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

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

  1. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    The end is here, there is a global pandemic, you are all going to die, live in fear!!!!! That's right, stay home and live vicariously through me, I am going to Mexico.
    final.jpg

    I wasn't going to do a trip report, but a week in and I have had so many little breakdowns I have to laugh, ok if it is going to be one of those trips I might as well try and document it. I wasn't going to do one because Mexico has requested only essential travel occur so that they can do what they need to to handle this FAKE COVID BS, and I am not trying to encourage people to disregard this. Yet at the same time they have never closed the border, and it is their responsibility to control who comes in and out. I can socially distance with ease from my motorcycle, and our money goes a long way in helping people down here, especially now so it is what it is, I am here.

    How did I end up here when I was over in Vietnam working remotely...well I will tell you how. After letting 1 selfish person lead me to a decision which has pretty much destroyed my career so they could advance their own, I found myself an average job working remotely, so headed to Vietnam to make the most of it and get some travel in where I could. Unfortunately I am probably the dumbest person on this planet, the job sucked so I gave my notice in Dec to quit, decided I was going to travel around Asia with the little bit of cash I had, then found myself on a plane headed for the USA in January as pretty much the whole world shutdown.
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    Despite long periods of not working throughout my career, I have never collected unemployment or similar, a global pandemic probably would have change my mind since I have paid into the system all these years, but yeah I am not eligible for shit since it was my decision to quit. After getting back to the US I spent over 8 months living out of this shipping container. I don't want your f'ing sympathy, or your f'ing money, I just want to remind you that your life is not so bad, and honestly neither is mine...there are many who have it worse, especially today. But that thing sucked, it was at the base of the mountains north of Los Angeles, and I would wake up every night in the winter months shivering, unable to sleep, while friends bitched on facebook about being stuck in their large houses during lockdown, with pantries full of food. But I had electricity thanks to an extension cord, and a hose outside for running water, and Pandora as you can see haha! But I also have an excel file which tells me to the penny just how much I walked away from thanks to the previously mentioned bitch, stock which I had already earned/vested/that was mine, but was temporarily underwater so if I left I had to leave it behind. The excel file is evil, I have never watched stocks, but I cant bring myself to delete it, I need to know. As the stock grows that number has now passed 7 figures....nothing like waking up at night so fucking cold, probably being awoken from a dream about the place I could have bought on a nice warm beach somewhere. But then I realized I am not a bitch, and I can still go enjoy a nice beach somewhere, so while that van and WR250 in the pic is not running, I scraped some cash together and bought a POS KLR, and got the F out of America. (Now, let's move on and focus on Mexico rather than dwell on that paragraph, aside from immediate family I have not shared that info with anyone, but your all internet strangers and I wanted to put this trip into perspective, you can keep your opinions on if I should or should not be in Mexico to yourself, I have F'in earned this)
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    So finally, the reason you are hear, the legendary "el Churro". Purchased about 2 weeks before the trip, mostly due to what was available on craigslist at the time. It had sat for a decade, but only has 7K on it. It sat super low so I assumed it had been lowered but do not know how high a KLR should sit The woman selling it didn't have a ton of info, her husband has sadly passed away so she was just getting rid of it. I threw some wrenches at it, but Dia de Muertos was coming up and Michoacan has been one of the Mexican states which has thus far escaped me, so a running bike is pretty much good enough for now.
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    I already had the Mosko gear, MotoCam M1 system, and Garmin Montana cradle on the WR250, so threw them on the KLR and purchased some dirt-racks, an IMS tank, and some Tusk Bar protector thingys. I also replaced the doo-hickey with what I thought was preventative maintenance, but once I opened the case I found it was already broken. Fished out the broken piece with a magnet, and installed the Eagle Mike doo-hickey. Greased the suspension, replaced all fluids, new tires, front wheel bearings with the back set packed in my bag waiting for me to get around to it....and I wired up about half of my accessories successfully. Good enough!
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    Finally all back together I took el Churro on the shake down ride a day or two before departure. I took off for a long trip up into the mountains, on some fantastic backroads having no idea where I was, or where I was going. I had installed the 10 gallon IMS tank, so it feels like I have fuel for weeks, what I found out I didn't have......vacuum (Problem #1). Mid afternoon I had a bunch of gas but not as much as I would have been comfortable with, and after riding 30 miles from any place that might have gas I passed a sign that said there was no gas for the next 40 miles. No problem I would fill up here if there had been a place to do so, but I am good as is so decide to move on rather than turn back. My phone died a few hours ago though, so I don't love the decision. Well, that vacuum thing, is what gets the last 3 gallons from my tank, so despite having gas, I ran out, I told you I was dumb who one earth runs out of gas when they have gas in the tank! Oh great, I am really in the middle of nowhere, but recall reading I can lay the bike on its side and get the gas that is not being sucked up, so give that a shot. Success, I push on, and need to tip the bike over at least 5 more times before making it back to civilization.

    el Churro handles pretty well, but I don't know what a KLR should be like, and previously mentioned I thought it was lowered. Well, the next evening I loaded el Churro and headed for San Diego. After getting gas I parked under a street light to check my phone, and el Churro fell over, which isn't normal for a parked motorcycle (Problem #2). I picked that heavy bitch up and took a look at the shock, which was covered in oil. Hmm, maybe the shock had always been bad and it wasn't lowered after all, not really sure, though there is no pogo-ing which I have read happens when it goes. So I started thinking the shock was bad, asked the guys on ADVRider if I could continue to Mexico as is and deal with it later, this is what poor people do plus I had that schedule thing I normally hate so much. The short answer was yes you can continue but you should really fix it in the US it will be easier, quicker, and cheaper. Cheaper sounds good, but after calling around I found out I would have to chill in SD for a week as no one had a shock in stock. In typical KLR fashion I decided to ignore it, added some zip ties to fix up my GPS, and now prop the other side of the motorcycle up with a small side stand, but it has fallen over at least 4 more times thus far. Now the guys on ADVRider gave me great advice, suggested I not proceed, but I politely ignored them as there is no way in hell a shock is going to stop me from getting to Mexico!
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    Being based out of San Diego previously, Tecate is my crossing of choice. A quick, easy, beautiful drive only adding 45 min between San Diego and Ensenada, worth skipping TJ and Rosarito traffic, though I have done that route several times as well. I grabbed some Mexican auto insurance just before crossing the border as that is mandatory. 1 year was about 200 dollars for just liability, you can get better deals with more reliable companies if you plan ahead, but planning is for wusses.

    After parking my moto on the Mex side, I had to request entrance to go through the turnstile to get to the office, the guy asked why I wanted it, and radioed in for permission, I simply told him I was taking the ferry to Mazatlan. They radioed back that I was good to enter at which point he gave me a badge with a number. This is not normal and most likely due to covid. I then headed to the office for my FMM and TIP.
    [​IMG]
    Here is a description on how to do the Tecate crossing:
    Tecate Mexico crossing with picture to explain process

    FMM is basically a tourist visa valid up to 6 months, and required for all of Meixco. The TIP is a temporary vehicle import also up to 6 months, only needed for the Mainland with an exception or two in various free zones of in all of Baja, and parts of Sonora, and Quintaroo, possible others but not important to my needs. In Baja as mentioned, it is not needed, but it would be unwise to be driving without it anywhere incase of an accident, so I always get both just to be safe. If you are only driving to Cabo and not taking the ferry you do not technically need it.

    It was already noon as I had run some errands in SD, so decided I would grab a hotel in Ensenada rather than push further. Ensenada was pretty empty as expected with the covid deal, but there were people around, and everything was generally open. I grabbed some delicious food, and even walked down to the malecon which I had never done on previous trips, but really it was just a place to stop and relax. I had ordered a bunch of parts the past two weeks, and had a few sent ahead to San Diego as they wouldn't be in LA in time. In the Ensenada hotel I got an email that my helmet screws had finally come in after 2 weeks...haha yeah right I am not going back for that, this hardware store screw will be good enough for this type of trip.

    I have been to Ensenada several times, and now realize I took zero pics.

    After grabbing some breakfast I finally get a late start out of there. I make it about 45 minutes South when my helmet visor starts rattling...shit, I already know I lost the other good screw (Problem #3). Son of a bitch, gas tank not working properly, no problem. A broken shock, who needs it. But a helmet screw, my world just fell apart. Now I could have found a hardware store in Ensenada and got a screw, but when it isn't held in properly the visor wont stay open, or closed, or in between ect. I slapped some duct tape on to keep it open a crack for airflow, and quickly realized there was no way that would work, as I must open and close it 100 times day depending on weather, checkponts, etc. Sigh, I pull a u-turn and head back to the US with my tail between my legs, all because of a screw. So that is the end off my Mexican adventure, thank you for following along.
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    Just kidding, I got the screw AND blue locktite, and figured I should get a GPS mount, and an old man comfort seat, and then before they banned me for ignoring essential travel, snuck back into Mexico crossing over in Arizona to make up time. Next stop, Sonora Mexico!
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    EDIT: To avoid any real covid discussions, please see this response which I wrote further on in thr thread and am copying here, as it addresses the topic while politely shutting down the conversation as well. Thanks


    "On the contrary amigo, despite my personal beliefs on the matter, I am a guest in this country and have been wearing my mask everywhere even when it is not enforced. I see a ton of both idiot gringos, as well as idiot tourist from Guadalajara and Mex City without masks, which is extremely disrespectful, and will be sharing my opinion on those idiots soon enough.

    I will barely touch on COVID here as of course it is a personal topic for every individual across the globe, but will cover the general atmosphere on it down here, who is wearing masks ect. I wont be responding to people telling me it is real and convoluting the thread, we all have our opinions and this is a motorcycle site, so will mainly stick to motorcycle content. I am not here for the likes either, so don't mind losing readers such as McFoil above. If you stop reading at “fake Covid bullshit”, and are compelled to tell the world you are leaving, rather than just hitting the back button and moving onto another thread......well this entire report is not for you, there are other more serious, less tongue in cheek threads out there.

    At the same time while I have no plan on harping on and on about it, I should warn that if you can't handle comments about how the lockdown was BS, or how idiotic the magic paper plates that I have to put my money on for the employee to pick up, rather than them taking the money from my hand, well please move on, as this thread will only make your BP rise."

    Warning, this thread will require a sense of humor.
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    #1
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  2. McFoil

    McFoil Filthy Pig

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    I stopped reading at “fake Covid bullshit”. Just try not to embarrass yourself further.
    #2
  3. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    I will read double to make up for McFoil. Good luck on this trip. We know you are a very resourceful guy and look forward to hearing the details.
    #3
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  4. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    @WileyRTW So does this mean that you won't be taking any precautions to protect the people you encounter on your trip?..... Since it's fake as you say? I'm sure the folks who've lost loved ones from it might have something to express about its reality. I understand the frustration with it and how it's being used, but pushing *that bullshit aside, we have a responsibility to our neighbors and the people we come in contact with. Despite your beliefs, I do hope that you are respecting the locals in regards to their health.
    #4
  5. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    This looks like a small budget Baja trip at the moment. One I would like to try. Are you camping most of the time ? I hear hostels are really cheap but scarce there. Would be nice to be able to travel light , and cheap too.
    #5
  6. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    On the contrary amigo, despite my personal beliefs on the matter, I am a guest in this country and have been wearing my mask everywhere even when it is not enforced. I see a ton of both idiot gringos, as well as idiot tourist from Guadalajara and Mex City without masks, which is extremely disrespectful, and will be sharing my opinion on those idiots soon enough.

    I will barely touch on COVID here as of course it is a personal topic for every individual across the globe, but will cover the general atmosphere on it down here, who is wearing masks ect. I wont be responding to people telling me it is real and convoluting the thread, we all have our opinions and this is a motorcycle site, so will mainly stick to motorcycle content. I am not here for the likes either, so don't mind losing readers such as McFoil above. If you stop reading at "“fake Covid bullshit”, and are compelled to tell the world you are leaving, rather than just hitting the back button and moving onto another thread......well this entire report is not for you, there are other more serious, less tongue in cheek threads out there.

    At the same time while I have no plan on harping on and on about it, I should warn that if you can't handle comments about how the lockdown was BS, or how idiotic the magic paper plates that I have to put my money on for the employee to pick up, rather than them taking the money from my hand, well please move on, as this thread will only make your BP rise. (Amphib, when I say "you", I mean the reader, not literally you.)

    I have no stove/cookware, but do have my tent, bag, and cot. I probably should have left it behind as most of the time I will be staying in hotels, they are cheap in Mexico. I had planned 2-4 weeks free camping down baja to make it worth hauling the gear, but since I recrossed in Az, that means i skipped Baja and entered mainland Mx directly.

    I have only camped 1 time thus far, and it cost the same as the hostal was going to cost, but the hostal did not have parking. For the price a hostel or hotel is much more convenient with all that gear, but I also dont like being in remote area without a tent/sleeping bag in case of a break down or unforseen event. There was a time in Ecuador where I was worried I was going to be sleeping outside in my riding gear, completely exposed to the very cold weather, so it provides peace of mind if nothing else.

    While I only plan to roam Mexico at the moment, I could continue South, so figured while it is more crap to carry, I dont want to not have it.

    Tourist spots on Mainland will have hostels. But you are correct that they are much more scarce in Baja, unfortunately I only made it 2 hours South of the border this time, so no idea what Baja is like during this covid thing.
    #6
  7. Charmin

    Charmin Been here awhile

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    I live in central Mexico, Covid is more than real.
    I have lost my job a couple of months ago due to this pandemic.
    Our government idea is to keep the economy moving, even if its slow movement; that idea includes attracting USA tourists and travelers (Cancun, Cabos, PV, are full of them) - "bring your money and government doesn't care about your safety or health". Tourism represents more than 9% of mexican economy (gross domestic product).

    With that in mind and considering you are older than 18yrs, its ok, take care by yourself be responsible and respectful of the others.

    Enjoy your trip and welcome to Mexico!, feel free to get in touch if you need help.
    #7
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  8. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Crazy times for sure. Thanks for your response. I look forward to following your trip. Stay safe. Heading south is definitely on my list.
    #8
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  9. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

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    Hey Wiley—- I really like your writing style.
    I can tell this will be a very interesting report to follow and I will be along for the duration.
    I hope C19 just stays out of it as it bungs up the good stuff eh.
    Ride on.
    Write on.
    Have a blast.
    Stay safe.

    Thanks
    BB
    #9
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  10. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Here is the covid threat level (prob not the correct term) across each state, so if you are concerned now is def not a good time to be down here. The level dictates what restrictions are in place. I believe Guadalajara is supposed to finally go from complete lockdown to a partial lock down, though I kind of expect that full lockdown to get extended, but have not been there this trip, and probably have outdated info anyway.

    Next post, I will be racing down the Pacific Coast, dia de muertos was coming up quickly, so I had to keep moving, despite what my body wanted.

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Please focus on your ride report and let's not get into covid discussions here, we have the CSM forum for that, otherwise, it's going to derail a potentially good epic ride. Thanks.
    #11
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  12. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    For clarification, so keep doing what I am doing when I say "politely shutting down the conversation".... or do you mean dont even bother updating on where masks are worn, what restrictions are in place etc? I can ignore it completely, but naturally on other social media platforms I get questions on what its like where I am from others thinking of heading down, so trying to get a guage on what you mean as I feel that is what I have done from the start, not trying to upset the admins. Thanks!
    #12
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  13. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile

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    :lurk
    #13
  14. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Does your audience here want to read a ride report or a mask report on who's wearing or not wearings masks and where? It's up to you on how you attract readers to this thread. All we're saying is we're not going to get into a discussion on covid, that's done in the CSM forum in the basement, and also, absolutely no political discussions permitted in Ride Reports, for obvious reasons.
    #14
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  15. xgringo

    xgringo n00b

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    ride and mask report!!!!!
    #15
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  16. Blind Warrior

    Blind Warrior Lost in the Ozone

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    I think the information about mask wearing and general information and public attitudes to Covid-19 is useful and interesting. However, I don't think getting into discussions around the politics of the pandemic adds anything to the ride report.
    #16
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  17. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    IN! Keep it going. Some folks need a hand to hold, some don't. Please continue the post and the ride. BTW, I DO want to know about the various restrictions, including covid related crap, that you encounter. It's certainly relevent to any legitimate ride report...as needed as passport info, Ferry schedules and tire availability. I'm hoping that the Moderator takes a step back.
    #17
  18. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Great, thank you sir. I will proceed as normal, and continue to be respectful of others opinions, but agree with the comments above the desire for info regarding masks and other requirements is strong based on several other convos on facebook and the is mex safe thread, and to be honest it varies wildly from city to city thus far. If I go to far just kindly ask me to close the thread, or do so yourself, but know I have been respectful in withholding my opinions on any sensitive topics, and do not feel I have caused any problems. I read your original comment as just staying ahead of any, which we can all appreciate, but was not sure if I was misinterpreting it. I hope those who disagree with my statements are mature enough to find the back button rather than join the report, while the rest if us enjoy what I hope becomes an awesome adventure. See you guys in Mexico!

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    Ps if the man gets me in the end, there is a blog link in the sig, but I prefer to post here since I have gotten so much info from other reports, so stick around.
    #18
  19. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    ^^^^^^^OMG... I want what your having! Looks delicious.
    #19
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  20. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Ps currently on the way to isla Janitzio, the weather is beautiful, the music this guy is playing is great, but not sure we are going to make it. I am probably the only one excited to be broke down. Everyday is an adventure down here.
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    #20