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Old 03-25-2007, 04:34 PM   #1
Gustavo OP
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Wicked Trailer Queens

Last December I rode my bike to Valle de Bravo, Mexico, to meet my MotoAventuras buddies and celebrate the New Year with them. My plan was to leave the bike in NM and fly back in March to pick it up. March was chosen because at that time, MotoAventuras would have it's second annual meeting, this time in Creel. I figured I could fly in to El Paso, pick the V-Strom up, ride to Creel, spend the weekend there and then ride back to Oregon in somewhat nicer weather than I was looking at in January.

I had been asking Brian and Tony to join me on one of these trips to Mexico for a while, but it never worked out. But, it seemed like the stars were aligned for this trip, and they (Tony and Brian, not the stars) were making "I'm really going. No, really" sounds as the dates drew near.

We had a "planning" meeting at my place sometime in February. Planning loosely defined as me suggesting some destinations I thought we could reasonably make in the available time and Tony saying "yeah, whatever, I'll go anywhere as long as you keep the roads and destinations interesting" If only he really was that easy to please...

Tony was yet to pick up his new KTM 950 from San Diego, but I was hopeful that it will get here in time to do the first service and leave on the trip as planned. If everything worked out we'd leave on March 3rd.

It didn't. The carrier that was supposed to pick up the 950 in San Diego screwed up and didn't. Tony had to fly there a week later to ride the bike up. OK, maybe we can leave a week later?

So why trailer queens? I have never trailered my street bike when going on a trip. I always liked riding there, even if it implied riding from/to Portland in November, December or January. But, given the limited time we had, it seemed to make sense to truck the bikes, so that we could get to NM and back regardless of weather or make up for any delays by driving later at night.

So finally, on March 10th we had the trailer queens loaded and ready to go.



Gustavo

Gustavo screwed with this post 03-28-2007 at 09:50 PM
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:50 PM   #2
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This is off to a bad start, but I'm sure it will get better....


Just kidding, man.
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:56 PM   #3
Waco
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Got a good spare tire for the trailer? It's a bitch trying to find one of those little tires 50 miles into a road trip. DAMHIK
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:34 PM   #4
Gustavo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waco Kid
Got a good spare tire for the trailer? It's a bitch trying to find one of those little tires 50 miles into a road trip. DAMHIK
Actually, no I didn't have a good spare. But, it only looks small compared to Brian's truck tires, it's a full sized wheel, so it would have been a little easier to find a replacement. No worries, tires did fine.

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Old 03-25-2007, 10:19 PM   #5
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The drive down to CA

We left bright and early, something like 8:30 or so...

Around lunch time we hit Yreka. Tony said he had read there was a good bakery in own, but we didn't find it. Instead we ended up at this pizza place which was OK, but not a good enough reason to visit Yreka.

Tony thinking - Do I have to put up with these guys for another 2 days in the truck (this is after only 4 hours of driving):


The road through southern Oregon and Northern California is always interesting, even when you stick to the highway.

Mt. Shasta:




We were down in the central valley when the sun went down and we still had quite a ways to go to Buttonwillow




We stopped for dinner at an I-5 diner:


Buttonwillow turned out to be a less than optimal stop on weekends. There always seems to be something going on at the track, so the motels fill up early. We got the last non-smoking room available and it cost us more than I expected. The laws of supply and demand seem to be alive and well in Buttonwillow.

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Old 03-26-2007, 03:35 AM   #6
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Brian's already got the 1000-yard stare, and its only Day One.
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Old 03-26-2007, 03:46 AM   #7
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Sounds like it can only get better from here..

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Old 03-26-2007, 05:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Sounds like it can only get better from here..

more
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Old 03-26-2007, 06:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdiaz
Brian's already got the 1000-yard stare, and its only Day One.
You should have seen him after day two...

Three guys, two days and 1800 miles in an extended cab truck will really test your social skills. The fact that they still talk to me is nothing short of a miracle.

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Old 03-26-2007, 07:15 AM   #10
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CA to NM

After finally finding a place to sleep, we quickly called it a night, expecting (at least I was) to get an early start the next morning.

It was no problem, I did get an early start. It's just that Brian and Tony weren't ready quite yet... This would be a recuring theme throughout the trip. Brian and Tony are not morning people. I wake up without an alarm clock at 5:30 almost regardless of when I went to bed.

We finally got on the road (with a little help from Starbucks) around 8.

Tony and Brian couldn't take riding in the truck any longer, they moved to riding their trailer queens:



Driving down the highway brings some of the most unexpected experiences. I thought about showing them mine, but somehow didn't think they'd be impressed:



I have always liked the windmill farms near Desert Hot Springs in CA:





I must have seen the sign to the General Patton museum tens of times driving along I-10, but I never got off the highway to see what's there. By chance, it was time to make our pit stop, so we got a quick look at it. If you like army history, this could make an interesting stop.




Finally, we made it to Las Cruces, NM, sometime after 11PM. Tony was doing his stretching exercises and said I shouldn't take a picture. Yeah, right, like I would miss the opportunity...



Gustavo

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Old 03-26-2007, 05:18 PM   #11
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Every good adventure starts with...

running out of gas.
You forgot to mention that we made it about 200 miles south on I-5 before noticing that the gas guage was reading very low. Had a little stutter on the hill before the Grant's Pass exit, so we coasted down the hill in neutral. Fortunately the gas station was just beyond the off ramp. After waiting at the stop light, we lurched across the road into the station.
We would continue to get a wonderful 13-14 MPG while towing the trailer.
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:43 PM   #12
Gustavo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remarksman
running out of gas.
You forgot to mention that we made it about 200 miles south on I-5 before noticing that the gas guage was reading very low...
That was back in the "it'll do over 300 miles on a tank" times.

IIRC, we were right around the 300 mile mark when we were coasting down the hill into Grants Pass. I don't think we let it get close to 300 after that.

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Old 03-26-2007, 05:56 PM   #13
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First day on the bikes

After a somewhat better night of sleep at the Las Cruces Super 8, it was time for Gustavo to wake us up early again. We unloaded the bikes at Gustavo's uncle's place and sorted the "truck stuff" from the "bike stuff".

Finally we were on the road.
First stop: El Paso for some gas.
I was impressed by the fancy bridges and over-passes we drove on and under. Some serious spending of tax dollars here.

I also felt like there were a lot of high-dollar cars driving around. I knew to expect this in California, but had not expected it in Texas.
From the gas station, it was back to New Mexico and the Santa Teresa border station where we got our vehicle permits and tourist permits. There was no waiting in line at this station, and because Gustavo had told us exactly what we would need, it was pretty easy.


Now we were in Mexico!
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Old 03-26-2007, 06:12 PM   #14
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Old 03-26-2007, 06:18 PM   #15
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Welcome to high desert Mexico

As we would find out, there is a lot of "high desert" in northern Mexico. We were on a lot of roads that have sections where you can see the road disappearing straight over the horizon 10 miles away, alternating with sections where the road has to go over a ridge or minor mountain range.

First snack and photo stop in Mexico:


We got the vehicle permits at the border station, but no-one there checked them. I hadn't realized it, but there is a sort of "free trade zone" along the border. The Mexican government wisely realizes that people who live right on the border will probably buy vehicles and lots of other stuff in Texas and New Mexico. Rather than try to tax and/or track all of that, they just set up a sort of secondary border beyond which you actually do have to have the permit.
Right before this check station we stopped because Tony's KTM had hit reserve earlier than expected. This might have been due to some top speed testing that Gustavo carried out on a long straight section of road.
In any case, Tony had a siphon, and we transferred some gas from the miserly DL650 to the gas-sucking KTM


We ate lunch in Ascension at El Dorado. Our first taste of authentic Mexican cuisine on the trip, and Tony would claim that they had the best salsa of any meal for the whole trip.


We arrived in Nuevo Casas Grandes in mid-afternoon and checked into the Hotel Pinon.
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