Prairies To Penguins Alberta to Argentina

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DRRambler, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. scooter_kenny

    scooter_kenny Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    Calgary, AB CANADA
    Hay, hello from Calgary. I just found your report last night. All the best.
  2. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,463
    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    Great start to a ride report. I'll be following along.
    Ride Safe!
  3. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Good to have you along!

    I was born in Calgary so I won't hold that against you :evil

    It's been fantastic so far. Loving Mexico.:clap
  4. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Day 18 September 10th Tequila Jalisco to Queretaro 450km 6 hours

    We got a late start today and had a nice breakfast at the same cafe we at the evening before. It’s a little cafe in the main plaza of Tequila. There is a 400 year old church watching over the square as we ate Huevos Rancheros and drank wonderful coffee.

    [​IMG]

    We then walked around the central area for an hour or so. This place is named Tequila for a reason.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We retrieved the motos from the distant parking area. After loading them and donning gear still wet from the downpour yesterday we hit the road at about 1pm. Actually my gear was fairly dry but my left boot had filled with water for some reason. The weather was perfect for riding and it looked like we may stay dry at least for awhile.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The plan was to get to historical Queretaro today 450km away. In our path was Mexico’'s second largest city Guadalajara and we wanted to go around it if we could. GPS was only moderately helpful so paper map consults were frequent throughout the day.

    Starting off on the free roads we made slow progress behind trucks and buses. Eventually it was apparent that if we were to make it to Queretaro it would be dark when we arrived. Finding a toll road helped us make time but did spend about 30 minutes on the dark freeway.
    By this time food was the most important item on our minds. The tacos we found were the best yet in Mexico.

    [​IMG]

    We rode up and down awesome stone streets looking for a hotel eventually finding St. Martin’s Hostal in the historic district. The location and bike security was perfect so the decision was made to stay for two nights.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Tomorrow we’ll see Queretaro in daylight.
  5. sraff

    sraff Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    132
    After all that I must admit some thoughts of “what the hell am I doing” came to me. Maybe that is a normal thought process, after all I have never done anything like this before.

    I hope it's normal, I went thru the same thing at the border. Just found your RR and am caught up. Have fun and remember... on a DS, topes are your friends :rofl
  6. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    I'm totally out of that worry now and totally in the groove. I'm picking up more Spanish and everything is great.
    Topes can surprise you but on the DR they are cake!
  7. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    September 11 Day 19 Getting caught up in Queretaro

    Today I rose early, showered and had an omelette and coffee at the hostal for 40pesos ($3.25). Next I hand washed all my clothes and hung them up to dry. Next up was getting the blog up to date and uploading photos.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Martin and Troy wandered around town while I was getting caught up on things. They both joined Martin’s friend for the afternoon while I went for a long walk looking for photo ops.

    [​IMG]

    I think I walked about 6km today looking for a Scotiabank because my bank card is not being accepted in the Mexican bank machines. It was a great afternoon looking around the historic district. There are plazas everywhere with internet at all of them. There are outdoor cafes everywhere and hundreds of shops along the narrow streets. A number of very old churches are dotted throughout the area too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to get one of these for my next trip!

    [​IMG]

    While trying to find the hostel, I spotted a little bakery and had 2 churros. They are basically a sugary oily snack kind of like mini doughnuts but better.


    Tomorrow Puebla
  8. Lano

    Lano I was so much older then

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Panhandle of Texas
    Enjoying your ride report. Just wondering, how much was the 5L jug of Tequila? No wonder you guys left after 1PM.
  9. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,905
    Slow it down a notch Dave:D
    I was away from the site a few days since you were
    in southern Baja and now all of a sudden I find you in
    Queretaro already . You said you had 3 weeks to reach Chetumal
    but at this rate you might be there this weekend !
    I also echo Cal's suggestion to avoid the toll roads.
    You are missing all the good stuff if you do toll roads.
    For example Guadelajara could have been easily crossed
    without using the freeway type ring road.
    And you might have wandered around more in the Bajio,
    for instance down to Patzcuaro and Morelia , some great mountain roads
    missed , old scenic towns. (Sorry I didn't offer detailed route suggestions when you asked earlier)
    Sure , it would be slower going but that was the point of a trip like this , no ?
    I think you are still having trouble discarding the destination centered mindset
    of riding in Canada and the US , judging by your determination to get that
    450km from Tequila to Queretaro done in one day.
    What is the rush? Slow down , wander , enjoy! So what if you only cover 250 km in
    a day, you will get to Chetumal. Pace yourself .
    Part of the problem might be that you hooked up riding with
    several others and now you are all unwittingly riding faster,longer each day
    than is really needed and avoiding cities and small towns for fear of
    getting separated or annoying the others for slowing them down.
    It would probably make travel easier and more relaxed if you were to set
    out on your own , riding solo , stopping and going freely without worries of
    annoying the others . Each should ride his own trip.
    Just my take on this
  10. jab1026

    jab1026 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    94
    I'm enjoying your ride report.. thanks for sharing!
  11. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,905
    ....but I too am enjoying reading your ride report. Good stuff.:deal
  12. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Thanks for the advice Sjoerd. You are correct on all accounts but I made a decision that I will be returning to Mexico after this big trip and I'll spend more time in the North. I'm aware of the compromise I have made by traveling with these guys but it has helped save money despite the tolls. From here I want to spend extra time in each place. I have 16 days for a distance I originally planned on 8, so I can spend more time in each of the next stops I make.
    I really appreciate your help and I hope you don't think I'm discounting it. You and the ADV community has been great for me. I just made an audible en route. i am having a fantastic time and I'll be back!

    Thanks for your support and interest!

    Dave
  13. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Day 20 September 12. Queretaro to Puebla 350km

    The plan today was avoid toll roads for at least 50% of the route. Plans, as I have learned on this trip do not always unfold as written.

    Navigating the historic district of Queretaro, we found the main highway towards Mexico city. The maps showed a bypass around the north and east of the metropolis and this was out goal. Cruising along the toll roads is pretty easy as the pavement is generally smooth and the lanes wide. Today there were 3 lanes each direction.


    [​IMG]

    The landscape is lush and green in this area. Farms growing corn and raising hogs are abundant. Along the highway we had multiple encounters with trucks laden with hogs headed to their ultimate end. The animals are packed tightly in divided sections and have no room to move. Open sores are visible where the creatures have been rubbing against the bars of their cages.



    Half an hour later we stopped for sandwiches of...you guessed it ham!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This coming weekend is a big one in Mexico. It is the national holiday celebrating Independence. Troy displayed a flag on the bike in a show of respect.

    [​IMG]

    Nearing Mexico city my eyes were on the GPS waiting for the cutoff that would lead us to a free road. Naturally I missed it and we started heading into the behemoth. The only way to get back on track was to make a detour through the city. Trusting the GPS we darted around in heavy traffic dodging merging cars, beeping our horns and trying to stay together. It was hairy but actually kind of fun. We accessed the bypass but were too far south for the free road. In hindsight not a bad mistake to take the toll road because it was a fantastic twisty route over a mountain pass.


    [​IMG]


    The trusty GPS led us to el Hotel Marriott in Puebla where Martin had booked a free room with credit card points. My cost as a third was $17.00, not bad for a room with all the amenities and a shower with pressure.

    It was a really good day. Tomorrow we head towards Oaxaca (pronounced wa-hawk-ka).
  14. kalahari-k

    kalahari-k Kalahari-K

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    201
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Hi DDR. I'd said earlier your bike could be my twin - now find yours has done 20,000 km and is a 2009, just like mine. I also have the short side stand but have been happily oblivious of the load problems and bolt hole play you mention. Will have to check when I get home! I found the stock side stand to be a nightmare - it always seemed to be about to fall over on the tall side. Once at a gas stop as I was working the credit card with my back to the bike I heard a crash. The loaded bike had done a sort of hi side with the springs weighed down. It was in the USA, concrete floor, maybe very slightly unfavorably sloped. The Happy Trails easily absorbed it with no damage. The short side stand has never tippled the bike, or come close, and has been great peace of mind for me.

    Mine developed a gusher of a leak from the cam chain tensioner gasket last week and I'm about to replace that. It took some work to diagnose till I rode it hard and it spewed. No problems otherwise.

    Best wishes + thanks for taking us along!
  15. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    I'm hoping my cam chain tensioner won't leak

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk 2
  16. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,117
    Location:
    Blue Point, Ontario
    When mine leaked it was pretty minor for quite a while, I eventually fixed it, made a new gasket out of a sheet of gasket material and away we go, old gasket was a bitch to get off though. Some people have gotten by with just a dab of silicone to stop up the leak.

    Great ride, Im enjoying following along:thumb

    Cheers, Todd
  17. kalahari-k

    kalahari-k Kalahari-K

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    201
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Your's won't leak.....let's say mine is the bad twin! I guess very little is infallible, and you roll with the punches + deal with it as necessary. I have bought some of that silicone gasket maker which might be worth packing.
  18. Klutch

    Klutch gringo goatrider

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Punta de Mita, Nayarit
    You're already way south of me. Probably better to stay in the higher elevations this time of year anyway even though this summer has been mild so far. We haven't needed A/C out here on the coast yet in 2013.
    Your hologram sticker should be okay on the windscreen. It peels off easily but is perforated so that parts of it remain which makes it worthless if removed or stolen. We stick our permits on a piece of clear vinyl before just static sticking them inside the windshield (cars). We don't stick them on the bikes.
    Enjoy the topes. They are great places to pass but you have to be careful. I T-Boned a Tsuru cab after wheeling over a large tope at night. They rightfully assume everyone comes to a crawl over the topes. This pic was taken about 5 minutes before the incident. Luckily, I'd just dropped off my mother-in-law at her hotel and was headed back to get 2 more tipsy passengers.

    [​IMG]


    I feel much safer riding down here (even at night) than I ever did riding in the states. During summer heat, riding at night is much nicer but there's no scenery. :cry Also there's way less traffic if you're in a hurry.
  19. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Day 21 Puebla to Oaxaca

    Once again the plan was to ride free roads as much as we could. The free road out of Puebla was agonizing with traffic, potholes and topes. The average speed was so slow that we knew Oaxaca before dark was impossible this way. We diverted to the toll road after about 90 minutes of pain. The cuota was wonderful and finally we made good time.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Rain hit us sporadically until arriving in Oaxaca where it drenched us. The traffic was heavy and Troy’s KLR was overheating badly so we stopped for a break just on the outskirts of the historical district. Soaking and shivering Troy went on foot looking for a hotel. While waiting for him I found a bathroom in a Chinese food place and paid 10 pesos for using it. By the time Troy had returned Martin had procured a giant Styrofoam cup of tea that we all shared to warm up. Troy had found a few options and we settled on the Hotel Paris for 450 pesos. It was pretty basic but a place to stay. We were exhausted and after an average Chinese food dinner retired for the night.
  20. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    I have some silicone gasket maker with me, let's hope I don't need it.