The Adventures of LoneStar & The Iron Butterfly...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. freewaystreak

    freewaystreak Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    El Paso, Texas
    Missing updates on your travels! Hope its only margarita time holding you up, not some body calling you a "pinche gringo" hold up. Safe travels.....
    LoneStar likes this.
  2. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,241
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    The next morning we made the breakfast room, this time filled with Mexican tourists as well as the police. The TV was going and a dramatic news show came on, showing an atomic explosion, pictures of Trump, eerie music and a deep, serious voiceover. The entire room turned to see the show. Though we couldn't understand it, we never felt so Gringo and alone. The room was filled with tension, people looking at us with sideways glances. We both wanted to leave as soon as possible. It was an awkward time and breakfast couldn't be over fast enough.

    We loaded the bikes and headed out, stopping at the Cupatitzio National Park in the city for a few hours before leaving Uruapan. The park is a dichotomy, a beautiful, lush, jungle with a clear river, natural waterfalls and hand-built stone water features and walkways. It resides within the urban sprawl and it's hard to believe it's there. Definitely see it if you go through.



    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]






    This guy made some great cash diving from a tree - he had a great routine
    [​IMG]


    By the time we got out of the park, I knew our intended goal of Valle De Bravo by way of the Milcumbres would be a long push, and we probably wouldn't quite make it. From Uruapan, we backtracked through Patzcuaro and Morelia, turning east for the "thousand curves" through the mountains.

    As I've mentioned before, Mexico has some fantastic motorcycle roads which seem as if they were designed for bikes, with banked curves, twists and beautiful scenery going on for miles and miles and hours and hours. The Milcumbres is no exception and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Riding in Mexico is just fantastic.



    The long, high mountain road is slow due to the curves and by late in the afternoon we were still a couple of hours away from Valle De Bravo.


    [​IMG]


    The hunt for a place to stay began. As we motored towards Ciudad Hidalgo, I caught a glimpse of a sign to the right near a dirt road and hollered in the headset. Kim pulled over and I told her I recognized "hospedaje monastico" and figured it was monastery or similar. Up the dirt road led to a white, modern building and compound - a convent.

    Inside were a few white and grey clad nuns working in a gift shop. There were a few cars outside but I hoped they might have a room. Despite my best efforts, communication between the nuns and I were going nowhere until a woman overheard us and began translating. There were no rooms this evening, but a nun suggested "Los Azufres", a community with thermal baths in the mountains nearby. I was disappointed, as I always wanted to stay in a convent, just to see what sort of nunsense and shenunigans went on after hours. Nyuk Nyuk

    [​IMG]

    We thanked them and headed out, finding the road a few miles down and following it up into high elevations, pine forests and cool temps. We passed a couple of campgrounds slammed with families, but continued on up the twisting blacktop road, eventually spotting a huge column of billowing white steam coming from a large stack in the trees.

    Several small cabin rentals were passed, each being full and as the light began to fade so did our hopes. I spotted a handmade sign in a driveway that said "cabanas" and I pulled over to see. In my poor Spanish I asked for "habitaccione" and was told curtly "No" by the mustachioed owner.

    I walked back to Kim and the bikes and said there was no room in the inn for us. We debated a bit about what to do next, which basically entailed heading on in the dark for Ciudad Hidalgo. As we started up and began to let the clutch out, the man came running from his house, catching us just as we started to roll.

    He said "recamara" a couple of times and so we got off the bikes and were led into his home and shown a spare bedroom. It was a little pricey for what it was but we grabbed it. I complimented him on his home and he beamed, showing me more details than I desired to see.

    Back out at the bikes, the owner brought 3 or 4 guys over to watch us, and one spoke pretty good English, telling me he had a motorcycle and then another guy spoke up as well. We were invited to go with them to the thermal hot springs, but we hadn't eaten and told them we needed to. They were happy to wait, so the owner's wife began preparing a meal for us in a small building adjacent. The enchiladas verdes were absolutely fantastic as we shared the table with a Mexican family. Communication with them was limited but we had a good time, grabbing our swim trunks as we finished to meal and jumped in the car with our waiting hosts.

    It was dark as we drive away, our posse consisting of Rodrigo 14, Marco 27, and Christopher 27. We had left Uruapan with only a few pesos and had forgotten to get more in Morelia. It had taken almost all to pay for the room and dinner and we didn't have much left. The boys stopped at the only store to buy beer, and we declined due to the economic collapse of my wallet, but they returned with two big bottles of water for us anyway.

    The rattling old car made it to the hot springs, and we all bailed out and wandered past several pools as Marco led us to the sauna near the source. It was dark outside and the place looked a bit "rustic" and rugged, but hey, it's Mexico. Kim and I passed on the sauna and got into a hot pool, the boys being a bit tentative. I said "chicas bonita" and pointed bak the way we came. They three burst out laughing and said "yes!", heading off in the darkness to other pools.

    Kim and I had the pool to ourselves for a while, until a family of 6 or 7 arrived in the darkness and hopped in. A young girl of probably 4 floated around the pool eyeing us, until she heard me say something to Kim. Her eyes and face burst alive with the shock of hearing two foreigners speaking English and could barely contain herself. In fact, she couldn't and giggling and turning to her parents kept trying to whisper in a squealing shout "Inglese! Inglese!"

    Her parents were embarrassed but we smiled and laughed and they relaxed. I'm sure it was shock to see to Americans in the hot springs, as it was a place only known to a few as we learned later. One of the young boys spoke up loudly, saying "My English is very good" and we responded "Yes it is". That broke the ice and the kids began slowly gravitating to us, the shyest teen girl taking an hour or so, but eventually circling closer and closer to Kim.

    We all attempted communication and had a lot of fun, the kids knowing a few English words and the parents slowly changing from cautious to friendly. The posse of Rodrigo, Marco, and Christofer returned, joining the conversations and talking until way too late in the evening.

    The family we'd spent time with in the pool invited us to their home if we returned to Morelia, we said our goodbyes and clambered back into the vehicle with the boys. Rodrigo, the 14 year old, was disappointed as he'd been told he was designated driver by Marco, now a bit tipsy from the beer, but squeezed into the back with us for the ride down the mountain to the room.

    The next day the plan was to make Valle De Bravo for a couple of days before heading south for Oaxaca. Breakfast was on the plan, but we only had enough for coffee until hitting the next town and an ATM. We sat at the table with a guy and his wife from Guanajuato, who spoke English well and wanted to talk bikes. He and his family were on vacation for the week and staying at the same place as us. We were invited to visit his home in Guanajuato and he ended up buying our coffee, which was a nice surprise!

    Outside as we packed to leave, the owner came over excitedly and wanted to take family photos with the bikes. He and his wife, his mother and daughter all sat on the bikes for pics. His daughter, who was in her 30's indicated she rode motorcycles and her husband had a KTM and V-Strom. We'd seen her in the kitchen the previous day when we were trying to find a room, and now it made sense why the father suddenly opened his home. It seems the daughter saw us through the window and convinced dad to let us stay :D.


    Papa and his house
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Pictures were fun and we waved as we left for the valley floor and Ciudad Hidalgo and Valle De Bravo. The road through Hidalgo was boring, but soon turned into a great motorcycle road again, climbing higher and following the mountainsides like lines on a topographic map, twisting right and left, the rhythm broken only by mad dashes past slow trucks on blind curves, hugging the yellow as close as possible in case of an oncoming car. Many of the roads in Mexico are so twisty you may never have an area to pass that's "open".

    From the mountain roads we caught glimpses of a beautiful lake ahead amidst the trees, eventually riding down and into the small town. Valle De Bravo is known as the "Little Switzerland" of Mexico, sitting on a beautiful lake and surrounded by mountainous terrain. It's also the weekend home of many wealthy people from Mexico City, an old town surrounded by beautiful homes and nice cars.

    It was hot when we made the town, and we were hungry as horses. The plan was to grab lunch by the water, but we were quickly swallowed in a horrendous traffic jam in the center of town, made worse by the vacation week and the severe roughness of the stone streets. I hesitate to call them streets as they are built from rough rocks rather than smooth flagstones or cobblestones. There were so many cabs in the traffic we had no way to lane split or get anywhere. Kim was having a time on the steep streets since we had to continually stop and inch forward.

    We finally gave up and tried to exit on a side street but it was no better. For such a tiny town, we were stuck over an hour trying to escape to the edge. We finally found a roasted chicken place on the outskirts of town for a meal on the sidewalk and some shade. The chicken wasn't ready but the best turkey legs either of us have ever had filled the bill.

    We had a host for the evening, and I Googled several routes to try to get across town without having to attempt the traffic again, but had no luck as everything routes back to the center - a common issue in Mexican towns. We bit the bullet and sweated our way back through, finally reaching the host's apartment an hour later.

    After unloading the bikes and getting into the room, we were given a pitcher of fresh, "filtered" water which we downed immediately and went back for more. We were done for the day and sat on the balcony overlooking a busy street, serenaded by fireworks and parades.



    Our host, Joserra, made health food tacos that evening with his girlfriend, sharing some with us. Late that evening we wandered the streets down to the lake and sat in the plaza as always.


    [​IMG]


    The next morning, we decided to stay another day, but our host's place was booked. His girlfriend, Clementina, offered to let us stay in her guest home so we accepted, heading a little ways out of town into a neighborhood loaded with nice homes and motorcycle shops - KTM, Polaris, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda.

    The place was beautiful and as we sat talking with Clementina, a young girl with degrees in primatology and biology, Kim began to feel bad. In short order she was full on sick with nausea and stomach issues. Worsening, I loaded her up with the last of the Pepto Bismol and headed out for a pharmacy looking for "Treda", a stomach flu medicine suggested by Clementina as one to knock it out quickly. Kim was very sick the rest of the day and evening.

    I made another trip out in the dark on the bike to get more meds, returning through an area I shouldn't have, seeing a guy being drug out of a building by five guys who were about to beat the hell out him when illuminated by my headlight. They all froze and looked at me as I went past, acting like I'd seen nothing and looking straight ahead. I was glad to get back to the room.

    The next morning she was still not doing well, when I began to feel the same. Yep. We had finally gotten a stomach problem and both figured it was from the "filtered" water we'd drank. Who knows, but it was the first time we'd drunk anything other than purified water from the ubiquitous 5 gallon Bonafont or Cielo jugs most Mexican residents have in their homes, or our own filtered water from the backpacking filters we carry.

    It could have been from anything, and we were lucky to make it 3 months in Mexico eating street foods without something happening. I'll spare you the details, but the Technicolor Yodel, the Yawn for the Hearing Impaired, Clams on the Lam, the Honey-Baked Howl and several Round Trip Meal Tickets occurred over the next two days.

    All our food fighting was made worse by the fact that our host Clementina had to leave town and we had to try to locate a hotel or some other place to stay in the midst of it. Amazingly, she changed her plans and stayed so we didn't have to move.

    During the lost days, my friend Hank texted me from Guatemala and wanted us to meet him on the way back. He'd taken four couples south through Mexico to Guatemala on a two week trip and they were going back to Texas. We'd hoped to meet them in Oaxaca, but Hank had hit a pothole outside Palenque on the way down, blowing his rear tire and snapping the shaft of his TouraTech rear shock, locking up the rear wheel on the highway. It was a miracle he didn't go down and get hit, but a long story short they, had to back through Palenque with parts he'd luckily found in Guatemala City to fix his bike.

    The best place to meet them would be in Puebla, but I wasn't sure if I could make the ride. Kim was better and I finally decided to make the push despite feeling like crap. Google showed Puebla to be 6.5 hours of ride time of we went through Mexico City. Not. Clementina's father was a motorcyclist and had texted us a different route to take, which I modified a bit but still figured it would be at least 8 hours.

    We thanked Clementina, who gave us a small wooden cross from the home of her mother, as well as couple of stickers from her college. and road out for Puebla, our progress slowed by every conceivable thing it seemed. The day felt like it was stuck in mud and by mid-afternoon we were worn out and only halfway at best. In a small town, we pulled over to look at the map for a few minutes and were tapped on the shoulder by a big American guy. He pointed to two Latino ladies and said "They'd like to buy you guys an ice cream!"

    Though under pressure to make time since we had so far left to go, we were both beat and hot, and were happy to cool off in some shade. It was surprising to bump into an American in such a small town. It turns out he was there with his Mexican wife and her sister. He was from New Jersey, where he'd met her working in Trump's Taj Mahal casino.

    In a moment rarer than seeing a bucktooth chicken, Kim and I listened as a Mexican woman told us how much she loved Donald Trump. She'd been a cashier at the casino for many years and Trump spoke to her frequently, asking how she was and telling her if she ever needed anything, or had any suggestions on how to improve anything to come to his office and not even knock. She told us more stories of how good he was and how many people he helped, paying for their kid's educations and so on. She was very angry that he was being portrayed the way he was and told us not to believe all the lies about him. As I said, it seemed a bit surreal to be sitting in Mexico hearing a Mexican woman from a small town defending Donald Trump.


    [​IMG]


    We had a nice break with the three, the sister not speaking English, but wanting to say prayers for our safety, which we gladly accepted. The man said he was looking for property to build on in Mexico, because it was so cheap to live there and we were invited to stay with them, but we had to make time.

    From that rendezvous, we headed east through the mountains for Puebla, a long hard push and arrived late in the evening as the sun was sinking low.



    The massive volcano Popocat├ępetl, almost 18,000 feet high, was an amazing sight to see as we passed. It was snow-capped and partially shrouded with a rain storm, golden orange rays of sunshine stabbing though in shafts as we rode though patches of rain for the city.



    It was indeed a long day, over 12 hours, and as we entered Puebla, Ki spotted a Krispy Kreme donut shop. We couldn't get there fast enough to get off the bikes and reward ourselves. Despite my stomach still rumbling, I fought bravely and downed a donut. Or was it two? Kim approved our momentary weakness and it felt good to have bit of "M'erican" junk food after so many tacos :D

    I texted Hank, who'd just arrived with his gang and made plans to say hello the next morning.
    arghhh, MrKiwi, juno and 14 others like this.
  3. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,652
    Location:
    San Diego
    You guys are just awesome! I can only imagine how it must feel to travel and not have an "end" date. A date that one has to keep in mind when he has to end the trip. I would expect that travel as you two are living comes with it's own different pressures and concerns though.
    My trips have all been from long weekends to numerous week long, and a few 2 weeks trips. I continually work on being in the moment and forcing my mind to ignore the fact that it will soon be over. It's not easy to get to this mental state but I practice it so as to not lose any of my precious time.
    one of these days it would be interesting to get an update on both of your state of mind. From the start of your journey, through it, and at the end.
  4. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,241
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    UPDATE:

    We'd been in San Cristobal a while and a day before crossing into Guatemala, I received notification that my mother had become gravely ill and things weren't looking good. We waited a couple of days to see if things got better but she continued downhill.

    The decision was made to head back for Texas as fast as possible and we rode the 1800 miles in three 12 hour days at tollway speeds, getting back to Dallas very late. It was a buttkicker and Kim pushed herself far beyond boundaries, but we made it.

    I'll update you guys but for the time being would appreciate your prayers for her...
    BarryB, COG-KLR, MrKiwi and 8 others like this.
  5. garfey

    garfey Scruffy Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9,227
    Location:
    Deep East Texas
    Aww, Joseph, I'm really sorry to hear about your mother. May you and she have the strength you need to see you through this trial.
    LoneStar likes this.
  6. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,652
    Location:
    San Diego
    God be with you guys as you are there with mom. I lost mine in December and the few days I had with her will never be forgotten. Sorry to hear about this.
    AnywhereButHere and LoneStar like this.
  7. drfood

    drfood Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Houston, TX (Westbury area)
    Joe and Kim. Jay and I send positive thoughts and energy to your mom and you guys. Very happy you made it back to Dallas safely. Be well my friend. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your lives.
    Davidprej and LoneStar like this.
  8. asphaltsurfer1

    asphaltsurfer1 CatManDew

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    540
    Location:
    By the pool
    Sorry about your Mom and your abrupt end to your trip Joseph
    LoneStar likes this.
  9. jeepman63

    jeepman63 daplumber

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    south corolina
    will really miss you guys, been following since day ONE. please stay in touch with us all and be there for your mom.

    now that was alot of riding getting back, really glad you both made it safely.
    LoneStar likes this.
  10. MileEater4ever

    MileEater4ever Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Oddometer:
    623
    Location:
    Ithaca, MI
    Praying for you and Kim, your mother and the rest of the family.
    LoneStar likes this.
  11. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Burleson, Texas
    Prayers for you Joe. My mother passed a few days ago, and I hope you can spend time with her during her last moments. Peace be with her and your family.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    LoneStar likes this.
  12. RidewithAB

    RidewithAB Just Ride! Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    393
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I too will keep you in my prayers. Regards...AB
    LoneStar likes this.
  13. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,241
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Thanks guys - it's really appreciated. I think I said somewhere in this massive diatribe that - we make out plans but God guides - and this is one of those moments in life for sure. Everything is in limbo at the moment, but we hope to be able to continue our trek.

    JoTePe & Zubb - sorry to hear about your mom's recent passing and my condolences.

    In the downtime I'll post the remaining ride reports and also work on bikes and maybe do a gear breakdown of what we've brought and how it works for us yada yada

    Again, really appreciate your comments my friends
  14. Gham

    Gham past expiration date Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,579
    Location:
    Auburn Hills,MI.
    Seems kinda sad when you finally get to a point in your life where kids are grown and you can afford to go off on a long awaited adventure,then your family starts to fall into ill health and things can fall apart at any time.

    I enjoyed your trip while it lasted and the photos were fantastic,your very talented in that regard. Thanks for taking us along.
    LoneStar likes this.
  15. kingofZroad

    kingofZroad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    464
    Location:
    Montrose, CO
    Sending prayers and well wishes!!
    LoneStar likes this.
  16. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,241
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Indeed! I wish I was able to have done it when I was young vs mid fifties, but trying to finagle a "life" into life ain't easy. I'm viewing this as a break in the journey and will continue when the situation clarifies.

    In late 2011, I was prepping to do the South America ride on my R1100GS leaving late summer 2012, and was almost done upgrading the bike, gear and the thousand things involved when my dad began to slip away about this same time of year. He died in early summer and I had to spend a lot of time in Dallas helping my mother deal with details. The delays and lost income put me behind budget and out the window of time for making Ushuaia before bad weather arrived.

    So, finding that perfect line between a dream, work, marriage, kids, responsibility, aging parents, age, personal health and finances is a bit like that old video game "frogger". When you see a gap, run like hell :D
    COG-KLR, Gham, roadcapDen and 3 others like this.
  17. freewaystreak

    freewaystreak Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    El Paso, Texas
    A prayer for you and your mom and family. May God bless and prosper you and guide you in your time of need.

    Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk
    LoneStar likes this.
  18. SLUGGO

    SLUGGO A Lone Drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    220
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, Taxnfeeafornia
    Joe, I'm praying for you and your family. I have really enjoyed your trip reports. Thanks so much!
    LoneStar likes this.
  19. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,190
    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Prayers for you and your family.
    LoneStar likes this.
  20. NOTAGAIN

    NOTAGAIN Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Eastern WA
    have followed you guys from the get-go, prayers for your mom and safe travels to you and Kim
    LoneStar likes this.