Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Traveling as a vacation...

So we made the ferry in La Paz and all the paperwork is out of the way. It took 4 days in total to finally get the tickets and get on the boat. I think that the lesson here is never leave a border unless everything is squared away first. The boat was quite an experience! We secured our bikes in the belly of the great steel beast with scraps of filthy greasy rope that we found lying around! It was hot and full if diesel fumes as we searched for a way to the deck of the ship for a breath of fresh we were the last people in the hold down there. The view was excellent from the deck and the sun was setting as we left the port. We ended up with a cabin and slept for most of the trip. We popped our heads up topside a few times to see the stars and get some fresh air during the 17 hour journey. The big ship was guided into the Mazatlan dock by a single tug boat with a really strong tether! It was quite impressive! Unloaded from the ship and eager to hit the road again we hightailed it out of Mazatlan on the toll road for while to get out of the congestion and pollution. Once we got off the highway and onto some country roads things really got interesting! The GPS led us astray for the first time, the wrong way down a one way road! I noticed the flow of traffic and snapped a hard right turn! It then wanted me to drive through a corn field to get back on track, so I pulled over to asses the situation. We stopped in a small town on a back street covered in cobbles and a band hopped out from underneath a tree and started to belt out some Mexican tunes as I sorted out the route! Back on track we motored past potholes large enough to swallow the bikes whole. We rolled down a toll road for a while and there were countless stands selling camarones seco, so we pulled over and gave it a try. Dried shrimp, not bad, not my favorite, but not bad. We rode on until the sun was setting again, looking for a place to camp. We tried the beach and almost got stuck in the sand, before stopping to ask for some help. We were pointed in the right direction but we ran out of daylight and had to stop at a hotel. The hotel might be on a postcard somewhere as it was paradise in the middle of nowhere. In fact the name of it was Bahia Paraiso! We slept in air conditioned comfort all by ourselves as we were the only guests! Complete with a lap pool and a courtyard of tropical plants, just off its own private beach all for 30 bucks! We were too spent for riding somewhere for dinner so we just ate tuna crackers and spam in the hotel room! It tasted great with how hungry we were. Hopefully tomorrows camping will go better!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's not an adventure until something goes wrong!

So I didn't mention it before because I thought things were ok, but when we tried to get on the ferry in La Paz a couple of days ago it came back to bite me. When we hit the border in Mexicali it was shut down because of an "incident". So we just hit the road thinking that we could get the necessary paperwork in La Paz. That was not the case, the FMM form that every tourist requires is not available in La Paz. Anywhere. Period. We ended up getting one in San Jose del Cabo intl airport when we were trying to catch a flight to Tijuana because we were told that the only option was to head back to the border by the immigration officials in La Paz . Not sure why the immigration officials at the airport in san jose gave it to us be we are going to roll the dice and see how it goes. We are now going to head back for the ferry in La Paz and hopefully on to Mazatlan tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Today didn't suck.

The stretch of road leaving Lorento heading for Insurgentes might just be the definition of perfect motorcycle road. It has everything one could hope for... beautiful views, sweeping turns leading to tight ones and fast straight aways, all covered in perfect asphalt with no one around to hold you up. The landscape around us was something out of a dream. Countless colors of butterflies drifted on the breeze over what appeared to be a desert engulfed in a rainforest. Wild flowers flowed over saguaro cactus and the color green took on a whole new meaning. It was like looking at Arizona covered in Hawaii. There was some major flooding in the area back in October which washed away bridges and allowed nature to rework the view. It was a great mornings ride which we followed up with some excellent fish tacos once we got to Insurgentes. They were less than a dollar a piece and the nice women behind the counter even sang happy birthday to my dad! Heading out of town the temperature began to climb and hit the mid nineties for the rest of a long day in the saddles. We were pretty pumped to see the coastline come into view as we decended upon La Paz. We cruised through town along the beachfront and headed straight for the baja ferries offices and dock. After some half understood conversations in Spanish I figured out that the boat leaves at around 4 pm tomorrow and we can get our tourist permits at 8am at the ferry building. So off to Mazatlan tomorrow! We headed back into town to find a hotel for the night and wound up in paradise watching the sunset into the sea with an ice cold margarita in hand.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Baja Sur - Into the fog!

Speed bumps take on a whole new meaning here in Mexico, they aren't just a deterrent to speeding like they are in the USA. They actually stop cars from speeding by tearing the front wheels clean off the vehicle if you hit them going too fast. We got to see this first hand, outside our hotel, as somebody didn't heed the "no cell phone while driving" sign and didn't notice the speed bump until the front end of his truck was throwing sparks as he slid down the street! The speed limit on Hwy 1 is 80kph max which is about 50mph, and we have been cruising along at about 55mph which really slows things down and let's you look around. We were pretty thankful for the slower speeds this morning as we could see a dense fog bank looming in the distance as we crossed the peninsula. It was like riding into a giant white monster who swallowed us whole! Visibility dropped to about 100 yds and water started to collect on the windshield. The temperature dropped quite a bit and we stopped to waterproof ourselves. As soon as we got going again, we came out of the fog and the temperature went up to 82 degrees. We stopped again to drop some layers and vent. Perfect riding weather after that as the scenery began to dazzle! First we passed Volcan de las 3 Virgenes (the volcano of the three virgins), which looked massive as it was the only relief for miles and miles. All of a sudden we rounded a corner and started to descend into a large lush valley overlooking the ocean ahead. We rolled into Santa Rosalia at about noon and stopped at a taco stand where we saw the local police gathered for lunch. It was and excellent choice and we ate three different kinds of tacos: pork, beef, and tongue. All of them were excellent, with many different salsas to dress them up. The cook explained the salsas as medium, a little bit hotter and muy fuerte! I went for the hot stuff and it was perfect! We ate next to an old steam engine locomotive parked in the town square and our cook was very friendly. When we first walked up he asked me if I spoke English and I replied that I did in Spanish and we proceeded to talk to each other in Spanglish for a while. Heading out of town we cruised along the coast line filled with turquoise waters and sandy beach coves. We ended up stopping at one for the night and we are feet from the shore in our tent with a very bright moon overhead. I feel like I could use some sunscreen its so bright! The waves are great to fall asleep to! We think that we will make La Paz Saturday then have to wait for Monday or Tuesday to get a ferry to Mazatlan. Guess I'll have to go scuba diving or something to pass the time while we lay on the beach and drink beers for the weekend! I already miss my wife. It sure will be nice to have her join us in Argentina! It has been an amazing trip thus far and we have barely scratched the surface. The roads have been in great shape and there has been very little traffic with perfect temperatures and gorgeous vistas. The Mexican people have been very nice, even the military checkpoint guys - we are mainly just getting waived through the checkpoints with a smile!

Happy Birthday Ken!

Today is Ken's birthday - an almost 20,000 mile motorcycle trip with your son isn't too shabby of a birthday present huh?  Here's to a guy who loves life, gets all he can out of it, and has a blast at the same time (he let his granddaughter give him the stylish mohawk pictured below).

 Have the best birthday yet Ken, and we'll have some cake and a beer for you up here if you'll do the same where you guys are!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Baja 1000

Breakfast was good, we woke up before the sunrise and watched it come up over the Sea of Cortez. Great way to start a day if you ask me. The 50 miles of dirt turned out to be pretty easy, save for some small patches of loose gravel and sand which can get quite squirrelly on a big bike like the BMW R1200 GS Adventures we are riding. We made it through unscathed and hit highway 1. The views here were amazing! Cactus I have never seen before filled the landscape of mountains and rolling hills. They look like a really tall stalk dotted with leaves and a big bushy head of orange flowers.... like something out of Dr. Seuss The road twisted down into the valley and out towards the Pacific Ocean. Once we got closer to the coast the wind picked up a bit and things got a little cooler which was nice. We stopped at the border for the baja sur and meet some nice people riding BMW bikes all loaded up. We asked them where they were headed and it turns out they were on their way back north from La Paz. They also just started a motorcycle rental business up in Oregon. We exchanged some shop talk and got some advice about the road to come and headed on our way. We made it just a few more miles down the road and decided to slip into Guerrero Negro for some seafood. We ended up having a couple beers and getting a room at Malarrimo after and excellent thanksgiving seafood feast! I have been looking up some hot spring locations on the free wifi for tomorrow since 3 am. I can't seem to sleep past 4am on this trip, hopefully that changes soon. I am going to see if I can get a couple more minutes of sleep before we hit the road in a couple of hours!

Thursday, November 22, 2012



Deciding to do the baja was a great choice, furthermore, deciding to do highway 5 was an even better choice! We have just finished the pavement section of the highway and we were told that we have 50 miles of pretty rough dirt road ahead of us before we meet up with highway 1. All that being said, we are lying in the tent now on a beach listening to the waves lap at the sandy shore and marveling at how excellent the motorcycling was today. The road was twisty and smooth everywhere except for Mexicali, which wasn't that bad either. There was one section just as we left the border town that was straight as an arrow as far as you could see. I put some pics of it on here, amazing scenery! The road hugged the coastline most of the way with spectacular views of small islands just offshore. We ended up following the paving crews for a while on brand new road, until we were finally forced off the new road and into the dirt/sand. Things got pretty loose there for a mile or so and then we happened upon a camp for 5 bucks. The nice people down the beach hooked us up with a couple of cold beers for free and we have breakfast scheduled for 7 am tomorrow at the camp hosts house. It seemed like every time we stopped, whether it be for gas or to eat lunch, people were popping their heads out of cars or walking up to us to ask us about our trip. It feels like were celebrities! The baja 1000 just took place last week and we have been following the course most if the way, seeing signs welcoming racers. I think that we made it about a third of the way down the baja today, probably be in La Paz by Friday. What an amazing day! Can't wait to hit the dirt in the morning!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Last stop in the US of A!

We head out tomorrow for Mexico! Just spent the past few days visiting with family in Tucson before we leave for the rest of the trip. It was nice to see my Mom and Brother, along with his kids Zea and Zali! Time with family is always a treat as the Kriederman's are a pretty spread out group. Here is a shot of the sunset yesterday from my parents house...first border crossing is tomorrow!

Check out Ben in BMW!

We finally got the final product of the BMW promotional ad we had made about Adventuring South, and I must say, it turned out pretty sweet.  Last Friday, Lisa and I took it down to the Foothills BMW dealership, where from now until March, it will reside on the showroom floor for everyone to see.  Here is a pic of Ben looking like a badass that will hopefully spark some followers of this trip.  If you happen to be in the area, don't be shy to go in and take a picture with Ben :).

  It is a little dark, but you get the idea.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Colorado and New Mexico

Two days and 658 miles into the trip... Day one was a bit of a wash as we ended up tying up loose ends and maintenance issues until late in the afternoon, but we did still manage to get 250 miles on the clock! We ended up getting a hotel room in Trinidad Colorado. Nice place, with a hot tub and a salt water swimming pool... Slept for about 9 hours straight! I think that all the stress of planning and preparing for the trip finally slipped away and I was able to settle in a bit. The bikes have been awesome, rolling down the smooth asphalt of I-25 at 75 mph watching the miles pile up has been a cathartic experience. As the hum of engine and rubber eats my worries away I find myself thinking about the gravity of this trip and how it might unfold and influence the person that I am and how I view the world. It has always amazed me how the slower you travel through the world the more you experience and change through the miles you rack up. Traveling by bike has been one of my favorite modes of transportation ever since I rode my first three wheeler when I was a kid. The smells and sights mix in with the temperature and changes in scenery to create a sort of immersion that really makes you feel as though you are a part of the landscape and environment that you are moving through. The time in the saddle really lends itself to thinking about life and all that comes with that. Today I spent most of my time talking to my dad on the intercom about little things, and thinking about the logistics of what is to come, but at the same time I was still sneaking in some short chataquas about motorcycle maintenance and the big picture. Border crossings to come, cultures to be explored, sunsets and sunrises to be seen, all of which will mark points in this monumentus journey south. The world is a big place and I aim to see some of it on this trip, to take it in and soak up all it has to offer.... Here is to the next ~19,000 miles!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sometimes it's a little better to travel than arrive...

These words pretty much define this kind of trip, and it was in this light that we saw Ben and Ken off this morning amidst softly falling snowflakes and near freezing temperatures.  Like the beginning of all great adventures, anxiousness, excitement, and what I am sure was a bit of apprehension at the undefined road to come, swirled around the house and garage as the riders prepped to leave.  After bundling up and discovering a not so functioning oil valve gasket on Ken's bike (which resulted in a stop to the BMW dealership), the guys took off to start the journey down south. 

I have, of course, gotten ahead of myself, as before this gray morning's departure, the night before had been a send-off celebration filled with good food, close friends, cake and beer.  A good turn up of people stopped by to give their warm wishes and see the guys before they left.  As we all know, there is nothing better than drinking some good beer and eating fabulous cake (yes they do go together) before embarking on an epic trip.

Check out the pics below of last night's festivities and this morning's send off, as we wish our riders the best, in what will be a memorable journey.

 Lisa had a specialty cake made by the fabulous Kim & Jake's Cakes, who not only used our logos, but also incorporated different flavors and spices the guys would taste on their trip!

 Ben getting ready to party!
 You can barely see it, but the House of Motorrad's logo is hanging from the balloons.
 Everyone signed the posters with their good luck wishes.
 We made some homemade ceviche, which was really for all of us staying behind, because the guys will get to enjoy that deliciousness for the next four months. 
 Fabrizio and Brian checking out the bikes.
 Ben staring intently at the cake, as he not so patiently waits to be able to eat it.

 A look at one fully packed pannier.
 Ben making sure everything is ready to go.
 You always hear about the people doing the great adventures, but not often about the people who make it all happen, as Ben kisses Lisa good-bye, I know he is also reflecting on how incredibly lucky he is to have her as his wife. 
 Ben ready to go.
  The last shot in Boulder until March!