El largo camino a Florida

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ScotsFire, Mar 12, 2021.

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  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Effin' awesome @ScotsFire! Showing complete ignorance here, but had no idea such a peak existed in Mexico. So cool to see a snow-capped mountain among the scenery you're riding through - good on ya for enduring the ride up there. Can't imagine trying to do much of anything at 13k+ feet, especially wrestling a bike around. Glad you didn't have to pick her up.

    Sucks about your laptop man, electronics just don't enjoy the rough stuff like we do. Hopefully, keeping the report going isn't a huge PIA from here on out; though I wouldn't want to type on a tablet or phone either.

    Knobby side down man and safe travels!
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  2. NoelJ

    NoelJ Long timer

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    Great ride report; loving the pictures!

    [Bluetooth keyboards for tablets work pretty well I'm told, and are apparently relatively cheap.]
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  3. chilejack

    chilejack Viajero Viejo

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  4. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    April 24, 2021: Down, and out

    As is often the case, the effort doubling back on a route is less that the first time through. It obviously helps to not be fighting gravity. The biggest thing I noticed going down was that the mountain started obscuring itself as soon as I left.
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    This was maybe twenty minutes after I left the refuge.

    The views down still rocked.
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    You hear this all the time, but the pictures really don't do this area justice. it is SO pretty everywhere you look.

    CARS LANDING JUMPS!!
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    And the curves ahead sign was not lying.

    Thirty to forty minutes after I left the respite hut.
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    I take no credit for having the visibility of the peak I did. It's almost always better to be lucky than good.

    I had this vague idea that I should go around the mountain to the north. Because... north.
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    Getting past this ravine turned out to be a struggle.

    I ended up climbing back up the road from the last post (this one)
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    Google was very supportive of the plan. Which should have been my sign that things weren't going to work the way I expected.

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    (video 39 seconds)


    I wouldn't say it was a total loss.
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    Anytime one is exploring this kind of thing is a good day. The WTF looks from the local residents were classic too. Cost me around an hour trying this route.

    I figured that if I could get to that village, I could find a way north.
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    Turns out I was right. But the only way to get there, other than backtracking (which is what I ended up doing) was singletrack down and back up the ravine. Maybe on my little bike, but not the GS.

    The sane way across that canyon.
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    There's a road, paved even, running down on top of that cliff face.

    The route lost the tarmac pretty quickly.
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    I really got no complaints.

    After a bit, pavement returned, and the way westward commenced.
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    Though not in a straight line obviously.

    I came out of the mountains on the dry side (again, weird that's the west slope) at the town of La SARH. I don't know what the letters stand for. Visibility down on the plain flat out sucked. It was very smoky, combined with a bunch of dust being blown about by the strong winds. I didn't know where I wanted to go, but knew I didn't want to stay there.
    Map 0424.jpg

    So west-ish I went. I hit the cuota (toll) highways so as to reduce my exposure and make some miles before the predicted rain potentially started. I missed an exit (or Google Maps was being surly with me) and ended up who knows where in a big city. Took an hour to get back on track. Google was dicking with me by changing my chosen route to one that added an hour forty-five to the time without letting me know. After a few hours (and another two hundred miles distance) I stopped near Tepeji, in the state of Mexico. Pretty nice room, and a 350 peso shot of mezcal from the restaurant got me a much more restful night's sleep.

    304 total miles for the day.
    Map 0424 all.jpg
  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    La SARH, Vivero
    = Secretaría de Agricultura y Recursos Hidráulicos, vivero

    Clearly a reference to a location of an agricultural ( or forestry) plant nursery , operated by the Secretariat of Agriculture and Water Resources
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  6. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    Clearly.
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  7. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Wow...you're the only other rider I've read about that got up to the refugio on Pico de Orizaba. I did it on a 650GS back in 2010 with my buddy on a 1200GS. We came up the same way you did but there is a pretty good road that goes down to the small town of Tlachichuca. This is the main road for mountain climbers. After descending from the refugio there is a critical fork in the road and you went right (the way you came). The left fork goes up a very scary steep, sandy road with some large rocks. The bad part is only about a 100 yards long and after that its a very good road all the way down to Tlachichuca. Just in case you ever go back.

    P1010171.JPG
    As you can see...there was a lot more snow on the mountain in 2010. I used to be a mountaineering guide in my youth and managed to climb it three times...1992, 1996 and in 2000. Tragically all the snow will be gone in another 10 years.
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  8. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    I almost took that left at the fork. Stopped and stared at it for a couple minutes. Neither of the map apps showed any route at all that way so didn’t attempt it. Though there was one set of truck tracks in the sand going that way. Being able to come out a different way makes it even more an attractive route.

    Good on your buddy for getting up there on a 1200. While it climbed up fine, I wouldn’t have wanted a heavier bike than the 800.
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  9. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    **Real time update**

    I am home in North Idaho, getting in yesterday. I’ll get the computer thing figured out and wrap this up in the next few days.

    Having to wear pants because it’s cool enough to seems weird.
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  10. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    April 25, 2021 (and a little of the 26th): Colonial style, Extreme edition

    181 miles
    042521.JPG

    Woke up from a good rest. After several weeks, I don't get waken up quite so rudely from roosters. I didn't have a real plan (shocker I know) but wanted to go to Guanajuato. Previously I'd put San Miguel de Alende on my list, but I was feeling the need to get home. Nothing really pressing going on there, but it just seemed time to be headed that direction. So I cut that out for now (still on my list for the future) and had an easy three hours to Guanajuato.

    I'd picked a hotel to check out, so had an actual destination in the navcom. Whoa! Don't miss a turn in this town. None of the streets go in a straight line, they're almost all one-ways, and yeah, tunnels. I essentially had to disengage from the Centro area and come back at it from a different angle.
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    Stayed at the Hotel Alhondiga.
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    One of the second floor balconies you see there. They have a gated parking area in their basement so it was pretty ideal.

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    I quickly decided that this is a great walking town. It's obviously pretty densely developed (and has been for centuries) so there's always something interesting around the corner.

    The market wasn't as big or impressive as those in Oaxaca, but still very cool.
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    The tunnels (some anyway) are accessible and utilized by pedestrians too.
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    It was weird seeing a bus down there.
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    It had to run down the center of the road to fit.

    Despite the density of structures, there were many of these small open squares.
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    Very photogenic city.

    Others had similar ideas.
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    The picture I wanted to take came out worse than those of me photographing other photographers.
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    Some unexpected graffiti.
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    Some of the public spaces were covered.
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    Lots of the side streets were this narrow, though this one was now for pedestrians only.

    This one still open to vehicles.
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    Guanajuato has these characteristics due to being built on steep hills.
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    Making use of the balcony.
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    Being Sunday, the lavanderias were closed. I couldn't wait for a couple of things.

    Things didn't slow down as it began to get dark.
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    I never did figure out what this was for.
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    The valving sort of looks like it would be used for natural gas, but the piping and connections seem more applicable to water.
    **EDIT**. I said the above based upon my career as a firefighter. The amount of water that could flow from such small piping would not be very useful for a structure fire. And those style of quarter turn valves would be very hard to open under water pressure.
    If it’s a gas shutoff, the piping seems too large for all but a heavy user of gas, and the occupancy didn’t seem to support that.

    [​IMG]

    This guy was busking outside where I had supper.
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    Played classic rock like Floyd and Zepplin, but kept throwing in some metal riffs. Really good guitar player.

    This had no factor in my appreciation of the music.
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    The city is no less photogenic after dark.
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    There were a LOT of people around, almost all Mexican tourists.

    Last little bit of sun.
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    The moon tried to help make some good shots, but the narrow twisting streets made it difficult to use well.

    LOTS of people.
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    Sunday night remember.

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    There were still many tours going on, being led by guides in period costume.

    Spain, Mexico, and... Canada?
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    That's a little better.
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    There was a fire on the hill above town.
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    I suspect it was a controlled burn, but really don't know.
    [​IMG]

    The party continued pretty late for a Sunday, finally starting to quiet down around 11pm. Normally I wouldn't care for this, but it didn't bother me on this night. I really don't know, but it seemed like this was one of the first times these crowds had been allowed to build. Certainly the biggest I had seen anywhere in Mexico on this trip.

    Some tooling around the next morning on the way out of town.
    (Video 4:05 - with music)


    Guanajuato is a beautiful city. It was actually pretty reasonable cost wise too. It will definitely be on future itineraries, especially if I can stay a few days or longer.
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Wonderful update @ScotsFire, really enjoyed the pics and the story of you wandering through the city. It looks like a fantastic place to visit and I'm sure you just scratched the surface.

    Look forward to the next one man, keeps the sanity :-)
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  12. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Great photos and video.
    The odd pipes you were looking at are marked "Bomberos" which is what firefighters are called.
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  13. Ohio_Danimal

    Ohio_Danimal If I die trying, at least I tried Supporter

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    Great stuff. I spent an afternoon riding around all those wild tunnels in Guanajuato. Your pics were excellent.
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  14. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    Yep. Somewhat familiar with the term.
    A1E29448-91B9-42FC-803F-74EEE2ADC9F7.jpeg
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  15. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    April 26 and 27, 2021: Beach break

    342 miles (all on 4/26)
    042621.JPG

    After the tooling around in Guanajuato in the morning of the 26th, I hit the highway hard. It's hard to explain, but I was really ready to be home. I've never felt like this before on trips, usually the exact opposite. I didn't have anything time sensitive at home, except for a girl that was missing me. I almost pointed the bike north leaving Guanajuato, but I had at least one more destination that I'd be kicking myself if I didn't get to it.

    [​IMG]
    Lo de Marcos.
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    I've wanted to visit this small beachfront town, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, ever since @goodcat wrote about his several visits in his report, Freedom 51; a journey of life. Probably one of my favorite ride reports of all time, and very influential on my mototravel world view.

    I even stayed at the same hotel, Bungalows Ostion Azul.
    [​IMG]
    One building off the beach.

    I got into town after a butt numbingly long slab ride, mentally bickering with myself about whether I should even be going here. "It's the wrong direction" the voice in my head kept saying. "You're losing time." That guy’s a dick, so I tried to ignore him.

    Glad I did.
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    Then I was REALLY glad I did.
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    OK, they messed up the "sin sal" part. It got corrected on the second margarita. It'd been a long time since Cantina night happened.

    One of the first things I noticed was that Lo de Marcos made the rest of Mexico seem up tight. Even checking into the hotel was laid back. No paperwork, just an exchange of money and walking me to the room to make sure everything was fine. Then back to the table with friends and family and Pacificos. The beach was relaxed too.
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    Hardly anyone around. Mostly families or a handful of expats.

    It did get a little more intense later in the evening.
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    Apparently watching the sunset is a thing.

    When in Rome.
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    Ehhh...

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    Nice, but I've seen better Pacific Ocean sunsets. Not as filling as I'd have preferred.

    And that feeling stayed with me overnight. So the next morning I passed out a little more cash and they were more than willing to let me stay on another night. It bugged the guy in my head, but even he couldn't argue much with the improvement in the weather.
    [​IMG]

    So I didn't do much, which seems to be the standard for visitors. I did look at a lot of birds.
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    Juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird
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    An adult.
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    These are supposed to feed by stealing fish from other birds, but I never saw such behavior.

    LOTS of Brown Pelicans
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    These take longer dives than the ones I've seen in Baja.
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    And some Elegant Terns. Juvenile/non-breeding.
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    Adult.
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    Some other wildlife was around.
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    Juvenile Rug Rats.

    Also a Pale-skinned Gringo.
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    Best keep the shades on when the shirt is off.

    Then as the sun got lower, some sort of Iguanadon appeared.
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    But that wasn't the center of attention.
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    The clouds threatened to ruin the spectacle again, but failed miserably.
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    Much more satisfying than the previous night.

    Good to the last drop!
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    I really needed this extra day. It had been several long days since I left Villahermosa and I'd been starting to feel fatigued, not just tired. It also allowed me to pretend that I was not rushing, an illusion that totally faded starting the net day.
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  16. akaDigger

    akaDigger Amateur Adventurer

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    I know very well that feeling of "ready to go home". On my trips I always have a spot tracker going. My brother is probably the only one who follows it closely. He always seems to know the exact moment that I "Smell the barn".
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  17. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    April 28 & 29, 2021: Ugh, my ass

    487 miles 4/28
    042721.JPG

    565 miles 4/29
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    Not a lot to report on the two long slab days back to my pickup near Tucson. I did take a little bit of a scenic route sort of along the coast towards San Blas. Nice road with little traffic but not many sightings of the ocean. It did keep me off of MEX200 between Las Varas and Compostela, which had a lot of traffic going towards Puerto Vallarta and few places to pass. Probably cost me a little time, but not much.

    Either way, I took a grand total of ZERO pictures over the two days. Mentally, I just couldn't be bothered. There wasn't much to see being mostly four lane highways through the easiest corridors to put four lane highways. So not the most scenic routes. That said the weather was pretty nice. No rain and pretty moderate temperatures. I think I broke 90f for an hour at most. The second day even had occasional overcast to help keep the temps down. There was quite a bit of wind, nearly always cross or head, but it didn't affect much other than my fuel economy.

    Los Mochis was a challenge in that it was the first Mexican town that I couldn't easily find something to eat. I rode around for nearly 45 minutes (not really what I wanted to be doing after an already long day in the saddle) till I finally relented and went to the mall. The Red Robin wannabe restaurant had decent food, but not really what I was looking for on my last night in Mexico.

    The best parts of the two days were of course interacting with the Mexican people. Packing up in Los Mochis, the night security guard came over to chat. He was very interested in the GS, and asked the normal type questions: what size is the motor; how much did it cost; etc. He also apologized that he'd done such a poor job of washing the bike. I'd been so focused on packing the panniers that I didn't even notice how clean it was, especially the lack of bugs on the wind screen. "Maybe in the next life I'll have a motorcycle like this." It emphasized that he was still working (overnight!) for low wages even though he must have been in his mid-sixties. I talked with him for nearly a half hour, despite that asshole in my head insisting we needed to get on the road.

    Later that day at the final fuel stop in Mexico I had another great conversation, if quite a bit shorter, with the fuel pump attendant. He spoke nearly no English, so it was pretty gratifying that we had a level of communication that I could even use my dry sense of humor. Same age as I am, and very friendly and helpful.

    The last interesting conversation I had was with the US Customs and Border Protection agent checking me back into the US. He was very interested in the trip, much more than for legal purposes. Questions like where was my favorite places, would I do it again, and so on. This was weird as there was probably a 45-60 minute line behind me (thank goodness for lane splitting!) but it's my legal obligation to answer the questions of the Agent.

    And for the record, I did close out my TVIP before crossing. Very painless and quick procedure. The deposit funds were back in my account within two business days.

    After this, I loaded the GS into my pickup and bombed north back home. I only stopped a few hours for some rest just short of Montana on I-15. Got home around 9am on May 1.

    I'll post a wrap up of my thoughts and observations shortly, but I thank all of you for following along and your support.
  18. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Ace ride, report and photos. Thanks for posting :clap
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  19. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    The Ostion Azul is great but before the pandemic it was hard to get a room there as they advertised as a B&B and that worked so well for them they were always full. goodcat and I stayed there for 3 days on his way north, I have stayed there many times, the owners nephew speaks English. It is a town full of RV's from Canada
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  20. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    There was maybe one other person the first night I was there, and another one or two guests the second. It’d be a nice place to stay for a few days as most the rooms had kitchenettes.
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