Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ciudad Valles

Not much to report today.  I just strolled around Cd. Valles and watched the people and took in the the Latin American culture and attitudes.  They are much more laid back and not as uptight as we are.  Today, I think I'll just post some photos of things that made me go hmmmmmm.

There is a thin layer of white dust that covers everything here, but I don't know how.  They are continually sweeping and mopping.

My hotel, the Hotel Pina.

I think I'll keep my beemer!

One stop shopping.  Lawyer, dentist and pet pharmacy.

Hey!  You never know when you might need one of these!

Is this where nachos were invented?

Why wash your car at home?  Just drive it to the river!

Kinda slow for a Saturday.

OK!  Got a customer!

I tried to spend a nice peaceful morning in the plaza. Birds wouldn't shut up!

For lunch I had a steak dinner.  The steak, potatoes, soup, bread and coke set me back six bucks!  I went out this evening and had helados for dinner again.  I then watched the Mexico/Canada soccer match.

I'll be leaving Cd. Valles tomorrow, but I am tempted just to stay here!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tropic of Cancer

I left Saltillo early in the morning to get as much riding time as possible in the cooler temperatures.  MX 57 leaves Saltillo and goes up!  It got downright cold!  I rode to Matehuala and found an ATM to replenish my funds.  Just south of Matehuala I crossed the Tropic of Cancer.  My motorcycle has now taken me from the Arctic Circle on the Haul Road to the Tropic of Cancer in Mexico and I've got the pictures to prove it!

At the Arctic Circle June 21, 2008

At the Tropic of Cancer March 30, 2012

Finally I left 57 and took 80 through Ciudad del Maiz.  MX 80 to Cd. del Maiz was a long straight road...but after that what a blast!  The road climbed in altitude until it was cool and rain forest like and then dropped down into sugar cane fields.  Trucks were loaded to the rafters and beyond with sugar cane.

I also rode through my first two military check points.  No biggie.  I just said "Hablo un poco de espanol" and they waved me on.

Also Holy Week begings Sunday and all of the churches are spruced up with flags and decorations.  Kind of gaudy and not really my taste, but hey, it's their country!

I really pushed it too hard today and on arriving in Ciudad Valles I decided to stay two nights here. I found a really nice hotel two blocks from the town square.  two nights cost what last night cost me in Saltillo.  I went out to get something to eat but almost everything here is grilled meat or chicken.  It was too hot to eat that so I ate another of my favorite Latin foods for dinner...helados (ice cream).

I wanted to take some pictures tonight but darkness falls fast in the tropics.  I read that in a Graham Greene book back in college.  It really does get dark quick.  Tomorrow I will spend the morning just walking around and should have some neat pictures for tomorrow.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I crossed the border at Piedras Negras this morning and made only one mistake.  I entered at Puerto I and migracion is at Puerto II.  About 7 blocks away, if you know where it is.  I asked locals "Donde esta Puerto dos?" and would try to follow their directions until I asked again.  I got a little bit closer each time and finally I saw the building.  I went in and was instructed to sit until the immigration official came out.  WOW!  I wish our immigration officials looked like this one!  Sorry, Tine!  She did all the paperwork for me and sent me on my way to the Banjercito 54 KM away.  The Banjercito is where you import your motorcycle and give them a $300 deposit promising not to sell the motorcycle in Mexico thereby getting around the import tax.  You can think of it like a visa for the motorcycle.  I was afraid I could not find the Banjercito, but you can't miss it!  You are not going anywhere until you clear the Banjercito!  Again the official was a beautiful young lady and she processed my motorcycle for the TVIP politely and professionally. I think our officials could use a lesson from them.  Here is my prize symbolizing that all the entry requirements are completed.

I stopped at a Pemex to buy some tacos and tried to pay with some 10 peso bills that were given to me by a friend that was in Mexico about 20 years ago.  It turns out that the bills are no longer valid.  The manager of the Pemex began apologizing and I could not figure out why.  The it occurred to me that he thought I had received the bills from a Mexican who was trying to pass them to me as change.  I told him this was not the case, that a friend had given them to me.  A collector of old bills overheard our conversation and bought the bills from me at face value!

I was planning on staying at Monclava but I forgot that Mexico does not do the whole daylight savings time thing and I had another hour to go.  So I rode to Saltillo.  The ride on 57 is fairly boring and this was really the only scenery on that stretch of road.

My Spanish class has paid off already.  I went out to eat this evening and locked my key in my room.  I was able to explain this to the receptionist, in Spanish, and get my room opened.

I don't know how far I will get tomorrow, but stay posted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


[If you click on the photos they will be larger and you can see more detail.]

I have not posted in about a week because a reliable Wi-Fi connection is about as rare as water out here. I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking on this post from the road. We had a lot of fun celebrating my father's 83rd birthday and my sister's ?? birthday.

The next day I left for Big Bend National Park.  I rode through Kilgore, TX that has the world's richest acre.

Then on to Brady, TX which has been designated at the "Heart of Texas" as it is near the geographic center of the Lone Star State.

I finally arrived at Big Bend National Park.  Where I spent two days.  The mountain in the second picture is Nugent Mountain.  No relation that I know of.

I rode to Terlingua, TX on my second day in Big bend.  This use to be a ghost town.  Now  about 200 people live there now.  Mostly artists that would probably feel at home in Asheville.

The and I traveled to Big Bend thirty years ago and as I saw different spots I thought back on that trip.  On the last night in Big Bend there was a great thunderstorm.  Maybe I should trade in my motorcycle for this.

It was for sale.  Only $122,000.

I got up the next morning and headed for Eagle Pass, TX.  On the way I passed by Judge Roy Bean's Jersey Lilly Saloon and Courthouse.  In this building the judge dispensed liquor and justice.  He is a Texas legend.

I then rode over the Pecos River High Bridge, the highest bridge in Texas.

I am now in Eagle Pass, TX and tomorrow I will cross over the border to Mexico.  I think I am going to enjoy this part.  I do not know how often I am going to have Wi-Fi in order to update this blog, but I will try to keep you up to date.

I really have so much more to tell about this trip but I am doing a ride report on ADVRider and for SPOT.  It is hard to write at the end of a day of desert motorcycle riding.  I hope to include more information later.  Just suffice it to say I am have a good time and great adventures.  Book to follow, movie rights negotiable!

Adios y que tenga un buen dia!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Home in Texas

I am spending this week in Longview, TX.  I have been eating well!  You are not going to lose weight eating a Texas diet.  So far I have had catfish, Mexican and chicken-fried steak.  BBQ is still to come.

One good thing about eating in Texas is that there is never a line at the salad bar.  In Texas macaroni and cheese is considered a vegetable!

Tomorrow my son will fly into Love Field with my granddaughter and we will celebrate my father's and sister's birthday.  We will also take a "four generation" picture.

I plan on leaving Sunday morning for the Big Bend area and then on to Mexico!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back in the Lone Star State

Today I made the short ride from Shreveport, LA to my childhood home of Longview, TX.  Of course, the first thing we did was to go out for Mexican food.  Other foods on the list for this week are BBQ, chicken fried steak, catfish, and probably some more Mexican.  I'll lose weight later!

I also learned of a friend's death in a motorcycle accident.  Rest in peace, Rick.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Born in the Bayou

I woke up and got the bike packed and jumped on the Natchez Trace parkway just west of Jackson, MS.  The Natchez Trace is like the Blue Ridge Parkway, but with no curves, traffic, or pull-outs.  It was really kind of boring.  But the weather was perfect!  It was one of those times when the temperature was neutral, neither too cold or too hot.  That doesn't happen much in motorcycling.

In Natchez I crossed the Mississippi River to Vidalia, LA.  I listen to music in my head when I ride (spending a lot of time in a helmet will do that to you).  The music going through my head at this time was the  Mississippi Delta blues.  Appropriate, eh?

I was now in Louisiana.  In the delta it floods a lot.  This creates a unique problem for those resting in peace.  Many of you are familiar with the New Orleans cemeteries where the guests are buried above ground.  Well, in this region you just put a concrete slab on top of the beloved to keep them where they belong during the floods.

Then it was on to Jena, LA where my father grew up.  Jena is in farm country.  They grow a lot of cotton and soybeans.  It is also bayou country.  For some reason an old Creedence Clearwater Revival song kept running through my head here.

From here I proceeded to get lost.  I never got lost before I got a GPS.  I rode through the Louisiana back roads and wound up in Shreveport, LA somehow.  That is only on hour away from Longview, but I was beat.  Tomorrow it will be a short ride and then to spend a week with my family.  Next Sunday I will head for the Big Bend area! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

On the Road!

I left Asheville right on time.  All in all the first day was not very exciting.  The weather was remarkably warm.  I rode Highway 25 to just north of Statesboro, GA and from there I took Highway 80 West.  I spent the night in Roberta, GA in a $25 a night motel.  No Wi-Fi, of course.

On Day 2 I continued on Highway 80 to Tuskeegee, AL, home of the Tuskegee Airmen.  I visited the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site at Moton Field.  The airport is still in use.

From there I continued on Highway 80 through Mongomery on to Selma, AL.  This stretch is a National Historic Route.  This was the route that the March to Montgomery took in the 60's.  

The march started in Selma, AL at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.  This was where Bloody Sunday happened. This happened on March 7, 1965. Photos were published in the New York Times and really brought attention to the Voting Rights Movement.

From there I continued on to Jackson, MS and found another cheap hotel, but this time with Wi-Fi.  I have not decided it I will head straight to Longview or take a slight detour to mid-Louisiana.  I will try to write more later when I am visiting my family in Texas.  It is kind of hard to keep up a blog in hotel rooms.  Comments are always welcome!    

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Leaving Day After Tomorrow!

All of the shots have been injected.  Anti-malarial medications have been dispensed.  Maps have been studied and studied some more.  Lonely Planets have been read.  State Department memos have been read and re-read.  The bike has been serviced, packed and is ready to go.  A little Spanish has been learned.  It is almost time to leave.

This will be my last post from Asheville for a few months.  I do not know when my next post will be as when I am traveling alone I don't normally choose 5-star accommodation.  I will be traveling through the south to my boyhood home of Longview, Texas by back roads. While there I will celebrate the birthdays of my father and sister.  My oldest son is flying in with his daughter and we will take a four generation photo.  From there I will leave to Big Bend National Park and then to Latin America.  Check back often!  Here we go!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back from Germany

I survived my one week whirlwind trip to Germany and have a little over a week to get ready for Mexico and Central America.  There is a lot to do and not much time to get it done.  I did enjoy my trip to Hamburg and have only one motorcycle related photo to share.

This is a BMW C1 in Hamburg.  This model is not sold in the U.S.  I have seen them before but I have only seen them parked.  I have never seen one on the road.

I have just called Eurosports Asheville and the bike is ready to be picked up.  No word on the costs yet.  This next week will be a flurry of packing, re-packing and re-re-packing.  So far the weather looks like a "go" for March 15.  Stay tuned boys and girls!