Burrrr, we arrived home to record cold temperatures in the Seattle area, 22 degrees F. Yes, a few weeks earlier than planned but for some reason we were ready to be home.
The motorcycles returned with almost 13,000 more miles clocked than when we left. We felt that we explored a large part of Mexico and covered most of the states. Truthfully, we only scratched the surface of places to visit and only saw a few of the 121 “Pueblos Mágicos” (Magical Towns) in the country. I’m sure we’ll be back for more.
The last post ended in the town of Tequila which we thoroughly enjoyed. Now that I’m home I had a chance to download and edit some helmet-cam photos. When we rode into the town of Tequila there were all of these “tour buses” that I can only assume were visiting tequila tasting sites.
There were many different kinds of vehicles and most of them had loud music and boisterous singing. These guys were waving and holding up beer. It sounded like polka music to me.
I’m thinking… roll out the barrel, roll in the barrel? Were they barreling down the street?
My musician friend Rick in Portland, who is half German and half Mexican sent me this text about the local music.
You are in the heart of Mariachi music. The roots of today’s popular music from Mexico come from German and Czech peoples and has moved back to the north in the form of Tejano (a mariachi style with European accordion) and other blended Mexican music.
Ahhh, so in short – Polka music! (My Wisconsin roots are showing. Plus, I should know since I partially paid my way through college playing in a polka band!)
In front of the hotel this family rode by on their quad. Everybody loves to wave and smile at the tourists on motorcycles. The little guy in front is holding onto his school book, I’m assuming mom was just picking up the kids from school.
The map told us the next logical stop on our way home would be Mazatlán, hey another beach stay – that shouldn’t be too bad.
We used the booking.com app to do a quick search and somewhat randomly ended up at The Palms Resort. Restaurant, pool, beach, sun, warm weather. We weren’t there an hour before I was at the front desk asking for a second night.
Well, even for a nice hotel, in the hallway outside our room there was a typical Mexican extension cord plugged in and was run down the hall into a locked closet… We’ve seen this many times.
So we had an extra day to contemplate our next move. For some reason we were ready to head towards home which was still over 2,400 miles away. We decided to make a run for it.
From Mazatlán north it’s fast toll roads and easy to make time. We got an early start and programmed our GPS units for Cuidad Obregon, 396 miles away. The city itself is not really a tourist spot but more of a working town of about 330,000 people. We’ve stayed there before and knew it’s clean and organized with nice streets and hotels. We checked into the Holiday Inn. Nothing special about the hotel except right next door was the restaurant Santo Filete a fantastic steak house. On a previous trip it was recommended to us and we loved it. This time we splurged on Filete Mignon ($380 pesos – about USD $17.00), ummmm, we knew we were going to miss Mexican food, and prices.
From Cuidad Obregon it was another 400 miles to Tucson with a border crossing at Nogales. We just got on the bikes and blasted. I didn’t even turn on my helmet cam but I wish I would have…. We decided to cross at the truck crossing because I thought I could weave between semi trucks easier than cars. That assumption was correct, what I missed while weaving through about a mile of stopped trucks two and three abreast was the lane for cars on the other side of a jersey barrier. Dang, I wish I made a recording of us squeezing around and between all the semis. At one point I asked if I could get to the car lane and was told yes, once you get closer to the border. Thankfully there was a gap in the concrete barriers wide enough for us to sneak through and soon we were in the short car line for entry into the US.
After a few questions and more than a few sniffs from the border patrol dogs we were through and back in the good old USA. We had to remind ourselves… no riding on the sidewalk, take the double yellow lines seriously, don’t ignore the speed limits, stop at stop signs and red lights…. this took some getting used to.
The rest of the way went fast, sort of. After Tucson I told Google maps to take us to Needles, CA with the setting to avoid highways. That is always a questionable thing to do but we had a little time and were enjoying the still comfortable riding weather. Suddenly on a back road we saw a “pavement ends” sign. Well that should be fun?
We had about 30 miles of fast gravel road, not bad and sort of fun. As I think about it, this was probably the longest stretch of non-pavement we had the whole trip. Although, the term “pavement” means something different in many parts of Mexico.
We spent the night in Needles, CA. A small dusty town of about 5,000 people. Originally a tent town for railroad construction crews then later a stop on historic US Route 66. Now it’s just mostly a truck stop for travelers on interstate 40. We ate at the only restaurant within walking distance of the Best Western, the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. Ummm, famous for chicken fried steak and slow roasted pot roast. Breakfast served all day. I had the pot roast.
Yep, we weren’t in Mexico any more. The hotel breakfast looked even worse so in the morning we went back to the Wagon Wheel for more. Well, hard to ruin eggs and toast so we were soon fed, caffeinated and ready to ride.
Our destination was the Yosemite Motorcycle Adventure Dualsport and UTV Base Camp. Or, in plain English, the home of our friends Kim and Kris where we had our truck and trailer parked. We arrived tired, dirty and with about as much more wear and tear as our faithful motorcycles. Our hosts nursed us back to life and helped load the bikes on the trailer and let us spend the night in their comfortable Airbnb spot. Thanks guys!
Driving I-5 is never the most fun and when we got to the Oregon border the road was closed because of snow, ice and multiple accidents. We didn’t see any warning along the way so we were stuck in the stopped traffic. As the sun set we sat in our truck reading books and thankful we had a relatively full tank for the almost two hour wait.
We finally made it to Medford, OR well after dark and parked under a blue lite in the lot of the Best Western. I thought it looked kind of cool.
The next picture on my phone was from our morning walk in the woods behind our house. Burrrrr. 23 degrees and snow. Yuk. Maybe a few more days in Mazatlán might have been better?
So this wraps up another adventure. We were gone almost 4 months so now we need to get back into our home groove and start thinking about what’s next. Spring arrives early in the Pacific Northwest so Deby is glad to get to work in her garden. I’ll be working on both bikes and getting them ready for the next trip. I have a new KTM 500 that needs some riding and we have a camper that needs some use. I got a call yesterday about a new online music project that needs some bass parts (do I remember how to work that instrument?). I think the Northwest Norton Owners (https://www.nwno.org/) will be glad to have me back as their newsletter editor and I know I’ll be glad to go on some rides with those guys on my Norton Commando.
Again, thanks to everyone that reads this blog. Your encouragement to keep writing about our adventures is what keeps me going. What’s next?? Hard to say, but I think we’ll come up with something.
Thanks for following.
Donn and Deby