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Old 04-08-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
Foflappy OP
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Foflappy on a KLR650 Exploring Mexico and Central America on a KLR650

Taking my first motorcycle trip outside the USA. I hope all the hours I've spent learning from others on this forum pays off! I've got 90 days to travel from Central Illinois to Guatemala and back so stay tuned for pictures and stories from the road.

I'm taking a few days break in the great city of Austin Texas then heading to McAllen/Pharr to cross the border. A night on the beach in La Pesca and then into the Sierra Madre Oriental for 4-5 days of riding then south......

Stay tuned for more

My Route (sort of...maybe)

map

My bike:

Bike

My site:

http://klradv.com/
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:08 PM   #2
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Day one

The first thing I did when I entered Mexico was to become and illegal alien with an unregistered vehicle. The second thing I got to do was give a motorcycle ride to a guy with a gun.

I crossed the Rio Grand at McAllen (Hildalgo) Texas at 7:30 AM. A three dollar toll got me across the river and into mexico. I waited at the gates and got lucky with the green light so no interaction with the guys with guns. Yeah! I had a feeling that I was in the wrong lane when out I drove into the street without having so much as shown a passport. I drove around asking strangers on the street where I needed to go. They mostly stared or responded with words I didn't understand. Not knowing where to go I went back i the way I came and headed straight towards those guys with guns. They looked a little alarmed when I approached them but at least they seemed to understand what I needed. All I caught was dos personas and some pointing to my bike and one the guys was on the back of the KLR and pointing the way to go. It was a short ride, maybe a few hundred yards and here I was at immigration and customs.

I was a bit concerned how things would go because my spanish is very limited but I figured that this is what they do so they will make sure it happened. As it turns out the process is a bit confusing but the great thing is even "station" happens to be in the same corridor so its just a matter of switching lines to get things stamped, pay for things, get copies, make deposits and get more stuff stamped. 40 minutes later I was on my bike headed off to find an ATM machine. Cash obtained and chased out of town by packs of dogs I headed down MX 97 towards my days destination: La Pesca.

Sorgum In In Mexico

I was surprised at how green an flat it was here in North Eastern Tamalumpas State. It looked a lot like Central Illinois except they were growing sorghum instead of corn and beans.

My first impression of driving in Mexico is that it is a creative act. I really think they could save a lot of money if they didn't waste it on painting the white and yellow lines on the road they serve no purpose that I can tell.

Typical Creative Lane Usage in Mexico

I was only stopped once in my first 200 miles of Mexico by the customs checkpoint. The only thing they needed to see was my bike importation paperwork. They were nice. Later while I was stopped eating a snack a military patrol passed by and gave me first reminder that there is a tense situation in much of Mexico due to the drug wars. These guys were not messing around they were holding rifles and even the top mounted machine guns were manned. The black masks only added to the look of seriousness.

I found the roads to be in excellent condition on my first day. This turned out to not be the case on day two but more on that later...

On the Road to La Pesca

I made it to La Pesca in the early afternoon and got some time on the beach. I ate a most excellent plate of fried fish and rice washed down with a few cerveza victoria. Lunch only set me back $8 and as a bonus the place I ate proudly displayed their "cholera free" certification. That and the "how to avoid dengue fever" cartoon mural on the bus stop served as a reminder that there were things to look out for that I need not worry about at home.

The best part of La Pesca had to be my free beach camping spot complete with a palapa garage to park my bike and tent under. Some drunk guy came and tried to collect rent from me but I informed him that I asked the police if there was a fee for camping and they said no.

Beach Bike Garage

More later...
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:15 PM   #3
soupbone
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Keep it coming. Thanks for taking me along.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:22 PM   #4
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Nice start, looking forward to more!
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There's roads and there's roads and they call, can't you hear it? Roads of the earth and roads of the spirit. The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain. One of those is where you'll find me till they drop the big curtain. Bruce Cockburn
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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That picture of the beach camping spot looks like a dream! Keep the pics coming. Have fun and be safe.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHADV View Post
That picture of the beach camping spot looks like a dream! Keep the pics coming. Have fun and be safe.
Agreed. Looking forward to following your trip.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:09 AM   #8
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more more more
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:22 AM   #9
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Standing by.

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Old 04-12-2012, 05:09 PM   #10
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Day 2-3

I woke up a little before the sunrise and packed up my beach camp. I really like to get an early start to the day. I'm heading to Ciudad Valles for the night and its only 200 miles or so. If the roads were any indication of what kind of riding I would have it'll be an easy day.

Heading West

Unfortunately the great roads from the other day were replaced with roads under construction. These construction sites were not at all safe by American standards with very little in the way of barricades or flaggers.

Safe Work Zone

And the detours were long and unpaved.

Highway Detour

I passed through a few towns and saw more and more police and military. There were some points where there were sandbagged machine gun positions manned at the side of the road. On the top of a hotel in on town were a large number of Military men with guns at the ready. There were a few roadblocks but always raised the front of my helmet and smiled. In all cases they waved me through. I did pas by a guy on a smaller dual sport with an extended range tank going in the opposite direction. They were loaded down for travel.

The scenery changes all the time now I can see some impressive extinct volcanoes east of Ciudad Victoria.

East of Ciudad Mante

I arrived in Ciudad Valles and passed by the many pay-by-the-hour motels on the outskirts of town. I can't think that they are any cheaper for a night and I do not want to think about how clean they are. I had not been in a sizable Latin American city for a couple of years and it took me a minute to not freak out about the confusing roads, lack of street signs, and general craziness of driving. I got lost pretty quick and stopped to ask a cab driver who flagged down a cop who gave me great directions to my hotel.

Nothing fancy but for $19 bucks what can you really complain about. I was pretty beat so I ate in the restaurant attached to the hotel and it was great! I ordered the pollo with mole and when I didn't understand the waitress when she asked if I wanted leg or breast she did quite an interesting pantomime

Another early morning and a few maintenance items to attend to on the bike. I heard a strange noise the day before coming from the chain or the sprockets. Turns out the chain was so loose it was just dragging across the rear swing arm guide at low speeds.

Lubing and Adjusing the Chain

As you can see I was blocked in but it gave me chance to practice some spanish in order to get the vehicle moved

I only rode 45 miles today but I wanted to visit a cool site called Sotana del las golondrinas or cave of the swallows. Its a 400 meter deep sink hole. Very impressive. I got the photo while being held by a rope tied in a makeshift harness.

Sotano De Las Golondrinas

The ride to get there was a bit of mistake on my part but it was a fun road to get lost on.
Must have rained

I found a place to stay in Aquismon. Another cheap place but theres a fan and internet. I wandered down to the square and ate with the locals who warned me that the food was hot. It had to have been the hottest gorditas I have ever had. I was sweating and they were laughing, in a friendly way. $3 bucks and I was stuffed full of meat, beans and rice along with a never ending supply of fresh pressed and grilled tortillas. You haven't had tortillas until you had em fresh like this.

Square in Aquimon

More later...Next stop Teotihuacan
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Foflappy screwed with this post 04-16-2012 at 07:03 PM
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:57 PM   #11
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Love the report being raised as a kid in costa rica these reports are the hilights of my evenings. Keep it comin
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:09 AM   #12
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A video

I'm processing images and writing up the last few days for you all but here is a video I did of the first couple of days in Mexico.

http://youtu.be/cY32iys_kGg
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:07 PM   #13
Gone D
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Best Mexico Ride Report in Years

My ride buddies refuse to go back to Mexico and I'm not brave enough to go alone. Therefore, I must get my Mexico Fix via your report. Keep the crack coming. I'm waiting for my next fix.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:51 PM   #14
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Aquismon to Veracruz

The past few days has seen some incredible sites, met some great people, riding some crazy stuff, and eaten some delicious food.

I headed out of Aquismon after I freed my trapped bike with the help of some strong hombres. My bike was blocked by at least four vehicles who's drivers were deep in a drunk sleep from the party the night before. A party that I avoided even when woken at 1 am with someone pounding on my door looking to share the beer...I declined.

We had to move the bike down a hallway up on a platform and down a flight of stairs. Glad I ride a mid sized bike!

The road from Aquismon to Teotihuican, MX 105 twists its way through the mountains. Great riding except for the huge number of topes in even small town.

Mexico 105

The only thing good about the topes are that the larger slower vehicles need to almost stop so I can at least get past them.

The first part of the road was like riding through a tropical plant greenhouse. But that changed as I headed into the valley approaching Teotihuican. I wen from 55F to over 100F in less than an hour. It reminded me of riding from San Diego to the Salton Sea.

Mexico 105

I made it to Teotihuican and hit my cell like room for the next two days. I wanted to visit the archeological site before the crowds so I got up a little before sunrise and headed the short distance to the site. I was not disappointed as I was the first visitor of the day.

Moon Plaza and Temple of the Sun

I was able to enjoy the site for a while before the crowds came. I headed back into town for a meal of tacos made the way I like them. [insert obligatory food photo here]

Tacos

I bit the bullet and took the notoriously expensive Mexican tool roads to Pico Orizaba for some riding in the national park. Of course I did ride past the volcanos east of Mexico City.

Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl

The roads in and around Parque National De Pico Orizaba did not disappoint. I met some amazing people and saw some wonderful things.

Oriziba

I made it up to a little over 14,000 feet and due to lack of compression, traction, and the fact that I've got a larger front sprocket AND did I mention that it was STEEP!

Untitled

Road down

I finished the day $32 in the hole for the tolls I paid but I made it to Veracruz. I am meeting up with fellow inmate MikeMike to change the oil and swap riding tales and learn more about his Mexico riding experiences.

more to come...

NOTE: if you want more photos or verbosity go to my website at the in my signature line. There you will find links to my flickr feed as well as my Facebook page.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gone D View Post
My ride buddies refuse to go back to Mexico and I'm not brave enough to go alone. Therefore, I must get my Mexico Fix via your report. Keep the crack coming. I'm waiting for my next fix.
I hate to ask why they don't want to ride in Mexico
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