Mexico by Motorcycle ... in 1981

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Falang, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    great pics, great post. thanks for sharing.
    #61
  2. Jwats

    Jwats Bike till u Die

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    Thanks for the RR
    #62
  3. prsdrat

    prsdrat Been here awhile

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    San Diego, CA
    Thanks for ride down memory lane. Regretfully, the old VW Bus no longer
    resides along Hwy 1 in Baja. It was always a great landmark on our way
    to San Francisquito and on to Tripui.

    Robert
    #63
  4. Domiken

    Domiken Been here awhile

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    Wow, thanks for sharing!
    #64
  5. Markaso del Norte

    Markaso del Norte Adventurer

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    Victoria BC Canada
    Thanks for sharing this trip and pictures, your photos have held up well.
    Most of us would never venture on a trip like that with a high mileage bike:eek1 Inspirational.
    Truly an adventure!
    #65
  6. Falang

    Falang Singapore

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    Actually, at 65,000 (106,000 km) it never occurred to me that this was a high-mileage bike; I thought it was just getting nicely broken in. I had seen BMWs with hundreds of thousands of miles.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    I rode my self-maintained airhead 100,000 miles (before it was wrecked in a deer strike) and it never once left me stranded, although it suffered a few non-critical or roadside-repairable failures.
    <o:p></o:p>
    In contrast, I rode my dealer-maintained, sixth-hand R1100R from 60,000 miles (97,000 km) to 90,000 miles (147,000 km), and during this 30,000 miles it has had to be trucked to a dealer three times, in Singapore, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai! The previous owner had to truck it at least once, in Malaysia.
    <o:p></o:p>
    The things that broke on the oilhead which were not roadside repairable:
    <o:p></o:p>
    * Hall Sensor. Does not exist on the airhead. Points don’t work as well as electronic ignition, but they are easily replaced by the side of the road with the tools in the toolkit. I replace the expensive Hall sensor every two years, just in case.
    <o:p></o:p>
    * Fuel Pump. Does not exist on the airhead. Gravity feed is enough for carburators.
    <o:p></o:p>
    * Clutch lever (behind the transmission). Exists on the airhead, but never breaks as far as I know, and if it did break it could be replaced with the tools in the toolkit in ten minutes. On the 1998 oilhead the clutch lever is behind the drive train and replacement requires a workshop with a large socket wrench, a heat gun, and a torque wrench. I carry a spare now when touring, even though it is not a roadside repair.
    <o:p></o:p>
    * Valve stem: Does not exist on the airhead. Replace the inner tube with the tools in the toolkit.
    <o:p></o:p>
    The downside of the old bikes is that the routine maintenance was higher to maintain reliability and performance. The parts wore in predictable or visible ways and was not difficult to do the work yourself to save money (which I didn’t have very much of). This was my basement in the winter of 1979, when the bike was five years old: time for bearings, oil seals, cam chain, and rear splines before heading to Alaska next summer.
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    The Canadian winters are long, in this way I could spend time with my bike when it was too cold to ride! And of course, if it did break on the road, I would know how to repair it. <o:p></o:p>
    #66
  7. NonstopBanana

    NonstopBanana Thumper Rider

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    Great photos, made me feel like I was watching one the old time travel shows on TV ;). Have never visited Mexico, so it's still a very foreign land to me, but definitely something to look forward to. You mentioned that the whole trip was 11,000 km, how much time did you spend covering it?

    I think the old Minolta totally kicks G12's butt :D My dad used to have the Kiev clone you mentioned, it was like magic to me as a kid. Developing and printing in our own bathroom, totally cool stuff, thank you for sparking that memory :)
    #67
  8. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    wow .. thanks for sharing!
    #68
  9. Padmei

    Padmei enamoured

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    Nelson New Zealand
    Thank you. I love reports like this.
    I am going riding now & pretending i'm in Mexico

    Edit - rated 5 stars from me!
    #69
  10. VHRAM

    VHRAM Been here awhile

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    awesome post !
    #70
  11. LostInmate

    LostInmate Adventurer

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    Man what an awesome trip!! Thank you for sharing, we really enjoyed the pictures. Cool bike too.
    #71
  12. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

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    What film ? Kodachrome ? ? ? And how'd you transform it to digital format ?
    Any tips ?

    Fabulous RR: thatnks for putting it together for us; Great piece of history & well documented ! ! !
    Especially like the comparo photo Google Earth - Then & Now shots.

    Quote: "The ceiling fan was so low the steel blades nearly chopped off my fingers. They were bleeding and bruised after I reached up while removing my T-shirt:"
    ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ Ho-Lee-Shyeeit ! ! ! ^ ^ :eek1:huh:eek1:huh:photog:eek1:huh

    Thanks again for sharing a little bit of history.
    #72
  13. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    First, thanks for the great nostalgia trip to Mexico. As one that went there well before 1981, I see as already said, much that's the same-sure, the cars are older, some clothing changes, rest is sameo.I bet many of those PU's are still running! That PV street is paved now. Not the main street nowdays.
    One part of me thinks back & says not so long ago (I was 38 in 1981) & my lower back-ha! says it is...:D

    In post #44 the 22% interest comment reminds me of my dilemma in November,1980. I'd just spent the better part of 2 years building the home we still live in-done in the mornings(I worked "2nd shift" most days with night students then) & on weekends, so quite a self construction project! Built a road, then this cabin on raw land , own water system,sort of hippie style, back to the land deal. When I finished the house I needed to combine the 6% farm/land loan with the construction loan and went mortgage shopping.
    It would be real interesting in todays economy of artificially low interest rates to see how many would survive the 17.5% I was offered. I went to the bank pres that held the construction loan & he said why don't you sell it. I asked if thats what HE would do after 2 yrs of sweat & got some smart ass remark & I walked off cussing the guy under my breath. I also tried several times to buy insurance on the almost completed structure & no company would sell a policy as many were burning insured new houses then to avoid going under from rates. To this day i refuse to do business with any of the companies that refused my money for insurance. I also got away from that bank once I'd paid off the loan. I ended up with a 14% straight loan from them, which I paid twice a month to kill the principal & was free & clear in 9 years!
    At that time people(like the bike dealers mentioned) were going under that had been very conservative with their money,esp. compared to todays world of over extended,multiple credit cards & living beyond their means!
    Check out the OP's friend, Phil's hand as extended in the pics of his MC trailer, sleeping bullet shaped cocoon-folks that's a working mans hands, if I ever saw one!!!
    #73
  14. Falang

    Falang Singapore

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    Sorry, I don't remember how long the trip was, but probably about three weeks because as a college graduate prole I had only three weeks holiday entitlement. That's about 325 miles / 525 km per day average, which sounds about right including the few non-riding days. I checked my passport from that time period but there are no stamps in it. I suppose the Mexicans didn't stamp Canadian or American passports in those days; I recall they issued a tourist card on arrival.

    Because of the lack of vacation time I was always in a hurry. When I rode back to Mexico and down to Guatemala and Belize three years later (the BMW had nearly 100,000 miles on it when I returned), I was so pressed for time to jam the whole trip into four weeks vacation at 350 miles / 571 km per day that I only shot one roll of film; there will be no ADV Ride Report of that fantastic trip. It exists only in my memory. Only three photos of that fantastic trip survive. This is one of them:
    [​IMG]

    At the time I thought my memory would do anyway--who looks at last year's photos?--but of course, I could not see how I might want to have them decades into the future. You don't take the photos for yourself, you take them for the old man you will become, if you are lucky. I would also have taken more photos without my companion; it's great to take keepsakes of your woman in front of the scenery, and her of you, but shoot the scenery without each other too!

    All these images were Kodak Ektachrome slides, scanned with a Canon 9950F flatbed scanner, 12 slides at once, at 4800 dpi. I touched up the exposures in Photoshop because the light metering in the camera was a bit crude.
    #74
  15. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    The "take the pics for the old man you will become" is so true. I find that in todays world there is zero interest (except RR's here!) in pics of past trips from others around me. It's just not like the old days when you took your film in or mailed it and everybody ganged around the prints excitedly. If I live to that point of rest home lethargy(as in don't die riding:D) I plan to have my MC & other trip pics at my bedside & reminisce!
    The GoPro camera fad makes me wonder who actually wants to look at the results? I'm always ready for the next trip not much into lingering on the last one to long.
    I'm ready for some tropic riding!
    #75
  16. Falang

    Falang Singapore

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    Yesterday and Today
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    I did some more work with Google Streetview, in view of the comment on Fresnillo. Here are more “whatever happened to” comparisons, pairs of photos, 1981 vs today, thanks to Google Streetview. It was a challenge to work out the geographic coordinates of eight more places I visited 32 years ago just from the visual clues, but it was an addictive puzzle once started.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Santa Rosalia Ferry
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The gravel, cactus, and pickups have been replaced by asphalt and sedans.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Guaymas<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Cine Diana movie theater at Aquiles Serdan and Calle 19 closed and was replaced by a bank. Las Mil Tortas is still in business but has moved a block down the street.
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Pantalones Norteno (“Primary And Secondary School Uniforms” and “The Finest Pants In The Region”) is still there next to the Mercado Municipal, but the Ferreteria Nueva hardware store that was next to it has been replaced by a second-hand shop.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Elota Junction<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The junction has a better sign and the highway has been upgraded.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Mazatlan<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The Mercado Pino Suarez public market seems much the same, including the juice bar on the corner, but the other shops have changed, and the Hotel Teresa in the background is gone.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Puerto Vallarta<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    At the corner of Juarez and Libertad, the planted saplings have grown into small trees. The corner still has a tourist shop and the street has been paved.
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    Guanajuato<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The area around the Mercado Hidalgo market has a different feel to it (why hide such a lovely building behind a tall hedge?) but the market hall - over 100 years old - is still the same.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Durango<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    A subdivision is visible near the Plaza de Toros Alejandra bull ring. It seems to be more remote in the old photo.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Thanks for viewing, and all the positive comments. It made the work worthwhile.
    <o:p></o:p>
    For a modern tropical ride, please see my other post: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=940988
    <o:p></o:p>
    #76
  17. Mgbgt89

    Mgbgt89 Long timer

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    [​IMG]

    Awesome pictures! Love stuff like this. This picture belongs in the cool trucks thread. Anybody know what that ford is? Granddaddy to the ford expedition.
    #77
  18. Süsser Tod

    Süsser Tod Long timer

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    Mexico City, Mexico
    Wow, Mexico was just as ugly 30 years ago as it is today. I guess being a kid I just didn't noticed how ugly it was...


    I really can't understand why some Americans want to travel here.
    #78
  19. malmon

    malmon Unknown Noobody

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    Gburg
    Hats off Falang, trip down to memory lane. I noticed you did not have much luggage (which is the way to go in my book but I still carry more than I need lol) with space in your backseat and ready for a back rider...
    Thank you for sharing history and showing how it was (curious how you made the old awesome pictures clear).
    Cheers!
    :thumb
    #79
  20. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I'll bite on the ugly idea. Yes Mexico has more than it's share of litter,straight pipes into streams & buildings that would look better were they painted, too many utility wires and so on. My wife is always bothered by the trash lying about. I see it too but it doesn't keep me from the many good aspects of Mexico & it's people.
    They are actually starting to pick up the trash down there last few years!
    Guess who picks up the trash in my KY home? One guess is all you get!
    Main diffs I see over time are roads & signs and some buildings & of course in touristy areas like Play del Carmen where the influx of money has changed things in a huge way-not all for the better IMO. Wasn't it 1974 when Mexican govmt. started the Cancun thing? Not much there before then. I can remember standing in line as recently as late 1980's to use THE! phone in Playa. Now they have big macs & traffic jams...:huh
    watch out what you wish for huh...
    #80