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Discussion in 'Americas' started by lukasteam, Mar 6, 2019.
Perhaps I missed it, but why no riding after dark?
We used Baja Bound
I just looked through my messages with them and they were great. We had a sidecar and custom trailer we were pulling and they took the time to make sure we were properly covered. Their underwriter is HDI Seguros, and they took the time to take all our requests to them directly. I have heard getting in a crash with no insurance in Mexico is bad news - I am glad I don’t know from personal experience!
Among other reasons it’s much harder to see the often poorly or unmarked road oddities like topes or potholes or construction detours or simply missing large sections of pavement.
Ah. Its more of a road hazard thing than people hazard.
Just curious. Thanks.
Then only “people” warning I ever got (from Someone with actual personal experience - we got LOTS of people warnings from folks who’d never been...) was to not ride the highway on Baja on a Sunday. His reason was that most everyone was off on Sunday and that there would be a LOT of drunk drivers. This advice was mentioned in general by a couple of Mexicans we met while traveling, but more of a “be careful of the drunks on Sunday” rather than a don’t even try. The guy we got the initial advice from was a windsurfer who’d spent the last twenty winters surfing Baja while living out of his pickup, so I gave his advice some credence.
Thank you so much , I'm looking at it right now . This is super helpful !!!
In Argentina, setting out early one Sunday morning from a town put me right in the middle of drunken traffic ,as the local night clubs spilled out at 6am
The topes are also passing zones , check your mirrors , and always for oncoming traffic in your lane
It's not unusual for traffic to go three and four wide to get around slower buses and trucks as they brake for the topes
Mr Farkels summed up topes pretty well ,in his 2009 ride report
"Tumulos (aka topes / speed bumps) are used liberally to slow traffic. For motorcycles, they mean "passing zone" though we are careful around people. This means that the easiest passing is in town, in school zones and market areas. Usually you give the horn a quick beep to let them know you're there. They're the most fun when you can catch air and nearby children cheer. It's an odd feeling to pass a cop, hitting your horn, in a no passing zone, and having nothing come of it. You get over it though.
Within 30 minutes of riding in Central America, I would bet that most foreigners have figured out traffic. You become completely accustomed to passing in no-pass zones, around blind corners, up hills, wherever. Is there a bus coming at you? No big deal. Everyone makes room. Usually."
Some towns in Mexico are ripping their topes up ,Here in La Paz there is a street where they ripped too much up and left a series of hard to spot ditches
NO riding after dark because of animals and holes and broken vehicles...it is VERY dark.
Even in the daytime can be dangerous.....(see my thread 'hit a cow in baja'
You can come across something at the side of the road like a pile of rocks, or a stick in a few rocks, or a T shirt on a stick....some signals are quite inventive....but they are markers for an upcoming obstruction like a stalled vehicle.
Topes (because they generally go across both lanes from either direction) you will encounter at the entrance to a town AND the exit. Twice as much fun. They are easy if you are going slow. You SHOULD slow down a LOT for towns and villages anyway.
Don't be afraid to stop at makeshift roadside drink and eat places..even if its a banana leaf hut...these are some of the BEST experiences. The locals (both boys and adult males) will want to know how much your bike cost, what size engine it is, how fast it goes. Learn these phrases in Spanish. You can make a kids YEAR by letting them sit on your bike and take a pic then email it to them if they have an internet café or access to a computer.
As said I wouldn't bother camping unless that is your 'thing'. Rooms are inexpensive. The 'sex motels' are super inexpensive and super safe....yes you can rent for the WHOLE night! You may encounter some 'interesting' furniture in some of them.....makes for a more eventful trip with the Mrs. We've rented overnight for as little as $10. It doesn't seem to make much difference to the owners...they have to change the sheets no matter how long you stay. Some of the rooms are 'rustic'.....but some compete with Las Vegas in décor. Most have a VERY secure place to leave your vehicle...often hidden out of sight.
Other than the PIzza Bikes I'd say Cruisers are the next most popular ride, you won't have any issues riding it on the roads.
There are areas that can be more than 200 miles between gas stations (part way you may find fuel in a 40 gallon drum) but conventional wisdom says to top up your gas OFTEN. Most places have gas jockeys and it's customary to give them 50c.........fuel is same price as US and one choice station PEMEX.....two choices fuel regular or premium.
Another odd thing about signage....take for example eateries or tire shops.....you will see a sign entering the town and another one ON YOUR SIDE exiting the town! This could be an indication that there is not much up ahead.
In the expanses between towns there is often little commerce and you'll be hard put to find anything but a ramshackle tire repair shop.
Again don't fear the TOPES...embrace them....the locals deal with it all day long......SLOW DOWN......the danger is hitting one at speed...other than that it's easy peasy.
Thank you TUCKERS your post put me completely at ease . I'm in it now for sure . Working on a route now .
Guy's what town would be nice and safe to spend the nigh after I cross the border at Laredo , TX ???
It’s always best to leave border towns in either Country. Just get as far away as you can!
Yup , thats exactly my thought . Just looking for a good next stop , I'm sure folks have some experience here ...
yes, topes for passing, we did it all the time, except, outside a small town in Mexico, I started passing a line of 4 cars and a bus, my wife started following me and then dropped back, I got to the front of the line and there were 3 policia vehicles and about 6 cops. I got stopped. After about 45 minutes and talking back and forth, they let me go. Yes, topes are great for passing except when......
And do your tvip, moto insurance all online before you go, it is so much quicker and easier to do from the comfort of your home. And I would have hard copy title, a copy may work but it depends on who is checking you in and you don't want to be turned around and have to head home. Documentation is always good.
Banana leaf huts and sex furniture. My kind of Friday night.
...so I think I'm biting off more than I can chew for a 3 week trip (remember I'm coming all the way from Chicago) .Originally the plan was to go all the way to Oaxac , but now , I think my turn point will be Morelia . From there I'd like to hit the west coast and follow the shoreline up north . That way I have more time for site seeing , interaction and relaxing pace rather than go , go , go ...
I'd probably like to stop at :
San Luis Potosi
San Miguel de Allende
What you think guys ???
We (2 couples) started with a similar list with a one month schedule last fall. We usually did 1-300 miles each day. We didn't make it to Morelia and Durango because we ran out of time. Several places required a few days to experience the way we wanted to.
We entered at Ojinaga and visited three places before SLP. We then went to Jalpan, SMA, Guanajuato and Zacatecas before it was time to head north.
We revised our plan frequently.
If you are interested I can send you a .gpx file with the hotels we used. They were all centrally located and varied in price from 600-1000 pesos.
Another option for insurance is https://www.mexadventure.com/
I recommend you ask about doing your TVIP online over at the "is mexico safe" thread. The people I know who have done that only did it once.
Loads of info about the border, insurance, vehicle permits on the Is Mexico Safe thread on the first few pages. Really good stuff.
I just made a video about topes using some cardboard and a small model of a Harley. The video sucks so I'm not posting it. Use the diagonal method. It keeps the front wheel up on the bump until the rear wheel starts to rise so no high centering.
I'm known as somewhat of an expert on topes on the Mexico threads.
Well people too at times. Drunk people, people walking, drunk people walking, cows, horses, burros, drunk cows, drunk horses, people driving with no lights.
An adventure ride is what you want to do. When my wife and I did Mexico/Central America we did it at her pace and saw alot. Our plan both times was to make it to the Panama Canal and never did we make it there. We made it to El Salvador as the furthest point south. Other riders we all about making it to the Panama Canal round trip from the USA in 10 days. We are happy we got to see so much of the countries we rode through and, for us, enjoyed it more. If you are more about smelling the roses as you ride, go for it. And Zacatecas was our 2nd favorite city in Mexico, we spent 2 different Easter weeks there and it also is great.
If you do make it to Durango, do not miss riding the Espinazo del diablo (the devils backbone) to Mazatlan. The map says 250 miles ( I can't remember), so you think a few hours. Wow, twisties like you have never seen before and allow 5 hours, an unbelievable ride and then you are on the Pacific coast and on your way up to the USA.
I will add the last time we rode south of the border was 2012. My wife was 59 and again none of my boyfriends ever wanted to go south. Some if not most guys who ride south are minimalists when they pack. We were not, we packed everything she wanted to keep her comfortable. In fact, I joke, I sent the kitchen sink ahead to where we were staying so she would have it all
I rode a similar bike (H-D Ultra Ltd) from Austin to Cholula then CDMX and home in 2010. Never carried a bike cover since I never left soft bags or loose items on the bike. Only time I’ve ever taken a cover was 2012 to Guatemala. Rarely used it. Never carried since.
Disagree with the diagonal approach to topes. With good technique it’s not only unnecessary it can lead to issues with traffic in tighter areas. Never seen a Mexican rider resort to this on any kind of bike. That should tell you something. If you’ve taken a slow turns course and learned to drag rear brake with a little throttle while using the clutch to modulate speed then you already know how to handle topes without swerving around in your lane. I rarely dragged the big Ultra over topes and never took one diagonally.
Likewise the old rule about crossing early in the day and getting as far from the border as fast as you can is outdated at best. I enjoy crossing at various POE’s and getting a nice cheap room on the Mexican side. I also get my FMM and TVIP at the border. Fast, easy, and less chance of error. Did it online once. Never since.
When I guide other riders I prefer the Colombia Bridge crossing for fast, easy paperwork and avoiding city congestion. From there you could ride Hwy 1 to Anáhuac and stay in Hotel Casa Grande (park by the pool) or Hotel Alas Blancas which has been booked with workers on the new pipeline. Another option is Bustamante a little further south. Or take Hwys 2 and 85 to Sabinas Hidalgo and overnight there. I avoid that section of cuota (85D) due to truck congestion.
Here’s the route I took to Cholula on the Ultra in 2010: