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Old 10-31-2012, 10:59 AM   #286
Nictrolis
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Subscribed!

Oh man, Winter Texans - my grandmother lives down in that southern tip, but she's a full-timer. Crazy place! You don't get tortillas like that in New England.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:17 AM   #287
tricepilot
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Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
And Tricepilot is head of flight operations.
As head of flight ops I am taking Vinny off the mission board for some well deserved R&R and I am taking his seat on the 747 even though the Boeing jet I'm qualified on is a wee bit older.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:35 AM   #288
crashmaster
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Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
As head of flight ops I am taking Vinny off the mission board for some well deserved R&R and I am taking his seat on the 747 even though the Boeing jet I'm qualified on is a wee bit older.
Awesome.

You have back to back 15 day trips coming up and most likely will be working through Christmas as well. Christmas day will probably be spent somewhere in the sandbox on some nasty 20 hour duty day, min rest, flea bag hotel layover, mil charter. Also bring a watch and a calender because you wont know what day it is. Make sure you bring some food because all they put on the airplane is a cereal bar and water. If youre lucky, you'll be in Mumbai or Lagos.

Oh wait, also in a couple days you have a check ride then an annual line check with the feds. The inspector that will be giving you the check ride is also known as The Hatchet.

Your FO is brand new to the jet and one of those wannabe top gun guys that is an instant expert in a new airplane, thinks he knows everything about everything and keeps shooting his watch down, maybe you can break him in for me.

The jet you will be flying is affectionately known as "Building 580." Its pretty much a flying emergency on the rare occasion that it actually gets off the ground on the first try. Also be careful of cheap Chinese Li ion batteries. You will be hauling metric shit tons of them and if they get upset, its going to be a very bad day.

And you have about 12 Jepp revisions the size of phone books to do since I have been on vacation for a while. Gotta pay to play ya know. I'd appreciate it if you could clean my uniform stuff also.

Me, I'll be riding in Mexico with Juanito for the next 3 months if you need anything. Please wire my paycheck to us because we plan on having a good time.

P.S. I wont have a cell phone so try to stay out of trouble with the chief pilot. Remember, the good landings you can walk away from, and the great ones you can still use the airplane.

dude, you rock!

Sorry to hijack your thread Juanito, but man that Trice sure is a great guy!
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:56 AM   #289
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by Strave19 View Post
Hey John,

Glad to see you're on your way! I've been away from the forums for quite a while trying to finish up school (just a little over a month left). I need to get caught up on your trip. Hope all is well so far. Ride safe.

Still hope to see you on my way down this winter.

Sam
Hi Sam,

Good to hear from you! I'm traveling slow so you'll probably catch up if you only have to finish up this term. Are you heading out on the KZ that you had when you visited in NE? That was a sweet bike. I'd ride that to South America if I was in college and paying off student loans. That bike will get the job done.

Glad to have you along for the ride. Look forward to seeing you in the future, and as always the door is open in Nebraska anytime you head through to visit your family.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:30 PM   #290
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Originally Posted by crashmaster View Post
Awesome.
Sorry to hijack your thread Juanito, but man that Trice sure is a great guy!
Hola Vincenzo,

Not sure if you've had time to read your contract yet, but as chairman of the board of ZATA Incorporated, thread hijacking is included in the full benefits package.

In fact the best Latin America ride reports are the ones that go off the rails from time to time while the OP is stuck in the jungle somewhere off the grid or dancing with the stars at a 55+ Haloween ball in a retirement village in the southern tip of Tejas.

Suerte,
Juan
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:17 PM   #291
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Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land? I don't quite fit in to the retirement lifestyle down here in south Texas. It has been an interesting two day anthropological study of a slice of Americana that I hadn't experienced before but I am so ready to head across the border away from strip malls, manicured lawns and little boxes made of ticky tacky all lined up in a row. Actually I take that back. Some of these little manufactured homes aren't bad inside. And the people around here are friendly. And 85º and clear blue skies sure beats horizontal snow or hurricane disasters up north. I totally understand now why these snowbirds migrate down here every winter from the bitter cold of northern Minnesota and Manitoba to bask in the winter sunshine of south Texas. But compared to cranking and banking in the Sierra Madre, this lifestyle is putting me to sleep. And I've only been here two days.

But just like taking acid and heading to IHOP at 2 AM to try and figure out how to eat pancakes (hypothetically speaking), many things in life are worth checking out once if just to see things from a different perspective. Line dancing with octogenarians dressed up like goblins and witches on Haloween pretty much fits that category.

The Sherpa is itching to get across the border and split lanes with the delivery motos zipping through Reynosa. Then over to the mountains to wander around.

So as the sun slowly sets over the American flag and plumerias at the gate of this fine retirement community on the south Texas border:



And the Mexican fan palms stand as sentinels pointing the way south:



With the flags of the snowbirds waving in the breeze wishing me a fond farewell:



It is time to head further south to adventure to see what lies across foreign lands.

Filled up the bike for the ride south for 10.70, 9.77 on food and 9.73 on a nalgene bottle for the steripen water purifier. Total today 30.20.

Adios amigos,
John Downs
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:22 PM   #292
jimmex
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JD that place sounds scary. Glad you're getting out of there.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:33 PM   #293
Cal
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John
A lot of my friends are snowbirds in those winter parks and when I show up on my bike headed to Mexico they think I am nuts! I still like to stop and have a beer with them on my way through. Sadly I am working this winter
Saludos
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:23 PM   #294
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by jimmex View Post
JD that place sounds scary. Glad you're getting out of there.
Hi Jimmex,

JD and Tricepilot spoke highly of you.

Now THAT's scary.

Hope to see you down the road sometime.

Suerte,
Juanito
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:28 PM   #295
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by Cal View Post
John
A lot of my friends are snowbirds in those winter parks and when I show up on my bike headed to Mexico they think I am nuts! I still like to stop and have a beer with them on my way through. Sadly I am working this winter
Saludos
Hi Cal,

Yes there was a metric ton of prairie Provincial license plates in the Walmart parking lot this afternoon.

And don't get me wrong, these retirees from the northern plains and the Canadian prairie are salt of the earth, honest, and good people most of whom have worked their butts off all their lives.

It's just not my idea of a good time.

Cheers,
John Downs
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:49 PM   #296
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One thing I like to do the when I get to a new country is to familiarize myself with what the currency looks like and the current exchange rate. Then I convert the bills to dollars in my mind so I have a vague idea of their approximate worth.

For instance tomorrow in Mexico the exchange rate is roughly 13 pesos to the dollar. And the currency looks like this:



Mexico uses the $ sign to denote pesos and the ¢ sign to denote centavos. There are 100 centavos in a peso.

So the blue $20 peso bill is worth 1.50, the maroon $50 peso bill is worth 4 bucks, the red $100 peso bill is worth 8 dollars and the green $200 peso bill is worth 16 dollars.

I don't get $500 peso or $1000 peso bills:



They are too hard to change in small tiendas (shops) and in remote villages. When I go to Casa de Cambios (money changers) I hand back the $500 peso and $1000 peso bills they try to pawn off and get two thirds $100 peso red bills:



and one third $200 peso green bills:



The green 200 peso bills are easy to change at Pemex gas stations since they have lots of change. I have gotten stuck with 500s before and they are impossible to change in small remote villages. Nobody is going to give you all their change for a taco when you hand them what is equivalent to a 40 dollar bill for a 90 cent item.

Coins are easily confused. They all look similar the first day:



Once again I convert them in my head to something I can relate to. It used to be easy when a dollar was worth 10 pesos. 1 peso coin was a dime. 5 peso coin half dollar. 10 peso coin a buck. 20 peso coin 2 bucks etc. I still go by that even at 13 pesos to the dollar. It's just easier on your brain. You don't see too many small centavo coins. Mainly the 50 centavo which I think of as a nickel. And because the coins are different sizes you soon know the difference between a 1 peso and 10 peso by feel. It takes a few days though.

Hope this is helpful.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:03 PM   #297
TUCKERS
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Yeah we were just there. 500 pesos was $38. Not much use for a 500 note in daily use as you say. I like the 200's best. Before long you have a pocket full of smaller stuff. The exchange rate is nice for us @ 13. Mexico is a bargain again.
Thanks for keeping tally with us....it's a nice bit of info we don't always get. It will be interesting to see how the budget goes as you go....................south....................... ............... Good for you Man, I applaud you.
Keep your head up, DON'T ride at night!....ever.......too many broken vehicles and animals. Well you know that, you've done it before.

Ride on JD ride on
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:44 AM   #298
Throttlemeister
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Premex stations are your Casa de cambios They are perfect place to break the big ones and have lots of money.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:02 AM   #299
rtwpaul
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hey this is good you are getting closer and i haven't moved for weeks, maybe a chance of meeting up this side of the darian
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:46 AM   #300
JDowns OP
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hey this is good you are getting closer and i haven't moved for weeks, maybe a chance of meeting up this side of the darian
Hola Paolo,

I still check out your ride report regularly and have been enjoying your photographic montages immensely. I have no doubt our paths will cross. If not Centro America then America del Sur.

Suerte,
Juan
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