I’m writing this from the comforts of the USA. It’s good to be back and ride roads that are mostly in pretty good condition, speak in my native tongue and slip into the easy travelling mode that will describe the rest of out trip home.
I’m concluding the blog at the Mexican border although we still have some weeks before we are home. The rest of the trip will be easy, mostly paved and take a roundabout route visiting family along the way. Fun for us but maybe not up to the level of adventure the readers of this blog are used to (really big grin here…).
So, let’s wrap up Mexico. The last few days were some of the best. From Cholua we had a very easy days ride into Santa Clara del Cobra. We wanted to revisit this small town in the state of Michoacán that is famous for their copper art.
We were immediately welcomed and invited to park the motorcycles in the hallway of the hotel, our type of place! We rode through the door above and parked.
The room was 320 pesos, about $20 USD. Great deal considering I paid more than that for hotel parking when we arrived in San Antonio.
The following excerpt is from Wikipedia, the link is HERE.
Most of the town’s population, 82%, is employed in the making of copper items. There are 250 registered workshops in and around the town, which process about 450 tons of copper each year. This generates an income of about fifty million pesos a year. Many of the copper items made are of a utilitarian nature – cooking utensils, various types of containers, pots, pans, plates, shot glasses, clocks, jewelry, vases, beds, tables, chairs, light switches, counters, sinks, even bathtubs, and much, much more, all in copper. However, since the 1970s copper jewelry, and many other non-essential items has also been made here. The workshops here are family-owned with children learning the trade from their parents.
It is the center for copper workshops in all of Mexico and a great place to visit for us to explore the handiwork of the local experts. We spent the evening and morning exploring shops. We found out the workshops were closed on Mondays and were not able to tour any like we did last time. Still, we had a fantastic time exploring the city. Here is a video I made from our last visit there.
Next time we’ll be sure to schedule our visit when we can tour the workshops.
Tuesday May 30th 2017
We awoke to loud explosions at 6:00 AM. Literally I thought bombs were going off and I threw on some clothes and went outside to see what was going on….. nothing.
Some type of celebration, it turned out. Strange, on a Tuesday morning? What holiday? And wow, the blasts from the nearby church square were so loud they actually shook the hotel. I chalked it up to normal and went back to the room. After an hour or so Deby and I went for a walk to find breakfast and ended up at a table at a roadside stand. It was amazing. It seemed like everyone int he town was stopping by for coffee or snacks to start their day. We just sat at the picnic style table drinking coffee and watched everyone come and go. Most people were really nice and stopped to say hello or chat for a minute. This is not a tourist town and they seemed glad to have some visitors.
Finally about 10:00 we were on the bikes and on our way to San Miguel de Allende or SMA for sort. The ride was excellent, nice cool weather in the higher elevations and easy roads. My fork seals were leaking even worse than ever so we decided to spend the money of the toll roads and avoid going over the seal busting speed bumps (topas).
Soon we found our way to the home of our friends Art and Carol where Art welcomed us to park the motorcycles in his shop. Art’s shop is a place of beauty, the walls are adorned with motorcycle art and the shop is a fully functional machine shop and motorcycle fabrication and repair facility. Art’s penchant for all things related to the Norton motorcycle is obvious. Here I am with Art.
On the lift was this classic Triumph Trident that Art was getting put back together with the help of master mechanic Zoltron.
The next two days were a blur of activity with Art and Carol. Art has a motorcycle club in San Miguel called MotoClasico and they had a regularly scheduled club meeting for Thursday. In honor of our visit Art moved the club meeting to his shop and asked us to be the guest speakers. Sure!
On Thursday evening the club came over and we had a great time meeting people and talking about motorcycles and out trip. Deby and I stood up and talked for about 15 minutes about some of the highlights of South America.
The motorcycle lift was turned into a bar….
Food was catered by Art’s friend Mario and his family. Thanks Mario, it was great!
A great time was had by all, it was fantastic meeting the club members, friends and neighbors of Art and Carol.
Remember the wonderful cabin we stayed at in the last post? This is George, the owner of Bahia de la Luna. He rides around town on the big GS wearing a hard hat as his protest of the local helmet laws. Nice to meet you George!
I can honestly say this party was one of the highlights of the trip. Big thanks Art and Carol.
Friday June 2nd, 2017
Time for the last push through Mexico. More and more oil was leaking out of my front forks and the front suspension was getting lower and lower. This was starting to impact the handling of the motorcycle and I wanted to get if fixed before the suspension started bottoming out on the stops. For that reason we decided to stay on the main highway to the north. Art and friends gave us a list of nice roads and places to visit but we decided to just make some time. The weather was nice, not too hot and no rain so we just kept riding and made it to the large city of Monterrey 423 miles later. Monterrey is a large modern city not too far from the border surrounded by tall mountains.
It seemed like a nice place, somewhere we may come back to explore. We were tired and just checked into a local Best Western for the night.
Saturday June 4, 2017 – One last border crossing.
This was it! All we needed to do was get across the border into Laredo Texas, how hard can that be? Well, not easy as it turns out.
It was a couple hour ride from Monterrey to the border and we arrive about noon. We had dropped down from the mountains and the temperature climbed accordingly. It was 95 degrees in the blazing sun when we arrived at Mexican Aduana, to check us and the bikes out of the country. Twice we were standing in the wrong lines when someone saw us and told us to move to another window where there was no wait. That was nice and soon we were free to leave Mexico for the no-mans land between countries where we crossed the Rio Grande river. Being the weekend it was crowded with people trying to enter the US and there was a long, long, long line of cars four lanes across. We sat there in our riding gear with the sun burning down on us. We knew motorcycles were allowed to lane split (ride between the lanes) on the Mexican side of the border but it was so crowded that our wide bikes wouldn’t fit.
Here is a picture behind us.
It didn’t take long before we just started making our way through the cars. We would get behind someone and they would pull over a little to let us by when they could. It was slow going and took us almost an hour to get to the gate for the US.
Here it is…. after 6 months…. the United States.
I went first to the booth and the guy asked a few questions then he wanted to know about our trip. Deby could hear the whole conversation in the helmet communicator while she was still waiting in the blazing sun behind me. I’m trying to be polite to the customs officer but Deby is firmly exonerating me to hurry it up in my ear. I switched to short answers and soon was across where I waited for Deby. We made it!
This trip was a continuation of where we left off on our last South America trip in 2013 where we ended in Buenos Aires. This time we started in Buenos Aires and rode home, going to some of the places we missed last time including making it all the way to the southern most tip of South America. Since we were gone Keith Thye came out with a book documenting our last trip, the book titled The Whole Story, can be purchased at http://www.keithsrides.com/ . I haven’t seen it yet but I can’t wait to read it when we get home.
Over the course of six months we rode over 19,000 miles and really had minimal problems. In general we stayed healthy, didn’t have too many mechanical breakdowns and were never robbed or threatened. We met many many wonderful people, explored amazing parts of the world and greatly enriched our appreciation of all Latin America.
Everyone wants to know what’s next…… We’re not sure but I’m sure something will come up. Stay tuned….
Thanks again everyone for following our adventures, we had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the comments here on the blog and on Facebook. It really kept us going to hear some friendly comments from home even though we didn’t always have the time to respond.
Until next time… Donn and Deby