Riding down to Mexico and more

User avatar
scottieh
Financial
Financial
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:58 am
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 1988 XT600Z 3AJ
1985 XT 600
1980 TT500
1981 TT250
Previously Owned Bikes: 1982 XT550
1989 Yamaha Virago 750
1994 DR650
1980 Suzuki GR650
1997 KLR 250
1986 Honda Spree
Location: Salt Lake City

Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by scottieh » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:44 pm

I'm writing this on a mobile phone so forgive the typos and truncation. Hopefully i can write a longer post in a few days, once we find a place to land for more than a day or two.

About two months ago my girlfriend and i left our jobs and homes in salt lake city to drive our 1985 and 1986 XT600's down to Mexico and central America.

We spent a month or so in California fixing the bikes with a new monoshock from YSS, chain, sprockets, brake pads, brake caliper, and a lot of other general maintenance. We also finished a handful of documentaries about honey bees which i will post when they are online.

After California we entered the Baja Peninsula and cruised around the desert and coast intermixing salt and sand in our chains and brains. I currently hate the ocean. Give me a mountaintop and a rain storm anyday over a sweaty tent and sand in all of our clothes.

We spent about 12 days in the baja and then took the ferry across to Mazatlan. Riding up into the mountains to Durango was like being injected into the mountainside. The roads are so windy and steep and the trucks always cross the double yellow line if there was even a line in the road.

In durango Sharah got bit by an alley dog and we left quickly. Beware the alley dog. We found hot springs in many small towns and food and camping costs went down. Compared to the Baja the interior of Mexico is very cheap.

We drove through Guadalajara like maniacs fleeing more dogs and got back up into the mountains again where the mezcal is practically free, the queso is fresco, and the cervezas are $1.00.

We are driving to Mexico City next and then Oaxaca for a month long working vacation on a horse trail riding ranch. Then Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. We haven't decided if we will go to Colombia yet. While the food may not cost much traveling isn't cheap.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
Mezo
Dashingly Handsome
Dashingly Handsome
Posts: 5231
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:01 am
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: XT600Z 3AJ
Previously Owned Bikes: Honda SS50, Suzuki TS50, Honda CB100, Honda CR125RZ, Yamaha YZ125, Kawasaki KX250, Suzuki TL1000S, Ducati 900SS, Ducati 900SL, a few Tenere`s.
Location: KYOGLE
Contact:

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by Mezo » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:08 am

Nice one Scott, i have also opened an account at IMGUR,
It is great to see your posts again (some of the best on the forum) please do some of the older ones mate. :pleasesir:

Mezo.

User avatar
scottieh
Financial
Financial
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:58 am
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 1988 XT600Z 3AJ
1985 XT 600
1980 TT500
1981 TT250
Previously Owned Bikes: 1982 XT550
1989 Yamaha Virago 750
1994 DR650
1980 Suzuki GR650
1997 KLR 250
1986 Honda Spree
Location: Salt Lake City

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by scottieh » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:56 pm

Mezo wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:08 am
Nice one Scott, i have also opened an account at IMGUR,
It is great to see your posts again (some of the best on the forum) please do some of the older ones mate. :pleasesir:

Mezo.
Thanks mate. What do you mean by "do some of the older ones?"

jibber
A Very Friendly
A Very Friendly
Posts: 1009
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:29 pm
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 2 1vj's, 2 3aj's none complete and a mountain of parts
Previously Owned Bikes: Quite a few
Location: Gloucester. UK

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by jibber » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:46 pm

:congrats: :congrats: :goodjob:
I want to know where you find a bird like that :sherlock:

User avatar
scottieh
Financial
Financial
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:58 am
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 1988 XT600Z 3AJ
1985 XT 600
1980 TT500
1981 TT250
Previously Owned Bikes: 1982 XT550
1989 Yamaha Virago 750
1994 DR650
1980 Suzuki GR650
1997 KLR 250
1986 Honda Spree
Location: Salt Lake City

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by scottieh » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:08 pm

Jibber, the secret is that you need to ditch all the others who don't want to go until you find the one that does. :oilleak:

User avatar
ActionManMelb
A Very Friendly
A Very Friendly
Posts: 1046
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:50 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by ActionManMelb » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:29 am

She only wants you for your Yamaha XT's! whip
"Don't worry," he said, "things could be worse ........."
So I stopped worrying and lo and behold, things did get worse!

User avatar
scottieh
Financial
Financial
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:58 am
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 1988 XT600Z 3AJ
1985 XT 600
1980 TT500
1981 TT250
Previously Owned Bikes: 1982 XT550
1989 Yamaha Virago 750
1994 DR650
1980 Suzuki GR650
1997 KLR 250
1986 Honda Spree
Location: Salt Lake City

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by scottieh » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:26 pm

Well we've made it to Oaxaca. The rides are a mix of terrible boredom, terrible speed bumps, and general feelings of discomfort.

Rarely do the highways afford the luxury of sightseeing as distances are great and the fear of driving at night in Mexico is real. The quality of the roads themselves are neither good nor consistent. Even the toll roads which are among the best in the country are full of potholes, broken down trucks, rockslides, and other unknowns around every corner.

Our only pleasures come from the days in between rides when we can actually look around and see the magnificent splendor of the country of Mexico, and it is magnificent. We try to find destinations about two days ride apart and then spend as much time there as possible, sometimes 3 or 4 days.

The more time we spend off the bikes the happier we are. We constantly joke about throwing the bikes into the ocean, off cliffs, selling them, flying them home, buying bicycles instead, hitchhiking, anything but getting back on these slow, uncomfortable vibrators.

Along the way we have been discovering the local alcoholic traditions of the different states of Mexico.

In Jalisco, mezcal is made from agave grown in large plantations and mixed with fruit and then smoked much like in Oaxaca. An unlabeled half liter bottle of delicious nectar costs $6 USD.

Deeper into the country you find pajarete, a mixed drink of coffee and cocoa powder, cinnamon and sugar, cane sugar alcohol, and fresh cow milk straight from the udder. A roadside stand of a few cows and red clay mugs draws a crowd of dozens in their Sunday best trying to work off a Saturday night hangover before or after church.

Pomegranate grows well in the damp mountains and a homemade Grenada lightly fermented with seeds still in the bottle was a prize find. The $5 bottle was savored for three days, the longest any liquor lasted with us.

Michoacan was full of goat herders and bad omens. We got lost trying to find a campsite and a random family took pity on us and gave us a place to camp for the night behind their locked gate. Later a friend would describe this own journey through Michoacan when he was almost robbed of his 1985 Yamaha FZR and killed while getting gas late at night.

Sharah dropped her bike a few times on steep drop offs in parking lots and eventually the clutch cable snapped. Luckily we had a spare and were back on the road in no time. Now we need to find more spares!

We skipped Mexico City in favor of the pyramids of Teotihuacan to the northeast. The ancient Olmec and Aztec ruins are scattered across the landscape from the city to the ocean and often Spanish churches are found brightly colored and placed directly on top of the crumbling pyramids, a ritualistic fuck you to the peoples of an advanced and powerful society. The Spanish are not well remembered in much of Mexico.

We met an Italian traveler who shipped his 1992 Africa Twin from Italy to ride from Alaska to Argentina like so many others we've met on the road. It was the first time I've had the chance to see an Africa Twin up close. Marco said that his top speeds were around 90km/h but the ride was smoother than ours. We shared dinner, some wine, and coffee and look forward to catching up with the good man again.

The country pinches down to a few hundred kilometers across as you enter Oaxaca and the mountains grow taller and closer together. The aptly named Candelabra cactus grows in the wild hills of Oaxaca and these days fiestas, fairs, and parties are ramping up as Día de los Muertos is only a few days away. A random stop in a small town brought free chicken tacos and soda while a highschool mariachi band blew their songs through the crowded, narrow streets.

We will be in Oaxaca for a month as we picked up a job on a horse ranch training their new horses to be better trail riders for tourists. Our part time work gives us food, a place to sleep, and access to one of Mexico's most wonderful states.

The future holds visions of margarita beach lounging as my parents will fly down to Belize for a week, followed by new years on the sailboat that almost killed me in the Gulf Coast two years ago.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

jibber
A Very Friendly
A Very Friendly
Posts: 1009
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:29 pm
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 2 1vj's, 2 3aj's none complete and a mountain of parts
Previously Owned Bikes: Quite a few
Location: Gloucester. UK

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by jibber » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:04 pm

In awe of you (and her)............ slywink: .........theres some great pics there, esp love the one of the balloon and the dog :bow: :bow: :bow:
:congrats: :congrats: :goodjob: :goodjob:

User avatar
scottieh
Financial
Financial
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:58 am
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 1988 XT600Z 3AJ
1985 XT 600
1980 TT500
1981 TT250
Previously Owned Bikes: 1982 XT550
1989 Yamaha Virago 750
1994 DR650
1980 Suzuki GR650
1997 KLR 250
1986 Honda Spree
Location: Salt Lake City

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by scottieh » Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:26 am

Thanks jibber. We're holed up at a horse ranch now for the month, being hunted by mosquitoes in our own beds and loving it. Many people say mexico is unsafe and there is some truth to it, but we've been here for 5 weeks and at no time have felt threatened other than by the relentless presence of the thin buzzing of the bloodsuckers hovering around our heads.

Oaxaca is especially lovely. It was said that 1% of the world's biodiversity exists in the state of Oaxaca, and it has one of the largest collections of agave species within its borders. Tequila is something many of us know about, but tequila is only made with one plant, the blue agave, and is made primarily in the state of Jalisco. Tequila's more interesting cousin is mezcal, a smoked and distilled alcohol that can be made from over 30 varities of agave often harvested from the wild mountains of small villages.

Previously made and drank almost exclusively by farmers, it has since become more popular in places like New York City or Melbourne, but the traditions of making mezcal are still family secrets. Rarely are two mezcals alike and in some towns there can be over 100 different distilleries in operation.

Farmers walk, ride horse, or drive donkeys deep into the mountains in search of the wild agaves that grow in their backyards and bring the hundred pound piñas down the mountain to be smoked in underground pits, crushed into a pulp by horse drawn stone wheels, and the liquid fermented and then distilled.

As dia de muertos passed us here in Oaxaca it was not uncommon to see at least one person at a gathering carrying around a bottle of mezcal offering drinks to strangers, and in the smaller towns, locals cradled 5 liter plastic jugs of homebrew with them, tipping their jugs to our health con gusto.

There are literally hundreds of villages in Oaxaca that are home to mezcalerias. As one might have thought of moonshiners in North Carolina or Virginia running a still down by the creek, perhaps this century's most famous moonshiners live and operate in Oaxaca's small mountain towns making mezcal. These are the kinds of places where you must drive an hour down a winding dirt road to a village of 1,000 people and if you bring your own jug you can have it filled straight from the still.

About 35% of the people speak a mixture of 7 different Indian languages each with dozens of dialects and without a guide some villages may be indecipherable. We haven't dug deep into the mountains yet but it's one of the main reasons we are here. Spanish alone is hard to master, but to learn a few phrases of Zapotec or Mixtec is necessary.

We've taken it upon ourselves to find and buy the unlabeled varieties, to find the bottles that don't have a brand, because it means that we're trying something we may never try again. A label or a name can be searched out, googled, asked about, or otherwise recognized on its own and is then expected to taste the same from that point on. But the quality of a bottle 'sin nombre is dependent on the person holding the container. If we like somebody's particular blend of mezcal then it is to that person we shall return.

As time passes and the photo collection grows I'll post some more about mezcal. Until then, death to mosquitos.

jibber
A Very Friendly
A Very Friendly
Posts: 1009
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:29 pm
What Bike or Bikes Do You Own?: 2 1vj's, 2 3aj's none complete and a mountain of parts
Previously Owned Bikes: Quite a few
Location: Gloucester. UK

Re: Riding down to Mexico and more

Post by jibber » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:41 am

Funny what you can learn on a M/C forum...no mention of the poor wormies?

Post Reply