Dumb Stuff

Monday, January 21, 2013, Palenque, Mexico.

Ok, I’ll just fess up. I was tired, not thinking and left my SPOT tracking unit in my tank bag in front of the hotel last night. When I came out in the morning it was gone. That is why if you have been following my track online, there was not much progress today. However, the thieves must have pushed the OK button and broadcast their location, you can look HERE and look at the last location, that was not me. By the time I saw that they pushed the locate button we were 150 miles away and what would I do anyhow. Thanks to my son Weston, I have a new one being shipped to Antiqua Guatemala and I should have it by Friday. In the mean time I helped Mike set up a shared page and he will have his in tracking mode. Click this sentence for Mike’s shared SPOT link.

Sunday was a tough day, 349 miles, moving time 7 hours 13 minutes elapsed time over 9 hours. We arrived in Tuxtla Guiterrez as it was getting dark and pulled into the first hotel which turned out to be a Holiday Inn. As it typical we parked in front of the front door within sight of the reception desk and were told there would be a guard watching the bikes all night. Hmmmm.

We did stay at a nice place Saturday night.

Went for a swim in this pool

Had a good start to the day with coffee and fruit.

I suppose we are not really trying to travel on the cheap but we’ve found with some negotiating we can get pretty good rates per night.

We seem to have an aviator glasses theme going, here’s Keith.

And Jim…

Even Dave has joined the “cool” crowd.

Besides being a long day the riding was pretty brutal, we started out in 90 degree heat before climbing into the mountains where it cooled off but then the wind picked up. I’ve ridden in strong wind before but this seemed like one of the strongest. Why is it that whenever we are riding a high wind area there are wind farms all around?

We stopped at a Pemex and it’s become usual for there to be a 3 peso fee that is often collected by young children. The fee includes TP if needed. These kids were really cute and took their job seriously.

We stopped for a great lunch of quesadillas.

Today, after reporting the missing SPOT and a few other minor things we rode further inland to Palenque home of ruins that date back to 200 BC. Click HERE to read more.

We rode a twisty road through cold and fog until at almost 7,000 feet we broke through the top of the cloud layer where we stopped for a break.

A usual roadside stand

Chickens walking around with legs tied so they don’t get too far away

Later in the day for lunch we had chicken grilled over an open fire

The local dogs were waiting for a handout.

I managed to take a couple of pictures while riding

Deby, waving for the camera.

Keith and Dave on the road into Palenque.

A very typical scene, I think Jim said he counted 12 people in the back of this truck.

Finally, our track for today.

Tomorrow we are planning on an early start to see the ruins and then on the bikes to make a few miles towards the Guatemala border.

Still smiling… D&D 🙂 🙂





The Road of Life

January 19, 2013, Puerto Escondido Mexico

235 miles with a moving time of 6 hours and 5 minutes today and for the first time on the trip the temperature registered above 90 degrees. It was another good day.

We’ve been staying on Mex 200 for since entering the mainland and it’s giving us the opportunity to view an amazing slice of Mexican life. We must have passed through 100 small towns today and I would venture to speculate that Mex 200 is the only pavement in most of them. Life seems to revolve around the two lane highway and the commerce it brings. If we went through 100 towns we went past 1000 roadside stands selling things from every type of food staple, roadside snacks, women’s dresses clothing and toys for children. We saw all of this close up because each town is full of topes as they seem to be called in Baja or “Reductor De Velocidad” as they are called here. Translation – speed bumps. Some are more “humps” than “bumps” but most of them are like driving over a 4X4 piece of lumber which tests our suspension and certainly does slow down traffic. If we went through 100 towns and past 1000 roadside stands we easily went over 10,000 “Reductors”.

We are trying to make progress while in Mexico so we have more time to spend in Central and South America. It’s probably a good thing Keith is keeping us on schedule because I would be stopping in every other town to hang out, take pictures, try the food and generally goof off. I’m pretty sure that would totally guarantee we would never make it to Pucon Chile. Since we are moving so much I decided to take more pictures on the road with one hand to try to capture some of the life here.

Passing is a constant part of the ride, we are experts at it.

Look mom, I can pass with one hand and take a picture at the same time!

Typical roadside scene.

I wish the next picture wasn’t blurry, they were so excited to see me riding behind them with my camera. It was very common to see pickup trucks filled with people… safety third! And hey, what does that road sign mean? Nothing important I hope.

I love this next picture, passing another motorcycle.

.We stopped at a typical roadside restaurant for lunch today.

Jim and Mike had the soup with was a collection of whole fish, shrimp and some other stuff. They spent most of the time picking out the complete skeletons.

We made an ATM stop in one of the larger towns and took time to observe a dance class  in the open air court. It looked like they were working on traditional Mexican group dancing. Some of it almost reminded me of square dancing. We couldn’t decide if it was an after school class or a competitive team. These kids really had the moves.

The bikes are running fine, we all seem to be healthy and are getting along amazingly well with each other. Tomorrow is day 10 since we left the US, that means 90% of the journey is yet to come.

Thanks for following…. Donn and Deby 🙂 🙂





We survived the route through Acapulco today, it was crazy traffic, people, cars, trucks, animals, construction vehicles, buses, anything you can imagine. It took us over an hour in rush hour traffic, 85 degree heat while swerving, lane splitting, riding aggressively and trying to keep the group together. Since I have the GPS route and Deby and I are communicating in our helmets, I took the lead and Deby brought up the rear while giving me constant reports on how the tail end of the group was doing. It was quite the interesting commentary on our group riding skills.

Here is the route through the city.

A shot of traffic, this was the easy part. I needed two hands for the tough stuff.

Quite a change from a couple of hours earlier when we were riding on a new four lane concrete road totally abandoned except for the local cattle. Evidently they are, or were, planning a resort in this area and built the road but the resorts or people never appeared.

Ended the day with a little laundry in the room, nice that they had a drying rack!

More later, D&D 🙂 🙂

Twisting The Day Away

Today was 207 miles with a moving time of 5 hours. We spent a large part of the day on Mex 200 twisting along the coast. Maybe you can see the road on the above picture. It took us 2 hours to ride turn after turn after turn after turn after turn. Wow, 3 and 4th gear the whole way. Traffic was pretty light in this section so we could just glide left and right over and over. It was a bit of work but way too much fun. As we were negotiating the curves I was trying to figure out if this could possibly be the best motorcycle road I’ve ever been on…. could be!

Towards the end of the day we came to a section with construction where suddenly the road was beautiful, smooth and wide with a posted limit of 90k. It seemed we would just get up to speed when as quickly as it started the road reverted back to the old road or just gravel. One exciting moment came when I was passing a truck on a sweeping right turn at about 60mph when about 3/4 of the way around the turn the asphalt disappeared and I was on dirt! We’ve come to expect any condition around any corner at any time with obstacles including donkeys, dogs, goats, cows or rocks, topes, vada’s or any kind of debris. Yes, we are not in Kansas anymore!

We stayed at a Best Western last night for a little taste of home.

Jim at breakfast checking e-mails.

By popular demand – here’s Mikey!

Pizza delivery Mexican style

Roadside break

Three amigos, Jim, Dave, Mike

The road ahead….

The road behind….

Typical straight section of road, I didn’t think it would be safe to ride one-hand around the curvy parts.

Tomorrow we will probably get near Acapulco where we agreed to decide whether to continue directly to Guatemala or spend some time riding inland to explore the Palenque Myan ruins.

More to come,

D&D 🙂 🙂

A Nice Day Riding

Ok, just a quick post tonight to check in.

Here is an overview of our time in Mexico so far

So halfway? Here is our progress today

Tonight we are in the resort town of Manzanillo  (click HERE to learn more) a tourist destination I’ve never heard of. So far it seems like a nice place with a beautiful beach.

According to my GPS we rode 217 miles today with a moving average of 38mph. Mostly it was a nice day of twisty roads winding along the coast and the coastal mountains. There were some sections with a lot of traffic where we were passing and being passed but also nice stretches of riding with little traffic and fun twisty toads.

I took a few pictures today before my camera battery died.

Deby and I had a nice walk on the beach in the morning

Saw plenty of pelicans

They were everywhere

Fresh fish for sale on the beach

Getting packed up in front of the Casablanca hotel

Some pictures of the crew. Here is Keith.




My favorite rider, Deby

Nice gas stop picture of Deby’s bike

That was the last picture before my camera notified me that my battery has “expired”.

It’s finally warming up into the low 80’s today. I think I’ll be switching to he mesh riding gear tomorrow. Glad to finally be out of the cold!

Thanks for following,


The LaPaz Ferry

This is the California Star luxury ferry that runs between LaPaz and Mazatlan. The website says:

“The definition of comfort. There is no other way to describe our cozy cabins that are witnesses to the unforgettable journey our passengers experience”. 

That was the plan, to board the Tuesday ferry to Mazatlan and cruise in luxury in a private cabin for the 17  hour overnight ride.

So how did we end up on this ship……

With these vehicles…..

Waiting to load for the broken down truck in the hold to be moved…..

Scrounging for tie downs….

Wedged between the semi trucks?

The passenger accommodations were down this long hallway which lead to the luxury dining room.

Of course, there was outdoor seating.

And sleeping space??? It became clear that we would probably spend the night sleeping on the chairs in the dining hall, that was, until they closed at 9:00 PM and kicked us out. So that left us to sleep outside on the deck, on the outdoor seating or on the floor in the hall.

Did I mention the high seas?

The ship rocked hard enough that Jim’s GS1100 tipped over even with tie downs, I know because a crew member woke me up in the middle of the night (was I actually sleeping?) to tell me. I didn’t know where Jim was so I went to the deck with the crew hand to lift his bike and re-secure it.

I had good Spanish language practice talking to one of the truckers who was having an obvious problem with sea-sickness. Mal and no bueno and hurling hand signals let me know how he was feeling.

When it came time to find a place to sleep, Deby and I scored a nice place on the floor next to the water cooler and even had the Madonna looking down on us.

The others were not as lucky. Dave used his motorcycle cover to wrap up in and spent the night outside on the deck in his riding gear. The others moved around and I’m not sure where all they were. I heard Keith and Michael on the floor near us for part of the night and I think Jim spent most of his time on one of the benches on the deck.

We arrived in Mazatlan about 9:30 AM where a tug tied up and guided us to the dock (this one is for you Joe Smith).

This all came about because after a quick blast from Loreto we arrived at the ferry terminal  on Monday about 2:00 PM only to find the luxury ferry scheduled to leave on Tuesday was full. The next ferry we could get on was leaving on Thursday. So long as we were there, we spent about an hour getting our Temporary Vehicle Import Permits that are required once you leave the Baja peninsula. Somehow during that time Jim heard there was a ferry leaving in an hour and we could board it right away. Not knowing what we were getting into we jumped on the chance and bought our tickets.

Needless to say, if you have been following my Spotwalla link you know that we made it to Rincon de Guayabitos, Nayarit to the Casablanca Resort. We rode 274 miles with an elapsed time of 7 hours and 20 minutes. After limited sleep you can guess we were all tired and didn’t mind using some of the money we saved on the ferry to stay in upgraded accommodations.

Here is a picture of someone we met at the Pemex who guided us through the streets of Mazatlan. Riding 3 up is pretty normal around here.

Lunch along the way.

I’m not sure what’s next, I could easily be talked into staying another night here but we seem to be on a mission to ride fast and hard. Hopefully the trade off will be a few days hanging out on a beach in a tropical locale.

Keep an eye on my Spotwalla link to see if we move tomorrow.

I think I will create a separate SmugMug gallery for each country we are in to make it easier to navigate. Here is the link for more Mexico pictures. Mexico SmugMug Gallery.

Time to rest, thanks for following and the well wishes.

Donn and Deby 🙂 🙂




Watching the Seahawks in Loreto

(Note: I’m preparing this post with limited Internet Access in Loreto. I might have to add pictures and finish it later)

(January 15, here are the pictures)

No power when we woke up in the Bahaia de Los Angeles which meant no showers for another day. Welcome to Mexico. I think the trick is to not pass up a hot shower when available. Fortunately, the hotel restaurant seemed unphased and had fresh coffee they brewed over an open fire, they even managed to wrangle up two delicious plates of hueveros ranchos. We managed to put a MotoRaid II sticker on their sign to mark our stay. See if you can find it.

Anxious to make some progress we were on the road by 9:00 on a bright but cool Saturday morning for points south. The ferry from LaPaz to Mazatlan leaves on Tuesday and Thursday, we had the idea to try to make the Tuesday ferry. We made good time to San Ignacio where we stopped at the famous Rice and Beans restaurant for lunch, the same place Deby and I spent New Year’s eve last year. This time, we continued on and arrived in Mulege before we decided to stop for the night. The last time Deby and I were there we stayed in a pretty crummy hotel, this time Ricco at Rice and Beans recommended the Serenidad hotel. After a little excitement on the sandy road leading to the hotel we were greeted with a pig roasting on a spit at the entrance to the officina. Lucky us, it was pig roast night, yum.


The hotel is literally at the end of the Mulege airport and there were a number of gringos who had flown in to provide medical services to the locals. They were all in the bar and we had a great time hanging out, drinking cervesas and watching the GreenBay Packer game.  The only thing that could have been better is if the Packers could have won.

Bikes tucked in for the night


Sunday we made a last minute decision to ride only 80 miles to Loreto so we could 1) visit the San Javiar mission and 2) be back in time to catch the end of the Seahawks game. It was a beautiful ride to the mission and we were back in time for the last quarter of the game. The only think that could have been better is if the Seahawks could have won (they almost did).

San Javiar Mission

View on the way to the mission

Check out the road in the distance, nice ride.

Here are a few pictures from walking around Loreto….. warning…. graphic puppy pictures to follow.


Oh, a few friends at her feet.

Who can resist.

Ok, last one, I promise.

Deby and I went for a walk on the beach and I was in the right place at the right time for this picture

Picking up shells!

Tomorrow we are going to blast the 200 miles to LaPaz and see if we can get tickets for the Tuesday ferry.

Ok, I’m giving up on uploading pictures for now. I’ll add some when I get a better connection. Everybody is doing fine, the bikes are running well and we are having a good time getting to know each other. We seem to have compatible riding styles which is nice, approximately equal bladder capacities which keeps the stops to a minimum and generally laid back attitudes about the journey which is essential.

Thanks for the comments, I do read them all even if I can’t reply to them.

Donn, Deby and the gang.


Bahia de Los Angeles

We rode 314 miles further south today and stopped at the Costa Del Sol hotel in Bahia de Los Angeles. I checked my GPS log file from my last trip here and verified I stayed at this exact hotel exactly one year ago. How strange is that?

Thursday morning was cold and wet when we left to met our group at San Diego BMW. By the 10:00 meeting time the rain had stopped but they sky was grey and threatened more rain.

I had the route to the border programmed into my GPS, but to be sure, I asked directions and wrote them down. When it came time to leave and we all said good bye to the fantastic staff at SD BMW I was volunteered to lead the pack. Within riding 5 feet, (really!) my Garmin Montana 600 went completely blank. Oh great, I’m the leader with a blank GPS. Well, good thing I had the written directions in my tank bag right? No, not for me. I was busy trying to fix the GPS including removing it from the cradle while on the freeway and cleaning the contacts with my sleeve. It didn’t work. Really? Somehow while attempting repairs we missed the turn for 94 and ended up going north on 54. It took an embarrassing amount of miles before I decided to pull over and turn on my backup GPS (GPS60csx). Funny thing is that no one else seemed to know something was wrong or that we were going the wrong direction. Hmmmm, lesson one in getting to know my new riding partners.

With the backup GPS on and working we rode back to the missed turn and had an uneventful and enjoyable ride to the Tecate border.

Similar to my last time crossing the Tecate border the gate went up and we rode through without really seeing anyone. This time however, we knew to stop and procure out tourist visas, something I neglected to do on my last visit. After getting the visas and finding a bank to load up on pesos it was about 2:00 PM before we rode out of town.

Parked at the immigration office

We got as far as Santo Tomas before we were running out of sunlight and decided to stop for the night at a small hotel Deby and I had visited on our last night in Baja last year. Our first meal together was fun with great food, cervesas and margaritas.

Our room had vines growing through the window from the outside. Nice to have some green in the room.

Eager to get on the road we started riding by 8:00, it was cold, in the 40’s and we were thankful for our heated liners.

We stopped at an excellent taco stand for lunch.

The owner asked if I could put his picture on the internet…. here you go!

I did manage to take a few pictures while riding again.

Further south we came across an area that was filled with huge boulders which was extremely distracting for Deby. We had to stop to take a closer look. Good thing none of these would fit in her bag.

It was a long day today, 315 miles, but fun. Hopefully tomorrow the temperatures will get above 50 and we can turn off our electric liners, burrrr.

More to come.

Donn and Deby 🙂 🙂




Tomorrow – Mexico

Tomorrow we meet with the rest of our group for a 10:00 AM launch from San Deigo BMW. Deby and I had dinner last night with Jim who arrived earlier in the day after riding south from Seattle on I-5. Jim said he’s heard from Keith, Dave and Michael and everyone was close by and expected to make the scheduled rendezvous.

Since the last post we stayed a night in Burbank and visited with Dave, a college friend of Deby’s that we’ve kept in touch with over the years. Good to see you Dave! From there we  rode to San Diego where we spent a day at Balboa Park, home to the first World’s Fair in 1915. Today it houses a collection of museums, gardens and the San Diego Zoo. We checked out the art museums, the Air and Space museum and the Automotive museum where there were two Norton’s and a Vincent Black Shadow on display.

We didn’t take too many pictures but needed to get a shot of this glass art that was throughout the Prado restaurant inside the park.

Zooming in a little closer…… (warning parental bragging ahead….)

Martin Blank is the Seattle glass artist our son Jonathan works for. I had no idea some of his work was in the park. Click HERE to read about Martin Blank. Click HERE to see some work by Jonathan Ross Harvey.

I noticed our friend Pedro left Redmond today on his way to Brasil, safe travels my friend. We are hoping to catch up with him somewhere in Central America. You can track his progress HERE. Our friends Tad and Gaila made it to Guatemala, we hope to catch up to them as well. You can track them HERE. And don’t forget to follow our progress on SpotWalla HERE.

I have no clue what is in store for tomorrow, what time we will cross the border, how far we will ride or where we will spend the night. I’m turning off my phone when we enter Mexico and will post next time I have internet access. Be sure to check in on SpotWalla to make sure we are moving during the day and stopped at night, hopefully in a village and not in the middle of a desert.

More to come, Donn and Deby