Trailer Queens

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Gustavo, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Last December I rode my bike to Valle de Bravo, Mexico, to meet my MotoAventuras buddies and celebrate the New Year with them. My plan was to leave the bike in NM and fly back in March to pick it up. March was chosen because at that time, MotoAventuras would have it's second annual meeting, this time in Creel. I figured I could fly in to El Paso, pick the V-Strom up, ride to Creel, spend the weekend there and then ride back to Oregon in somewhat nicer weather than I was looking at in January.

    I had been asking Brian and Tony to join me on one of these trips to Mexico for a while, but it never worked out. But, it seemed like the stars were aligned for this trip, and they (Tony and Brian, not the stars) were making "I'm really going. No, really" sounds as the dates drew near.

    We had a "planning" meeting at my place sometime in February. Planning loosely defined as me suggesting some destinations I thought we could reasonably make in the available time and Tony saying "yeah, whatever, I'll go anywhere as long as you keep the roads and destinations interesting" If only he really was that easy to please...

    Tony was yet to pick up his new KTM 950 from San Diego, but I was hopeful that it will get here in time to do the first service and leave on the trip as planned. If everything worked out we'd leave on March 3rd.

    It didn't. The carrier that was supposed to pick up the 950 in San Diego screwed up and didn't. Tony had to fly there a week later to ride the bike up. OK, maybe we can leave a week later?

    So why trailer queens? I have never trailered my street bike when going on a trip. I always liked riding there, even if it implied riding from/to Portland in November, December or January. But, given the limited time we had, it seemed to make sense to truck the bikes, so that we could get to NM and back regardless of weather or make up for any delays by driving later at night.

    So finally, on March 10th we had the trailer queens loaded and ready to go.

    [​IMG]

    Gustavo
    #1
  2. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    This is off to a bad start, but I'm sure it will get better....:D


    Just kidding, man.
    #2
  3. Waco

    Waco Renegade Sickle Hound

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    Got a good spare tire for the trailer? It's a bitch trying to find one of those little tires 50 miles into a road trip. DAMHIK :bluduh
    #3
  4. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Actually, no I didn't have a good spare. :eek1 But, it only looks small compared to Brian's truck tires, it's a full sized wheel, so it would have been a little easier to find a replacement. No worries, tires did fine.

    Gustavo
    #4
  5. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    We left bright and early, something like 8:30 or so...

    Around lunch time we hit Yreka. Tony said he had read there was a good bakery in own, but we didn't find it. Instead we ended up at this pizza place which was OK, but not a good enough reason to visit Yreka.

    Tony thinking - Do I have to put up with these guys for another 2 days in the truck (this is after only 4 hours of driving):
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    The road through southern Oregon and Northern California is always interesting, even when you stick to the highway.

    Mt. Shasta:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We were down in the central valley when the sun went down and we still had quite a ways to go to Buttonwillow

    [​IMG]


    We stopped for dinner at an I-5 diner:
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    Buttonwillow turned out to be a less than optimal stop on weekends. There always seems to be something going on at the track, so the motels fill up early. We got the last non-smoking room available and it cost us more than I expected. The laws of supply and demand seem to be alive and well in Buttonwillow.

    Gustavo
    #5
  6. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Brian's already got the 1000-yard stare, and its only Day One. :lol3
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Sounds like it can only get better from here.. :thumb

    :lurk
    #7
  8. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

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    :clap :clap more :clap :clap
    #8
  9. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    You should have seen him after day two... :D

    Three guys, two days and 1800 miles in an extended cab truck will really test your social skills. The fact that they still talk to me is nothing short of a miracle. :lol3

    Gustavo
    #9
  10. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    After finally finding a place to sleep, we quickly called it a night, expecting (at least I was) to get an early start the next morning.

    It was no problem, I did get an early start. It's just that Brian and Tony weren't ready quite yet... This would be a recuring theme throughout the trip. Brian and Tony are not morning people. I wake up without an alarm clock at 5:30 almost regardless of when I went to bed.

    We finally got on the road (with a little help from Starbucks) around 8.

    Tony and Brian couldn't take riding in the truck any longer, they moved to riding their trailer queens:
    [​IMG]


    Driving down the highway brings some of the most unexpected experiences. I thought about showing them mine, but somehow didn't think they'd be impressed:
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    I have always liked the windmill farms near Desert Hot Springs in CA:
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    I must have seen the sign to the General Patton museum tens of times driving along I-10, but I never got off the highway to see what's there. By chance, it was time to make our pit stop, so we got a quick look at it. If you like army history, this could make an interesting stop.

    [​IMG]


    Finally, we made it to Las Cruces, NM, sometime after 11PM. Tony was doing his stretching exercises and said I shouldn't take a picture. Yeah, right, like I would miss the opportunity...

    [​IMG]

    Gustavo
    #10
  11. Remarksman

    Remarksman Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    running out of gas.
    You forgot to mention that we made it about 200 miles south on I-5 before noticing that the gas guage was reading very low. Had a little stutter on the hill before the Grant's Pass exit, so we coasted down the hill in neutral. Fortunately the gas station was just beyond the off ramp. After waiting at the stop light, we lurched across the road into the station.
    We would continue to get a wonderful 13-14 MPG while towing the trailer.
    #11
  12. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    That was back in the "it'll do over 300 miles on a tank" times. :1drink

    IIRC, we were right around the 300 mile mark when we were coasting down the hill into Grants Pass. I don't think we let it get close to 300 after that. :deal

    Gustavo
    #12
  13. Remarksman

    Remarksman Been here awhile

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    After a somewhat better night of sleep at the Las Cruces Super 8, it was time for Gustavo to wake us up early again. We unloaded the bikes at Gustavo's uncle's place and sorted the "truck stuff" from the "bike stuff".
    [​IMG]
    Finally we were on the road.
    First stop: El Paso for some gas.
    I was impressed by the fancy bridges and over-passes we drove on and under. Some serious spending of tax dollars here.
    [​IMG]
    I also felt like there were a lot of high-dollar cars driving around. I knew to expect this in California, but had not expected it in Texas.
    From the gas station, it was back to New Mexico and the Santa Teresa border station where we got our vehicle permits and tourist permits. There was no waiting in line at this station, and because Gustavo had told us exactly what we would need, it was pretty easy.
    [​IMG]

    Now we were in Mexico!
    #13
  14. Jeffro115

    Jeffro115 Redemption.

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    :lurk
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  15. Remarksman

    Remarksman Been here awhile

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    As we would find out, there is a lot of "high desert" in northern Mexico. We were on a lot of roads that have sections where you can see the road disappearing straight over the horizon 10 miles away, alternating with sections where the road has to go over a ridge or minor mountain range.

    First snack and photo stop in Mexico:
    [​IMG]

    We got the vehicle permits at the border station, but no-one there checked them. I hadn't realized it, but there is a sort of "free trade zone" along the border. The Mexican government wisely realizes that people who live right on the border will probably buy vehicles and lots of other stuff in Texas and New Mexico. Rather than try to tax and/or track all of that, they just set up a sort of secondary border beyond which you actually do have to have the permit.
    Right before this check station we stopped because Tony's KTM had hit reserve earlier than expected. This might have been due to some top speed testing that Gustavo carried out on a long straight section of road.
    In any case, Tony had a siphon, and we transferred some gas from the miserly DL650 to the gas-sucking KTM :evil
    [​IMG]

    We ate lunch in Ascension at El Dorado. Our first taste of authentic Mexican cuisine on the trip, and Tony would claim that they had the best salsa of any meal for the whole trip.
    [​IMG]

    We arrived in Nuevo Casas Grandes in mid-afternoon and checked into the Hotel Pinon.
    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Commuter Boy

    Commuter Boy Long timer

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    Isn't Tony a vegetarian? I'm hoping he got more than salsa on this trip :lol3
    #16
  17. Remarksman

    Remarksman Been here awhile

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    We still had several hours of daylight after we had unloaded the bikes, so we headed over to the small town of Juan Mata Ortiz. This otherwise unremarkable little village has become famous for its pottery. The locals emulate the designs of the indians that inhabited the area long ago, and the pottery arts have become highly refined here.
    [​IMG]
    ("DEMOSTRATION" is a big word, and difficult to spell correctly :wink:)

    Apparently, one of the local residents discovered a cave which contained several whole pots as a teenager 40 or 50 years ago. Before then, only pottery shards had been found. Inspired by his discovery, the young man began experimenting with clay and firing to try to emulate the pots he discovered. However, no-one in the village knew what the actual method of clay mixing details and firing, so it took him many years to finally make pots that held together. Eventually he discovered the formula, and he began making better and better pots. He taught his sons and some other people in the village, and eventually the village has become famous for its pots.

    After admiring the pots, Gustavo decided the old train station was a piece of art itself, and he was determined to get a picture of the bikes in front of the station. Because of the late afternoon light, we had to ride the bikes up onto the platform to get the picture.
    [​IMG]
    I think we surprised a few people by riding up there, but the train station was a cool color :deal
    #17
  18. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Unloaded, parked the truck, got all the gear sorted and repacked again...

    Here I'd like to note that much to Tony's lament, my V-Strom which had been sitting under that carport since the first week in January started as soon as I hit the starter button for the first time :thumb, unlike his trailer queen... :augie


    Ready to go:
    [​IMG]


    The adventure starts here:
    [​IMG]


    Brian and Tony enjoying NM sun:
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    This sign is pretty scary. I mean, who knows what happens once you leave the US of A and enter the Outer Darkness. Kinda makes you want to turn around and cancel the whole trip. :eek1 OK, not really. :lol3

    [​IMG]


    They don't look scared, do they? :ear
    [​IMG]

    There was nobody at the immigration line and only one unfinished ITV permit Brian had to wait for (Tony didn't even have to wait). I don't think we spent 20 minutes total there and we were in Mexico.

    Unfortunately, we were in northern Mexico. That means long stretches of straight roads that would fit right in in the Lonely Highway thread. Hwy 2 along the Mexico-US border is one fine example of a lonely road.

    Highway 2 to Janos:
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    Tony starting to get a feel for Mexican roads:
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    We stopped in Ascencion for lunch. After a couple of aborted attempts we found a place that could accommodate our vegetarian adventurer ("What do you mean he doesn't eat meat? What's wrong with him? Beans don't have meat" No, but often they are refried with lard... :deal).

    Tony said this place made the best salsa we had in the two week in Mexico (he even looks happy, and that is before the food arrived :lol3):
    [​IMG]


    The ride to Nuevo Casas Grandes was almost uneventful. Almost, because not long after we passed Janos (and it's Pemex) I realized the 950 had gone into reserve. Great. I trade bikes with Tony and I am going to run his bike dry.:doh

    Luckily, we were prepared. Just before the customs inspection we pulled over, got the siphon hoses out and transferred some gas from Brian's Wee-Strom to the 950. It didn't take much to get the reserve light/counter to stop flashing. We went through the inspection (where they actually checked the paperwork against our names and bike's VIN) and continued on our way to Nuevo Casas Grandes.

    We stayed at Hotel PiƱon in NCG:
    [​IMG]


    The idea was to make the first destination an easy ride and then use the remaining time to explore around Nuevo Casas Grandes. I had not been to Mata Ortiz where some of Mexico's finest pottery is made, so that was the destination for the afternoon. Mata Ortiz is supposed to be at the end of a dusty, bumpy dirt road.

    As Tony and Brian observed, this has to be the best dirt road they had ever ridden:
    [​IMG]


    Yup, you guessed it. I wasn't lost, it's no longer dirt. :cromag %&$#@! progress! Pretty soon you will be dodging blue hairs on what used to be adventure bike territory throughout Mexico. :bluduh

    Tony and his orange beast:
    [​IMG]


    The town of Mata Ortiz is still fairly undeveloped, the galleries have beautiful hand crafted pottery and it all looks really appealing until you realize the prices are listed in US$ not Mexican Pesos... :yikes


    [​IMG]


    Local in Mata Ortiz:
    [​IMG]


    Mata Ortiz' train station:
    [​IMG]


    OK, so the road to Mata Ortiz is no longer dirt, we needed to find some dirt. Any dirt. We headed out of Mata Ortiz to Cueva de la Olla, where the original pottery that revived the Paquime style in Mata Ortiz was found by Juan Quezada.

    Tony on the road to Cueva de la Olla:
    [​IMG]


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    The road is actually very easy on a decent (or semi-decent like the V-Strom :wink:) adventure bike. Unfortunately, we didn't make it all the way to the cave, we were running out of daylight, and it was time to turn around about 10 kms short of the cave.

    [​IMG]


    We rode back to Nuevo Casas Grandes, getting into town just as it was getting dark. Found an ATM (I have been "financing" the trip so far, since Brian and Tony didn't have a chance to get any pesos, we needed to put an end to this freeloading... :deal) and went back to the hotel. After several attempts to find dinner, we settled in at Constantino's for dinner (we should have gone there first, it's close to the hotel and looked like a simple but nice place to have dinner, but we walked a bit around town anyway)

    Constantino:
    [​IMG]

    And that was it for our first day in Mexico.

    Gustavo
    #18
  19. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    He is. It wasn't always trivial to find him food options that weren't quesadillas or chips and salsa. I think we did OK most of the time. :kbasa

    Gustavo
    #19
  20. Remarksman

    Remarksman Been here awhile

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    As Gustavo mentioned, on the way back from Mata Ortiz, we tried to go up and see the cave where the boy discovered the pots long ago. The road has a clear sign from the highway, but no indication of how far it is.
    We blasted over the flat part of the valley, then started to climb up into the hills.
    [​IMG]

    After a couple miles, we found this shrine beside the road.

    [​IMG]
    I was surprised to find a candle burning in the shrine, since we had seen no sign of traffic, and this is pretty remote.
    The road continues to climb out of the valley, and offers some great views.
    [​IMG]
    And some fun dirt road riding
    [​IMG]
    Eventually we started running out of light, and we didn't want to be riding back down this thing in the dark. A truck with some ranchers came by and told us it was still 5 miles or so to the cave, and we were already 14 miles into this road. We turned around.
    We were riding in the shade, but the sun was still up on the other side of the valley.
    [​IMG]
    We made it back to Nuevo Casas Grandes just before dark.
    #20