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Old 01-02-2013, 11:06 AM   #16
Powershouse
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But wait, there's more!

Actually, there is one more picture of Paul for later in this ride report, stay tuned!

Paul and I were out in front of Susan on the leg from El Meco to CD Maiz. On one short straight I noticed there wasn't anyone in my mirrors, then it was back into the twisties. On the next straight I waited for a while and still no bikes...not good. With my limited fuel range, I had enough to make CD Maiz, but not enough to double back and still get to CD Maiz. So I pushed on to Maiz, sat through the military checkpoint (this one complete with a little four wheel robot thing), rendezvoused with Paul and topped the fuel tank. Then we headed back to find the rest of the crew. They came rolling up shortly after we passed the checkpoint, so we got to do that again.

Lunch was good, once we figured out that they were asking how many chickens we wanted, not how many pieces of chicken. After lunch, Paul and I split off from the larger group. We only had a single week of vacation and our time in-country was limited. With the larger group's encouragement we set out for Xilitla.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:59 PM   #17
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After passing untold naranja trucks, Paul and I rolled into Xilitla. The first hotel we stopped at was a bit dear, and there was an extra charge to park our bikes in a garage down the street, so we pushed on and got a room on the square where we were able to park our bikes in the lobby. We found an economical place for dinner and hung out in the square people watching till bedtime. Two more bikes joined ours in the lobby - a Honda CX500 and a Harley down from Maine.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:17 PM   #18
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The bike had a dime sized hole in the engine cover. We fixed it.


Charlie and Craig with the aid of J B Weld epoxy sealed up her engine case where it had worn through while sliding down the asphalt. Peter went and got 3 quarts of oil, it took two to top it off and the bike now seems to be running fine. Sue is a real trooper and said like when a horse bucks you off, you get back on.
When I was packing for this trip I nearly left the epoxy ( Quick Steel, not JB weld ) behind. I had been carrying the same
stick of Quick Steel around for ten years and it was looking very sad. The plastic tube that it came in had dried up and cracked, it had bounced around in various cases and tool boxes for thousands of back road miles in Mexico and the western states. I never got a chance to use it. But, I thought, what the hell, it doesn't take much room and who knows,,

When Sue biffed the bike and put a dime sized hole in the case it was my chance. Charlie cleaned the case with alcohol, I think it was his hand sanitizer, about 4 times. He was very careful. I cut about an inch off that old epoxy and started kneading it, I was surprised that it was't hard as a rock. It got molded onto the case and 30 minutes later we put oil into the bike and it never leaked for the remainder of the trip.. It even survived a few parking lot drops later in the trip,, there were scuff marks on the repair. Tough stuff, it still held.

Craig

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:56 PM   #19
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A message from Techno challenged Susan

In an effort to help them catch up, we back track momentarily a couple days for a note from Susan.


"The Evening Before Day #1 of Scars are Tattoos with Better Stories
Charlie, our techno-electrico-mechanico-planner-organizer-road boss and friend is posting the actual details of our journey. I, Susan, can only offer the thoughts I had while riding through the heart of Mexico.
Husband-Bob and I trailered the K75 and the F800ST to the Pharr border in a 26 hour re-creation of youthful you-drive-I'll sleep car treks. True to that travel tradition we used our last bits of energy to grab dinner from the vending machines at the Motel 4, find the toothbrushes and drop ourselves onto the vintage mattresses. Before drifting off to sleep I had thoughts.
Travel in a group? Why does everyone have a dirt bike? And if they don't like me? What if I embarrass myself? Did I pack enough warm clothes and did I remember the sunscreen? Should an old woman with two artificial hips really be doing this?"
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:21 AM   #20
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Trouble ahead

We left Mante with the understanding it would be a long day of mountain riding to arrive at Xilitla, but the scenic route received unanimous votes.

Craig and I had “discovered” hwy 120 in 2009 on another adventure with Charlie.

Please allow me to digress a moment to that trip and publicly thank Charlie. My ’95 DR650 almost did not make it out alive. Rear shock broke twice (Charlie translates to the welder on visit #2) and rides out of the back country with Craig and I after they wired up my bike with nearby fence wire as a hard tail near Galeana. Charlie and Craig escort my bike and I off “the top of the world” road in a truck filled with cell tower workers after the second rear shock break. He teaches me that my “blown fuses” are really vibration cracks. (What? Are you kidding?) A kid’s bath sponge bought at la tienda cushions the fuse block, and no more blown fuses. Everything rattled off that bike. The muffler, the mirrors..... The bike was wired and taped everywhere. And then “that” hill in Real de Catorce. Stock gearing is too tall in that bike anyway, and compromised by my hard tail ride out of the mountains a couple days earlier, the clutch was no match for the “this must be made for donkeys only” hill when we had to stop half way up. As soon as I hit the top of the hill, I knew what I had done. How will we ever get out of here? How long will it take clutch plates to arrive? I go off and have a good cry. Vacations are supposed to be fun. This one is a character builder. The next day Charlie lifts the clutch linkage off and moves it one notch on the spline and I have enough clutch to get me back. Really? That will fix it? Sorry Annette, but I probably loved Charlie more than you did at that moment. He is amazing. I’ve been riding and wrenching on my bike for 30 years and Charlie has always there to teach me with patience and save me when I need him most. He’s a frugal guy with a heart of gold.

Here is a pic of my "hard tail" from 2009. The rocks we were riding over in the road were as big as the ones in the front of my bike in this photo. We did not get back to Galeana till way after dark that night. Thank you Charlie!




Back to 2012..



We encourage our group of 10 that the side trip to Cascades El Salto will be worth it. Stopping at the lower, most majestic falls is magical. If I remember right, it is all spring fed. Up the road further is a set of pools, and falls, and a hydro electric plant you can’t see. The restaurant (upscale) at the base of the lower falls has the best view of the falls but is not open yet. Appetizers there helped buffer the clutch problems in years past. Highly recommended by this writer.

Departing the falls, we pass through El Naranjo. We know this road is going to be a blast. Paul leads, Kevin follows, and I want to chase my friends through the corners. They are on the “one week in Mexico” plan so let’s go play now boys! 4 miles out of El Naranjo (Yes, mark that on your maps) I see water on the road after a sharp right turn and my tires slip, and then grab. Kevin is still right up front. After a mile or so, Craig is still behind me, but no more lights. Slowing doesn’t help. The hair on the back of my neck is standing straight up. Woman’s intuition. Stopping, I say to Craig “Did you slip?” Yep. U-turn for us.

Dean slowing oncoming traffic on the side of the road is our first clue someone wasn’t as lucky as we were. Susan’s down. Well, Susan’s bike is down, but she’s standing.








I’ve only known her less than 24 hours. Betty points to blood on the side of the road. The elderly female homeowner at the landing point is speaking Spanish very, very fast. Susan is still in full riding gear. The gloves are the first to come off, and her left hand is oozing blood between her knuckles. “I can’t look” she says. I can. A 3/4'” gash that is going to need stitches. She claims she doesn’t want to ruin our trip. Some gauze from my minimal first aid kit and some electrical tape mend her till the medical clinic in El Naranjo. Her gloves had no cuts in them. Just her skin.

When a local graciously whisks her off towards stitches, repairs are started and road inspection begins. Algae! There is so much water coming up through the pavement with no visible cracks and algae has begun to grow. And it is very, very slippery. Craig and I had an experience with algae on a water covered bridge in the Copper Canyon. It’s so fast, and so unexpected. (Thanks for not hitting me when I was down and sliding Craig, and sorry about making you hit your brakes and crash too). Charlie translates the homeowner’s words. Not the first motorcycle crash here because of Algae. 4 miles west of el Naranjo, and the corner has a school crossing sign just before it. Just saying………


Peter and I head back to town where we hope to find cell reception and make contact with Bob and Sue. Peter not only procures the oil, but helps me focus and attempt our first phone calls in Mexico that aren’t going smoothly. Their numbers Charlie gave me before we left home won't work. But Bob calls, and we connect. I wait for them at the Pemex while Peter delivers the F800ST a fresh drink of oil.




Helmets save lives




The road to Maiz is a beautiful uphill climb with motorcycle friendly turns. There has been no sign of Paul and Kevin in a long time. But a couple headlights are coming our way, and frantic waves look suspiciously American. They loop in behind us, and Paul says “we knew where we might find you” They slipped too.

Dear Road Department of Mexico, please install a warning sign west of El Naranjo for motorcyclists.

There can be no road signs for movable obstacles in the road. These donkeys are enjoying the shade




We arrive in Maiz behind schedule and hungry. Betty mentions during lunch her bike is “bucking like a horse” and the ride up to Maiz was most unpleasant for her. Peter is off for a test ride, displaying a jaw dropping bucking motorcycle in front of the lunch crowd. What the heck?????? Under a shade tree it is determined it is serious enough to stay in Maiz tonight. Paul and Kevin don’t have time to spare if they want to see the mountains they have driven so far to see in the one week they have. We wave good bye and have taken our last pictures of them. We stay a day or two behind them. The beauty of internet lets us know they are OK, and we should hurry up! It’s beautiful ahead.


Betty’s bike problems are a blessing in disguise for Susan. She doesn’t know us. She is horrified she crashed. We assure her algae can be ruthless and to an unsuspecting motorcyclist with the wide smoother tires of her street bike, it wasn’t her fault. She’s got time to soak up some shade, let the pain meds work, read a good book, attempting to relax. We don’t know yet that she has two new hips and more concerns than we are aware of.

Betty’s plugs come out. Coal black. Dean’s got spares. Carb comes out. Everything looks just fine. Carbs go back and we search for lodging.





Betty and her stepson Peter (cross out stepson, Betty prefers son, true to her heart) display our lovely rooms. They score a toilet seat! This won’t be our worst motel. No wifi tonight.





Parts start flying. One of the selling features presented by Linda and Craig to take her DR650 was interchangeable parts for trouble shooting. CDI is easiest. Nope. Coils. Nope.





Peter races off after each parts swap down the dusty side street in front of the motel. He truly delights in the speed bumps, catching air with each one. You could see the smile through the back of his head. He’s been riding since he could walk, and his natural ability is evident.

We have run out of parts, and it is still a bucking motorcycle. We resort to the air intake. It is noted that Betty’s fuse case for her electric jacket is right in front of the snorkel intake. A nice little air block maybe? How about the air cleaner? Her bike problems became significant as she climbed in altitude. The maid the next morning could probably describe the amount of oil in the filter by the amount of oil residue in the sink. Peter silently apologizes to her.

The bike can breath again! Peter has his favorite ride down the dirty road as night falls. He returns with his biggest smile. Tomorrow will be a better day.


We collapse under thin bedspreads.

Linda

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Old 01-03-2013, 05:52 PM   #21
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Leaving Cd. del Maiz for Someplace

No dog today, Dean was too busy.

Dean Sez:

A bright sunny morning after a decent nights sleep. Plenty of hot water in the shower. It was good that Charlie realized to remove the roll of toilet paper from the bathroom before showering as there is no shower curtain and the splashing water covers every bit of the bathroom.

A slower start this morning as it is not that far to Xilitla. At least one upset stomach in the group, but hopefully nothing serious. Roomed next to us was a sombrero salesman and his driver, the young driver spoke with Charlie a fair amount. He was concerned for our safety, and wished us a sincere safe trip. Hopefully today will be an uneventful travel and sightseeing day.


As much as we complained about Cd. Maiz, the ferreteria left a good impression. We needed some short 5mm screws for the airbox on Betty’s bike so I went shopping. At the ferreteria they found some longer ones and broke out a new bolt cutter to shorten them for me. They refused to charge me for them. Nice guys.

Linda found some info on Tepeyac where there is a giant mosaic mural. It was on the way so we went to look at it. I’ll let her provide the detail, but part of it looked like this.



We returned to Cd. Maiz for lunch (Tepeyac wasn’t EXACTLY on the way) and then headed south after a short tour of Cd. Maiz neighborhood streets. It was pretty clear at this point that we wouldn’t make Xilitla.

At Rayon there is a new bypass for Mex 70 so you don’t have to go into town if you don’t need gasolina. We did need it. After gassing up we headed for Cd. Valles. This is another fun road, but the sun was getting low and there was a lot of traffic. As we got spread out in the traffic I got a little stressed thinking about what might be happening behind me, but we all made it.

If you look in Google Earth you will see that the new bypass will eventually feed into a whole new route to Cd. Valles. It doesn’t look nearly as fun as the existing road.

In Cd. Valles we stayed at the Sjoerd B. recommended Hotel Saja. It’s pretty much in the inner city and has lots of stores nearby in case you need something.

Tomorrow we’ll see if we can make it to Xilitla.




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Old 01-03-2013, 08:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Throttlemeister View Post
Nice to have you and Dean staying over for the night, always a pleasure to host some finer ADVers like yourselves

Looking forward to rest of the story and Xilitila, one of my favorite places in Mexico
We should get there pretty soon. We are almost as slow with the report as we are on the road.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:48 PM   #23
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Meanwhile, in Xilitla...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwc View Post
We should get there pretty soon. We are almost as slow with the report as we are on the road.

Paul and I planned to take a quick look at Los Pozas, then come back and load up the bikes and be on our way. So we grabbed some fruit for breakfast and worked our way through the school traffic to Los Pozas. We went the back way through town and down a rocky road. I enjoyed the rocky road on the X-Challenge, but Paul had to take it slow on the Versys - which proved to be a problem when we encountered our dog-of-the-day. I was able to goose it and out run the beast, but Paul had to mind the rocks and the mangy cur clamped on his leg. Seeing as we were on our way to clamber about the sculpture garden we were only wearing sneakers and light pants rather than boots and riding gear, so Paul was keenly aware that the dog had chomped him.

We got to Los Pozas before they opened up so we had some time to kill. We visited with some other early arrivals, two guys from Monterey who were nearby working on a crane project and decided to take the tour. We visited with them a bit and we pulled out maps and talked about places to check out and places to stay away from. Then the gates opened and we started touring.

What a place! Paul and I had originally planned to take a quick look, but we ended up spending most of the morning there. We decided to go to plan B - spend another night in Xilitla, take a day trip in the afternoon and be back in time for dinner with the rest of the crew when they made it to town. Off we went south to Tamazunchale and west on 85 then on back to Xilitla.



A quick visit to the interneto and we learned that the group wasn't going to make it that evening, but we passed on a hotel recommendation and made our plans for the next day. Sad fact was that us short-trippers needed to start working our way back north.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:28 PM   #24
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Love RR!

Great ride report but I have a problem with the pink color fonts, can't read them. Due to the settings on all readers preferences, maybe you should stick with just black fonts.

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Old 01-04-2013, 09:45 PM   #25
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Mural El Tepeyac to Cuidad Valles

Betty departs the motel early in a pair of running shoes. She’s off to see how the town of Maiz wakes up. She returns with a runners glow.

The setting sun and very hungry bellies left Betty’s bike healed but unfinished. Dinner waited for us down the street in a woman’s house. She wasn’t too excited to see us. It was the end of a long day for her too. The old guy watching the TV in the same room we were eating jumped up every now and again to help her out. In Mexico, you are a guest wherever you eat. The check won't arrive until you ask for it. We have forgotten this custom and sit there till we remember. A peak in her kitchen at the end made you understand efficiency. She had it dialed in, and the food was good. She smiled when we handed her a wad of pesos’ and left a generous tip.

Peter’s frolics down the dusty streets also dislodged the nuts from inside the air box that held the cover in place. We never thought of that one. Charlie made his way to the nearby store the motel owner directed him to.

The motel owner attempts to teach me right and left, grabbing a pen and my hands. The results.



Dean’s notes say the San Jose hotel in Maiz was $225 pesos’ or about $19.00 for the night.

We are close to El Tepeyac, and the mural. In 2009, I had made a u-turn to take a picture of a burned out cement building in the town in the right place. There was the mural! We would have missed it had I not turned around. We were not intending to be in this area, but my clutch issue sent us away from Charlie and the boys towards flatter land. It was another must see we put on the list for the group. Since we thought Paul and Kevin were gone from Xilita (no internet to tell us different) we were not in a hurry to head in that direction, this would be worth the detour.

Mural de Tepayac has to be on your list if you are in the area. Someone noted in the group that the buildings had all been picked to pieces, but the two separate murals were left untouched. Did the people think highly of this man? If you look closely at the tiny, glass pieces in the mural, you notice the same man is repeated in many areas. The 30 mile detour is worth it. Everyone is walking around with their jaws dropped. Should it really be called a mosaic?




















The second mural is made with 1” rocks. They are very different. Imagine the artist working in two different mediums and still having the ability to keep the scale right.




Peter runs around the grounds a bit before we depart. Again he looks like he was born on a bike.


Bob does a little research on Mural de Tepeyac when we return and finds this:

About the ranch and town.

http://www.en.nuestro-mexico.com/San-Luis-Potosi/Ciudad-del-Maiz/Areas-de-menos-de-500-habitantes/El-Tepeyac/

About the rich guy.

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://desdeelcerrodelasilla1.blogspot.com/2012/03/un-siete-de-marzo-se-estrellaba-jorge.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3DTepeyac%2Bmural%2Bmexico%2Bciudad%2Bd el%2Bmaiz%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefo x-a%26hs%3DDTl%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3Dd%26rls%3Dorg.mozill a:en-US:official%26biw%3D1318%26bih%3D739&sa=X&ei=7-i_ULfgBaKZ0QGviYGoDg&ved=0CDsQ7gEwATgK

The motel operator had a map hanging in the office with a pic of the mural. It also had a picture of Casa del Grall and she claims it is very beautiful.





We turn right about ½ way back to Maiz and head to the town of Palomas. The road is very rough and missing much of its pavement. I worry about Susan behind me. We can easily dodge the potholes or roll through them, but her suspension isn’t as forgiving. I’m not worried about Bob. He’s a guy!

We roll into the tiny town and Charlie inquires with a man on the street. Casa del Grall is back at the very sharp turn just before you enter town (one block away) and down a dirt road, maybe 3 miles. The group makes a u-turn, and pulls off on different sides of the roads. Susan isn’t up for the dirt and has a good book to keep her company she says, but the group is hungry and Maize will have lunch.


A group of 8 will overwhelm a restaurant. We split up for efficiency. Bob, Susan, Dean and I opt for fish at Mariscos La Jarana. The restaurant is very clean, and the owner and the helper can be seen cooking for us behind the counter. It was absolutely wonderful





The church in the square in is Maiz is supposed to be wonderful. We don’t have time to stop.


Charlie leads us out of town towards Valles. Betty is running a Garmin Zumo with no special maps and without Charlie’s tracks. He’s making loops. Betty has better maps, and can direct us out of town. Betty and Charlie become a tag team for correct directions to travel for the rest of the trip.

We know we won’t make Xilita tonight. The road to Rayon is unimpressive. Turning left on 70, we head towards Cuidad Valles. Charlie leads and I am following. He’s riding a wonderful pace and I have a big smile on my face. He’s easy to pick out in the distance when we get separate several times by truck. The white sides of his city cases really stand out.


I’m in heaven. Motorcycle nirvana. We just kept dropping and dropping and dropping on perfect curves. We pass many signs for waterfalls, but I never see a blinker from Charlie. Stopping at a sign near the bottom and I shout to Charlie that the ride down was just what I came for and wasn’t that fabulous? “NO” he says. And I think he’s kidding. Old mother hen can’t keep track of all his chicks with the truck traffic on the road and he’s not happy.


This can’t be. Charlie too must enjoy this vacation, and later the decision is made to divide into two groups of 4 starting tomorrow. Charlie and Craig’s GPS track work before departure will give us a good chance of ending up in the same town.


Cuidad Valles is a huge, bustling city with tons of traffic. It’s flat. Charlie instructs us in advance that if we lose the group to STOP RIGHT THERE and don’t move. Someone will come back and get you. If you drive around in the city, we may never find you he warns. Following him the wrong way down a one way street, we all make it into the parking lot of hotel SaJa without dying.
We wonder off to El Nortio patio café for dinner.








Tomorrow, Xilita

Linda

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Old 01-05-2013, 04:31 AM   #26
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Following along. We are headed down to the same general area end of the month. Hoping to get down to Barranca Tolantongo. But more likely Xilitla (if the boys keep slicing off days). Already marked the danger seep on the map. 4 miles west of El Naranjo. Check. We have those snot slick crossings in Texas, too. End up riding every part of the bike but the seat if you're not careful.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:32 PM   #27
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Cd Valles to Xilitla

Door of the day, Dean was having trouble finding dogs.



Today we will go to Xilitla. It is the location of Las Posas, a site with many strange concrete “sculptures".

http://tinyurl.com/Las-Pozas

We ate breakfast in the hotel dining room, which was pretty basic, but the food was OK. Eventually we got on the road and had a little problem right away. I had the group well enough trained from last night that they would follow me down a one-way street the wrong way so we did that right out of the hotel because it was shorter. Unfortunately I needed to do a little more training, because the first time I ran a red light only about half of them followed. We’ll have to cover that at the next planning meeting.

We broke into two groups of four pretty quickly on Mex. 85. It’s pretty busy and a bigger group would have been a problem.

[Edit - in a later post Linda will correct some of the above. I blame any errors on several things; Dean didn't take any notes this day, I suffer from CRS syndrome and I have the firm belief that a story doesn't have to be absolutely true to be a good story.]

About halfway to Xilitla Dean, Susan, Bob and I took a right to visit Aquismon. It’s an interesting looking place that is the center of some natural attractions. We just went to the centro and took a snack break before moving on. There were many vendors selling all sorts of "stuff". While some were eating and people watching, others shopped. I could spend more time there.

We managed to find our way to Xilitla and the Hotel San Ignacio (again recommended by SB). This was a nice, clean place run by somebody’s mother and she ran a tight ship. No smoking and no alcohol. The secure parking was inside, at street level and carefully watched by La Dueña.

La Dueña giving Dean his marching orders.


After settling in we walked around town for the rest of the day.

This young lady was the tourist information booth attendant. She was very helpful, suggesting places to eat and see.


Dean and I just got the info and left, not wanting to hang around and appear to be dirty old men with lust in our hearts.

We will stay in Xilitla tomorrow to tour Las Pozas.

Track Info



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Old 01-05-2013, 09:14 PM   #28
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Great RR - very much enjoying it. When you're all done with this little adventure - set your sights on Asia. My wife and I are also from Minnesota and are on company assignment in Shanghai for 2 years. We miss riding here in China as the government makes it very difficult for foreigners to ride here. Planning our first trip to Northern Thailand in a couple months. It would be great to do a group effort on an agreeable Asia route - give it some thought.....
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:03 AM   #29
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Charlie,
Are you just getting around to posting this or are you still in Mexico? Could have sworn I met you and the group in San Miguel in Dec.

Art
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:03 AM   #30
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Charlie,
Are you just getting around to posting this or are you still in Mexico? Could have sworn I met you and the group in San Miguel in Dec.

Art
Hi Art,


We're home, we are just slow.

Linda did some mini-reports from her phone when we were on the road, but our fans (both of them) wanted more, so here it is.
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