Xplore2Gether - California to Ushuaia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JimsBeemer, Mar 6, 2019.

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  1. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    I was wondering when it would be brought up.
    #41
  2. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

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    +1
    Regardless, up or down, if she likes it all is good.
    Happy Wife, Happy Life.

    Nice Report
    Be sure Oaxaca is on your route.
    Spend several days and the Van 1/2 or Full Day tours booked by the hotels are great.
    Tours originate at the town square, just pick a compass direction.
    Don't miss Mt Alban.

    Safe Travels
    #42
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  3. garrydymond

    garrydymond Been here awhile

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    We live in Mexico City but are in Playa del Carmen for a few months. If you come this way we may be able to put you up but can meet up for a chat if not.
    We rode to Ushuaia a few years ago so can give you some tips and BS stories.
    #43
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  4. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Palm slap! Of course, yes, you are correct. It was late
    #44
  5. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Thank you for the kind offer! We are now in Oaxaca. Would have loved to hear your tips and BS !:1drink Next time!
    #45
  6. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We are in Oaxaca now - just arrived. Looking at various tour options. Must include Mezcal! :-)
    #46
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  7. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

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    We stayed a week.
    My wife and adult daughter flew in and I parked my moto.
    We stayed at the La Victoria Hotel on the hill overlooking town.
    Nice place, great view.
    We just walked into town and back a couple times.

    We took three organized tours.
    They pick you up at the hotel and drop you at the town square where you are directed to the particular van going on your selected tour.
    The full day tours include lunch.

    Enjoy
    #47
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  8. ThirtyOne

    ThirtyOne I got my wings back. Supporter

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    If you spend any time in Honduras give me a shout. I can give you some tips and maybe show you around some. I'm in the capital.
    #48
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  9. garrydymond

    garrydymond Been here awhile

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    We are in Playa del Carmen which is just South of Cancun. We will be here another couple of months so you could still meet up unless you don’t come to the Yucatan Península.
    #49
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  10. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We do so plan and I will keep you in mind! Our itinerary and detailed plans sort of gel a week ahead at most :-) But broad plans include Honduras, for sure.
    #50
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  11. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We spent four days in Oaxaca and really loved it. I described it (meaningful if you are from or know these USA cities) as a mix of Santa Fe (artist) and San Francisco (a bit of counter-culture vibe) but with a totally Mexican underpinning. It has been interesting to get a sense of the difference in cultures from one city or region to the next. We stayed at the Hotel Mariposas and the entire downtown area was very "walkable" from there. And the hotel let us (insisted actually) park our motorcycles inside their courtyard (instead of on the street), which was really nice. We toured art galleries, had some good beer at two micro-breweries, tried the famous Oaxacan Mole more than once, and hired a car for a day trip to see "the big tree" (El Tule - truly worth seeing), tour a Mezcal distillery and go to the so-called petrified waterfall (a hot-spring coming up through limestone that has made a limestone-deposit "waterfall" over the centuries). And I found a music store where I could buy some strings for my guitalele (mini guitar I have with me).

    A highlight was that we also met up with Seth from Australia (headed south on his KLR, see post #13 ) and he went along with us for the day trip. It will not be surprising if we meet again further down the road!

    We made another big route decision in Oaxaca: We are going to skip the Yucatan peninsula and Belize. Our main goal there was the Isla Holbox, and it would be an extra 1000 miles to get there, and at our pace that would be a week. We really want to spend some time in Central America, and with the June Stahlratee date looming, we have decided to head south for Guatamala. We left today for the coast vai hwy 175, and are spending the night in the mountains (~$30 USD for a cabin at "Puesta Del Sol" - it is up in the pine forest with a great view) before heading down towards Puerto Angeles. We are going to spend a few days soaking up the rays on the beach before continuing south. Great views but really poor internet here at Puesta Del Sol - I'll try to post some more photos after we get to the coast.
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    El Tule - a truly impressive tree!

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    The so-called petrified waterfall. It has another name but I can't recall!
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    Aguave were in bloom everywhere - that is Seth giving some perspective to the size of the stalk.

    Mezcal Tour w Guide and Seth.JPG
    At the Mezcal distillery - our guide and tating Gourmand went by "Negra" and he was just awesome. A very enjoyable experience. Took some home!
    #51
  12. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    We did! I sought out the tour we did based on your advice, and it was a highlight. Thanks.
    #52
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  13. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Thanks for the offer! As I explain in my most recent update, we have decided (with regret, but the calendar moves forward) to save the Yucatan for another trip.

    Jm
    #53
  14. ThirtyOne

    ThirtyOne I got my wings back. Supporter

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    Sounds good. Safe travels.
    #54
  15. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    Cool write up, I'm left wondering what Steelrat you are so hard set on taking.

    When I saw you near Chapala on the map, our favorite taqueria near work is named that, better than the Jaliscos all over town.

    Places like Teotihuacan fascinate me, I just don't have the balls to travel in Mexico.

    Enjoy your ride, looks like y'all have an amazing time.
    #55
  16. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    https://www.stahlratte.org

    Our ticket to ride; will get us around the so called Darien Gap, where (literally) the road ends! The Stahlratte will take us from Panama to Columbia. There are other boats (and planes) that do similar, but the Stahlratte is a well known favorite among the motorcycle crowd and has an excellent reputation.

    I don’t know the north eastern part of Mexico, which is the most accessible from where you are. If you were further west, I’d suggest you find an excuse to motorcycle in Baja. It is an easy introduction to Mexico, and you’ll be hooked! But as we know, Texas is big and it is a 1000+ mile haul to get to Mexicali from where you are!

    Jim
    #56
  17. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    Love the rat !!!
    I’m in
    #57
  18. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Left Oaxaca on Monday 3/25. Carol researched destinations on the Pacific coast, and based on her reading we opted to head to Huatulco instead of the more popular Puerto Angel or Puerto Escondido. We read that Huatulco was developed with funding and oversight from the Mexican tourism agency, with the goal of having a cleaner, less built up tourism culture, economy and destination, specifically to avoid a "Cancun" or "Cabo" type of environment. Fits us! So we headed over the mountains on Mex 175 - a "short" ride - but a long ride according to Google. Google was right this time! For the day of the week and departure time we were planning, Google was estimating 6+ hrs to complete the trip, and I knew there was no way we would manage six hours in the saddle, so I found a half way point up in the mountains. Carol is often (unnecessarily) apologetic because she is the limiting factor in terms of how many hours we ride. On my own, I might have pushed through to go all the way to the coast in one shot (and it would have been a looong ride), but "because of her" we had to stay half way - and we ended up in this little cabin up at ~8,000 feet elevation, in a pine forest with an incredible view (Puesta Del Sol Hotel), for ~$30USD. It was truly one of if not the most beautful places we have stayed on this trip! I'm still thanking her for necessitating the stop! It was cold at night, and a man from the hotel came and lit the fire for us in the fireplace - very cozy. Highly recommend making this stop. Food was just "ok" - but the ambiance and view were wonderful.

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    That was our route - it isn't far, but there are little establishments every few miles with a tope as you enter and another 100M later as you leave - constant stop and go. The last bit into Hualco was on Mex 105, which was in very bad repair - lots of dirt and one-lane sections, huge pot holes to watch for. Also - in one little village near the end of the trip, Google kindly routed us right into the middle of "market day" - Google doesn't know about market day in little Mexican villages! All the roads it wanted us to take were blocked for the market. I finally just headed off in what I thought would be a way around, and eventually we got back on track.
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    Stopped for lunch, day 1. I haven't eaten this much peanut butter and jelly since I was a kid! It is our staple lunch.

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    This is our cabin in the mountains - the view from the porch was just amazing. Note the bundle of fire wood. I was prepared to light it but a hotel worker came in about dusk with a little fire starter kit and lit it for us.
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    This is the reception and breakfast building - the cabins are a steep walk down the hill.
    #58
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  19. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Four pictures per post is limiting sometimes.
    20190326_153239.jpg
    View from the porch. They had cold beer for $1 - enjoyed one contemplating this view.

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    The entire grounds are very well maintained and landscaped.
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    Our cabin - #15. There was no wifi coverage from our cabin (we were offered another that was further up the hill without a view that had wifi signal, but we opted for the view). There was a strong 3G cellular signal, fwiw (not much!).

    Attached Files:

    #59
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  20. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    I'd like to offer commentary on my choice, so far, for routing, for others consideration and welcomed input.

    I bought a BMW-branded Garmin GPS unit (the NAV VI model) just for this trip. I then dove into the confusing world of Base Camp, routes, tracks, waypoints, etc. I can use it, but it takes so much time compared to creating a route with Google maps. For simple routes I just do it on my phone - Google seems to give reasonable (most of the time - see earlier comment about market day debacle) routing choices in Mexico. And we have an AT&T cellular plan that covers Mexico - so we have not had to worry about data use. You can pick a location on Google Maps on the phone and share it with the Garmin SmartLink app, and from there beam it to the Garmin Nav - but it (Garmin) will then generate it's own routing - you cannot send a route to the Garmin from Google (this way) - just a destination. And at the end of the day, the route that the little processor inside the Garmin NAV creates does not have a chance in hell of competing with the route Google, using the computing power of the cloud and billions of updates from users, can create. Even the Base Camp program cannot compete with Google for generating routes, in fact it isn't reasonable to expect it to, imo. If you KNOW the route you want - Base Camp works but is cumbersome. I have used it to generate custom routes a number of times - I am no expert but I can use it. But my normal use case is I don't know the route - I want to find a route, quickly and easily. And if you know a side road you want to take that Google doesn't pick, it is simple to "add a stop" and force the route you want.

    I've experimented probably a dozen times by entering the same destination in both Google Maps on my phone and on the Garmin Nav, and then tried to follow the Garmin route (with the Google as my fail safe). I did this in Guadalajara where I had been to the same place several times so I knew how Google would take me, and almost every time (not every, but almost) the Garmin route was ... no es bueno. The Garmin has little (if any?) sense of real-time traffic. And most alarmingly, a couple of times I missed a turn, and after attempting "re-routing" several times, it just gave up! Fortunately I had my phone running with Google Maps and it continuously re-routed me no matter how many wrong turns I made, and I was able to keep going and get to my destination.

    You can create a google map route, convert that to a "kml" (or maybe it is kmz - one of those) file, then import the kml file into basecamp, then plug in your NAV to the computer and download the route. I've tried it - it works. But compared to grabbing my phone, entering a destination, accepting the route and pressing "start" - there is no comparison! However, as we enter Central America I am guessing my whole strategy will need to change, due to the loss of cellular data plan coverage. We will buy local SIM cards but I expect that I will be less free w/ the cellular data, and will have to spend more time plotting routes in Base Camp (maybe using the kml import method). I also expect that Google has less information for accurate routing south of the Mexican border - I guess we'll find out! Curious if any one reading with experience in Central America has wisdom to offer.
    #60