The End is Here; AKA The Adventures of "el Churro" Around Latin America (Mexico)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WileyRTW, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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  2. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Thanks watching it now....I tune into the WSL ones when I can. Looks like there are a lot of waves today.
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  3. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Memories of my stay in El Tunco . The Stickers on my Panniers are still decent after 10 years SAM_2953.JPG SAM_2954.JPG
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  4. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Nice Cal, I rented a scooter in El Tunco that had a board holder on the side, rode it up the coast thru El Sunzal, Los Flores and thru all the tunnels. Going back this winter.
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  5. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Part 1:
    RIP Morty, he was a true adventurer who loved the road, and even more than that he loved the speed. The faster Churro went the happier Morty was, nodding his head in approval as we jammed along. You will be missed Morty, but I am getting ahead of myself.

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    1st, I needed to get Churro out of the stable, you know how temperamental he gets, and he hates missing out on adventure. So with a little magic, and a bit too much money, I replaced that crappy shock that had held us back for so long. I reluctantly decided to go with a cogent shock, known to be one of the best suspension upgrades for a KLR, but a bit over 800 USD which was painful considering Churro had been purchased for just over 3 grand. But with hindsight I have learned Churro was undervalued, as he has proven his weight in gold time and time again. The new shock was a worthwhile investment, though so good it leaves the front suspension feeling a bit inadequate now…we just can’t win. Well maybe we can, I also swapped out the stupid lowering links with a stock set while I was at it so Churro now sits tall and proud, as he should.

    Time for a new shock
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    So Churro is finally free, yay! Naturally we celebrated with various delicious foods around Morelia, and then decided it was the perfect time to test out the new addition to the setup. I tried to talk him out of it, but Churro is no bitch, so he figured our 1st trial run should be a big one….so we strapped on the new surfboard and headed for mil cumbres. This way if something went wrong, we could blame the awesome road rather than the setup, and if it went right here, it would work anywhere!

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    Another Sunday where Morelia was completely "Shutdown" for covid....cuidate en casa my ass!
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    The other reason for testing the surfboard setup while headed in the opposite direction from the ocean was there were several spots within the state of Guerrero I had not yet made it to, and Churro and I were getting sick of the toll road that heads out to the coast, so it was time for another long detour. Churro and I slowly made our way to Taxco, a well known city famous for silver mining back in the day. I told Karen to avoid highways and tolls once again and set off from Morelia. I believe I have mentioned her before, but I try not to bring her up too often due to the love hate relationship Churro and I have with her. Sometimes Karen is fantastic, telling us to go down awesome roads, often unpaved….allowing us to do little work aside from following her directions. But sometimes….she is a straight up bitch. On roads like mil cumbres, which does not have many turn offs but does have many sharp turns, Karen cannot resist to tells us to turn left or right at every bend despite there being no other roads around. Due to this, Churro sometimes ignores her, assuming the small road we passed is not the road she intended us to take….and eventually she starts freaking out telling us to make a million non-existent turns until she demands we make a u-turn, which is the indication to me that we missed something. Anyway, Karen did well on this trip, even picking out a bit of dirt….so I will cut her some slack…this time.

    Success!
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    We took some cool roads through towns I don’t remember, looking at google maps I took the squiggly roads roughly running from Morelia over through Valle de Bravo, over to Coatepec Harinas. This wasn't done in 1 day, and I do recall skipping Valle de Bravo since while nice, was a zoo due to construction and the many tourists coming in from Mexico City. Unfortunately that is all I recall at this time. Since Churro and I were coming in the back way to Taxco this allowed us to descend down the mountain into the town. It was getting late, so we had debated stopping in Tetipac as it had a cool little centro, and probably only 1 hotel. We had somehow gotten slightly lost here despite it having less than 10 or so streets, so after passing through the centro 2, maybe 3 times we decided to push on since everyone wondered what the idiot gringo was up to. I later googled this town and unfortunately it is a bit famous for a police ambush which occurred between itself and Taxco 4 months prior….so maybe it is good we skipped it.

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  6. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Part 2:
    Taxco was a cool little city, with winding roads and pretty buildings, but not much going on….again most likely due to covid. I spent a day or two wandering the streets, but I don’t recall doing anything at all aside from ordering a pizza.

    Taxco
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    So with a full belly, Churro and I headed off for Altamirano, once again taking the long way. I saw something about some natural pools of some sort on google maps, so let that decide the route, but even those were closed due to covid, with no plan of reopening anytime soon according to the sign left behind. Luckily the route to and from here was excellent, as there is great ridding in Guerrero, so it didn’t even matter. We took the route which led us through ixcateopan, I only recall this since the name is in the photo…I am getting further behind every day. I noticed the pyramid and spun Churro around at the last minute to grab the shot without really paying attention….only to drop him right on the surfboard….ahh, probably broken before it ever saw the water. Two guys jump out of a truck going by and help me lift him up, and I decide I don’t even want to know what happened so we carried on towards Altamirano, going through awesome little towns and great mountain roads.

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    Altamirano is hot, which comes as no surprise since everyone says this….yet I was still unprepared mentally for how hot it was and this was probably back in January, maybe February! There are couple of hotels, and some foods options, the typical local junk being sold so it is a common stop over for the few who make it out this way. We stayed in the cheap hotel with a lot of reviews, it was empty, but I later found a trip report elsewhere where others had stayed in the same hotel years before, so it has probably seen its share of ADVRiders. I also mustered up the courage to check that surfboard and surprisingly there was no damage. Now, that is partially because rather than a typical board I bought an NSP surfboard which while lacking in performance, is built like a tank….perfect for this type of adventure.

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    From here the mountain road will take us down to Zihuatanejo, unless we go around to Acapulco which neither Churro or I want to do again. The problem here is that the mountain road (Rt. 134) has a terrible reputation, and most people do everything they can to avoid it. You won’t see many cars so you are on your own if something goes bad, I think I saw 6 in the 4-5 drive between Altamirano and Zihua. You need to know this going in, make smart decisions, blah blah blah. I don’t recommend anyone take this route on their own, but I never follow my own advice so away Churro and I went. Well, it is definitely isolated, but it is also beautiful, and more important a winding road which Churro loves. There are a ton of small landslides that no one seems to maintain, as some had small trees growing out of the rock piles. At times large boulders were found in the road, as well as cows and donkeys, nothing out of the ordinary for Mexico. The ride was uneventful for Churro and I, which is a good thing on this road.

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    And now back to Morty. I try to be optimistic, so while Mortys time with Churro and I was short lived, I like to think as much as he loved life on the road, he found himself a home like so many of us do while on the road, and decided to stay behind and live out the rest of his life in peace. Or perhaps he wanted to check out the pyramid and jumped off when Churro took his nap in the road….only to be picked up by some adventurous little girl who took care of him from that point on. The reality is Mexico is a tough place, and he probably lost his grip through the turns on Rt. 134, eventually getting run over by a big rig…I never said I was good at this optimism thing. No matter what his fate was, Morty will be missed.

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    RIP Morty.
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  7. WolfEel

    WolfEel n00b

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    My uncle in Mexicali died from the “fake COVID BS”. My sister in law died from “fake COVID BS”. A 33 year old coworker died from “fake COVID BS”. So glad it’s all fake. I thought they were really dead.
  8. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Thank you for the comment, your opinion is very important to me. Make sure to hit the "Watch Thread" button for future updates. :thumbup
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  9. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Getting harder and harder to update this report
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  10. inroads

    inroads Go West old man

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    Just found this...find it fun and refreshing...your personal choices are just that...I'm here for the Adventure report and this is good....hope you find it in you to carry on...
    Thanks...
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  11. codebot

    codebot Long time lurker, n00b poster

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    Updating sounds like a pain at times. I'd have a hard time keeping up.

    Just know that there are still inmates out here that appreciate a picture and a story.
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  12. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    After traversing the perilous Rt 134 Churro and I arrived back to Zihua to shift gears back into beach mode, something I have got pretty good at over the years. There was some surfing, some eating, and pretty much just lazing around.

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    I did talk to some Canadians staying at the same AirBnB I was staying at, they were traveling around Mexico on a couple mopeds. Only 1 is shown in the picture, but these things did not look like they had much power. They had traveled the coast and were heading to more beaches in the North before they planned on redirecting to the mountains. I am not sure they know what they are getting into as the coast is very flat, where Mexico’s mountains will really put those little bikes to the test, but I admire their sense of adventure. One of them mentioned they had never left Canada prior to this trip, so again I was impressed that he would start in this country which doesn’t have the best of reputations.

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    Someone on a small KTM stayed here a night as well, though I never saw the person. I also discovered that the enormous gas tank makes a great night light late at night when on the beach trying to pack stuff up. Yeah, you can see by my stories not much happened here, just how I like it.

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    As much as I was enjoying the beach, I also knew I had to move on, with Semana Santa coming up I had plans to be in the Cancun area…a location which you already know I hate. Of course, that is pretty much on the exact other side of Mexico, so I would need to move quickly in order to get there on time. As usual I don’t recall the exact routes, or any small stops, so am focusing on the main destinations. That also doesn’t mean I went from 1 to the next in a single day, so don't use this as an estimate for travel. This is not the most direct route to Cancun, but I still had some time so it allowed me to take back roads to various cities I wanted to revisit. I also planned to come back the same way spending a little more time at each, so stopped quickly at each this time as I had to keep moving.

    I went back to Morelia to drop off the surfboard, and headed to Pachuca since I had never been there. There was a famous church with some kind of elaborate ceiling carved from wood, but I already knew that was shut down as there was a bad fire destroying most of the church a week prior to my arrival. That was all I knew of Pachuca, but it ended up being a decent place to stop. It was a small city where there wasn’t a whole lot going on so 1 day was plenty to take in the area around my hotel. I did the usual thing of walking around to check out the stores and food, but I will be honest I don’t know what I may or may not have missed.

    Random countryside on the way to Pachuca
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    Between Pachuca and Oaxaca I got very lost in some small town where the blue church is located, so stopped for a break looking for food. Nothing looked promising, but it was a good excuse to check out a random place. I believe it was just outside Puebla so maybe someone on ADVRider recognizes it. I wouldn’t go back, but am curious to where I was.

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    From there I headed down to Oaxaca, a city I have been to several times but one which I enjoy. I feel like there was more color in the city this time, like they had painted more of the buildings various colors, and cleaned up the area a bit. There were also a lot more vendors selling their crap, but that added to the vibe so it was great. I thought this was for Semana Santa since this is a huge holiday and was the reason I was headed to the Yucatan, but on the return everything was still setup in full force, so I don’t know why the city felt busier than my previous visits, perhaps it's popularity has grown due to social media.

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    I cut down towards Salina Cruz, which doesn't get the best reputation online, though I don't mind it at all. It is a port town which is a bit run down, and I read people say that people are not friendly etc, but that has never been the case to me. I believe the state of the town gives some the incorrect perception in travelers heads. As usual with the moto everyone likes to say hello and ask about Churro, and when I went to the mercado I even had a young girl 10 years old or so sit down next to me and start speaking in English, asking me all kinds of questions. There is not much going on here, but I always enjoy a quick stop over.

    I eventually ended up in San Cristobal, another great city. San Cristobal is located in Chiapas, which might be my favorite state. The fog hanging in the mountains makes for some beautiful scenery while on the bike, and the roads are chocked full of twisties, Churros favorite. Of course it was dry this time, but the beautiful blue skies and refreshing mountain air made up for it. Unfortunately Chiapas is the poorest of the states in Mexico partly as a result of NAFTA screwing them over, and many of the people live in extreme poverty.

    San Cristobal was 1 of the LEAST compliant places I have seen throughout all of Mexico when it comes to mask wearing/restrictions. Due to the local attire it is very easy to tell the locals apart, and while the gringos did a pretty bad job, in the mercados it was obvious the locals did not give an F, I would estimate there was about a 1% compliance on mask wearing. It is in these scenarios that I am reminded the overblown reaction to the whole situation, as these people have continued living their lives and working in these tight quarters because day to day life is essential, staying at home is not option for the poor.

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    This sweet bike still runs, and is used daily….it was 100cc if I recall correctly
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    From here I moved onto Palenque. The road here can be slow as there are a lot of construction trucks, and passing can be difficult due to the curves, but it takes you through a great part of Chiapas as far as scenery goes. At one point I had to stop for 30 or so minutes for construction which shut down traffic in both directions so I grabbed a seat in the shade, you can see the line of cars in the pic below. Well, this is Mexico so eventually people got pissed and cut the line, effectively blocking any traffic from coming the other direction. A very dick move, but the upside was that this forced our side to get through 1st once they opened the road back up, so who am I to complain. Once I made it to Palenque I grabbed a hotel in the centro. When I came here 10 years ago I stayed somewhere closer to the ruins so never really saw the centro, so it was nice to hangout here briefly as well. I don't like Burger King all that much, but there is one here, and after months without it I admit it was delicious. I was definitely getting sore from all of the riding and knew I would need to rest up for the easter break madness on the beaches, but from here it will be easy to get to the Yucatan, so Churro is not worried.

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  13. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Thanks for the update, yes Chiapas is a wonderful State full of natural wonders. I built 2 houses in San Cristobal in 2001 I enjoyed it a lot but now when down there I enjoy Comitan for its lack of tourism
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  14. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Awesome, I have wanted to check out that area in general so have added it to the list for whenever I make it back out there. Thanks Cal
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  15. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Most excellent, worth the wait!
    Cool gas tank light.
    we just got a bunch of new KTM Duke 200's for our school, 6 speed.
    keep on Churroing...
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  16. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    After 17 months being deprived of a Mexico visit looking at all those photos was a treat. With so many images in one really long update the download for viewing often goes haywire or shuts down on the iPhone , then restarts at the beginning.- CSM alert!- As a result it seems there is a phallic church tower or two in just about any group of pictures showing .

    Could you lighten up on the “towering images “? Two or three shots of the same iglesia at slightly different angles is a bit of overkill. More ice cream shots would be nicer .

    Chiapas is indeed a great touring state , varied climate and topography . San Cristobal is Central to the Mundo Maya to the north and east ,cool highland climate , poor, old and picturesque seen as “ typically Mexico “by tourists .

    On the other side of the coin is the state capital TUXTLA GUTIERREZ a busy cosmopolitan city exuding modernity , industry , commerce and with a warm intermountain-valley climate ,worth a visit . There are plenty of inexpensive hotels within two blocks of the state capitol and Congress buildings on the expansive central plaza . Access to the high lookouts above Sumidero Canyon is north out of the Centro .

    Comitan strikes a middle ground , the plateau between Mundo Maya and the Central Depression warm country to its south .

    Really , any town in Chiapas could serve as the base for a long varied vacation stay( not a Turismo Chiapas - sponsored message)
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  17. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Thanks Sjored, glad you enjoyed the pics/story, hope you get back down here soon.
    Sorry to hear about the phone issues, while I want everyone to have an enjoyable viewing experience, I suspect this thread is not for you. Your phone cannot differentiate between a portrait oriented photo of a church, vs a portrait oriented photo of ice cream, so really what you are asking is that I stop taking portrait oriented photos since your phone seems to have an issue with them, unfortunately that is not something I am willing to do. Perhaps updating your firmware, software, or even browser version will resolve the issue, but I understand if you move on from this thread.

    For the rest of you, next stop, entering the Yucatan:
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  18. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Sjoerd can get a little preachy at times :imaposer
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  19. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    A little more to hold you over, I will try to get the next one up this coming weekend. I try to update at least once every 2 weeks.....but seriously, this is all I do now. Different days, but they are all the same.
    :jkam

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