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Old 02-28-2009, 08:47 AM   #16
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Lookin' GOOD Bob!!!

I've been waiting on this.

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Old 02-28-2009, 10:33 AM   #17
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Knock, Knock, anybody home???

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:17 AM   #18
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I get sick and tired of hearing about the state department warnings all the time , I commend you for going.

Unless its an all out war and America is invading Mexico I will continue to travel there. Looking forward to the rest of this RR
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:08 PM   #19
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Hola From El Calafate, Argentina!

Hola Tricepilot,

Great photos!, I'm glad you kept the bike and made the ride to Mexico, that's a great country, looking back at all that I've seen on my trip Mexico is still one of my favorite places, lucky for you and I that we live so close!!!

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Old 02-28-2009, 02:28 PM   #20
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Border Fandango and the Big Push Inland

Border crossings are an exciting time. No matter how many times you’ve been to Mexico, they’re always good for raising your blood pressure a notch or two. Turn the emerald every which way into the sun, and you have a different facet on why a crossing into Mexico is always interesting. Lots of paperwork, lots of lines. Strange language, to some. Signs with words you studied in high school but forgot. You’ve laid out your passport and checked it and your license, plus your registration. Unless you went to the web to get your permiso, which is so easy it is the smart thing to do.

Squared ourselves into the La Quinta in preparation for a dawn bridge crossing. Time for dinner. I’ve made two contacts to meet at the border, one on each side. In McAllen, my buddy Pancho – Frank – is coming to meet us at Republic of the Rio Grande, Restaurant & Cantina. Excellent place, not far from 23rd street, the straight shot into Mexico. Pancho was on the trip to Creel and Batopilas for the off-road training taught by Ramey Stroud. I’ve seen him in action, roadside, taking apart a KLR and fixing the electronic thing-a-ma-ging to make it purr again. The man knows Mexico, even works part time for Motodiscovery as a tour meister. I’ve been behind him in the sand, the fun part of the road from the turnoff from Creel to the rim of the Copper Canyon. We both had to pull over to catch our breath. And laugh. He thought about making this run with us. Then thought better of it.

The other link up is in the morning, on the other side of the bridge. Arte, as he is also known here, will be waiting for us on the bridge at sunrise, on his KLR. Arte recently completed a fantastic ride report including a stop in Guanajuato, where he went to school. He is going to take us to the aduana and then to his house for breakfast. You can forget getting your paperwork and being past the border as fast as you can. We’re stopping for chilaquiles, gracias.

Over at the Republic, we find dinner and we find Pancho. Over small talk, I break out the map and pull Frank to the side, looking for route ideas. He thinks we can make it as far as Ciudad Victoria for sure, possibly Ciudad Monte. Some people like to stop at the Hacienda Santa Engracia not too far out of Victoria, but that’s not appealing to me. I’d like to make it as far inland as possible the first day. Some people start to look for accommodations when the sun is three fingers above the horizon. That isn’t a bad idea, as long as you don’t have a flat or break down late in the day. Then you deal with the dark and do what you have to do.

We all like seasoned motorcycle people, and genuine nice guys. That defines Pancho. He charms my two riding buddies with a story that gets them to stop eating mid-forkfull – there has been two daylight bank robberies in Reynosa very recently, one at the big mall in town. Sterett and Mark look over at me. I raise an eyebrow and shrug, almost as an aside and a signal for ‘can happen anywhere’. Then Pancho opines about the kidnapping of a church friend’s husband, who has not been seen since. He isn’t trying to scare anyone, just bringing the news on the emerging climate at the border and elsewhere. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’ve heard of car accidents too, but in all my years of driving I’ve never seen a major crash or even two cars bumping into each other, except for the occasions where I’ve come upon the aftermath. Same as the turmoil that the news covers in Mexico. I’m not interested in the business of the narcos, so I’ll stay out of their way. If I find myself in the mix, it boils down to fate.

Back at the hotel, I can’t sleep. I’m like the little kid I was in 1969, getting ready to get in the family station wagon in West Redding, Connecticut and drive out west to Yellowstone to see places I’ve only read about in old copies of National Geographic. Its Mexico, and I’ve been here before, but like I told you, I’m an addict.

Frank, center, with Subcomandante Marcos (L) and Sterett (R), outside the Republic of the Rio Grande, the night before the crossing

Subcomandante checks his R1200 for all manner of loose screws. The only loose screws he finds our in our own minds. Notice Mark has quickly become Subcomandante Marcos, a title I have given him because he has earned our friendship and respect. I will ride with him anywhere, any time.

Republic of the Rio Grande. Love it. Right across the street from the La Quinta, although crossing that street was more dangerous than anything (almost) I encountered in Mexico. Thank you Pancho for taking the time to have a beer with us. Motorcycling makes friends forever. You rock Frank.

Arte and his KLR. Here's another advrider guy who's ride reports I devour. Arte contacted me as I've mentioned and offered to host us at his house in Reynosa after getting the visas at the aduana. Arte is going to promise me to meet me in Reynosa on my own KLR soon and we're going with his buddies back up to Real de Catorce and check out the back roads. My buddy Scott (La Outback Trail) did a ride report as well on that area, and between Arte, Scott, and Richard, who does the MexTrek each fall in the Galeana area, I am pumped.

Arte, you have a place to stay in San Antonio if you ever want to come a few hours north and do some of Richard's Hill Country events, such as the Texas Adventure Ride, or even explore the Big Bend area. We love you, man.

Check out the huge lines at the aduana. Not. We were literally the ONLY people in the building that Friday morining. But I'm still happy we had permisos in tank bag, as we only needed the quick tourist visa.

If you have any doubt about how to go about getting your permiso online, I've posted quite a bit about it in Trip Planning, or you can PM me. You'll have your permiso at your door in 3 days. Love it.

On the way to Arte's house in Reynosa for breakfast. I always love the first hour in Mexico. I feel that I'm home. Maybe I'm hopelessly in love with the place. I really do feel at home there. Sorry, no narcos or problems to report this morning. I was so happy to be in Mexico and be on the way to a great day of riding and fellowship with Arte and his family. I can't say enough about Arte - can anyone be your brother so firmly and so fast? I never had a real brother, but motorcycling has brought me many brothers who I would do anything for.

Subcomandante Marcos out front next to Arte. I always wonder what the people I ride with are thinking about. These first few hours, if I haven't ridden with someone much, I watch their riding style, their spacing, how they signal. Then I adjust. No two people are the same. And on the first day, there is a lot going on. We rode to the border together from San Antonio, but this is Mexico, one wrong turn by one person and a different turn by another, and you have a fresh problem. I hope you have'nt lost your riding buddy in Mexico or anywhere else. I have a plan to deal with that I'll get to later if I remember it.

Sterett on the Wing and a Prayer, I mean Gold Wing. (Is it Goldwing, GoldWing, or what?) I don't want to sound too jealous, but did the beemers get any attention in Mexico? No, everyone wanted to crowd around the GoldWing and gawk. Sterett loved the whole thing, especially the BMWs not getting any attention. Unless of course he told them to go look at our bikes, out of compassion for us.

Breakfast at Arte & Paloma's wonderful home in Reynosa. I can't tell you how much I appreciate these wonderful people. Delicious chilaquiles, jugo de naranja, cafe (puro, por favor). I let loose on my spanish, much to the amusement of Paloma. We go over maps with Arte much like we did with Pancho. We are totally relaxed and making a solid connection with an amazing family.

Let me stress one thing here. From my observation, Reynosa was a study in normalcy. Like every city I've been in in Mexico. People going about their daily lives, making a living, shopping, busy with raising a family. From the news, we in America think its the OK corral, or people lined up on the river trying to cross over. Its NOT HAPPENING. The restaurants are full, the folks are in the centro, the parks and museums are full, and its business as usual. Are there elements of South Central LA? You know the answer to that. But that's everywhere.

Arte and Paloma don't need a new child, but I'm ready to move in.

After breakfast, Arte, who had taken a chunk of time off from work, led us out of Reynosa to the highway south towards Ciudad Victoria. He pulled over to wish us well, and we gave him a hug. Did I tell you I love that guy? He's my brother.

We gunned south starting at about 9:30 AM. Here is the route. We were hoping to make Victoria, with Ciudad Monte a hopeful choice. We were lucky, in a strong side wind we rode hard, making Ciudad Valles in late afternoon. As I mentioned, we didn't know exactly where we would lay our heads that night, we just had the Guia Roji and the Bicimapas and the Lonely Planet, and faith.

Somewhere around the bend in the Yucatán, was this

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Old 02-28-2009, 03:02 PM   #21
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Sea Hunt!!

Sea Hunt got me hooked on diving. Thanks so much for letting me "ride" along with you!
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:17 PM   #22
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Kepp the pics coming. I've been awaiting this report !
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:18 PM   #23
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Subcomandante says ride report is looking great. Keep it coming Trice !
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:47 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by LaOutbackTrail

Thats just about as beautiful as they come!
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:17 PM   #25
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[quote=tricepilot].......The other link up is in the morning, on the other side of the bridge. Arte, as he is also known here, will be waiting for us on the bridge at sunrise, on his KLR. Arte recently completed a fantastic ride report including a stop in Guanajuato, where he went to school.......

Hey Bob, indeed brothers we are, and I do expect we meet soon again.

here are some of the pics I took that day

here Tricepilot patiently making line at Banjercito to pay his tourist permit..

Mark, Sterett and Bob, following me to my place..

And here at my home, (which is all ADV riders' home).
It really was my pleasure to have all you guys (Sterett, Mark and you) eating at my table. Any time.

I'm eager to read the rest of your report.


" If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself " - Max Ehrmann
Chiapas Ride 2013
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:56 PM   #26
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Great RR. Thanks and with all the adventures to Mexico, I'm definitely going to have to bump this up on my list
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Old 02-28-2009, 05:52 PM   #27
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Thumb Viva tricepilot!


Great start to the RR. Did you check out Bacalar? Or am I getting ahead
of the report. I too love Mexico but have yet to do it on the motorcycle. Made it to Majahual while working on a dig at Calderitas.
We went to Majahual for some R and R...enjoyed the beach and cold...frosty beverages. I need to go back!

02 Ducati ST4s
Buy the ticket take the ride. Hunter S. Thompson
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:58 PM   #28
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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Zumo XM and IPODs a blazin’, we tear across the desert, PEMEX – throttle, throttle – PEMEX style on Mex 85 – The Pan American Highway. I have the news pumping through my skull, which was not, as a former military boss of mine was fond of saying, an “optimized choice”. Budget this and shortfall that, economy in freefall here and doomsday there. I should have switched to XM channel 49, but there too, the XM people seem to have paid a commission on the same 50 tunes. At least I’m doing my part of the economic stimulus package, albeit in another country.

Ciudad Victoria and Ciudad Monte are dispatched with haste, and I’m feeling the pulse of the open throttle on the open road. Subcomandante is hanging in there, but I’m getting the feeling that these first few days are going to be a matter of him getting his “sea legs” , or in this case, “road legs”. Late afternoon and we pull into the PEMEX at Ciudad Valles, and pull out the Lonely Planet to read about accommodations. We select the “Hotel Valles” for its “beautiful tropical gardens and huge pool”, which we walk through to photograph, but pause only long enough to make it to the bar for a beer and some food.

Sterett showing the chill attitude only a Wing can provide

Ciudad Valles is the central jumping off point for what is known as the Huasteca region. Rain falls almost year round in the slopes of the Sierra Gorda to the west, and thus the area is famous for its rivers and waterfalls. Not-to-distant Xico was the site of the waterfall in Romancing the Stone. Sitting on the junction of Mex 85 and 70, which runs to the west to San Luis Potosi, you could do much worse than to make Ciudad Valles your target on a good day run from Texas.

The hotel gives us motorcycle parking right next to our rooms, which is every cyclist’s preferred method of keeping an eye on their bikes. We’ve brought along bike covers, when we need to keep the bikes out of the prying eyes of passers-by, but won’t need them this stop. IMHO, a bike cover does more to ensure the security of your bike, in the U.S. or elsewhere, than almost any other measure. What the eye can’t capture, it can’t covet. Or so I hope.

The run from Ciudad Valles down 85 through Aquismon is where the vistas begin. The verdant valley becomes jungle-like, and the walls of the mountains close in and give rise to the elevations and twisty roads that we all come to Mexico to enjoy. We are making great time, and the only deadline that is proximate is the appointment to be in Coatzacoalcos by 3 PM on Tuesday. We have 4 days to get there, so we need to choose a route – to the coast or to the mountains?

Since we’ll be on the coast to visit Veracruz and Coatzacoalcos, the vote is in. Choose a route through the mountains. But will it be Mex 120, 85, or 105? Mex 120 runs from the turn off from Mex 85 at Xilitla through the Sierra Gorda, via Jalpan and the area of the mission of Friar Junipero Serra and on to Tequisquiapan. Mex 85 continues south to Tamazunchale and bends southwest to Ixmiquilpan and eventually to Pachuca. Mex 105 connects Huejutla de Reyes to Pachuca, but requires an unknown route connecting Tamazunchale to Huejutla. We’re thinking. We stop on 85 at the turn off to Xilitla and 120. I turn to the Subcomandante and ask him if he’s ever been to the weird cement world of Edward James and Las Pozas. Sterett and I have been before, but since the Subcomandante has not, we can’t pass within a few miles of that wonderful place, and not show it to him, especially since its early in the day.

We turn right and head into the mountains for Las Pozas.

Between 1945 and 1984, when he died, James spent over 5 million on this surrealistic cement garden in the middle of the jungle. Two years ago, various organizations including Mexico’s cement giant CEMEX bought the site and are in the process of saving it from turning into decaying ruin. Already the road to the site, just two years ago a rutted climb suited for a dual sport, has be redone and was easily navigated by Sterett’s Wing.

A young family from San Luis Potosi. He actually works for an azbestos removal firm in Birmingham, Alabama, and only gets to spend part of the year home with his beautiful family.

Part of the decay the CEMEX and various tourism organizations are frantically trying to reverse after years of neglect.

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Old 03-01-2009, 01:31 AM   #29
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Comments and Questions

Originally Posted by Sideout
Nice pictures. Where did you get to dive? Have you ever tried diving the cenotes? They are spectacular:

Good question. All the diving/underwater photography was done off the coast of Mahahual. The dive operator was the Maya Palms, using rented boats from town. They were 15 foot sciffs. We had tentatively planned to dive Dos Ojos, but had to make a choice once in Mahahual. Dos Ojos are near Tulum, and that would have driven us north after the middle weekend of diving. Ultimately, that would have been cool, and as a result we would have looped to Merida and Campeche, but we really wanted to get to Chiapas, so that's what we did. The cenotes will be dived, but on another trip. Like a lot of Mexico that you pass by on a motorcycle to get to one great destination or another, "it isn't going anywhere", and I'll get there, eventually, ojala.

Originally Posted by bajarider

estoy esperando tu historia sobre estas grandes fotos.
claro que si, a sus ordenes, compañero de viaje. estoy de prisa decirle todo.

Originally Posted by Pedro Navaja

Thanks for the link on your SPOT tracks. It was cool monitoring your progress.
Hola, Miguel. RE SPOT: I put fresh lithium batteries in the thing and started it in the driveway. It didn't miss a ping any of the 14 days. I'll not post the ping tracks in this RR since I am using map capture anyway to tell a more complete story. The family of course used the SPOT daily as well as the group of friends that met us in Mahahual. They flew down to meet us and used the SPOT to guage our progress. SPOT is too cheap and too easy to use, and for the feedback it gives friends and family, I'll never travel long distances without it.

Originally Posted by Throttlemeister

Unless its an all out war and America is invading Mexico I will continue to travel there.
Amen and the right attitude.

Originally Posted by Hank

I'm glad you kept the bike and made the ride to Mexico, that's a great country, looking back at all that I've seen on my trip Mexico is still one of my favorite places, lucky for you and I that we live so close!!!

Hola Hank, incredible that you are at El Calafate! You are near your goal, and I can't wait to see your collection of photos and possible your second book on Latin America. Abrazos, amigo.


Originally Posted by cymruduc

Did you check out Bacalar? Or am I getting ahead
of the report.

See above re cenotes. Next time, and there will be a next time, probably soon.


We are walking Las Pozas the morning of the second day in Mexico. We are within an easy one day ride to Mexico City. If you stage at the border and cross in the morning, your range in Mexico is incredible. We would be back tracking on Mex 120 after Pozas, to get back on 85 and make the turn to the mountains at Tamazunchale. The mountains definitely slow you down. But distances in Mexico are tantalizing. At the same time, you can make great time but be slowed by curvas peligrosas and topes. It depends on what you ride, and what condition it is in.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:15 PM   #30
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Las Montañas

The day after leaving Cuidad Valles, the day we went to Xilitla and walked Ed Jame's craziness, was the day we picked our path through the Sierra Madre. When you decend down from Texas this is the day you really anticipate, if you like to lean and scrape. The first hours into Mexico after leaving the border town is basically "hauling the mail". You peg your wrist and bang with the tunes, flying across the desert. Depending upon your route, as the hours pass by you are scanning the horizon, and you begin to ask yourself about those clouds in the distance. You know what I'm talking about. "Are those clouds, or is that the silhouette of the mountain range?" We all have had that thought/hope.

You can use a decent relief map or even the Guia Roji. Maps without relief or shade mapping reveal the twisty routes via the squiggly path the road takes along the route. Such were the choices we sifted through with routes 120, 85, and 105. We took the middle route, 85 (continuation of the ruta we were on) because it aimed for the middle of our target, not too far north of Mexico City, not immediately too far south. Something that would allow us to yank and bank like a fighter pilot, and get us where we needed to go.

Pachuca and Puebla would be within our grasp on this route. At the Pemex, we drooled over the shading like that above, which told us that this would be the biggest day of sweepers and decreasing radius turns, of left-a-million, right-a-million, pass that truck and go Mexico riding. All three bikes had the power to overtake in the mountains. There was lots of overtaking, lots of judgement calls, lots of luck. But no passing on blind corners. I've seen that once or thrice before, and it chilled my blood. Perhaps a little "mountain machismo" finds it's way into this conversation. "Anything you can do, I can do better". Guys and their bikes, the difference between men and boys being the price of their toys.

You better have your suspension dialed in if you want to play hard in the mountains. I had Ohlins installed by Hank, and the factory did a great job of presets based upon my stated weight and cargo goals. But it wasn't until Lobby went to Lee Park's Total Performance School in Austin the week before this trip, and he came to my house to do his engineering measurements and suspension tweaking, that my Ohlins found their tune. I am not a racer or techno geek, but I can tell the difference between factory shocks and decent after market shocks, and decent after market shocks that have been dialed in. With a better feel for riding and better skills, and more experience, I feel the Ohlins could be dialed in even further. But I felt it was like riding on rails, and I was loving hanging it out there, trying to chase Sterett down, working his magic on the Wing, flying around every bend and curve. The man could make a stagecoach fly in the mountains.

I've invented a helmet mount to capture video for rides without the effect of vibration, but didn't have it ready for this ride. Not a lot of stopping to capture the scenery, you'll have to take it from me it was twist and scrape all day long. Mountain scenery is tough to capture anyway, how many times can you take a photograph of the 7 Steps in the Copper Canyon and then explain online that photographs just don't do it justice?

But I love the mountains. As my amigos who love Galeana will attest, there's nothing like that approach to the passes near that lovely mountain town west of Linares on Mex 31 that doesn't stir your soul. Time to unplug the earbuds, listen to the engine. Engine braking all the way, a point of pride to stay off the brakes as much as possible. Scanning the curves ahead for traffic, hopefully identifying stretches without oncoming trucks/cars so you can add distance in a pass. Peripheral vision trying to capture the moment, trading off photo ops with the love of flying, not in a jet but on a motorcycle, in Mexico, in the mountains. I'm in love.

Next, Pachuca's Taxista Man, then Market Day in Puebla. Love it.
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