Wypers do Mexico

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Chriswyper, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Catching up, you guys have definitely had a heck of a ride through the mainland! The trek into that small town where the pannier was lost looked fantastic, though I totally understand the trepidation on making it through.

    Great updates - the horse ride, the experience in Durango, all of it! And @Chriswyper, you mentioned storing your bike in the SW, but if you considered something further north in the PNW, I have plenty of space for bike storage, etc. Riding season here is different than the desert; food for thought.

    Looking forward to what comes next!
    #81
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  2. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

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    Spent the day yesterday with these fine gents at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson. They spent 3 days here doing some maintenance on the bikes and will be headed for Los Angeles today.
    #82
  3. Tagman

    Tagman Been here awhile

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    Durango Durango, Mexico
    Go Wypers Go!
    #83
  4. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    We had planned to move out of Creel that day, maybe 50 km on to the next small town. But we were not in a big hurry to go anywhere.
    Peter and Tony hung around in the AirBnB whilst I took Ben on Peters bike for a ride. We stopped at the TelCel in town and bought $50 credit (I’m still using this!) and asked about the hot springs. We planned to ride out to Recowata for a swim, despite having no towels or trunks. We rode past the springs and decided to carry on to the viewpoint 44 km from town.

    I am very glad that we made the effort. Even on an overcast morning the views were stunning. Copper canyon has been compared to the Grand Canyon. Personally I feel it is just as impressive as the view sneaks up on you. We were really quite surprised to get off the bikes and find ourselves at the top of a 2000 m deep ravine.

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    You have to pay to enter the park but it wasn’t a lot, maybe P$100 each. For this there are several viewpoints and a lot of stalls selling junk. We took the cable car (P$500 each) Along with the other tourists. Some good photos opportunities here.

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    Shame that everyone else had the same idea!

    43C74CFB-2487-4AAA-AF6E-D54343138306.jpeg We were so impressed that we rode back to creel and persuaded Tony and Peter to stay another night and go see the canyon themselves.

    Ben and I demolished a crepe for breakfast/lunch at 4pm, then had a look at my forks. They were leaking badly and I assumed needed a clean. I whipped off the guards and pulled off the dust seals. Not too dirty but I ran a sticker around the seal anyway. Bit of clean oil came off.


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    Next I undid the bleed screws and a shit load of compressed air came out. We figured that the days at high altitude had pressurised the air inside the forks, pushing the faces against the leg. The next day they were leaking even worse, so it would need new seals sooner or later.

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    #84
  5. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    The next morning we had a quick breakfast in the hotel (Huevas Revultos) and headed north out of the Copper Canyon area.

    Ben had been complaining of a rash on his back and really wasn’t feeling great. It might have been an allergic reaction to something eaten, or more likely just a reaction to being tired and a title bored of riding pillion. We kept the day short and rode at slow pace anyway.


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    This was probably one of my favourite days of riding. We were setting into the rhythm of Mexican days, and were not scared of the roads any more. There were still some ice patches on the sheltered north facing slopes so we kept the speeds low and just enjoyed the views. The roads were practically deserted, the views once again were incredible. Early morning temperatures demanded thermal layers and heated grips but it was not obnoxiously cold.

    Rather than take the main road we followed CH227. I was getting used to picking the smaller twisty roads rather than the main route. 5B167E59-935B-4C7D-982A-AAD103B497B9.jpeg

    There was a sign for Cascada de Basaseachi every 10 km of the road. We turned off and rode the track 5 km to a car park with a toilet block and small shop (closed). There is a nicely paved walkway to a vista overlooking a massive waterspout, maybe 300 metres deep.

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    We grabbed some lunch at Baquiriachi in a small family restaurant. It was pretty busy with a party of Mexicanas on the other table. I took a break from meat and bread and tried the Ceviche, a sort of cold soup with raw fish. Tasted great!

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    As I was getting geared up to leave one of the girls asked for my photo (I am 6’6” and feel like Gulliver in many countries).

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    I think she got the photo she wanted. Check out the fork seal oil on my boots, and all over my brake pads!
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    #85
  6. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    We stopped in Yecora. One of the cheapest hotels so far, and a town that didn’t have much to recommend it. The Police station had a couple of police cars on blocks being stripped for parts outside the front. Stay classy!

    My rear tyre was also taking a beating by now. It started as a near new TKC80 in LA 6 weeks ago, but was quickly turning into a slick. We planned to replace in California but it didn’t look as though it would make it that far. It was not a bad tyre, but it was a bad choice for the tour. We were carry a lot of weight on the back and I struggle to contain my enthusiasm for twisting the throttle when the lights change, so it was tearing the blocks off by now.

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    Again we took a smaller road (SON117) heading north. There were a few locals in pick ups and some mining supply trucks but for the most part it was superb country road threading through some great farmland. Didn’t ask what they were farming, none of my business.



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    There was a small river that had been dammed for irrigation and followed this north most of the morning. Ben was feeling much better by the way, he is just sunning himself in the photos.

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    We aim to stop at least every couple of hours. There was a little town called Cajon De Onapa that was settting up for a Maricahi contest, or festival. We pulled up at the hotel and Felipe the owner made us very welcome. His wife cleared the table, made us brunch and ran to the shop for some Pepsi. It was a great little home that he had built himself. It felt that we were his guests, not his customers.

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    As Felipe and his extended family waved us off Tony has his first (and most embarrassingly public) fall. His pants eg got tangled in the peg and he fell onto the dirt. Ben was on hand to give a monkey lift whilst I valiantly laughed and took photos.

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    Made it to Moctezuma with no more issues. There was a taco stand right outside our hotel window so we ate there - some brilliant beef tacos with fresh beef from the hills. I am getting addicted to Mexican cuisine and want to try to emulate it when I get home. Never again I am frying cheap mince and adding some taco powder. I want to make real Tacos with decent steak off the barbecue. 9E74E2EA-6328-4E2E-A755-A2B206C63DBB.jpeg

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    #86
  7. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    We aimed for an early start for the last day in Mexico, hoping to make it to Tombstone AZ.

    As we were warming up the bikes I noticed another nail in Tony’s rear *(Tyre, not arse) We planned to put a tube in but it turned out that the nail wasn’t deep and pulled out easily with no damage to the carcass.

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    As an aside when I was in India a few years ago we bought prayer flags for the bikes, joking that they are good as puncture prevention kits. Peter and I had them strung across the front of the bikes, Tony did not. He had two punctures and a nail, we had none. Just sayin’.

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    The road north gets better and better but also more busy. Made Agua Prieta by lunchtime. The Banjercito was open on Sunday and just around the corner from the border crossing. We handed back our TVIPS and the guy did a thorough inspection of the VIN numbers before giving out the receipt wth a promise to return the bond within a few days. All very easy and low stress.
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    Crossing into USA wasn’t so easy, they made us cross one by one, and then needed to stamp our passports as we hadn’t used that crossing before. I must say the difference in attitude between Mexican officials and CBP was notable, and the Mexicans come out better.

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    We avoided the interstate out of Douglas staying on the state route 80 through Bisbee. The old mine was interesting and the town looked fascinating, but we didn’t stop as we had a interest in Western movies and wanted to see Tombstone.

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    I wasn’t really impressed with the town. There wasn’t much other than the main street which was Disney for pensioners. Everything was expensive and tatty and didn’t feel like a real town. You bound buy fake handguns, or Val Kilmer signed posters, or ponchos for 10 times the price that they 50 km south.

    The hotel was good though. Water we could drink from the tap. Clean sheets, aircon and even a hot tub and pool. Personally I must say I would have traded it in a second to be back with Felipe eating his wife’s home cooking and listening to the Mariachis practice.

    The beer was fine in Tombstone, and pretty good value. We are used to paying US$7 for a pint in Australia, so having a round of 4 drinks for $15 was a treat.
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    I don’t mean to be critical of the USA here. It’s a fine country with some great scenery, superb people and remarkable achievements. But moving across the border throws some things into sharp relief. The Mexicans we met were invariably happy, healthy and family orientated. The American guests in the hotel were sickly and rather lonely older people. Maybe just a bad vibe that day.

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    #87
  8. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    From Tombstone we visited the ghost town of Fairbank. One problem with this is that riding gear isn’t walking gear and even a mile walk in MX boots and thermals brings on a fair sweat. Then you get back on the bike and freeze from the airflow.

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    Lunch in Safeway - loved the choices and having a big bowl of salad.


    D935D447-6B05-4166-9073-3D86F5DCFB42.jpeg We had booked an AirBnb for three nights to give us some time in Tucson to work on the bikes, but could not go there until 4pm. There was a twisty looking road to Mt Lemmon which turned out to be awesome. One other big difference between Mexico and US was the road speeds. I had got very used to riding to the conditions in Mexico, so open roads with good surfaces we would open the taps, but slow for towns and tricky bits. In the Mt Lemmon roads the posted limit was 35 mph and there were a lot of cops. Torture to have to watch the GPS speed all the time as there were some lovely sections of bendy tar on the climb. (Note 38 mph on the GPS!)

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    At the top of the trail we parked the bikes and walked a couple of miles through the ski resort. The air was thinner here at 8000 ft and it was tough going in places, especially wearing boots. At least we were dressed for the cold.


    I had no idea that we could find snow within an hour of Tucson. C98D1FEC-925C-479D-861F-C533D5B8A82C.jpeg E4982E84-B500-4434-AC7C-A24C51535586.jpeg 0FFB0031-5D51-4FA3-B739-598A60954C25.jpeg

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    #88
  9. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    I like your take on Mexico and the States, a lot of truth in what you said.
    #89
  10. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    The next morning John (Drybones) offered to pick me up and help get my fork seals done. I had found a mechanic in Phoenix who would do them that night for $100 but I would need to get up there and back in the evening and didn’t fancy it much. So I took off the forks and rear wheel and went to the local KTM dealer in Tucson (AKKTT). They had a huge selection of rear tyres so I chose a TKC70 for $260 fitted.
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    They agreed to do the forks for $198 labour, plus $93 for the seal kit, plus $20 oil. It wasn’t cheap but they moved some other work around and had my stuff ready by 3pm that day.

    The leaking oil had contaminated my discs and pads so I asked for a set of front pads. The genuine Brembo pads were $340 for a set! I understand that KTM, Brembo and the dealer need to make a dollar but that was ridiculous. Rather than pay I bought some brake cleaner and sand paper to clean up the pads as well as I could until I could get some new ones.

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    The guys are AKKTT were kind enough to throw in a T shirt for Ben which was decent of them. I would certainly recommend Steve in the service department for anyone passing through.
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    John came back and helped to refit the forks. I also did an oil change and John took all the used oils back to Autozone in his car so that we didn’t leave any trace of our efforts in the AirBnb.
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    We couldn’t hope to repay all the kindness shown to us by theADV community but I hope that a shout on here helps. Thanks John!

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    #90
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  11. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    We has pre booked a tour of the the AMARG facility (Boneyard ) at Davis Montham AFB. You need to book two weeks in advance which was a bit of pain as I hate having deadlines on the road, but it was a great opportunity to see the mothballed planes.

    The tour is on a coach from the Pima Air and Space museum which we visited first. John was a naval aviator and made a great docent for us, giving us his perspective on flying the A4 in the 1970s.

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    I must admit that the bus tour was a bit of an anticlimax. You don’t get off the bus and can’t see the planes up close. The best way to see the sights is maybe Google Maps, as the planes look more impressive from above. It was cool to see where history actually happened. The B52s were cut up as part of the Gorbachev/Reagan SALT talks.

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    For me the Pima museum was better than the boneyard. We spent nearly the whole day getting up close to the planes. Many of the outside exhibits are unfenced and you can get very close to some really cool machinery. Mostly American but some MiGs also as well as WW2 allied and Japanese planes. Well worth a day of your life.
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    We cooked our own steaks and baked potato in the BnB that night. Cheaper than eating out and tasted damn fine.

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    #91
  12. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    I experienced the same thing when coming back across the border from my trip a couple years back - the over-building and commercialization was a serious shock to the system after 3 weeks in Baja. Lots of good here, but you hit on several things that we could learn from our friends south of the border.

    Enjoyed the updates @Chriswyper, great pics and glad you were able to get the bike sorted (though it sounds like they stretched you over the coals a bit).
    #92
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  13. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    We struck out of Tucson with fresh oil, fresh rubber and clean clothes. My policy is to avoid freeways if possible so had plotted a route to Yuma following old route 80 where possible.

    Riding in Mexico had made me a little blasé about traffic laws. We were approaching some roadworks with a line of stationary cars so I indicated left and slowly rode to the head of the queue. I didn’t see the state trooper tucked in front of the truck until I was level with him! He gave a bit of bollocking but didn’t book me. Must have been on his way home....
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    We were surprised by the lush greenery of Arizona around the Colorado river. The plains were irrigated and we saw crops of cotton, fruit trees and vegetables stretching into the distance. Not what we imagined Arizona to be like.
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    Stopped in Yuma for the night, in the Regal Motel. We use booking.com in the US to find a cheap hotel as we approached the point of stopping for the night. The hotel was clean enough but in a rough area. Walked into the main strip and had some good food from the brewery.


    There was no breakfast in the hotel so we headed out of town to try to follow the Colorado up to Vegas. There was a short section of dirt between the I8 and Ogilby Road so we took this as a short cut. It quickly turned to sand so Peter hopped on my bike and Ben rode the F800 for a few km. At least early morning off road riding gets the blood flowing and warms the muscles. I couldn’t believe how many RVs were parked in the desert. Either they were visiting the Glamis dunes nearby, or prospecting, or just spending the winter somewhere warm maybe.

    We had an excellent, if pricey breakfast in Blythe CA, and filled up the bikes. I didn’t realise how much more gasoline would be in California. Should have ridden across to Arizona to save some money.

    The ride up the river was ok, but not spectacular. Some pretty views but nothing to make a special trip. We stopped at a state park next to the river to enjoy the view. All around us for tens of miles were neat rows of RVs with boomers from the North spending their winter in the sun. Good on them, but I found it a little soulless.

    Parker Dam was worth the short detour, it’s a bit like Hoover in the architecture if not the scale. 913DB90A-36E7-4D13-B81F-4D998DB1B9A6.jpeg

    I had heard about London bridge in Arizona and always thought it was a bad joke, but sure enough in Lake Havasu there was an entire industry devoted to relieving people of money centred around the bridge. I’ve been to London a few times and didn’t see anything special about this bridge. From what I read it’s just a concrete bridge with stone cladding from London.

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    We were well ahead of our expected schedule so carried on up to the Hoover dam. Had to use the Interstate to save time, but got there around 4pm, with some great lighting.

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    I had an idea to ride around lake mead, through the valley or fire at dusk and back down into Las Vegas for nightfall to see the lights. Tony stayed a the dam to explore and Peter and I rode into the park. The first few miles was great, but as it got darker and colder I realised how I had underestimated the distance. Peter signalled that he had 30 miles of fuel left, and my maps reckoned we were over 30 miles from a gas station.

    At least we didn’t have to pay any park fees after dark but we missed out on any sights.

    We rolled into the Vegas strip around 8pm very tired and cold. My bike was making a rattle from the brakes and the oil was up at 108C from the constant stopping. Very happy to meet Tony at the hotel and have a few $1.50 Coronas.
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    #93
  14. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    There is something seedy about waking up in Vegas. I walked outside the hotel and there was a middle aged woman crying outside the doors of the casino. I guess she didn’t have a good night. There were people gambling on the machines at 8am; from the looks of it they had been there all night too. Each to their own, and I am pleased that they subsidised my hotel room and beers, but they didn’t look like they were having a good time. Addiction is never sexy or glamorous.

    Breakfast in Dennys (actually very good). Tony wanted to catch up with his niece in LA so we decided to split up and meet at the Tuckers place.

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    We rode down the I95 to Needles. At the railway crossing a truck with a trailer carrying a golf buggy with a load of stuff pied on the back crossed the track at high speed, spilling his load over the crossing. We rushed to clear the tracks before the train hit anything.

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    The road was supposed to join Route 66, which runs parallel to I9. We found the road closed with a sign saying local access only. We rode up to the next junction and found another closure sign. We rode another 20 miles east and found another sign saying the road was closed to traffic. This would mean another 30 miles on the interstate mixing with the heavy traffic.

    We had a conflab and decided to risk the closed road. We skirted a few signs and headed down historic Route 66. There were a few bridges down, but each one was bypassed with a good gravel road through the desert. There were no workers, or houses or any signs of life for maybe 30 miles. After a short ride we came to Amboy where the road opened again. Great little track to do, total isolation and the American dream.

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    Amboy was a bit of a tourist trap.The guy selling fuel told us that the word had been closed for years and that the county would never pay to repair those bridges. He did have a pretty Husky though.
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    We followed Route 66 as much as we could. In Barstow it passes through the town. Quite a depressing place.

    The next town was Silverlakes. We had a quick look on Booking.com but there were no hotels. Next to where we stopped was a golf resort/timeshare complex. I wandered in an agreed to take a unit for $100 cash.Great value as it had 3 beds and a kitchen, plus secure storage for the bikes.

    The KTM brakes were still rattling intermittently. Taking out the pads and cleaning them stopped the noise, but it always came back after a while. Not a bad noise and couldn't see any damage but annoying.
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    #94
  15. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    This was to be the last day of riding for us. It felt surreal, packing the bags like we had done 50 times before, knowing that the trip was almost over.
    We made a light breakfast, tidied the house and rode down 66 as far as we could.

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    The bikes needed to be cleaned properly before they could be sold so we hit up a quarter wash in Claremont.
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    We rolled into Tucker’s place and met with Tony, who was already working on his bike. The afternoon was spent unpacking, repacking, cleaning fixing and fettling.

    I had arranged to drop my bike with a contact from ADV who kindly offered some garage space for a few months. My plan is to come back in April for a meeting and ride from Los Angeles to Colorado, where the bike will be stored more permanently. I removed the battery, locked the bike up and covered it carefully.

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    Plenty of time to kill I took public transport back to LAX, picked up the hire car and drove back to Claremont for the last time.

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    #95
  16. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper Adventurer Supporter

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    That’s pretty much the story of our Mexico trip. There is a beginning, a middle and an end to the blog, but I hope that our story doesn’t end. I will be back to make use of the bike and we will keep in touch with some of the generous souls who helped us along the way.

    Chris Scott maintains that there isn’t a right way or a wrong to travel by motorbike, you just do what works for you. Having said that here are bits of advice that I wish I could give myself when I was planning the trip. Most of them I could have read from Handbook of Adventure motorcycling myself, but chose to ignore.

    1) Soft luggage is better than hard luggage. It doesn’t look as cool as is less secure, but is more flexible, robust and usable. The Mosko moto Reckless 80 system is as good as everyone says. Easier to use than panniers, waterproof, light and bombproof. I’ll be keeping that!
    2) Tyres are more important than you think, and harder to acquire. Make tyre planning par of your route. If you can get them shipped ahead then all the better.
    3) The fellowship of ADV rider inmates is awesome. Pay it forward.
    4) Book ferries in advance, don’t just show up and hope for the best. You won’t save money by being late.
    5) Take less clothes. You only really need bike clothes and off bike clothes.
    6) Hands get cold. For anything other than desert riding consider some fur lined muffs. Cold wet hands are painful and dangerous.
    7) You have less time than you think. Seven weeks went pretty fast. There was also little dead time. I carried my iPad full of films but only watched a few episodes, mostly on the ferry. You don’t travel the world to watch TV in other time zones, so use the time to meet locals and explore.
    8) Biggest surprise for me - Mexico is safe. It felt safer than many American cities. Sure there is crime, but there is crime everywhere. It’s also beautiful, cheap, interesting and the perfect biking destination.

    Massive thanks to James and Colleen Tucker, Dave and Amber, John and Dana Cunningham, Stephen Redak, Jairo Olmos, the Renegados, John Felman, Steve Muhler and everyone else who helped us, or offered us help. Thank you ADVrider for bringing us together.

    Huge thanks to the wives that let us go and kept the Wyper households running in our absence.

    7A25A7D5-DBF4-4454-96FE-CCB0660F7D63.jpeg
    #96
  17. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,242
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    Thanks for taking the time to do the pics and report. Safe travels home!!
    #97
  18. sito

    sito Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,698
    Location:
    Glendora CA
    It makes me jealous to see my old bike have fun without me! Glad you guys had a great trip!
    #98
  19. Jeppb93

    Jeppb93 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Vernon, British Columbia, Canada
    Really enjoyed following along on your trip. I was also in Baja the same time as you guys, but only for a mere 10 days. It is a magical place, lots of freedom and friendliness. It is a dream of mine to live off the bike as long as you guys did. Have a safe trip home, and hope to hear about more adventures in the future!
    #99
  20. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,612
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Great way to wrap the report @Chriswyper! Good observations and I quoted your last as it's worth doing so. People who don't ride or don't do much beyond their little bubble thought I was a bit nuts when talking about doing ~2600 miles in Baja. I think you're spot on - plenty of places here in the States that I wouldn't go near. Plenty of places in Baja I wouldn't go near either, but the perception of most is so skewed. Personally, I selfishly hope it stays that way - commercialization is the last thing Baja (or MX) needs IMO.

    So cool that you're keeping your bike here and planning a rip later this year. Good on you; and if you make your way out west, don't hesitate to reach out. Happy to help if I can, even if it's simply providing GPS tracks, etc.

    Safe travels and I'm envious of 7 weeks off from the grind.