South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    After a short while riding down here you start getting into the rhythm of riding like a Mexican. Mexican style riding means you can pass into oncoming traffic if the truck or car you are behind moves to the right a couple feet and there is enough room to get by. Or if it's a wide bus or truck you can nose over to the left and if oncoming traffic moves over you can ride the center line around. In town its the same, threading through traffic anywhere there is room. Drivers down here in the towns are more aware of motorcyclists and will move over to let you by. Passing on the left if there is room when the cars and trucks slow down to creep over the speed bumps while you are able to stand on the pegs and take them at speed on a little dirt bike. On the narrow streets of some of the smaller towns like the one I am in now, if a bus is creeping down a narrow street with parked cars on one side and there's no room to squeeze by it is fine to hop up on the sidewalk if no pedestrians are coming and squeak around and drop back down on the road. It's easier threading through traffic on a little dirt bike than a big Beemer with bags like I used to ride.

    I am not advocating this riding style I am just reporting the facts. It is also fine to follow the slow trucks up the hill in busy oncoming traffic with all the cars stuck behind them if that is your comfort zone.

    When in towns I never split lanes around the right side of buses or taxis. Always to the left side. They are like deer or goats. Very unpredictable. You never know when they will suddenly dart over to the curb to pick up or drop off a passenger.

    You really have to watch it when you cross the border north into the U.S. after being in Latin America for a long ride. It is quite an adjustment to have to ride in a country where splitting lanes is illegal and everyone stays in the lines, and there are speed limits that are enforced more rigorously. Especially after having been in the freestyle anything goes Latin countries.

    Just some random observations while I wait for the town to wake up so I can go drink good coffee and peoplewatch at the cafe down the street.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  2. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    Good morning John. I'm enjoying this very much while sipping coffee myself. I especially like that you are doing some camping as you go. I love camping off the bike and it's interesting to see it done in CA.

    Keep it coming...
    John
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    There are more camping opportunities than I would have thought down here. It was especially encouraging to talk with Arte in Reynosa who camps down here out in the countryside.

    It seems to work fine to camp a few nights and then stop at a cheap hotel and take a shower and charge up batteries etc. You do have to stop earlier if you are camping though. But out in the countryside where there aren't hotels it is nice to have that option.

    And there's no way you can travel for under 30 bucks a day if you are staying in cheap hotels. I hope other people start reporting GPS waypoints for these gems like that canyon I was in yesterday. It will make future riders lives a lot more fun.

    Suerte,
    Juan
  4. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Buenos dias, Juanito. I'll be leaving Boca del Rio in about a half an hour or so.
    See you in Coatepec.
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Buenos dias Señor,

    The nice thing about ride reports is that people know where you've been and what is up so you don't have to go over it again and you can spend your time riding and having fun. The stars are out and it is a nice morning in Coatepec. Should be a great day for riding around. It will be interesting to see what Estado de Veracruz looks like in the daylight.

    Saludos,
    Juan
  6. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    Have a great ride guys; I am there in spirit.
  7. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    i was supposed to ride with Mike a month or so back, hopefully he takes you on some of the roads he described to me, they sound awesome...:super
  8. RayAlazzurra

    RayAlazzurra Stuck in the Eighties

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    1. Why not write for the magazine? You seem to be a natural.

    2. Do you think the long marble tunnels on the road before the canyon might have been old railroad tunnels? Perhaps they went to mines that are no longer mining? Treasure of the Sierra Madre?
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hey Jimmex,

    Today's ride had your name written all over it. MikeMike named it after the great day you two had tearing it up in backcountry Veracruz. I am uploading pics now of the Jimmex ride so stay tuned for more nostalgia to keep you going until you get back down here.

    Saludos,
    Juanito Burrito
    .
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola Paolo,

    You won't be disappointed. Maybe on the way back. You can't see it all. We are just scratching the surface and reporting back what we find.

    Keep up the good work on your ride report.

    See you down the road,
    Juanito
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I am writing for the magazine. It is called ADVrider. Best moto magazine out there. Where else can you get "you are there" real time updates and adventure travel questions answered in real time.

    It's the wave of the future and you are surfing it.
    Free for the reading. Gas donation is optional if you like what you read and care to see it continue.

    I like your treasure of the Sierra Madre theory for that wild marble tunnel, but I think it was like Real de Catorce. The mountain was in the way of the road so they blasted through.

    Best,
    John Downs
  12. Free Radical

    Free Radical High speed drifter

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    1 liter = .264 gallons, so 5.2 liters = 1.37 gallons. 99 miles for 1.37 gallons = 72 mi / gallon.

    Great report, John!
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Free Radical,

    Thanks. I will use that formula to report back how craptastic that figure is in the mountains of Guatemala. The last time I was there the gas quality was pretty low.

    Best,
    John Downs
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Had a great day riding with MikeMike in the mountains of Veracruz. Here is a pic of my latest sponsor, Chief Executive in charge of the Latin America Hospitality Division signing his contract on the Sherpa tank right next to tricepilot and Jimmex up where I better not spill any gas or my names mud:

    [​IMG]

    and the Mexican cartel guard dog making sure the MikeMike bike and Sherpa are secure while we drink coffee and watch the world go by at the central plaza:

    [​IMG]

    After breakfast it was time to hit the road. And hit it we did. MikeMike was a pleasure to follow twisting through the countryside all day. Nice to follow a smooth, safe, spirited rider who made sure to point out the potholes and interesting sights. And potholes there were as we banked through the hills of a lost section of the tropical hills that looked like time had forgotten it:

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    Up through the tropical foliage, around landslides. This is like I remember the old Mexico. Keeps you on your toes weaving around the obstacles. I liked it a lot!

    Up over the mountains we went past lakes:

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    and came around a corner and saw snow covered Pico de Orizaba off in the distance, the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America at 18,491 ft. :

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    We cranked and banked up over the pass and got ever closer:

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    Stopped for a loncha of Habañero mole over rice and chicken. MikeMike insisted on paying for food and gas for the day:

    [​IMG]


    Friendship and memories of excellent rides are the best gift there is in life in my book, and MikeMike provided both in spades. Top ADVrider ambassador from the south. Meeting fellow ADVriders like Throttlemeister and the Oklahoma Zombie crew, Schizzman and the Roll the Bones crowd, slowoldguy, tricepilot, Arte and MikeMike has made this trip so much better than it would have been if I didn't take the time to stop and say hi. I look forward to meeting other ADVriders down the road.

    Here is a shot of the Mexican hearse with custom windows next door to the restaurant. Just needs a little buffing out and you too can can get your next of kin delivered to the church in style:

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    and the house down the way that has "Love Shack" written all over it. I would have that tune blasting from heart speakers in the windows to attract an amiga if that were my house. Probably why I'm a bachelor:

    [​IMG]

    After lunch we continued on up into the altiplano along the way to the 5 haciendas. I think this is historic hacienda number 3:

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    MikeMike kept holding up fingers as we flew by. I think this is #5 I stopped at and snapped this pic:

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    He would patiently wait for me as I took photos, but a lot of the day I was having too much fun following that hotrod BMW of his. He could have smoked the Sherpa in the straights but was kind and kept it to 65 so he didn't ditch me.

    We finally got up to 9300 ft and I took this shot of Pico de Orizaba off in the distance standing twice as high as we were:

    [​IMG]

    Went by a nice historic nunnery from the 16th century with the astronomical observatory on the mountain in the background:

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    Terra cotta churches up in the altiplano look especially nice against a bright blue sky:

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    We blasted down the old cumbres road to avoid the cuota toll booth and too soon it was time for MikeMike to head back to Veracruz. He left Boca del Rio at 6 AM to meet me up in the mountains for breakfast at 8 next to the church in Coatepec this morning. So time for him to head home to his family and pop a cold one. Here he is filling his tank and mine and sending me off with a complimentary tankful to hit the mountains over to the State of Puebla where I am quickly writing this up before heading off towards Oaxaca:

    [​IMG]

    My thanks to MikeMike for a GREAT day of riding! I hope to be able to return his kind and generous hospitality someday. We parted ways with a wave and a beep as I cut off the road to head south through the mountains. I already miss the guy. Top notch ADVrider.

    He pointed me over the mountains on another great winding road. Here it is looking back from halfway up the pass:

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    If you look closely you'll see that the bus is in the left lane going up the hill. They actually have traffic cross over in the tight hairpins so they can make the corner. First time I've seen that:

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    Over the hill kids and families were flying kites and playing baseball on Sunday afternoon in the park of the small town I stopped at to look at my map:

    [​IMG]


    I have a few more hours of daylight so I'm out of here.

    More later….

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  15. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Pleasure was all mine, John. Sure beats the coast highway Mex #180, doesn't it? Rhetorical question.

    Nice to see you made it up through Puerto del Aire and Azumbilla, on the lane changing route. Oaxca is Oaxting for you, have fun, and remember..."It gets better"! LOL!:clap
  16. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola Mike,

    Glad you made it home safely. Thanks for a great day of riding!

    You da man in Veracruising!

    Adios amigo,
    Juanito
    currently at a cheap hotel in Tehuacan.
  17. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Juanito, I've got some pics for you, send me an email and I'll attach them.
  18. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    Really enjoyed the pics. What a nice area. Can't wait to get back down there. Saludos, Jim
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    So I rode until dark last night after leaving the lovely state of Veracruz and entering the state of Puebla back up in the arid altiplano. Didn't feel like riding at night so stopped in Tehuacan at the first cheap hotel with secure parking and wifi that I rode past. Nice enough place. Nothing to write home about.

    After drinking coffee and watching the world go by this morning I have decided to angle back to Veracruz and ride 175 back to Oaxaca. I have heard this road is as good as 120 through the Sierra Gorda. And that road was epic.

    The Sherpa is weeping for joy at the thought of another day of curves in backcountry Mexico:

    [​IMG]

    It could be she needs a new oil filter cover o-ring, but I like to think it is the former.

    I rode airheads for years. It's amazing what a few teaspoons of oil can do to the side of a motor. The oil level on the sight glass has barely moved since the last oil change at the border 1500 miles ago, so I'll let the Sherpa weep for joy until the next oil change in Central America.

    I spent 272 pesos or $21.76 yesterday mostly on lodging but this is skewed low since MikeMike bought gas and food for the first part of the day.

    Heading out now for blue skies and who knows what else. Will report back later what I find.

    Adios mi motocicletistas de aventura,
    Juanito
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    The Jimmex ride in upcountry Veracruz can only be hinted at in pictures. The scenery is too big for a camera and the roads are too fun to stop and take many pics. You have to ride it. It was some fine riding yesterday. Plus you get excellent stories about testicular industrial accidents from MikeMike when you stop to eat loncha.

    Suerte,
    Juanito
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