clap:D
    #9
  10. Wolverine1305

    Wolverine1305 The english is hard

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    174
    Location:
    Toluca, México State
    Hey man¡ Let´s ride to Copper Canyon next April 2012 I am going to there with my brother. I have a V-Strom like yours and my brother has a Yamaha V-Star so the ride will be slowly.

    :lurk
    I am keeping my eyes in your ride report

    Vamos a la Sierra Tarahumara el proximo Abril 2012, voy con mi hermano. Tengo una V-Strom como la tuya y mi hermano tiene un Yamaha V-Star asi que la rodada puede ser lenta.

    Estoy atento a tu reporte.
    #10
  11. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Wolverine1305
    It sounds like a plan. I am selling my Vstrom now. I just bought a 1997 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin imported from Italia. I am the happiest dude on Earth. I finished my trip two weeks ago, but until now I am writing about it. I will continue to post stories and photos this coming days. Hope you follow!!:freaky
    #11
  12. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Sitting at my buddy's place in Aspen was the time to relax and plan a small trip to Western Colorado-Utah.
    [​IMG]
    Brian and I went to high school together back in 2000. I was a foreign exchange student in Northern Michigan. That has been the coldest year of my life! and also the first time I got to ride a motorcycle in the middle of the winter, quite an experience!.
    So, last time I saw Brian was during the summer of 2003, when I flew up there to visit host families and friends.
    When I first made it to Aspen,I had no problem finding his place and he was waiting for me with white wine, some beers and it later turned into a bottle of Rum. Nice!.
    My week there was awesome. Time to do everything, from a short ride across town, to an incredible ride up to Aspen Mountain through dirt roads.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I was pushing the Vstrom a little bit to the edge on those steep uphills full of rocks, but lowering the air pressure and finding the right path on the dirt roads were key to make it to the top.
    [​IMG]
    The Vstrom did a great job, pretty stable, suspensions do the job, but you need to take care of it, specially since I don't have the engine protection. so the exhaust pipe is exposed.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Brian was riding his Honda XR400,
    [​IMG]
    same bike I had back in high school, so you can imagine a little nostalgia there. He obviously had no problem on the dirt roads, and said the Vstrom looked just great doing pretty much everything he did on his enduro bike. Nice compliment!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    We switched bikes, and then nostalgia turned into happiness! Riding an XR took me back in time. I loved it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Beatiful Sunset in Aspen, at Brian's.
    [​IMG]

    And then I was ready for Western Colorado and Utah!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Notice something really important here: For this trip I had a BIG picture of what I wanted to see, but anything detailed. I didn't know what road I'd be taking the following day. This was a day by day trip. Talking to local people, asking other motorcyclists on the road, discovering, hoping, and always expecting to find the best road from point A to point B. So as I exit Aspen, my goal was Moab, Utah.
    Little by little I leave the trees from Aspen and it all turned into flat and dryer terrains.
    [​IMG]
    Beautiful sunset as I'm riding West. Looooong trains by the side of the road, and this is something I really like: Trains.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In Mexico, back in 1910 the train infrastructure had an amazing growth, train was practically all across the country, thanks to President Porfirio Diaz. What's happening now? Railroads are turning into streets to host MORE cars and BIG trucks on highways. Terrible thinking, terrible performance in terms of Logistics for international and local trade. I'd rather see a 2 mile train than a thousand big trucks invading the highway.
    Anyway. Two different countries. Two different worlds.
    I got to Moab and it was already dark. The clerk at a gas station told me one thing: Camp by the Colorado River. So I headed there and found FULL campgrounds everywhere since it was Friday. It was dark, it was HOT, and I wanted to set up camp and get my shorts and sandals!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Lucky me, a free campsite. 10 minutes later I was installed and comfy, until a van arrived at "my" site; two girls from Switzerland screaming "We have a reservation for this site"..first thing that popped into my mind was undoing my tent, carrying everything to another site, redoing my tent. Double work. Crap I shout to myself!
    Both girls were really nice and told me I could spend the night there, they were doing a road trip and they had plenty of space in the van. So we had dinner together, and then another camper came out of the bushes -"Do you guys want to hang out?" Sure! we replied. We're now four. Then two other girls from Vancouver, and two dudes from Ohio-Michigan. We had a wonderful night talking about our very different trips. Talking about our lives back home, and what made us hit the road the way we all were doing it.
    This was the only night were I could camp without the rain hood of my tent, stars were BRIGHT, and the sound of the Colorado River was my company for the night.
    Waking up the following day, first time I saw:
    [​IMG]
    And then:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Vámonos!!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I stayed on highway 128 following the river, and eventually got off on some dirt roads still in Utah. Beatiful views! Good thing I had a full tank of gas, so I had no worries on going back to the pavement for a while, a long while until I hit reserve!
    [​IMG]
    Then I realized I had spent all day on dirt roads riding through amazing scenarios. Then I needed pavement, gas and food.
    #12
  13. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Riding up and down.
    Aspen Mountain,
    Always Colorful Colorado

    Attached Files:

    #13
  14. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Reading, planning, thinking, relaxing.
    I am so happy I quit my job. I could do this the rest of my life EASILY.

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Packing my stuff.
    I've always travelled very light. For this trip, which was my first major trip, I filled my top case with my hiking shoes, portable stove and propane, tools, some food I can cook with hot water such as pasta, oatmeal, coffee, tea..and I had a 30 L rafting dry bag where I kept my sleeping bag, tent, and a small bag with 2 Tshirts, 1 long sleeve, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks and a swim suit. Done.
    I have what I need for different kinds of weather.
    Only thing I regret not having : a better & warmer sleeping bag. Other than that everything was just perfect.

    Attached Files:

    #15
  16. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    The more I was riding on dirt, the more fun I was having and more very unexpected views I was getting to see.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Hitting reserve on my gas tank was NOT fun since the maps I took from Brian were not very accurate, so I literally stopped by a tree shade, sat for minutes and minutes, drank Ice-Tea, and waited for the first car to show up. I heard a small pick up truck, it was and old Toyota with two senior folks, around 75 years old, they nicely pulled over to help me out with directions. It turned out I was not very far away from the paved road, and a gas station was right there. Always lucky!.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I kept riding, and riding, and riding. Lonely dirt roads, only a Quad appeared out of the blue.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I took some time to chat with 3 guys riding their Enduro KTM's, had a little lunch and then kept going through http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncompahgre_National_Forest. The day was HOT, so I took special attention on bringing enough water and ice tea, just in case because one never knows what can happen out there, right?

    As I rode up the National Forest, big clouds formed and a thunderstorm was threatening my dryness. Now I have all the rain gear I need not to get soaked, except for my boots. Riding with cold&wet feet ISN'T fun. So I'm rushing to find a spot to camp, soon.
    After no longer than an hour there it was, an empty campground waiting for me. I rushed to set up tent and camp in general, and as soon as I jumped inside my tent rain drops started coming down. It was a matter of seconds! I laughed loud, screaming in sign of success. All my gear was in my tent while the ground was getting soaked. Notice something important: I had plastic bags with me, so I used them to protect some wood and paper to start a fire later on. Smart idea, I made an awesome fire as soon as rain went away and I just waited for the night to be part of the forest.
    It was an awesome night.
    #16
  17. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Dirt, dirt, dirt.
    I know a Honda XR650L would have been great for this. But then think of going back to the pavement and the Vstrom is just awesome.

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    This is one of my favorite roads. I was riding hoping it never ended. I even did some U-turns to re-do parts of the road. Very few possibilities to go back to this awesome spot, so I enjoyed every single yard, every single second.:clap

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Tent: ready
    Fire: ready.
    Food: almost ready.
    Willing to keep living this: ALWAYS.
    I checked maps so I didn't repeat the same route to get back to Aspen. This time I went through the other side of Gunnison National Forest, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnison_National_Forest, stopping by Montrose, then taking highway 92 and then 133 and then back to Aspen. Beautiful mountains. I've never been to the Alps in Switzerland, but if I was blind-folded and thrown away in the middle of these roads, I could swear the Alps were in front of my eyes. Sun was warm, air was fresh, stomach was full, mind was busy, heart was HAPPY.
    Getting back to Aspen with a huge smile, having met awesome people, having camped in awesome places, ridden through gorgeous roads, riding a great bike.."this is what I came for", I kept thinking to myself over and over again. Only thing I had to do was take good care of myself, take good care of the bike and ENJOY my days. Couldn't ask for anything else right now.
    Maybe one thing: Share my experience with my loved ones. Traveling by myself has been a contrast. In one hand it's great because I can take my own decisions, make my own plans, see whatever i want to see. In the other hand, I would have loved to share everything my eyes saw, my nose smelled, my stomach tasted. This is why I'm writing this. Hope you are following:norton

    Attached Files:

    #19
  20. Chip Seal

    Chip Seal Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,078
    Location:
    Western Orygun
    I know I occaisionally feel this way. Your exclamation is the best! :lol3
    #20