January 2009 Archives

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Well were getting down to a week left and we're missing two pieces of the puzzle.

Bike bandit has been very evasive about when the forks will get here. Dan has gotten to know most of the staff there and has some pretty strong feelings about Bike Bandit now.

(Note from Dan: Frustrating situation with BikeBandit - while they claim to have all the parts in stock - they don't really. I called these guys on December 22nd to ask if they had the fork tubes in stock - "oh, yes we do and they can ship tomorrow if you expedite" - well... today is Jan 3 and they are now claiming they will ship on the 9th.... So we may or may not have them sometime this year....)

The other piece to the Puzzle is tires. The fronts are in, but the back tires have been on back order for about 5 weeks... Then with all the weather problems and holidays they've been delayed in shipping. 

 

 

 

 

Well - just when you think it's not safe to go in the water again - we got notice from BikeBandit the forks are on the way to John's place - to arrive on Wednesday evening. John tells me the last tire we're waiting for is to arrive today to Cycle Gear in Portland.

So.... maybe, just maybe - we will get the bikes back together by Saturday and be ready to head out on Sunday or Monday.

Thanks to the hard work of Matt and Kim at Cycle Gear we have finally got the tires.

I will be getting them mounted and reassembling Dans forks tomorrow evening. Pending a visit from Murphy, the Bikes should be good to go tomorrow evening. We should be feet up and in the wind (and rain) on Sunday.

Watch The Oregonian Thursday or Friday. Rumor has it the Motobrothers are getting some press....

 

Big thanks to Emery for our logo and printing the trick motobrothers cards!!!!!

 

 

 

 

The weather this winter has been amazing - amazingly bad. Record snowfall in December and now record rain. So much rain that the major arterial roads out of Seattle are closed - I-5 is closed with 3+ feet of water over it - all the mountain passes are closed due to snow and avalanche conditions.
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The department of transportation is not promising anything about getting the roads open - last year I-5 flooded and it was 4 or 5 days before it was reopened.... Who knows if I can get down to Portland this weekend... First it's the forks, then its the tires, now it's the weather...  Here is a shot of I-5 down south - they are expecting the water to crest tonight about 10pm and now the DOT is saying they will probably not have it open before Monday (4 days!) - because it takes so long to clear all the mud and goo up and check the road for damages.


I updated the site with more info/pictures - check out the "About" page, Bikes and Gear page and the "FAQ" page.

Hi to those folks that saw us in the Oregonian!!!

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Welcome to our blog. Thanks for checking us out.

Due to the weather and I-5 closing Dan wasn't able to get down here a few days ago... He is coming today from Seattle. So It looks like we're leaving on Monday instead of tomorrow. The bikes are ready. And all we have to do is pack all our stuff on the bikes.

That seems easy enough, but those that have traveled by motorbike know that the load has to be balanced and packed evenly with the heavy stuff as low as possible.  So its a juggle of putting things here and there and then here and there. Also deciding who's carrying what. We will be working on our "Pack Jenga" tomorrow. Really the PackJenga never gets perfect, You work on it everytime you load the bike during the trip....Ever searching for that perfect packjenga!!

Thanks to the Oregonian and John Foyston for that cool Article!

Tonight we party!

 

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Well we made it through the first day! We had an uneventful day riding down I-5. It was clear and cold most of the way. With some very thick fog thrown in here and there. Not much to tell you about except we did bank some bike Karma. We were coming into Eugene and a guy was on the side of the road with his BMW. We stopped and he was out of gas. We have a little hand crank pump we use to fill our camp stove from the gas tank of our bikes. Well we busted it out and to the dude’s amazement we instantly pump about a pint a gas in his rig and we were off to the gas station. We then stopped for some BBQ lunch at the Lone Coyote in Eugene. Man was it good. Other than that not much to say. We are now in Grants Pass ready to hit the CA coast tomorrow.

We have a page on the blog that shows our path and where we are – (Click here to see it). This page is delayed by a day or so but we also have a realtime map of where we are at any given moment – (Map Link) if you want to see our GPS track.

Grants Pass to Fort Bragg

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An epic day to ride yesterday – got a late start which inadvertently turned out in our favor. The roads in the mountains were wet by the time we were on them, but with temps in the 30’s they would have been frozen and slick had we been there much earlier.

Just as we came out of the tunnel on 199 and crossed into California the sun came out. Imagine that, Cold and wet in Oregon. Sunny in California. Were talking the distance of 1/2 mile. Both the mood and temp came up instantly. With the road bathed in sunshine we decended some “twisties” to the coast. After stopping for some gas and shedding some of the heavy clothes we rolled down the coastline on 101 to HWY 1. The North end of HWY 1 was made for bikes and we had a blast – probably good the thing was wet and sandy in spots so we kept the speed down a bit. We also played with the the on board camera’s a bit.

Pulled into Fort Bragg just as it started getting dark – filled up with gas and grabbed a crappy hotel room. We were sitting in the bar thinking about dinner and overheard a couple guys talking about how you better not leave the heat on in your room while you’re not there. John said to them “I just turned the heat up and we left, what’s wrong with that?” – One of the guys said “if you didn’t turn it up all the way you’re fine” – and the other said “don’t worry, it’s a dead heat”.  A dead Heat?

My buddy Bert (Jim Bratsanos) also played a little trick on us – he’s been watching our SPOT GPS realtime track (if you don’t know about this – check it out here) – when he saw we stopped for the night he started looking around. Found the gas station where we filled up and then he started calling hotels to see if he  could find us – he left a message on our room phone and sounded like a little kid who just stole his siblings Christmas present – he said he limited himself to 5 phone calls to see if he could find us – I think Bert may have some “issues” but it was fun!

We’re going to head down 101 today and probably end up a ways south of Monterey – down the Big Sir.

Cheers!

 

Fort Bragg to Pescadero Ca

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PICT0629Another day of sunshine!! We rode down the coastline about 50 miles south of Ft Bragg and turned inland on a small one lane road that went through a grove of redwoods. Then curved its way up and over the hills to highway 101.  This road was amazing, with more turns, dips and switchbacks than you can ask for. The landscape went from windswept slopes by the coast to dark redwood groves. Then it opened up to high ranch land followed by lovely road along the banks of the Russian river. We stopped in the small town of Monte Rio and had a sweet lunch. You know how those lunch stops can be hit or miss. This one was awesome. Great lunch served by a beautiful waitress. With full bellies and scrubbed tires we headed towards the Golden Gate bridge. Pretty uneventful from there. We stopped just south of Half Moon Bay at the Pigeon Point Light House Hostel. We were greeted by a super friendly host and booked in for 25 bucks eack. If your ever this way this is a great place to stay with a hot tub right on the Ocean… I mean its on the clif overlooking the rocks and waves. Today its more Hwy 1 on the  way south. The Sun is shinning and its all going on!

Cheers

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Pescadero to Santa Barbra CA

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PICT0221What can you say about Hwy 1 down the coast that hasn’t been said? It was amazing! Not a cloud in the sky and traffic was very light. The only thing bigger than the view was the grin on our faces. Right after we got south of Big Sur we were stopped in a construction zone with a BIG line of cars, The dude said it would be 15 or more minutes. He then said we should bybass all the cars

and wait at the front. Nice! When they let us go we had Hwy1 all to ourselves. Thanks Mike! If you have ever ridden your motorbike in CA it is legal for a motorbike to share a lane with cars. Nice when the cars are stopped or traffic is heavy.

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We quicklly upped the pace and found that the Racetech springs we put in the front forks were the right thing to do. The forks work sooo much better than stock. on one tight bend I heard that tell tale SCRAPE that is telling you thats enough lean angle…. After an inspection I found it was the bag that touched. We are using Jesse bags and they slide forward and back.

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so I slid em back a bit and now I have more lean angle!

 

 

Today we enter Mexico. the blog updates may not be everyday depending on internet access.. So we’ll keep you updated when we can.

 Cheers.

Santa Barbara to Santa Barbara

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Yep, We didn’t make it to Mexico Today.

IMG_0148We still had lots of paperwork to do. Mexican bike Insurance, Copies of documents and so forth.  Dan also had some business to tend to. So we decided we had a reasonable hotel room with good internet and ts alot easier and cheaper to use cel phones here in the states. So while I took a nap and watched TV, Dan spent a couple hours on the computer and phone taking care of last minute stuff for us. Thanks Dan! We should be good to go tomorrow. It really is surprising how much paperwork and docs you need when you are taking a vehicle deep into Mexico and we still have to stop in Mexico and get more paperwork!

Catch you soon.

 

 

 

The Oregonian Article is online now.

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For those friends and family that have not seen the article in the Oregonian. They have posted it online now and you can see it by clicking here.

 

Santa Barbara to Tijuana

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Here we sit at David and Eva Rodriguez’s place overlooking the ocean in Tijuana. We just had an awesome home cooked meal of Carne Asada, beans, and lots of Tecate beer…Thanks to them and their family for the beds and hospitality.

The ride down was uneventful and very fast. People in CA rip on the freeways. We were doing 75 plus and people were ripping by us. Made me wonder what you have to do to get a ticket….

The border was really no big deal. We cruised right through and got our paperwork. It really is just a sticker for the bike and a slip of paper you hand in when you leave the country. 20 bucks for the tourist visa and 30 bucks for the bike sticker. Not too bad…

On a side note we have been asked a few times for lists of what we’re carrying, Lists of the spare parts, lists of cities were visiting and lists of paperwork needed to visit the countries were going to. We really love the fact that people are checking out our blog and want more info, but I’m sorry we have very few lists. While we are not completely winging it – we took a much different approach on this trip. We prepared and setup the bikes for a long trip – packed the tools and spares we thought we would need – but we didn’t plan a specific route or detailed plans for where we would stop. A great deal of the pleasure of a trip like this is the journey and the discovery that comes along with following the front wheel where it leads.

We’ve done a lot of travel around the world and have found that all the research you do about border crossings is usually wrong. Inevitably there is one more stamp you need, one more person to talk to, or one more long wait to get the bribe amount to go down a little more. So we haven’t done much research on borders and crossings.

The prep work we were talking about in our blog entry from yesterday is mostly things we should have done before leaving but we just flat out ran out of time. We tracked down all the details on notifying our credit cards about being out of the country, details about insurance, purchasing Mexican moto insurance, working through the details of search and rescue insurance – cell phone stuff – on and on and on… and each phone call takes 20 minutes because you have to wade through voice menus and eventually the call is dropped for some reason.

Long story short – our lists and details/notes won’t do you much good – maybe after we get through a particular area we can share details with you!

Another awesome sunny day of riding – had a great Mexican breakfast with David and Eva and enjoyed some warm weather while packing the bikes.

We rode south to Rosarito to catch a bypass road north and east towards Tecate. After missing a left turn for the bypass connecter we had to pull a U turn but couldn’t do it for a couple blocks. Pulling the U turn and heading back up we were sucked into a check point and searched for the first time. Kind of funny cause we just rode by these guys on the road and came back – but they looked thru each of our bikes sort of cursorily.

We rode on some great roads up and thru the mountains on the way over to Mexicali. They are proud of IMG_0157these roads judging by the tolls they charge to drive on them – by the time we got to Rocky Point I think we probably paid about $20 for each bike on the toll roads. In places we could see the free (Libre) road and it looked pretty decent – but we needed to make some time today and get some miles behind us.

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We stopped for a break at an overlook and while we were enjoying the view a truck pulled up and a guy came out to look at the bikes. He came over to talk to Dan and the Dan’s school kid Spanish got pressed into service. Thankfully, Carlos could speak better English than Dan’s Spanish and we got to have a good chat about the bikes and his family. He gave us a couple chocolate bars from his truck and we had him sign our bikes with the sharpie. Gracias Carlos!!!

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The run from Mexicali to Sonoyta on Mex 2 was pretty flat and and straight. The GPS was showing that we were frequently within about 50 feet of the US Border and you could see the huge fence running along the border. A regular reminder that the difference in “opportunity and higher wages” lay just a short distance away. You can’t really see how big this fence is in the picture but it is huge – at least 10 feet tall and made of steel and it runs for miles and miles

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We quickly filled up in Sonoyta and hustled down to Rocky Point – arriving at sunset and breaking the first rule of traveling down here – don’t drive at night. Thankfully we had some daylight while arriving but the risks of being on the road at night are too great and we will avoid it going forward.

Lastly – We’ve not had one drop of rain on us since leaving from John’s house a week ago today. Extraordinary really – so we’re thinking of running a little contest to guess the date when you think we will get rained on – just  leave a comment for the blog and claim your date… Earliest guess for a particular date wins and we’ll figure out a goofy prize for the winner. Like a worn out Michelin tire….

 

We cranked about 375 miles today – doesn’t seem like much but that is about 6 and 1/2 hours on the road dodging cars, trucks, cattle, potholes, topes (large – make that HUGE speed bumps) and various objects that are in the road…

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When we first left Rocky Point the road was unbelievably flat and straight for about a zillion miles. Nothing happening out there and the speed limit was something like 80KMH (like 50mph) - and NObody was obeying the speed limit. This shot is of Dan who is just a tiny speck on the right lane out near that first electrical tower.

 

 

 

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Not a lot of interesting things to tell you about the trip today - we just blasted through some mileage… we filled up 3 times and here is a shot of the typical Pemex gas station in Mexico. There is only one brand of gas in Mexico and you gotta love it – it’s Pemex… and the government basically owns it. The guys that work there are usually great and very interested in the bikes – we’ve had a couple of them sign the bikes with the sharpies and they are excited to be able to write on the machines… funny stuff.

 

Coming out of Hermosillo we came across a HUGE Cemex plant – we crested a hill and about 10 miles out in the middle of a big valley was a 10 story machine – who knows what it did – and about 5 miles to the north was a mountain that they were disassembling – with a conveyor belt running from the mountain to the Cemex plant this belt was at least 5 miles long!  Amazing to see – sorry we don’t have a picture of it but I didn’t think it would look all that impressive.

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After getting into Hermosillo we headed almost due east and ended up in Tecorpia – a tiny little town with a Pemex and a couple small hotels. We waited around at the first hotel for half an hour for someone to show up – John hit the little store nearby for a 6 pack of muy frio Tecate (very cold) – we ended up across the street at hotel near the hardware store – 300 pesos – about $22 or so. We got a couple “cup of noodles” and more beer from the store and cooked it up while drinking the beer and enjoying a nice night in the Sierra mountains.

 

Tomorrow we head into Copper Canyon – we’re looking forward to some twisty roads and seeing some natural beauty…. still no rain on us - so get your votes in for the day you think we’ll get some rain on. I thought I might throw one more thing in here – to qualify for real “rain” it has to be enough for us to pull into shelter or dig out our rain gear… and since nobody really knows our true course south – all your research on weather.com (Bert) will probably not yield you the secret sauce. The first day in Mexico without being stopped for Inspection. We saw a sign a few hundred clicks back and it said “hassle free zone for motorbikes and cars. Sweet! no Hassle zone!

Cheers!

 

Tecoripa to Creel Mexico

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Another epic day – this road was a motorcyclist’s dream. Literally 250 miles of no straight aways. I mean twisty! we clocked 250 miles of every kind of turn you can imagine, from swipers to switchbacks.This is the longest road of constant turns either of us have run. It took us 6 hours to go 250 miles and we were carving the turns up. You really do have to ride with alot in reserve though. Trucks routinely use they’re lane and half of yours! On some switch backs they have to use all of the road to make the corner without the trailer going in the ditch. We hit a straightaway at the 255 mile mark and it was 1/2 mile long and we both remarked that it was the first one and the longest for a long time. This combined with several thousand feet of elevation gain/loss/regain/reloss and road surfaces that were largely new or excellent made for some incredible riding.

IMG_0203The terrain today was widely varied – from tree less high desert to pine tree  covered mountains – both John and I thought it looked remarkably like eastern Oregon. The buildings in the mountains were largely made of wood and scrap metal instead of the lowland buildings which are predominantly made of concrete blocks and stucco.

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In the states you see a sign now and then saying “open Range” They should just put one at the border to Mexico saying “Mexico, Open Range” so as if watching for trucks in your lane is not enough, we had to dance with some cows here and there – John seemed to like this one in particular…

She was kinda cute!

 

 

 

 

 

Jim-on-gsWe met another motor cyclist from the states on the road today – he was stopped and looking at his gear when we pulled in. Jim (didn’t get his last name) was from Estes Park Colorado and was riding around Mexico to get out of the cold weather for a bit. He was riding a loaded BMW 1200GS Adventure bike. Jim had just come from where we were headed so had a lot of info to share about a road that was closed and some difficult areas in the copper canyon area. Thanks Jim! He also told us “when things get tough just remember that we were the luckiest f*ckers he had met in a long time!” – he was of course referring to our trip and not John’s unexplained ability to skunk me in cribbage that evening.

 

 

 

 

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We had some Internet connectivity at the hotel here and John took the opportunity to make a call or two while relaxing.

We ended up at the Best Western in Creel and we were very tired after having done about 330 miles of twisty roads.

Thanks everyone for the comments and the rain guesses!! Fun to see everyone following along – We had the “threat” of rain on the way in today – with a few drops hitting us but remember the rules are that we have to dig out the rain gear and typing this in the morning it looks like a gorgeous day to ride with no rain expected!

Cheers! 

 

 

Creel to Batopilas

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We spent the night in Creel and it was an interesting town. Our “Spidy Sense” went off as soon as we cruised into town. Then after checking into the nicest hotel. We walked into town for something to eat. We passed about a dozen cops out in full armer including combat helmets, machine guns and a truck with a mounted turret…. There were very few people out and about and it felt just plain wierd…. We walked by one hotel and the parking lot was full of about 30 or 40 police in riot gear (helmets, vests, the works…) We had a pizza and got our asses back to the hotel bar for a beer.

 

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Before blowing out of town in the morning John wanted to do a few laps on an Italian bike – I had a pocketful of 2 pesos coins and John put in a few hot laps and then switched to qualifying tires for a speed run – he was disappointed when I ran out of coins…While he was on it from across the street some guys were yelling Vroom Vroom!!

 

 

 

IMG_0224Todays ride was unreal. We got a late start partially on purpose to avoid traffic down the canyon road and also trying to take care of as much computer stuff as possible while we had internet connection. The road heading south of Creel was spectacular as usual – with lots of twisty sections, elevation up, down and nice new clean pavement -

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The terrain also began to change with lots of rock outcroppings and interesting rock formations.

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P1000423We had probably 50 miles of nice asphalt road leading up to the turn down to Batopilas. We missed the turn the first time because it wasn’t marked but after 3 or 4 miles we decided to turn around and found a sign. We had been told the road was horrendous and that it would be a challenge – so we were very surprised to see the road as you see here on the right – a super highway of gravel roads. We both were wondering what everyone was talking about – after about 10 miles we ran into the road crew who were rebuilding the road and after that the road slowly degraded until it reached the rim of the canyon.

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From the rim of the canyon down to the river at the bottom the road switches back and forth to descend 4500 feet in about 5 or so miles!!! It then continues along the river following a clif ridge up and down for another 15 miles into Batopilas. There must have been 25 plus Very narrow steep switchbacks. The road surface varies from loose sand to softball size rocks. Lots of washboards. Most of the road is not wide enough for two cars and barely wide enough for a truck. With no guard rails and drops ranging from 100 feet to 4000 Feet!!!! Very technical riding and very taxing. In the picture on the left – those are roads about a zillion miles down in the canyon!

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If you look at the picture below closley in the right switchback, you will see a dot in the middle of the road – that is one of us in the distance to give you some scale of the magnitude

 

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All along the road there are these worship shrines and memorials to people who failed to negotiate the road. If you left the road anywhere you were not going to survive. So folks would stop and pray before, during and after traversing cetian sections of the road. 

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P1000445So after Decending 4500 feet of technical switch backs, rocks, narrow roads and the like. We came to this simple little bridge crossing. I (John) unfortanatly was in front when we got there and without thinking I started across on the boards running length wise. My front tire got caught in the grooves between the boards and I lost balance. I went to put my foot down and it was in the middle of the two tracks. As you can see the middle is about 6 inches lower than the raised parts. As I started to fall over I had Dan in my ears saying “There he goes!! There he goes!!”  Much to Dans delight I was instantly on my side with him laughing in my helmet. (we have a comm device that allows us to talk while on the bikes.) Prior to falling I thought the comm device was a good idea. Anyway we picked it up and the only damage was to my pride, so we continued on another 15 or 20 miles of nasty roads to Batopilas.

So let the crap fly in the comments people. I assure you its no worse that what Dan has already given me ;-)

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Batopilas is a neat little town. It was settled in the 1600’s due to silver being mined in the cayon. It is between the clif and the river. Very narrow and long. Pretty much one street with a nice little town center. When we got there we saw 3 bikes in a hotel lot so we checked in there and met 3 guys from Colorado on KTM’s. While Dan was checking in these cute little girls came over and started trying to chat with me. I was surprised to see some of my Spanish working. I guess I have the Spanish of 6 year olds. If they were only the ones that run stores and hotels I would be set. Anyway I asked If i could take thier picture and they were hesitant. After I took a picture I showed them it on the camera screen. They both lit up and wanted to pose for a better one. Very cute, Don’t you think?

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No rain today – not a drop – when we got Batopilas we were super dusty from the 50 miles of gravel, silt and dust.

 

Batopilas to Las Nieves

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P1000448We got a relatively early start today and after walking thru the town of Batopilas we geared up and poked our way down the street to get some gas. Not your average gas filling situation but not too bad actually - it worked well and we didn't bother asking how much per liter/gallon the fuel was - just fill it up and pay the total. Inside that building are about a zillion barrels of gas - or what they claim is gas - anyway - it burned fine and we didn't have any troubles with it.

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Truck-passingOur trip up the canyon went much faster than riding down into Batopilas. We weren't stopping to take pictures quite so often and we were able to make our way to the rim of the canyon in about 2 hours or so. Along the way we watched these 3 trucks do the dance of figuring out how to get past each other - it took them 15 minutes or so to work it out and we hung back about a 1/4 mile to watch from afar - no need for a motorcycle to get ground up between the trucks.

 

 

 

 

Dan-on-bridgeHere's a shot of one of the wooden bridges - we managed to both make it across all the bridges without incident today

Notice the mother Mary shrine behind Dan. Painted on the rock wall. These are all over Mexico.

 

 

 

 

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OK - check out this dump truck - they were working on the road in sections - to give you an idea of how rough this road is, Just the wheels and tires on this truck are roughly the same height as we are while sitting on the bike. (6 Feet)- it looks tiny here but you can also see the school bus in the right of the picture for scale....we had to follow it through this ditch and it had rained a bit last night so the mud was super slick.

 

 

 

 

 

We hit the asphalt road after about 3 hours and 45 miles of gravel - and both of us let out a cheer cause the road was smooth and we were cruising again! It was pretty cold at the top (8,000 foot elevation) and we suited up with heated gear on.

We cruised across a wide variety of terrain today - emerging from the canyon country we came into some really broad sweeping high country plains and grasslands. The road routinely ran along the very ridge of a high bluff area and the views were fantastic.

Aproaching the town of Balleza we came to a military checkpoint (our first in a few days) - unlike some of the other ones we've hit - these guys were strictly business - vests, helmets, lots of big guns etc.. They looked in John's luggage and talked at us for a few minutes before pushing us onward. On leaving the town - literally 1 mile and 2 minutes later, but just out of sight from the other checkpoint we were stopped again. These guys seemed even more serious than the last bunch and were wearing masks over their faces and several guys questioned us before letting us go onward without a search. We both remarked that it was very uncomfortable and they seemed pretty nervous.... Coming into the next town we went through yet another search but it was much more routine and we pushed onward. We were reminded how nice it is to have the comm system between us. As they would always ask each of us the same questions and the second one can here the questions/answers. Making it easy for us to make our stories match. Would have come handy as kids for when mom and dad asked us where we had been when we got home late.

We rolled into the forgettable town of Las Nieves about 4:30 with plenty of time to find a hotel and we dug up a swell one - 300 pesos for the night for a double room in the "1st class" section... but it's freezing cold in  the room and there is no heat - we're both sitting around in sleeping bags typing in the blog entry for the night. Having a dinner of Ruffles Queso, Canelitas (crackers) and coke.

Rain report: while we had a few sprinkles today - nothing that you would consider rain and we definitely didn't have to drag our rain gear out - so, the streak continues!

Cheers!

 

Los Nieves to Zacatecas

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IMG_0309Not alot to tell you about today. We ground out 450 plus miles to get to Zacatecas. Most of the road was staight with a few curves here and there. Lots of grass land and big vistas. Thats not alot of miles in the states but here… Let me tell you, we were on the bikes from 7am or so till almost 4pm with the only stops being to fill up. It takes alot longer to go anywhere in Mexico. Most roads go roads go right through town and the towns size is determined by how many and how big the Topes are. (speed bumps) Some towns have as many as 15 or 20. some of these things are HUGE. If they are not taken super slow they will throw you out of the seat. We are having a problem with the bikes bashing the bottom of the skid plate/engine on the Topes. Even if you go so slow your almost falling over.  We are developing a method of clutching it and gassing it right when you get to the leading edge of the topes and that makes the bike wheelie, then the back tire hits it and you kinda jump off of it. Much to the delight of the locals who always set up shop selling thier goods or “street meat” next to the topes. However, that is hard on the machine and we save it for the topes with the biggest crowds….

IMG_0318Zacatecas is a big town with big history. Lots of old buildings and very narrow streets. We checked into the Best western right in the middle of it all. We showered up and went out for some dinner and walked around a bit. It was a nice change to walk around and feel comfortable with no cops or guys with big guns wondering what your doing and where your going.There was this cool old church close to the hotel and we scoped it out. You can’t really seee it in the photo but the detail on the stonework is amazing.IMG_0317  

 

YALD (yet another long day) – we somehow managed to get an early start (2 days in a row) and it was pretty chilly in the morning while riding out of town. Zacatecas is at about 8200 foot elevation so it takes a bit of sunshine to warm the air in the morning but by our first gas stop we were stripping off all the thermal gear and back into the mesh stuff. 

We did about 450 miles today and when we arrived in Barra we were both fried. The roads out of Zacatecas down thru Guadalajara were mostly flat with occasional twisty sections to keep us awake. After negotiating the traffic thru Guadalajara we were running on highway 80 and for maybe 50 miles it was pretty boring stuff but as it climbed over the coastal ranges it turned into a fantastic roller coaster with unlimited curves including banked corners and not too much traffic.

Very interesting to see the terrain and vegetation change as we came down from the high plains. A slow transition to almost jungle like plants and the accompanying humidity – a short burst of rain began a debate between John and I about whether that qualifies as rain but we didn’t get our rain gear out and decided that if we hit that sort of thing back home we wouldn’t stop – so – no rain was declared.

WaterfallWe stopped just north of Guadalajara to see a tall waterfall cascading on a sheer face of rock – Cola de Caballo - Horsetail waterfall. Not much water flowing over this thing but the height of it was very impressive. They say it is 670 meters (just about 2200 feet) – and the overlook platforms were kind of spooky.

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We rolled into Barra around 5:30 and were trying to find Dan’s friend Rob Kirby when all of the sudden someone is yelling at us from a balcony and we look up and it’s Rob. Great to see him and he had ice cold beers ready for us. By the way Rob roasts  what is routinely called the best coffee you’ve ever tasted – check out his site at: Local Goods. We found a great hotel that is on the beach and they  let us park the moto’s inside at night – here is Dan riding into the lobby…

A housekeeping note – we changed the entry name of our blogs to be both of us – we were getting questions about who was writing and so forth. Mostly we have written the blog entries together – John will write something then Dan will add pictures and color commentary or the opposite. Anyway – going forward we will post under both of us unless its just one of us.

OK – cheers!

Barra to Barra

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Our second day off the bikes hangin’ in Barra. This place is cool. pretty low key with lots of gringos. We’ve met people from Black Duck MN, WA, OR and lots of Canadians. Yesterday we did much of nothing.  Had a massage. Walked around town, had a few beers and just kinda hung out with Rob, Chris and Leann. My sides still hurt from laughing with Rob….Good times hangin with you guys. Thanks!! They left today for home and we are relaxing at the hotel doing a bit of bike maintance. Cleaning and lubing the chains. Checking nuts and bolts stuff like that. That gravel road to Batapilis really shook up the rigs, so were checking em out for our departure tomorrow.

IMG_0342Dan Has had this squeek for the last week and a half. He has been struggling to find it and its driving us both nuts. “The only good thing is that its loud enough for the mic to pick it up and bug John too” He said…  He has the fairing apart and parts all over the lobby. Not sure if you can see it in the picture but that is the front desk just behind me in the back ground. Our bikes are right in the middle of the Lobby. You got to love Mexico!!

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I’m sitting here around the pool with WiFi typing this blog. Its about 75 with a nice on shore breeze to keep the humidity down. Trying to decide if I should take a nap, Have a cold beer, go read my book or get some lunch… I think I’ll do them all!

Cheers!IMG_0345

BarraDe Navida to Ixtapa

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IMG_0354Before leaving Barra we had breakfast with “the Fixer” Thomas. This guy could be his own reality show. He has spent 5 months a year in Barra every year for the last 25 years. He stays in the same hotel we were in. He is from Chicago and has the gangster accent, “Any fooking thing you guys need you just let me know”  “I’ve got people”  This dude all but runs the town of Barra. He mingles with guests of the hotel like he owns the joint. We walk down the street and  everyone in town waves and years “TOOMAAAAS”.  We had a great time hanging  with him. Thanks Tom.

 

 

 

 

 

Dan-near-beachWe hit the road for Ixtapa and we were reminded right away why it takes sooo long to get anywhere in Mexico: Checkpoints, Topes, busses and little towns every 20 clicks or so. We had heard the next 150 miles or so used to be called “Bandito Alley” but they “have cleaned it up”. Well we found out how very quickly. 4 checkpoints and 4 searches for me. For some reason they only searched Dan once. I guess I look like trouble. These stops can be as much as 20 minutes and we stand there in the sun with our black riding gear on and marinate…. Its 80 plus and the humity is brutal. (I’m not complaining about the heat, Just telling you about it”) The first part of the road was awesome. Right on the coast, twistie and good pavement. the second half was fairly boring with no curves no view and tons of traffic as we closed in on Ixtapa.  We were pretty used up after 340 miles in about 7 hours.

Ixtapa is your atypical tourist spot. Big hotels, Expensive bars, and lots of junk shops with hustlers begging for your money. I really didn’t care for it much. It was quite a change from the small town feel of Barra. We ended up at the “beer Planet” as they had buck beers. After a few we struck up a conversation with some folks from Minnesota. Then we find out she has sold real estate in Mezzeppa and Zumbro falls area. Which is where I went to High school. Were talking a town of 600 people. It is a small world…

We’ve had a couple folks mention that our “where are we” page is not up to date – we know and we’re working on changing it up a bit. In the mean time – you can hit our “spot device” page and see where we are in real time – here is the link.

Cheers!

Ixtapa to Acapulco

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IMG_0369We got a late start from Ixtapa and headed south. We had a short day as we are on schedule to get to San Jose, Costa Rica by the 10th of Feb.  The road was uneventful with a few spots where it got near the coast otherwise it was allot of little towns, more topes and very straight roads.

We cruised downtown Acapulco and it was crowded! Traffic was tight and people just basically go where they want, If there is room for half a car in your lane they put the whole car in there. I ended up trading paint with a lady who after Dan went by her left side, she decided to whip into our lane to go around a stopped bus. I was already right by her window and she just kept coming over. I gassed it and just as I thought I was ahead of her she caught her front bumper on the rear corner of my saddle bag making the bike kinda bump to the left. It wasn’t really a problem but it did piss me off.  She didn't even know she hit me. She left a little rubber on the saddlebag…. and Dan was giving me a bad time about getting stressed in traffic while we are in big cities!! Anyway we found a nice hotel just off the beach and Dan worked his magic on the room rate. The dude started at 1500 pesos (130 bucks)we paid 800 pesos (65 bucks.).

IMG_0370We went for a walk on the beach. To look for cocktails and food.  It was a really nice evening albeit a bit muggy. when we cruised in front of all the restaurants they each have someone out front trying to convince you its the best place to eat. This one guy had a pretty good pitch and he convinced us with “free Margreeta's for you and your Bro!” after we sit and order food.The drinks show up. You can’t see it in the pic but the free drink is about the size of a shot glass. Neither of us could taste any booze in it either. However dinner was great! We both were pretty shot and we headed back down the strip and went to bed watching the Xgames.   We have gotten plenty of emails about the mapping not working….Dan has spent an amazing amount of time working on getting the mapping deal working. He has downloaded many programs and after finding most of it dosen’t work the way he wants. He is now writing his own program to get-r-done. We it comes to computers he is like a pit bull once he gets going. So be cool and he’ll get it working soon.

Today we thought we would change it up a bit and head south!!

Cheers.