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Old 10-05-2013, 09:34 PM   #31
AdventurePoser
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Following the Sun with Jackie and Valentino

Nice pix! Lots of opportunities for gorgeous colors in Mexico.
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Old 10-06-2013, 12:17 PM   #32
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Nice pix! Lots of opportunities for gorgeous colors in Mexico.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:06 AM   #33
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Mexico




Big Brother looking after you.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:30 AM   #34
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Surscribed !

Paul from "Wednesday riders" Steve.

Ride safe.
Thanks Paul! Riding down here is pretty fabulous. And, later last night I was able to upload pix to Smugmug, so I can finally put them up on this page. We've been pushing on pretty good, and wifi connections are slow, so it's been harder to post every day.

We're heading to Zacatecas today, and staying a couple of days, maybe I can catch up with my writing!
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:40 AM   #35
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Festive and luminous Durango




Off the highway, first exit, the crappy Garmin Mexican maps could not find the street of the four star hotel we had booked yesterday in the historical centre of Durango.

So Jackie did her thing:
- Valentino, please try to keep up. Make a right here, follow the round about sign, wait for it, I’m looking it won’t be long, its close to the Cathedral and Plaza Watchamacalitito.

- Right there look, Calle Zarcos.

- Ok Jackie! Good call now what, right or left?

- Vete por la izquierda tonto aqui esta.

Quatras estrellas, ya really, maybe out of 16… or 27. Not that we are difficult or anything, but the dude at the front desk had the personality of a shoe, and the rooms were just as nice.

We rode down Highway 45, blessed with comfortable temperature, and circumnavigated a patch of dark clouds that were pouring rain on the meadows to the west of us.





Quote from the Lonely Planet Mexico 2013:

“(…) Other highways with safety concerns are highway 45 (Fresnillo – Durango – Hidalgo Del Parral) dubbed the road of death due to carjacking, and violent murders of bus passengers.”



Good things we were travelling on motorbikes, all that the Jackie – Valentino & “Co.” posse saw was friendly Mexicans waving at them with a smile. Actually there a was the odd burro, caballo, pero, gato, zorro… well you get the idea.

Not too dismiss the violent reality of the US-Mexican drug trade, but come on, turn off Fox news for a minute, grab your gear and twist the throttle.

We rode some straight parts



Twisty bits



And real Gnarly spots



Durango is celebrating its 450 years of history. What a treat, color, music, and a festive ambiance.





We walked on the passeo



Had a great meal in this cozy cantina







In no time did this Gringo turn into a Mexican




Churros y chocolate were calling for desert



Jackie had to lend a helping hand

Houba Houba


Valentino was a happy dude







Muchias Gracias Durango.

Today we head for Zacatecas
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The Southern Episode

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Old 10-08-2013, 10:00 AM   #36
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In the Heart of Mexico now!

Valentino, Jackie & Steve - Your RR is very much appreciated for all of us stuck back here in LA-LA land. Great pictures and very nice writing!!!

We just got confirmation yesterday on the "New" R 1200 GSA, perhaps I will sneak one out of here and meet you guys somewhere along the way

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Old 10-08-2013, 10:17 AM   #37
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In.

Can't wait to see where this leads.

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Old 10-08-2013, 03:48 PM   #38
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Musings of a Moto Tourist

Hey everyone, I'm the “& Co” in this ride report, and I've been on the road with Jackie and Valentino for a week now and it's been an adventure in every sense of the word.. J&V are quality people in every sense of the word, and I've learned a lot from them already, especially about the nature of travel outside the USA and Canada. The great thing is, I'm going to learn a lot more.

I've been dreaming of this ride for a long time, yet honestly speaking, there have been many moments, especially early in the morning, when I still feel apprehension. Is it homesickness? Tech problems with the computer Fear of the unknown? Wondering if my girlfriend will remember me when I return? Who knows?

So the way to do a six month moto journey is the same way you eat an elephant, and that is one bite at a time. So with that, my friends, I hope you enjoy the pix and comments as I chime in on J&V's ride report.

Crossing the border was simple and the paperwork was easy-mostly because Jackie is a world-class fixer who speaks impeccable Spanish, and because the Aduana was deserted. I'm sure if we'd been there with a horde of people, it wouldn't have been so painless!

Once we'd cleared the border, it was east and then south thru the State of Chihuahua. Wide open spaces, vistas that went on forever, broken up by the occasional sleepy town....

Well, first things first...here are my traveling partners...

Watch out for these big boys...the road from Chihuahua to the US border is pretty busy!

Along the way, lots of small towns. Here is Valentino making some new friends...

Yes, the GSAs DID fit behind those doors...


We spent a couple of days hanging out in Hidalgo Parral. Pretty cool little town with a nice town square. Check out my room...$20 buys you a view of the city and a very noisy ceiling fan!


Here's a good thing about Mexico:

The evening in Parral...


A very persistent businessman...


Parral is a small town with some beautiful buildings!





More pix soon!
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:26 PM   #39
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Thumbs down The Thin Blue Line




As we entered the city, heading for the “Centro historico”, Jackie was doing her thing and taking pictures, she snapped this one


Within a few seconds I heard the honk of the small bike, and slowed to my right looking at the Municipal LEO in my right mirror. I kept on going about 25 meters until both our bikes reached a Pemex station, I turned the ignition off.

All three of us new exactly what was happening. Jackie – Valentino “& Co.” were getting their first shakedown of the trip .

We had loosely planned for this as such:

No one speaks Spanish, and I don’t speak English; Only French. Since I was the first stopped and with my helmet removed, Pedro “el Pichicoma” asked me in English if I spoke English or Spanish. To which I answered, shaking my head and hands:

-“Non pas d’Anglais pas d’Espagnol, juste le Français”

Evidently, he turned to Liliane, at which point in her worst French-accented English she said,

-“My husband does not speak English, we don’t speak Spanish, what’s wrong?”

To which “Pichicoma” answered: -"you were speeding"

Here we go I thought to myself, let’s dance...

(Writer's note: assume that everything Valentino says from this point on is in French interlaced with one or two useless words of English said with a very heavy French accent. The whole thing is then poorly translated to English with an equally heavy French-accented English by Jackie).

Don’t worry; I get confused just writing about it.

-“What do you mean I was speeding”, I was passed by several cars, and my GPS never exceeded 35kph” says Valentino as he is gesturing with his hands showing cars passing.

-“No you were speeding” says Pichicoma”
(Jackie translates to French)

-“What do you mean I was speeding”, I was passed by several cars, and my GPS never exceeded 35kph” says Valentino as he is gesturing with his hands showing cars passing.
(Jackie translates to English)

-“It does not matter about the cars" says he, "you were speeding”
Bla bla bla more French, more translation….

(Insert more witty comments by Valentino as above)

-“Give me your licenses” says he.

By that time Steve has joined us and in unison we pull out our International drivers licenses and hand them to Pedro.

After a brief glance he says that he has to write us a ticket for speeding, that we were caught on radar… yadi yadi yada…. Ensues more translation to French, with me requesting to see the radar, him replying that it only displays the speeding infraction for 3 minutes, and that he will keep our drivers licenses until tomorrow, and that we have to pay for the ticket now. To which I answer that I want to go to the “Commissariat” so we can pay the tickets there and be on our way because we have to leave early tomorrow, yadi, yadi, yada, and we need our BS IDL back. But we can’t do that because the police station is two hours away and he does not have time to do that.

By this time we are about 15 minutes into it, the Badland Pro is starting to be hot and Valentino’s temper is rising. “Pichicoma” is standing a foot or so away from me holding the IDL in his hands and I grab them, and we play tug of war for a few seconds, and I let go.

He is surprised by this and obviously not impressed. I this point Steve who had mostly been a spectator gets in on the dance and proceeds to deflate/deviate the situation. “& Co.” aka AdventurePoser is a former LEO from Kalifornia, and also a very astute socialite.

(Refer to my original post on page one for more re. this particular aptitude.)

-“So what’s wrong with your friend, doesn’t he understand that I am the authority here and that you were both speeding, and that I have to give you a ticket, yadi, yadi, yada… I will keep your licenses, and will escort you to your hotel, because you can’t drive without your licence, bla, bla, bla…”

So he’s dancing with “Pichicoma” while I’m regaining my composure, mentioning that Jackie and Valentino are really a class act, but being French is like being Mexican and tempers can flare up.

And by the way I am a retired LEO, and the city I use to work for is the twin city of Zacatecas and we contribute uniforms and all kinds of stuff to the Zacatecas PD, and what is it “gonna” take to make this go away?

-“Well the ticket is 1600.00 pesos but you can pay 1000.00 to make it go away”

(Writer's note: bare in mind that I am giving you the short version, because by now Steve is 15 minutes into his dance with “Pichicoma”.)

-“Hold on please let me speak to my friend”

Jackie translates English to French

I reply

Jackie translates French to English

Bottom line we are not paying anything to this…

Go back to the beginning when I started to talk about the cars passing me, and read the whole thing again…

Back to the dancing with Steve

-“Hey you are welcome to my part of the world, what do you think about extending us some professional courtesy, I would do it for you if you were in my town yadi, yadi, yada, and on for another 10 minutes or so.”

By now I have apologies profusely for my French impulsiveness and he starts to look at his watch. More dancing with Steve.

Ok, ok, I will do this for you this one time, and he hands back the IDL, smiles, shakes both our hands, says (again) he’s going to escort us to the hotel, but we can go and it’s all good. Seconds later he changes his mind and gives us directions to the hotel, poses for a picture and disappears on his motorbike.



Cost of the interlude $0.00, 45 minutes spent dancing with a corrupt municipal cop priceless.


Lessons learned:

Remain firm polite, and when playing the good cop/bad cop routine do not cross the thin line that can take this to the next level and go from a BS ticket to a Law Enforcement Action.

Let’s be clear that I will not pay bribes of any sort to any “Pichicomas” along the way, that next time this will happened we know that the French bad-English no Spanish routine works.

At the end of the day this dude does not want to attract more attention to himself than is necessary, this is his barrio, and he needs to be able to do this again.

I am convinced that my actions, the fact that he was dizzy from listening to Jackie’s bad translations, and the smooth talking Steve made it impossible for him to follow through on his intentions.

We all new (all four of us) that he was full of s#!^, and I believe that the single most important element that influences this type of situation is the certitude that your mind is made up, that you will not pay, and that you are in control.

We were never in any danger at any time, broad daylight, at a Pemex station with at least half a dozen people watching from a distance.

I do recognize that I crossed the line when I try to take the licenses away from him, that it did escalate the situation to a certain extent. But he crossed the line the minute he decided to shake us down.

Often conflict resolution happens through conflict escalation.

I believed we were always in control of the situation, and when he decided that the joust was over, he had come to the conclusion that these Gringos were just not worth his time.

As we put our helmets back on, smiles and thumbs up galore were extended our ways by the passing pedestrians who had witnessed the scene.

That’s why this is an Adventure.

Tomorrow we ride to Guanajuato, and I will tell you all about how wonderful the city of Zacatecas was.

Valentino out…



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FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
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The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

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Old 10-11-2013, 09:41 AM   #40
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Dancing with the Policeman

An interesting exchange with the Policeman who wanted $110 USD per bike, to be paid at a station 2 hours away....

The funniest part of the situation was listening to Jackie "interpret" Valentino for me. Since they were in pure French character, she spoke to me in a very heavy French accent that was very difficult to understand, but she sure sounded hot! (Sorry Valentino)

It was Surreal. J&V speaking French, me listening to Jackie who pretended to stumble through English, in front of the cop whose English was as good as mine...

Valentino was correct in that our goal is to pay not one penny to crooked cops. ($110 USD, yeah right, when pigs fly) Paying one dime creates a more difficult situation for the next moto adventure who gets to dance...

Unless there are guns involved.

Buen Viaje,
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:59 AM   #41
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I've learned that posting a RR from Mexico is a bit short of a monumental undertaking....First, believe it or not, its hard to take pix when traveling by moto...generally there are no shoulders on the roadways; to stop on the roadway is a bad idea at best, suicidal at worst. Second, internet connections are a crapshoot. So, when you find a spot, like the “Casa Mexicana,” our current digs, it's great to try and catch up.

This is a nice place.My partners and I are planning on Chasing the Summer for Six Months so rooms in the 20-35 dollar range are best, and this spot is a bit more, but it is beautiful, clean, and a decent internet connection. More importantly, it is near the action; the city is a living, breathing organism and we are living right on its flank! More about the city later in this post.

But enough of that...we are now about 600 miles south of the border, staying in Guanajuato, easily one of the most beautiful towns I've ever been in. The colors, sights, and sounds are even more vivid than Zacatecas, and I didn't ever want to leave there... :)

J/V continue to be excellent travel companions and they are helping me understand the culture much faster than if I was just stumbling around on my own. It's like a crash course in culture!

Yesterday and today are walking day. Guanajuato is a city made for ambling around because of its picturesque narrow winding streets and its “Tunnelos de Subterranea,” the vast system of tunnels carved out underneath the city, which allow traffic to flow (somewhat), and its incredible architecture.

My words cannot describe the people, food, friendliness, and vibe that is Mexico... It is impossible to paint Mexico with a broad brush; the landscapes, peoples, issues are all different depending on where you travel! Just like everywhere else you go!

We left SLP and its beautiful pedestrian promenades, architecture, and smog for our next city, Guanajuato, another UNESCO city. We rode past huge estancias, cattle, and never-ending fields of alfalfa where farmers were harvesting it by hand machete and loading their work
onto horse drawn wagons...

Gradually the high plains gave way to gorgeous, rugged mountains that were scalloped by giant cumulus clouds. Spectacular!

And so was the riding. What's not to love about endless miles of twisties?

We love them with respect. Unlike in the States, signage is lacking around some of the dicier curves. That's ok. I'm beginning to enjoy the personal freedom I have down here to chose what I think is safe, not what a flurry of litigation conscious road engineers tell me to think.

The roads into Guanajuato are like a beautiful woman...sexy, and maybe a bit dangerous. It's important to not succumb to the allure too easily. Animals, especially burros, huge buses, limited or nonexistent shoulders, and gravel/potholes demand your respect.

Love, but love carefully if you can! Descending into the valley I thought of Ozymandias and thanked him for helping me remember both the danger and the allure of Mexico.
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:15 PM   #42
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Great Pics !
Thank you
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:36 PM   #43
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Great Pics !
Thank you
Hey Paul,

Thanks...chalk it all up to a decent internet connection and time to burn.

Right now I'm on a bunuelo fueled writing binge. I little bit later down to the town square to find some lunch. What a great place.
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:34 AM   #44
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Yes indeed Steve, those are some terrific images and some great storytelling as well!
Thank you.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:27 PM   #45
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Zacatecas...





Selection criteria for nomination as a UNESCO World heritage city:

i. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
ii. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
iii. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
iv. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
v. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
vi. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations.




























Zacatecas is all that and so much more. The city reminded me of the university town of Salamanca, España. Not only the feel of the city, how vibrant it was but the colour of the buildings, a deep ocher that turns to a burnt orange with the flamboyant light of the setting sun.

The "Centro Historico" lies in the middle of a valley, dominated by la "bufa" where in 1914 as The Great War was ramping up in Europe, Pancho Villa and his terrible Division of the North devastated Huerta's Federales and opened the gateway to take Mexico city.




We also took the time to visit the “Mueso Rafael Coronel”. It harbours a intriguing collection of masks of all shapes and sizes.

On the pathways, under the arches, through the gardens into the masks room













We meandered through the streets of the city, savouring the hues of the city, enjoying its festive pace and lazy rhythm.
























There was some food also

Relleno de pollo y queso fundido con mole




Neat looking bikes




This atrium is a bike shop



Proud and friendly




Did a minor field repair on the Russell Day Long saddle, a nail from my Sidi's took a bite out of it. Found a local "tapiceria" and 50 pesos later is was all done, including pick up and delivery from hostal Villa Colonial, just behind the cathedral which by the way cost us $19.00 Cdn per night.








We have now been on the road for three weeks and are starting to find a good rhythm; our packing/unpacking routine is feeling more natural, and shortly after having crossed the Tropic of Cancer, with rounded the odometer at 5000 km.

We are riding less, as we are linking the former colonial cities of Zacatecas, Guanajuato, and San Miguel de Allende, before we head for the bustling Metropolis that is Mexico city. It feels nice, my mindset in slowly switching from the banality of home life and work, to the pleasant cadence of the road.

The road from here to there has been painted of rolling hills, high plateaus and the occasional mountain pass. Endless fields of wild flowers peppered by old yuccas, whitehorn acacias, lechugillas, and prickly pear cactus. The latter called “nopal” by the Mexicans and found in a variety of dishes from tacos to deserts.





Time is different, at least it feels as such. Awaking when your eyes open, not when the machine tells you its time to do so. Your biggest concern of the day; determine what type of road you’re going to travel, to ride, not exactly sure where it will bring you, not exactly sure what lies ahead, what discovery you are bound to make before day’s end.




In short, life is good…
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The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

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