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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Ulyses, Oct 29, 2012.
IN...thanks for the RR!
It's about time!
A semi domesticated ass!? Man, I see those everyday.
Noob loving the RR.
They're quite terrifying actually. Haha!
Man, everytime I take this thing off road, or even over a bumpy road, I feel like the rack and the boxes are going to fall apart! Especially when the locks start bouncing against the boxes.....man, it's a little un-nerving.
I'm going to kind of backtrack here for a minute......
When we were leaving Puebla to go to Teotihuacan, I rode straight into an open man hole in the road. The traffic was so heavy that I didn't see it until it was too late. There it was, just an open man hole right in the middle of the road. I didn't have time to react or swerve or anything. At the last second I was able to gun the throttle a little in hopes that it would lift the front wheel......but it didn't.
Luckily, the hole was small enough that my wheel didn't get stuck and I was able to roll over it like a big pot hole. And then I had a huge adrenaline crash.
And Ed Zachtamundo was following my line and did the exact same thing! The roads can be so crazy down here, and this is just Mexico. It will be interesting to see what the rest of Central and South America are like.
Dude! Hope you and the bike are ok?
No chance of the roads getting any better / the drivers less crazy.
We're now stuck in Nicaragua after smashing into a pothole.. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=838470
Sent you a PM. Keep the ride reports coming!
Hey man! Good to hear from you. I'm doing okay. No damage. I'll be in Guatemala in two days. Maybe I'll catch up to you all in Panama!
:eek1 Holy $hit!
Wow, I'm glad to hear you both made it across the open manhole without damage to person or your bikes. After looking at Byron's wheel and rear shock it sounds like you were pretty lucky.
Keep up the good reporting and photos.
Enjoying your report!
It's making my Montana winter a little bit warmer
Rolled into Oaxaca and stopped at an Autozone on the outskirts to pick up some gear oil for the chains and a little degreaser to clean up the bikes. As I was degreasing my engine (all over the Autozone parking lot, take that hippies!) I noticed that my oil cooler was loose. An closer inspection, I realized that the lugs were cracked and loose! Snap! The red shows where the cracks are:
We made a b-line for "el centro" and after looking at several Hostels and Hotels, settled on one that gave us beautiful rooms (albeit with a common bathroom) for only 250 pesos! And it was only a block from the Cathedral. There was no secure parking, but they opened the doors wide for us and let us bring our bikes into the courtyard.
As soon as we had been installed in our rooms, I took off my oil cooler and got down to business!
Step one: clean off all of the grease and oil and dirt with gasoline, soap, and water. Step two: mix up some JB weld and apply a liberal dose all around the lugs. Step three: check the JB weld every five minutes for the next four hours to make sure it's staying where it's supposed to. What a pain in the ass.....
In any event, I finally got it all set up to dry and left it overnight.
In the morning it looked pretty good, but I figured I would give it most of the rest of the day to dry. Ed Zachtamundo still needed to find that Unicorn Blood for his bike, and we really liked the hotel we were staying in, so we decided to stay an extra day. Ed eventually found some Motor-X 20W-60 and decided that that was as close to Unicorn Blood as he was going to get.
Meanwhile, I explored downtown Oaxaca. Saw the Cathedral:
And an older building (I believe it was some sort of convent) that had been turned into a museum:
And after the JB weld had set up,I took a quick spin up to the ruins of Monte Alban, another ancient stone city only six kilometers outside of Oaxaca.
The next day, we woke up with slight hangovers and took our time getting out of town. We finally got on the road at about noon and started dropping down into the desert as we neared the ocean. It started getting hot! We were way too used to being up on the Altiplano above 6,000 feet.
Spent the night in a decent hotel for 150 pesos. There was no hot water and the fan sounded like it was going to fall apart and come crashing down on your face, but it was clean and there was internet and we were able to park the bikes in the courtyard again. It's always fun to ride your motorcycle right through a hotel office......
Today we woke up relatively early and made a big push for the border town of Tapachula. We were down at 250 feet above sea level for pretty much the entire day and I shed my riding gear for more comfortable attire: t-shirt and jeans with my big US cavalry belt buckle....which I kept hidden under my shirt. Why do Canadians get to go flashing their patriotic paraphernalia everywhere?
In any event, we saw how they mow the grass near the highway in Mexico:
We were stopped by soldiers at a checkpoint and I got asked for the third time to open my panniers.....I guess that's what I get for using 40mm grenade ammo cans for panniers....the soldiers can always spot them a mile off. I guess they think I'm smuggling about 40 pounds of high explosives around on my dirt bike.
And we saw a nice Mexican family out for a Sunday ride.
It always makes me feel better about my heavily overladen bike when I see things like this.
Final stop tonight was at the "Banjercito" where we received our $400 deposit back since we hadn't sold our bikes in Mexico. Found a cheap hotel Tapachula with aire condicionado and crashed. Tomorrow we say "Adiós Mexico!".
It's always funny seeing how many people you can fit on a bike...
I love how they are riding with the helmet hanging on the mirror and no one is wearing one!
And you've got to love the dad's riding boots! Classic.
Ed saw a motorcycle with the same basic loadout except that the mother was carrying a naked baby.....
But I have to say, I saw much crazier overladden bikes in Afghanistan and Thailand.....talk about a motorcycle culture....those kinds of countries take it to the next level.
Sweet pics and report keep em coming! Those ruins were gorgeous!
Great ride report! Enjoy Guatemala, don't miss Tikal and especially Semuc Champey!!! Make sure you do the caving while your there it's bad ass stuff. The Wikipedia article is weak sauce , better in person. "Unicorn blood and baby seal tears" lol
Just made it into Guatemala today after a six hour ordeal at the border. I'll post more later, but make damn sure that you get your passport stamped at the border in Mexico, and not when you get a 1,000 miles into the country. It will save you a huge headache. And about 150 pesos.
Just wanted to wish you a happy Veterans Day! I know, it's a day late...
Thanks man! You too!
I'm going to pull this straight from my blog as it's a long story and pretty damn funny and I don't feel like writing something new to talk about it. And be forewarned, it's mostly writing with few pictures. They tend to frown on picture taking at borders for some reason....
The night before our fateful border crossing into Guatemala, we made a pact to wake up at six and be on the road by seven. We wanted to get an early start because we had heard horror storries of the border crossings from previous travelers. However, our ambitions were a little stronger than our resolve, and we ended up sleeping a little late. When we realized that it was already past seven and we hadn't even packed up the bikes yet, we decided just to take it easy and go get a good breakfast.
<TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"></TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>The bike staged in front of our rooms.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>In my infinite wisdom, I also decided that this would be a good day to start taking Doxy. Doxycyclene (or doxy as it's commonly referred to) is an anti-malarial medication and general antibiotic. It's generally prescribed to travellers heading to the tropics or to people who have been bitten by a tick. I had a large supply on hand, so I decided I would share it with Justin as well. We both popped our little pill and headed off for breakfast. We ordered breakfast and started sipping our coffee, which they love to dose with chickory and cinnamon for some reason. Unfortunately, the cooks were on latin time and breakfast was a little slow coming. After a few minutes, I started feeling a little sick.
"Damn!", I thought to myself, "We should have ate something before we took those pills!" About that time, Justin said he needed to head to his room as he had forgotten his wallet or something. I didn't really hear him as I was a little busy turning green and wondering where the exit was. A few minutes later, the waitress brought out our food. I took about two bites, decided it wasn't going to stay down and sprinted for the door.
As I was out in the alleyway emptying my stomach on the cobblestones, I heard Justin re-enter the resteraunt and try and re-assure the waitress that I was okay. His broken spanish amounted to: "My friend.....okay....bad medicine..." Or something like that.
After I finished, I walked back in and felt immensly better. Justin and the waitress were both laughing. And then Justin fessed up that he had gone back to his room to puke as well, so I didn't feel so bad.
<TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"></TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>The lovely ride to the border, complete with distant volcanos.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>After that magnificent start to the day, we packed up and headed for the border which was about five minutes away. As we approached the acutal checkpoint, about half a dozen screaming Mexicans jumped into the street in front of us, angrily ordering us to stop. I ignored the first two or three but finally stopped when one jumped right in front of my bike.
"Where are papers?!" he shouted in broken english.
"Huh?" I said, "Who the hell are you?"
"Do you have copies?" he said.
"What are you talking about?" I said, then I realized that this was just some dude trying to make a buck. I could see the actual Mexican toll gate about 100 yards in front of me, with actual uniformed officials and guards.
"Justin, lets go!" I shouted, and we fired up and blasted for the gate with the beleguared Mexicans sprinting after us.
We arrived at the gate and were met by the actual Mexican officials who asked us for our papers and checked the VIN numbers on our motorcycles before waving us on. There was a Mexican Marine on guard ("Marina" en espanol) who I struck up a conversation with while we were waiting. We swapped storries for a minute and when I told him that I was a Marine and had just gotten back from Afghanistan he shook my hand and called me brother! It was awesome!
After the VIN check, we were directed to the Mexican Immigration office just beyond the checkpoint. As we crossed the checkpoint, we entered into what is sort of a "no-mans-land" between the Mexican and Guatemalan checkpoints, almost like a kind of gigantic duty free zone with it's own stores and hotels and population. I'm not quite sure what jurisdiction or law this place fell under. It was about 500 meters long and was replete with money changers, vendors, and shady characters. We started refering to it as "international waters" and wondered where we had to go to see a monkey knife fight or engage in high stakes betting on American College Football. So many neferious activities, so little time.
﻿ <TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"></TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>Our bikes parked just inside international waters. The guards kept telling me I couldn't take pictures, so I held the camera at my waist and snapped a few when they weren't looking.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>In any event, we went to the Mexican Immagration office and parked our bikes. I stood guard while Justin went in to get his passport stamped out of Mexico. I sat there and waited for about an hour, fending off little kids who wanted to finger my gear, and telling the money changers to get lost. After a while I got frusterated and asked one of the guards to watch my bike. I walked into Immagration and found Justin having a heated conversation with a Mexican Official. Apparently, when we had had our passports stamped in La Paz almost a month ago, the customs official had given us the wrong stamp. He had stamped our passports with an "exit" stamp instead of an "entrance" stamp, meaning that we had techically left Mexico on October 27th and then magically appeared at the Mexican-Guatemalan border on November 11.
We argued with the guy for a while, telling him it wasn't our fault, we had no idea what the stamps looked like or where even supposed to mean, and that there wasn't anything we could do. He argued back telling us that there wasn't anything he could do, as we weren't even technically in Mexico anymore because we had obviously left on the 27th and why couldn't we just go to the Guatemalan side and leave him alone?
Okay, we'll play your silly little game.
We got back on the bikes and fired up, blasting through the crowds for the Guatemalan side. We didn't even bother with helmets as it was a short distance; Justin was smoking a cigarrette angrily while I laughed at the absurdity of the situation. As we entered the center of international waters, we were swarmed once again with a large group of swarthy latinos yelling at us to stop. We ignored them this time, but the persistant bastards chased us for nearly 200 yards until we stopped at the Guatemalan Immagration office. We were immediatly inundated with about 20 yelling men and boys, directing us to go with them, offering to watch our bikes for a small fee, or telling us that we were in the wrong place. Many of them even had little homemade ID cards and looked semi official.
<TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"></TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>Note the running men on the right side of the picture and behind Justin's bike. They were literally running after us trying to help us. I was laughing so hard when I was taking these pictures over my shoulder that I almost crashed into one of them.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Fortunately, we had been warned about these little "Helpers" who try and help you navigate the murky waters of Latin American border crossings. Justin ran interference by laughing at them and handing out stickers to little kids while I went to the office with several sweaty latinos at my elbows trying to tell me where to go.
<TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"></TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>These two gentlemen stood at my elbow as I played dumb with the Guatemalan Offical and kept trying to tell me what to do. Persistant little devils they were.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>I thrust my passport into the little window and stared at the Guatemalan official dumbly, trying to put on my best "stupid gringo" face. He looked at me, then looked at my passport, then looked at the lone mexican exit stamp on the last page.
"Where is the Mexican entrance stamp?" He asked me in Spanish.
"No hablo espanol." I replied smilling.
"You're missing a stamp, you can't come through here until you get the stamp from the Mexican side." He said.
"No hablo espanol." I said again, giving him the biggest stupid grin I could manage.
"Furthermore, the date is all wrong. How did you leave Mexico on October 27th and then magically appear here a few weeks later?" he said.
I looked at him quizzically, smiled even broader until it hurt, then, with my best obnoxious american accent said: "No hablo espanol. Hablas ingles?"
I could see the frusteration building in his eyes. He looked at me, looked at my passport, then grabbed his stamp and slapped the rubber down next to the Mexican one.
"Welcome to Guatemala. That will be 10 Quetzales."
"Gracias!" I said, and tossed some rumpled Quetzales through his little peep hole.
I walked back to the bikes and Justin who was still fending off helpers. He had a huge collection of little boys around him and he was handing out stickers to them. One of the kids took the proffered sticker and promptly applied it to my luggage. I laughed and grabbed a large handlebar mustache sticker and started pressing it on one of the more obnoxious men, who also happened to be the only one without a mustache.
"Here, this will look good on your face!" I told him in broken Spanish.
At that, all of the other Helpers started laughing and I started joking with them while Justin went to try his luck at customs. One by one, as they realized that we were just ignoring them, the Helpers started drifting away, and I was left with a gaggle of little boys who kept telling me in english that they would watch my bike for 10 quetzales.
<TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"></TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>Justin flashes gang signs and hands out stickers to the ninos
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>As I was playing with the kids, I began to hear Justin's frusterated voice rising as he talked to the Guatemalan inside the office. Keeping an eye on the bikes, I walked over to see what was the matter. The Guatemalan official, who realized that he probably shouldn't have stamped my passport, was now refusing to stamp Justin's passport. When I started talking to him in my broken Spanish, he got even more fusterated, realizing that I had probably tottaly understood him earlier.
Eventually, it broke down into a shouting match between us and a short, bald, sweaty Guatemalan who decided that today he would do his job, at least with one of two Americans. We eventually gave up and walked away frusterated. He thought we were going to try and sneak past him somehow and came out of his little hole to angrily watch us and ensure that we didn't try and sneak into his country without papers.
We walked back to the bikes frusterated. I was okay, but Justin was stuck. A man without a country, he had left Mexico over three weeks ago if his passport was to be believed, and was now stuck in international waters, unable to return to Mexico and unable to continue on to Guatemala.
At this point I turned to Justin and said, "Well, have a fun time! Call me when you get through!" and took off running.
Just kidding. But now we were really up the creek without a paddle. I had managed to sneak across the border by playing stupid, but Justin was legitimatly stuck in some sort of twilight zone immagration limbo like Tom Hanks in the movie Terminal. What ever were we to do?