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Old 12-01-2012, 04:26 PM   #31
Big Daddy D
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Nice one!

In for the rest of it
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:42 PM   #32
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3 hard days to the Mexico/Guatemala Border

I was very set on starting my trip in Mexico. I had ridden through some of Mexico last year and felt comfortable storing the bike in PV for 2-3 weeks and flying back to it. Mainly though I wanted to be 1200-1500 miles further down the road and be able to take my my time riding the southern part of Mexico start my 3.5 months off on Mexico time sort of speak.

So it is Nov 25 and I land in PV and at 3:13...flight delay now almost 5:00 PM and I need to be to the Guat border on the 29th. So much for my chill ride through southern Mexico. This is exactly what I didnt want was big long milage pushes and hard deadlines. Oh well it is what it is.

This is where I was only hours ago. Flying home to Anchorage from the North Slope of Alaska. Crappy iPod pic

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The flight delay was really crunching me on daylight hours. I arrived at Bodegas Vallarta at about 5:30 and had a major repack ahead of me. I am pretty tired from the all night flight and now the added pressure of losing daylight and the border deadline. Like I said exactly what I didn't want. I get packed and its about 6:30.

Bodegas Vallarta
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Off to find a hotel. I want to find one on the road to San Sebastian de Oeste. That is the route i will be taking to Guad. I couldnt handle the thought of only toll roads for 2-3 days. About 30 min later I still haven't even found the road(my GPS is not recognizing Bici Maps all of the sudden). It is now dark so I say the hell with it. Go to a hotel near the airport. Only street parking right on the edge of PV...NO WAY.

I pop the mini SD card in and out of the GPS and now my maps are working and I find the road I need. I hop on it thinking there will be a hotel right there just leaving PV. I am wrong. There really isnt any traffic so I keep heading east. I make it to San Sebastian around 8:30. I am a bad boy I rode at night. Rule numero uno broken

I am beat. I get a hotel, eat and crash. Up bright and early. On the road at 7. Head out of San Sebas to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains. No time for a pic. I will just have to keep that one in the memory banks. Its a long hard day of boring toll roads except for the road from PV to Guad. It is my second time riding that road and I hope to be there again someday. Toll roads in Mexico are great for making time but they are expensive straight and not fun. A necessary evil in my case.

Hot dog for lunch and stops only for gas. I made it to Mexico city at 5:00 almost on the dot. I think I will just creep to the west edge and get a hotel to avoid rush hour in one of the craziest cities in the world. Well I just keep getting more and more into the city and next thing I know I am in the middle of it all. I can split traffic some but I am usually two wide. I make t across about 80% of the city and its dark and I am so tired I could fall over. The only hotels I see are Auto Hotels(Sex Hotels). I have avoided them to this point but tonight I don't care.

Pistolas here I come!

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And most importantly my special little lady was very pleased with the accommodations.
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A classy joint for sure. The sweet garage allowed me to totally tear apart all my gear and put on my brake reservoir cover and stuff some other junk in my tool pouches. I am a little OCD when it comes to packing. Ok everything!
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:10 PM   #33
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Mexico City to Tuxtlan G

Another big day but I was feeling so good about putting over 500 miles behind me that I even stopped to take some pictures today. Normally I would say avoid toll roads at all cost but I have to admit the one I took leaving Mex City was fun and had great views. Big sweeping corners and I was on the road at 7ish so there wasn't much traffic yet.

Just east of Mexico City.
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Its going to be a good day.

Looks like a volcano but I dont know if it is. Still just east of Mexico City. Someone chime in if the know.

So I am trying to work on my photography skills and I had a good opportunity at this stop. The reason for this top was unplanned. I really like the picture but why I got these pictures...

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is that I was bombing down the highway at about 85 and could smell a slight burning or melting smell. I went by a truck and it went away. Then a few seconds later a thoomp and total loss of power on the bike. I have enough time to get out the throttle say OH SH*! and I instinctively look in my mirror.

That elminated my worst fear of a major engine issue and I hit the throttle and power is back. My sweet re-pack from the night before was not so sweet. I straped a small dry bag to the top of my top case. It vibrated off and went into the tire. The burning smell was the strap melting at over 6500 RPM and the loss of power was me running over my own bag. I laughed as soon as I saw my stuff flying across the road. Stay tuned I am going to do lots of other dumb stuff on this trip!

The first thing I did was go for my camera but there was an opening in traffic to salvage what I could so no pictures of the carnage. I packed that back with stuff that I wouldn't be heart broken if it dissapeared since it wasn't locked and an easy target for theft.

As I was searching thorugh the grass some guy on an ST went by and beeped at me. Insult to injury!

Guess who I see at the next PEMEX a few KMs down the road. ST dude. His name is Julio and he is from north of Mexico CIty. Is riding to Guat for an enduro race(keeps his KTM 300 there at a friends) then riding home. He is doing this all in about 8 days. He in animal and loves it. Oh and he bought his ST a few days ago. His english is limited and so is my spanish but we make it work and decide to ride together. AWESOME! A fluent wing man.

A cool big bridge.
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The two whips! How I wanted an ST for 2 days.

Near the end of a good day.

A great meal with a new amigo to finish it off.

No reason I shouldn't make the border now.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:34 PM   #34
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Great report, keep it coming.

Remember to check all bags after each stop and have fun twisting the throttle.

R1200GS-08', WR250R-08'
XR650R-03', 110 Honda-83'
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:03 PM   #35
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Tuxtlan G to Huehue Tenango

Julio and I were both beat so we had a couple of beers in the lobby of our hotel and crashed. My room had 4 beds so I was nervous I might get a late night check in but the front desk said it was private for me that night. I think it was about 400 pesos. Didn't matter much to me I was so tired I could have slept on the couch in the lobby and I was trying to use up my pesos.

Julio and had a great time riding together and he kept paying for my tolls. Damn nice even though I kept saying no necessito. He had a sweet glove box on the ST that made it fast instead of me stumbling through my pocket like an idiot.

My two days of tolls - missing about 4 receipts that Julio picked up.

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Total of somewhere around 100 bucks US!!! Ouch and the $75 flight change. I still come out $225 ahead once I get my deposit back and most of all no hassle at border!!! I made the right call to push hard and get it done.

Getting close to Guat

Julio is all thumbs up!

The mountains of Guatemala


Paperwork done!!

Now to the Guat border and then back to the Mexico one and then back to Guat. I was so happy to get my TVIP done that I missed the INM office right next to the Aduana. It was just to process my tourist card so I was just going to say the hell with it. Then the Guat Immigration guys was "where is your stamp" I said see you in a little while Julio. Back-track 4 KM get it handled then back to Guat. No problem for me coming in but the bike took about an hour because the lady was at lunch. Its all good I am just making borders part of the journey. I gear down as much as I can and lock everything to my bike and hang out. Julio is even better at just hanging out at the border than I am.

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As others have said. You know that you are in another country entering Guat immediately. It took me a day or so to adjust.

Some go Pro shots at the border.


Just a few kilos into Guat

Ok time to get a little sentimental. Its really cool to me that I can meet a random dude on a moto in the middle of Mexico and even with a language barrier, an instant friendship is formed. Julio and laughed a lot talked about all the things we could and rode hard. I didn't realize how easy my past 2 days had been until I was on my own again. Even when I didn't understand what was going on I knew that Julio had my best interest in mind. He is one good hombre any where in the world. I don't know if I will ever see him again but I know his generosity and love of of riding made an impact on me. I will be in touch with him and told him if he can ever make it to Alaska I will promise him a great moto ride and try to match his generosity!! I also told him we have no toll roads:

Big Teaser for the next post: THERE ARE ONLY TWO KINDS OF BIKES...

Not going to make it to the Tikal Ruins
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:44 AM   #36
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That is a volcanoépetl
and the one next to it:
2006 BMW R1200GS
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"Write drunk; edit sober."
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:58 PM   #37
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Huehuetenango to Coban

There are only 2 kinds of bikes: Ones that have been down and ones that are going down! Mine is now in the former!!

Let me start with what an amazing ride I had wreck included. I left Huehue about 8:30 to overcast skies and cool temps. Ok with with me as long as it is just overcast.

Huehue Hotel-Royal Park about 16 bucks and pretty nice.

I took a road that my GPS called 7W through Uspantan to Coban and beyond was the plan. The morining started with some cool small towns and so many tight 2nd and 3rd gear corners I thought I would have to get my boots resoled by the end of the day!! I kept trying to find a spot to get a great pic of the corners descending one mountain then ascending another but it was tight turns with lots of blind spots.

Some of the great views and terrian

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Then it was time to slow down and turn off the ABS. Lots of small landslides. Im loving this!! Just clear a lane and the road is all good!

If this guy has go it, then no prob.

Dont worry about this. Its only about 15 feet deep. Way better than the ones that go off the side of the entire mountain.

And its well marked. haha These are the days that I know I have the right machine

Then I got this

Pretty rough terrain but dry and solid ground. I was a little worried about a puncture some the rocks were gnarly.

Another great day off the beaten path and away from the grind. One step closer to my ADV merit badge.

Shortly after this it started to rain and I got to some pretty greasy clay. Never put her down. There were some people(mostly kids) repairing the road with shovels and whatever tool they could find. They would wave at me so I would wave back. Then later I figured out they wanted money for their work. oops

Where I was headed.

The rain held off until I had less than 10k of dirt left. It had rained there earlier but not enough to make it to treacherous. It really started to come down just outside of Coban. I got this pic when I was putting on my rain gear. I almost called it a day but I thought I will just go north real easy for an hour or two.

My whip looking tough after a great morning of riding.

And then the next thing that I did was say OH F#*! OH F%#* OH F*%! 3 times out load. Then this!!!

I came around a not very sharp corner a little fast. I gently tapped the rear break(because it was raining) and the thing locked and then skid time. I immeadiatley let offf the brakes and started doing my own ABS. Not getting a lot of repsonse. In hind sight I should have probably just stayed on the brakes and let the bike ABS do its thing but once they locked I went into old habits. I also not sure it would have done much because that roads was like grease. I was crusing about 45-50 ( a little too fast) and not sure I slowed much before I hit the grass. All I could see coming was a concrete drainage ditch. All I could think is OH KNOW MY FRONT FORKS ARE GOING TO BE TRASHED!! I pinned the throttle and tried to get the front light. I am sure it had little to no effect. But thats what I did. And rode that thing to the ground until I got bucked off!

Here you can see the drainage and also that I hemmed my riding pants but not the rain liners!

My route to the soft dirt berm.

My divet. I did not replace it.

The corner. Nothing crazy. Dirt spot to the right is from me.

For all you guys the very first thing I did after I wrecked...grabbed my camera!!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:07 PM   #38
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I am glad you are ok!
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:33 PM   #39
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Crash Summary

Oops forgot to spell check that last post and noticed a few mistakes. I will improve in the future

So How does a guy fell after over 15,000 miles in the past year, most of it in Mexico, and then stacking up his first full day in Mexico?!?! He feels wet to start and frustreated with himself. Then he looks at the bike and wonders two things:
1) With the position of the bike and this ditch can I get it out of here on my own?
2) Are my fronts forks bent and will that end my trip?

Well question one was answered when about the 5th vehicle stopped and two hombres about my age jumped out. I said I was bueno and then motinoned can we move the bike across the road to the flat spot? I wanted to know what I was dealing with. One guy was already putting on his work gloves. We got the bike across the road and on its center stand. I doubt I could have gotten it across the ditch on my own with the wet slippery conditions.

Once we got the bike across the road, one dude started to walk back to the truck. Fair enough job done. But he wasn't leaving he was grabbing tools. Mind you know it is pouring now! They both start fixing stuff!!! Seriously? Bent shifter - fixed, tweaked fog light - fixed, smashed fender - fixed as could be, box frame - straightened and fixed to get me on the road. Then they started picking dirt and mud off the bike. I was all much gracias and es bueno. Thanks guys to who ever you are I wished I had gotten your picture. 3:30ish and off to Cabon to find a hotel. I am tired I had a big day! No wobble, I am guessing the bike is still striaght!! Wooo Hoooo trip on, just at a little slower pace.

I never once thought that I was going to get hurt during my spill. I am glad that I spent money on good gear. I think the boots really saved my left foot from a nagging injury. I am also pleased that I rode the bike to the end and didn't try to stick a leg out from dirt bike days. I am lastly pleased that my bike is tough and is made to take a few spills.

I will be getting off the road on rainy days and slowing down in general. I think the cause of the accident was equal parts weather/road conditions combined with a little too much speed and not being completely focused at that minute. I make no excuses bikes rarely if ever go down on their own, they are typically driven there by operator error.

On a side note I almost slipped and fell twice that night walking around Coban to get food. Hmmm very slippery area. Then at the Guat City BMW shop I was telling the guy about my wreck. He chimed right in with how slippery the roads get up there and someting about the material they used to build them!! He Guat City born and raised...official verified local reason / excuseIII

Good to know I am still an awesome rider and did nothing wrong!!!!

Jose at BMW of Guat City kicks ass for other reasons. More on that in a couple of posts!
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:57 AM   #40
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Good idea but there was no stop. Guess my packing job was that bad

Originally Posted by stickman1432 View Post
Great report, keep it coming.

Remember to check all bags after each stop and have fun twisting the throttle.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:00 AM   #41
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Yeah a little sore but Im not sure that wasn't mostly for all the dirt I road. The left hip, left foot and right wrist felt the spill a little more than every where else but a very minor. 100% already. Trying to get a new latch for my side box in GC then goofing off in Antigua for a week and taking Spanish

Thx for the concern

Originally Posted by Quikegeo View Post
I am glad you are ok!
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:09 AM   #42
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Just a note:

I always prefer to tire on the knobby side. There are some great knobbies that run quite smooth on the pavement. That would have given you some more bite and maybe avoid the next (and there WILL be a next) fall

My favorite is the Pirrelli MT-21. Big knobs, alternating pattern down the center to run smooth on pavement. I ran them 10,000 km across Brazil (which is almost ALL pavement) until they were worn down. That's pretty darn good mileage for a knob on pavement.

The best part is that they come in almost all sizes and are made in South America (Brazil) and so are available in almost every large city! And less than $150 for both for a big bike!

"Those friends thou hast... and their adoption tried... grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel. But do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade...." Polonius in Hamlet
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:11 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by AK Smitty View Post

Nothing but good things to say. Chris, Jill and Zach were all great and a big help with anything I needed. Most things were handled with email and they always got back to me quickly. They also installed a Givi top box for me. Not difficult but with my schedule it was nice that they said yeah no problem. (Chris threw in a free tube for my front). I am tubeless now but carry a set of tubes JIC. Thanks Chris for the tube and t-shirt. Its the little things like that and great customer service that make stoked on a place. Woody's is a great family owned biz that still cares about their customer. A dying breed for sure.

I went with the wider tire and 19" inch rim for several reasons. My reasons are in least important to most.
1. 19" may be easier to get abroad.
2. I am genetically in-seamed challenged and BMWs F800 is not custom built for me. Lowered the bike ~1"
3. Better braking
4. Better for the twisties and I love those tight corners.

I know that I have given up some dirt performance but I am ok with that. Traveling solo I am very selective about where and when I ride off road and this set up still works for me. Sand will not be my friend but then again we weren't really getting along all that well on previous rides.

So far I am very pleased with the set up and everything that Woodys did. I did have a scare that at about 75 and above in big sweepers I got severe death wobbles. Tried to blame the way I was loaded but then tried with no gear and the same deal. It was a function of a brand new front and old almost trashed rear tire. New rear tire problem solved. We suspected this but it wasn't until after the new tire was installed that I could be sure about the new set up.

Rear tire was put on at GO AZ in Scottsdale and the above death wobbles spurred some interesting conversation. I have mixed feelings on Go AZ. Not all bad but not all good. I will see if I feel like its worth elaborating in my next post.
It is actually similar to BMW dealers I have been in. Only two BMW dealers have I got the warm fuzzies. Most others I feel farm more welcome being the only gringo in a shady mexican bar than I do at BMW shops! Prolly a conversation for another thread.
I had Woody build up his 50-50 package for me, with heavy duty spokes, etc. When I started hitting those Honduran potholes, I thought that I had finally done something right with Blondy. Your choice of a Heideneau will do you well: I changed over in Cali after riding my Heideneau Scout from Vancouver Island, and I still have 3000 km left on the tire.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:30 PM   #44
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OK. Say Hello to Jose at Guatue BMW for me. Yup I went of the road in Guatemala in November last year....... spent 10 days learning spanish in Antigua also

He got my bike back and running and I am still riding.

Guess we have the learn the lessons the hard way :)

Ok ride safe so glad you are OK!
Chapter 3 of my life...... with Faith, Hope and Courage!

Ride of my Lifetime...... Thread started 5/11/2011
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:02 PM   #45
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Wink Lovin it

I'm in and caught up, great adventure and great writing.
Thanks for taking the time I know ride reports are work
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