It goes against my better judgement when travelling to actually have hotel reservations, but on the advice of friends, Deby and I reserved a vacation rental in San Miguel de Allende which included prepaying. The problem with that was having to estimate which day we would arrive which is very difficult when travelling on motorcycles, especially in Mexico. Anything can, and will go wrong. In our case it was the weather causing us to loose a day in Tucson. Now we are battling time to get the 1000 or so miles to San Miguel.
On Wednesday we crossed the border at Nogales. Based on advice from others on ADVrider.com we decided to spend the first night in Banamichi Sonora at Hotel Los Arcos de Sonora. Hotel owners Tom and Lynn are avid motorcycle riders, originally from Colorado. Tom used to run a motorcycle tour company and still arranges day trips in Mexico. Their hotel caters to motorcycle riders traveling through Mexico and is an excellent first day stop when entering the country.
Riding from Tucson to Banamichi made for a relatively short day which was perfect should there be any issues at the border. We crossed easily at the truck crossing as recommended by Tim and Lynn, as a matter of fact, as has happened before, nobody at all was on the Mexican side of the border. We were told to wait for the red light to turn green and then we could proceed but there was no red light. Maybe it wasn’t working? We stopped and looked around for a while and just left. Tom said pay the toll and continue to Km 21 to aduana. We didn’t see any toll so we kept riding. We didn’t see km 21 either as the km markers were in the 200 range. We just kept riding south until we saw a sign for Aduana and Immigration. We pulled in and were almost the only ones checking in. We easily navigated immigration and then Aduana with the usual back and forth and copies and payments at the military bank. In less than an hour we were on our way. It didn’t take us long to re-acclimate to the ways of travel in Mexico, missing street signs, crazy drivers, potholes, animals and all kind of craziness. Soon we were outside the city limits and following Tom’s route to the hotel. He directed us to a most excellent road that cut east from Magdalena to banamichi. We arrived in plenty of time for beers and stories with Tom and Lynn.
Thursday Morning Deby and I met with Tom to discuss our route to San Miguel and to access the probability of getting there on Saturday as planned. The prognosis was grim. The only possible way, and it was a long shot, was to ride back to MX 15 the main North South route in Mexico and ride hard and fast to Guadalajara. This meant we would have to skip some of the more scenic routes with the hope of catching them on the way back. Yikes. We loaded up on Tom’s coffee and headed for the toll road.
Thursday we rode 407 miles to Los Mochis and Friday, 418 miles to Tepic where we are tonight. These were long days on the Mexican version of the interstate system. While there were some decent stretches most of the road was is typical Mexican road condition. Our average speed was around 70 mph which was harrowing quite often especially passing trucks and farm vehicles. The tolls were expensive, I didn’t keep exact count but I estimate about $100.00 worth.
In an effort to save time we didn’t stop for many pictures but I managed to get a few.
Tom took this picture in the parking lot at Hotel Los Arcos
Route to Los Mochis
Today we stopped and a roadside restaurant and Deby handed out toy trucks to the kids, they loved it. Both little boys and their grandmother pulled up chairs at our table and we all played with trucks, plastic dinosaurs and bubbles that Deby gave them.
Bringing toys for the kids is a great way to make new friends and guarantees fantastic service and good food.
Here is the route to Tepic
On a mechanical note, the last 10km before Tepic we were in construction on a mountain road in stop and go traffic. It was hot and we had just spent 8 hours riding at 70+ mph. After about 20 minutes of stop and go the construction cleared and we found ourselves in Tepic rush hour traffic. Back to crazy riding. When I went to gas it and zip around a truck instead of the usually blinding acceleration of all 150hp the mighty KTM just bogged and slowed down. What? If I accelerated slowly it seemed ok but when getting hard on the gas is almost stalled. Just then Deby called out a hotel on the right and we pulled in for the night. So my mechanical friends….. overheating? Fouled plugs (all four?)? Fuel filter? Some computer glitch because of the heat? Bad gas?
So, if we hope to get to San Miguel tomorrow it will be another long day with no time for mechanical problems. The first challenge will be circumnavigating Guadalajara and then finding our way to San Miguel and the rental. Should be fun.
Thanks for following.
Donn and Deby