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Old 10-31-2010, 07:30 PM   #1
BeachGuy OP
Alabama & Costa Rica
 
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Location: Sandy beaches of Alabama
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Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

It begins, after two years of planning and figuring, I’m gone. My objective is to ride my old faithful BMW K75 from Orange Beach, Alabama to Escazu, Costa Rica. Time table for this is give or take 30 days. So let’s start. The bike and its fool.

Daughters #1 and #2 stopped by to give me some words of wisdom, those words didn’t take.

Day 1 – October 26, 2010 Leaving Orange Beach headed to my sisters in Baton Rouge, LA. To take advantage of her and her husband hospitality, be feed and liquored up. But first must stop at my daughter #3 office in Mobile, AL and get a goodbye kiss. Damn more words of wisdom, their mother taught them well. Done, let’s check that off the list.
No pictures of the highway or some uninteresting sites, it’s just a slab of concrete and bad drivers in a hurry to go nowhere.

Daughter #3

The cook herself and the two hungry guys.

Day 2 – Sobered up and west bound to Basile, LA. But first had to stop by Herbert Cycles in Baton Rouge to pick up a set of brake pads. Damned if I didn’t leave my spare set at home. Nice people and some really nice bikes. I’ll buy the winning Louisiana Lottery ticket and then I buy a new R1200 GS.

After leaving Baton Rouge I headed west to Hwy 190 and just had to stop at Andre’s Cajun Cracklins. If you are ever in the area it a must stop and gorge yourself, kind of place.



Yes, you do need your heart meds to visit this place.

Onward to Eunice, LA to visit some friends I haven’t seen in a good while. Stopped by to see Danny and Pam and to my great surprise Pam’s Sister Penny was in town visiting. I haven’t see or visit with her or her husband Robert in 20 years. Robert and I flew together many years ago. What memories.

After a great visit I was off to Basile, LA, my old hometown. Invited myself to stay with the God Mother and God Father of youngest (nothing new here) I knew if I stayed with them the beer would be cold and the food pure Cajun. They didn’t let me down. Both Donna and Dink refused photos but let me take one of their new dog. She a cutie.

Burning some meat.


Day 3 – Kingwood Texas is the destination for today. Still no photos of the concrete.
Stopped at my brother’s place for more of the same; taking advantage of family and friends. No matter how sinister my intention where, my brother got the best of me. He has this 1998 Mustang GT car that he started changing the spark plugs on about one and half years ago. It has now warped into a project car. Go figure. He was hell bent on it starting it this day and knew he could sucker me into the fold. Two hours later it started. Now all he has to do is put the trunk inserts back in, the driver’s side consol and seat back in and the whole front end. All this just to change the spark plugs. This is what you get when a Mechanical Engineer tries to practice what he thinks he knows.

Please note: K75 in the photo.
My absolutely, positively, without a question most favorite niece in all of Texas.

more to come…………………………
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2010 Ride Report: Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
2011 Ride Report: Costa Rica to Panama back to Costa Rica
One of the beautiful things about riding solo is the quality of the social experience.

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Old 10-31-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:13 PM   #3
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Allright, keep it coming.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:26 PM   #4
aDave
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Nice looking family and friends...

So nice to see family and friends...especially when they want to see you. Several of these pics made me smile. If you are still on the rode...safe riding!

With Kind regards,
Dave
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:02 PM   #5
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It continues.

Day 4 – Left Kingwood for Wharton, TX to visit more old friends and acquaintances. There should be country and western song about a country boy and big city drivers. I think it would go something like this: “I killed them all, I really killed them all”.
Once I got to Wharton the friends I went to see had a family emergency and we had to cancel.
On to Brownsville I go, but first I had to stop at Hinze’s for Bar-B-Q. Sorry no photo I was hungry and left the camera on the bike. Pounded the concrete/ blacktop all the way to Brownsville.

Day 5 - October 30, 2010 Saturday was a day off from riding. I spent time on the internet and checking on any changes in crossing the boarder. I was fueling up the bike and talked with a local couple about the safety along the boarder and all the bad news TV was pumping out. Now to cut it short let me paraphrase. They thought I was nuts! There that was easy. I watched the local US news and then watched the Mexican news. Needless to say the US stations gave some really bad news, but no video or photos. Now as for the Mexican side, same news but the photos were no what I was expecting. They hold nothing back.

Day 6 – October 31, 2010 I crossed over at the Brownsville/Matamoros frontier. Driving up to the US exit checkpoint I had to dig in every pocket on my jacket looking for $3.00 to exit. While spending all that time looking it dawned on me that I was the only vehicle there. I asked the agent what was going on, he stated the most traffic doesn’t show up until about 10:00 am. Not a problem, I ready now.

Made the short jump over the river to find that the Mexican side doesn’t open until; you guess it, 10:00 am on Sunday.

For the persons in need of more visual stimuli as where to go on the Mexican side here are a few pics.


On the left hand side of the Mexican side is a covered enterance, turn left and find a parking spot. Look who has the whole place to himself. I was standing at the entrance of the Mirgracion Office when I took this shot.


At this window, you get your tourist visa. Be sure and tell them you want a 180 day visa. Once done you go about 10 feet to your right and get copies needed. No price given, but a tip is greatly appreciated. Then go to the Banjercito window to get your vehicle permit and pay all the fee’s (import, visa) bring your receipt back to the Mirgracion window to complete the deal. No need to attach the permit to your bike, just keep it handy. You’ll need to show it about 48 miles from the boarder.



Once I got out of Matamoros headed south on 101 the roads are really in good shape. I was able to average about 60 mph. The first check point was 48 miles out of town. Military guards fully armed and with a smile on their faces. Checked all my papers and the vehicle permit and looked through all four bags (tank bag, left & right side cases and top case), read into this that they are looking for what your not suppose to have.


A man must eat, so here is a photo of my first meal in Mexico. It was good.


The second check point was exactly 100 mile south in the middle of nowhere. Same military check point setup but very mobile. Once again checked everything.

A few miles later was the turn off onto Hwy 180 headed to Soto la Marina and Tampico. Fantastic road and speed picked up. The only problem was that 3 new bridges are being built and the famous Mexican topes were in place.


You ask, what has Topes got to do with the story; glad you asked!
Firstly my BMW K75 is the greatest motorcycle in the world. I don’t care what you drive or think. Only my opinion counts when it come to my bike. However as great as my bike is, it does now have one small problem that I was never aware of. That is it has the world biggest piece of sh*t for a side cases that I’ve ever seen.

Somewhere between the last Military check point and me stopping at the Hotel El Rey in Soto la Marina 86 kilometers in distance is my left side case. What had been a great ride just turned into a night mare. A small list of items now missing is:
All my cloths
All my medications (two months worth)
My new rain gear
All my cables needed for the camera, GoPro HD video camera, and Garmin GPS cables, and rechargers.
My headphone and microphone for computer phone calls.
No, I was not going to drive back 86 kilometers in the dark looking for side bag.

Notice the missing left side case at the Hotel El Rey.


Hotel El Rey was really a great deal, Hot water, Air Conditioning, TV and wifi all for 300 pesos or $25.00.

More coming ……………..

BeachGuy
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2010 Ride Report: Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
2011 Ride Report: Costa Rica to Panama back to Costa Rica
One of the beautiful things about riding solo is the quality of the social experience.

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Old 11-02-2010, 03:34 AM   #6
GB
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Thanks for the intro! Lovely family you have! Sounds like a great trip is planned.. safe journey

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Old 11-02-2010, 07:31 AM   #7
BeachGuy OP
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Going to Tampico

Day 7 November 1, 2010, I meet Jesus this morning.
I needed to take care of a few problems this morning, like medications, new cloths and getting some Pesos. The 11 to 1 exchange rate at Pemex was going to get a little old fast.

The only bank in town does not open until 9:00 am but has an ATM machine. Upon arrival at the bank Im number 100 in line as to be expected. After about 10 minutes watching an old man in the lobby at the ATM not moving I began to wonder what gives. None of the people ahead of me seem to care. Asked the lady in front of me what gives and she said he was just waiting for the bank to open and he was standing at the inside front door not wanting to loose his spot.

So I left my spot in line and took the opportunity to step up the ATM. First mistake of the day. Nobody minded, slipped my card into the ATM and started following the direction in English, 5 tries later and not luck hitting the jackpot; damn. Should have had my wife with me, every time she goes to a casino she tell me all these big stories about how lucky she is with the one armed bandits, even though I never see the $$$$$$.

After this fiasco the old man behind me tells me La mquina no tiene dinero y es un pedazo de mierda! translated its The machine has no money and its a piece of crap!

So back out to the line, one guess as to how many people are in line now! Yep, 200 lost and lonely souls plus one frustrated tourist. And I get to go to the end of the line.

Moving forward about one and a half hours later, I have my number and step up to the tellers window and ask to change Dollars into Pesos. Here I am one day later writing this report and I believe the teller at that bank is still laughing at me.
Because of the big problem with the drug cartel having a war with its former enforcement group the Zs (I may have the wrong letter) and both groups having separate wars with the government, hard cold cash in the form of Dollars is not a good thing to have. Just like our infamous Infernal Revenue Service, the Mexican government has figured to control the banks and flow of Dollars. By doing so they can control or hinder the drug trade. In the words of Sarah Palin u betcha thats gone to work.

So after 2 hours of meeting and greeting the local populace I am leaving the bank with my tail between the cheeks of my backside.

This is when I meet Jesus. I not speaking figuratively I mean literally. There he was big as day, and he spoke perfect English. His real name Jesus Gonzalez Canchola. Jesus is the business manager for a Christian mission school an orphanage in Soto la Marina. He was standing about 15 people ahead of me the whole time and watching my soap opera unfolding and chuckling to him self the whole time. Who said Jesus didnt have a sence of humor? Look at his first miracle; turning water into wine.

Well Jesus asked if there was any thing he could do to help me and I began looking for the collection plate to pass around. Jesus said he might be able to help with exchanging dollars if I was willing to take 12 to 1. What do you know my odds are getting better? So I followed him to the mission office meet his wife and son and did a little unauthorized banking.

Once we had done the deed, he thanked me and said that I had done him a favor. OK how about 13 to 1 then? He laughs, and said no. Being that most of the donations and tuition for the school comes in Pesos he had to buy dollars at a terrible price through the bank just to go shopping for the school in McAllen, TX. Big ticket items like computers and electronics are still much cheaper in the US than Mexico.

He his wife and son only wanted to get on my bike and take a picture. That was easy enough.

The Canchola family.


With money in hand and a full tank of gas Im off to Tampico and find some really big boy cloths and meds.

Couple on the road pictures, Im not in LA anymore (LA is Lower Alabama, if you have to ask you wont believe the explanation).



Keep watching more to come..

BeachGuy
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2010 Ride Report: Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
2011 Ride Report: Costa Rica to Panama back to Costa Rica
One of the beautiful things about riding solo is the quality of the social experience.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:57 PM   #8
IrKraut
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Laugh IrKraut

It must be kind of chilly with no clothes. Can't believe such bad luck so quickly. Second thought, I can believe. Looks a bit lopsided without a side bag.
Great pics and am enjoying your story telling. Keep it up, and watch your bare backside. DK
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:11 PM   #9
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:55 PM   #10
BeachGuy OP
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Well guys and gals I appreciate the well wishes and am happy to see all the folks from Louisiana on board. Just show a picture of cracklin and everybody fall inline. Love it.

Updating the last couple of day right now and will post later, if I don't drink to much Victoria.

BeachGuy
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2010 Ride Report: Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
2011 Ride Report: Costa Rica to Panama back to Costa Rica
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:03 PM   #11
IrKraut
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Laugh Too Much Victoria

It's been 2 days and still no update. Guess you had too much Victoria.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:17 PM   #12
BeachGuy OP
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Day #7 (con’t) – Having left Soto la Marina heading south on Hwy 180 to Tampico I find my first really bad roads in Mexico. And before anybody asks about my right side case being securely fastened to the bike, let me assure you that the only way its coming off is if I slide the bike on its right side about 60 miles a hour on these terrible roads. And then I not so sure.

The ride was pretty mundane until I got to Altamira about 5 kilometers before Tampico. The local cops had a tourist stop set up, and they saw me coming.
One of the cops waves me over and with a big smile on his face as me for my driver’s license. No problem I hand him my old expired one. After looking at it he starts his 100 mile an hour spill about how I was in the wrong lane, quote I was in the bus lane. That will be $400.00 dollar fine please (also funny was that there was 4 cops, it must have been dinner time). In my best, really very bad Spanish I asked him for a written ticket. At this point his took my license and walked over to his supervisor.

At this very point in time it hit me; my brand new GoPro HD video camera is in my tank bag. Out she comes and I turn it on and pull off my helmet and attach the baby. Put my helmet back on and watch him walk back to me with new instructions.

He’s holding my license in one hand and is wildly pointing up and down the highway explaining how I did wrong and if I just paid the ticket on the spot it would make life much easier for me and I could be on my way. So, I politely asked him for his name and badge number. This he did with a smile on his face and explaining about his body armor covering his badge. About this very second he saw the blinking red light on GoPro. His entire demeanor changed in a nano second. Which way do you think it changed too?

If you have ever gone crawfishing in Louisiana you know that they hall butt backwards. He reminded me of a mud bug caught red handed. He got no money and I got back my old expired license. A good afternoon had by me. BeachGuy 1 Cops 0.

Now the only thing that is disappointing is that the GoPro was not set up for video, it was set up to shoot a photo every 3 seconds. If the video shows up, start looking at the face of the cop at about 00:45 seconds.



&nbsp
&nbsp


Happily on my way into Tampico I drove right by a Super Wal-Mart. Damn I’m lucky today. As I trying to figure how to back track to Wal-Mart I pass a Hampton Inn. Locked the brakes and came to a wild ass stop. That was almost a no-no. Pulled in to Hampton Inn and got a room. We AAA members get a discount. $65.00 total for the night. One hour later I grab a cab at the front door and go to Wally World. I bought the only fat ass cloths they had that fit and now I have two days worth. Also bought most of my meds and the guy behind the counter had never seen anyone purchase this much crap in his life. He asked me twice if I was sure I didn’t really need a doctor or a hospital. I assured him I was well pickled and I was only keeping the pharmaceutical companies in business. He didn’t understand I was just following Obama’s orders to spread the wealth. By the time this trip is over I’m going to be at the other end of that spread. The receiving end.

Back at the hotel by 4 pm with my new wardrobe I finish a few emails and talking to daughter #1. Took a nap and then down to the happy hour at the Hampton Inn. This place rocks, free booze for an hour, free breakfast and a lunch bag to go.

Day #8 – Sleep in late, did I mention old people really need their beauty sleep.
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2010 Ride Report: Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
2011 Ride Report: Costa Rica to Panama back to Costa Rica
One of the beautiful things about riding solo is the quality of the social experience.

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Old 11-05-2010, 11:39 AM   #13
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What a man, brother!

All great trips start with memorable challenges, right! By the way, is it necessary to wait til crossing the border to exchange dollars? It only took me 1 & 1/2 years to change my spark plugs on my 98 mustang. Two years of planning and you still had to wait all day at the border, ouch. Sorry brother but pay back is a bitch, lol.

Sorry to hear about the lost saddle bag and the heavy losses. I'll bet some dumb ass thinks they hit the drug lord lottery when they found all that "old fart medicine" in that saddle bag, and they'll have had no clue that some gringo's head was about to explode further down the road.

I'm enjoying all your posts, but only got started reading today. I'll keep up with you know that I've caught up. PS - I'm still worn out from trying to keep up with you after working so hard on my car. It took the whole next day to recover from all that Scotch you forced down my throat. Love ya, big brother.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:04 PM   #14
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Short Update!

Day 10 – Updates coming.

I stopped late yesterday afternoon at Best Western about 5 minutes before the rain hit here in Villahermosa, Mexico. I’m going to hold up for two reasons. One, I’m taking a rest day and two it’s raining like cats and dogs. Name your breed; it’s out there falling from the sky.

Since I lost by left side case I now how two changes of cloths, so today is wash day and to give you visual stimuli of the situation I am sitting here in the buff waiting on something to dry. Great picture, I’m sure you can visualize it.

It’s amazing how you can accumulate tons of email when you not sitting in a room all-day reading about someone else’s ride. I can’t believe how much is pure junk. I was messaging daughter #1 today and she told me that about half the email she gets from friends are nothing but a forward of a forward of a forward and none of the people ever delete the email address from the previous emails. It no wonder we get spammed so much.

Though about the last paragraph I wrote and realized that I was just as guilty. Mea culpa!

My GPS cables were in the same lost side case so now when I make a change to my route I have to take the computer out to the bike and hook it up to the Garmin 2610 which needs to be powered by the bikes 12 volts system. Pain in the butt, I wish someone would have told me to use rope to tie the side cases to the bike. Once again love the bike; hate the S.O.B. theat designed the side cases. “Dumkoff”.

I’ll be writing an update later this afternoon and post this evening. Hope the YouTube video gave a good idea of the Tampico cops.

I see sunlight, maybe an early start in the morning.



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2010 Ride Report: Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
2011 Ride Report: Costa Rica to Panama back to Costa Rica
One of the beautiful things about riding solo is the quality of the social experience.

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Old 11-05-2010, 04:40 PM   #15
BeachGuy OP
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Day 8 in Veracruz, Mexico

Day #8 (cont). After the purchase of one day’s worth of new cloths, medicines and a really cool looking multi charger for my batteries I'm on the road to Veracruz.

Getting out of Tampico wasn’t to bad, only had to look for a car with its windows down ask the friendly drivers how to get out of town. After a wonderful tour of the center of town I finally found the bridge out of town.





On the way south you could really see the terrain starting to change, every where you looked where small farms and everybody selling bananas and oranges and tangerines. Road condition was not the greatest and congestion of slow moving trucks along with the topes slowed me down.


Arriving in Tuxpan was nice, came in along the river and got off a couple of moving shots. I’m getting more brave at this one handed riding and photography and the same time.






Next stop before Veracruz was to be Papantla de Contla, home of the Los Voladeres El Tajin. You know the four guys who come out of a rather tall stand with their waist (old days it was their feet, OSHA must have found out) tied to a rope and do the upside-down dance the entire time the fifth guy stays up on the center pole playing his flute. Would have been cool to see, but I missed the performance.

Next I was to buy some concentrated Vanilla. It is said that this town and area of Mexico is where we get Vanilla and its extract from. To purchase pure liquid Vanilla one must first check the price of gold for the day. Then buy the gold, you would have a better investment. The indigenous people or Totonacs as they call themselves have taken the marketing class from Disney World.


As I left the area head for Veracruz I noticed that my back side was starting to tell me I had ridden all it wanted today. Has it ever happen to you?

Well coming up on the area know as Costa Esmeralda I passed hotel after hotel, all Gulf of Mexico beach front. Hell I make a living renting and selling Gulf front properties; I might as well follow Obama’s advice and spread some wealth around.

Passed by Hotel Canadian with a big sign saying $295 per person with breakfast, what a deal. Made a U-turn and pulled in. That’s not $295.00 dollars its Pesos or about $24.50 US dollars. Some photos to tell the rest of the story.


Beach View

Beach Cabana anyone.

Pool side

Rooms Kitchen

Rock hard beds, every thing in this place is made of concrete. That includes the box springs.

The obligatory bike picture.

The obligatory beverage picture.


Well after a couple or three of the Victoria’s I had go to put the baby in the secure shed that they had. One of the servers at the pool was looking at my rear tire and asked me how far I come and how far I had to go. No a good start of a conversation.

I had put new Michelin Tires on it about 2000 miles before I started this trip and I had put about 1500 mile on it so far. The way this tire is wearing I’m in deep dog dudu. It’s not going to make it to Costa Rica. Front tire was changed at the same time showing some wear but nothing like the rear tire. Decision, Decisions. I need another Victoria!

Later that evening at the bar, I meet a guy from Tampico who owns a K1200RT, we get to talking about my rear time and he pulls out his cell phone and call Alberto Castillo. Alberto is the BMW motorcycle mechanic at the BMW dealership in Veracruz. They talk on the phone for a few minutes and hang up; Alberto promises to call back as soon as he knows something. I no sooner pick up my beer for a sip and the phone rings; Alberto has found my size tire for 2,300 Pesos ($191.00) and will have it ready to install when I get to Veracruz. I didn’t ask the brand or the speed rating or anything else for that matter. I have read too many post on this site about the problems other riders have getting tires when needed. My tire is 130/90-17. Not a real popular size. I’ll drink to that.

Alberto said to bring it in after lunch and he’d handle it for me. So I left about 10 am for Veracruz, it’s only a 45 minute ride. Plenty of time, Right. Well, when I finally finished messing with the cops, the ones I refuse to pay a single red US penny to and found the BMW dealer it was exactly 2:00pm. I hoped that he would take me since he said after lunch. Little did I know that in Veracruz lunch starts at 2:00 pm and goes to 4:00 pm? Don’t we all wish we had those hours? So I sit at a restaurant across the street for 2 hours, they lock that place down.
Vecas Veracruz BMW

Alberto Castillo (the man)

New Inventory

Looking Like a World Traveler Now!


If any of you have ever taken your BMW or Harley or any other name brand bike to a dealer for a tire change, what did you pay for removal, install, balance and reinstall on the bike? And have it all done within 20 minute of the mechanic touching the bike. Try 295 Pesos or exactly what I paid for the hotel room the night before, yep $24.50, let’s show that invoice to our dealer back home. OK I’ll get off my soap box. I know things are more expensive state side. Just had to say it.

Tomorrow it off to Villahermosa.






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2010 Ride Report: Orange Beach, AL to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
2011 Ride Report: Costa Rica to Panama back to Costa Rica
One of the beautiful things about riding solo is the quality of the social experience.

BeachGuy screwed with this post 01-24-2011 at 08:34 PM
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