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Old 06-16-2010, 03:56 PM   #256
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: az
Oddometer: 544
Originally Posted by IslandSpark
Any chance of shiping a set of tires to your place and using your driveway to spoon them on as I come through? orare there any decent shops that stock some DS type tires around there??
you can ship too me, sure thing...if you decide to go that route, pm me.

There are several shops in the general area all w/in 20 miles of each other on my side of town but you may end up relegated to what they have in stock, which may not be what you're looking for. There is always the kawa dealer for the oem stockers but they tend to be way more expensive.

Here is an Az tire thread. Check it out, perhaps you can get something ironed out for pick up when you come through from one of these guys.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:56 AM   #257
IslandSpark OP
Joined: May 2008
Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
Oddometer: 132
Day 49

The young Mexican couple is up and out early, off to catch a bus home. I toss and turn not wanting to be the guy that gets up before everyone else and wakes them up. After an hour the Aussies wake up and immediately start packing, they are off to Tobacco cay today for a few days of fun in the sun.

The bike gets loaded and I head out of town, backtracking towards the border some in order to skip the under construction, gravel road to Belize city. I stop in at Blue Hole national park for a morning swim and to check out the caves.

The trail down to the "Hole"

While the cenote (sinkhole) is small the water is crystal clear and refreshingly cool as it flows up from the deep underground aquifer and out into the limestone caves.

The mosquitoes are thick and I strip down as quickly as possible while running for the water. Plunging into the small swimming hole my breath is taken away from me, the cold water makes me gasp and has me headed back to shore until I get acclimatized.

Brrrrr, but ohh so refreshing!

Once your comfortably numb in the cool water and the mosquitoes leave you along you can just enjoy the beauty of it all... A nice refreshing swimming hole in the middle of the jungle all to myself with the birds above singing for me, there are worse places to be...

Done with swimming and not having a good enough flashlight to get too far into the caves I dry off,change back into riding gear and re-load the bike. It would take about an hour and a half to get to Belize city.

Belize city, formerly the Capitol of the country, prior to being nearly wiped off the map during a hurricane years ago should be a nice spot... It should have some history, some cool spots to hang out and some decent places to stay... Maybe I just saw the wrong parts of town, but I really didn't like the feel of Belize City so I continued on...

Outside of Belize city I stop for some refreshments and chat to some locals at the store, they cant believe I rode my bike down from Canada and once I convince them that it's true they all seem like my best friends. They are glad I chose not to stick around Belize city, apparently it can get to be a really ugly place in the evenings.

Belize really is a tiny country... Not two hours after leaving Belize city I find myself in Corazal town, the last real city before the Mexican border. Its late in the afternoon and crossing to Mexico tonight doesn't sound like a great idea so i find a nice and relatively cheap ($20USD) oceanfront hotel on the outskirts of town.

After a quick swim in the windblown blue surf I take a walk to check out the town, again is really not much to look at but the people are friendly and the beaches/ocean are gorgeous. I find the market and grab some fresh fruit before hitting the hotel for a quick afternoon nap.

Could do worse than this! Nice view right onto the beach for $20 a night!

Dinner is local Chinese food as It came highly recommended by everyone I talked to. A plate of chicken fried rice is enough to feed a full family (why haven't I learned by now?!) but it is delicious.

With no nightlife to speak of and the entire town shutdown by 9pm I head back to the Hotel where I crash watching TV and working on ride reports when the internet decided to work for me. I wish I wasnt facing a deadline, I would have liked to have spent a couple days out on the cays, but I guess I need something to do the next time I come through!

Back to Mexico tomorrow!!
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BC, Canada to Panama on a clapped out KLR - 2010
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:53 AM   #258
IslandSpark OP
Joined: May 2008
Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
Oddometer: 132
Day 50

The package containing brake parts for the KLR had arrived and despite my best efforts to have it held at the local DHL facility for me to pickup had been delivered to an unaware hotel in the Cancun area (I needed an address for Mex customs).

The phone number I had for the hotel and everything I could find on the Internet for it didn't connect through, so I was planning to leave early this morning to make it to Cancun and pickup the package before they sent it back.

Packed up I head down to load the bike only to find a flat tire. I must have hit something late in the day yesterday and it had taken all night to deflate. There are still a few pounds of air in it, but its definitely leaking.

Not a nice way to start the morning...

I put the bike up on my pelican cases and proceed to strip off the rear wheel in the parking lot of the hotel. During this procedure I manage to acquire quite the audience, two older gentlemen who were walking past stopped to watch and the lady that ran the hotel came out from the office to witness the event.

Pelican case to the rescue!

I had a hard time finding the leak, it took a trip back up to the room to use the shower and bar of soap before I spotted some tiny bubbles escaping from the tube. Its the smallest puncture I've ever seen, but I'm glad its easily patchable as I haven't found a replacement for my dry rotted spare tube yet.

With a patch applied and the tube holding air I toss the wheel back together and put it all back on the bike. My audience applauds and then disperses and I left to load the bike. I decide I should give the chain a quick clean as well as the lube I had planned on during which I find that the chain has spit the retainer clip on the master link in the past day or two. Luckily I have a spare master link and I steal it's clip to replace the missing one.

Bike issues taken care of I head out of town and a quick twenty minute ride has me at the Mexican border. Getting out of Belize was a snap, pay the $18usd exit fee and get yourself and the bike stamped out of the country, on the Mexican side I'm waved through so quickly that I miss the immigration station and have to backtrack to get stamped into Mexico.

You say goodbye and I say hello...

This crossing was the quickest yet in part due to the fact that I left my Mexican vehicle import permit open rather than turning it in like your supposed to when you leave the country. I was also a very sneaky guy and cut the immigration line by entering through the exit door, filling in my form and walking to the first window I found, bypassing the 100 person lineup outside.

Riding from the border to Cancun is a real test of your patience, the road is flat and straight, not well suited for a KLR that doesn't like to go more than 100KM/h. I pass by all the resorts of the Mayan Rivera, the Tulum ruins and Xel-ha park with intentions to return once i had sorted the brake issue and made sure my package didn't end up back in the states.

Delicious lunch here...

Cancun central is actually a nice place for such a big city, with the help of a taxi driver and his map I find the Hostel i had been looking for. Turns out that it is a Japanese only guesthouse, but they give me my package and with a little sweat talking they agree to let me stay the night.

Conviniant 5 gallon bike stand...

I get to work changing the rotor and brake pads on the side of the street, I figured i may have had issues removing the bolts as I had loaded them up with lock-tight having not planning on removing them during this trip. The bolts came loose without issue and withing 15 minutes I had working front brakes again! What a great feeling to grab that lever and have something happen.

All fixed!

Bigger is better... :(

I explore downtown (AKA not the hotel zone) Cancun and make an evening of sampling taco's from all the different street stands I came across. Nice to be back to some tasty food again!

Back at the Hostel, I manage to wash some clothes that have been badly needing done and get online to do some banking and ride report updates. Its an early night for me, I plan on backtracking in the morning to see the Tulum ruins and Xel-Ha nature park.
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:35 AM   #259
IslandSpark OP
Joined: May 2008
Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
Oddometer: 132
Day 51

This morning is an early one, I'm up getting some caffeine in me before anyone else in the hostal is stirring. A quick internet session gets an update posted and a little banking done before I load the bike and backtrack to Playa Del Carmen.

On the way out of town I decide to go through the hotel zone and past all of the huge Cancun mega resorts that I could only dream of being able to afford a week at. The strip is quiet as all the tourists sleep of their 'all inclusive' hangovers and the only traffic is that of the trucks delivering their loads.

Quiet roads...

Cancun Hotel Zone

Mega Resorts

The road to Playa Del Carmen is straight and fast, the KLR strains under the punishment of my right hand but never skips a beat. One hundred kilometres down and I start seeing the signs for Xel-Ha. I've heard great things from everyone who has visited and I'm told its worth the price of admission, so it must be worth a look.

Admission is $1000 peso's so this place had better be spectacular! All in all the price is more reasonable if your planning to make a full day of it as it is an all inclusive ticket, food, drinks, snorkel equipment etc. With my swim gear and sandals in hand I march into the park in full motorcycle gear getting some strange looks from the swimsuit clad masses.

One of the first sights you see when entering the park...

After finding a locker and getting changed I grab some snorkel gear and head straight for the inlet. Xel-Ha is a very interesting place, the inlet is fed by an underground river and the chemical composure of the water here prevents the salt and fresh water from mixing right away creating a mirage like layer underwater. The snorkeling in the inlet is amazing, all sorts of fish, eels, sting rays and even a few manatee's.

Gorgeous clear water...

I have pictures on a disposable underwater camera, Maybe I'll update this post once I get those developed...

I spend a few hours floating around engulfed in a unique underwater world before I find myself back near the the 'resort' area of the inlet and decide that lunch and a nice cold drink sounded like a great plan. A buffet lunch packed full of fruit and fresh salads plus a cold Pina colada hit the spot well.

Mmmm Buffet...

Hammocks and Pina Coloda's, how can you go wrong?


Currious big guy...

Go take a flying leap!

Caution: Slippery when your not paying attention to where you're walking...

Well hey there lil' guy...

I grab a refill on my drink and go for a walk through the jungle trails past all sorts of secluded sunning spots, shady restful hammocks and a couple cliff's where people are jumping off. After walking off my food and beverages I collect my gear from the locker and change back into the suffocatingly warm motorcycle gear.

A fifteen minute ride down the road has me pulling into the Tulum ruins site. I find parking in the shade under a tree, pay the man and make the two or three KM walk down the road to the ruins.

Welcome to Tulum, the entrance through the wall that ring's the city.

While Tulum is not nearly as large as Tikal or as well preserved as Chichen Itza the setting makes it well worth the visit, set on some breathtaking seaside bluff's overlooking crystal clear water and powdery white sand beaches these Mayans knew how to live!

I'll let the pictures do the talking here...

After my visit to Tulum I head inland towards the Chitchen Itza ruins. A couple hours on the bike has me just outside the ruins looking for a place to stay for the night. I find one spot just outside the park, its a little spendy at $40usd but that's okay, I'm feeling wiped out from the day's activities and it will let me good a good jump on the crowds in the morning...

I eat dinner poolside and check in on life back home with the laptop while I have a decent internet connection...
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IslandSpark screwed with this post 06-20-2010 at 06:41 AM
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:21 AM   #260
Joined: Jan 2010
Oddometer: 3
Im really enjoying your RR. Thanks for sharing the fun.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:01 PM   #261
IslandSpark OP
Joined: May 2008
Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
Oddometer: 132
Day 52

A bowl of fruit from the hotel restaurant starts my day off right, its amazing how much better the fruit here tastes than at home. I guess all the extra time to ripen on the trees before being picked for consumption allows all the extra goodness to build up inside them.

After breakfast I head ten minutes down the road and into Chitchen Itza. Even at 8am the place is bustling, tour buses have already arrived and the locals are out in force peddling their wares.


I pay the entrance fee (around $100 paso's if I remember correctly) and the sight that unfolds in front of me as I make my way down the path is mind blowing. The Temple of Kukulkan also known as El Castillo (the castle) dominates the central plaza and is a remarkably restored piece of Mayan history.

Interesting fact: The temple is aligned precisely so that twice a year on the Spring and Autumn equinox's the stairways and stepped design of the temple create the shadow of a serpents body which slithers down the north staircase to meet the serpents head carved at the bottom. Apparently thousands of people pack the park on these two annual occasions waiting for the shadows to appear.


El Castillo...

The serpent's head...

Excavation showing a previous generation temple on top of which El Castillo was built...

Next I come across the Temple of 1000 Warriors, an small stepped pyramid flanked by hundreds (perhaps a thousand as the name suggests) of stone columns with a unique depiction of a life-sized warrior carved into each.

Temple of 1000 Warriors

Mayan Tic Tac Toe anyone?

I continue my tour and on the way out the the Sacrificial Cenote my camera decides to quit on me. I'm not sure what happened, It just died, lens out and everything... I hoped at the time that maybe it was just a dead battery I had missed or something but charging it at the cafe later proves me wrong. Only two months old I shouldn't be having issues, It is under warranty and will be getting fixed but what a place to die on me...

In a bad mood I finish seeing the park missing out on some great photo opportunities in the process and make my way back to the bike. My plan is to head back to the gulf coast. Im told that both Meridia and Campeche are nice spots.

A little while on the bike puts be in Meridia but it doesn't feel like a spot to stop for the night so I continue on the Campeche. The landscape is flat and fairly drab until you get near the coast where everything gets much more lush.

Campeche is a city caught in transition, on one side the Spanish colonial central district is gorgeous and well kept, on the other, everything outside the old walls of the city center is typical Mexican ugly concrete block construction and when mixed with the ever encroaching mega-store's (ala Walmart, Sams Club etc...) it just doesn't feel the same.

I find a great little hostel right in the center of the old town. The bilingual staff are great and after hearing my story give me a cut rate and allow me to park my bike right in the hostel... rock star treatment for sure!

I take a walk around town (no pictures...) and find some dinner before crashing for the night hopefully to awake in a better mood tomorrow morning.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:49 PM   #262
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Joined: May 2008
Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
Oddometer: 132
Day 53

I wake up this morning with it set in my head that I don't want to continue this trip without the ability to take pictures so after loading the bike I ask directions to the Walmart and do my best to find a half decent camera without paying through the nose for it.

I end up finding a Nikon Coolpix S2300, a very small, very feature sparse 12Mpixel, 3x zoom point and shoot. It seems like a decent deal and at the very least will let me take some basic pictures on my way home.

The church in Campeche

I make for Coatzacoalcos about 500KM to my west. The ride is nothing special except when the road parallels the ocean. There are some cool little villages and some great bridges over the rivers and a lot of fast straight road.

Coatzacoalcos is a port city and the outskirts are loaded with miles upon miles of Pemex Refinery's and related facilities. Its not what I had envisioned from the pictures and maps I had seen. I guess that when the guidebook you have doesn't mention anything about a certain town you can feel free the skip it.

I find a small hotel about a block off the beach, the price is a little more than I think it should be but the owner isn't budging and the other options I've seen are less than savoury. I grab some food at the closest place to the hotel which turns out to be a Subway before taking a walk along the boardwalk and exercising the new camera.

Thats a big flag...

Some cool buildings along the waterfront...
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:39 AM   #263
Dirt Biker
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Ottawa, Canada.
Oddometer: 870
Question Camera Storage

Eh Patrick,

Now that you have a second camera,(sorry to hear about that), could you take a photo of your camera sorage set-up and laptop storage setup. I can never seem to imagine how people can travel with big ticket electronics on a dual sport.

I have to say your thread keeps me coming back. Usually, I get the I've seen enough feeling but when you post up, I usually click on that e-mail notification before any other. I think we all appreciate the consistency of your posts too. Thanks for keeping up with the posts and the pictures and sharing it all with us. I'm saving my KLR for a similar journey.

How much more do we have to look forward to...whens your return home deadline?
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:53 AM   #264
Chihuahua Wrangler
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Tucson, AZ
Oddometer: 704
Went to Cancun for my first honeymoon. Loved Tulum and Chichen Itza!

Regarding tires, if you are coming through Tucson, there is a place I've heard nothing but great reviews about, called Southwest Moto Tires. They're not too far from Interstate 10. I went by there this past Saturday to pay them a visit and found them closed, so maybe they're only open M-F. But it might be worthwhile to check out.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:27 PM   #265
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: the Ozark suburbs
Oddometer: 185
Sure have enjoyed your report!

So glad to have shared your adventure. I am very impressed by the amount of time it must take to do this while on the road.

Safe trip homeward!

Freedom is never free.

Pacifism is a luxury of the defended.
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:27 PM   #266
Not any more
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Oddometer: 234
Great pics, great read. Thanks much for the effort!
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:30 PM   #267
Along for the ride
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Vancouver Island
Oddometer: 1,040
Weather is starting to get good up here, time to come on home Patrick!

Been watching your adventure with envy, enjoy the way back as much as the way down.
"There's a fine line between a shearing and a skinning"
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:26 PM   #268
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Oddometer: 49
Great RR

Great Ride Report. Thanks for taking us along

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Old 06-23-2010, 08:59 PM   #269
IslandSpark OP
Joined: May 2008
Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
Oddometer: 132
Day 54

I leave Coatzacoalcos late this morning after sleeping in and taking advantage of the complimentary breakfast from the hotel. I'm headed towards Veracruz today and while the map may show it as only 250Km away it ends up taking over nearly 4 hours because of all the small towns (and thus Topes or speedbumps) the free road passes through.

Unlike the pacific coast of Mexico the Caribbean is quite flat which makes the ride much less interesting. I pass through miles of coastal flatland's only making an elevation gain when riding a bridge over one of the many rivers.

Veracruz is a nice enough spot for a big town. It has some gorgeous parks and some nice looking restaurants and hotels but before long I'm itching to get out into the country, back into the real Mexico... I stop at a motorcycle shop I see on the way out of town and grab some oil, planning to do an oil change this evening somewhere.

After looking at the map and reading up a bit in my guide book I decide I'll head another 150KM up the coast to a favourite Mexican vacation spot called “Coasta Esmerelda” or the emerald coast where apparently I'll be able to find, good food and cheap hotels or camping but not much else... Perfect!

I find myself a highly recommended resort that offers camping as well. $80 pasos gets me a nice spot in the palm grove beside the hotel with hookups, a shower/washroom facility, Wifi in the lobby and use of any of three swimming pools.

I set up the tent and set to work changing the oil in the bike. I ask about a pan or bucket of some sort in the lobby but yet again was told to just dump it on the ground... I dig a trench in the sand and let loose. I feel like an exec at BP petroleum as the last drops dribble out and I kick sand over top of the pool... Spill? What Spill? Its not that bad...

I know what your thinking... Suzuki Oil in a KLR?! Blasphemy!

What spill?! Deja vu??

There are worse spots...

The closest of the three pools...

The beach...

After some mediocre food from the on site restaurant and a little time on the internet in the lobby I retire for the evening. When I get back to the tent I notice the lightning flashing in the distance and after a quick trip to the washroom decide to move inside.

I'm the only one here aside from three or four staff members and one heavily armed security guard, who's going to care if I set my tent up in the huge lobby area of the men's washroom. With a little twisting and flexing I manage to get the tent inside without having to take it down, only moments later the sky opens and the nightly thunderstorm's I thought I had left behind return. Yes, I'm camping in a washroom, on the plus side the midnight walk wont be far...

Mexico City tomorow!
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:09 PM   #270
'00 R1150GS
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Oddometer: 463

I love it!
Ride safe my Canadian brother - ride safe!
"From the point of ignition
To the final drive
The point of the journey is not to arrive
Anything can happen."
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