Fin and MechanicO: Last Boat To Cuba

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by FinTec, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

    Nov 8, 2004
    In my natural state
    Hey, that interview was cool! I'm usually not a fan of long vids, because as you hinted above they can be pretty dull unless they are exceptionally well shot and edited, but you've got this dialed. You're kind of the Oprah of ADV. Perhaps you can get Raul Castro to sit down for a chat?
    Dirt2007, Oldmanx, 8382 and 1 other person like this.
  2. edstoll

    edstoll OPD-2019 Supporter

    Nov 21, 2004
    The white board and video interview awesome! Please continue.
    Oldmanx likes this.
  3. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile Supporter

    Sep 27, 2013
    The day ended at the fantastic city of Merida. I got a really good vibe from this place. Very old school architecture, cobbly streets, lots of history. Found a hotel in town that fit the bill and only got this lame ass photo of me down in the parking lot with MechanicO.


    On my way to final spot, Isla of Mujeres off of Cancun. But my short term my goal for the day was to go as far north on the Yucatan peninsula as I possible could on MO. And also find some more coastal off-road. But this time I was prepared with a crap-load of 5 peso coins. Bring it on!

    First a stop in one of the many small coast towns along the way. Most of these small towns had a center with a park and big trees. So I would look for these to take a brake under the shade. But I always feel bad when I have to leave MO under the rays of the sun.


    These small tiendas became my favorite (and sometime only) stop for a lunch. Something in a bag and a huge bottle of sports drink orange colored.


    First stop was San Felipe.


    Neat little coastal town but when I look on the map there was one more town just a smidge more north than this one, and that was...


    Rio Lagartos. I was going to camp but this is where iOverlander falls short for moto campers. The spots described would be perfects for a van/motorhome type parked vehicle. But for a guy who has a tent, a concrete parking lot near a wharf is not optimum. I do wish iOverlander had a method for distinguishing this better for those of us with tents only. Maybe a scathing letter to them would correct this ;)

    My room in town


    My view


    and my beer


    The next morning I start east towards Cancun and again see a little dirt road on the GPS. Doing it.

    As I am riding this lone road towards the gulf, off in the distance I see what I swear is snow covered mountains. Looks like something I would see back home in Colorado. But here, in the Yucatan, at see level? WTF? But as I get closer it makes sense, a huge sea salt plant. Here are the giant mounds of salt and the conveyor system bringing it in from the see.



    Just before the asphalt ended I saw a group of guys hanging here on motorcycles and thought maybe they could give some information on the road connecting to the next town.



    Even though everyone looks like banditos these days, they where very friendly and helpful. They said the road was very sandy but I should be fine. They have all ridden it before on their bikes. Good enough for me.

    Now the road is getting interesting. Sandy but very hardpacked. For quite a while I was riding in these dense brush corridors. And at one point I could see in the lagoon to my right some flamingos! However, to get this shot I had to stand on top of MechanicO to see over the brush. Would have made some great video with a bike parked in sand and a dude trying to balance on it while taking a pic.



    At this point I was really looking forward to pulling out my shovel and digging-up some palm trees. But unfortunately came on this sign. Nuts.


    While in mid ride, I heard (and felt) what seemed like a B29 bomber trying to land inside my helmet. I pull over, rank off helmet and find this poor guy (dragon fly) wedged between my flipped up visor and helmet. With a little coaxing was able to set him free with no injuries. No harm, no fowl!


    Probably did 6+ water crossing such as these. Not sure if salt water or rain water. If salt, time for a bath for MO.


    Right before the next town came onto this very colorful cemetery. Sometimes you can see some interesting history via these. Some of the dates were close to 100 years old. But there certainly was a difference is "expense" with these plots. You had VERY elaborate sites and then right next to that was essentially a concrete pad with a wooden stake. And when ever I see a birth year close to mine I am a little grateful for having the ability to do a trip like this. When this person here, who was essentially my age, cannot. Get out there now folks, because we all end up here....





    OK, speaking of enjoying ones life and on a lighter note, popped back onto highway and ripped into Playa Del Carmen where I was to meet up with some friends from Colorado in town who are here to celebrate a birthday and crash on their sofa.

    All the hotels look the same so I pulled into an open cafe under one of them and asked the very nice girl there if she knew which one was the hotel I was looking for


    She described perfectly and in detail exactly how I needed to get the the said hotel. Unfortunately, as I pulled away I realized I didn't hear or remember a god damn thing she said. So I needed to go back and ask her three more times where it was. I am so bad like that.

    And a great night was had in town with friends!

  4. Hill Climber

    Hill Climber Long timer

    Feb 11, 2007
    Kaslo BC summer, Yuma AZ winter
    Oh my, gotta love those open cafes!
  5. duggram

    duggram Sunrise Bahia de LA Supporter

    Sep 24, 2009
    Truth or Consequences, NM
    You lucky dog! Good write ups.
  6. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile Supporter

    Sep 27, 2013
    Next morning had my Covid test in Cancun. Passed with flying colors I might add.


    Turns out I missed JamieZ by a few minutes at the test center, ha!

    Had time to kill before the ferry ride to Isla so stopped here to have MechanicO washed. One to get the salt off him from previous days costal rides and also these places tend to add a wax based cleaner to your vehicle. Makes you bike a bit "sticky" but I wanted the coating for the upcoming 3 day sail to Cuba. I foresee some rusting of MO no matter how hard you try.



    Holy smokes, the guy spent over an hour cleaning and wiping down MO. He has NEVER looked this good. His polished aluminum air box was blinding people on the drive out.


    One note in above picture. You'll see I have a Mexican flag on the front of my jacket (velcro). I do this for solidarity and it enables MechanicO and I to blend in as a local. As you can see in the shot I look like an every day Mexican citizen on his way to work. Works like a charm.

    Had to wait a few hours for the ferry but as long as I have shade, I can have the all important siesta under it.




    Cancun behind us and Isla de Mujeres in front of us



    Go figure, as we are pulling into port, on our left is the mighty and famous Stahlratte! Sure, she is not a beauty queen but she's got it where it counts. And as long as I don't see bilge pumps working over time, I am good!


    This guy is named Mario and he owns a biker bar in town. Told me to come over and have a beer. He must be a bit of an el Jefe as the ferry attendants just let him do his own thing and ride off when he wanted. Everyone else was carefully directed what to do. El Jefe does not wait on his ex-cop Harley.


    OK, had no idea what to expect here. And have to tell you, it is crazy. Super touristy and built up. Only two groups here: ones spending money and another group taking it. Creates a balance I suppose. And the main boulevard is a bit of a freak show. Loved it. MechanicO felt right at home with all the crazy machines running around. The accident rate for "drunk tourist with no shirt and flip-flops on a rented scooter" must be off the charts. The skin-graph clinic here must make a killing.


    In places like this I like to get up early and walk around town. You kinda get the quite version of it and can see it without all the commerce going down at volume 10.

    As I walk out of my hotel I see a friend from the day before, Hector. Hector introduced himself the day before when I rolled in and assured my my bike would be fine on the street. "Hmmmm" was my first response. But talking to the hotel and such, Hector is a bit of a celebrity here. Works for me.


    As I walk onto the super quite and empty street, there is Hector! His English is about 50%, my Spanish is about 20%, we made it work. He proceeds to give me an impromptu to walking tour of the neighborhood.

    Me pointing to Cuba


    The Lady of Isla de Mujeres


    and some dude Hector said I looked like



    I offered to buy him a coffee, he said no. Offered to join me for breakfast, on me. Nope, he has to go to work. Hector has lived here most of his life. He does have a wife and twin boys (11 years old) back in Texas. Super nice guy and wanted nothing from me other than to enjoy my stay.

    Oh, another use of the Analog Com Device. The AC outside my room cycles every 12.5 minutes and sounds like a soviet era twin rotor copter coming in for a landing. A hard landing. All night. I hit the limits of my Spanish so busted this out and all is good.

  7. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile

    Dec 1, 2009
    Playa del Carmen
    Now, that’s funny. I was parked right in front of you when you knocked down the hospital parking garage’s gate with your pannier :lol3

    I didn’t realize it was you. I was checking out your bike while waiting for Jamie Z to be done with his test. I was about to yell at you to just keep riding when you got off your bike to fix the gate.

    Small town.
    #87, Red J, chilejack and 3 others like this.
  8. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile Supporter

    Sep 27, 2013
    Ha! That is freaking hilarious. I was so playing the "did anyone see that?" game. I wanted to take a picture but at the same time I wanted to get out of there.

    I kept trying to get the auto parking toll thingy to take my money. After a few minutes, I just said F-it, I can fit past this gate no problem. Weeeeeell, my rear case just clipped it and the two regulation zip-ties holding the gate in place snapped and it hit the ground. Thought about just going, but did not want to be that guy. Already that guy not paying, but then I would be double that guy. Got off, wedged the gate back in its mount and hoped it would stay for the next auto.

    Man, I just missed you guys then. I'll meet you next time Animo. As long as there is no paid parking involved.
    td63, Red J, nutmagnet and 6 others like this.
  9. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile Supporter

    Sep 27, 2013

    More than happy to share my setup. I am like you, I want to know these details when I read these reports.

    I actually spent some time working on this. Had to be small and light, but effective. Below is the set-up:


    Two GoPro 8's. One with the MediaMod. One small tri-pod and my helmet as a second. The mic system is 2 lapel mics with a splitter. All by "Purple Panda". You also need an audio converter cable to make work for the GoPro as the MediaMod case allows for direct audio into the GoPro.

    I set both GoPro's to "Linear" for the lenses to keep the shot closer.

    Movavi video editing software to do the edits. Sure, they make better and more involved video tools but that is exactly what I did NOT want. I wanted simple, fast, and easy.

    The key, by far, is the lapel mics. With out those you get shit for audio.
    Trip Hammer, orv, steved57 and 8 others like this.
  10. CdnGS

    CdnGS Been here awhile

    Nov 20, 2008
    100% on that. Keep rockin’ it Claire and safe travels North to Alaska. Ride safe.
  11. Taddw

    Taddw Discovering New Places Less Traveled

    Oct 7, 2013
    Colorado, Best of all worlds.
    Fin, thank your for the awesome ride report. I met you and Mo a couple years ago on a BMW club ride in Buena Vista.
    Really enjoying the photos and the interview with Clair. Great idea. The people you met on the trip make the trip. Safe travels!
  12. spuh

    spuh Long timer Supporter

    Apr 9, 2012
    All right, I gotta' nominate you for the Worst Pun of the Week award; "no harm, no fowl". Referring to a winged insect. That's bad enough to make a groan man cry.
    orv, Steve H., Champe and 1 other person like this.
  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Jan 19, 2016
    Sherwood, Oregon
    :lol2 :lol2 :lol2

    Killer update @FinTec! You started this RR with a note about no matches on Tinder...maybe you should broaden your search criteria to include MX...LOL.

    Really cool shots of the salt 'mountains' and so cool to see flamingos. What a great day of riding man, and how seriously neat to hook up with some friends in town for a b-day celebration.

    Just watching the news and they reported Denver airport had 19" of snow and they're expecting another 6" to 12". Bet you're not really missing that right now, huh.

    Look forward to catching up on the next post :thumb :thumb
    MotoRojo likes this.
  14. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile Supporter

    Sep 27, 2013
    Great day today on Isla Murjeres as two worlds (or threads) collide!


    Finally met up with JamieZ in town. We have been in contact via email for a while now but today we met at the east end of the island and had some beers. Man, we are going to have a good time.

    Introduced him the the unofficial mayor of the Island, Hector.



    So now it is time to roll over to the Stahlratte and load the bikes.

    Here I am giving the crew members crap for the cheesy clevis they are using for the ropes. I pointed out the strength comes from the fact it has a pin connecting the two sides. He responded well now it is a hook. Hmmmm. OK, here we go!




    Hey, JamieZ, how do you feel about your bike in the air?



    And the first shot of the fabulous five. There are a total of 5 guys on this trip on moto bikes. Now, you are seeing 6 of us at the table, one of the guys has to bail out due to travel issues. So from left to right: Jamie, Milton (not going), Amit, Jorge, Klaus, and Myself.


    This is me now signing off as we go "dark" for at least the next 3 to 4 days as we sail to Cuba. And even then, not sure when we get online again. So, fingers crossed to no drama on the sail and back online when possible. Nos Vemos!
  15. MotoRojo

    MotoRojo Still in the asylum

    Dec 21, 2014
    Beautiful British Columbia
    Hey FinTec, you do look like that bust of the Spaniard Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba who discovered Isla Mujeres.

    Really enjoying your attitude and sense of humour. Thanks for sharing your experience and making it extra interesting.

    Safe travels as you forge ahead and discover the other island to the NE!
    RacingBlue, orv, wetwider and 3 others like this.
  16. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

    Jul 10, 2009
    East Coast, South Africa
    Indeed, you look a lot like that bust! :D

    Loving this RR! Thanks for sharing and all the explicit detail!
  17. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

    Aug 21, 2016
    CANADA-100 ft N of International Falls, MN
    Great-great report Fin, thanks

    Well OK- now it’s happening eh.
    On the boat.....
    Have a blast guys:clap
  18. mpusms

    mpusms Been here awhile Supporter

    Nov 21, 2015
    Saint Simons Island GA
    Eh you have two other hooks, still!!
    I am so jealous especially having been born in Cuba. You and JamieZ have inspired me so much to one day take that trek. Considering the Stahlratte returns or is replaced.
    Wishing you the adventure of a lifetime!!
  19. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Jan 19, 2016
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Just plain f*ckin awesome @FinTec. Caught up on Jamie's report and came over here - it's incredibly neat to read both perspectives and see the shots each of you take. I'm envious of both of you and as mpusms stated above, I'm inspired to do something similar when life's commitments ease.

    Safe travels across the open water and on Cuba; truly epic man. Knobby side down.
    #99 likes this.
  20. 531blackbanshee

    531blackbanshee Adventurer

    Jan 4, 2019
    skiatook ok.
    thanks for posting.
    safe travels!