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Hail Yes - MexTrek 2010

Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,980
Location
Austin
First Name
Richard
Last Name
Gibbens
What's the story line for MexTrek 2010?

With all the news reports about the drug wars you might predict it would border shenanigans and shootouts. But, you would be wrong. We encountered none of that stuff.

Instead, Mother Nature blessed us with a daily dose of adventure weather! Specifically, weather in the form of rain (lots of it each afternoon)...
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...and hail so thick the ground looked like it was covered in snow.
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The astonishingly beautiful scenery...
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world-class adventure roads...
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...and strong camaraderie were more than a match for the formidable weather.
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So, ride along with us as we share our stories and pictures from MexTrek 2010. And when it's all done you'll say "hail yes" too.
 

cdc

Registered Lurker
Forum Supporter
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
2,981
Location
Katy, TX
First Name
Camilo
Last Name
Diaz
Great intro note!
Now..:popcorn:
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2006
Messages
1,074
Location
Castroville, Texas
I've been wanting to ride in the interior of Mexico for years.

So it is with a great deal of thanks to guys like Richard and Milton for not only blazing the trail but to share all their knowledge with the rest of us.

With their help and guidance to trip was a breeze. If fact Richard rode from Galeana to McAllen on Wednesday just to lead a group to Galeana on Thursday.

I hope to pass on the knowledge gained to assist other riders in the future.

My next purchase is a good GPS, I've always relied on maps alone but in Mexico I need the extra help.

Ready to leave Castroville Wednesday morning
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Across the border on Thursday morning
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Stop at the falls on the road west of Villa de Santiago
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West of Villa de Santiago, Nuevo León, Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey
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It's just so beautiful...
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San Isidro Canyon
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San Isidro Canyon
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West turn off on the road between San Juan Bautista and Laguna de Sanchez, it goes to Los Lirios, the road of Hail
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Plaza de Galeana, note Milton's bike is already at the hotel and it's still daylight.
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Staging for the Gold Standard
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Trail down into the canyon, Puente de Dios, north of Galeana on the road to Rayones
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Puente de Dios, north of Galeana on the road to Rayones http://puentededios.wordpress.com/
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Amazing and effective roadside repairs in Rayones, front brake line on the DRZ and bag mounts on the TransAlp
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Those welding goggles aren't OHSA approved
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Casillas
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Casillas
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Our leader heading up to Mesa de Oso, The Gold Standard
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Coming down from Mesa de Oso, The Gold Standard
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Just above Laguna de Sanchez, Bill cleaning off some mud.
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"Let's go!"
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West of Villa de Santiago, Nuevo León, Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey again, heading east this time
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Turn off of the paved road south of Iturbide to start El Almar, Agua Blanca, Around the Mountain, Buena Vista, etc
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El Alamar route, above Cuevas
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El Alamar route, above Cuevas 2
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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Fortunately no one pulled the rope
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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El Alamar route continued
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Nearing the end of dirt on the El Alamar route, Pablillo, inside out
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Nearing the end of dirt on the El Alamar route, Pablillo, Bill and Ed outside
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Brunch in Linares
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Hwy 40 headed for Reynosa
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Friendly Ronnie on the HP2
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Anzalduas crossing, waiting to turn in our vehicle permits
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Adios Mexico
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The last couple of miles home, TX 173 Medina county
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Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
First Name
Milton
Last Name
Otto
Teaser shots

Made it from Galeana back to Austin in 10hrs. Once again the Pharr crossing rocked, pulled up with only two cars ahead of us. Took about 5 minutes to cross! A local told me that all of the traffic was over at that new fancy bridge :mrgreen:

I'll wait on the official thread to post more picts but here's a few teasers.



Jarrett couldn't help but wonder if there was a reason that this dolls arms were ripped off. Was it some type of twisted warning??





Pink turned a few of us on to the best tacos in town. This place rocked!






Don't ask Izz what put that small dent in his gas tank.. He claims it's a rather large dent!
Moved from the other thread.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,171
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
For those that don't know, (like me) what's the story behind the pulling of the rope in front of the cave entrance?

.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2006
Messages
1,074
Location
Castroville, Texas
For those that don't know, (like me) what's the story behind the pulling of the rope in front of the cave entrance?

.
Not sure what the rope was for. Booby trap?

We could see a wall of hay 20 to 30 feet back from the entrance.
Was the cave just used to store hay? Or was the hay covering up something else?

Probably just to keep hay dry. But when Bill and Ed pulled away I didn't straggle and I checked my mirrors...

I saw several other caves just past that one. One was 20 or so feet above the road with a handmade ladder up to it.

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Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
First Name
Milton
Last Name
Otto
The Buena Vista route, only completely navigated by MexTrekers for the first time last year, is fast becoming a favorite. On Thursday, Tom, Jimmy and John T. and I ran the Buena Vista Route.

EDIT: Hummm... Seems the book calls the route we took the "Around the Mountain" route. To me it's the Buena Vista Route, but what do I know. So just to be accurate, the route described here is called Around the Mountain in the book.
The book is a work in progress, however.
What is the Buena Vista route in the book bails off the mountain at Buena Vista and descends to Purisima. Maybe we should change its name to Buena Vista, the Short Version.

Tom and Jimmy just south of Inturbide on the Buena Vista route
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Tom's very first visit to Mexico. This is what its all about.
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John T., a seasoned MexTrek veteran. At the community of Cuevas.
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Community between Camarones and Santa Inez
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Down near San Francisco and Santa Inez
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Jimmy's KTM 990 Adventurer in Santa Inez
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Santa Inez
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Storm clouds up ahead. Santa Inez, Buena Vista Route.
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North of Snta Inez
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TJ rockets by
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Finally, Buena Vista. Tom laughed when I called this place a "town".
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Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
First Name
Milton
Last Name
Otto
By now its raining. The boys didn't want to hang in the sawmill "town" of Buena Vista, out of concern with the weather. So we pushed on. Weather is always a concern in these remote areas as the roads can turn to slippery slop all too quickly. That being said, Buena Vista is a nice place to get stranded. Mexican eco-tourists come up here to camp.

At the Purisima cut-off, 0.2 miles outside Buena Vista. Go down here to reach Purisima, up to continue around the mountain and reach Agua Blanca.
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Rain makes the rocks and clay slick. Jimmy struggles with the KTM 990 but makes it up the inclines every time, eventually.
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Our crew, Jimmy, John and Tom, take 5 on the Buena Vista Route.
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Two groups meeting on the trail, going opposite directions. Always a time for a celebration of sorts.
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GPS guru John T.
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Izzy, Scott, and Jimmy
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Finally, Agua Blanca
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Agua Blanca.
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This is the hard-to-spot entrance to the arroyo below Agua Blanca that is the shortcut to the Milpillas route. Scott and Jared searched for this in all the wrong places.
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San Juanito de Solis
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These things were in bloom
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Back to Galeana via the beautiful Hwy 2. Back before dark. Good time had by all.

Scott, Jared, and Izzy finished the same route going the opposite direction even though they didn't start until around 4pm.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
1,164
Location
Denton, TX
First Name
Scott
You. Guys. Suck.

Wish I could have been there... Glad no one was hurt and it looks like everyone had a great time. No two ride reports show the same picture and no two trips to Mexico are the same!
W.I.W.I.M.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
171
Location
Fischer, TX
First Name
Martin
Last Name
Stults
I'm glad you guys made it back ok and I'm sorry I did not make it down this time. Keep the stories and pictures coming. I have not suffered enough yet.:suicide:
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
17
Location
austin
Wow, pics looks awesome! Looks like the rain made it extra fun and challenging. I'm so bummed I wasn't able to make the trip. It's unbelievable this heaven lies just a days drive south of here.

Already planting the seed for Mextrek 2011!
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
2,227
Location
Ten Sleep, WY
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Smith
Milton -

The riders looking at the sky out of Santa Inez and the big Katoom rider in the canyon are great!

J
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
544
Location
houston
Wow. Awesome pics and reports. Wish I could have been there. Can't wait to hear about this year's "unknown" or "road of death".:clap:
 
Joined
May 6, 2008
Messages
16
Location
Denton, Texas
FREE DVD TO ANY ONE WHO MADE THE RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Done with Vholder HD helmet cam.
It came out great. After watching it, now I know why I was scared.
No editing has been done you could mix some pictures and music with it which I am going to try to do.
Just send me your address and I should mail out by the first of next week.
Trying to post one small clip to Utube, will post if it works.
THANKS
Ronnie (Hp2 guy):rider:

ronniespinks@yahoo.com
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Messages
383
Location
Austin, TX
Beautiful pics, and glad to see everyone enjoying Mexico, without all the problems down there lately. Very inspiring, keep the pics and reports coming!
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
First Name
Milton
Last Name
Otto
Ryan,
What the heck were all those holes in the ground and Where was that??
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
539
Location
elgin,tx
:headbang::headbang:

Timing wasn't right this year, guess I'll have to live it vicariously through this thread.

I'm curious...what did the veterans think of the weather, in comparison to the October dates? I mean like: rain vs. cold, or did it still get cold in the mountains after dark or in the mornings.

Oh, great :photo: by the way.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
26
Location
katy tx
Ryan,
What the heck were all those holes in the ground and Where was that??
We couldnt quite figure that out. They werent quite big enough for graves, Im thinking they were water collection or runoff diverters or something. They looked awesome though. We found them in the zaragosa route area. I want to say it was santa rosa maybe. Im sure Shad remembers and can confirm or correct.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,300
Location
On a bike, down by the river!
First Name
Jack
Last Name
Jeter
Thank you Richard,John T.,Pinklloyd,Don and all the rest of the guys.

I just woke up after that long haul all the way back to Dallas............722 miles non stop! Well,except for dropping Jimmy off in Austin with his sick KTM990.
I gotta say,that was the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on.

If I can find my camera.........and if it still works after the drenching it got,I'll post up a few pictures.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2004
Messages
14
Location
San Angelo, Tx
All I can say is "wow, what a great trip." I cannot remember having more fun in Mexico. Milton had me freaking out a little on the route scouting run on Saturday around Cerro El Viejo. We went places very few people ever go. When we finally got off the mountain and down into Zaragoza, we did what any intrepid moto-explorer would do after a hard day: eat pizza!
 

izz

Joined
Oct 2, 2009
Messages
131
Location
Dublin, Tx
Wow. Awesome pics and reports. Wish I could have been there. Can't wait to hear about this year's "unknown" or "road of death".:clap:
I think everyone passed on any of the routes that say "Death" in the title. I did mark a waypoint for the traihead as we passed going home. Next time we're down there I invite volunteers to help me fill rocks into that one hole, kind of a camp there project...
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
1,525
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Ryan,
What the heck were all those holes in the ground and Where was that??
The holes, not sure, but there were a lot of them. Given the 3 lakes at the bottom of the valley below I assume it is for sending precipitation below ground where it won't evaporate.

I think this is the little town of San Diego, on the southern General Zaragoza route. It is at the end of a dead end road. In a high mountain valley that is, as far as I can tell, nearly spotless and 100 years back in time. Every inch of the little valley is evidence of a community effort at farming, engineering, conservation, and harmonious living. My favorite village in Mexico...by far. I will definitely put that ride as a must do on Mex Trek.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
First Name
Milton
Last Name
Otto
Friday was Gold Standard day for me. It had been years since I'd done that route, and I was curious to reacquaint myself with it. As the morning developed a lot of other guys were deciding to do the Gold Standard as well, and not surprisingly, the large group broke into smaller groups.

The ho-hum road between Galeana and Rayones
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The group(s) reassemble at the Rayones Pemex station. Looks like we were 12 at this point, (including the photographer).
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Shortly after the above photo, in the town square of Rayones, my front brake line sprung a leak, leaving my front hand brake useless. My first inclination was to press on. But it also seemed reasonable to try to find a mechanic shop. We found one, a couple of blocks away, basically a tire repair shop, and closed at that. We roused the owner who opened the iron gate to his shop and within minutes we had a handful of riders scouring his shelves and poking around his stuff looking for anything we could possibly use. Bill was the guiding light, the man with the plan. He acted like he'd spent the last 30 years in a machine shop. I would never have thought of how to repair a brake line. Long story short, we cut out the worn hole, (worn by rubbing on the tire), and inserted a metal canula inside of the composite brake line, (of course I had to "make" the tube). We repositioned the two ends with the metal tube inside of each end, and buttoned it down with hose clamps. Next was new brake fluid and getting the air out of the line, which was a group effort with Jarrett and Scott pointing the way.

And.........It worked!!
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In the midst of all this we had Izzy carting the guy's welding machine outside and proceeding to weld his luggage rack back together, using rebar from the shop owner's roof. All this in the hot sun. John T. and a group rightfully decided not to waste anymore daylight and pushed on. Bill, Ed and Santer stuck with me. We left Rayones about 1pm.

Finally on the road again, the road to Casillas.
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Rest break in Casillas
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This was the last we saw of these guys. They missed the easy-to-miss cut-off to Laguna de Sanchez and Mesa del Oso.
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Climbing away from Casillas. Rain was in the air. What to do? Push on.
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The Gold Standard, climbing towards Mesa del Oso
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We entered the clouds and passed Mesa del Oso in thick fog with drizzle. On the far side of Mesa del Oso we got a break in the weather.
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Bill with Mesa del Oso behind us
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The last pass. Laguna de Sanchez is on the far side of the mountain.
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Beautiful Laguna de Sanchez.
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The only problem was that the clay road down to Laguna had received a lot of rain, and proved the most treacherous part of the trip. We were all slipping and sliding and practically had to walk our bikes down.

Thru San Isidro Canyon, too late in the day to stop for pictures, thru Ciénega, and down the Cola de Caballo road.

Looking down towards Santiago and Cercado
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Its a good 2½ hours from Cercado to Galeana. We got in after 10pm. Great ride, great crew. There is a rumor flying around that I was tired. Its just not so!
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
1,020
Location
Austin, TX
I had a blast!
Looking forward to the next one.
Thanks to all of you.
Astor

My pics:
http://astor.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/MexTrek-2010/12396810_qmFq5#886604617_zMu2f
This one says it all when I realized that I had forgot my helmet and had to buy a new one in McAllen. :headbang:
Thanks again to you and Dennis for being willing hang back with me until the store opened. :sun:
And my apologizes again to the rest of the group for getting up real early only to have to wait to cross the border. :oops:

 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,980
Location
Austin
First Name
Richard
Last Name
Gibbens
MexTrek 2010 - The Extended Version
or alternatively it could be called
Nine Days of Adventure with Madman Milton

Life worked things out so that I had the entire week of MexTrek off. What should I do with the extra days? Go to MexTrek early, of course. Dual sport adventure riding in Mexico sounded like the perfect way to spend my time off. My buddy Milton, the World’s Foremost Adventure Dentist, thought it sounded just right too and was able to arrange his schedule so he had the same days off. Early Saturday morning we loaded the bikes in my trailer and headed for the border with the intent of scouting out some new dual sport roads for the MexTrek crew.

Day 1 – Austin to Galeana

We trailed to McAllen and then rode the bikes to Galeana. The ride to McAllen was boring as always. There’s not much you can do to spice up 300 miles of freeway. The good news is that it's only 300 miles. A virtual hop, skip, and a jump. Mexico is practically our back yard.

Just on the outskirts of town a large billboard alerted us to the fact that a local establishment named "Valley Girls" had 100 hot girls just waiting for us to stop by. Hmmm, do you really thing they have 100 hot women? 100? Hot? We debated whether we should verify their claim - truth in advertising and such - but we were on a mission to Mexico. Maybe next time (most likely not, but I should probably leave the option open. :) )

We passed some huge fields of sunflowers in full bloom on the drive to McAllen. I’m not a good enough photographer to take a photo that shows just how massive and colorful these fields of flowers were.





Milton stayed up most of the night before doing last minute prep on his bike. So, he wasn’t exactly a bundle of fun on the boring ride to McAllen.


I took advantage of the drive time to practice my Spanish. Most of the Spanish I’ve learned has been via this “Learn in your Car” Spanish course. If you drive much it’s a good way to pick up some Spanish. It has certainly worked well for me.



After his power nap, Milton decided to get in on the action. His Spanish is mucho, mucho better than mine.



As in years past, I left my vehicle and trailer in the parking lot of the McAllen Motel 6. We’ve been using this motel as our link-up spot since the first MexTrek. The hotel manager is a great guy and lets us leave our vehicles there while we are riding MexTrek. The other option is to park in long term parking at the airport. $3 per day per parking spot (so, it's $6 a day for a vehicle/trailer combo).

My Italian Supermodel Husky TE610 was about to be put to its first real test of fire. Nine days of adventure riding with Madman Milton is guaranteed to stress any bike and reveal all its weaknesses.


Note the very sano luggage set-up on my Italian Goddess. I can install or remove all three pieces of luggage - Wolfman tank bag, Dirt Bagz Ranger side bags, and Nelson Rigg seat bag – in about five minutes. All three pieces are designed specifically for motorcycles and are easy- on and -off. For me this is great because at the end of a long day I can unpack the bike very quickly and take everything to the hotel room in one trip. In short order I can have my feet up, enjoying the first cold beer of the evening. Ahhhh.

Milton was riding the venerable DR-Z 400 (ven•er•a•ble, adjective, 1. commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity; worthy of veneration or reverence). It’s a time-tested machine, worthy of all the respect and praise that has been heaped on it over the years.

Milton and I have different packing methods and preferences. I’m what you would call a minimalist and use a system designed for motorcycles. I don’t carry a lot of stuff and don’t want to spend a lot of time messing with my bags. Milton is a maximalist and carries lots of stuff in a home-grown kind of style. He just keeps stacking and arranging till it’s all on the bike. He calls his packing method “vagabond” but it works for him and that’s all that really matters.


From the Motel 6 we headed west to the new Anzulduas International Bridge that John Thompson had told us about. This bridge is fantastic for several reasons. You can do all of your paperwork in one location, it has lots of parking, it’s not crowded, you bypass most of Reynosa (especially downtown Reynosa), and it takes you straight to Hwy 40. The only downside to the bridge is there aren’t any convenient money exchange places (Cambios) or gas stations. So, get your money exchanged and your tank filled before you head for the bridge.

Milton getting his tourist permit at the immigration station inside the Anzulduas International Bridge tourist building



You can get from Austin to Galeana in a single day. It’s 300 miles from Austin to McAllen and 200 miles from Reynosa to Galeana. Figure on 12 hours of travel (9 hours of driving/riding, and 3 hours for bike unloading & packing, tourist paperwork, gas stops, money exchanging, food, checkpoints, etc).

If you want to go straight from Reynosa to Galeana it is easy to do. Take Hwy 40 out of Reynosa, turn left at General Bravo and take Hwy 35 to Montemorelos. Head south on Hwy 85 to Linares and then take Hwy 58 to Galeana. Of course, there are a number of much more adventurous and interesting ways to get to Galeana but we were bypassing those routes today. Our goal was to get to Galeana as quickly as possible (and in daylight) so as to be positioned for the adventure ride planned for day 2.

However, a little adventure was not out of the question. Milton ran out of gas a few miles shy of Montemorelos. The stock tank on the DRZ doesn’t hold all that much gas. Knowing this, Milton always packs a little one gallon gas can for these occasions.

Digging out the spare gas
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While Milton was conducting Operation REFUEL, the guy that lived across the street walked over to see what was going on. He spoke excellent English and offered his yard as a safe storage place in the event Milton couldn't get the bike running again. The kindness of strangers in Mexico is something you have to experience to believe.


We rolled into Montemorelos about 4 p.m., looking for food. During these types of trips we usually skip lunch in the interest of saving time but also because it can be difficult to find a restaurant while riding in the boonies. We weren't in the boonies today so we reverted back to reason #1 for skipping lunch - saving time. We had eaten breakfast, but that was hours ago and it was close enough to supper time that we decided to stop. Milton likes to eat at Milton’s whenever he passes through Montemorelos.

The two Miltons. One’s a restaurateur and the other is the world’s foremost adventure dentist.
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After our early supper we made a bee-line for Galeana, arriving about 8 p.m.


There have been lots of stories in the news about the drug war currently going on at the border. There are daily reports of violence and other activities related to the cartels fighting each other over territory. However, despite all that we had heard about this war we didn’t actually see any evidence of it nor did we encounter anything particularly unusual. At most there are one or two additional military or federal police checkpoints on the highways. We went through the usual checkpoint outside Reynosa (where they randomly check tourist and vehicle permits) and a federal police checkpoint (they waved us through) on Hwy 40 about 80 miles west of Reynosa . There is a military checkpoint on the way back into Reynosa (they waved me through on Wednesday; they stopped our group of 8 and gave our bags a cursory inspection when we went through on Sunday). So, while I’m sure there is a war going on, I’m not sure just how dangerous it is to ride between Reynosa and Galeana. If the news hadn’t told me there was a war going on I would not have been able to tell while passing through the area. During the four trips I made through the area during my extended MexTrek I never encountered anything dangerous or saw any signs of the war. Which was completely fine with me.

That’s it for day 1. Tomorrow Milton is taking me on a road that’s not on the map. It’s a 70 mile long dirt road that crosses over the mountains east of Zaragoza.

Not on the map? That should be fun. And easy. Right? It just must be an oversight that it's not on the map. Surely that's the reason it's not on the map and not because it's the road from **** or anything like that. Or because it's not actually a road, but a torture test. Naw, nothing like that.
 
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