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Old 03-17-2011, 11:19 AM   #6886
Oldwin1
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Glen
I just realized that with the absence of you traveling and posting my lust for travel had not been as bad. Great to have you back traveling and writing. Can't wait to turn my world upside down.

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Old 03-18-2011, 08:28 AM   #6887
strikingviking OP
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Originally Posted by Oldwin1 View Post
Glen
I just realized that with the absence of you traveling and posting my lust for travel had not been as bad. Great to have you back traveling and writing. Can't wait to turn my world upside down.

Ron
Keep the fever going amigo, jump on your bike and take that ride you've had bouncing around in your head. JUST DO IT!
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:02 AM   #6888
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Good stuff there SV. Too bad they really don't like us any more. The talking heads and pols that inflame everything for their own selfish gain have really got too much power lately. I just wish folks would tune them out and make their own decisions. Seems we need a scapegoat to make us feel better about ourselves.

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Old 03-18-2011, 11:43 AM   #6889
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Originally Posted by worldrider View Post
so... what does that mean for SV?
Due to the condo market falling flat because of a faltering US economy and the explosion of narco violence in Mazatlán, there have been few home sales during the last year. For the past five years a construction boom in beachfront highrises built for North Americans and rich Mexicans, as well as a thriving cruise ship industry, have been making for good times in our Pacific paradise. The trickle down effect to stores and restaurants meant that everyone prospered. Today, few go out at night anymore and I like many other foreigners, would sell my property if I could.

Had the narcos not gone to war, we probably could have survived the bad economy because the Canadians are doing well as the remaining demographic with disposable income. Add to that, the new autopista to Durango cutting driving time to an hour, was slated to open in two years. Most of the road has been laid but not all of the bridges. This will connect the country coast to coast with a freeway, especially important to Monterrey and Texas markets.

Another shame is that our recently finished marina would have also set the stage for wealthy boat-owners to discover that they could buy real estate in Maz for a tenth of the price in Cabo San Lucas where costs from restaurants to houses exceed California's. That's basically what fueled the boom in Cabo, fisherman came to fish, then the sportfishing industry blossomed leading to a demand for a better marina--a perfect base to expand from. Today there are more Gringos from Orange County, California than Mexican nationals. As our airport in Mazatlán serves only a few dozen flights a day, the airport in Cabo is often clogged with private jets.

This crash was such a disappointment because I envisioned the same for us, a primary reason I selected Mazatlán to settle in. Another economic boom will still happen, but as most of us fear, things will get worse before they get better.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:21 PM   #6890
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Wow, it's really too bad that things have affected Mazatlan like that! It really did seem to be an up and coming location; hopefully things will swing back around without getting too much worse.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:44 PM   #6891
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My girlfriend and I have just moved to Mazatlan from Canada. We are considered young for a move like this (32 and 28). We are opening up a boutique hotel on the beach in Nouveu Mazatlan and are aware of the challenges we face. The safety issues are well known to us, and have been taken into consideration before the move, but in reality back in Canada it was just as dangerous to go out in the evening as it is here. In Canada, as here in Mazatlan, if you associated with the criminal, element you would have to accept the consequences of your actions.

We found that life in Canada was fine, but it was too easy to get into the rut of get up, go to work, after work relax on the couch till dinner, then go to bed. The people of Mazatlan are wonderful and have made us feel welcome. Life has been simplified for us. I only needed to bring my 2 bikes to Mazatlan to keep me happy. 'Tis a wonderful thing to be able to ride year round in the sunshine!

ps. Glen, half way through your second book and have enjoyed. Will finish it when not riding.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:06 PM   #6892
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Originally Posted by dendrophobe View Post
Wow, it's really too bad that things have affected Mazatlan like that! It really did seem to be an up and coming location; hopefully things will swing back around without getting too much worse.
With all of the positive aspects of Mazatlán, it will eventually prosper again and when Mexico calms down, it will lead the country in real estate sales. I am certain that our Pacific Paradise will one day be officially recognized as the best-kept-investment-secret in the entire country.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:08 PM   #6893
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Originally Posted by BigCrank View Post
My girlfriend and I have just moved to Mazatlan from Canada. We are considered young for a move like this (32 and 28). We are opening up a boutique hotel on the beach in Nouveu Mazatlan and are aware of the challenges we face. The safety issues are well known to us, and have been taken into consideration before the move, but in reality back in Canada it was just as dangerous to go out in the evening as it is here. In Canada, as here in Mazatlan, if you associated with the criminal, element you would have to accept the consequences of your actions.

We found that life in Canada was fine, but it was too easy to get into the rut of get up, go to work, after work relax on the couch till dinner, then go to bed. The people of Mazatlan are wonderful and have made us feel welcome. Life has been simplified for us. I only needed to bring my 2 bikes to Mazatlan to keep me happy. 'Tis a wonderful thing to be able to ride year round in the sunshine!

ps. Glen, half way through your second book and have enjoyed. Will finish it when not riding.
Heading home this weekend! You must be out toward Emerald Bay?
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:56 PM   #6894
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Originally Posted by strikingviking View Post
Due to the condo market falling flat because of a faltering US economy and the explosion of narco violence in Mazatlán, there have been few home sales during the last year. For the past five years a construction boom in beachfront highrises built for North Americans and rich Mexicans, as well as a thriving cruise ship industry, have been making for good times in our Pacific paradise. The trickle down effect to stores and restaurants meant that everyone prospered. Today, few go out at night anymore and I like many other foreigners, would sell my property if I could.
On the bright side, those of that want to get down there and freeload off SV now have a little longer to get it done.
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:01 AM   #6895
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Originally Posted by strikingviking View Post
Since first peddling a bicycle from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas in the mid-eighties, to my brother Brad and I later retracing that route on our Harleys in 1998, much has changed in México. Eleven years ago, on a shakedown ride to Guatemala astride a KLR 650, experiencing the mainland unveiled far more opportunities to explore the diverse cultures of a country that so many North Americans have come to love. In 2001, both while on the way to and from riding South America, I realized that there would be no denying the lure of Latin America in general, but because of the relative safety and ease of travel, more so Mexíco. Like many other foreigners, I was succumbing to the seductive warmth and hospitality of a welcoming people.

Then, once returning from South America, an irresistible beckoning resulted in two more subsequent four-month journeys into Mexíco and Nicaragua. But this mysterious passion wouldn’t fade there. (It’s undeniable, my name is Glen and I am a Latin culture addict.)

In 2006, after a lengthy solo cruise around the earth, when departing Ethiopia, much to the dismay of family and friends, I opted to first airfreight into the more familiar refuge of happily chaotic Mexíco City rather than hyper-organized California. Be it on the road or where we are born, home is not necessarily where our bodies exist, but rather where our spirits thrive. It was then that I decided to rush back to Palm Desert, fill my panniers with worldly possessions and return to purchase Mexican property. I had moved to Mazatlán, permanently. Because the intensity of the previous years of international travel required a period of deep introspection to digest what had touched my soul—I realized that reconciling those events was not possible in the sterility of orderly America.

Writing my last book while living beyond the shadows of affluence in sunny Mazatlán was an occasional struggle to rationalize a world in flux through the eyes of a wandering biker. The satisfaction though, was to record those thoughts for others to experience and later evaluate, enjoy, and sometimes challenge. And posting journals in real time was a rewarding achievement--traveling through fifty-seven developing countries while daily sharing whatever crossed my mind with Internet voyeurs trapped in office cubicles.

And every year since living south of the US border, I’ve made it a point every winter, to roam Mexíco and Central America. Like always, I had traveled alone and without mentionable concerns for safety. Opinions vary on the wisdom of solo moto-travel, mostly regarding security or bringing along someone else to enjoy the journey. But for the first time since hitting the road hitchhiking across the US at age 16, I had to wonder about the wellbeing of another.

Because my brother Brad is also one of my senior black belts, I always knew he could handle any situation at least as well as me. As two experienced bikers we seldom had second thoughts when planning rides together. But recently, when mapping out "Hiba’s Big Adventure" of three thousand miles through Mexíco, for the first time, I had to consider potential dangers for a female, (even if she is Superwoman.) But she is familiar with life’s unprovoked tragedies from growing up during the Lebanese civil war that lasted until 1990 when the Syrians then marched in to occupy her country. Followed by sporadic, violent political unrest in this land of the Phoenicians, the UN finally helped expel Syrian soldiers. Then in 2006 in an effort to cripple Hizbollah by destroying the Lebanese infrastructure, the Israeli military invaded, firing three million cluster-bombs in five weeks on a nation the size of a large US county. Yet when all that happened and while the Druze killed members of her Catholic family, as an Arabic speaker, she managed to learn French (and Spanish) so she could earn her bachelors degree in psychology at the French university in Beirut. Following that, she studied American videos, spoke with tourists and quickly managed to teach herself English so she could eventually come to the US and finish her PhD. This woman does not scare easy.

Still, her safety was my responsibility and for the first time ever, I had to think about something that I never before worried about—was Mexíco safe?

As rabblerousing US politicians and extremist television pundits incite anger for personal gain, equally malicious counterparts thrive in México. An inept, corrupt government has convinced their public that more than the narcos themselves, it is American demand for drugs and weapons smuggled in from Texas that is the real reason for the murderous rampage plaguing their land. And the corporate monsters economically strangling hard working Mexican citizens divert attention by pointing a finger north, successfully shifting the blame for their ruthless greed to Los Gringos.

Having first sensed this growing divide ten years ago and commenting then, the situation has only worsened. As Hiba and I compare notes from our respective backgrounds, we conclude that like everywhere else in the world, in Mexíco, exploitation and corruption prevails uncontrollably as the guilty escape justice. In all-night conversations, we reluctantly confirm that the bad guys are winning.

I always knew that the euphoria of living in Mexíco, once peeling back the layers, would subside as the reality seeped in that people everywhere are basically the same. Yet once conversations with friends and neighbors became comfortable enough to discuss politics, I was sadly surprised to hear of such animosity toward Los Gringos. Whether necessary or not, building that wall between our two countries was extremely offensive to nearly all Latinos--as is the confusing signal that they are free to come and work for substandard wages if willing to crawl across our deserts dodging authorities. To them, this was a sign that as a people, they are not welcome. Combine that with political rhetoric and hateful punditry on both sides of the border, and it’s easy to understand why the gap between neighbors is widening.

But so far, other than typical street crime against tourists that exists in every country, foreigners have been exempt from kidnappings and murder. When you do hear of such actions against Americans, the victims are former Mexican nationals with US citizenship who are somehow involved in the drug trade. For now, it appears that the insanely gruesome criminal acts perpetuated across Mexíco are confined to narcos battling for turf. Thus far, travelers are off-limits. The question is though, as the violence explodes from border-towns to the countryside, how long before subsets of somewhat disciplined drug cartels zero in on softer targets?

However, living in Mexíco and traveling through Mexíco are separate issues. Due to the ever increasing, blood running in the streets of Mazatlán and other tourist areas, disinvesting appears prudent. Polling those whom I know reveals that foreigners with families are moving back to their respective countries while single males seem willing to discount the risk and stick it out.

For motorcyclists traveling the developing world, the most consistent danger is the often bewildering driving habits of locals and the unfortunate lack of adequate hospital facilities if the unthinkable should occur—once outside major cities, there are few trauma centers in Mexíco. To a somewhat lesser degree, Mexican cops often appear when least convenient to compensate for pathetically low salaries by fining traffic violators on the spot. Some might argue though that they would rather pay twenty bucks without the point against their driving records while also avoiding costly insurance premium hikes.

But if merely riding within or through areas far below the border, and if skipping politics while making polite attempts at speaking Spanish, motorcyclists in particular, will as usual, be classified as travelers versus tourists and likely continue to be greeted with typical Latin hospitality.

Ojalá que le vaya bien,
Glen and Hiba
try Newark or Camden.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:45 AM   #6896
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On the bright side, those of that want to get down there and freeload off SV now have a little longer to get it done.
We stay ready...

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Old 03-22-2011, 07:08 AM   #6897
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Thumb

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Originally Posted by strikingviking View Post
Heading home this weekend! You must be out toward Emerald Bay?
Yes sir, nice and quite out here. Have a big empty field next to the house for the dirtbike
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:50 AM   #6898
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Worth the risk?

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try Newark or Camden.
The real dangers of Mazatlán:

































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Old 03-22-2011, 08:55 AM   #6899
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yep, they look like terrorists to me.
I have a makeshift prison facility in my backyard here .... just for safe-keeping, you understand
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:55 AM   #6900
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Yer a nasty bastard, it just snowed again here yesterday.
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