Baja and Beyond, once the rain stops

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bcostell, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. bcostell

    bcostell Been here awhile

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    There are a several cities I really regret not visiting, Veracruz and Morelia to name just two. Sometimes I've bypassed because of being too much in a rush. For example I had it in my mind to get to Cancun. In hindsight it's a government created resort with less in the way of Mexican cultural history when compared to some cities like Veracruz. I wish I had shaved a day off Cancun and added someplace else. Still, next time.
    #61
  2. kennyanc

    kennyanc Long timer

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    Love this report. One of the best I have seen. Can't wait to see the rest.

    I am heading down to Baja and on to Creel next thursday and I can't wait!!

    Thanks for the inspiration/tease.

    Kenny
    #62
  3. bcostell

    bcostell Been here awhile

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    So the plan for today was to get up early, head towards <st1:City w:st="on">Mexico City</st1:City>, turn left to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Toluca</st1:place></st1:City> and get to the BMW dealer before they closed, at 2pm. I’d called and spoken the day before, several times, to confirm availability. I spoke to a guy named Carlos, from now on known as ‘total-dickhead-Carlos’. Ultimately I traded this
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    <o:p>and this</o:p>
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    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
    For this
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    I even stood up my breakfast date from the day before.
    [​IMG]

    <o:p> </o:p>
    But once again I’m getting ahead of myself.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Having to head back up towards <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico City</st1:place></st1:City> meant that I’d have to skip the Pan-Am going north. But I was quite happy about this for two reasons. #1, less ‘topes’ (aka butt-beaters). #2 I could now spend time in a series of central <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region> cities I really wanted to visit. So on balance I was more than happy to change plans.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I packed the night before, arranged an alarm call for 6am, got breakfast booked for 6.30am and was on the road by 7:15am. The <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Acapulco</st1:place></st1:City> dawn was crisp, clear and quiet. I hit the freeway and headed north. The road was nearly empty, the sky a deep blue and the fluffy’s majestically floating around. For the next three hours the ride was very scenic, canyons, bridges, rivers and tunnels.

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    I stopped at the side of the road for a hot-dog, cooked to order, yummy! All the time I was checking my progress against the clock to make sure I arrived before the dealer closed.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Eventually I left the freeway and cut across country. The road condition was average the vista’s stunning. This was Alpine Mexico. At 10,000ft the air was cool, the pine trees magnificent and the lakes un-molested and stunning. A truly great ride!

    [​IMG]

    I managed to fit in a quick trip the wrong way up a one-way street. I’m used to strange looks by now, so couldn’t discern the subtlety of an against the traffic trek. I also managed to drive right into the middle of Saturday market, but the locals were great and helped me extricate myself from my embarrassment. With over an hour to go and only two kilometers from the dealer I spotted a coffee stop so had a break and called the dealer. As agreed with ‘total-dickhead-Carlos’ I asked for Ulrich and confirmed their closing time and that I’d be there shortly.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    So, imbibed I rolled into Lerma-Motors (from now on known as ‘home of total-dickhead-Carlos’). All were smiles. They smiled, I smiled, the guard clutched his semi-automatic rifle, and smiled. A father and son came to look at the bike. I could tell the father was saying to his son something like…’you see son, when you grow up and have nuts the size of the gringo’s you too can have a shagged out BMW and tour the world’ Well maybe he said something more like…’steer clear, he smells bad and his bike is infested’ I prefer the first version, so we’ll go with that one.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Ok, I can’t put it off any longer. That b@#tard ‘total-dickhead-Carlos’ never checked his stock. No brake pads, no tire. My options were to carry on with a dodgy rear tire and pads with less than 2mm of material, so that was not really an option, although I did consider it. Another option was to find a local hotel and fume for a couple of days, then return Tuesday when the parts ‘could’ be in. I was quite tempted by this as I may have he opportunity to meet and rearrange the groin region of ‘total-dickhead-Carlos’. Finally I settled on heading into Mexico city and getting to another dealer, who Ulrich assured me had at least the pads…well he said 99% sure. I asked him about the missing 1% and he muttered something about nothing being the same since the wall came down. Ulrich thought he could compensate by offering directions to anywhere in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region>, even when I didn’t want them. I was trying to locate a hotel in Mexico and he kept hovering, like a train-spotter, with road-map in hand. In fairness he was trying to be helpful. I just wanted someone's (other than my own) blood, like right here, right now.



    My Lerma-Motors salute

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    I'm glad I have the shades on, a grown man crying is not a pretty sight.

    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
    So now I’m in a hotel in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico City</st1:place></st1:City> planning my Sunday. Oh yes, I went out for some nosh and it seems I’m staying in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region>’s gay region – I wondered why the concierge was smiling the way he did! So, again, here’s my view…..
    [​IMG]
    #63
  4. famcostell

    famcostell n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4
    [ That b@#tard ‘total-dickhead-Carlos’ never checked his stock. No brake pads, no tire. My options were to carry on with a dodgy rear tire and pads with less than 2mm of material,

    :huh
    Didn't he check when you called? Isn't that why you rode there? still the photos of the scenery look awesome, except for your hotel view ! Love ya..xxx
    #64
  5. snafu

    snafu Eater of Noodles

    Joined:
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    In the stix, Hampshire, EnglandVille
    ... I will have your babies upon your safe return. Bring the squirrel...
    #65
  6. Aussie Birdman

    Aussie Birdman n00b

    Joined:
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    What a journey, what a great read.....thanks for taking us all along with you "little chappie". Book me in next time!!!!!!! Enjoy your excellent adventure looking forward to the next installment.


    Safe travels & keep on truckin' big fella!!!!

    Aussie Birdman

    PS. CULT count down on, 12 days to go
    #66
  7. catalinathunder

    catalinathunder rides many motorcycles...

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
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    Northern California
    Sorry to hear that everything fell apart when you got to Lerma Motors...(Bastards). I wish I could ship you the parts overnight, but the cost would be crazy (but I can do crazy if I need to). If there is anything I can do let me know...

    Robert
    #67
  8. bcostell

    bcostell Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    San Fran Bay Area
    Sunday
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I didn’t have any specific plan to kill time. I considered taking a bus to the Aztex ruins north of the city, but decided against that. I opted to go visit the Anthropological museum, billed as being world class. It may well have been world class, but it was packed tighter than a can of sardines, so I couldn’t really tell. It turns out that on Sunday there is no entrance fee, so the place was heaving with school kids dragging their parents around while they did their projects.




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    So, what do you think of Carlos?
    [​IMG]

    I tried to escape the throng but was defeated at every turn, in the park – jam packed, on the street – same story. I did see some interesting goings on.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    This chap seemed to have deal going where he dances around waving a bunch of smoking stuff over his victim/client/whatever. It seems to be a popular thing as there was a queue waiting to be ‘smoked’.
    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
    Then there was the Mexican version of the English Morris dancers. But instead of dancing around a may-pole like a bunch of fairy’s these guys climb up a very tall pole and hang themselves upside down while playing with a small bongo. Somewhat more macho I think.
    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
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    <o:p>I'm watching you....</o:p>
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    </o:p>
    Add any appropriate caption......
    [​IMG]


    Eventually I retired back to my hotel and worked on my plan for the next few days. I was tempted by taking a trip out to Creel on the way back, to see at least some other riders. I think in the interests of time I’ll have to skip that.


    One way to kill time

    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Monday, off bright and early to the nearby BMW dealer to meet Edgart, known from this point onwards as ‘Edgart-the-total-hero’.

    [​IMG]

    He has the brake pads, he has a tire, he has a brain. The new tire is fitted, I wopped the new pads on. The remaining material of old ones is thinner than a gnats gonad, so I’m glad I got those changed. They even cleaned the bike. I’m going to miss the various streaked entrails that were decorating the bike, still, no turning back, I’m off just after midday.
    <o:p>[​IMG][​IMG] </o:p>
    My plan was to head first for Querataro for a lightning visit, then finish up in Guanajuato for the evening. I had planned to spend a full day in both of these cities but ‘Carlos-the total-dickhead’ put a spanner in those works. I rolled through Querataro mid-afternoon. A very attractive city worthy of far more than a drive-by.
    [​IMG]

    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>
    <o:p>A fairly common sight
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    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
    Then off to Guanajuanto another 100+ miles up the road. This city is amazing! It’s built on a hillside and riddled with tunnels running underneath it. There’s a University, so a very youthful atmosphere pervades the place.
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    The central area is dotted with little eatery’s and coffee shops. There’s even a museum of mummies. I passed on that one.


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    The hotel I stayed at , ‘Castille Santa Cecilia’ was a bit of a surprise. It was a miniature castle complete with battlements. The corridors were all arched tunnels. Just like a castle it was cold and drafty.
    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
    I’d decided that I’d have most of the morning in Guanajuanta before heading out to my next stop, Zacatecas. So, after a cold shower (castle plumbing) it was off for some nosh and snacks. Well, it seems that the revolution is following me, because the riot police were assembling. The Center was cordoned off with the boys in blue. They were happily dipping into a can containing CS gas grenades – dishing them out to each other with gay abandon.

    [​IMG]

    The problem was they had blocked off the cathedral and museum. So, all innocently I sauntered over and announced myself to be a tourist and rambled on in the best queens English. Remember, if you can’t blind them with science, then baffle them with BS.

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    Woosh, open come the barriers and in I trot. I was now inside a cordon of a few hundred riot police. The streets were empty, a few chappies with loosely fitting jackets (I’ve seen guys like this hovering around government ministers), with wires coming out of their ears – are they battery powered? So I wandered around, taking snaps, smiling. I think they must have thought I was press or maybe they’d heard of my river exploits, either way I was left well alone, in the eye of another hurricane.

    There are two fools in this photo, one is Don Quixot...
    [​IMG]


    So, off to Zacatacas......a quick dash up the road and to a higher elevation, about 8000ft. Another attractive town, much to see and do, I only managed a little of both. I did decide against staying at this place though.
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    I took a trip down te silver mine. People lived and died down there, they even carved out their place to pray.
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    Finally...
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    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    #68
  9. TheRobster

    TheRobster n00b

    Joined:
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    Bedford and Tongham England
    Well Bruce more amazing exploits and at last your bike is finally as it should be. Your inept dealer and his lack of parts is something I know only too well as working for Volkswagen I deal with the Dickhead gang on a daily basis. :boid
    It's a real joy when some one does what he says he will and manages to solve the problems and not create new ones. Well done Edgart the Hero. :clap Sally and I are still gripped by your stories and photgraphs and I for one really do fancy a coffee and piece of cake right now. As Sally would say "Yum!" Keep Posting and we will keep reading. Safe journey Amigo.

    Rob and Sally
    #69
  10. catalinathunder

    catalinathunder rides many motorcycles...

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    mmmmm....cake & coffee.
    #70
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    66,740
    Fantastic report and superb pics. Thanks for posting :thumb

    :lurk
    #71
  12. bcostell

    bcostell Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Thursday


    Today I became ‘Lord of the Rings’


    I left Zacatacus at dawn for the ride towards Chihuahua. My first stop was for gas and to check the air in the tires. I had a frustrating stop at the local Pemex station. Being a bit lazy I decided to use the pressure gauge on the gas station air line. Every time I ‘added’ air, the pressure went down. So after dropping 15lbs I bit the bullet and dug out my own gauge. Well, nothing was wrong with the gas station instrument, it was just they had very little air in their compressor. So after getting that sorted I was, after 20 mins, on my way.




    Ahh, here comes the sun

    [​IMG]

    Quite an uneventful ride until my stomach started to murmur of the need for food.


    I pulled into a roadside nosh-stop and had the most glorious eggs on toast, then spotted some burritos on a plate being walked past me and gestured to feed me some of those too. They were simply the most tasty I’d ever had. Maybe it was the altitude, or the time of day or something else, but they were juicy, spicy, loin stirring, I’m salivation with their memory.
    Back on the bike and off again. An hour later my stomach was giving me a new message, kind of the reverse of feed me. So, into another Pemex station. Once off the bike the need became urgently pressing, in fact critically pressing. Imagine a 6’2” penguin with a white crash helmet waddling towards salvation.



    Once inside I spotted the throne room and made a b-line for it. Three stalls, all empty, heaven! I went left, no paper, waddled right, no paper, getting hysterical. Looked in the middle, eureka – paper! Now to take my seat. Easier said than done when you have full length riding boots on, which are underneath your riding trousers. At this point I’m sensing I may loose the race. But I dig deep and manage to throw myself down a microsecond before…well before you know what. It does amaze me how fast such urgency passes (think about that). While I was struggling to take my place a Mexican guy followed me in to the throne room, then another. They had taken up residence in the other two stalls. We formed the ‘Brotherhood of the Ring’. Once my initial stress had eased I thought of the problem facing my brothers – no paper. So I peeled off a few (more than a few actually) sheets and passed the roll under the stall to my right. I wasn’t sure of the roll passing etiquette, whether one should pass like after dinner Port to the left or like bread rolls to the right. So risking an international faux-pa I took the risk. There was a murmur of appreciation. Also, there were words from the left ‘¿Usted conoce al Obispo de Winchester?’ (if you don’t get this don’t worry, 95% won’t). The paper came back and I passed it to my left. The words ‘Gracias Frodo, usted son verdad el señor de los anillos’. We had all bonded the way only men in need of a poop can.


    It was apt that we all rose almost simultaneously, like Knights of the Round Table. There was little eye contact, just a nod of acknowledgement that said what I took to mean ‘I have 5 beautiful daughters, take your choice brother’. In my eye was the message ‘I so nearly pooped my pants’. We went our separate ways with the warm feeling of men who had shared and shed their loads.


    The rest of the day was uneventful. The road north continued at altitude, mostly above 6000ft. The bike had started to develop a worrying stumble early in the day. I’d be charging along at high speed and it’d misfire then pick up again. It’s times like these when you become very aware of how remote you are. It also focuses your thinking. So as I worked it through my pea-brain I rationalized that it must be a fuel problem, probably starvation, then finally a vacuum lock. Once I stopped, coz I was not going to stop before I got back to an inhabited area, I found that fuel wasn’t flowing through my left side fuel line. A few sharp whacks and that was ‘sorted’, kind of like the way Lennox Lewis ‘sorted’ Mike Tyson.


    Early evening I rolled in to my hotel and retired for the night, without horror of horrors, my Latte.



    Friday



    Today, the ride to the border at El Paso. Quite an easy ride. The roads were empty for the first half of the day, then got busier the closer I got to the Mexican border. Unlike the perception the press may give, there were no bus loads of soon to be illegals heding for the border, just lots of commerce.



    At lunchtime I stopped for some lunch at a place where they serve chicken, either whole or half, but always delicious.
    [​IMG]


    Then it ws time to do another oil change. I spotted a side shop with a 'Quaker State' sign. Went inside, purchase a couple of litres and gesticulated for a container.

    [​IMG]


    Five minutes later I'm on my way, engine purring away.



    I spy with my little eye something beggining with 'H'
    [​IMG]


    finally, the sun started to go down

    [​IMG]



    Then the border
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    Most hotels were sold out, so I ended up paying full whack, and horror of horrors, I couldn't take my bike inside.

    I called room service for some nosh. 'Sorry, we closed at 10pm'. I replied that it was 10:02. No dice - assholes! I had to go next door to Applebees. Suddenly everything is booring and predictable. I should be grateful, but I'm dissapointed. And no coffee!



    Tomorrow back into the desert.
    #72
  13. snafu

    snafu Eater of Noodles

    Joined:
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    In the stix, Hampshire, EnglandVille
    Still breathtaking report, already.

    The Bishop of Winchester thread in Wiki was a bit out, geographically. I just took the opportunity of updating it, having had some experience of these things.

    Ride on, Bcostell, ride! We need another fix.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_wine
    #73
  14. CorkyC

    CorkyC SURVIVOR

    Joined:
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    21
    Buen viaje!!



    Viva Mexico!!
    #74
  15. torags

    torags Long timer

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    SF Bay Area
    Great Adventure. Thanks for sharing. My favorite story was the bonding of the rings... errr... bonding of men on the rings... err.. you get the idea...
    #75
  16. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

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    Great stuff, mang (I'm sooo jealous).

    [​IMG]

    More please.


    :lurk
    #76
  17. haggeo

    haggeo Been here awhile

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    oakland, ca
    At one point I traveled over a narrow strip of land that encloses some 600 square miles of bay, quite beautiful. Stopped and had a little snack-age, I have no idea what this is.
    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>

    this looks like a small snook.
    #77
  18. simon@vic

    simon@vic Been here awhile

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    sweet trip. sweet report.

    thx for sharing!
    #78