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Old 11-12-2013, 05:34 PM   #46
ba_
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I found two good photos of the Komanche from a previous trip to Canada



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Old 11-12-2013, 05:53 PM   #47
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"..... Right. She's got a point. Leave room for reaction time, especially on a potentially dangerous road you've never been on. Stand up and check the rim. It's fine.
Then I passed the fucker soon as I could and resumed the 'spirited' pace....."


Such short-lived wisdom

Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido......for three days????

That is "travellus interruptus"....you pulled out WAY too soon

But I am sure your appetite has been whetted....go back for a month....but ride down the Pacific coast from Mazatlan to Huatulco, and then go back home the way you came down to Oaxaca...

Thanks for the story and pics..
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:14 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
In addition to steak we'll also get Luger's famous bacon strips appetizer

Let me guess where you got the idea for Oaxaca's Hotel Maela

Remind me... happy to give credit where it's do...vaguely remember clicking on a link, or google maps...
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:18 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ba_ View Post
I found two good photos of the Komanche from a previous trip to Canada




Awesome that you found pictures of me upright!

I remember that flooded 'bridge'; it was like somebody tied a bunch of salmon together.

Good memories thanks for posting!
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:21 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoged View Post
Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido......for three days????

That is "travellus interruptus"....you pulled out WAY too soon

But I am sure your appetite has been whetted....go back for a month....but ride down the Pacific coast from Mazatlan to Huatulco, and then go back home the way you came down to Oaxaca...

Thanks for the story and pics..

Would have loved to have stayed longer, but only had 3 weeks for the entire trip. Made the best of it, actually spent 7 days between Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido. And most DEFINITELY would like to go back.
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:44 PM   #51
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A Man Alone

A quick tale of post Oaxaca misadventures.
I dropped off the missus at Oaxaca airport, sad to see her go. She would have been glad to do the whole trip with me, but she needed to get back to work. A teary hug goodbye, then I headed out to the main road, banked a left (north) and started making time.
Here I had a decision to make. I had been given some route suggestions north/northeast by a local resident, new territory I hadn't seen. It sounded remote, interesting and beautiful. I was looking forward to checking it out. But when I got to the turnoff area on the highway, I saw no signage whatsoever as to which way to go. If I had more time before sunset, this would not have been a problem, but the day was wasting and I made the decision to go back to Mexico City on the highway past Puebla.
I tried to shake the lingering regret from my mind as I violated the speed limit back to DF.
In the city, right on schedule I got spun around twice on my way to the (same) hotel I had stayed in before, but arrive safely I did, and packed it in for the night.
My stuff, that is. My night consisted of hitting the subway into town and having dinner at La Opera one more time and wandering about, not knowing where to go but wanting to see everything.
The best upshot of coming back to DF was that the ADV rider who had left a note for me days ago was supposed to still be there at my hotel. I pm'd him when I got there that I was back. He texted me while I was on my way home on the train, and within a half hour we were enjoying a beer and a couple of tequilas exchanging stories, comparing bikes
(also a ktm 990 rider) and having a laugh. Martynho, a Brit living in Chile, I had a great time chatting with you and hope you got home safe.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:13 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoroberto View Post
Here I had a decision to make. I had been given some route suggestions north/northeast by a local resident, new territory I hadn't seen. It sounded remote, interesting and beautiful. I was looking forward to checking it out. But when I got to the turnoff area on the highway, I saw no signage whatsoever as to which way to go. If I had more time before sunset, this would not have been a problem, but the day was wasting and I made the decision to go back to Mexico City on the highway past Puebla.
I tried to shake the lingering regret from my mind as I violated the speed limit back to DF.
That sign is there. 175 to Tuxtepec. It is on the left (in the median). It is disguised by another sign about 50 meters before that gives no indication of being the turn to Tuxtepec. We blew right by it the first pass. Backtracked and picked it up coming from the east. We overshot by a good five miles and got all f****d up before we found our way back.

That road is epic. Read a bit about it in the RR bookmarked Oaxaca under my signature. We will do this road again this coming January and hope for excellent conditions as the weather was poor the last time. Still it ranked near the top of the list of the best roads we traversed this past January.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:34 PM   #53
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Last day in Mexico City started well enough. A good breakfast and on the road by 9. I didn't have a rock solid goal to make it to for the end of the day, but I reckoned I would probably make Ciudad Valles, where I had come from in one day on my way south. Then, I had taken 85 south to 102 to 105, rejoining 85 at Pachuca into Mexico City. Today the plan was to stay on 85 the whole way, another winding mountainous route that stays further west.

First, I got lost. In Mexico City. Was following my directions, making my turns, hitting traffic, checking the map, this must be the way. Before I knew it I had taken an hour to go almost in a complete circle. Getting hot, getting frustrated. Let's try this again. Traffic heavier. Stopping where possible to check google maps as to where am I and where do I need to be. Finally I crawled my way onto the right track. And traffic. Big, bad traffic. Crawling, stopping, starting, stopping again. Cars so jammed together I couldn't even lane split. Sun is blazing and I'm soaked. Worst of it was there seemed to be a perfectly good elevated expressway over me and the crawling parade of cars, closed.

I think Mexico City saw this giddy little gringo running in and around its streets, jumping on and off its trains, eating, drinking, and making merry without a care in the world, and Mexico City strapped on it's lucha libre mask, came running up behind me, got me in a sweaty headlock, threw me to the ground, and sat on my face. Just to show me who exactly El Jefe is.
Miles, hours later, punctuated by one last wrong turn before 85, I was on my way safely north of El Monstruo.

85 is another good riding road in Mexico. Another 2 lane serpentine mountain road which is just fine by me. The scenery also is great, but while being conscious of truck-and-bus passing, the lack of a shoulder in most places, and the fact I got a really late start, I didn't stop for pictures. Except these.








Note the blurriness caused by accumulating bug splatter on my phone case.

Unfortunately bugs were not the only casualties courtesy of the Komanche. My apologies to the family with the small house and farm on the mountain road somewhere south of Chapulhuacan: I owe you one chicken.
There were two, making a last-ditch break across the road at a soaring altitude of 2 feet. The first made it barely. The second was a rolling ball of feathers in my rearview mirror. And then there was one.
(Note: that makes the Komanche kill total 1 raccoon (North Carolina), 1 grouse (West Virginia), and 1 chicken (Hidalgo))

I started doing the endless calculations in my head of my fatigue level, gas level, the distance to the next few towns (rolling list) and height of the sun on the horizon. I remembered the two really friendly Pemex guys earlier in the day whose eyes bugged out of their heads chuckling when I told them I was going to Ciudad Valles for the night. I started to let go of the notion that that was going to happen. It was going to take me past sunset to get there, a self inflicted no-no on my trip. So I thought I'd just find someplace on the way, whenever I was ready to stop.

But I was not ready to stop. With every town I'd slow and survey the options and just keep on going, thinking "one more town...". And that was fine by me. Even though it was getting late and I should've by all rights been completely spent, I was really 'seeing' the road. You know what I mean? The late afternoon sun filtered through mountain trees was perfect, every rise and fall, apex and valley was golden lit, and my rhythm was honed by days of mountain riding. I was really feelin' it.

The towns however, were getting a little harder to come by. I was starting to feel stupid for not stopping at that perfectly nice town I passed an hour ago with the three or more bustling restaurants and the hotels right on the main drag. Now I was doing a good 30k of mountain to come across a little village whose greatest attraction seemed to be the displaying of their dirty laundry. And a dead chicken. With pirelli tracks across its neck. Who would do...

Then a happy little sign turned up saying I'd be in Tamazunchale in about a half hour. Awesome. A 'big' small town, I had remembered passing it coming south from Valles and thinking it would be worth checking out. Plenty of fuel to get there as well.

The town is clustered around the intersection of 85 and 102, just below where 85 crosses the Rio Amajac. I wound up staying at the Hotel Tamazunchale, right at the main intersection. A decent room with a/c and a great balcony to people watch from. The sun had not yet set. I settled in, got a couple of beers to unwind with, showered, and as I washed my sweaty underwear in the hotel sink, cranked up 'Sway' by the Stones on my little jam speaker.

I hit the main drag seeing what I could find. No shortage of little mom and pop (mostly mom) places to eat. Picked up a bottle of tequila to accompany me on the rest of my trip (starting tonight), and peeked into a couple loud cantinas where the music is blaring and the activity obscured from view. No, not tonight... My wandering took me full circle back near the hotel when I happened down one last side street. There silhouetted by the light from a small bodega behind, was an open air grill with smoke and great smells and plastic chairs. Perfect. I approached cautiously trying to make out the menu by what was lying around when the man behind the grill greeted me and asked if I wanted some food. Hell yes. He pulled up a crate for me. I went for both the barbacoa and bistec tacos, both were huge and awesome. I polished them off with a cold Tecate from the bodega and relished my little piece of plastic-chaired street food heaven.

Back in the hotel, I watched Tamazunchale roll by from the balcony.


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Old 11-14-2013, 08:22 PM   #54
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:19 PM   #55
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Still lovin' it....

A good taco feed with a cold cerveza after a day like that.....is sometimes what it is all about.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:58 PM   #56
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Tamazunchale to Xilitla to Ciudad Victoria

I enjoyed my breakfast in Tamazunchale at the sole outdoor table of the restaurant, looking out on the main drag and people doing their thing. Cars, motos, mini motos, mini buses, and quads. Gotta love a town where a quad is a viable form of transportation. A couple of cops came past on their bikes. White and black with the appropriate lights and badges, they are unmistakable and you know not to fuck with them, but look a little closer and you see that they are just big mopeds. I glance at the Komanche parked right in front of me.

Sometimes it's good to quietly know you've got the fastest horse in town.

Did a little research the night before to come up with a plan. I only had 2 days left in Mexico. I figured I would make it a somewhat easy day, making a small side trip to Xilitla then pressing on to Ciudad Victoria. From Victoria I would have an easy blast to the border, with time to cancel my TVIP, get across, and make as many miles as possible in the you ess of ay.

I settled up with the hotel and loaded up the bike. I hit the Pemex just north of the bridge and topped up. The young attendant was admiring the bike and asked how fast it could go. I thought for a second... "No se, 200k/h?"(a conservative estimate). He grinned.
Now, of course I need to punctuate my exit accordingly, in order to display the impressive power of the ke-te-EMMay. I jump on the bike, see nobody is coming, and launch into the street, inadvertently doing a powerslide in first and second gear. My smug contentment in my hooliganism ability is cut short by the strong smell of petrol. I look down. The right gas cap is wide open and precious juice is splashing out. Those powerslides... were they the result of getting on the throttle with cold tires? Or was enough gas splashing out that it was hitting the road and the tire was sliding on it? And are they laughing at me back at the Pemex? Fuck these questions. I slap the cap shut and get back on the throttle.

The turnoff for Xilitla is about 35k north of Tamazunchale, then Xilitla itself is about another 20k. While Xilitla is a worthwhile town to visit on its own, I was there to check out the gardens of Edward James.
Edward James was a british poet and patron of the surrealist movement. In 1941 he decided to build a surrealist garden just outside of Xilitla, 'Las Pozas', the pools. Hell, why not. It is kind of an impressive spread out complex of odd structures and man-made pools in the middle of the subtropical mountains, and also a great place to take a dip.



























































I nearly got lost wandering around this place, and doing it all in my riding pants and boots had me sweating my ass off. I pulled my swimsuit out and changed in the mens room for an awesomely refreshing swim in cool mountain water. As you can see from the photos, there were a lot of local families and kids enjoying the water as well. I was done swimming and trying to get a shot upstream of the pools. A kid next to me was playing in a narrow channel of fast moving water separated by brick about 2 ft high. Suddenly he slips on the rocks and falls face first. This fast moving water goes under a tower behind him and drops off about 8 feet, onto more rock. I quickly throw my phone from my right to left hand and reach down and grab him by the pants just before he hits the dropoff. I pick him up and get him on his feet. He cries and runs off to mom. He has lost his crocs and bottle of water, which I see are about 1/3 the way down the slope in a swirling pool, under the tower. I strain to reach down and grab 1 croc. He's back watching me, still upset. I hand him the croc, he points back to the water. "Mi botella". The kid wants his plastic bottle with about 3 sips of water left. OK. I nearly fall in myself reaching down to get it, and as I grab it I see his other croc go over the edge. Christ.
Now the mom is there, I don't know what she's saying to him but I assume it's the equivalent of "Well you shouldn't have been playing in there in the first place!" as my mom would. She thanks me for the one croc, and looks wistfully at the other, now swirling in calm water about 20 feet away on the lower level. Shit.
I take my shirt off again and jump down to the lower level. I swim to the other side, climb up to the next edge and over to the lonely swirling croc. Now I realize I hadn't really sorted out a way back up. I see some wet slippery rocks going up to my left, and I carefully climb back up. I hand over the croc and get my stuff together to many "muchas gracias" from the mom and my new little group of female admirers.
Just a day in the life of Supergringo.

As I got my riding clothes back on I heard a bunch of bikes approaching. I came back out the front gate to see a bunch of Mexican adventure bike riders! A couple of them spoke english well, and we had a good chat, they were from Mexico City and Queretaro.




That's me with the thumbs up.













Great bunch of guys. As I said goodbye they warned me of the road when it rains. Wasn't sure what they meant, but soon enough I was back on 85 north and it was drizzling. And now I saw what they meant. I could see the rainbow glisten of the oil coming up from the cracks in the road. Slippery as hell. Had to proceed with caution until it dried out.

Soon I made my last descent out of the mountains. I still miss them now. Beautiful lush high country, twisty roads and picturesque little towns. I made a stop at this little place at the foothills of the mountains. It was the sign for fruit liquor, I believe, that was the cause of the rest stop.




















I blasted out the remaining k's to Ciudad Victoria. Only hiccup was an army checkpoint that decided I was worth checking out. A lot of "Buenos tardes" and opening of bags and grinning and nodding and I was on my way again. I passed the grassy mesas that captivated me on my way into Mexico, and was sad and a little angry that this really meant I was leaving. These things were coming up too soon! Nothing to do but press on to Ciudad Victoria, where I had to improvise with my directions again due to street closures for the festival celebrating the founding of the city. Ah yes, Mexico. Expect a change in plans. Hotel, dinner, cervesas para la habitacion. Where's that reposado... ahhh. And sleep.


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Old 11-16-2013, 11:01 PM   #57
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Suggestion

I would really suggest you ride up to Monterrey, so you can cross the border at Laredo instead of Matamoros. If you decide to, we can meet and have lunch or if you want to stay, i can find you a place. Its a large city but nice.

Felipe
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:50 AM   #58
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I would really suggest you ride up to Monterrey, so you can cross the border at Laredo instead of Matamoros. If you decide to, we can meet and have lunch or if you want to stay, i can find you a place. Its a large city but nice.

Felipe
Thank you, my friend, a very generous offer, but I am already gone.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:11 PM   #59
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Back to the Border

I woke in Ciudad Victoria with 200 miles to go to the border. Last coffee in Mexico. Last breakfast in Mexico. Last check-out in Mexico. By the way, my fly is still open. And now good fucking luck getting the Kink's "Victoria" out of my head. Oh well, not entirely a bad thing, at least for the first hour or so. The directions are pretty simple: get on the 101, ride to Matamoros and the border, all on the same road.





I gassed up in Victoria and hit the 101. From here, it's pretty much flat. A lot of ranches, farms, and grassy fields. And bugs. This day I would continue my slaughter of millions of insects; the Komanche smashing in to as many butterflies, grasshoppers and dragonflies that it possibly could, leaving a clear line across the plains in the midst of the dark swarm of winged beasts. And beasts is not too strong a word my friends, some of these fuckers were BIG. The knock-your-helmet-back or leave-a-stinging-shoulder kind of critters. This is mostly the dragonflies and grasshoppers, of course. The butterflies, on the other hand, were the small yellow or white or light green variety, numerous as blades of grass, and I swear to god every single one on a Kamakaze mission, fluttering relentlessly toward me. Every one that hit its target left not only the snot glob of its former body but also the nice powdery, waxy splash of color on bike, face shield and riding gear.
Deadly, blood sucking butterflies.
I actually recalled it being much worse on the way in, from Matamoros toward Victoria, where at some points the onslaught was so intense I was tucked behind my not-so-ample windscreen, just trying to save a couple of square inches of face shield until the next Pemex.

Speaking of Pemex, I was a bit past the halfway mileage point for my range and decided to stop at the next opportunity. When I did, no premium. I asked the attendant, who looked like he was about 12, if he knew how far to the next Pemex with premium. He said about 30 minutes but did not think they had premium. Well, I guess that settles it. I'm probably 100 miles from the border and will now, for the first time in Mexico, have to slum it with regular. I didn't want to re-live my panic coming into Pachuca, thinking I was about to run out of gas. Anyway, with the KTM, I just have to pop the seat and disconnect a small wire to alert mission control to put away the Gran Centenario, your about to get a tanque of Cuervo. No prob. Any port in a storm. I scraped an inch of bug matter off of my face shield and carried on.

The weather was nice and hot, with clear skies and light wind. I was making good time, but I wanted to make one more little diversion while still in Mexico. I remembered seeing this place on the way in and made a note to definitely stop on the way out:





Why not sample a little sweet smokey nectar from Tamaulipas? Oaxaca can't get all the credit. The place is huge, and seemed to have some sort of restaurant that wasn't open, but the rest of it is an open museum, where you can just wander around and check things out. There was a nice older lady behind the counter and a young boy. A car had arrived just before me with a man of about 60 showing two older ladies of about 160 the museum. With myself, we were the only people there, so I started wandering around.

Mash tuns:








Stills with cooling tanks:





The daily grind:





There are little works of art and handcrafted items for sale all over, from traditional to modern.








Well, how do you do. And I thought Jagermeister had the market cornered on this.





I picked up a bottle of their Don Alfredo Anejo to come home with me, a couple tiny bottle souvenirs, and back on the road.








In no time at all I was in Matamoros, and then the border. I got thoroughly confused as to where the hell I was going to cancel my TVIP... it wound up being the same office I stopped at when I crossed over the border. I wasn't sure I'd have access to it from the leaving side, and I had to make a few u-turns, but soon I was outside the office. The official needs to physically inspect your VIN number to make sure it coincides with your permit. The Komanche keeps its VIN close to its chest, i.e. it's a pain in the ass to see the sticker on the frame. This made for a few minutes of straining with flashlights and all kinds of combination of flashlight and digital camera clusterfuck with the two well dressed ladies with all four hands all up in the Komanche's bug covered business shining and snapping away, trying to read the VIN. Eventually it was agreed that the bike was legit and they should allow this well ventilated Janqui to continue on to the US of zipper repair.
I asked if I may keep the cool permit as a souvenir; "No."

On to the U.S. side, passport out, open the bags, 5 minutes and I'm just another jerk in Texas. I rode further into Brownsville to gas up (Premium!) and check in with the wife and take it all in.

Although still 2000 miles from home, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I had done it. What people thought I was crazy to do, that I shouldn't do, was done; I successfully crossed the border, made it all the way across Mexico in time to pick up my wife from the airport in Oaxaca, had a great week with her, made it to the Pacific going due south, and returned all the way to Brownsville with no mechanical issues, no accidents, no trouble, no robberies, and unless I'm dreaming I wasn't murdered. Now it was predictable US slab all the way home.

Made it to the Louisiana border that night, and then some, and got a room. Don't remember where I stayed or what I ate, all thoughts were of Mexico.
I had planned to take one more day off in New Orleans, which I had never been to, on my way back. So I made it there the next day and got to my hotel in the French Quarter. Many of my friends have been here many of times, so I had an impossibly long list of things to check out.
I had dinner at Coop's that night, and then checked out the Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf Bar. Cool. A uniquely American experience to appreciate. The next day was spent eating and yes, mostly drinking, Lafitte's, Chart Room, and at my own hotel's bar.








With memories of micheladas, I enjoyed the $2 10oz Buds (the Chart Room).





Up with the sun and onto the slab the next morning, the entire day a blur of eating up horizons.

At one point I stopped for gas. I popped my seat open to re-attach the 'premium' wire. when I was satisfied the little bullet connector was happy, I snapped the seat back into place. With the key still sitting on the tool kit, under the seat.
It was at that moment that I first felt extremely stupid, and second, extremely glad I had brought my spare key kept in a safe place. Disaster averted.

Got into Knoxville just after sundown. More barbecue, more Bourbon, hello, US of A, how you been?
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:26 PM   #60
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Butterflies and Mezcal Dreams to Misery

Who would've thought the last leg would be the worst.

Had a decent enough start, on the road out of Knoxville by 7am. Still dark. Had one little stupid mistake wrong exit, and had to go about 10 minutes in the wrong direction before being able to turn around. Not terrible, but not a great omen. And COLD. Had sweat it up so bad through Mexico I forgot what cold felt like. Then I hit that thick appalacian fog. Miles of it. Couldn't warm up. I was fucking begging the sun to get up over those fucking mountaintops and start burning this shit off and warming me up.
The sun, of course, followed its own relatively predictable schedule. I don't think I warmed up until after noon.

Then came the rain. I was blessed with good weather all through Mexico, so I really couldn't complain. This was the remnants of the hurricane that briefly threatened the area east of New Orleans before weakening, which had done me the favor of not heading toward me, but had left plenty of rain behind for me to slog through. Right, rain gear on and battle the trucks on 81 north. Don't you love it when they lumber into the left lane right in front of you, throwing a continuous blinding stream of blur in your face, and proceed to execute a 15-minute 61mph pass? Not to mention the awesome I'm-in-a-pillowfight-with-invisible-people head buffeting. Nice.

Then the traffic. Miles and miles and miles of red taillights at a standstill. Still raining hard. Even lane splitting 20mph is about the most I'll do in case of a good old dooring. Worst traffic I've seen in a long time, don't even know what the cause was. Given the weather, was hoping it wasn't a pileup where somebody got hurt. The rain eventually thinned out in Pennsylvania and the sun went down before Jersey. Rolled into Brooklyn for a victory pint with some friends at 9pm, 14 hours on the road.

Yet again, all of my trophy mud is washed off the bike just before I get home. Lesson from the weather gods?
Don't rest on old mud.

What's next?




Here's to seeing you guys on the road.

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'07 KTM ADV 990
'73 Moto Guzzi Eldorado

Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=931315
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