Time for heading south (take 2)
I'll try to make is thread again, tried earlier today and messed it all up.
The wife and I and the gentleman we ride with most often are planning a little trip south for the fall and we agreed it would be nice to share since folks on this forum are so great at sharing their adventures. We've done this trip before where we leave Alberta destined for Arizona however previously we've always gone through the western states and this time we would like to travel through the interior with a side trip to Louisiana before heading to Arizona.
I scratched a few lines on a Shell map with Paint, some of the roads we took on our two previous trips down and back:
A few pics from the road in no real order:
Monument Valley popular tourist picture
Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park
Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly
Badwater Basin in Death Valley NP
Crazy rock texture in Kings Canyon NP
A big ol' tree in Sequoia NP
Half Dome in Yosemite NP
Messed up "diptych" of the bridge over the Crooked River Gorge
Crater Lake in May 2012
The barking stinking critters on the California coast
South rim of the Grand Canyon
UFO Museum in Roswell New Mexico
With our journey still in the planning stages we have only nailed down a few stops. The first day will likely take us to Moosejaw hopefully in time to sample some smoked prime rib. After that I'd like to pass by the Devil's Tower monument in Wyoming and Jewel Cave and Mt. Rushmore monument in the Black Hills. South of there is somewhat unknown since I've never been. More pics to come if I decide I can figure this thread thing out!
looking great so far
appreciate the thread
can't wait to read and see more
thanks for sharing
A bit of an update. Our departure date is set to Wednesday, about a week earlier than we left last fall.
Here is a pic from October 10 2012, it was snowing and raining and about 30 degrees all the way from Edmonton to Canmore. Ice built up on everything, wound up destroying my fork seals which bled all over everything until I had them fixed in AZ.
It seems that when I remade the thread I neglected to mention the proposed rout so here goes: First stop: Moose Jaw Saskachewan for smoked prime rib. From there probably south through the western bit of North Dakota directly towards the Black Hills in South Dakota. Depending on how the weather is we might explore a little while there. After that we'll follow the scenic routs in the rand McNally road atlas and we'll probably see a bit of Nebraska, Arkansas, and Mississippi before we get to Louisiana. Getting pretty excited now!
The weather has been pretty poor so far. Rain in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Pretty cool and lots of construction in North Dakota. Stopped yesterday afternoon in Belfield ND on account of it snowing a little. Waiting now in Bowman because of ice on the highway and the news of the highway south being impassible. Might have to re-think our rout!
I'm slowly figuring out how to post with this tablet gizmo. Here is a picture from Thursday, a guy knows he is in Moosejaw when the crosswalk sign looks like this:
This is how we ended our day in Belfield on Friday:
So there were a couple of firsts for us back on Saturday: it was the first time we (the wife and I) ever rode on ice and also the first time we ever passed a working snow plow on the highway. She might not have thought I was nervous enough but there certainly were some pucker moments. Sitting in the cafť in Bowman we began to re-think our game plan. After some deliberation we decided to head straight west instead of south and carry on until we could get around the snow. We heard that going to South Dakota was a bad idea because the snow in Deadwood was quickly stacking up.
After a short ride we crossed into Montana where the conditions quickly improved. Also I had never ridden in Montana before and decided it was very scenic and beautiful.
Rolled over lucky sevens somewhere in there
Saturday night we got into Billings and had some steaks at the Texas Roadhouse which was great. Apparently there were more than 40 staff making everything run smoothly that night. Food and staff were both great.
Sunday morning we started by checking out the pictograph caves close to Billings. Unfortunately not too much to see due to degradation over time but the weather was really starting to look up and we were in no hurry to be rushing away.
Our journey today was pretty short, we toured through the Craters of the Moon lava field, incredible to imagine how folks would have made their way through this area with horses and wagons a couple hundred years ago. Ran into some folks working for Klim on great big adventure bikes, two KTMs and a BMW.
Made it to Twin falls after a rest in Shoshone, rode down into the gorge, yapped with a base jumper from Brazil then rode back out. Tomorrow we're looking to rend a canoe and maybe a kayak and paddle up river a little to enjoy this wonderful weather!
So keeping a ride report up to date is pretty tough, kudos to you folks who manage to do it regularly.
The threat of rain stopped the paddling adventure but we managed to miss the bad weather by riding out early.
Here's a shot I liked from Twin Falls
A shot from Craters of the Moon which was closed when we rode through. Sure glad parks are back open.
Three Buttes. I'm always amazed by the crazy mount of volcanic leftovers spread across the US
That sweet building in Caliente
Somewhere on the road before we got to Vegashttp://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m...t/IMGP7482.jpg
A shot from that rest stop after the hover dam
Window Rock in the capital of the Navajo nation
A shot of the moon I took at Petrified Forest
and finally a picture of the sunset last night in Gila Bend. http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m...t/IMGP7606.jpgTonight we're in Nogales and we plan to ride into Mexico tomorrow morning, hopefully we can make it all the way to Guaymas after we take care of all the insurance jazz.
Having some success lately. The wife and I got up pretty early in Nogales in order to sort out our insurance and trade for some pesos. Not sure if this is a no-no but I'll drop a name here as it was Don Smith that we got the insurance from. He also provided reasonable exchange for our American dollars. We were also provided with information on what to do each step of the way to successfully enter into Mexico.
So we ride south and cross the border. As we are carrying on I'm enjoying the road and not really paying attention. 60 kilometers into Mexico the little lady leans up and says something like "Weren't we supposed to stop for a visa or something?" Darn it! So we make a U-turn and cruise back to the 20 km mark and pull into the inspection station and are immediately directed back to the correct cluster of offices where we fill out papers, get copies of all of our documents, pay the 400$ deposit for importing the bike, go back to the first office and finish all the formalities, ultimately losing an hour and bit of progress but probably for the best.
Once under way again we can settle in resting assured that if we are stopped by officials we should have most everything in order. The 15 going south is a fine mix of perfect pavement and shite pavement and everything in between. The morning is still cool but temperatures climb to sweltering over the course of the day. We crack on at 120 and stay there except for the ton of construction, the tolls, the towns, the topes, and the gas stops.
On our only previous trip into Mexico we only rode as far as Rocky Point but we soon found out that Mexico wasn't nearly as foreign to us as we had thought it might be. We reached Guaymas probably an hour before dark and easily found the Holiday Inn where the wife had booked the first real reservation of the trip so far. This place was sweet, not much more to say other than it was the nicest place we have probably ever stayed in, friendly staff, clean room and what not. Security watching the moto outside the front door.
For eats we walked the 250 meters to the Marisco El Rey and got some wonderful sea food for a reasonable price to nicely round out the day.
Today's ride was much the same as yesterday's. We knew that we had some miles to make so we cracked on at about 120 again and carried on south, slowing once again for construction, tolls, towns, topes and petrol. Occasionally a cager would blow by us at some great unknown velocity leading me to believe that while suggested speeds are posted the maximums are whatever a person thinks they can get away with.
About 762 kilometers later we roll into Mazatlan and easily locate the second real reservation of our trip at the Aguamarina. Reception was great, parking is "secure" on a chunky cobblestone lot. The room is a little stuffy and muggy but this place is on the ocean so I guess it is to be expected. After settling in with a refreshing shower we wandered up the street still a little bewildered by the volume of traffic. After a few blocks we turned around and walked back to the hotel to find food.
We're planning to kick it here for a day or so since the gentleman we ride with has flown to Guadalajara to re-assemble his other bike which he had painted down there. Once things start to come together we're planning to ride that direction and he will meet us somewhere on the outskirts so we can ride into the city together. We'll probably stay in Guadalajara for week or so since this guy has a few friends and is the co-proprietor of a business in the city. The plan for the way back is to ride into Arizona again to meet some friends that will ride with us back into Mexico to attend the annual Rocky Point Rally!
Alive and well in GDL
Last Friday almost as planned we rode from Mazatlan to Tequila where we met our friend who was actually expecting us on Thursday. The scenery was beautiful and the wife was able to snap some nice shots of the ride.
Turns out our friend spent all of Thursday in Tequila waiting for us. We felt bad but he felt fine because Tequila is a nice little town to wait in.
Once in Tequila we had a rest by this church and walked around a little before heading out towards Guadalajara.
I snapped a few pictures of a mural depicting the creation story of tequila or something like that, there is a lot to the mural after all:
That day our friend had run his 2001 Victory out of fuel and began to experience some difficulties with it. It would run ok but only at full throttle which obviously can be quite dangerous. We stopped just out of Tequila to see if the problem could be dealt with. We were carrying next to nothing for tools so we were lucky when a local riding a Harley stopped and was carrying.
Although we didn't get the issue fixed we did meet good people and were able to carry on into Guadalajara in a somewhat reckless fashion.
We spent most of Saturday messing with the broken bike, went on the tequila express to Amatitan on Sunday and spent the better part of this week messing with the scooter some more. Finally we chased the problem to the fuel pump and changed it out with one from auto zone.
Now it seems to be running fine. Yesterday we took it out in the city to make darn sure. We visited a seafood market, a basilica, and the Victory dealer here in Guadalajara. There was a real big rain but we managed to stay mostly dry. Saturday we're supposed to leave to head north again but I'm not starting a new thread despite the title of this one. The plan is still to ride back to AZ and meet up with friends before attending the Rocky Point Rally, after which we will ride back to AZ with our friends before turning around and riding back to Guadalajara because we spent all week fixing and didn't do much of the sight seeing that we had wanted to do.
One shot of the basilica in Zapopan
Hard rain in Guadalajara
Once back to Arizona we saddled up with some folks and headed back south destined for Rocky Point.
Lots of bikes and good people at the Rally, plenty of visiting and good times.
One shot from the ride home. Gearing up now for riding back to Guadalajara.
Time for heading South
Thanks for sharing. Hope to get to Mexico someday...but more off-road tracks (dual-sport). I could feel the cold and wet on your way South..Not much fun for sure.
Great pics! I lived in Guadalajara for a while. The "Basilica de Zapopan" brought some nice memories.
Thank you for sharing! :clap
It was time for heading south again. On Friday the 15 we finally had our ducks in a row and were ready to ride out again. We left Lake Havasu City maybe a little before noon and stopped in at Donís Cactus Bar in Salome for a rest, came across an inmate but didnít get a chance to yap with them.
We took Salome Road south, then the interstate to Gila Bend, then more highway to Tucson where we got another great meal at a Texas Roadhouse and a room at a hotel. Turned the Odo over 88888km.
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Saturday we rode to Nogales and stopped in at Don Smith so our riding parent could switch his insurance to the other and we grabbed some pesos since it is so convenient. We crossed the border in the same way as last time and took the truck route. But instead of making a right after the border to ride over the topes, through the inspection point and ultimately through Nogales Mexico, we stayed left, dodged the topes, and got on the highway immediately, avoiding the morning city traffic. <o:p></o:p>
American style lunch was found at Elbaís in Santa Anna after which we carried on south. The #15 toll highway was similar to two weeks ago, plenty of construction but mostly 4 lane. Well before dark we were riding into San Carlos where we planned to get a room instead of in Guaymas like on our first trip. Rooms were found at a Best Western where our friend had stayed when he rode down last November. The room was a little stuffy compared to the wonderful Holiday Inn at Guaymas but it had a view of the ocean and San Carlos seems quieter than Guaymas. We got our sea food fix across the road while we watched the sunset and retired for the evening. This was the view from our room.
Sunday we got a real early start and started heading for Mazatlan. Itís a fairly long day, we passed lots of local people going about their Sunday, coming and going to and from church, playing baseball or soccer in the sports fields, and visiting in public areas. We were on the road for most of the day, I rolled into Mazatlan on reserve and we immediately caught the first Pemex. With plenty of gasoline we set off finding our hotel which only took one change of direction. The Palms was real nice and on this visit we took in their complimentary breakfast which was very satisfying. We burned up a day in Mazatlan and returned to a few of our favorite spots: the beach road going south to the harbor and a nice restaurant, the name of which escapes me at the moment.
Over the course of our two night stay more than one local quizzed us up about our trip and because of their advice we changed our game plan and decide that instead of riding to Guadalajara from Mazatlan we would ride to Durango on the brand new highway. Of course once we looked at the map we were real interested in the Libre highway but it will have to wait for another day.<o:p></o:p>
Tuesdayís ride on that new highway was nothing short of spectacular. Not to startle anyone but the toll is pretty high.
Here everyone takes a picture
We got into Durango a little later in the afternoon and got a meal at a place called El Porton and then found a room in a hotel called Posada San Jorge. The hotel was in a historic building that used to be a casa if I am correct. The rooms are large with plenty of historic character and clean bathrooms.
Here is the inside of the hotel lobby:
The area of Durango where we stayed is close to the big central cathedral and early evening brought lots of people out and about. We took in a tour of the mine that runs under the streets for some 300 yards. There must be tons of old mine shafts kicking around under this city, out of sight and perhaps partly forgotten.
Here is the cathedral:
Wednesday we put our faith in Sheila on the GPS and she led us in a more of less direct route out of the city. The ride to Zacatecas was through a different landscape filled with fields and big hills. The weather was nice and we made decent time. Once in Zacatecas we wound through the streets towards a big cathedral (is this getting redundant?) and got a room across the street from it in an expensive but very nice hotel called El Emporio.
Here is a shot of the cathedral:
And a picture that I thought would be cute, they start young but they still get stuck in traffic. Papa was in the drivers seat but can't be seen in the photo.
Our stay in Zacatecas was unique and amazing. Before dark we wandered around and visited a few shops and found some food at the hotel. Then with a growing beer tooth we set out to find refreshments. At our first stop we met some local students, one of which had been to Alberta for work at some point. After a few beers we wandered back out into the street just as some motos were pulling up to park. It was a group if local riders belonging to a club called Druidas. They were a great bunch of guys who welcomed us to Zacatecas and invited us to join them for one or two more refreshments. We visited and took some photos and called it a night.
Thursday before lunch the president and one of the members of the club presented us with Mexican flags before we got on the road.
We rode out of Zacatecas on the 45 and once out of the city we consulted a map and cross referenced with Sheila on the GPS. We promptly made a U turn and rode straight back through the city to get onto the 23 which would take us more or less into the area of Guadalajara close to where we would be staying. For the most part the ride on the 23 was beautiful and scenic but first we would have to deal with choppy busted up pavement and heavy construction.
The ride took us the better part of the afternoon and pounded the last 60 miles of pavement after dark but managed to make it into GDL safe and sound.
Saturday we attended a softball game, here is a victory parked at the Harley dealership across from the University where the game was:
Sunday we rode to Guachimontones. From Guadalajara it's a short tease of a ride but the view from on the big hill is pretty decent and there is lots of neat historic left-overs to walk amongst. General admission is 30 pesos and there is a beautiful interpretive center to help answer a few questions. There were plenty of bikes there, even some with Alberta plates!
This is a ball court at Guachimontones:
And this is one of the round "pyramids"
After such a hiatus Iím kicking myself for not getting this together sooner. Now that the most recent leg of the journey is complete and I have gotten plenty of good feedback from non inmate followers I feel that the story must be finally wrapped up. So here goes:
A day or two after taking in the sights at Guachimontones I took the opportunity to hang some generously donated lights on the highway bars. One trip to auto zone and a michelada or two and the task was complete.
During the next few days we put on some miles with our new friends and visited some local attractions like Lake Chapala, and some surrounding communities.
We braved some traffic in Guadalajara:
Visited that great big market in Guadalajara close to the basilica as well as the street market in Tonala.
A common sight on the highway were the trucks piled high with sugar cane:
Striking out on our own the little lady and I passed a place that made sweets that we had tried:
And while I waited with the bike the wife snapped a picture of a beautiful church in a small town, the name of which escapes me:
Re-joined with our road captain comrade I stopped for this photo op, the light wasnít quite right but I like the picture:
All packed up we were ready to leave Guadalajara:
Rode to Mazatlan and got courtside parking again at the palms.
The following day we rode to Navojoa, deciding that the ride done previously between Mazatlan and Guaymas/ San Carlos would be too far for this day. The next morning, riding through Obregon we went down in traffic, scratching the hell out of the pipes, the right side bag, and bending the crash bar up against the engine and breaking the plastic nipple off of the return side of the rear brake master cylinder. Upon approaching an intersection I was watching traffic but not the road, attempted a lane change and failed to notice the six inch height difference between the lane I was in and the lane I wanted to be in. The drop to the pavement and the 180 degree spin happened real quick. After adjusting the crash bar we rode out of Obregon sans rear brake. We stopped that night in Nogales at the Motel 6 on the north side of the border.
The following morning we woke up to frost on the bikes, remembering that we were no longer south of the tropic of cancer and it was, in fact, December. Some careful planning around our flight home and holiday plans set our destination on Chiricahua National Monument. To get there from Nogales we took the 82 toward Tombstone where we stopped for a refreshment in Big Nose Kateís Saloon. Santa was there too.
The end of our day took us to Bisbee where we found friendly folk to sip and visit with in the Stock Exchange Saloon and later the historic and possibly haunted Copper Queen where we also found accommodations.
The following day took us to Douglas where the obligatory stop was the historic Gadsden Hotel where itís said that Poncho Villa rode his horse up the marble stair case in the lobby. Our road captainís cattle brand hangs on the wall in the attached tavern.
The following day took us through Chiricahua Monument:
We finished our day in Wilcox where we found cold beer on tap in an establishment that allows you to cook your own burger.
The next day took us to Globe via Oracle where we found our way to Bio Sphere 2 and the missus suggested we stop. The tour we took in was very interesting but rather expensive.
The day after we took those loops around Phoenix, the 202 and the 101. Outside Phoenix we got on the carefree highway and booked it towards Lake Havasu, arriving in the evening. Here is a pic from somewhere along the way:
On the 19<SUP>th</SUP> of December we returned to Canada by air.
That text is a bad size and real hard to read, sorry.
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