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Old 10-25-2008, 09:29 AM   #16
pdedse OP
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Tuesday, Sept 30: Day 8

Last night, out of curiosity, I checked airline flights one-way from Puerto Vallarta to Portland and $215 isn’t bad! Hmmm. What to do? I could go to Hermosillo or maybe Bahia de Kino, stay a night or two, and then head back north and prolly still have time to make Portland by the 7th, or I could call my friend in Puerto Vallarta to see if I can still leave the bike with him for a few months until I get the chance to fly back for it to ride home. I call my friend and he says no problem. So now I can do either one, it’s more of a question of what I want to do. I woke up several times in the night, my brain working overtime.

In the morning we get up excited because, whatever my decision, we’re going into Mexico today! It’s already in the high 80s by 8:00.

Marc’s rear tire is looking more worn each day and we spend the morning looking for a replacement to take along just in case, but no luck finding one. We head south on 95 for San Luis, the border crossing. Marc pulls into a Walmart just before San Luis because he wanted to see if they had a guide book for Mexico--we had one for Baja, but not for the rest of the country. While he goes in, I stay with the bikes. I notice my temp gauge is reading higher than normal, and the radiator cooling fan that normally stays on after shutting the bike down for a few minutes is not running.



I start the bike and watch the temp needle creep past the mid-way point, then it keeps going to hot and the fan never comes on.



We’re about to enter Mexico and cross northern Sonora on Mexico hiway 2 through the desert with temps forecast to hit 105 and my radiator fan decides to quit. I give Marc the news and since it’s nearing noon I come to the decision that we must…eat! Hadn’t eaten at McDonalds in years, but the AC feels great. We decide to return to Yuma where there are dealerships just in case. The bike at hiway speeds maintains decent cooling and so we return OK.

Back in Yuma we pull over at a coffee shop and I take a look at the fuses after pulling all the luggage off--they look good. Marc is connected and so I go to KLRworld.com where I have a contact or two. One of them is online and I have his phone number. He answers and gives me some suggestions to test whether it’s the fan itself or not. Meanwhile, Marc is paging through my service manual and asks me again about the fuses. I tell him they’re good and he asks me specifically about the fuse for the fan. What? I ask. He points out there is a different fuse just for the fan. Oh really? (All you KLR owners can groan now). We pull off the reservoir cover and find the fan fuse. It looks…good…no, there’s a hairline crack! We replace it and start the bike up, letting it get nice and warm. Fan kicks on!! Yes!



Is it good or isn't it?

Did I mention it's 104 right now?

Me thinks it's blown...


Thoughts of having to end the trip prematurely vanish and we’re on our way…back to Motel 6 because it’s 4:00pm and too late to cross the border today. Later while on-line, I discover that blown radiator fan fuses are a common ocurrence for KLRs. One more day swallowed up.

But we’re both happy to be able to continue the ride together and this difficulty seals the decision for me--I’ll go to Puerto Vallarta with Marc and worry about how to get the bike home later!


Total miles: 60; Yuma and then back to Yuma!
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Old 10-25-2008, 10:11 PM   #17
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Haha that radiator fuse is new to me too, although my excuse is I only rode a KLR for about two months... Quick question for you: What crash bars are those on your KLR?


Hurry up and get to Puerto Vallarta! Good report so far...
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by E-Bum
Haha that radiator fuse is new to me too, although my excuse is I only rode a KLR for about two months... Quick question for you: What crash bars are those on your KLR?


Hurry up and get to Puerto Vallarta! Good report so far...
Two months? I only had mine for 5 weeks before I began the trip!


The crash bars are from Happy Trails and cost $269.

http://www.happy-trail.com/ProductIn...d=HTP%204-1-5B

But TPI has theirs in stock now for $189:

http://www.tpi4x4.com/KLR650/ComboUnit.html

When I called TPI they were out of stock, so I went with HT. The bars were somewhat difficult to get get on but I did so with a bit of help from their tech people, who were very helpful both by phone and email.
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:06 AM   #19
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Wednesday, Oct 1: Day 9

We start out early and by 7:30 once again we’re heading for the San Luis border crossing. It’s another warm morning but at least my radiator fan is working. We hope to make it at least to Hermosillo today, maybe all the way to Bahía de Kino, where we finally hope to spend some time relaxing.

We’re at the border a little before 8:00 and we ride right through a crossing, no line, and nobody really stops us. OK, that was fairly easy. But it can’t be THAT easy and I know we need vehicle permit and paperwork done, pay fees, etc. So we pull over and ask and sure enough, we need to backtrack half a block where there’s a low key bank and immigration office.

It’s pretty good timing because they open at 8:00 and so we need to wait only a few minutes. I go first while Marc waits with the bikes. 20 minutes later I’m all set and it’s his turn.

Marc is inside that building in the background with the Mexican flags. Notice Marc’s Hope Depot / home made forward foot pegs!



Fairly easy, sign this, go to bank, pay that, return to immigration, present photocopies of everything and stamp, stamp, stamp and the pleasant young lady says that’s it. Once Marc returns another 20 minutes later we’re on our way! We stop at an ATM and yes!! card works and pesos are dispensed. We make our way out of traffic, some guy yells something at us, doesn’t seem to like something about us (?!), and eventually traffic thins and we’re heading east on hiway 2 in Mexico! It’s 9:00 so that wasn’t so bad.

The first thing we notice is the wall that separates Mexico from the U.S. It goes on for some time. I thought hiways 8 / 10 that connect Tucson east / west were desolate. This must be the moon then. Wow, what if we break down here?!? I had always wondered about this road when I lived in Arizona, but I’m questioning my sanity as the remoteness sinks in. We drive for miles with only a car every now and then. No houses, no gas stations, no trees, no cacti, no livestock, no people, no nothing. Just brown soil and a few shrubs. No people?--check that, every so often we see a guy, alone, walking. Simply walking, seemingly without purpose, towards…where??? One guy had a gallon of water in his hands. At least that. The heat builds and by 10:30 it’s hot. Clothes are sticking. Dry heat. Yeah, right. It’s…sunny, shadeless…and…hot. But my cooling fan is still working. My brain is another story. When funny lights begin to flash in my brain I figure it’s best we pull over. The whole trip from Oregon to Yuma, Marc led with his GPS. Now I was leading and I motion to pull over. Shade, finally.



A little later, the desert changes and shows signs of life: some cacti, ocotillo and roadside chapels.





Trash problems



We ride and ride and have MREs and water for lunch at an Oxxo in Caborca. It’s 2:30 and we’re told Hermosillo is another 5 hours. Looks like we’ll stay there for the night, which I like because I know a decent hotel there from three years earlier when I drove a Dodge Caravan to Costa Rica.

At Santa Ana we pull over for gas and then something to drink at a roadside eatery. The cook, a man about 55 or 60, looks at us and says in very good English that he’ll be right with us. After finishing with an order he comes over and still in English asks if the heat isn’t affecting us. After a bit of chit-chat I ask him in Spanish what he has that’s cold to drink. Who knew that would set him off? His voice changes as if I’ve committed some great social blunder. I teach Spanish and it’s what I speak at home with my wife, so it just comes out when I’m in Spanish speaking countries. Agitated, he says he can respond in English, Russian if we like. Ok, then. I tell him in English that his command of the language is great and where did he learn Russian. He’s practically yelling now about somewhere across the street, and I look at Marc and our eyes lock and we both know it’s time to move on. As we do the guy yells something about us and being babies…didn’t really stop to listen to this guy’s bitterness about whatever so we ignore it and move on. Funny how an incident like that sticks with you no matter how hard you try to let it go.

Not so hot by 5:30 as the sun is lower in the sky, too low for my liking. We’re still a ways north of Hermosillo. Soon we're in a race with daylight and we increase our cruising speed to 75, 80 at times. By 7:00 it’s dark and we’re only miles away. Hard to see at night and with a bug splattered visor, but we find the Hotel Bouganvillia right where I remember it to be--nice to know that my memory is still somewhat intact. Long day, we unpack, go out to eat, return, I buy my one-way ticket on-line, Puerto Vallarta to Portland. There, I’ve committed. Besides, it’s shorter to PV than it is to Portland, so my rear end is happy!

Nearly forgot: Marc wasn't happy with today's heat and decides to shave it all off. He only looked at me funny when I asked if he noticed the trash can.



Fortunately, it went down!

Total miles: 404; Yuma to Hermosillo, Mexico

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Old 10-26-2008, 09:29 AM   #20
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Very enjoyable report so far!!! Thanks!

Dealing with the obstacles and adjusting to the situation is all part of the Adventure...

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Old 10-27-2008, 10:26 AM   #21
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Thursday, Oct 2: Day 10

We woke to another hot morning, relaxed in that we knew we only had a little more than an hour to ride to get to Bahía de Kino, on the east side of the Golfo de California, or Sea of Cortez. We take our time getting things ready, still groggy from yesterday’s long, hot ride. We try again to find a rear tire for Marc’s bike, but no luck. Road construction delays us getting out of Hermosillo, but by 1:00 we’re on our way.

Very Sonoran desert landscape with Sahuaros and other cacti. Soon traffic thins to next to nothing. After another hour we arrive and check out Kino Viejo and it looks pleasantly quirky but we also see Kino Nuevo on the map and head north along the coast for a few miles. After finding a couple of places too expensive, we inquire at Saro’s, a simple looking hotel / apartment.

The guy wants $70 per night for the lower apartment that has kitchen, AC, terrace and just meters away from the beach. Saro, the Italian owner’s name, opens the door to the sea and a beautiful cool breeze blows in. I ask about a discount if we stay two nights and he says he’ll knock off $10 the second night. Marc is on a budget in that he’ll need to make his money stretch for 4 months, but I’m not. I ask him to pay $50 and I’ll cover the rest for the two nights. Deal! I’ve got a good vibe about this place. After 2300 miles, we’re ready to relax a bit.

It’s already near 3:00 and we kind of forgot about lunch with the excitement of arriving at the beach. We talk about a nice fish lunch, but both of us are simply too tired to get back on the bikes again, so we cross the street and buy copious amounts of chips, cheese, salsa and tecate and make that our main meal of the day as sit on the terrace and just…

do…

absolutely…

Nothing!

Enough talk, time for some photos.

We step outside...


Don't want to miss the sunset...




Street side view of hotel...


Marc from the hotel terrace, beachside...


One of the few photos of Marc and me together...



Looking south...




Looking north...


Looking east...


Looking west...








Pretty sure that the land you see is Isla de Tiburones...










A short video of the sunset:
http://s258.photobucket.com/albums/h...oSummer054.flv

Blurry, but you get the idea...


At about 9:00 Saro asks us for some help with his computer, he can't read the small print anymore and wants to know if we can make it larger. Marc's good with computers and he tries first, but it's all in Spanish so between the two of us we see what we can do. We make the font ridiculously large and Saro seems happy. He didn't ask us to change it back, so I guess it helped.

Feels good to be off the bike and walking the sands of the beach, taking it all in. I miss my wife and kids and they would love this place. A very good day...



Total miles: 60; Hermosillo to Bahía de Kino, Mexico

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Old 10-27-2008, 10:41 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by pdedse
Thursday, Oct 2: Day 10


Very nice. You got Jupiter in there too!
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:27 PM   #23
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Nice thread. Makes me jealous. I've been dying to do a ride to Mexico. Someday....someday.

The furthest I've made it is Portland to Seattle
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:41 PM   #24
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Very nice. You got Jupiter in there too!
So that was Jupiter...who knew?
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyjosh
Nice thread. Makes me jealous. I've been dying to do a ride to Mexico. Someday....someday.

The furthest I've made it is Portland to Seattle
It was just over a year ago I was riding north of Seattle and I met a guy who had just finished riding Russia and China, had ridden S. American and Africa, and was beginning to cross the States. I thought to myself, if he can, why not me?...then I remembered...not enough money, time...family needs me around, job, house needs windows, roof, kids need etc.


but now I've managed this trip at least.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:05 AM   #26
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Friday, Oct 3: Day 11

We’re both very happy to not have to ride today. Still about 700 some miles to ride to Puerto Vallarta, but today we plan on doing a whole lot of nothing.

After a walk / run along the beach and homemade huevos rancheros, the day consists of swim, beer, talk, swim, beer, eat then more swimming.

I actually do a little bike maintenance. The rear tire (Pirelli) was new when I started the trip, but is developing small cracks along the bases of the knobs. Once I do continue the trip after arriving in PVta, have to bring a rear tire with me.

Bikes in front of our room:


We picked a good spot, as Super Juliana’s has about everything we need for cooking, eating and drinking. We buy one of those five gallon jugs of water you see in the pic below for 20 pesos, 60 peso deposit for the bottle (liter bottles sell for 10) and nearly finish it by the end of the day.



For the first time I talk to Marc about the possibility of continuing this trip to Costa Rica at some point. Marc will study Spanish until the end of January and my in-laws live on a remote farm in the mountains near Ciudad Quesada, CR. They could use some manual labor and Marc wants somewhere inexpensive to live where he could practice more Spanish, AND my mother in law loves to talk, SO…I could leave my bike in Puerto Vallarta until the end of January, fly back, continue to ride with Marc and we both go together to Costa Rica. This is sounding better every day!

I spend about 3 hours in the water swimming. Feels so good after the hours of sweltering desert heat, wearing mc riding pants and jacket!

Me, floating...




Our back door to the beach:


Kitchen:


Bedroom w/ AC:


Looking south street side from hotel:

Nearly got run over by a truck as I stepped into the street. Didn't see or hear it! Prolly the sun.

Tuna sandwich lunch:


Our destination written on the wall, so to speak...


Afternoon snack:


More ridiculous sunset photos, much different than Day 1 sunset, dontcha ya think?:








Sad to see Day 2 at Bahía de Kino end:


Tomorrow, we head for Alamos upon the recommendation of a friend. Only about 5-6 hours on the bike, so that seems reasonable.

Total miles: 0; Bahía de Kino, Mexico
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:06 PM   #27
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The Ultimate Slugs...

Fun thread with good pics, but you folks are pretty slow. Not speaking for them, but most of this crew moves along at a better clip...
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:41 AM   #28
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Bahía de Kino to Alamos

Saturday, Oct 4: Day 12

Sad to say goodbye to Bahía de Kino, but time to move on. We’re on the bikes by 7:30 and we head south on 24 towards Guaymas. After a stretch we switch bikes and the immediate difference is that Marc’s Honda has no fairing which I like. The KLR fairing directs the airflow up and under my helmet so that I get air rushing into my left ear which I’ve had to wear a plug for. And the Honda has brakes! I left my KLR brakes stock and they do not inspire confidence.

After 4 hours we arrive at Navojoa where we take a left towards Alamos. We begin to climb and there’s more desert vegetation, quite pretty. After 50 minutes we’re almost there when we pass a pick-up way overloaded with firewood and it has a flat. After a ¼ mile I pull over and ask Marc if we shouldn’t go back and offer a hand, we’ve got the time. The owner of the truck appears surprised, but happy that two gringos should pull over to help out, and he gives us a big smile as we shake hands. No sooner do we look at the tire when a friend of his happens by and pulls over as well. Pickup owner tells us his friend will be able to help out just fine. He thanks us again---at least we tried to do our good deed.

At the Pemex station entering Alamos we stop to ask about a certain hotel. We take off coats and backpacks because of the heat, glad to be able to be rid of them for a few minutes. Back on the bikes, we find a nice hotel for $500 pesos and it’s right in the heart of downtown. After unloading things I look for my backpack…I look more…and some more. Marc, you seen my backpack?

No.



I go back to where we parked the bikes, back to reception, outside where we first stopped to see the hotel. Nowhere in sight. Great. What did it have? Maps, books. Hey, no money! Still got all my ID / papers. Hey there wasn’t really all that much, food, water….uh-oh…the title to my bike. And my brand new camera with all my photos!!! There goes my road report!



Unbelievable. I know nobody stole it. I must have left it…at the Pemex???? I ride the mile back to the Pemex (an hour later now) knowing that this is a waste of time. I arrive, get off bike…and there it is!



My backpack is sitting on a bench right in front of the Pemex station. I’m almost afraid to look inside. I open it up and all my stuff is there. I know I didn’t leave the backpack on the bench. I must have set it on the ground by my bike and rode away forgetting to put it on. Someone prolly saw me leave it and left it on the bench knowing I would come back sooner or later. Thank you whoever did that. I like to think it was the pick-up driver for whom we had stopped to help out. It could happen…

The rest of the day we stroll around Alamos, me, gratefully, taking pictures of the beautiful town...

















We find a lovely mom and pop restaurant and make plans for the last two days of riding!

Total miles: 268; Bahía de Kino to Alamos
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:32 AM   #29
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Alamos to Mazatlán

Sunday, Oct 5: Day 13

We leave Alamos by 8:30 and it’s back towards Navojoa after which we head south on 15 again. We roll by Los Mochis, Culiacán and La Cruz without incident. Not quite as hot as recent days. Oxxo again for lunch--can of tuna and tortillas work nice enough. Toll roads are adding up, with the most expensive being a 16 dollar one before Mazatlán.

We run into our first rain a couple of hours before Mazatlán...


Marc spends some time rain-proofing his computer...

...naturally, the rain lasts all of 5 minutes.

Mazatlán is unknown to me and we spend a little bit of time getting over to the malecón area, where we’ll stay for the night. Wow! The humidity is really high, our mc clothes grossly sticking to our bodies. We spend some time finding a hotel--too many choices! And finally decide on one at $32 for the night. With the sun setting, we strike out for a walk.









We meet a man and his wife and ask if they have a restaurant they particularly like. They tell us about one and even insist on taking us there. We hop on a bus and arrive and say goodbye to the couple, but their idea of a good restaurant is a noisy, tourist bar and so once they turn the corner we walk away looking for something else.

We should have only one more day of riding. My plane leaves Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday, so arriving tomorrow Monday will give me Tuesday to prepare the bike for storage and all too quickly this trip will end, for me at least.

Total miles: 386; Alamos to Mazatlán
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:22 AM   #30
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Monday, Oct 6: Day 14

We figured we had to ride about 6-7 hours today so we take our time getting ready in the morning. After breakfast we tour the malecón area. I’ve spent a good deal of time in tropical, humid areas in Costa Rica, but the humidity in Mazatlán may just be the stickiest I’ve ever felt. My clothes seem to simply melt. Eyelids stick. Putting the helmet on feels absurd. But the views are very pleasant.

I'm not sure, but it looks like Marc is flipping me off!


















By 10:30 we’re on our way. At the gas station several boys ask for some money and I offer them a half full gallon of water which I had just bought to fill my water bottles. They like that and immediately started chugging the cool water. Then I let them start the bike and rev the engine which they like even more. Even though we’re dressed in our mc gear, moving at hiway speeds the heat and humidity are tolerable. One last long stretch riding towards Tepic and there we finally reach hiway 200 which will take us into Puerto Vallarta.

At a road construction area I slow down as the guy is somewhat waving at me to do so. I look at him and motion whether to stop or just slow, and I take his hand signs to slow down, which I do. A few seconds later, the two lane road becomes just one and soon traffic is coming right at me! Woops, I guess he wanted me to stop; confirmed as I don’t see Marc behind me. I pull over quick enough, and then wait for the cars to pass and Marc to join me.

Just 20 more miles to Puerto Vallarta!


We make it to the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta by 5:00 and I call Chava, my friend, who directs us towards the downtown area. We park and call again and within a few minutes he’s there and we’re very happy to see him. He lives only 5 minutes away and soon we’re having dinner at his house.

Our bikes parked outside Chava's house...


It suddenly hits me that we’re done! Tomorrow, we’ll wake up and not have to ride anywhere. I check the odometer on my bike and it reads just over 3,000 miles since we left Portland, two weeks ago. My flight leaves in two days...

Total miles: 265; Mazatlán to Puerto Vallarta
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