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Old 11-27-2008, 12:30 AM   #1
RockiesTwin OP
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Second World - For the first Time

So here it is 1am on Thanksgiving Day - It has finally arrived. I actually get to start my FIRST ADV ride report . I'm not quite sure I knew I'd actually stick with it when, several months ago, I sat dreaming of jetting off to the South Pacific. The sudden surge in airfares crippling my thoughts of a warm summer. Although I'd had the dream of riding from Point Barrow to Tierra del Fuego there was no way I could spare that kind of time and it is nearly December! I'm not sure why it hadn't occurred to me previously - but who says you've got to put all the pieces together in the same order as everyone else? So the idea became following the InterAmerican Highway south with intent of picking up the Northern & Southern most legs at a later date.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this scheme ahead of the Latin American Riders rally in Estes Park and managed to make it up for an afternoon jaunt over the Top of the Rockies in the snow. It was great meeting those that have done it before - even if only for a brief bit.

The trek began right here really, on ADVrider as I sifted through Ride Reports looking at pictures and feeding the possibility. Then, suddenly - it clicked. As of August I'd been through every state in the US except AK, HI, and ME. Then I saw the bike, in Maine, and the adventure began.

Flying first into NH a trusting inmate allowed me to shuttle his new acquisition to his place in ME where I'd pick up mine. Then over the Labor Day weekend I'd ride from ME to CO where I'd have to tie up some loose ends (work) for a few months before I could continue south. But now there was a goal - and a date. Thanksgiving.

The last several months have seen me plan more than I've every planned before - that doesn't necessarily mean much. What to take, where to go, what to do, who? to do it with. I've truly enjoyed the planning - have cringed at some of the $$$ spent, and will admit to my own doubts. But the bike is packed, the arrangements made, the goodbyes said and in a few hours I'm off.

The intent is to hopefully make Yaviza and back. It's just a point on a map - with so much to see between here and there. Who knows what could happen between then and now, but that's the point ... right? I've never ridden outside of the US & Canada and my mind is a constant flutter of thoughts and ideas about what I may see. Through the entire planning process the shared sickness of wanting to explore on two wheels has kept me going against the neigh sayers and doubters. In fact, at this moment, I have friends riding in S. Africa, N. Zealand, and S. America. Now it is my turn. Here I go through the Second world - for the first time.


Start of the Trip in Maine - Mine!

Here's how I started off back in Late August in Maine.
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Old 11-27-2008, 01:11 AM   #2
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Good onya. I'll keep my eye out for any updates.
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Old 11-27-2008, 05:12 AM   #3
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Sounds promising, im in
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Old 11-27-2008, 05:46 AM   #4
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Best wishes for a safe journey! Maybe you can update this thread along the way too

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Old 11-28-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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Eek

First off I want to thank Bananaman for letting me know how cold it could be in C.America. As it turns out all I've used every piece of cold weather gear already. Getting out of Colorado in the late autum can be tricky and as I got south of Pueblo the hills around Raton Pass looked ominious so I headed out east. Stopping for fuel in Lamar, CO flurries started. I figured I could make it a bit farther as it was only 3:30 and turned South. I was mistaken. I got maybe 10 miles out of town and the skies closed in... the roads started looking much worse and the temps were dropping. I crested a hill and then the road changed from black top to concrete and hadn't warmed nearly as much through the day. The road got slippy and I turned around. When I got back into town the thermometer on the bank showed that in 10 minutes the temperature had dropped 5 degrees and I checked into the Super 8.

Here's a picture of the bike in the morning:


Unfortunately the sleet storm that went through didn't leave as quickly as I'd hoped. The temperature was still only 30 degrees and the skies were completely socked in. There would be no bright sunlight for me. Heading south again I was VERY happy I'd stopped when I did. Though there was another town about 50 miles and yet another 50 more miles down the road the choices for places to stay weren't as abundant and I'm unsure they'd have been available on Thanksgiving Day Eve.

I crossed Oklahoma and finally left Colorado 24hrs after I left. I was targeting Amarillo for lunch & fuel but stopped in Dumas. Something wierd I'd noticed with the ways the winds were blowing was that I was getting a really loud and profound buffeting around my helmet. It's never bothered me before but maybe that's because I hadn't ridden this long without ear-phones in. I managed to loose the tip (no spares) that morning somehow.

When I jumped off the bike I suddenly felt AWFUL! I couldn't figure out whether I was thirsty, hungry, tired, cold, or nauseous. I stumbled around the truck-stop a bit and then it hit me... I suddenly couldn't stop shaking and was even more nauseous. The shakes I figured were the cold - the nausea I attributed to the screaming headache I had. It was only 1pm my time ( I forgot about the TZ change - must have missed the sign) making it 2pm here. I REALLY wanted to make Amarillo and was feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere... but I decided I couldn't proceed. I crossed the street and got a room. By the time I made it into my room I was shaking even more violently. I shed all my gear, cranked up the heat and crawled under the covers where I shook myself to sleep.

A few hours later I woke up, the room was an inferno but I felt 1000% better. The good news is it's much warmer now and supposed to just get better. I am concerned about my January return but: I have a couple of options for places to leave my ride and hell, it's not hear yet!

The guy working the front desk when I got my room was still working when I came back after getting some dinner. I stopped and apologized for being out of it when I checked in but explained that I was suffering from hypothermia. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothermia/DS00333/DSECTION=symptoms . He suggested I get a car and then told me that his brother would be HAPPY to sell me one for about $1000. I chuckled but he didn't - I think he believes I'm completely crazy! In the morning I'll be heading south again. I'm looking forward to Austin and my friends but would rather be in one piece!

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Old 11-29-2008, 08:31 PM   #6
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Yikes. Sounds like a little electric gear would go a long way here.

I hear Gerbings are a sound bet.
http://www.gerbing.com/

Stay warm!
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:02 PM   #7
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Hey RockiesTwin, I got caught playing in the snow too. I left Denver Thanksgiving day at 4pm headed for the house east of Lamar. Had snow for 140 miles. Temp was 33-34. I had my Gerbing jacket gloves and socks so I didn't suffer from the cold. I had 5 miles of real heavy snow ,slush and snow covered bridges between Hugo and Kit Carson. That was 6pm. As you know, there's no where to hide from the weather out there. The V Strom was still covered in ice at noon the next day. Good luck on the rest of your trip.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffaloman
Hey RockiesTwin, I got caught playing in the snow too. I left Denver Thanksgiving day at 4pm headed for the house east of Lamar. Had snow for 140 miles. Temp was 33-34. I had my Gerbing jacket gloves and socks so I didn't suffer from the cold. I had 5 miles of real heavy snow ,slush and snow covered bridges between Hugo and Kit Carson. That was 6pm. As you know, there's no where to hide from the weather out there. The V Strom was still covered in ice at noon the next day. Good luck on the rest of your trip.
Yes one is DEFINITELY exposed on the plains which is why I basically decided I should turn around. I wouldn't be able to seek shelter anywhere and it was getting dark and MORE cold. I think I'll need to invest in the Gerbing (or something similiar) when I return. Anyone want to buy some old gear first?

Since no one else has posted - I'll just add on to this one and save some ink!

So this morning I decided I couldn't handle the flashing red lights anymore and didn't want to put any electrical tape over them. So following the suggestions of some fellow inmates I went to get a new battery. I thought this would be pretty simple as the phone book said that Alamo BMW wasn't too far away. I loaded up and headed south... along the way I passed NAPA and thought I'd stop there and save some money. Well long story short - they didn't have the battery. So after I put everything back together again I headed to the BMW dealer. Long story short there - they moved 40 miles northwest. So then I remembered I'd just passed one of those motorcycle super-stores (HONDA, SUZUKI, POLARIS, BIG DOG, etc) and headed back up there. Um, yeah.. again no dice.

So here I sat - I'd already pissed away most of the day taking stuff apart and putting it back together - traveling to and fro and thought about just flipping a coin to see if I should just keep on keeping on. After all, the bike has been starting just fine, no weak lights, etc.. So what if the clock resets a few times and the ABS lights flash like Christmas lights - Tiss the season. Right?

But then reality sank in. If it was this damn difficult to find a battery for this bike in San Antonio, TX then just how hard would it be south of the border? So caution prevailed and I headed NorthWest. One minute after walking in the door I had the new (VERY expensive) BMW sealed replacement battery in my hands and was heading back to the parking lot to install. Once done - and after the good folks reset the ABS for me - I once again had ABS and felt that much more comfortable about my situation. So I wouldn't make that many miles again today - It's OKAY. Texas is a nice place full of friendly people and it's not cold :)


So here's a picture of the bike with the new battery (Isn't it pretty?) with some further - on the road - modifications to the windscreen. Now when the winds are blowing it doesn't feel like an army of little leprechauns are beating on my helmet.

So tonight I've made it to Corpus Christi - with only a few more hours of riding I'll be at the southern most tip of the Continental US. As I look back at the 900+ miles of riding through TX I do so fondly. It has been a long time since I was in TX and I'd quite forgotten how damn friendly people are here. Their attitudes and general walking around nice is a welcome treat and they take damn good care of their roads! Besides all that - I got to spend some excellent time with friends in Austin and truly enjoyed it. I'll definitely be back!

So now I'm about 1300 miles into it and will likely cross into Old Mexico tomorrow or the day next via Matamoros.

RockiesTwin screwed with this post 12-02-2008 at 06:05 PM Reason: extended entry
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:00 PM   #9
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Question

Last night I bought my Mexican Insurance online from AAA. They wouldn't write a policy for number of days I was going to be incountry but a 6mo policy was $90 so I got that instead. This morning I got up and rummaged through my stuff identifying some things I could likely do without. So I set those aside and repacked. Then I printed out my policy and was off - but not before breakfast. If anyone is running through Corpus Christi on the way south make sure to give this lil joint a try - Fermins. It's on the other side of the Highway from Wal-Mart so it's pretty easy to find. I got the special and LOVED it! Colorado isn't bad for Mexican food but the refritos here absolutely made the meal: 2 eggs, 2 tortillas, 2 bacon, beans and potatoes for $4.99. I'd already eaten some before I remembered that a ride report also contains food pics ;) Sorry guys.



So I'm finally @ the border with Mexico:



Notice the big Mexican flag in the background. The weather temperature wise was perfect today at about 80 degrees - the humidity wasn't too bad at about 70% but the wind! Definitely made it an interesting stretch of road. No I didn't stop to take pictures of the scrub oaks and grasses - there's lots of it and it pretty much runs together after 3-400 miles.

I did try to stop and pick up a hitchhiker today - He was nearly lame and unfortunately couldn't tolerate sitting on the bike so he jumped off. He said he'd been walking for months and I'd venture that's the truth as he was in the middle of no where and really wanted a ride but just couldnt bend his leg anymore.

I had about 5 things on the agenda for goals for today: ride around the old city (check), change some cash (check), get an English/Spanish dictionary(check), mail a box back home with unecessary items(check), and get some keys cut. I was able to get everything but the keys today. was told there's a real locksmith (not the homeDepot/WalMart/Lowes) machine kind downtown. I'll hit that up in the am for a set of spares.

When I was sitting in the park eating fruits and overlooking the border there were several Border Patrol officers there so I wandered over to talk to them to see if they could shed any light on what I might expect. They said that the Federales had taken away all the local police's guns and were basically under a form of martial law. Anyone know anything about that?


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Old 12-06-2008, 02:25 PM   #10
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Updates are forthcoming. Its been a busy couple of days and Im working on it - it seems though that the audience may be missing due to my slowness
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:40 PM   #11
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Don't fret, there's a high turnover in the RR forum... just keep it coming when you can!

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Old 12-06-2008, 06:38 PM   #12
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Audience is here... and they want more pics!
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South America Until Our Luck Or Money Runs Out:

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Old 12-07-2008, 03:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockiesTwin


When I was sitting in the park eating fruits and overlooking the border there were several Border Patrol officers there so I wandered over to talk to them to see if they could shed any light on what I might expect. They said that the Federales had taken away all the local police's guns and were basically under a form of martial law. Anyone know anything about that?


Sounds like Mexico to me . Youll eventually get used to that sort of thing, after a while it wont even be interesting. The Federales are very professional and we had no problems whatsoever with the local police either. Smile and wave to them.
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:43 PM   #14
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Just arrived into Veracruz - Now THIS Is what I was lookin' for. The room has internet access too so I'll actually be able to put up some of the pictures I've been taking. Today's ride was fantastic - except I swear they kept moving the city farther and farther down the road. I did see a couple other beamers on the road - one running north and one that flat sucked the wind out of me heading into Veracruz. Nice!!! Any of you??? I'll be here in Veracruz for 3 nights soaking up some of the sun. Good News the re-mount has held thusfar.


And without further adieu:

This morning – early but not ass crack of dawn early – I packed up all my gear again and went down to check out the bike. I loaded all my stuff back on – which I’ll say is getting easier now as I’m more experienced with it. Once loaded up I checked over the bike. Oil is good, tire pressures were a bit low – so I added a bit of air. Right here is where some of that $$$ spent proves to be well spent. The tire pressure gauge with the convenient pass-thru and the portable air compressor made swift work of adding a couple of pounds of air. Loaded for bear I hit the road. Stopping at the next driveway to top up fuel. Oye! Ok now the bike is taken care of – I need fuel too. There just happens to be a Starbucks within a few blocks. It’s the first one I’ve seen since Austin. I fill up on my Iced Americano, perfect Oatmeal and a Mango Odwalla.


Now I’m ready… and heading south. The crossing from Brownsville is Matamoros. I pulled up to the bridge – committed now. Paying my $2.25 to cross the bridge and I’m in Mexico. I look at the Immigration building and notice a “declare” sign. Shit. I have fresh (dry) fruit. Um.. now what? So I pull in. Somehow in the next few minutes I manage to throw away my fruit – worried they might think I’m dumping something else and head inside with my documents. By the way, there is not a lot of bi-lingual signs here. I manage to successfully import myself and my bike for up to 180 days. I made it – I don’t even know if I believed myself I’d make it but I did!



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Old 12-07-2008, 11:44 PM   #15
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Now I need to find my way through the streets of Matamoros – I’m looking for calle 6 to take MX 180 down towards Tampico. I don’t see any signs for MX180 though – only 101. Dammit!. I see a sign for cinco and figure I’ve missed it and turn around. I kinda get worried for a moment then snap myself out of it and look at my tank bag. Cid. Victora is the direction I want to go and the sign says 101 goes that way. I’m not lost – my map just doesn’t show congruent highway numbers. I’m rolling down the right road.
So this Mexican border town is busy – like most I suspect. There is a flurry of activity everywhere as well as US license plates. It seems a popular time to return home for immigrant workers and there’s a steady stream of plates heading south. Soon – after a couple of Adunda checks by the Federales and I’m on smooth highway rolling about 100 km/h across the coastal plain. They’ve cleared a lot of brush for crops and the wind blows hard and cold from the interior.
About the 250 km marker I learn a valuable lesson. Things aren’t going to be what they see. I wanted to stop and take a picture and noticed a rest stop. I slow – down to probably 15 mph or so and turn off the highway. Then I notice it… the ledge I’m about to go over. Too late to do anything by lean back and get weight off the front tire. BAM! The bash plate takes a whollop on the stones. DOHT! Luckily everything looks good.

Back down the road I go. A few miles down the way I pass a Pemex station and notice a lone biker standing in the lot and offer a hearty wave.
Down the road the same biker catches up to me as we both pull to the side and discuss our plans. Both have just entered Mexico, travelling alone, and on the same path – towards Veracruz and we decide to ride together. Tyrone is from Florida and is riding a 650 KLR so he can keep up for sure in fact –he rides fast enough to even push me past the 100 km/h I’d been riding. We’re enjoying the serene riding and great roads in the warm sun. Along the way we cross over the Tropic of Cancer.


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