It has always been the moto travelers Achilles heal – there is never enough time to do everything – so you have to make a choice. Our choice is to move east then swing down to Chiapas and the Guatemalan border. I think it has taken us all by surprise how high Mexico City is (7,500 feet) and the mountains that surround the city as we move south hitting heights of almost 11.000 feet. It is hard to really express the exhilaration of working your way up though pine forests and the sweeping curves as we descend, only to climb again – a moto travelers dream. Matthew and Mike took a detour to the BMW dealer in Mexico City to deal with his side case and brake cable – fixed the former, but had no luck with the rear brake – so Matthew continues to ride without rear brakes.
Our destinations are often chosen because of the time of the day – but this time Lee has a special request to stay the evening in the colonial town of San Christobal de las Casas and the group agreed. Unfortunately as happens from time to time the group got separated in heavy traffic and when Lee’s bike had a second backfire and stalled – I somehow missed them on my way through the city. Fortunately , when we travel we always agree on the meeting place – on this trip it is the central square – so I went there and was surprised as the hours passed not to see any sign of my friends. Finally around 9pm I got a text saying they were sitting in a bar a block away and headed over to find out why they had been so delayed – which turned out to be a road repair of the air intake blowing off its connection – a problem we had on the Baja. The road side repair went well – but leaving the guys to ride the hour and a half in the dark, something Lee swore never to do! We all agreed that despite the late evening – we would be up bright and early to hit the Guatemalan border in good time.
It is always nice to have a plan – sometimes they even work! This time however, it did not! It started well. First Try – we got Lee’s connections taken care of in a tyre shop – only to ride a kilometer out-of-town to have Lee pull over with serious back firing. So, we turn around and head back into town to find a bike shop, there in no time the bike was pulled apart and back together again. Second try we get to the same 1 Kilometer spot and the bike started acting up again – so back to the bike shop and we find it is an easy fix – so finally around 1 we head out for the Guatemala border arriving late afternoon.
Kid attitude before
Kid attitude after
Ok my friends. Now we have to push it. Mexico is a huge beautiful country. I wish we had more time to visit because the thing to see are endless. After crossing the sea of Cortez from La Paz to Topolobampo with a ferry that took 8 hours we meet Mike, Richard, and Alfonso in Mazatlan. Mike will be joining us for the rest of the trip until Costa Rica. Alfonso and Richard are heading back north. The riding itself is not that great as we are travelling along the highway 15 south. We are heading toward Irapuato to get the rear case for Matthew’s BMW that broke off on the road of terror and my new license plate. I lost the plate somewhere in the desert in Baja California a few days back. In Baja we met some riders that have really helped us out by getting what we needed. A special thanks goes to Edgar, Gustavo, Ruben, Hiram and Sergio.
Lee on the ferry from Baja to Topolobampo
Cathedral of Irapuato
Cathedral of Irapuato
Last night we stayed in the city of Ocatlan. Unfortunately i experienced a terrible tooth hake. I decided to have that looked after because the pain-killer we have with us didn’t seem to solve the problem. In the city of Irapuato, I ask where i could find a dentist. As soon as i entered the office the doctor was watching some youtube videos on his computer. It felt like going to the barber. First come, first serve. No one in the waiting room. I explain my situation. The video below explain better what happened next.
Feeling the pain
arrive in Baya de los Angeles and decided to stop for dinner at a restaurant called Guillelmo. Matthew and I opted to camp on the beach while Lee took a room above the restaurant. I wondered into the kitchen and struck a conversation with the chef. It turned out that he was from Italy and in 1968 he travelled from Italy to India on a motorcycle. Lee and Matthew started a conversation with three couples from Arizona and they were traveling north so I asked them the condition of the road from Baya L.A to Santa Rosa. They informed us that a new road was completed last year and was in great shape. When I plotted the route with my usual method on Google Earth it was supposed to be all dirt. With this new information we took it easy the next morning. GUESS WHAT, the road was just as I expected. Only worse.
The road took us through the Egidio Desert. Deep sand, rocks,and dense cactus forest topped off the intense desert heat. What an experience ! After about 100 KM In this remote beautiful place I see Matthew in the distance on his knees next to the rear tire of his tire. In my mind I thought he had dropped the bike and was inspecting the damages. It turned out that he was trying to extinguish a fire. His rear brakes caliper was on fire. I wish I had a camera to show Matthew’s expression.
I never saw this happening in my life. Aluminum on fire.
Needless to say, driving through this challenging mountainous terrain is almost impossible. Lee and I were surprised how Matthew was able to drive his ” light ” BMW through this path. I was fully prepared to camp out in the middle of the desert as it was getting late and we were not be able to navigate the road in the dark. A crash on this road could mean the end of the trip. After 20 KM our “Angels” provide for a beautiful, one of a kind ranch in the middle of nowhere. We pull up to the gate and all is dark. Off in the distance we see a cowboy approaching the gate not certain on how we would be greeted. It turns out that Oscar, the owner of Ranch Escondido, is not only super friendly, but a great chef. As he is opening the gate with the flick of a switch the all Ranch was lit up with beautiful lights. We felt like we were on a Hollywood movie set. John Wayne eat your heart out.
Up at 7 this morning to travel along a road that I looked over on goggle earth. This road takes you along the coastline. Beautiful road with high winds and blowing sand made our ride a bit more challenging than expected but it was absolutely amazing. The color of the desert mixed with the pristine ocean made it like we were riding on a different planet. None of us ever rode through this part of Mexico and we are all very exited to be here. About 2 Km from Alfonsina, just before a military check point, Lee’s bike started backfired and the died. What a bummer. After a short consultation we decided to call Fabrizio, my good friend and mechanic from KTM in Italy to help diagnose the problem. Still unable to solve it we make ourselves a lunch along the way and decide to tow Lee’s bike to the closest gas station. At that point we think that the engine was starving for fuel and think the fuel pump might be our problem. Thank god we have a spare one with us and we change the pump. Still no success. The bike would not start. It could be worse but Alfonsina is truly beautiful place. There is a small hotel and restaurant waiting for us for the night. Tomorrow will be another day. We will call Scot in Victoria and try to get the bike working again and keep on riding in this great part of the world.
Fixing Lee’s bike
After an amazing breakfast prepared by our most generous hosts Craig and Rose, the neighborhood gather in front of the house to send us on our travels.
We then rode Highway 111 to Mexicali to cross the border into Mexico. The plan was to make it to San Felipe just 140 Km south. San Felipe is a charming little village on the sea of Cortez. It looks like it was a popular destination for tourist in the past. As we ride into town we pass many resort like dreams that somehow never were completed. Many complex were abandoned.
Of course we had to celebrate the entry into Mexico with a few Mexican margaritas but decided to have an early night.
As usual it start early in the morning. By 8.30 AM I am on the road again heading south. The road is still magnificent. Talked to Matthew over the phone and he was wondering weather I would be able to make it by the next couple of days. I am supposed to meet Matthew and Lee in Indio California. Still a long way to go for me so I decide that when I will reach San Francisco I better leave this great road (California #1) and get on the highway # 5 south toward Los Angeles to make it on time.
The ride from San Francisco to Indio is monotonous as I follow I 5 all the way. I spend the night in a motel on the way. I am 150 miles from Indio California which gives me plenty of time to meet the guys in the early afternoon the next day.
The following afternoon I arrive in Indio and go straight to change my tires at the mechanic. There I meet Matthew, Lee, and Matthews’s friend Greg. The plan is to stay over at Greg and Rose place for the night and leave first thing in morning for Mexico. I personally wish to thank Greg and his wife Sharon for the great hospitality in their beautiful california home. I had the best ahi tuna I ever had in a very long time. We set in their garden by the fire for a drink until it was time to go to bed and get ready to enter Mexico the following morning. A truly pleasant evening. Thank you.