Monday, November 29, 2010

Just got back from some pretty good Chili Relenos in Las Cruces...
Midland, TX was an interesting overnite stay with one of the old STOC e-mail list members from way back...Ronnie Bowen.


Ronnie is a master clock builder/restorer and can fix or build just about anything.


Here is what used to be ..."a pile of rust"... Ronnie restored it to better than the original John Deer cash register it was. I even got to crank it...CHA CHING!


He even has one of the largest and maybe THE largest collection of Sheriff and Police badges in the USA. Over six hundred of them, some over a hundred years old


More pics with captions here:
[url]http://picasaweb.google.com/Digiamo/20101129#[/url]
I'm in Las Cruses now trying to warm up after a really cold head wind was beating on my all day. It's OK, it just gunna make Mexico feel that much better.  :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Memorial Breakfast in Dallas

Thanks Sandy for a great breakfast Memorial gathering at your house.
It was really nice to meet all the folks who I have not met before and see Forest again.
Here are all attendee's and all the Memorial Tag items are being held up:
Click this bar to view the full image.


Here are Khris, Danny D., Dan Hill, Forest Aten, Sandy and Gene Ingram, Pete Russo, Fergie Cantu, Paul Mc Bride, Jason and Amy Fox-Jackson, and Hank Baumer 




For more pics go here:http://picasaweb.google.com/Digiamo/20101127
Tomorrow morning several riders will meet again at Sandy's house to escort me out of Dallas in the westerly direction. I'll meet with Ronnie B. in Midland, TX.
Then Las Cruses, NM.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Farewell to a brother

Hi Everyone, I am back in Dallas after a detour back to Casey IL. for services for Terry Hammond, a great friend.
We all just saw him in what appeared to be good health just a few day prior to his death by heart attack.
Terry started the Long Distance Ride To Eat Rally known as the Moonshine Lunch Run. He was also the host of the engine swap I needed to continue the trip to Belize back in April, 2010.
 Without having met him before April, he peered into my helpless eyes with his hand on my shoulder and a sincerity that crystallized the space between us "Danny, my shop and house are yours for as long as it takes...Thank you for the privileged of having this moon launch of a ride leave from my shop..." 
It was such a bitter sweet experience to have been a part of the standing room only church funeral in Casey








Prayers out for Cindy and the family. 
Thanks can be given for the privilege of having known a great man.
Enjoy the Holiday.
Dan
This interview of one of our members gives a much better idea than I could peck out, of the kind of man Terry was and the farewell given for him.
Below was copied from the ST-Owners MC forum.
Our buddies Grizz & Tom Laudermilk had a special segment last night on Side-Stand-Up (SSU) about Terry. Anyone that would like to listen to it can do so by listening to "Past Episodes" Just go to : http://sidestandup.com/default.aspx ----- click on the "Orange Thingy" below the monkey on the left side and pick the November 23rd episode # 294. It's the first segment of the show. There is a technical pause at the beginning so hang-in.Tim

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Detour

It is a sad day of grief. Terry Hammond died of a massive fatal heart attack while working his farm in Illinois.
Terry, who founded the Moonshine Long Distance Lunch ride,
 http://moonshine-run.com/Moonshine/
 became like a brother to me while I was on my ride to Belize with George Catt. He hosted the engine swap I needed to continue and complete that trip. He looked at me squarely in the eyes and said with perfect sincerity, "Danny, my shop is your shop, my house is your house. Take as long as needed and you can borrow my car [to go the 12 hours round trip] to get the replacement engine"
I had just seen Terry in what appeared to be perfect health, at the Moonshine Lunch ride in Casey, IL. less than a week ago.
I am currently in Dallas, but will drive back to Casey for the memorial/funeral. It will be about 14 hours one way.
My host in Dallas, Sandy, will be taking her car and I'll share the driving.
People are flying in for this one as Terry was a very active member of the riding community and a very high profile citizen of Casey.
I grieve, again,,, the loss of a brother.


The trip will continue with more motivation that ever after we get back to Dallas.
I pledged to Terry I would connect the November rally with the main one in April with a single continuous ride of about five months.
Here is Terry and wife, Cindy right after the completed engine swap job bach in April 2010.




Apologies for the hit and miss updates. Still getting used to the blog format.
Gotta pack for the trip north.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Monnshine, IL Ride to Eat rally

Currently at the Moonshine RTE in Casey, IL. Sure wish it would get a name change to Sunshine rally although I doubt it would help the weather outlook here.
Got the rear tire changed out to the ST1100 Exedra without a hitch since its only 10mm wider.
New drive chain and an extra tooth countershaft sprocket installed too. Bikes running great.
Whole new set of Metzler Tourances are waiting for me at Yuma, AZ along with the HID lights that needed service at Trail Tech.
The machine is running like a deer now but not when it needed a fuel delivery on I-78 in PA three hours out heading to Beckley, WV on the first day.

Terry's house had to have about forty riders in his shop for the buffet last night. Very nice time and great reminiscing about the engine swap that occurred right there before the Belize ride with George and Steve.
Just posting from a McDonald's here before the wet ride up to get the Moonburger. Not sure about the attendance yet but Terry was kinda hoping for a rainy day today so we can keep the event limited in numbers to the dedicated riders.
More as it becomes possible.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

While you're waiting...instead of elevator music...

I thought I'd post my ride to Mexico in November 2004...
...It took a lot of courage to leave Georgette for the six-week ride ahead and I have to give her a lot of credit for her support in this endeavor. What a great woman. I miss her already.
 I took two days to arrive at Doug’s place in Lutts, TN., where the hospitality and accommodations were superior in his ecologically efficient, solar heated home. He and Claudia are an inspiration to all of us to take steps toward oil independence. Steve arrived the next day from Nashville ready to roll, so off we go to Mexico as the "Three Amigos."
On day 5 we arrived at the Horizons Unlimited rally in the Copper Canyon, Mexico, which was just as fine as any I've been to. 


Grant Johnson was a very gracious host and put on some slick presentations about travel by motorcycle. One of the demos was on changing a tire on the side of the road. It was the next day that I changed my rear. I brought a new Exedra with me so I could get the experience and have the confidence only a new shoe can inspire. 

The looks, waves, and thumbs up I got with that tire on top was worth the effort alone. The social aspect of a tire change is something I am used to but did not plan for the amount of actual help I got during that procedure. Doug Kalmer was to be my right hand man but we got started before he was ready to jump in. Too much enthusiasm to wait. Jeff Jones was there through much of it.
A nagging concern lingered after our border crossing at Presidio where I asked for thirty-day vehicle and tourist permits. I did not check the papers at the border and about six hours down the road I looked and the both would expire in seven days. I suppose the language barrier and the fact that Steve and Doug asked for and got their 7-day permits influenced the clerk to write me up for seven-day permits as well. I had a persistent feeling that this was going to be a problem down the road even though I got a tourist permit extension in Obregon after the rally. This automatically extends the vehicle permit. We'll see.

I got a dose of the "revenge" combined with a fever on the second day there but was over it by the next morning. The roads that were paved were very good and we took full advantage of every curve. It was the unpaved roads that had me longing for a lighter machine. I still think I could have made the road to Batopilas with the ST but it would not have been as much fun as on a KLR or KTM. Anyway, the Louisiana folks had plenty of adventure for all of us.
On the way west from the rally our little group broke the first rule of travel in Mexico, don't ride at night. We could not find a hotel anywhere on route 16 west almost all the way to Obregon. It was a great ride with a thousand turns in beautiful scenery. The usual tug of war ensues between speed and sightseeing. Just staying with the three other bikes gave me an opportunity to take it all in from time to time.
The next evening we took the midnight ferry from Topoloblampo to La Paz, Baja where I broke off and struck out on my own, a stranger in a strange land. It was my first ride in Mexico totally alone and turned out to be the adventure I was planning for and looking forward to.

An expat American in Todos Santos gave me directions to the beautiful beach on the Pacific down, according to him, a hard dirt road about two miles. It had a bit of deap loose sand in patches which were borderline OK as long as I kept the speed up. It was about a mile in where me and my fully loaded ST found ourselves on a beach that was posing as a road lined with thorn bushes. It was then that I began to wonder where this is all leading. If I keep a speed that gave a bit of stability to this package and there turns out to be no more hard dirt, I will have to slow down anyway to either stop or turn around, at which point I will probably lose it. I decided that it was inevitable so better sooner than later. I rolled off a bit and sure enough the resulting tank slapper and rear fish tailing spooked me into further roll off. This was all it took to beach the whale in the form of a low side drop where the rear tire tried to pass the front. Actually, the baby looked like she was modeling for a magazine that might be called Beached Bikes of Baja. It was too good to pass up, the camera was the first thing off right after me. Get the lovely lady sunning herself on the hot sand. After everything was off and I prepared to do the heavy lifting, here comes a car with a Mexican family to the rescue. Since I really don't think I could have gotten her up, turned around, loaded up and ridden out of there by myself they were a welcome sight. They seemed to be very perceptive in determining my needs since there was maybe 6 words we had in common. Problema, No tengo Fuerte. Por favor. Then again the bike was perpendicular to the road and they couldn't get by without getting it out of the way. Nobody moves until she's up is the key to getting volunteers. In this I positioned her perfectly. They always say it's location, location, location. Soon as we got her up and turned around I took off without even my seat. I swerved and shimmied my way right back outa there. The only damage to the painted surfaces resulted from the nice people placing the bags in a haphazard way in the car. Painted surfaces get no precedence with this group and they had the car to show it's true. I was very grateful for the help and gave them 100 Pesos for the trouble. He took the bill, nodding a big smile without looking down at the denomination. They were happy and I was happy as I rode off with a new appreciation for hard ground if not pavement. The machine finally has character lines after 120,000 miles.
Baja is loaded with the this type of road so I probably missed most of the best sights. However, I could not miss the mountains that were more magnificent then I imagined. I didn't miss the views of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific which was bordered by miles of cactus. I couldn't get off the bike without encountering a smile. The children were especially friendly and interested in the journey.

I rode through Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of Baja where thebusyness and tourism limited my stops to a photo at the marina and anauto repair shop. I borrowed a drill to stop a crack in my Laminar Lipfrom advancing any further. They refused any cash but instead offeredbig smiles and wished me well.It was a very pleasant ride north back to the La Paz area where I spentthat night camped on the Sea of Cortez playa bonita. It was a hard surface forthe bike to within 40 feet of the tent and another 50 feet to the wavesbonita. Heaven in all directions.Three days and two more camping nights was all I needed to get up toBahia Concepcion Mulege, Santa Rosalia, and the northernmost point, SanIgnacio. I was told it wouldn't pay to go further north since thescenery gets flat.


A four-day ride through Baja was not enough to do everything that needed doing but time was short to see the Mexican Riviera, which I didn’t want to miss.

I needed to get on the 17 hour ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan at 5PM 10/23. I rode into the ferry customs at about 4PM and met with a customs employee who checked my vehicle and tourist permits. The seven-day vehicle permit on the windscreen was expired but was extended via a tourist permit extension obtained in Obregon. This automatically extends the vehicle permit and I made sure I got a copy of the letter that states such. This did not satisfy the agent at the La Paz ferry after he learned I did not know the Spanish that the letter was written in. “This letter does not say this_ This is a problem, but_ I have a way to solve it” What it boiled down to is he wanted $100 USD to solve my problem. “Don’t help me,” I thought to myself. I maintained there is no problem and there needed to be no solution. I have the letter that states this. He would not let me pass and was getting irritated that I would not play ball. “You can pass but...the motorcycle must stay here. He had my tourist permit at this point and would not give it back even though I insisted and even started a tug of war with the paperwork. I guess it started looking like it could get really out of control and at this point the dark uniform man with the machine gun started working his way over to us so I let go. The tourist permit is very important and I would not go anywhere without it so I waited to see what would happen next. He mulled over it another minute or so, possibly to see if I start in again but I felt that the right move would be to stay calm and wait for him to move first. He finally handed it back at which point I left the bike, took all of my papers and had to walk up to the ticket booth where the lady there said, “Do not give him any money. He should not be asking you for any money”. Well at least it’s not a conspiracy. I got the name of the supervisor and brought it back to the customs guy. He said “Fine, bring him here. Where is Jose Antonio”? This was his angry response while flailing his arms dramatically. I took out my handy paper and pen from the tank bag and while putting the pen on the paper asked for his name. He willingly put the ID tag that was hanging around his neck toward me for about a half second then scooted it under his arm. “AHH” I said “so there really is a problem I see.” He softened his aggressive stance to a more defensive posture and went on a bit about how he was not a bad person blah blah. I didn’t feel confident enough to do anything else and being it was late Saturday I could only think to try to talk to this guy since time was running out. At least now we are both on the same page about who is in the wrong here. “OK, if I give you $100 what do you give me? How exactly is my problem solved?” This seemed to confuse him so I asked a second and third time in different words. Suddenly he had a difficult time understanding English so I tried another approach. “$100 is too much” His response was to ask what is good for me. I said “Much less? “50" he said. “20" I said. “No deal” he said. I told him I was going into town to speak with the local customs officials and off I rode while he walked away with a cell phone to his ear. I had no idea how to proceed but I was pissed and I considered the five-day ride around the Sea of Cortez instead of paying this crook a nickel. All La Paz offices were closed for the weekend so with the last few minutes before the ferry leaves I would go back to him with a bluff that I would not rest until he is reported. I would make a lot of noise that would get him and his office in trouble. He was not there when I got back and the fellow that was there took a quick look at my papers and waved me though. No discussion was needed. It wasn’t until I got to Mazatlan that I learned what thin ice I was on with the customs guy. You do not want to have your vehicle impounded even if you are in the right. I guess I got lucky but I knew that the seven day permit was going to come back to bite me. Always get the 180 day permits even if you are going to be in Mexico for the weekend.
It was $150 USD for the bike ticket and $50 for me. It almost overshadows the bribe amount but to save the long tedious ride around the Sea of Cortez it was well worth it.
On line for the ferry the whole mood changed back to the happy travel picture that I longed for and grew used to. I encountered curious travelers and ferry employees who were amazed at the distance traveled on a motorcycle. “It’s not me it’s the ST1100" I affirmed. I met a couple of young men on bicycles who were peddling from Prudhoe Bay at the North Sea to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern tip. I hung out with these guys and found that one of them, Orian was planning to be the first man to cross Antarctica on a bicycle. I thought this was a joke but he knew what he was up against and had much of the hardware all thought out. A custom built bicycle with wide snow tires and low gear ratios. We talked into the night watching the sun set on the Baja peninsula until it was time to throw down the thermorest and sleeping bag on the top deck. I watched the stars gently rock back and forth spying a few that fell suddenly into the sea, they were not missed. It was nice to lay with the knowledge that a whole chapter was closing and a new one about to begin.
Mazatlan was in view for about two hours before docking. Orian mentioned that we are now in the tropics according to the map. The thickness of the air backed his statement up. I was excited to get around town and take some pictures, this time with film in the camera. It’s a city of many contrasts where the shoreline was set up for tourists and a couple of block in were working class or areas of poverty. I saw a group of gringos at a table on the street in front of a nice waterfront hotel enjoying Coronas. The conversation resulted in me staying there two nights. It was at one time a very classy place and is one of the first hotels on the strip. Today it is style remnants at the bargain price of 250 Pesos ($24 USD). 

I really enjoyed the service and caring I got from the manager and the help. Jose was in charge of the place and was very happy to share all the information about Mexico and the bureaucracy he had. It was here I learned more about how to handle the type of situation I was in the day before. He had a lot of great information and I found I was suffering from data overload. Then I met the unofficial mayor of the hotel, Miguel, a Canadian who was living there in an area of the hotel that was otherwise unused and deteriorated. His apartment had all of the best artifacts of the hotels heyday. He would crank out Spanish instructions to the help on how to keep the pool perfect. I was the best pool and I spent much time there. I met a few other travelers and local folks who made the stay memorable. When I pulled out of the lobby two days later the same gringos were still at the table overlooking the Pacific Ocean with their Coronas waving goodbye.

Part 6:
Next stop: Puerto Vallarta and our elusive STOC member Jose Luis Vasquez. It was along this leg that I got to see the reason the coast road (Ruta 15 and 200) was recommended. The Mexican Riviera has all the attractions and mystery needed to keep a rider busy exploring for months if not years. It wouldn’t hurt to have a dual sport bike to negotiate more of the side roads that access the beaches.
The speed bumps, called topes, are another reason to have a higher ground clearance bike. These are often unmarked but experience teaches that they show up predictably whenever there are buildings of any type or people. The construction of these topes is inconsistent so they are not always safe even if negotiated at 5MPH or less.  Some were a simple string of steel humps that looks like bowling ball halves. I am reluctant to look under the bike for fear of seeing some major damage from the many times the pipes met the topes.

I am not hearing open exhaust sounds so there are probably just some bends and scuffs. I whined about these to a local rider. He said these small towns just don’t have the police force to keep the drunks and ignorant drivers speed down. I was OK with that but they do need some sort of regulation on there construction. Say, for every unit of height they must be 10 or 12 times that in width to prevent damage to the underside. The cutouts for drainage many did have were perfect for motorcycles of course and should be there on all off them.. It was interesting the many ways I tried to get around them.
While riding in Mexico I’ve learned that if something unexpected hasn’t happened in the last 2 minutes, it’s overdue or I missed it. Roadside fires, horses and donkeys grazing on the roadside sometimes with a tether, often the rope is longer than the distance to the centerline. Often dogs take sport in the challenge of a chase.
Roadside food was always a questionable venture but I had a lot of fun at them both socializing and eating. You can’t beat the price for I rarely left more than $5 USD with tip for any meal. You may want to bring your own toilet seat though and definitely have toilet paper handy.
I met Jose near his workplace in Puerto Vallarta where he is an MD in the local clinic. He rolled up to me on his Honda VFR. He sold the ST a while back but continues to ride to work everyday and the countryside in his spare time. He gazed longingly at the ST while he recalled the pleasure he had with it. It is not the bike for the urban commute he now does everyday though. He often mentioned the other STOC visit he got from Big Wayne Phillips. I had a great visit with Jose and his lovely lady, Lety. Jose directed me to a great beach north of PV with a palm leaved restaurant right there. I visited this beach’s waves and fiddler crabs three times. I got a good rapport going with the family that runs it. The children were the most fun with their wide-eyed curiosity and smiling faces. Each received felt tip pens for their antics. It was all well worth the steep loose carratera I negotiated to get there. Guess I’m over the Baja experience.

My plan was to ride the coast along the only real road that runs from Puerto Vallarta to Zihuatenejo and that day started on a high note since I was able to get through the traffic of the city before it was too busy. It was so hot that I didn’t think I would be able to ride with the Roadcrafter. The sun would bake me in that black suit so I bungeed it to the pack, thanked Jose for a great visit and waved goodbye. The road through town was made from stones smaller than the usual blocks and it was rough to ride through. Then it all opened up to a twisty climb into the coastal range complete with thick forest. I was out about three hours when it seemed a good time to stop for a roadside lunch near a beach. There were many to choose from so I stopped where the smile was biggest after my wave. As I hop off the bike I notice there is something missing from the pack. My riding suit was not there. My whole mood changed to panic since the only way I was going to get back into the Northlands was with weather protection. I looked everywhere I had been which included a slow ride back up the same road. I was feeling like the Apollo 13 astronauts finding out the heat shield might be damaged. Dogs had a much better shot at nipping my heals at those reduced speeds and they took full advantage of the opportunity. All the way back to Puerto Vallarta and late in the day I was exhausted emotionally and physically. I called Jose and he not only took me in again but also loaned me a summer riding jacket that turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for the next two weeks of riding at least. The next day I called Rider Warehouse and ordered a duplicate suit in the High Visibility yellow with black armor areas. I was still in the computer there and since the last suit still fit well they used the same dimensions on the new one. What could be easier? Jose was looking for a new suit and after seeing the pain of loosing my stitch' and the lengths I went to replace it, he considered one for himself. The hardest part was reading off those credit card numbers. When they heard that I was on the road and needed it to get home they waived the rush order fee. It was $760 for the suit and a three-day shipping charge to the folks I met in the Copper Canyon who live in Louisiana, Warren and Carol Jackson. I was heading there anyway for the big Swamp Scooters Rally that Carol, Warren, Jerry, Cindy, Art, and Bill invited me to.  It was at a perfect time too. It started November 12th, which would put me in a good place to start looking for the weather window to ride home through. Mainly, it gave me another chance to visit these sweethearts. As it turned out sweethearts are many in those parts.
But first things first, there are still two weeks before I meet the new ‘stitch. There is plenty I can do with the summer jacket and that amount of time. I am happy again and off I go down the road to Guadalajara. I altered the plan to do Zihuatenejo next since I already rode that road twice. It has been said there are many US and Canadian retirees in Guadalajara, and I wanted to see what that was all about.

Part 7


My leaving Jose, Lety, and their great big lovable German Shepherd, Tequila, again was no less sentimental than the first time two days before. Four days and nights in Puerto Vallarta had me feeling too much at home. Either move on or move in, I thought to myself just before I rode off northward to retrace my ride up to Las Varas where I veered eastward into the high Sierra Madre range toward Compostela.
The smells while on a motorcycle tour is one of the best parts of the trip, a part I really like especially when the nose is dipped into the breeze around the windscreen. If one were blind and deaf these smells alone might be all that’s needed to determine and experience the adventure. Passing through deep forests there are the primal musty scents of water and soil where dead trees are turned back into new ones. Tropical fruit emits its perfume as it rots on the ground where it fell. Farmers burn huge piles of coconut husks sometimes mixed with their trash. Passing a family of donkeys, cows, or horses walking on the road could, I’m sure, be detected by olfactory nerves alone. Then there are the roadside eateries with their hot tamales, sopas, and smoky cooking fires inviting the passing traveler to take it all in, literally. I take them up on the offer as often as my stomach allows, enjoying the scent of each as I pass through the many small towns.
The people occasionally wave first but mostly return my wave enthusiastically. By the look of their faces, I can’t help but think that on the occasions where there is no return wave, would I wave at a passing UFO? Maybe if I saw them on a regular basis but I would be too busy taking in as much detail as possible before it passed out of site. They’re struck by the color, that’s it.
On approach to Guadalajara, a familiar sight that made me feel right at home meets my arrival, the traffic jam. My cooling fan got another workout as it did in the streets of all the major cities I’ve been to. The street vendors, taking full advantage of the inconvenienced commuters, show their wares to the drivers through the windows, and in my case, right over the tank bag. I can’t say enough about this city, mainly because I didn’t really see it. The combination of heavily loaded motorcycle and city logjams of cars and trucks turned me off completely. I opted out and headed south to Lake Chapala. Actually, I always say that if there is a lot of traffic it’s usually because there is something good close by, but I just didn’t feel like looking. What I did see was a typical old city that probably has much to offer. It’ll be there for the next trip.
Lake Chapala had a resort feel to it with its many Americans and Canadians. Again the roads to the lake are not ST friendly so I made do with the views I got from the main road. I hardly ever see a lake of this size without any boats but here it is. It’s shoreline on both the north and south sides have grass, and some trees growing near the shore and out to about 300 feet in some cases. I saw no beach and this was disappointing. I am having a beach jones that would not be satisfied for three more days. Arriving in Tizapan el Alto on the south side of the lake, sun setting, and after struggling through the miming of “Where is there a hotel?” with some very attractive and overtly friendly faces I finally found my third Jose of the trip. “Habla Englese?” I asked through the helmet. An enthusiastic “yes, I do” as he turned 180 degrees to come to talk to me. This fellow was happy to have the opportunity to send me to the only hotel in town and lend me his garage to keep the bike overnight. He introduced me to his kids and showed me his town proudly from his rooftop. For this I felt I should at least buy him dinner. Well, it turned out I took him and his kids to a local restaurant where we ate a Mexican meal that couldn’t be beat. I just said, “I’ll have what he’s having” just to keep it simple. Dinner for four was on me and came to $7 USD with the drinks. Now I know I’m in another country. Jose showed me more of the town, but from the ground level this time. He had me in a couple of disco dance halls that were doing Halloween parties, introducing me to his friends like a diplomat. We saw a fist fight outside one place where the police with their heavy artillery came screaming up a one-way street to settle it. Women shouting in that loud Hispanic chatter, low cut party dresses, and pumps that I’ve avoided on cable TV back in New York. Somehow it’s better in person. Now this is live entertainment! Just get out the video camera and Voila! Reality Television. I didn’t know what was going on but I knew exactly what was going on, the same thing that goes on everywhere and always.

Jose wanted to stop back at his house to check on the kids. It was a three-minute walk so I went with him. Everything and everyone is walking distance in town. Back at the house, from the next room, he asked if I smoke? I told him I quit about 20 years ago. He clarified “Marijuana”? “As I said I quit smoking everything 20 years ago” I repeated with a smile. “I never inhaled anyway” I joked. He didn’t get the humor but came into the room and lit a joint the size of a Tiparillo. He proudly smoked it in front of me and the kids, which I thought odd. He offered, but I explained to him that this being my first trip to Mexico I didn’t want to mar it with an arrest. “Besides” I said “It smells too green” and “Keep it as far from me as possible. I don’t want to smell guilty”. After all, my trip is a natural one and I didn’t want a bummer. I guess some families treat pot the same as liquor. The kids can be there but cannot imbibe. Who am I to judge.
After the roach was extinguished we toured the Halloween festivities with a short walk through the ghoul and witch infested town We spent the rest of the night in the local pool hall where we played a form of rotation with teams formed by Jose and a local kid against me with another kid. We were teaching the kids how to hold the cue sticks and complimenting each other’s shots. Two hours playtime for four people cost 30 pesos (<$3)
There were lingering street partying at midnight when I said goodnight to everyone. I explained that I needed to make an early start. We agreed to meet at the local church for the 7:30AM Sunday services then I found my way back to the hotel.
I was up at about 6:30AM the next day. When I stepped out of the hotel into the street at about 7:15 I entered a flow of pedestrian traffic mostly heading toward the church. The town was a beehive of activity preparing for the Sunday street market and the All Saints Day festivities which lead to the Day of the Dead, or All Souls Day festivities which take place November 2, the next day. Apparently this whole phenomenon goes from about the middle of October through the first week of November. I hit the jackpot as far as experiencing the local customs and celebrations. I did not see Jose in the crowd at church but enjoyed the services in Spanish while looking at all of the people in their Sunday best. I made my way over to his house and knocked on the door. He was still sleeping off the night before as were with the kids. I apologetically explained that it was time for me to go and he tried to get me to stay another day so he could show me more views of his town. I politely declined reminding him of the big picture of Mexico I was trying to see. I rolled of eastward toward Morellia the capitol of the state of Michoacan. There would no doubt be Day of the Dead things happening there too.

Part 8

For this story I chose to take many of the routine events and occurrences that were sprinkled throughout the ride  and give the details once instead of describing them each time they happened along with their many insignificant differences. If I haven’t already, I’d be sure to lose the readers interest if I gave a micro report of each time the bike bottomed out on a tope, a dog chased or even caught me, a smell inspired something primal within me, a pretty seniorita smiled a beginning, middle and happy ending to a nine and a half week relationship. So many times an interesting road had me lusting to wherever it would lead yet needed to be ignored due to uneven cobblestones, steep rutted dirt, sand, or gravel. So many meals caused my eyes to roll up and over with pleasure. I’ve described much of this stuff already so we can move on.
Now, the ubiquitous military checkpoints would eventually have me confident that the one Spanish phrase I memorized before I left nyc would never be needed. I looked for an opportunity to say “No tengo pistola, no tengo armas” but none came. These heavily armed boys in green were very polite and are used to non-Spanish speaking clients. Buenos dias, and gracias were pretty much all the Spanish I used. The worst of it is the minor inconvenience of having to open selected pieces of the equipment or luggage. I would keep a careful eye to make sure nothing was placed were it didn’t belong or worse, added. Along the way, I found out that the army checks are the most honest. It was said that the men in green always play it straight and my experience cannot contradict this. The best of it is letting the youths with automatic rifles ogle the bike and it’s accessories. Many of these soldiers are in their teens and the ones that speak English would sometimes tell of their dreams of a bike after they complete their military obligation. Often they would wave me through without my having to put a foot down. I would make doubly sure they were waving me through before proceeding as there is the risk of becoming target practice for the sniper on the roof of the checkpoint building or the one on top of the armored personnel vehicle.

The overpriced Cuota would get me into Morelia early so I could look around before settling on a hotel. The Cuota system in Mexico is a quick and safe way to get around the country but it ain`t cheap and the toll stops are annoying. They are worth it to save time and avoid the dangerous and damaging topes. The traffic got heavy just like in Guadalajara but was not as much of a hassle getting to the center of the city where the state capitol district resides. I parked in front of a busy and trendy looking street side cafĂ© where there were a few other bikes to keep mine company. I couldn’t find an open table and I didn’t have a clue why it was so busy so I snapped the picture of the bike while a fellow with his Harley and the Cathedral are in the background. Then I pointed out to him that the tail light on his Heritage Softtail was on. He looked at it closely and described in Spanish that it was merely the “sol” shining through. 


Well this was as good an icebreaker as any and after he caught a casual glimpse of my license plate he accepted my offer to sit and have a coffee. Turned out he is a college professor of history named Victor and spoke very little English so I thought it would be awkward but I soon found out the interest he had in me and my trip was even stronger than my interest in making a contact with someone in town to get information. It would seem evident why there are so many languages in the world after these two tongues were mimed, mangled and fudged to get ideas and facts across the table to one another. Out popped a contorted version of Spanglish. We laughed about it though, and that made it easier. He looked at my eyes intently as I went down the list of places I’ve been. This was the look we both adopted when we spoke to each other as if to tell the other that I am working just as hard listening as you are in speaking. I picked up the tab for the two coffees, which surprised him. He insisted on giving me a personal tour of the Michocan state capitol district highlights. This included a walk through the governor’s office building and the spectacular Cathedral, where an orchestra was practicing for a concert later that night. It was all very interesting I suppose but I think I liked the private tour and personal attention more. He mentioned La Noche de las Muertos, The Night of the Dead, a few times and I happened to notice a few posters that were announcing some events associated with it. I am starting to see that this holiday is a big thing here in Mexico but I still wasn’t getting the magnitude of the festivities I would find myself in the middle of.
Victor was able to ask me if I had a place to sleep that night and I told him simply, no. He offered to put me up at his house and I told him simply, OK. I may not have known what I was getting into but I didn’t care, he is a nice enough guy with a modicum of machismo so I didn’t have to wonder. Victor and I rode off touring the best of Morelia which was a pretty nice town from the looks of the streets I saw. The Viaduct, the Zoo, the highlands and the overlook were very beautiful sights to see just before he took me home to meet the family. His family was not very different than any I am used with a sweet wife, Betty, a very friendly pre-teen daughter, Tara, and teenage son with fashionably uncontrollable movie star hair. At first Betty seemed a little distant and I thought maybe she didn’t feel like having a strange guest but it turned out she was preoccupied by the holiday or something. She smiled much more after she was sure I wasn’t an ax murderer although I am not sure how she made the determination.
After watching the local state football (soccer) teem get shut-out at their home field on TV we all piled into their Ford Explorer to get something to eat minus the movie star who had to work at the local video shop. We first had to stop at McDonald’s for something Tara insisted on. Sound familiar? Then came time to cue the Mission Impossible theme song. After a great deal of traffic we arrived out in front of what looked like a bazaar with colorful banners and lights.  I was signaled to go with Betty and Tara as Victor went to look for parking. We entered a very large space where the crowd was almost overwhelming but it smelled really good. The place was about half the size of a football field and had many pillars to support the ceiling. Once inside it became our mission to split up and signal each other when four seats were found together. I chose to accept this mission though it was not an easy task in that crowd because we lost sight of each other often with the people and pillars blocking our eye contact. About 10 minutes later and after many hand signals all four of us were reunited at a long table only to split up again to various points on the perimeter of this eatery which is where all the food was either precooked or cooked to order depending on what you wanted. I followed Victor and again simply said “I’ll have what he’s having.” It all looked great so no problem there. The only thing I knew I wanted was a tall cup of Jamaica, pronounced Ha-mike-ah, which I discovered on the Baja. It’s chilled Hibiscus flower tea/juice that looks like grape juice and is very delicious. I fought my way through much of the crowd for it and it was worth it. Now this is what a motorcycle adventure is all about. My stomach is growling just writing about that meal. We socialized with sweet people that we didn’t know and their kids at the long table. Victor insisted on paying for everything. After a brief but appropriate dispute I said, “Well it’s only right, I got the coffee”. Sometimes, I guess it’s better not to be understood.

The next day, November 1st, on our way to a rally near the “Night of the Dead” Festivities in the neighboring town of Patzcuaro, Victor needed to stop and get new spark plugs for his bike since it was running very rough even for a Harley. He replaced both plugs and it was better for the time being. While we were at it, I decided to get some premixed coolant since I had smelled the sweet scent of a leak while riding through the mountains on the way to Morelia. I added about a half pint to the fill line so I knew it was not a serious breach in the system. We rode the 40 miles west together until we hit traffic were we were had our feet down almost constantly.
Victor took to the shoulder and I followed for several miles, wondering what kind of event could attract this many people aside from the Super bowl. At a stoplight Victor shook out his right hand while tossing a tortured expression toward me. This was a familiar sight that I remembered well from my squid days but we only rolled 40 miles. I returned a knowing smile.

Part 9

There were people everywhere I looked, walking, in cars, on bicycles, motorcycles and donkeys. Many were in colorful costumes crossing each other’s paths at odd angles determined by the way the streets intersected. People of all shapes and sizes are making their way into Patzcuaro for La Noche de los Muerto festivities. Victor waved me into a parking spot where we stopped to meet some friends he knew who were of the same mind about motorcycles. We took a quick social break and a bite to eat with Victor’s friends. I tried to tip the live solo guitarist/vocalist 10 Pesos but Victor made a quick correction tossing only three of my Pesos into the hat. I felt I was being looked out for.
The Latin American Motorcycle Association has been having a rally in Patzcuaro during this annual festival for years now and this year I’ve been led to it by some coincidence or other mysterious supernatural force.
The five of us got back into the flow of traffic for the short hop to the rally which was held on a soccer field. There was a band and the usual games of riding skill that one would see at rallies. I met new friends, which is one of my favorite activities. One fellow rode down from Chicago on a Valkyrie and was one of the stronger personalities at the rally. He was generally holding court at the rally dictating what was good and what was bad, what should be and what should not be, who is in and who is out, what’s up, down, this, that, and the other.  When someone mentioned that I rode in from New York his response was a shrug and something like “So What, That’s nothing.” I laughed and said, “It really was nothing. The hardest part was waiting until I had enough time put together to do it right.” He’s not a difficult person at all, he just had a lot of opinions. The key factor for me was that I understood him. He gave me his number in Chicago and he made sure I knew there was a LAMA website (LAMA.com) along with a chapter and members in NYC.
We kicked the tires and told lies an hour or so when about 20 of us started lining up our bikes and getting ready for the ride around Patzcuaro Lake. I was in a great mood and thought it would be fun to see what happens with this crazy group even though I generally don’t care for rides with this many bikes. We pulled out of the rally and back into the crowd riding past vendors with all sorts of colorful items like candles, marigolds, and sugar skulls. Trucks full of marigolds were everywhere during that weekend. They are to supply the pilgrimage to the cemeteries where people would gather to honor and welcome their dead ancestors back. We often rode over marigold-strewn streets where overloaded trucks dropped their excess. Some believe that the returning Monarch Butterflies are the souls of the dead returning. These Butterflies make an annual round trip migration from an area near Morelia up into the US and Canada and back again although it is not the same generation returning as the one that left. It takes several generations to complete the cycle. I wondered if it is coincidence that the Marigolds are the same color as the butterflies. I thought fondly of the ones I loved who moved on to the other side. I hoped to see them again, but not too soon. The weather was nice on this side.
The ride was slow for good reasons. The pedestrian traffic, topes and scenery all worked well together to keep us at a snails pace at least for the first 10 minutes or so. The people waved and we waved back giving the feel of a parade. I was farther from home by motorcycle than ever before both in distance and culture yet I felt very much an integral part of the moment. Even the donkeys nodded their heads with encouragement. Once we got to the lakes edge we turned left to do a clockwise circumnavigation of one of the central locations in all of Mexico for La Noche de los Muertos traditions. To our right there was Janitzio Island in the middle of Lake Patzcuaro standing out as the prominent feature during our ride. This is where it is tradition for the local Tarascan Indians as well as Hispanic Mexicans to go to celebrate the return of there ancestors.

An English-speaking fellow led us on a Gold Wing who after about an hour and a half stopped at a restaurant overlooking the lake for a late lunch. I looked for Victor in the group at the stop but could not find him. He was not with us. Eventually one of the LAMA members went back to see if he was in trouble. I went in for some burritos while I waited for news of Victor. There turned out to be a mix of beginner riders and experienced touring riders at the break and I wanted to talk to people as much as they wanted to talk to me. One guy told me he’d been riding for three weeks. Not knowing what he meant I responded, “ Me too, I guess we left around the same time then.” English was not his first language and I soon figured out that he only started to ride three weeks ago. He had concerns about the use of the front brake. He has been only using the rear break for the usual beginner reasons. I was able to describe the power that he had at his fingertips if he were able to break through the fear of locking up the front brake. He was very grateful for the insight. The fellow from Chicago offered, in Spanish of course, to have LAMA pay for my meal. He then translated it and I took it as a very friendly gesture but I declined telling him I want to pay my way but I really appreciate the offer.” Now, If we were back in the States where the prices are 3 times higher I can’t guarantee my answer would be the same nor can I be sure the offer would have been made.
Victor finally showed up riding pillion with the guy who retrieved him from about 10 miles back. His Harley left him with no sparks and apparently no one noticed. His attitude about it was as if it happens often and it’s just the way it goes but he was a bit irritated nonetheless. He got a plate of food as the LAMA guys came around with a pitcher of tequila. I had to decline with the old “I’m driving” reasoning. A bit of a grimace formed on the servers face. Maybe I’m not being gracious in accepting the offerings but hey, get over it. Wait until I’m stuck on the roadside, then watch me accept an offer.
Victor apparently has ridden pillion before since he felt like a natural on the back of the ST. Not long into the ride he began singing Spanish ballads as we made our way back to Patzcuaro. They were sweet, melodic, and very relaxed lyrics that made me think I had a half drunk professional nightclub singer with me as live entertainment. We watched the sun drop down below the mountains to the west casting a Marigold hue over the Lake and Janitzio Island as the black of night advanced from the east to replace daylight. The colors at that moment were the same as the Monarch Butterflies. It was a moment I will always remember. Spontaneity like this is what I’ve been planning for in the months leading up to this trip. There is no way to predict the nature of the moments that will endure in the memory, yet hopefully there is recognition of these moments as they happen. They are the convergences of events and circumstances that almost certainly could not have taken place on their own. They are the moments in time that crystallize into diamond points of reference by which to compare all others. Though it surely had to be planned for, I am also sure it was not merely my planning that could result in such a fantastic sensation of perfection. Yes, I did my part by readying myself for whatever I thought was to come during the trip knowing full well that I had no idea what was going to happen. I knew something extraordinary might happen if I were not only in the right place at the right time but ready to experience it. I packed my bags and headed out looking for spontaneity. I felt at home here in this old place that was new for me, with people I hardly knew entering a sacred night that I wasn’t familiar with. I am perplexed as to why but I am certain that I am in the right place here so far from home. A flashback to my first tricycle road trip at age three to my friend’s house three doors down came to mind. A flash again to my first bicycle ride at age five where my elder brother simply pushed me down a hill in a sink or swim lesson. Everything that I’ve gone through, good and bad, led me to a wonderful place inside myself. Like the Monarchs, I’ve come home.
Then again maybe it was just the joy of being on a bulletproof machine that transported me across the continent and is now carrying a gentleman whose Hog broke.
The road was all ours for the time being so I picked up the pace a bit to try to get some of the miles behind us before it is pitch dark. The group is now fully behind me. I detected no edginess from the Victor sound system behind me but I did notice we were alone with vague headlights in the mirrors so I rolled off the throttle to get the ducks in a row again. I had a euphoric motorcycle moment and I took it out on the throttle.

By the time we got back to Patzcuaro it was “La Noche de los Muerto.” It was anything but dead, though it was very dark. The place was still hopping with activity. In town many fires and candles were burning adding to the magic of the night. We literally had to weave through the sea of traffic and humanity which separated the group a few times. It was at least a forty-minute ride back to Morelia from Patzcuaro and I now had four bikes behind me as some have dropped off to go their own way. We stopped for gas just as we were leaving Patzcuaro and there was concern about one rider who was no longer with us in the group. It turned out he was the guy who was only riding for three weeks and he wanted to follow us back to Morelia since it was dark. We could not go back to look for him since the density of the traffic was prohibitive. It was another sink or swim lesson I quess. I led the small group into the blackness because I had the good headlight. The cruiser behind me had no light at all and the guy behind him looked like he had a flashlight tied onto the handlebars.
It was an interesting setup that left me always thinking about what the guy behind me could or could not see. I kept him as close as he was comfortable with by keeping my speed down. The animals are the biggest factor about night riding in Mexico especially the black ones. It’s a challenge in the daytime and a real concern at night. Many have said “just don’t ride at night”. My high beams were sufficient for the task though it was a rare moment when I wished I had a set of PIAA lights.
Victor and I waved goodbye to our companions once we got into Morelia. Back at his house I made an offer to Victor to come along with me to Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa on the Mexican Riviera once his bike was fixed. He indicated that he would love to come but he had obligations, which Betty would nod in agreement to. I sensed there was a genuine desire to take a road trip but I knew he couldn’t do it for many reasons. I indicated that I would take his heart along with me to the Playa Bonita. This gesture was understood and appreciated. He asked me if I needed to go the next day and I was getting the impression he and his family like my company. I explained as best I could that I too had obligations back home in New York but needed to explore the coast more first. The next day Victor would meet a mechanic back at Patzcuaro Lake where his bike died on the Day of the Dead.
I planned to accompany Victor to his bike fully prepared to continue to my next destination but he declined my offer. I guess it wouldn’t have helped to have me there and it might have taken a long time to get that Hog rolling again. We exchanged a few souvenirs before I left. I had a Sturgis pin on the tank bag that was there for a couple of years. Victor had his eye on it soon after I met him. It was received with deep gratitude and Betty smiled sweetly. He also told me very sincerely that he had to get the ST1100 even though his heart belonged to Harley Davidson. Maybe I was not the only one to have a revelation on La Noche de los Muertos.

Part 10

Victor had written out a list of a series of towns that I could follow signs to in order to get to Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa, Acapulco, and around Mexico City to Puebla where I had an invite from a fellow I met at the Copper Canyon rally. I was to follow the Cuota all the way to the coast, which went well for the first couple of hours. I followed route 37 to Nueva Italia de Ruiz where a classic choice was presented by an overhead sign. Cuota (left arrow), Libra (right arrow). The Libra is the side road that would bring an opportunity for twisties, topes, towns and animals. This sort of fork in the road sparks the usual internal debate between speed and time versus scenery, nature, riding excitement and backcountry culture. As could be predicted, knowing myself as I do, I jumped off the safety of the speedway to take it all in. My GPS was of little use in this area as it was in many other areas of Mexico. The mapping seemed to prefer to show all the rivers and streams rather than show all of the roads. The roads it does show are often grossly inaccurate and were as much as eight miles from my location at times. What I was in for could not have been fully known but that’s the adventure. Well if I were really interested I would have stopped to open up the paper map to see where was going. The road took me through highlands, tight twisties, and great little towns. I found a golden road disguised with asphalt in the Sierra Madre while I veered in a westerly direction away from my original destination. Iguanas and Geckoes, like little dinosaurs, would scurry across my path in a game of chicken where everyone came out a winner. Even Tarantulas and a snake would show their stuff out on the tarmac. Dogs were everywhere. Then the towns became sparse and so went the gas stations. Adventure, remember? Well I twisted and slalomed around animals on that deserted mountain road for about three hours without a sign of a fuel stop. My concern about the red fuel light on my dash would need occasional dampening with the reassurance that this is the adventure I came for. I was having a ball not knowing what was up ahead but I had water and a little faith. Eventually the road took a turn to the south, which put me more at ease since Zihuatenejo was southeast. This would at least get me to the coast and I could turn east from there.

Well, as luck would have it I made it into Zihuatenejo at sunset without incident. I did my usual slow perusal of the town in order to get my bearings and scope out the possibility of a legal campsite or hotel.
One conversation with a group of locals led to another, which eventually led me to La Ropa beach and a camp/RV park, which was pretty much the large backyard of a man’s house. It was a one-minute walk to the beach and it had RV hookups, a shower, and restaurants. It was perfect for me at $5 USD per night. I got set up there and with the last of the twilight I made for the beach mentioning to the proprietor my intention to take a dip in the ocean before retiring for the evening. His response was emphatic. “No swim, Cocodrilo!” He went on a bit in his only language of Spanish but the message was clear. There is a crocodile in the ocean at night. I was sure I felt a tug on my leg but it was no crock. I went to the shoreline anyway to see what I could see. I brought my headlamp just in case it got really dark. If he did make an appearance I wanted to see him. The last of the twilight was fast sinking into the sea at the moment I got to the beach but it was enough to get my bearings for the time I would be there in the dark. From what I saw of the beach in the last moments of light got me excited to see it early the next morning. For the moment I was happy to just sit in the sand and watch the stars out over the Pacific ever mindful of the crocodile lurking in the blackness. I was there for perhaps 20 minutes when an older couple came walking out from the darkness. “Nice night for a walk on the beach barefoot” I said. The woman responded in a heavy German accent that indeed it was a nice night to walk. I said I am watching for a mythical crocodile and that if it weren’t for him I would take a little dip in the ocean. They told me it was a good idea to watch for crocodile for they had heard of incidents where people were attacked. They spoke softly, as softly as Germans can speak at least. They added, “If you are looking for a crocodile you might want to turn around for he lives in the swampy pond there behind you”.  Apparently they mostly stay in the den, which was indeed fully behind me and no more than 70 feet away. “They are not caged and like to take ocean swims at night” they explained. I was very surprised to learn that I was a sitting duck for the monsters if any of them had decided to take their regular dip in the last 20 minutes.  I was directly in the path they would have to take to get to the ocean.  Well wouldn’t that be a touch of spontaneity I could never have planned for. I could see the headlines: “New York motorcyclist travels 5000 miles to get eaten by crocodile”.
The next day I went back to take a look and sure enough there was a warning sign I somehow missed the night before. “Precaucion Cocodrilo” it said in large letters with a lot of Spanish text. It was a natural habitat that had been preserved while the beach was being developed with restaurants and condos. They wanted to let the crocs stay while they brought humanity in. They have a good life now and I am glad I did not meet any of them the night before lest I not be able to finish my tour. The one I saw in the daylight was about 9 feet long and very stealthy in his lagoon lair.
Well, I was extremely relieved to know that the Mexicans take their wildlife very seriously. In fact, I also found a Sea Turtle incubation area cordoned off for protection from people. I was shown baby crocs which were being handed to tourists for moment at a time. There was a tub with maybe a hundred little baby Sea Turtles with their little flippers flailing in anticipation of the mad dash they would soon make to the sea. I was witness to these little babies being handed out to a group of school children who would each assist one turtle tot to seek his fortune in the foamy surf. It was dicey for a moment when a few of the turtles were sent further from the sea than their starting point in the sand when a large wave pushed them into the crowd of onlookers. The kids would run to try to get their turtle back on track causing many close calls between feet and flippers, which would almost certainly have put a damper on the event. As far as I could tell all of them disappeared into the surf without a trace. I can only hope their journey takes them to exotic places as mine has.
A British couple, Pete and Sue, were touring in an RV with the intention of seeing all of the states in Mexico before returning to England. They were camping at the same place I was so we became friendly enough to share meals, addresses, and I was invited to their home in Oxford. They gave me a tour of the RV and Pete showed me a picture of their home, which had several of his restored automobiles out in front. From all evidence available in that photograph, it could have been taken in 1930 with the large classic country estate in the background.  Their humor was typically British and therefore dry which initially left me playing catch-up with the punch lines. It was however the closest I’ve been in a while to having a conversation in English. Sue was the trip planner and navigator when she was not piloting the 30-foot land yacht. She gave me a route to follow for the next three days to get me around but not into Mexico City along with GPS co-ordinates for campsites that would be convenient stopovers. I also meet a Canadian named Galen who was waiting for his wife to meet him for their timeshare week in Zihuatenejo. He was looking to sell his garden equipment business in order to free up time to travel more. Has the world gone mad? Seems that while I am on the road I meet many folks who give up responsible positions in order to bum around. The fabric of society is unraveling before my very eyes.
It was for the most part a relaxing three days in Zihuatenejo but time was getting short to get up to Lafayette, Louisiana to attend the Swamp Scooters Rally and see the friends I met in the Copper Canyon. I also wanted to see most of the interesting things in between so I pulled up stakes and rolled off to Acapulco where I could catch the Cuota northbound. 

For all the pics go here and click on the Mexico albums:
http://community.webshots.com/user/digiamo




prep work...

Today is dedicated to getting all the little consolidated piles of crap over to the bike and start finding places to stuff them into the Pellican bags.
Looks like one rear ST1100 Bridgestone Exedra is getting towed to Casey, IL to be mounted along with a new chain and countershaft sprocket. Going with an extra tooth up front to get her a bit longer legs for the miles to be munched.
I don't know if this tire was ever used on the rear of a WEE so there is interest in the outcome. It's oversized a half inch at the width and the overall diameter but not at the rim...I hope.

WEE sail at dawn tomorrow! :yes First planned stop: Beckley WV to meet a buddy and share stories.

Vaya con dios, mis amigos!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

WEE ride to the sun on a bike with no name...

 ...well, maybe if I listen closely I'll hear her name on this* ride.
The plan is to ride out of NY this Weds. 11/10 and meet with the Post Post Moon Shine RTE in Casey, IL on Sat. 11/13. After a rear tire and drive chain swap it's full tilt southbound riding til' I'm back in at least 60 degree F weather so I can deep-stow the winter gloves at least.
Wanted to get to the Swamp Scooters Rally in LaFayette, LA but can't do both due to overlaping dates.
Then explore So Cal since I've never ridden there much at all.
A Tecate to Cabo post Baja 1000 run is in the mix with a strong likelihood of off road adventures on the DL650.

Final destination: Unknown but I have a date in Puerto Valarta, MX with Dr. Jose Luis Vasquez, the long lost Mexican STOC member and good friend.

He's retiring in about three months and is currently riding an 1800 wing.
Georgette and another friend will fly in to PV for a visit from 12/23 to 1/5.

As it stands now I am pretty psyched up for this ride and am ready for it to be the usual trip of a lifetime. :happy
Hopefully, there will be folks interested in riding along for segments of this trip.  :yes

Wondering: Should I try to drag these tires along strapped to the crash bars, or can I find a place to ship them ahead to So CAL where I can get them mounted to have fresh Metzler Tourance's as I enter MX at Tecate. :)


On my return leg from wherever...another Moonshine RTE in April.
Interested how this'll turn out...Hope to see y'all out there.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I sold the bike I love...



To buy this one...But I won't sell my woman....no way...no how....how much?