Part 2: Solo 3200 miles through Mexico and SW US, cont. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Part 2: Solo 3200 miles through Mexico and SW US, cont.

The rest of the ride to Durango was pleasant, and uneventful. Once in town I navigated to the downtown area and looked for a hotel. Unlike in the US, Mexican hotels don’t always have bright marquees announcing their presence. As such I had to tool around a bit before I spied one. Durango is a beautiful town, although fairly large. I spent most of my town in el centro, (the center of town). There were some very picturesque moments here which I didn’t catch on film. The street sweeper walking down the street in front of the hotel with his cart, and his pet dog dutifully trailing him comes to mind, as does an evening spent in an open air pool hall on the alameda. The pool hall reminded me of National Geographic pictorials I’d seen as a child about Mexico and the American Southwest. Before leaving Durango, I got an oil change from a local Kawasaki dealer. Mine was the first Versys he’d seen, and he changed my oil and filter for the cost of the oil and filter, (about $22).





Eventually I left Durango and headed toward Zacatecas. The ride was beautiful with some nice sweeping turns and little traffic.



Upon entering this town of narrow, winding, one way streets of Zacatecas, I quickly parked the bike and sought a hotel on foot. I was lucky to find one right in the center of the old town for about $24/night. When I enquired as to whether they had parking for my bike, they replied that they did not, but the manager/owner happened to be passing through the lobby at that moment, and invited me to bring my bike into the lobby and park it by the nonfunctioning water fountain. Astounded at his generosity and my good luck, I thanked him and brought the bike inside for a rest of its’ own.
The beauty of taking a trip like this, (largely unplanned, and un-researched), is that your days will be filled with surprises. Zacatecas was one of those surprises. This beautiful colonial hill/mining town took my breath away. Every street corner I turned brought some new visual delight. People here as everywhere I travelled in Mexico were generous and interested in this gringo’s life and what he was doing in some rather un-touristy parts of Mexico.























I turned north from Zacatecas toward home. I made a dash toward Palacio Gomez, a unremarkable town in the plains of the Chihuahuan Desert. Even so, the locals were friendly when I stopped into a small cervezeria upon my arrival, and the locals began buying me drinks. Eventually I left to find a hotel, they had directed me to and checked in. That night I was treated to some elders of the town, taking turns getting up from their tables at the seafood restaurant I’d chosen to sing along with the keyboard player and his drum machine in a Mexican version of karaoke night. Most of the singers took the time to thank their audience, and graciously acknowledged the Americano in their midst this evening.


The following day I left on secondary roads tor Hidalgo del Parral, the Chihuahuan desert town which is home to the Mexican revolution, and its man of the people hero, Pancho Villa. Pancho Villa was a commoner, who killed the son of a wealthy landowner who had tried to rape Pancho's sister. Wanted for the murder, Villa fled, first turning to robbery and eventually to revolution. He was the first General in the Mexican revolution, and became governor of Chihuahua. He lived and was assassinated in the town I'm in right now. I met one of his followers here, who at first told me he didn’t care for gringos, but we ended a remarkable cross-cultural evening claiming each other as brothers. This was the common thread which bound most of my adventures on this trip through Mexico; a desire on both the Mexicans and my part to understand each other, (sometimes literally), and a consequent friendliness that I couldn’t have predicted prior to making my journey.





http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m...ODELPARRAL.jpg



Eventually I left town and headed north along a desolate stretch of two lane road, which again instilled an anxiety as to when the next gas station would appear. I made it with about ˝ gallon to spare. After a relatively quick wait in line to cross the border, I crossed back into the US at Presidio, TX.



I road east towards Big Bend National Park along what has to be one of the most dramatically scenic roads in the US. There was a sign just out of Presidio, stating that the road was closed 6 miles ahead, ‘local traffic only). I decided to investigate, and found that there was an unpaved detour road of about 6 miles which eventually brought me back to the pavement. I was able to take a couple of pictures here before my camera battery finally gave up after 5+ weeks of documenting my travels.





I spent the night in Terlingua, TX, where it drizzled rain all night. Had a nice evening with the locals in a restaurant in the old mining town. Left the next day in drizzle, which became cold fog. I stopped after about 80 miles of this and checked into a motel in Alpine, TX. Waking up the next morning I found my bike and the surrounding grasslands coated in about 1/8 inch of ice. Although it hadn’t rained all evening, apparently water molecules were coalescing on the bike nonetheless. I chipped away what I could, Started the engine once the locks were de-iced, and eventually set out on a cold morning’s ride. It was hard to believe that I’d been in a tropical climate just a few days before. As the day progressed, the sun eventually broke through, and I was back in New Mexico before the day was done.


The trip was a great adventure for me. I think traveling by myself allowed me to have many experiences which wouldn’t have happened or would have been quite different had I had a traveling companion. I took away with me a genuine fondness for the Mexican people, and a reinforced admiration of their cooking. I can recommend this trip to anyone with a modicum of familiarity with the Spanish language, a sense of adventure, and an enjoyment of other cultures.

Michael
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- Terry Pratchett

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 06:59 PM
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Very nice!! Sounds like a great trip!



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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 07:36 PM
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Geez, great. I have crossed on foot many times at Deming, gone to the Pink house, and stared south down the road into deeper Mexico. I wanna go, but can't talk my friends into it. Everybody thinks they are going to get shot! Good for you.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 07:50 PM
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Doning a trip like that is at the very top of my list of things to do before I die. Nice shots!!!

Did you do anything special to secure your bike at night? I have heard that theft is the biggest problem in Mexico. Are the smaller cities safer that places like Mexico City?

Steve

I bought a motorcycle because my wife said that I couldn't! Now I have two and she still says I can't have another one!
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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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"Did you do anything special to secure your bike at night?" I thought of bringing a lock, but in the end I forgot to pack it. I stayed in hotels that had their own off street parking lots for the most part. If a hotel didn't have their own 'estacionmiento' I would put the bike in a overnight parking lot. A friend of mine has traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America and his rule of thumb is to always make sure the bikes are parked just outside your room whenever possible.

Michael
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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"Everybody thinks they are going to get shot!" One of the reasons I sidetracked to Presidio, rather than crossing over by going through Chihuahua city and Juarez. Not just the crime, but the military checkpoints become more onerous as you travel through these areas.

Michael
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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"Are the smaller cities safer that places like Mexico City?" I think that's an axiom that's true no matter what country you're traveling in... usually. I had no problem whatsoever in any of the towns or small cities I visited, and was not shy about going into places that most gringos wouldn't dream of entering. I think you get some street cred from the locals for doing so. That said, I think it behooves you to be respectful wherever you are, and speak some of the language. Even if you speak the native language like a fool, the people generally respect you for trying.

Michael
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a link to part 1 of this trip report, in case you missed it:
http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...9307#post29307

Michael
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 09:15 AM
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Great trip report. Thanks for posting it. Nice pix too.

-Alan
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 09:27 AM
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Awesome trip and and the pics are +10...Thanks

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 10:02 AM
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Great trip! Thanks for posting up!

Any issues with the V along the way?

2007 Versys Black, V35 Bags, H&B Bars, Skidmarx Hugger.Fender Ex., Avon Distanzia, Braided Lines, Hella 65W bulbs Arrow Can, DNA Air filter, GIVI tall screen (for winter), PCIII, Baldwin Saddle. **SOLD**

2011 KTM SM-T. Crash bars, E55 Top Box, Fender extender front and rear.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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"Any issues with the V along the way?"

None whatsoever. Ran like a top.

Michael
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 04:41 PM
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Great pics! I'd defenitly LOVE to ride Mexico some time in the near future. Beach camping!


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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 08:00 PM
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Great pics, tasty scrips.....betcha you could round up a posse o V riders to south with.....hmmmmn.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 12:11 AM
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Nice trip Miguelito, looks like you had a good time.

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Originally Posted by sharrison56 View Post
Did you do anything special to secure your bike at night? I have heard that theft is the biggest problem in Mexico. Are the smaller cities safer that places like Mexico City?
Most places are pretty safe, but there is always a risk of vandalism or outright theft. When possible, the hotel will find you a place to park indoors (either they have a parking garage, courtyard or sometimes the main lobby if nothing else is available). But, I often leave my bike on the street, so far nothing has happened to it. Of course, I usually ride my V-Strom in Mexico, who'd want to steal that?

Traveling through Mexico is a lot simpler than you think. Not to hijack Miguelito's trip report, but look at these links for some ideas:

Por la Libre - Exploring Mexico's Backroads

MotoAventuras New Year's Meeting - Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Trailer Queens

Por la Libre - New Year's in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Tricepilot's...Into the Blue at Quintana Roo

Vaquero

That should keep you busy for a while...

Gustavo


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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 06:39 AM
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In all my trips I have never bothered much about security either my bike, or my gear during the day. I have left it on the street in all sorts of places, but I guess not many would want a 17 years old Yamaha and I expect my Versys is going to be somewhat more desirable to thieves.
One new thing I learned on my USA trip in 2003 was to carry an all-over bike cover. I have frequently left all my clothes and gear over the bike seat under the cover during the day whilst I was off walking, with "so far" no problems. I cover it at night on the street. It appears that out of sight out of mind. I know one day it will happen but when it does I can offset it against the years of convenience I have had.
I now have a fairly large and secure disc-type-lock which goes under the seat and locks through the rear chain sprocket, which is less easy to break off than a brake disc lock.
One of my daughters lives in Mexico and since for me I cannot realistically take my own bike I looked into renting over in Puerto Vallarta, but didn't find anything suitable. Any ideas anyone?
I guess I could ride down from USA?
Ted.
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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"I looked into renting over in Puerto Vallarta, but didn't find anything suitable. Any ideas anyone?"

You could rent a bike from these guys over in Baja, (Harley only), and take the ferry over to the mainland. Ferry is about a 6 hour boat ride, and I think it costs less than $75 US. I too have had no problem with thievery from the bike in my travels, (knock on wood), and I've left some good stuff bungied in plain sight. Your cover sounds like a good compromise in security and convenience.

Michael
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 02:43 PM
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Miguelito, where in NM are you from? I love traveling in Mexico, I wish I still lived close to the border so I can make those long weekend trips to the canyon.

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Originally Posted by Ted99uk View Post
One of my daughters lives in Mexico and since for me I cannot realistically take my own bike I looked into renting over in Puerto Vallarta, but didn't find anything suitable. Any ideas anyone?
I guess I could ride down from USA?
Ted.
Ted - where does she live? You are right, there only few rental options in Mexico (and mostly they are Harleys at the tourist spots), but I start seeing more "interesting" bikes being offered. I know a couple of places in Mexico City and I think another that is still in business in Guadalajara that rent dual sports (typically 650 singles). I don't know when you are planning your next trip, but it would be more effective to check closer to that time, as a lot of these businesses don't seem to keep their rental fleet constant.

Getting a bike in the US is an option, but I am not sure you'll find many outfits that will allow you to take it there (unless on an organized tour). Also, keep in mind that Mexico is a big country, starting from the northern border, you have several days of travel to make a place like Puerto Vallarta.

Gustavo


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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 04:40 PM
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She is in Puerto Vallarta Gustavo.
Ted.
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Gustavo, vivo en Alamogordo, pero yo soy en Santa Fe mucho del tiempo, esp. en el verano, tan un viaje al Canon del Cobre es possible en tres dias. Y tu? Donde es 'Hillsburrito'?

Michael
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