Moto Adventures

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Volcano St. Maria

Ken getting ready to cross the Guatemalan border

Marketplace in Antigua

The time has come to say goodbye to our friends and fellow adventure riders Della and Kelly, as they continue on to the Yucatan and family, and we step out of our comfort zone in Mexico and into a new frontier, Guatemala.

The weather continues to dictate our direction as we don't particularly like riding in the rain. We bypassed Belize because of the rain and the gravel roads, a lousy combination for us at this time. Guatemala is beautiful, we rode mountain tops to an elevation of over 9900 ft. Sights from our seat include small farms, cornfields to numerous to count, and indigenous people dressed in bright colored clothes wandering the roadcarring heavy loads of wood and goods for sale. Trucks and buses are so full arms and legs are often sticking out windows and over the truckbox. We often wonder if they will make it up the next hill or around the next blind corner that they insist on passing on.

There are many volcanoes here in Guatemala and we have had a chance to see one coughing smoke and ash, too close for us but an everyday occurrence for the people here. The best time to see the volcanoes are in the morning, the clouds start to form around the cone early in the day and by afternoon the rains come (it is still the rainy season for a couple of more weeks). The up side to the rain is that everything is green and lush and all the wild flowers are out.

The town we are in now is Antigua, it sits in a valley surrounded by 3 volcanoes, it was partially destroyed by a volcano in the 1700's and rebuilt. Today it is a sweet little pueblo with a colonial flare, cobblestone streets and old churches and monasteries built by the Spaniards. It reminds me a lot of our trip to Europe last year. We have stayed here a day longer than we had planned, there goes our schedule....what schedule? Oh well, manaña El Salvador...maybe!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


What trip to Mexico would be complete without a little tequila? We spent a couple on days in the small pueblo of Tequila, tasting a few house varieties and touring the Jose Cuervo plant. We found out that tequila is made in quite a similar way to wine, the blue agave plant is harvested, the heart is steamed and shredded, after the fiber is discarded the nectar is fermented then distilled. At this time the alcohol is too strong to drink and it is watered down a little, although it is said that it was at this stage that the Mexician Indians would drink the liquid (but only the men's men). Today they water the tequila to the correct percentage of alcohol they want, this is called tequila blanco. Reposado, or a finer quality of tequila is aged in wooded barrels for anywhere from 3 months to 1 year, and the finest tequila, anejo tequila (a darker, smoother, and sometimes sweeter variety) can be found in cellars being aged for many years. We found this tour interesting and now we will look at our favourate drink in a different way.

After Tequila it was off to Guadalajara to visit a new friend Humberto and his wife, Billy, their hospitality was fantastic and they showed us around the city and the surrounding countryside. Beautiful as it was we decided that the big city is not where we want to be and opted out of Mexico City and an invite from another friend.

We decided to check on the weather before strikeing out and we found that it was not in our best interest to stay inland because ALOT of rain was being forcast, so it is off to the coast and the humidity we go! Did you know that you can break a sweat just thinking about going for a walk? And as you are riding you just want to go faster to accumulate more wind. Staying with our plan to avoid bigger cities, we bypassed Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa, and skirted Acapulco, and we are looking forward to Puerto Escondido for a little R&R.

The ride down from Zihuatanejo consists of miles and miles of beaches lined with coconut and banana palms. Rivers flow from the mountains and because of the amount of rains this time of year they are swollen and sometimes at the break of the road. Some of the small towns we passed were mostly up to their doorsteps in water, and it is not beautiful clean water either. Still life goes on here for the Mexicians, selling what goods they can and going about daily business, and all that with a smile on their face. You have got to like it!

A quick note about pictures, there are none. Well I'm trying, I am having a little trouble getting them to post, but back check post as I plan on posting them when I am able.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bruise and Boast

This week at Creel the town was to adventure riders as Sturgis is to Harley riders. Horizonsunlimited, a internet based type of bike club for adventure riders, orginized (or in this case unorginized) a ride where members and nonmembers came together to ride, exchange stories, make connections, and network. We called it the Adventure Riders Buise and Boast. Lots and lots of bikes...KTM 640, KTM 950, BMW R100GS, BMW R1150GS, BMW R1200GS, 650 Dakar, Suzuki 400DR, Kawasaki KLR650, Honda Trans Alp, of course the Suzuki Vstrom (like ours) and Ken's all time favorate the Honda Africa Twin. We talked to people who gave us some advise and some who graciously extended invitations to visit them in Mexico City, Guadaljara and Columbia, and as we have said before "Be very careful because Ken and I usually show up on the doorstep sooner or later". During the last four days we were in Creel, three people had some bike trouble while out rideing off the beatin track in the mountians. They where found two days and three nights later cold and hungry but basicly o.k. It was a little of a reality check, getting lost happens fast and it happens relatively easy and you don't want it happening to you down here.
While checking out the local grocery store in Creel, a habit I still find hard to break, I met Kelly and later his wife Della. They are a great couple who, you guessed it, are headed to Tierra del Fuego, they have sold just about everything and are travelling Central and South America and then on to Africa and maybe Europe. Although they have a little time then us we are going to travel with them for a while, at least until Mexico City (look out Garry here we come).
The four of us, Kelly, Della, Ken and myself left Creel early on the 12th of Oct. and more than ready to get on our way and to continue on our own adventure. Riding in the Sierra del madre mountians in northern Mexico is beautiful with an abundance on twisties (technical term for a road with alot of turns) including the Devils Back Bone which is the name of part of the road from Durango to Mazatland. This road winds along the top of the mountains and in some spots you can actually see off the road on either side. Little towns and local roads cut through the jungle, it really is AMAZING! Please help me here, I have been using that word to death and I need to expand my vocabulary...any suggestions?
So anyway.... here we are Mazatland, hot, humid and hanging out at the pool for a couple of days. A couple days out of the saddle and into a lounger studing my spanish then south again. Can't wait.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Copper Canyon

Road overlooking the Copper Canyon

Copper Canyon with the road winding down into the valley

and across the river below

The Copper Canyon is system on deep canyons that began being formed over 40 million years ago during a period of extreme volcanic and earthquake activity which formed plateaus and faults that eroted away with the wind and rain.

Today the mountians are dotted with small farms, mining towns and I'm sure if you look hard enough a Tarahumara indian running on one of the many paths that have been winding through the canyons for hundreds of years. At Creel, which is located near the canyon,the elevation is over 7500 ft. and they do sometimes get snow here on the winter months. The twisty road from Creel to the top of the canyon 70 km. away the road is paved after that the road turns to gravel as it plunges 65 km. into the canyon and the old mining town of Batapila which lies at an elevation of around 1800 ft. It is quite a ride down. The approx. 50 switchbacks that make up the road cut into the side of the canyon and allow amazing views and spectacular scenery.

There is a railway line that runs through one of the canyons and RV's can be put on railway cars and you can travel from Brownsville Tex. to Las Muchas Mex. We didn't take this ride but we did ride the road that runs beside the railroad tracks for about 40 km. to the town of Divisadero which is perched on the edge of a cliff. On a clear day you can see for over a hundred miles, the Copper Canyon is said to be over 4 times bigger than the Grand Canyon. Roads (if you can call them that) have been built to the bottom of some of the canyons crossing rivers and with a different bike and at different time we may try this ride (Terry, Ken is envious). Until then on with our adventure to South America.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I cannot believe our luck!

Our good friends Chris and Isabel, with Tortitas de Pollo

Well, as easy as the first legs of our adventures have been this last one has not. From delaying our start of the trip looking for a new Vstrom and having to get it registered in
Canada because we had to buy it in Idaho to being chased south by cold weather, and from melted hand warmers to missing pieces on our panniers. Add to these a fine going across the Mexican border for failing to turn in our visitors visa last April, something we have never had to do before on the Baja beause we never return the same year (good news is we talked our way down to a $80.00 U.S. fine from what could have been $500.00 U.S.) things have not been going too smooth.
Having made it across the border a little less cash in hand (and a little more in the Mexican authories pockets) we got up the first morning in Mexico to find our bike had been pushed over and several parts are either bent or broken. We fixed things up as best we could and continued on toward the Copper Canyon only to find that our bike is too low and is bottoming-out on the topes (very large speed bumps) all the way to Creel and the Copper Canyon-more to come on those later. This low of a bike will not do in Mexico and if it is going to be home for the next 8 months or so we really should make it right, so....Where are we now? Try Austin, Texas with our friends Chris and Isabel, and Mark getting everything fixed on the bike that needs to be and some more. Oh well we have the time now, the company is good (so is Isabels' cooking) and so is the weather. It's all good! No it is great! By the way we had no idea but Austin is home to Batfest and we had to see them for ourselves while we were here. At dusk about 1 1-2 million or more bat fly out into the city from under one of the new bridges built in the 1980's. It is like being in a Steven King movie. Austin is the captial of Texas and really very pretty, the congress building located down town is bigger than the captital in Washington, of course this is Texas, and in Texas everything is bigger!
Check out Isabels recipe for Tortitas de Pollo. Gracias Isabel y buenas suarte con vida en U.S.A.

Tortitas de Pollo
  1. 3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
  2. 9 eggs, separated
  3. 1/3 c. parmesan cheese
  4. oil for frying
  5. salt to taste
  6. 6 c. salsa verte (recipe to follow)

Boil chicken breast in water with onion and garlic until done, cool and shred chicken, set aside.

Whip eggwhites until stiff then slowly add egg yolks. Fold in shredded chicken. Meanwhile heat oil. Drop chicken mixture into hot oil and spread slightly ( like pancakes).

Put fried chicken tortitas into a pot of salsa verde until ready to serve.

Serve with Arroz Mexicano.

Salsa Verde

  1. 10 tomatillos
  2. 3 serrano, or to taste
  3. 1/2 c. onion
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. salt to taste
  6. 1 chicken oxo cube

Cover all ingredients with water and boil for approx. 30 minutes. Cool slightly and then blend well in blender.

Arroz Mexicano

  1. 1 1/2 c. rice
  2. 2 large carrots, diced
  3. 1/2 peeled potato, diced
  4. 1 oxo cube
  5. salt to taste
  6. 2 tomatoes
  7. 1 clove garlic
  8. 1/4 c. onion

Fry rice in a little oil until golden, add carrots cook until soft. While rice is frying blend tomato, garlic, onion and 1/2 c. water in blender. Add tomato mixture to rice, cook 10 minutes. Add potato and oxo cube, add about 2 cups water to cover rice. Cover and simmer for approx. 15 to 20 minutes, until rice is soft.

Disfruta la comida!