Canada2Argentina - Going outside to play for 6 months!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by marcoue, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    I feel the same way! I'm sure anyone who has read the thread/blog can see this. I like to plan. I'm doing it as we speak n a great restaurant in Guadalajara! But to each his own! If for some it's better not to plan too much, great! Sometimes I feel like I didn't have to but it's just me and it worked great for my last 30 years of traveling!
  2. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Just added it to my thread! We are very close! I'm in Guadalajara!

    Tesekkur ederim!
    Sparky.marky likes this.
  3. Turk34

    Turk34 Been here awhile

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    Nice town... We liked Leon, Gunajuato, San Miguel Allende and Queretaro...if you need info where to stay, I can send my list
    Sparky.marky likes this.
  4. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    That would be great! Can you send it to [email protected]? Especially San Miguel where cheap options are a bit more rare.

    Was going to skip Leon, will visit it then!

    Gracias!
  5. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Man you are flying through Mexico.
  6. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    One month for Mexico, one month for Central America!
  7. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Ya thats what I said too :imaposer

    Now however.....????
  8. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Trying to fly as low as possible but the November 14 crossing to Columbia is not a "maybe"!

    Having fun though!
  9. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    I got an extra week over ya haha
    No pressure

    He'll wait I'm sure :imaposer
  10. Radu Carta

    Radu Carta Been here awhile

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    That was my plan too, but it's looking like I'll have to fly through Central America.


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  11. Turk34

    Turk34 Been here awhile

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    Marc,I sent the email this morning. Safe ride


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  12. Turk34

    Turk34 Been here awhile

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    Instead of Leon stay at Guanajuato more


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  13. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Latest blog entry!

    ****

    2016-09-24 – Day 13 – Mazatlan (SI) to Tequila (JA) (468 km – 7:00 hrs)
    2016-09-25 – Day 14 – Tequila (JA) to Guadalajara (JA) (65 km – 1:00 hrs)
    2016-09-26 – Day 15 – Guadalajara (JA) to Leon (GT) (244 km – 3:45 hrs)

    Today (Sept. 24th) was a long day of driving that was planned for quite a bit. Despite seven hours behind the “wheel”, and close to 500 km, all went well and it was very pleasant for the simple reason that I chose the alternate road and not the highway!

    I would have possibly saved two hours, but instead of driving 130 km/h and see nothing of what surrounded me, I completely soaked in all the small villages I crossed and in the beautiful mountains that I have seen in the distance and even crossed just before getting to Tequila.

    It’s fascinating how the roads are almost deserted and in very good condition, for the majority of the time. These results on the fact that it is possible to keep a good pace. Rarely, there are slow vehicles that delay you and when there are, it is very easy to pass them.

    Of course, here, as in Canada, there are areas where passing is permitted, with a dotted line, and zones where it’s prohibited, with a or a couple of continuous lines. The only difference here is the indifference of drivers from these different zones! When it is possible to pass, people do so, without worrying too much about the type of line on the painted on the ground.

    Who am I not to adapt to the local customs!

    At no time, have I felt that I was in any danger on the road. In fact, to date, only entering medium and large sized cities are more delicate. That said, I must stay awake at all times, because it is not uncommon to be overtaken even if you are driving at 130 km/h, and large potholes are still a possibility, not to mention the “topes” to slow traffic down entering in urban areas.

    Let’s get back to today’s journey. The image that I have of the day is green, either from farmland, forests or mountainous areas, everything was very green. This was going perfectly with the blue sky and nice temperature of 27 degrees Celsius!

    I arrived earlier than expected in Tequila because Google Map planned 8 hours between the 2 cities, so I left Mazatlan early. Google is absolutely right in its predictions, because the speed limit data provided by the government is sometimes ridiculously low (and not respected by anyone anyways)! So, in some areas where the limit is set at 40 km/h, traffic flows at 100 km/h! It is not difficult, in these circumstances, to break records!

    Tequila is a very touristic town on weekends because of the “bodegas” that … You will certainly have guessed it, produce tequila! In fact, production companies are really impressive and generate incredible income, judging from buildings and land development.

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    The historic centre is friendly and nice to quietly walk around and exchange words with artists and other tourists! however the choice of restaurant is a bit limited. I recommend spending the day, but not necessarily the night.

    My hotel had a beautiful courtyard, so I took advantage of it to relax and sort my photos and answer my emails.

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    A humorous note to finish on that city. Watch these beautiful cars! Is Tequila a touristy place in your opinion?

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    One of the things that I have learned with my years of travelling is that it is sometimes desirable to arrive in large cities on Sundays, around noon. This is what happened from Guadalajara and this was an excellent coincidence! The streets were almost deserted and I could easily make me in my hotel where I quickly brought my luggage in and was quickly ou to go for a long walk.

    Let us take a small step back, however! I left Tequila late, because I knew that I was only 60 km to do, so late morning with breakfast in the indoor terrace of the hotel and a stat around 11:30.

    This day is also the celebration of my first 2 weeks on the road. I slowly begin to get accustomed to the routine. In fact, Mexico is a good transition and gets me to practice for what to expect in the next countries that I wish to visit. Travel (and driving) here is relatively easy and this translates into easy planning of days to come. I know very well that what is waiting for me in a few weeks and for the next few months will be completely different.

    For example, I rely heavily on Google Maps. This tool simply allows me to see in the future! It is easy to find a hotel, and even see if the street it’s on is quiet or if there is a spot to park in front to facilitate my arrival. I am aware that Google Street feature will probably not be available in Peru, and that the coverage of the cellular network may be much more limited than here.

    The example of today is perfect. I have done a search with hotels.com to locate a hotel with a cheap rate in the historic centre, but I then went on Google Maps and use Street views and ended up selecting a hotel that was located on a small street, with a space for me to park and get my luggage in without concern.

    I know very well that this will not be the possible in Huaraz,Peru.

    With the orientation of my arrival, Guadalajara seemed to be nice at best. It is only when I got out walking that I was left speechless!

    The town is lively, vibrant, crowded with historic buildings, which are more impressive, one after the other, and with places and pedestrian streets making more enjoyable the visit.

    Look at the first thing that I see coming out of my hotel! Bixis!!! For people who are not from the Montreal region, this is the bike-sharing program designed in Quebec and which is exported everywhere in the world, including New York, Boston and… Guadalajara!

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    Here are a few images of the city.

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    As a bonus, I discovered a neighborhood (Colonia Americana), which is a little more quiet in the evenings, with beautiful streets aligning large trees on each side and filled with small restaurants, cafes and bars which make a place clearly appreciated by the locals.

    I walked more than 25 km during the day, so it was not difficult to get to sleep!

    Verdict: Guadalajara has much to offer in terms of architecture, gastronomy and small streets in great neighborhoods to discover. A great surprise!

    Monday morning, I am heading towards Leon, a smaller city, but still a major one. The road was not very nice, with, in fact, horrible portions, and for the first time of the trip, I had to wait behind trucks a few times, because the traffic was sometimes important. Despite everything, I had fun, because it is much easier to get out of these situations driving a motorcycle.

    The historical centre that Leon offers is beautiful with its great places and old buildings, but it is not very refined. I had to walk out of this district to find an acceptable option for a restaurant (all this obviously depends on the tastes and needs of the moment!).

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    Despite everything, the town is lively, there are a lot of young students who seem to be happy (and in love!), small shops and obviously, shoes for sale! Nobody here has no excuse for walk naked foot!

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    The motorcycle now. All is well, no mechanical problem to mention. I have more and more fun driving it as if it is becoming lighter and because I’m getting accustomed to the new rules of driving in Latin America.

    I still have a minimum of 4500 km to drive in order to get to Panama City.

    After the boat crossing, I account having at least 1500 km between Cartagena to Bogota (where Medellín) to drive where I was hoping to make a tire change. I must therefore be able to make another 6000 km. If I account for the 8600 km already travelled with these tires, this would make a total of 16000 km, which is not impossible with this model, according to several blogs consulted.

    I’m still looking at options for a rear tire in Panama City or Cartagena. Daniel Calza, of motorourpanama.com is very generous with his time and found me a place where MITAS are available.

    I am a little hesitant with this brand and will have to do some research. He also mentioned that some people have, in the past, sent tires from North America to his address. I will look at this option.

    There is also Marco Arvida of Touratech Costa Rica which should come to me regarding the availability of an Hiedenau. They have the TKC in stock, but this tire has a life duration that is too short for my needs.

    The other option is that my girlfriend brings me a tire if it comes to see me in Cartagena.

    Comments? Has anyone taken the plane with a tire checked as luggage?
    roadcapDen, stromsavard and motopoet like this.
  14. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

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    :clap Looks like your trip is going well. If you are continuing heading east...make sure you check out Las Pozas!
  15. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Latest blog entry!

    *******

    016-09-27 – Day 16 – Leon, GT to Guanajuato, GT (64 km – 1:30 hrs)

    I will make a single entry for the city of Guanajuato.

    There is only a single word to describe the place: Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow!

    OK, these are 4 words but this does not count because it is the same!

    As you can understand, this place greatly impressed me and I am a fan of the place which gives a real show from arrival until the end of the day.

    I must mention something. I begin finding that visiting of all these cities is sometimes repetitive and routine.

    Leon, although a nice place, did not swipe me off my feet and I wondered if the next weeks and next cities are going to leave me with this déjà vu feeling. The Mexicans are inventive and imaginative but things are a bit alike from a place to another one and on top of that, I’ve been turning a little in a circle in the same region for some days now. I’m starting to have an impulse to go south!

    But I resist, telling me that there are nice things to be seen here.

    And Guanajuato turns up in front of me.

    Although I am unable to memorize its name, and even less to write it (I love copy & paste), this city will remain marked forever in my memory. Everything begins with the arrival or I should say, the entrance in Guanajuato. I discover that the city is literally built on mountains and that it’s packed with tunnels, some modern, but the majority of them giving sweats, but it is really impressive.

    They are barely lighted, they are sometimes several hundred metres long, but what makes them special it is that they are not under green mountains but whole overcrowded districts, and sometimes, there are intersections, and finally, there are pedestrians who cross in darkness, on the tiny sidewalks, with vehicles passing a couple of feet away all that coming with a nice blend of diesel fumes produced by the old lorries and buses!

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    What a scene!

    And what I had not seen yet was that on the other side of these tunnels, the city is a total unorganized mess with trucks, cars, pedestrians, motorbikes, cyclists, buses… Going up, swivelling, going down, on strange crossing and crazy streets.

    I fell in love with the place immediately!

    I do not know if it is the difference with all that I have seen so far but it was unforeseen, impressive and especially, agreeably new.

    But it is not because you fall in love at the first sight that what lays ahead is easy (in love and while travelling)!

    I had had some problems reserving a hotel for this town and had finally contacted a place called Hotel Independencia. Price was correct and the owner told me that it will be possible to leave my motorbike in front of my room. Perfect, I buy!

    However, as I always try to do, I validate on Google Map but I do not find the front door with the address of the establishment… Hem…

    When I arrive, I see a placard with the name of the hotel and one nice small arrow pointing a bit too much to my taste skyward. The hotel is located away from the main street, on a brick side street that is very abrupt.

    I park and go up to see the representative. He tells me, no problem, I can take my motorbike up… I look at the brick alleyway and I tell myself with almost perfect English even though I am French-speaking… No f… way man, I’ m not driving my motorcycle up that hill! And on top of that, once up, I must have had to perform a 300-degree turn to be in a line towards the door which is barely larger than my motorbike.

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    Even the small scooter did not dare to drive up! I must come to the obvious conclusion that this will not work. And no, I do not have a plan B! But with a little bit of experience behind the belt now, I calmly leave (read: with a calm appearance but nevertheless a bit nervous at the idea of having to drive in this mess). I get on it and perform a few turns and pass a few slow trucks, to see, after only a couple of minutes, a tiny sign for a hotel, but which does not seem to have parking. I nevertheless take a chance and go in.

    Nothing too fancy but clean, and with the same price as the previous hotel! I ask where I could park the motorbike. The young girl looks at me with a bit of strange look, as if saying “I am being blind or simply stupid”, while look off behind me, pointing with her eyes at one of the nicest garages I saw of my life, with a tile floor so clean that it would be possible to eat on it!

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    What happiness! What a chance!

    I undo things fast (I am quicker and quicker and organized!) and I go for a walk on these streets and alleyways full of life and especially, of colours and disrupted textures, which make it a paradise for the amateur photographer that I am.

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    There are several tunnel entries (and exits!), and even some for pedestrians! I cannot imagine the work behind these facilities dating from the beginning of the century.

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    I decide to venture into some small back alley towards the al Pipila monument. Take a look a these images. Even these are on Google Map and I was able to easily get to my destination. I’m impressed by the technology behind that tool!

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    What I show I wan in for when I reached the statue. I let the following photos talk and I give a 10/10 verdict to this city. Not to be missed!

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  16. borscht zanetti

    borscht zanetti Pura Vida ! ... eh?

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    Yep, spent a lovely week in Guanajuato and fell in love. Truly a gem ! Glad you enjoyed !
  17. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Big change of plan. Will be crossing into Columbia on the 25th of October instead of November 14th.

    I felt like I needed to push a bit more. I need to drive!

    Looking forward to arriving in South America!
    dwj - Donnie likes this.
  18. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose... Supporter

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    Enjoying your report and photos immensely. Onward!
  19. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Thanks!
  20. lukeman

    lukeman Cool Hand

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    Great ride report. So much to see in Mexico. A month to get down to Panama isn't too bad, a lot to see and do between.
    marcoue likes this.