Please Weigh In on Some MX Travel Questions

Discussion in 'Americas' started by The Chief (tm), Oct 17, 2013.

  1. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
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    Alaska
    I'm glad you had a good time in the the Grrd. :freaky You're not missing anything here now, -20 C and very little snow. :cry

    Buen viaje!
    #81
  2. The Chief (tm)

    The Chief (tm) Adventurer

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    Senor Crash,

    1) Loved the "No Fumar" video...and that was with the sound turned off...

    2) The summer I was in ANC was right after the 900" winter, or whatever those insane numbers were. My Alyeska people couldn't stop talking about it.
    #82
  3. The Chief (tm)

    The Chief (tm) Adventurer

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    GANG!

    Leaving tomorrow (Thursday) as soon as I put the finishing touches on a few things...such as, y'know, *packing everything* and figuring out where it should go on the bike, etc., etc., etc. Other than that, ready to roll on out of here! :eek1

    Ah, but it'll work out. Mebbe a few sprinkles between here and TX over next few days, but good weather forecast for all of MX travel AFAICT.

    So many thanks to all who contributed! And even just to those who read what we were bandying about. Not sure I'll have the time/wherewithal to do a "good" RR, but what I *can* promise is that if I run into anything that differs from, or wants elaboration on, vs. what I've picked up anywhere (here, or elsewhere), I'll make sure to get that into print, to help those that may be making similar plans. I'm usually a very good planner, but who knows what I might have encountered had I not gotten so many good tips from so many good people.

    So take care, all, please be safe, and do drop a line if you're in PV between mid-Dec. and mid.-Jan.! Happy holidays as well. Later!
    #83
  4. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    :lurk
    Corn harvest is done for me , lots of time to follow your tale.
    So , its Thuuuursdaaaay , how did things go on this first day on the road to Mexico.?
    How far did you make it? Hope the approaching Arctic air mass is not messing with you.

    Remember that if you do cross at either Piedras Negras or Ciudad Acuña you really
    do not need to bother with any of the border formalities in these two towns.
    Simply sidle through the customs portal, push the button if asked , and
    ride straight into town keeping an eye out for any of the banks and their
    money machines. Get your withdrawal Pesos stashed and you will be free to explore a bit
    of town and then head down the highway for Allende where traffic from both these
    border crossings has to pass through the impossible to miss customs control
    point on Mex 57. It is there that you can obtain and pay for your Tourist Card ,
    the TVIP and put down the Security Deposit for the TVIP. If you forgot to
    bring photocopies , no problema, there is a copier available there.
    #84
  5. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    MS. Gulf Coast and Puerto Vallarta, MX
    Chief,
    I don't know where you're starting from,it there is a big time ice storm about to plaster Texas. I'm sure you already know this. Ride safe !
    #85
  6. The Chief (tm)

    The Chief (tm) Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Sorry for radio silence but only just got a shot at internet connection!

    Sjoerd -- am about 30 miles west of Houston for the overnight Saturday; weather has thrown a bit of a curveball, but that's OK. Plan now stands to make it to Nuevo Laredo tomorrow (Sunday), but not in time to do paperwork, so will overnight there and take care of it first thing Monday morning (8AM) before beginning to head further south. So I've lost a day; not the end of the world.


    Ace -- yeah, that kind of popped up out of nowhere, or at least popped up once I was already underway. Two days ago was where I got the full effect: in the low 70's leaving Mobile, AL, then temps plummeting after crossing the Mississippi and only in high 30's by the time I was in western Louisiana. Some insane rain in between as well; brief, but really unpleasant stuff. Cold today as well, had wanted to cover more ground but was just sick of it. Should be marginally warmer tomorrow here in Houston (mid 40's), and into mid-50's by the time I reach Laredo. Last time I looked I think the weather looked fine all the way through MX, so I'm keeping 'em crossed for that...
    #86
  7. The Chief (tm)

    The Chief (tm) Adventurer

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    PEOPLE!

    Sorry to keep everyone awake at night, wondering about lil' ol' me. :roflBut I made it, and I'm here in Puerto Vallarta safe and sound! Will certainly reply to any specific queries, but in the meantime mebbe just the bullet points:

    1) Actually didn't dislike Nuevo Laredo at all (but then, I'm a city kid at heart)

    2) Border crossing: got there 7:45 on a Monday AM for 8 AM opening -- already lots of folks waiting. Took almost one hour door-to-door to get processed, which may sound bad, but never actually felt bad. Whilst walking out at 9 AM, couldn't help but notice that the place was nearly empty!

    3) Iffy weather forecast forced me to ditch plan to take Rte. 20 over the mountains. Instead, hopped on cuota to buy time on S/B haul. Good thing, too, 'cuz hit some pretty thick traffic closer to Monterrey, and through Saltillo on way to Concepcion de Oro. Traffic on Pereferico around Monterrey was the closest thing I have ever gotten to playing an arcade racing game in real life: lane markings not really visible, just ride however you'd like and avoid hitting/getting hit by those big smoke-belching multi-wheeled things. Then some more nutty stuff (like the roadside "ajo" guy) northeast of Saltillo. In-town Salty pretty neat in spots, like by the university.

    4) Concepcion: may have gotten lucky here a bit, in that it was the big week for the Virgin of Guadalupe celebration, so everywhere I went the town centers and plazas were all decorated, with lots of pedestrian activity. Concepcion no exception; had to be way more people in the streets than actually lived there. Fantastic stuff. First dinner in MX: $3.20 including drink! And the guy would barely let me tip him.

    5) Speaking of tips, Pemex attendants sometimes appreciated them, sometimes didn't seem to care.

    6) Speaking of foreign exchange, was surprised to find that the best rate I got anywhere was on the MX side of the border, at the Customs / CIITEV building (MXP12.65 / $1). Don't have a credit or ATM card, so can't do it that way. Wish I had changed a lot more $ than I did, let's put it that way.

    7) Concepcion to Dolores Hidalgo: funny to cross state lines in the middle of nowhere, yet still be greeted by giant signs welcoming you to the next one. Also did pass through a couple of military checkpoints similarly in the middle of nowhere. At least it wasn't too hot for the fellas in the camo gear, though they all looked young enough to handle it.

    8) Somewhere along the line, crossed the Tropic of Cancer.

    9) Dolores Hidalgo also fantastic. Great history, great vibe around the town plaza, inexpensive as heck. By that point, hadn't spoken English in two straight days, aside from translating a few jokes for my new friends at the alleyway bar in Concepcion.

    10) Dolores Hidalgo to Ajijic: left DH and climbed, climbed, climbed through fog in the mountains; wondered if I'd ever see the valleys below. Eventually did, in time to catch a few tiny mountainside villages, then seriously dove down out of the sky just outside Guanajuato. Incredibly scenic. Guanajuato a very cool place; will likely go back. Had a lovely 90-minute break at a small juice stand in the center of La Piedad; thank you to Senor Pepe and his ninas for the hospitality!

    11) Speed limits: not even a "suggestion", as I think Car and Driver once wrote (about somewhere else), but more like "entertainment". One of you regulars (Tricepilot, MikeMike, mebbe Jimmex, please pardon my faulty recollection) put it perfectly when you said, "make your own peace with the posted speed limits". Cars going 100 MPH in 110 KPH zones was less impressive than those going 80 MPH in 60 KPH zones. I wonder if they know how much extra gas they're using. And the passing techniques...believe me when I say I caught on quickly, partly out of survival.

    12) Great night in Ajijic with some wonderful proprietresses of a local cafe.

    13) Ajijic to PV pretty much a boondoggle; after a beautiful start, somehow failed to see a particular turn off, so initially got caught in outer Guadalajara rush-hour traffic. Then took Route 70 (libre) and, in the end, hated it. Loved the visits to Anteguilla (sp?) and Talpa de Allende along the way, but riding-wise, east of Ameca, the road was of varying quality and absolutely peppered with topes; west of Ameca, suckily bumpy and when not pockmarked, just very abrasive pavement. Little sightseeing possible when micro-managing one's riding line along a bombed-out rollercoaster course on an 800-lb. bike. I can't think of a single thing about even being on a dual-sport that would have made it any more enjoyable. I spent nearly EIGHT HOURS in the saddle that day, when all the on-line mappers said it'd be about four and a half. When I scope out a route, if it's anything more than six, I split it up. But I couldn't quit that afternoon when I was so close to my goal.

    14) PV: very neat to pilot one's own ride right down the streets you've visited before on a different/non-bike trip. Grabbed an inexpensive motel room, parked and secured the bike, and plunged right into the final night of the festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Ran out of steam at about 9 PM and called it a night.

    Since then, have walked all over the place, have only started the bike to move it the four blocks between the motel and the apartment I've found, and have had a very good time. I've left out a million things and it's sack time now but I'd be happy to respond to any questions anyone might have, either via the thread or PM's. Regulars -- and you know who you are -- I want to thank you greatly for having provided me with the info base I needed to make this thing a success. And I'll definitely pass along the observations I made during this trip to those who might ask for my experiences.
    #87
  8. The Chief (tm)

    The Chief (tm) Adventurer

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    And forgot to mention my own brush with the ol' "ADV Magic".

    When I first started the thread asking for advice, inmate Canadian Chris checked in and said he'd be in PV mebbe around the time I was going to be arriving. (FWIW he has an ST1300, I an 1100.) Exchanged a PM or two in an attempt to set a meet-up, but then I crossed over, had marginal phone and internet connectivity, maybe had the chance to drop one PM at the most, and was never even able to check back in.

    Two days ago: walking around PV. Hey, there's a big bike -- it's an ST1300. Are those British Columbia tags? Is that an ADV sticker? And who are these people in the ATGATT getups? Start talking, he says his name is Chris, I almost continue nattering on and then stop and say, "WAITAMINNIT, 'Canadian Chris'?"

    PEOPLE! He rode however far down from BC, and I rode 2500 miles west and south from South Carolina, and without being able to touch base we ran into each other on the street, literally seconds before he and his wife were to shove off for Manzanillo.

    ADV Magic, indeed.
    #88
  9. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    oh bummer you blew right through Guanajuato.
    yes you must go back sometime!
    #89
  10. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    how cool.
    mexing and sexing they are :rofl

    #90
  11. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Feliz Navidad, Chief!:clap
    #91
  12. The Chief (tm)

    The Chief (tm) Adventurer

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    Muchas gracias, Double-M! And to you as well.
    #92
  13. protokultur

    protokultur Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    15
    Hola, inmates. Long time lurker on ADVrider here.

    I'm in Mexico City this Xmas-NYE and looking to do some rides while I am in country. Based on what I read here I connected with Oscar from http://www.mxmotoadv.com/ and will pick up the bike on Sunday.

    Had planned to do Oaxaca and down to Chiapas, roughly these points:
    Puebla, Oaxaca City, maybe down to San Cristobal if I can do it in five days. Will be here until Jan 5 but the longest stretch I've got to be out on the road is Dec 25-31. Not sure what kind of mileage I could reasonably manage per day.

    I've got time to do two 1-2 day trips and one 5-day:
    Dec 23-25
    Dec 25-31
    Jan 2-4

    Hope to connect with other people riding through or just any suggestions for roads and places - this is my first time in Mexico so see ya out there!
    #93
  14. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Puebla to Oaxaca is a breeze and a great ride. PM me if you want some variations on the routing.
    #94
  15. protokultur

    protokultur Adventurer

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    Thanks man - will send a PM.

    Realistic to get down into Chiapas and back in 4-5 days? I am no ironbutt, but I don't do much hanging around in hotels - can do sightseeing from the saddle :ricky
    #95
  16. The Chief (tm)

    The Chief (tm) Adventurer

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    Hey Proto,

    PV is well away from your southern/eastern loop-de-do, although were you to find yourself this far west by all means drop a line. In the meantime, as you've already discovered, you'll get a lot of excellent advice from the MX pros on this forum, so enjoy!
    #96
  17. protokultur

    protokultur Adventurer

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    Yes - excellent advice and my apologies for thread-jacking :doh

    See y'all out there!
    #97