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Kansas City to Costa Rica May 08

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by nailit2em, May 21, 2008.

  1. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
    Ok here is my first thread. I have read many others and have learned that I am not as crazy as I thought I was when I dreamt this ride up. I have picked up good riding tips, routes, hotel information and even new friends through this site. Now I hope that I can give a little back.

    Here is the plan in a nutshell. There are three of us going on this trip. Dane left yesterday to spend some time with relatives in Tx. He is riding a BMW 1150 gs. Larry and I are going to trailer our BMW Dakars to San Antonio early thursday morning. We will then cross into Mexico at Pharr on Friday. We have roughly 11 days to get to San Jose Costa Rica to meet our better halves who opted to fly down. My wife has ridden many miles with me on my other bike and even to the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks on the Dakar but she wanted nothing to do with this trip. We will spend 6 days in Costa Rica seeing the sights and then turn around and head home after getting the ladies back on the plane. The plan is to be home by fathers day. If we are not home by then I would probably be safer in Mexico where my wife can't get to me. I intend to post some pictures but I have not had a chance to play with that yet. So we will see.:clap
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    Sounds great! :thumb get some pics up :lurk
    #2
  3. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
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    Location:
    Kansas City, MISSOURI
    Looks like you all will now qualify for our rally. Bananaman came up with the idea of getting together with all the Latin American riders and having a rally.

    We're leaning towards August in the Black Hills region.

    More details and you can put in your 2 cents worth if you'd like: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=344315

    I'm looking forward to your ride report. I'm assuming you are down south somewhere right now.
    #3
  4. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
    We have made it Guatemala city. The internet is hard to find in the places we have been. I have been keeping notes and taking pics to update later. We have been riding 12 to 14 hours a day and I think a beer and food is calling. will update soon with some details and lessons we have learned. :freaky
    #4
  5. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
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    Kernville, CA
    :clap



    :lurk
    #5
  6. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Kansas City, MISSOURI
    I found that internet cafes are almost impossible to find in Guatemala City, unlike almost every where else. In fact, most people don't even know what you are talking about when you ask where an internet cafe is.

    But, just down the road in Antigua, I found the best internet cafe I've ever used - The Funky Monkey.
    #6
  7. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Antigua , Guatemala
    Are you guys in Costa Rica already ?
    #7
  8. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
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    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
    We are in San Jose. I have notes from every day and I will get detailed info out when I get a chance. It will take me some time but I have some good stories. We have had the weather I had expected and then some. I can now say that I have ridden in a hurricane, Alma was her name. We rode almost the entire length of Nicaragua in the worst rain I have ever been in. The positive side of it was the polica did not bother us at all! Yesterday Dane got stopped by the policia in Costa Rica. Something about a helmet law in this country. We recieved a little break from him after explaining we had similar backgrounds. We then went to the coast and of course the rain continued. Dane got familiar with red clay, water and tire traction. The only damage was a turn signal and a scraped up arm. Larry got pictures before he helped him pick up his bike. I have ridden the last two days without rear brakes. The pads are down to metal. At the BMW dealership now getting parts. I was going to put them on myself but for 20 bucks they are washing my bike, it needs it, and putting on the pads. I said go for it! So far this has been a great trip. I promise that pics and more details are to follow. It has been hard to get internet and time to type. :clap :freaky
    #8
  9. bongodave

    bongodave Fixing Stupid

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    Location:
    Fabulous Eerie, Indiana!
    Keep living my dream!:clap :clap :clap
    #9
  10. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Hayward, WI
    Way cool! I didn´t think you would do it in 11 days with the storm. ´Way To Go´ you guys! cavegirl and I are stuck just south of San Jose because a bridge is out on the Pan American highway due to the storm and the mountains have landslides blocking them. We hit a 3 mile long line of semi trucks standing on the road before the road block. We almost had to camp outside with the truckers. Anyway, I look forward to hearing your stories about your ride down :ricky
    [​IMG]

    We will be heading through San Jose tomorrow with luck. If ´you all´ are interested in hooking up give us a PM with your destination plans tomorrow :rayof

    AdvRider rocks!
    #10
  11. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Alaska
    Ah yes, central america during the wet season.:lol3 Look forward to the entire report!
    #11
  12. rous44

    rous44 Long timer

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    Location:
    KC, Palm Springs
    If you hook up with the Cave people, give them my regards. And you can tell me how they are doing when you get back to KC.
    I'm in OP.
    #12
  13. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
    Ok we are back now and I have the time to work on this. Larry and I left KC at about 7am on May 22nd. We had loaded our bikes up the night before and all I had to do was get in the truck and ride along. This was good since I had worked all night and got off at 6am. We made it to about <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Emporia</st1:place></st1:City> Ks when we first stopped to check on the bikes. Larry's bike had fallen over onto my bike but did not do any damage. Larry's bike would do this at least two more times on the way to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">San Antonio</st1:place></st1:City>. My bike came loose once and rubbed a spot on his plastic. We figured out that the wheel chocks let the front tire move to much so we devised a plan to fix that on the way home. We got into <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">San Antonio</st1:place></st1:City> at about 9pm. Not much excitement driving 14 hours in the truck other than knowing we were about to get our vacation started. We met Dane at the Hotel. He had ridden down a couple of days earlier to see some relatives in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dallas</st1:place></st1:City>.

    Day two we got up at about 6 am and took the truck and trailer to the San Antonio Police Departments Central station. Larry had contacted a Sgt. there so that we would have a secure place to leave the truck. We met the Sgt and he showed us where to park. As we were unloading the bikes and loading them down no less that five other officers came by to see what we were doing. They all pretty much had the same opinion. That we were fkn crazy. A couple of them wanted to go along. We got everything around and were on the road by about 8am. It was getting warm quick. We hopped on I-37 and headed south. It was windy and did I mention it was hot. We had to stop twice for gas on the way down. We were cruising at a pretty good pace when we, I, saw a Texas Ranger pull from a side road. I found out that my brakes worked real well. He looked at us as we went by. A few miles down the road he passed us, still doing 10 over, and waved with a smile as he went by. We stopped at <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Pharr</st1:place></st1:City> for our last "American" meal. You know fast food Burger King. If we had only known we would have skipped it and got some real good food in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Oh well live and learn. We got to the border at about 1 or 1:30pm. We were flagged over into a vehicle check area after crossing the toll bridge by a customs officer. He checked the left side case. Just so happens that this was the case I had most of my wife&#8217;s stuff packed in. She was flying down to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Costa Rica</st1:place></st1:country-region> to meet us as well as Larry's girlfriend. I would almost bet he said something in Spanish about women&#8217;s clothing and hygiene products and no woman with us. I smiled and nodded my head thinking to myself how do I say I am not a cross dresser in Spanish. He then directed us to the Aduana and Migracion offices. We had already done the paperwork for the bikes on line so that was half of the paperwork. We were learning real quick that our lack of Spanish was going to be a problem. Our first encounter in the office was with two grumpy old men working the Migracion desk. They did not smile, grunted, and forced the stamp down on the Passports with about 200 pounds of pressure to ensure it worked I guess. They told us that we needed to go pay at the bank window. At least that is what we think they said by translating their hand gestures and a few words that I understood. I went first since I had done most of the research on how the border crossing thing went. Dane went to another window at the same time. I am not sure what happened but all I know is that I got done a lot faster, 5 minutes or so, and Dane got his first taste of copy fees, a whopping 25 cents. I smiled at the woman behind the widow that helped me and said Si a lot and smiled some more. I guess a smile goes a long way. I then went back to the grumpy old men and gave them my receipt. When I was finished an older lady walked up to me with her daughter and started talking to me in Spanish real fast. I did not have a clue what she was saying. Her daughter who was about my age spoke English and told me that she thought the grumpy old man that helped me told me to go get some copies. The three of us walked back up to him. Armed with my first translator he told us I was finished and did not need to make any copies. I talked with the daughter for a few minutes and thanked her for her help with a smile on my face the whole time. It was nice to see people so willing to help. That was not the last time we would get unsolicited help on this trip. I then went to the bank next door to the Migacion office and exchanged $180 at a 10.19 rate. Larry and Dane got finished a few minutes later. We got on the bikes and headed into the unknown. Just past the Aduana office we were met with our first military checkpoint. We got waved through without being checked. I had the GPS on and was using it to navigate us to Hwy 97 towards Aldama, our first stop. Dane jumped ahead of us weaving in and out of traffic. I was trying to read the GPS and keep an eye on him. Well, we missed a sign and our turn. I was messing around with the GPS some more and we made a u-turn and got back to 40 Hwy thinking it was what we needed. No! Wrong again. We stopped and asked directions and used GPS. About 15 minutes later we found Hwy 97 and started south. 97 Hwy was far better than any of us were expecting. After getting passed by cars doing well over 70 mph we loosened up and started to pick up our speed. About 15-20 miles in we came to a military / Aduana checkpoint and got waved through. The road was straight with a full lane each way and a half lane on the outside for passing. Very nice! Still hot as... so we stopped for some Gator Aid and water about an hour south of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Reynosa</st1:place></st1:City>. Very nice station much like back home. Again not what we were expecting. When we got to Hwy 101/180 we were flagged over at the military checkpoint. You guessed it. My wife&#8217;s case was the one they checked again. I was the lead bike and was the only one checked. Larry and Dane got waved on by after they checked their paperwork. After he checked my paperwork he wanted to talk about my bike and gave a thumbs up. I said Si and smiled a lot. It had worked so far. As we were leaving a second military guy smiled and waved as we drove off. Shortly after the checkpoint the GPS told us to turn off the main hwy we were on to go to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">San Fernando</st1:place></st1:City>. Later we would learn that this was a mistake. We stopped for gas just before <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">San Fernando</st1:place></st1:City>. When we got into town we got lost. GPS not good at all. Well maybe it was the operator translating what the GPS was saying. We started through town and were on the right road when the GPS said we were going the wrong way. We were also being followed by the local Policia. They had been following us since we got into town so we pulled over and made a u-turn. The Policia continued on. The GPS went nuts again. We took a dead end street and made another u-turn. Took another street and finally stopped at a small store to ask for directions. Well this would be our first Spanish lesson not to mention cultural lesson. I think we made the woman mad and she did not help us at all. We did not know how to say road or street in Spanish. We would learn those words before this trip was over. Well we got back on track and the original route we had taken was the correct route. We got back on 180 shortly after leaving <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">San Fernando</st1:place></st1:City> and made a left turn toward Aldama. I was a little frustrated about getting lost but I figured it was going to happen sooner or later. Little did I know what was ahead of us. We made some good time and figured out we could drive at a good pace. The roads were much better than we had expected. We stopped about 30 minutes from Aldama and took some pics of the sunset over the mountains. There was a haze over the mountains that added to the sunset. We got back on the road so we would not get caught out after dark. We made it to Aldama and even though Pilot warned me about the Una Via Calle (one way street) I still went down the wrong way. We made a quick u-turn and got on the right street. We stopped two times to ask directions to the Hotel, Pilot suggested this Hotel as well. I did not right down the name in my notes and I don't have the map with the name on it. I will put it in later. We got a room for the night with three beds for $40. We then went to look for food and internet since our phones did not work. I had changed services so that I would have service on this trip. Big lesson learned on that topic. I may get into it later. Found a tacoria with some good food. The owner helped us out, he spoke a little English. His friends and some of the locals looked at us funny and laughed when we asked the lady who brought our food to take a picture (If I can figure it out I will get pics in later) We then found an internet cafe and most importantly, beer!!! We went back to the hotel and sat outside our room and reflected on the day and enjoyed the nice evening. We were pumped up and ready. We were in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region> and the trip had begun!!
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #13
  14. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Getting ready to leave San Antonio, notice a nice clean bike

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    At the Mexican US border
    [​IMG]
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    Just north of Aldama Mx, sun setting over mountains

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hotel in Aldama, Very nice place to stay

    [​IMG]

    Me leaving Aldama

    [​IMG]

    Dane, AKA crash, leaving Aldama, take note of bike for future ref.
    #14
  15. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
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    :thumb

    :lurk
    #15
  16. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
    Day three started fairly early. We had a good nights sleep at Rancho Viego Hotel in Aldama Mx. We got up around 7am and got packed up. We took a few pictures of the hotel and out front before we left. We were not sure exactly how to get back to 180 but we just took a right on the one way street and surprisingly it took us straight back out of town to 180. We headed south towards Tampico. I set the GPS to get us there. I knew Tampico was going to be the first large city we would have to navigate in Mx but I felt confident in the GPS, little did I know. The road started out decent. A two lane to Manuel. After making the left turn in Manuel the road turned into a nice four lane road. When we got into Tampico the GPS got all confused. It was not real accurate and said we were about a half a mile off the road and it would say we were going north when I knew we were going south. We followed the main road into town and tried to read road signs. We made several turns and winded through the city streets. The streets were narrow and the city was pretty busy. Even though we were lost it was still nice to see the city. We ended up crossing a toll bridge on the west side of town and riding through a wet land area. After crossing the toll bridge we came to a fork in the road. Well the GPS was still no help and of course we went right and should have gone left. After going about 5 miles I pulled over and consulted the paper map as well as the GPS. I figured out we were going towards Ciudad Valles on highway 70. We turned around and took the left at the fork in the road. After going for several miles we ended up in the Centro. It was very busy with one way streets and dead end streets. After trying to figure out how to get out of the city and back on the highway ended up about three blocks south of the Centro and could not go the direction I thought we needed to go because of the dead end streets. We stopped under a shade tree to try and figure out were we needed to go. Larry and Dane got some Cokes while I tried to translate what the GPS was telling me and looking at the paper maps. This was our first real lesson on how to ask for directions from the locals. We stopped a cab driver and tried to get him to lead us out of town. We did not know how tell him where we wanted to go in Spanish so we used the map and pointed to Tuxpan and said Como aqui. Larry continued to try to talk to him while I tried plan B. I had a language translator on my GPS. I got a phrase that I thought would help us, Nos queda cerca autopista 180. Well that did not work either. After several minutes I figured out he was waiting for a woman and he could not leave until he picked her up. Larry and Dane meanwhile found a couple of school girls who spoke a little English. They tried to help us but their English was just a little better than our Spanish. By this time we had also realized that our shade tree parking was a bus stop. After the third time the same bus driver came around and yelled at us we put two and two together and figured out what the signs said next to our bikes. A motorcycle officer came by at about the time the bus driver had finished yelling at us. When he rode by he waved at us while he checked out our bikes on his way by. He stopped about a half a block away to direct traffic. He looked like a nice guy and he was interested in our bikes so I took my new phrase I had just learned, the map and my note book with me to ask him for directions. I shook his hand and told him I did not speak Spanish very well and asked if he spoke English. He did not. I pointed to the map and he understood where I wanted to go. He started talking real fast and pointing down the street. I told him I did not understand, in Spanish, and asked him if he could draw a map. This worked great. He drew a nice map with the street names and how many blocks we had to go. He then drew a funny looking thing on the map and said Puente. After a few minutes I figured out what a puente was. It&#8217;s a bridge. He could tell when the light bulb came on in my little brain. I thanked him and he shook my hand again. I also liked his bike. He was on a Suzuki Vstrom that was set up very nice for a police bike. I went back to Larry and Dane and told them what I had found out. We got our gear on and took off. After leaving the square my bike stalled at a light and Dane tagged my left saddle bag with his right saddle bag. No damage but this was the beginning of Dane tagging my cases. There were many more to come on the trip. About 10 or 15 minutes later we found the bridge, Puente, the officer told us to take. It was a very large bridge with a nice design to it. After crossing the bridge we had to pay a toll. Our Mexican money was a little short. I had misplaced my wallet with my peso&#8217;s in it the night before. I found it about a week later, just where I put it. We were able to scrape up the money for the most part. I think we got one of the bikes through without paying because the toll booth person got frustrated with us trying to find the right amount. We stopped just after the toll booth and exchanged some money at a small store. Larry talked to a couple of guys in an ambulance and they told Larry that Vera Cruz was only two hours away. First of many times we were given an inaccurate time and distance for a destination. We got back on the road and headed towards Tuxpan. It was getting warm and the sun was shining. The road was not very good at all. Lots of pot holes and not very smooth surface. I thought we were on the wrong road for several miles but it was still 180. On the way to Tuxpan we got behind trucks loaded with potatoes, fruit, steal and other things. This concerned us because they were not loaded real well. The truck loaded with potatoes lost a few on the road. I put out my right foot to warn Larry and Dane of the debris. I did not get my foot up in time and gave the potato a good soccer style kick, unintentionally of course. To say it hurt would be a putting it mildly. I can only imagine what it looked like after I kicked it. Just before Tuxpan on one of the many curves we saw people in a line going down over the shoulder into a deep valley. We slowed down to see what was going on. Several feet down off the road was a large truck that had rolled. They were unloading the contents of the truck into smaller normal sized trucks. Not to sure if they were stealing the stuff or what. When we got to Tuxpan it was fairly easy to navigate. They had some interesting topes (speed bumps). They used large rope, tires and the regular concrete ones of various sizes. Dane jumped ahead of us and missed a sign telling us to turn. We had to honk at him to get his attention. He made a u-turn and caught back up with us. We then had to make another turn a block down the street. Dane was confused and said &#8220;This doesn&#8217;t make any sense&#8221; After Tuxpan the scenery go much better as did the road. We were driving on a four lane smooth concrete road through some small mountains. There was corn planted on the mountain sides. I bet they did not use a tractor and planter to put it in or a combine to harvest it. I continued to follow signs for Vera Cruz and some how avoided Poza Rica. Which was nice because we were making good time. We were having a tough time navigating the small towns little lone the big ones. We came to another fork in the road. One was for a cuota, toll road, and the other was for regular 180. I turned around and told Larry and Dane that we should take the regular 180 because I did not know how much the cuota was. Dane said he had enough money to cover it so we took the cuota. When we got to the toll booth we had to scramble again to cover the toll but we got it covered. We got back onto 180 again. It turned back into a two lane hilly, curvy road. It was very scenic with orange/red flowered trees growing over the road forming a tunnel. Very nice ride. I wish we would have taken some pictures of the road. We were also running low on gas at this point. I was getting a little nervous because we had not seen any Pemex stations for some time. We came across a station near Nautia. It was about lunch time and it was heating up. Larry paid for the gas using US dollars. We learned a lesson here as well. Get the exchange rate they are giving before you get gas. We lost a couple dollars on this lesson. They were giving 9-1 instead of the 10-1 we had been getting. I got brave and looked at some homemade fold over things in a plastic container. I asked the woman working the stand what it was, que eso, she told me it was pollo, or at least that was one of the words out of many she said I could translate. I then asked her how much they were. This required math skills and understanding what she said, not a good combination for me in the heat and hungry state I was in. The numbers gave us problems. I knew a few numbers but I had to tell her to write it down so I could understand. This is when I learned that most places have calculators and that was the easiest way to translate the number or cost of things. The fold over thing and a bottle of water was a buck fifty or so. Larry and Dane thought I was crazy for even trying it. It was not too bad. A little dry but I am still here to tell the story. We stopped there for about a half an hour. I tried to talk to the woman I bought the fold over from but I did not have much luck due to my poor Spanish. Another woman cleaning the sidewalk was interested in the bikes but did not say anything. She backed up to my bike and reached back and touched it and then moved away real quick like a kid does when you tell them not to touch something but they have to anyway. I could not quite figure her out. We finished our small lunch and decided that we should try to exchange some more money. Larry tried to get the 10-1 rate but had no luck all they would give him was 9-1. We were starting to leave and I decided to ask the woman that sold me the fold over. I asked her if she would give me 100 pesos por 10 dollars. She had to ask another guy for the money but she gave me the 10-1 rate. When I got back to the bikes I told Larry and Dane I got the rate. They gave me a look and I told them a smile and a wink go a long way. Shortly after leaving the station we came to another toll bridge and needed 60 peso&#8217;s. Dane road up to me and said laughing &#8220;You&#8217;re a smart mother fucker&#8221; After that the highway was open and very nice. We got stopped at another military checkpoint a few miles down the road. I was the lead bike as usual and got flagged over. They checked one bag, you guessed it the one that had all of my wife&#8217;s stuff in it. Larry and Dane got waved through without being checked. We got flagged through another checkpoint a few miles down the road. They also had rope topes and interesting cans for lighting up the road at night. The whole reason we wanted to take this route was because the map showed that it was along the coast. We were beginning to wonder if we would ever see the water. We finally started to see the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. It was very nice riding. We stopped at a beach that had an access road off the highway. I drove out onto the beach to take some pictures. I became the focal point when I turned around and started throwing sand. Larry came down also to take some pictures. He took a little less aggressive approach to turning around. Dane came down about half way before the sand turned soft and loose. He needed a little help getting his beast out. We did not make fun of him or anything. Dane said he would like to stop in this area on the way home if possible. I agreed it was very nice. We took some more pics on the road after leaving the beach heading down the road to Vera Cruz. We had three more tolls to pay before reaching Vera Cruz. We had to stop at a small store to exchange money to get us through the last one. The toll roads were very fast though. Top speed 92.5 mph per the GPS and we were getting passed by locals at that speed. I was not expecting that at all. We got into Vera Cruz at about 6:30. We stopped at a Carl&#8217;s Jr for some food. They took credit cards so money was not an issue. I also got brave and put ice in my drink. Again I am still here to tell the story. The kid who took our order spoke English so I asked him for a good place to stay and directions to get there. He got a map of the city for us from the back office and gave us directions to the Centro. Very helpful and nice kid. I tried to use my phone again to see if I had service. I had received a couple of text messages from my wife. I tried to txt her back but the phone said the call was &#8220;Barred&#8221; I tried everything I could think of and could not get a call to go through. This was very upsetting because I had changed phone services before leaving to ensure it would work and was told by the rep that I would have service but could not get the cheaper plan until I had the account for six months. Larry and Dane both had service and were able to call and txt. The ironic thing is I had switched from Verizon to AT&T to have service. Larry had Verizon, Dane had Sprint. Dane even used his phone to look up a map of Vera Cruz. Since he was the &#8220;expert&#8221; on the geography I let him take over the navigation responsibilities to get us to the centro and a room. After we cooled down and thought we knew where to go we got back on the road. When we left we got on the wrong street and had to make a u-turn to get back on the right street leading into the centro. After going a little further Dane missed a sign that said detour, or at least that is what I thought it said. Turned out it did. The main bridge was closed leading into the centro. We had to make another u-turn to get back to the detour sign. We did not exactly wait to take the first street to take a left. The street was like a parkway with a grassy area with trees separating the north south lanes. Dane found a sidewalk to get us across the grassy area. Yeah we got some looks for that one. We got into the Centro area and Dane was still leading. I told him to lead the way and to find a Hotel. We drove past a few before we pulled over near one to regroup. I saw a hotel back a little ways that looked nice so we tried to get back to it. Not happening. We drove around for a while and got further and further away from the centro. The streets were very busy with traffic and people walking around. The streets were very narrow and hard to navigate even on the motorcycles. I took the lead again and headed back the way we came to try and find the hotel I saw earlier. We got separated in the heavy Traffic and Dane got out of sight ahead of Larry and I. We finally caught back up to him after he pulled off a side street and made a u-turn. Later he told us he hit a car while making the u-turn and the driver was not happy. No damage but none the less not happy. We found a nice hotel and parked at the valet stand. We were all hot and sweaty and not much to look at. I walked into this hotel and quickly realized we did not fit in. We were a little under dressed for this place. When I got the price for the night I really knew we were in the wrong place. The women at the desk were nice and spoke English so I politely asked where a cheaper place to stay was. They suggested the Colonial Hotel and gave us directions. Larry had come in just after me to check it out. We went back out to the bikes and told Dane. I stayed with the bikes and they walked around the corner to the Colonial. When they got back we drove to their parking lot. It was the hotel we had stopped by to regroup at about a half hour earlier. Very small garage but it was locked at night. We got into the room at about 8 or so. We got showered up and went to the centro to check out a festival that was going on. Dane left before Larry and I to check it out. Larry and I got cleaned up and found the first place to get a beer. I think I tasted it, no not really, it just went down. We walked around and watched the large dance in the centro. The couples dancing were older and the dance was very slow and precise. It reminded me of a square dance in a way but much slower and very formal. They were dancing to a big band that was playing on a large stage. We then walked around to look for Dane and checked out some of the souvenir stands. We walked all the way around the cento square before finding Dane where we had started. We then walked down to the pier and saw a nice 1200gs parked outside a restaurant. It had Mexican plates on it. As we were checking it out a guy was watching us. I thought he was probably the owner so I asked him about it. It was not his but he pointed to a couple a few tables down. They just happen to speak English so we talked motorcycles for a a few minutes before heading down the pier. We came across a clown doing a street show. It must have been funny because everyone was laughing but that language thing continued to hinder us. We then saw a very large bronze statue in front of a large building. The building was a military museum. Very nice pool and park out front. We then made our way back towards the hotel and found a place to grab a bite to eat and some beer. Nice atmosphere with music and people walking around. There were several bars and restaurants to choose form. We picked a taco place with a beer special. Nice to sit down, people watch and have a few drinks. A few minutes after sitting down the street venders moved in trying to sell their goods. One kid was selling the new Indiana Jones movie on DVD. It had just come out in the theatres when we left a few days earlier. Larry tried to buy one for a dollar. The kid would not budge off of his three dollar price. Another kid came along selling hammocks. Larry worked on this kid for some time before getting a nice hammock for fifteen dollars. I had some tacos with my beer. To say they were hot does not even begin to describe the way my mouth was burning after eating the tacos. But I cleaned my plate. It took a six pack of local beer to put out the fire. After enjoying the nice evening we decided to head back to the room. On the way back Larry and I got stopped by a hooker trying to pedal herself. We passed on the offer and decided we had had enough excitement for one day. We were planning on getting near the Guatemala border the next day. Day four would give us even more hard lessons on navigation and map reading.
    #16
  17. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
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    Gas Stop in Nautia. Dane in black, Larry in grey shirt, cleaning lady who touched my bike
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    Pollo fold
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    View from station lot
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    First meal in Mx at Aldama, notice guys in background laughing at us!

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    Dane crossing river north of Vera Cruz

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    Larry at Sun set north of Aldama

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    Lost in Tampico consulting maps and GPS with little luck getting out of the centro

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    Beach north of Vera Cruz, nice place, thinking about going back just for this area alone!

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    Dane in the sand. Kinda got stuck

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    Larry in the sand

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    Just after beach heading to Vera Cruz. Cant tell that I am having a blast can you

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    Dane also having a good time

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    Larry looking at DVDs in Vera Cruz. 3 bucks would not take a buck no deal!

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    Vera Cruz centro while parked at valet stand

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    Same valet stand

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    Deal!
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    SLOW BURN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Dance in centro of Vera Cruz

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    Vera Cruz centro after dance cleared out

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    Leaving hotel in Vera Cruz. Nice place to stay and visit
    #17
  18. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign

    We got up early again because we were not sure how hard it was going to be to get out of Vera Cruz. We were on the road by 7:15. My butt was not liking the seat very much when I got back on the bike. The long days before had taken its toll. We were still armed with the map the kid at Carl Jr&#8217;s gave us of Vera Cruz so we had an idea of how to get out of town. We stopped at an ATM and loaded up with pesos. Dane and I each got money. We asked a guy along the street for directions to ensure we were going the right way. I had decided that the GPS was not helping at all so I simply wrote down the roads we were going to take that day. Looking at the map all the roads seemed to be major roads and should be marked with signs. It should be an easy day for navigation. WHAT THE HELL EVER!!!. We got out of Vera Cruz easy enough and stopped for gas a little ways out of town. I made the comment &#8220;That was easy I wonder what is going to go wrong today&#8221; Well it was not long before I got an answer to that question. We were heading west on 150D, a four lane interstate style road. I looked back to check on Larry and Dane and I could not see Larry. I pulled over and waited for a few minutes. We had just stopped for gas so I figured he forgot to put something on or fasten something down. Dane and I were stopped for only a few minutes when we saw Larry coming. He passed us and then pulled over again. I could see red fuzzy stuff around his rear spokes and chain. That&#8217;s when I realized that the red nylon strap that he had around his saddle bag to keep it from falling off was gone. It had come loose and wrapped around his rear tire. He said it stopped the tire for a second but that was it. It broke his bottom rear saddle bag mount but no damage to the wheel or chain. To fix the it well lets just say duct tape, nylon zip tie and a carabineer later we were back on the road. We continued west and I was looking for the road on the map that would take us south to Minatitlan. That road was 180D. We passed a 145D but that was not what was on the map. Two toll booths later and seeing a sign for Cordoba I realized we had gone to far. What really sucked is we just paid a toll and had to turn around and pay it again without even clearing the toll booths. We tried to talk to the military guys at the toll booth and all they could let us do was sneek through the gap in the median barriers to get to the east bound lanes. We headed back east and at the next toll we stopped to ensure we had not gone to far and waste even more money. I talked to another military guy and spoke in my broken Spanish to ask directions. I had learned autopista the day before so that helped. I also used the map and pointed. He told me it was 20 miles, ok 40 k, up the road and turn right. That was good and bad news. We were back on the right track but had paid over $60 in tolls we did not have to pay. After getting through the toll we picked it up speed wise. We had been traveling 80-85 mph anyway. They military guy was right on. At 20 miles we were at the turn for 145D. The one I had seen earlier but the map said 180D. To say I was pissed would have been the understatement of the trip, so far. We started down 145D and found some signs for towns that were ahead so we pulled over to confirmed the towns on the signs were in the direction we wanted to go. Now that we knew we were on the right road and had a long ways to go before turning again we did not waste any time covering some distance. The road was a four lane cuota but it was not the smoothest road we had been on. It was a constant shifting from the left lane back to the right to avoid the potholes and washboard conditions. I had also figured out about 20 new riding positions to keep my ass from hurting so much. My favorite was with my feet facing back and resting on the passenger foot pegs. I had a bag on the seat behind me so I could not slide back to wear out another part of my ass. I even stood up as much as possible when we slowed down to keep my ass off the seat. While driving south on 145D we saw our first wild iguanas running across the road. Man they are fast! The sugar cane was also being harvested. Thank god they were not burning it off that day only collecting it. When we got to Acayucan we got off the autopista onto highway 185 into Sayula. We stopped in Sayula for lunch at a Los Pollos Reyes. It was a nice open restaurant. There was a large family gathering that came in just after us. Most the men in the group had to stop and check out our bikes that were parked in front. When I was trying to talk to the waitress and say the name of the town no matter how many times I tried to say Sayula I could not get it right. Some of the locals even laughed at me when I tried to say it. We tried to get some directions from the waitress and where to find an ATM since our extra tolls kind of hurt our cash flow a little. She was not much help on either account. I had seen a road on the map while we were eating that cut southwest towards Tuxtla Gutierrez, Highway 145. It looked like it was a secondary road but still paved. I was mainly looking at it because it looked shorter and it was not a cuota. We could not find this road for nothing. We found a road just after Sayula that I know was the road but could not get anyone to confirm it. We asked two truck loads of people on the road and they said it was not the road on the map. We went back into Sayula to check out anther street that I thought may have been the road. It was a dead end street. We asked a cab driver in Sayula who did not know anything about the road and kept pointing to the north where 145 came into Sayula. After asking several people, making several u-turns and about 45 minutes later we found a guy who spoke English that told us the road did not exist. So we decided to head towards Juchitan and take 190 into Tuxtla Gutierrez. One day I WILL return and take the road I thought was the one we wanted to see if in fact I was right. We were moving along pretty good and then the road turned into a road that only an adventure rider would enjoy. It was extremely rough with pot holes, construction, gravel and large topes in the towns. What was really bad was that there were stretches of the road that were great and we would be going along at a good clip and then without warning we were hitting potholes that would swallow a small semi and its trailer. We were also seeing loose livestock everywhere along the road. Some of the cows, goats, horses, sheep etc were tied up with a small rope around the neck or leg but several of them were running loose. We also saw kids and adults standing in the middle of the road on the topes selling their goods. This was strange to me when I first saw it but after a few days it was more surprising not to see people standing at tope selling stuff. We crossed the continental divide just before reaching Juchitan. This part of the road was nice and scenic. When we got across the divide we came down out of the mountains and into the valley. In the valley was a large cluster of electricity producing windmills turning in the wind. I had seed many of these windmill farms in Kansas, New Mexico and Missouri but I thought it was strange to see them in southern Mexico. After passing the windmills we pulled over and asked a man walking along the road for directions. We were starting to learn the lesson of stop and ask. It will save time and frustration. With his help it was easy to find 190 and start towards Tuxtla. When we got onto 190 we saw more of the loose animals and small houses along the road. 190 was not to bad of a road. It was level and somewhat smooth. We ran into our first rain of the trip just before reaching Zanatepec. We saw it coming so we had a chance to pull over and get things put away that we did not want to get wet. Shortly after starting back up it opened up. When we got to a gas station in Zanatepc Larry and Dane put their rain gear on. It was still warm so I stayed with my mesh gear. We also spent the remaining pesos we had on gas. We asked the gas station attendant where an ATM was, never thought saying ATM could be so hard. He told us there was one in Tapanatepec about 20 Kilometers down the road. We found an ATM there and reduced my stress level knowing we had money for a room that night. We also saw many of the towns people with large red tikki style torches walking towards the centro. It was a Sunday night and I knew this was a very important day in the Hispanic culture. I though it would be nice to stick around to see what they were going to do but we still had a couple of hours of daylight left and the rain had stopped so we decided to continue on down the road. It was about 20 minutes later the rain returned and the road we were on was a cousin if not brother to the dragon&#8217;s tail in the eastern US. Nice road and would have been a blast if had not been raining and rocks were not falling onto the road from the rain. Off to the south we could see a fire along the top of one of the mountains. We could only assume that it was started by lightning. Larry stopped and got some pictures. This stretch of road was also the closest I came to soiling my pants on this trip. On one of the left hand corners with a straight down cliff to the right side of the road I saw a series of pot holes in the center of my lane. I went to the right side of the holes thinking no problem I had room. Well while watching the holes I missed that the curve made a sharper left turn shortly after the holes. I don&#8217;t think I had more than two inches of road left before I went over the edge. I was only going about 25 or 30 mph at the time. Good thing I slowed down for the holes. Dane and I stopped shortly after that to wait for Larry since he stopped for some pictures. This is when Dane informed me of &#8220;Another reason Larry is a mother fkr&#8221; He told me that back in Tapanatepec Dane was following Larry over some topes when Larry hit a large area of standing water and soaked Dane. I laughed and said I wished I had seen it. When Larry caught up with us we decided that we needed to start looking for a hotel. We went through a couple of small towns before reaching Las Cruces. It was just about ready to get dark and the clouds did not help any. I pulled over to a small store where a kid, 19-20, was loading some soda in his truck. I had been thinking all day of how to ask for a hotel room. Here was my chance. Senor donde es bueno hotel. It worked he understood me and started talking 90 mph. I understood about three words and read his body language. He told me to go down the road the same direction to some arch thing and turn left to a Hotel Leos. Now I just have to work on the translation part of the conversation when they answer me. We went down the road and a kid pulled up to us on a small motorcycle and was looking at my bike. I asked him donde hotel Leos. He motioned with his hand and pointed to a street with a decorative arch way over the street. He then took us straight to the hotel. It was about 5 or 6 blocks off the main road near the centro. This was a nice hotel! Good price had a nice lobby area and wireless internet. That would have come in handy if we had a computer. The room was not to bad either. They had a couple of room styles to offer. The main thing was they had rooms with three beds. We were all soaked from the rain so we got cleaned up and tried to find a fan to dry our stuff out with. This they did not have. They had clothes lines on the roof to hang our stuff on but with the rain still falling that was not going to work. We did our best to hang our clothes up to dry and then walked towards the centro and found a good restaurant on the third floor of a corner building overlooking the centro. Very busy with foot and vehicle traffic for a rainy night. The meal was interesting if for nothing else trying to ensure we got bottled water to drink. The waiter brought out three glasses of water with ice when we asked for bottled water. Larry got up and walked back to look in the kitchen to make sure it was not tap water. It came from a large plastic bottle. We were still unsure about the ice. Beer it was! After dinner we walked around for a bit looking for a bar or some type of entertainment. The only bar that looked interesting had nobody in it. The rain started back up so we called it a night. What a day full of lessons on map reading and keeping money on hand.
    #18
  19. nailit2em

    nailit2em Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Somewhere....I'll look for a road sign
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    Larry fixing his saddle bag after strap fell off and got wrapped up, red strap to his left, zip tie in hand duct tape on ground

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    Lunch in Sayula

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    Just after cont. divide near windmills

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    Stopped just before rain hit near Zanatepec

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    Looking other way, notice any difference in the sky. Yeah we did to!

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    Fire on the mountain

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    View from restaurant in Las Cruces

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    RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Leos Hotel outside our room
    #19
  20. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,908
    :lurk
    #20