No bribes or bandits - My initiation to Mexico

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PhillipsMetal, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    Anyone who has ridden the I-10 or I-20 route can close their eyes and envision nearly any stretch of the highway.


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    The most notable part of the first day was the heat. Crap, it is hot. 108 degrees and its like riding through a blast furnace. I stop every 30 minutes and hose myself off and chug water but it is still taking it out of me. El Paso is giant traffic jam thanks to a couple of wrecks. I finally rode the shoulder to keep from overheating me and the bike. Thankfully it cooled down a little the last couple of days.


    Other than the intensely grooved highway through the Ft. Worth area, it was the typical 2 days of holding the straight line.


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    The most refreshing part of Mexico for me was the new found sense of freedom. Riding the back roads with Rick around Santa Clara was a flashback to our high school days of cruising the dirt roads in Ramer, Alabama. People enjoying life without the safety of big brother protecting them, food vendors operating without 5 licenses and an easy going vibe that is impossible to find, even in our government designated entertainment districts.



    I pulled up next to a lady driving through Guaymas with a baby in her lap. Thanks to years of conditioning, I was initially shocked, but after thinking about it, I started to realize that her baby was fortunate to grow up without being straight jacketed into the back seat of an SUV staring at a DVD. One of my favorite childhood memories was lying in the huge back window of my Dad’s Volvo on a long trip and gazing at the world without a care. That experience would never happen today in the US.


    Riding through Mexico was like turning back the clock 50 years on our trend towards trading freedom for safety. While there are very real consequences for embracing freedom, a ride through Mexico will also remind you of the rewards.

    __________________

    No bribes or bandits - My initiation to Mexico: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=945109
    Back Roads To Bama ride: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=842228
    __________________

    #41
  2. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    A few thoughts after the ride:

    I wanted to debadge my bike before I left and just didn’t get it done. I wish now that I had and I will before the next ride. The BMW badge is very recognizable and it too flashy for me in the states, much less in Mexico where riding the BMW gets a LOT of attention. PlznMySoul said he was sure debadging his bike saved him some hassle at the south border and I easily see that happening. I am going to get some anvil themed brushed stainless steel logos laser cut for the recessed openings on the tank.

    I enjoy photography and made the mistake of taking too much gear. I had visions of reshooting Sterling Noren’s “Beyond the Border”, but there just wasn’t that kind of time to really dedicate to setting up anything too elaborate. I set up my D300s one time with pocket wizards to get some riding shots and used it a few time to photograph Rick’s family. The rest of the trip I used my D50 in the tank bag. The problem with carrying around expensive (to me) camera equipment is the distraction of worrying about it. Along with the D300s, I had a 70-210 f 2.8 lens, pocket wizards, a couple of SB800 flashes and a few fixed length lenses. I would like to find a smaller and cheaper camera that will trigger off of the pocket wizards for the next trip or just buy a D70 or something in that price range that has the 10 pin connector for the pocket wizards. Next trip I will leave all the extras at home and have just enough to fit in the tank bag. I am adding a GoPro next trip.


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    One tip for anyone taking a bunch of photographs on a trip is the Lightroom software for editing photographs. It is easy to use and is a super quick way to wade through a bunch of photographs, select the keepers and edit them.

    Not knowing the language is not a show stopper for making the trip, but it would add to the experience. I was lucky in having a friend who could show me the culture but I would have missed a lot of that otherwise.

    I chose my BMW 1200 GSA on the advice of a friend of a friend that has a serious collection of motorcycles. It was good advice but if I could afford a bike just for Mexico, it would be a lot smaller. Probably in the 650 – 800 range, or smaller. The 1200 was really nice for getting to the border, but it was a little heavy for some of the places I wanted to wander through. The 1200 is very capable of these rides, but I get a little conservative when I am so far out of pocket.

    New visitors should be aware of the lack of personal space on the road. If you are one of those people that believes paying taxes entitles you to your whole marked lane, with nobody riding your bumper, then you will not be happy in Mexico. Driving is not as structured as it is here.

    I am going to get a cell phone for this trip, just so I don’t have to find internet to tell everyone at home hello. I am going to try to set one up before I leave.
    The SPOT is very cool, but it drives me crazy thinking about buying a one year subscription for a couple of weeks of use. ADV Rider should add a category for renting SPOTS from owners who have them sitting in the garage between rides. I will try the flea market before my next trip to see if I have anybody interested in renting one.

    That’s about it. I hope to have more in the next couple months. Thanks for tagging along.
    #42
  3. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte

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    Pocket Wizard will work with the Fuji X series.
    The X-Pro-1 and X-E2 have low light abilities equal to your D300s.
    The glass is rated very high competing with Leica.
    I own one and only use my Nikon in the studio.
    A lot of info on DP Review and other places.

    Instead of Spot check out the Delorme InReach SE They have a one year plan and after that the subscription can be monthly.
    #43
  4. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Thanks for the RR! :clap:clap:clap
    #44
  5. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in

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    nice RR!...reminded me of the time I was in Guaymas and San Carlos a decade ago for a skydive boogie. Skydive Arizona flew down a few Twin Otters and a King air to let us skydive and land on the beach at that San Carlos resort...

    BTW, the movie Catch 22 was filmed in that cove...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(film)

    an old pic :lol3
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    #45
  6. EltonAvenue

    EltonAvenue Banned

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    #46
  7. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the Fuji advice. Right now I am trying to trim some costs, so I am leaning towards an old D70, or something along that lines with some kit lenses. I will check into the Delorme Inreach also. When funds allow more cameras I will check into the Fuji. That looks like a nice system.

    Also thanks EltonAvenue.
    #47
  8. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    Many thanks Tricepilot! And I appreciate the advice you gave me before the trip. Its a big help to know what to expect.

    Also a great big thanks to dwj-Donnie. He invited me over to his home in Mississippi (former home) and spent a lot of time with me hitting the details and shwoing me the routes he had done (30,000 miles thru Mexico and Central America) and pretty much everywhere else in North America. Now I get to visit him in his new home in Mexico.

    freeflow - that looks like a blast! Sky diving is my last adventure and biggest fear. I will have to tackle it next.

    Thanks again everyone for following along.
    #48
  9. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    #49
  10. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Great report! I really enjoyed it. Too bad you didn't get down into the canyon. We go end of March--hope we get the right road!
    #50
  11. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    Thanks. I am heading back down in the next month or two and will be hitting the canyon on my way out of Mexico. There was some confusion on whether the main road would be open or closed and I didn't have an extra day or two to spare on that adventure. I will make time on this trip so if I have to wait a day or two here or there I won't be pushed. Its a wonderful place - at least from the top! If I get delayed maybe I will see you there.
    #51
  12. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    We should be in Creel 3/28 or so, headed south to Batopilas then El Fuerte and on to the ferry to La Paz.
    #52
  13. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    Sounds good. If my trip gets pushed back I will give you a heads up and maybe we can catch up. If not, have a great trip.
    #53