Sunday 19 March 2017

March 17, 2017

It's 5:30 am, and we begin the process of packing our bikes, last time for awhile. The hotel offers us a free breakfast, which we enjoy prior to our departure. Down the road, "Ferry Terminal" in sight,we are ready to embark on this final leg of the journey. "Alaska" is the next leg, but will have to wait till late spring, after some bike repairs are completed, and we all get together again. Our plan is coming together nicely, boarding the ferry, on time, on the targeted day, perfect. All we have to do is relax, and enjoy the sailing across the straits. Now with "Victoria" in our sights we become a little anxious, perfectly normal, considering the length of time we have been away from loved ones. Exiting the ferry, with the first wave of cars, we are directed through customs, and must "Import" the motos. An hour later we are on our way. Stopping for a coffee, and to put on extra gear, we meet people who are most interested in our trip. The "Chilean" license plate, a dead giveaway. After some interesting conversations, it's time to bury the last 100 kilometers in the odometer. Jon and I parted ways in "Ladysmith" and will soon be with our families. It has been a great adventure, 27,430 kilometers and "15 countries in 113 days", but it is sure nice to be home. Al Nino

March 16, 2017

It is a cold morning, but the rain has stopped, the sun is rising, looks promising. On the road early, it is chilly, but we are dry, wont be long and we will be in "Portland". Both Jon and myself have things to do there, so we take a few hours to accomplish them, then it's back on the road. So far so good, no moisture, although the clouds are building. It has been a cold day of riding, but we are determined to reach our goal. Entering the "Olympic Peninsula" and joining up with "Highway 101" again, we go through a small pocket of rain. The shower lasted about 10 minutes, then we were back to dry roads. Accomplishing the goal of making it to "Port Angeles" was a great feeling or us, and we booked our passage on the "Coho", for the first sailing in the morning, immediately after we checked into the hotel. Tomorrow we will be home. Al Nino

March 15, 2017

The "Weather Network" seems to be a popular watch for motorcyclists, at least with us it is. Word has it, rain is on the menu for today's ride, can't wait for the thrill, of hardly being able to see what's in front of you. Decked out in our rain gear, it's down the "Interstate" for us. Stopping in "Eugene" for a coffee to warm us up, the rain continues to increase in volume, and by the time we get to "Salem" the decision is made, to call it quits for today. The wind and rain are making driving conditions miserable. Jon is soaked, and cold, so we visit "Cycle Gear", and he aquires some warmer gear. Then we check into a "Motel 6" in the area, nice friendly staff greet us and get us settled in. Maybe the shivering had something to do with it. It is supposed to clear up by tomorrow morning, so we are hoping to make it to "Port Angeles" Washington by days end. Al Nino

March 14, 2017

Foggy morning, bikes are soaked with moisture, looks like the wait is on. Waiting to drive, while the fog lifts, we decide it's a good time to change sparkplugs, and check things over. Rolling over 26,000 kilometers on this little machine in 3.5 months, amazing, talk about a testing ground. Unfortunately a few days ago while in California Andy's bike packed it in. Again, another true test of man and machine, we have put these bikes through hell. It has been a test, both physicaly and mentally for all riders involved on this adventure. Now time to roll, Jon and I will ride up the "101", drive through the "Redwoods" and end up in "Crescent City".The ride falls into place nicely, but temperatures are cooler, next to the water, and dense forest. Stopping for gas and food in "Crescent", we are pretty cold. Change of plan, no more "101", we opt for the "199" through to "Grants Pass" Oregon. Nice road for a bike, and it will connect us to the "I-5", hopefully warmer and drier. Riding till almost dark we stop in "Roseburg" for the evening. Jon gets us a military discount on our room, nice touch to end the day. "Portland" is on our radar for tomorrow. Al Nino

March 13, 2017

The "Golden Gate Bridge" will be one of the bigger highlights of today's ride. Then we plan on taking the coastal route "Highway 1", to "Crescent City" a longer route, but defintley more scenic. Getting through the early morning city traffic definitely keeps you on your game. Finally the road opens up, through the tunnels we go and there she is. Majestic, towering over us, we hit the centre lane, and on goes the helmet cams. Hundreds of pedestrians are walking the bridge, "Alcatraz" to my right, this is a great day indeed. Stopping on the far side of the bridge for photos, and enjoying the views of the bay and city. You can appreciate the views of the bridge from here as well, what an engineering marvel. Onwards we go down "Highway 101" then connect with "Highway 1", unfortunately part of the highway has been closed due to landslides. We are detoured for several miles, but eventually reconnect at "Stinson Beach", nice twisty road down the mountain. Now cruising up "1", the views of the coast beautiful, cool sea air, and really twisty road. What more could a motorcyclist ask for. Enjoying the ride, stopping for photos, and meeting the locales.Taking a break in the village of "Jenner", it is here we part ways with Scott. Jon and I are eager to get home, Scott has a different schedule than ours, seeyou back in "Canada". He continues on "1", we take "Highway "116" to "Santa Rosa", reconnect with "101", and continue north to"Laytonville" where we stay the night.Al Nino

Monday 13 March 2017

March 12, 2017

"San Francisco" here we come. That is our riding goal for today. Waiting a little for the sun to warm things up, and burn off some foggy patches that grace the highway, we lube our chains, check the oil etc. Down the road we go, not too much traffic, it is still early Sunday morning. That doesn't last too long, the masses are out in full force in a few hours. As long as we stay in the right lane things will be just fine. The tiny "Motos" don't qualify for the left lane, they are too slow, and everyone here drives incredibly fast. Cutting through the landscape like a serpent, the scenery from the highway is beautiful, and we also encounter many large vineyards and farms along our route. Making it just to the outskirts of "San Francisco", we opt to get off the road and will head into the city first thing tomorrow morning. Al Nino

March 11, 2017

Our start today was a bit delayed, heavy dew has our tents soaked with moisture. Thank goodness the bright orb in the sky will help remedy the situation. Gear all dry and packed up, its time to get going. It's a bit chilly riding next to the coast, but the scenery is well worth the chill. Our plan is to just keep pushing north, at a reasonable pace, and enjoy the surroundings we pass through. By late afternoon we are ready to settle down in new camp surroundings. We go to the private campground of "Ocean Mesa" at el capitan, a nice place to hang your hat for the night. Conviently located just off "Highway 101", they offer free hot showers, swimming pool, a store and wifi. Tent pads made of sand, nice and soft for sleeping. We took advantage of the showers, good and hot, with lots of pressure. They have fresh coffee at the store to get you going in the morning, a nice change from camp coffee. Al Nino

March 10, 2017

"Adios Ensenada" it has been nice, but the border beckons us. Only two more borders to cross till we are home. Great day to ride, sunny, fresh ocean air, to clear the cobwebs between the ears. A quick 100 kilometers or so and the border is ours. Unfortunatley for us, we missed the "Aduana" on the Mexican side of the border to export the bikes. Realizing this as we were about to enter into the U.S.A we had to go back into Mexico and export the bikes out of the country. Then it's back to the U.S.A again. Just a little hiccup, no big deal, we get to the front of the line of traffic again, in minutes, lane splitting, is very effective. This border crossing has to be one of the easier ones I have encountered over the past 3 months. Now cruising down the road, we will go as far as "San Mateo" where we will camp at the State Park. Arriving just before sunset, we set up, eat and enjoy a great nights sleep under the star filled sky. Al Nino

March 9, 2017

Having a nice ride through "Ensenada", this morning, amazing how you see different parts of a town when you are lost. Eventually we get to the bike shop. "Honda Optima" and are greeted by Daniel Villalobos. He is the go to guy there, he took really good care of us, our tires were on in no time, and we even left with some gifts from him. After a photo shoot outside, we left to do a little riding and break in the new tires. Then back to the hotel to deal with the "Insurance Binder". After several hours of talking on the phone and scanning documents etc. I was holding my binder in hand. Jon and Scott will hopefull have theirs by morning, as Ed and Tim must talk to the insurer and pay on their end because they own the bikes. No plans for the evening, just take it easy, as we leave early tomorrow, and cross into the "United States".Al Nino

March 8, 2017

Another beautiful sunrise, awakens the desert. The scenery that surrounds us in this region is outstanding.  After a quick coffee we take to the road, not a big ride today, so we can slow it down a notch. Great day for pictures, even do a little off roading for some snaps. Jon is happy, he loves gravel, dust and potholes, being the off road enthusiast that he is. By mid afternoon we are entering the city of "Ensenada", where we will arrange to have tires changed and get a little down time before the final push home. We bunk down at the "El Ray Sol" hotel, nice place, I have stayed here before a number of years ago. Good parking for the "Motos", with security. The town is bustling with cruise ship passengers, lots of smiling faces from both passenger and shopkeeper. The streets, clean and tidy, the aroma of fresh cooked food fills the night air. We opt for an early dinner then hit the sheets. Lots to do tomorrow, get tires and arrange for an "Insurance Binder" from "I.C.B.C" to get us through the "USA" to home.Al Nino

March 7, 2017

Fresh coffee, piping hot oatmeal, what a way to start the day after a great nights sleep. Full of energy and ready to get at it, we break camp, and continue on our way north. Not knowing how far we will get today, but we intend to push on as much as possible. "Ensenada" is over 800 kilometers away so it is doubtful we will make it there in one shot. Road conditions, wind, and day light hours, all big factors , and play a big role in our progress. We have been experiencing strong headwinds for a good part of the ride so far today, defintley putting us behind. It is very tiring, and slows our "Poquito Motos" down substantially. Grabbing a bite and coffee in the town of "Guerrero Negro" we make a plan for the rest of the ride today. We will get fuel at the "Pemex" station in "Villa Jesus Maria". There is no fuel after that for 325 kilometers, except for one stop at the 200 kilometer mark where you can buy fuel out of a barrel. Riding till almost dark we get to the village of " Catavina" and check into the hotel, only one there, nice place and very spacious rooms, Jon opted for the floor, so he got the good guy deal. Tired and cold it will be an early night for us, and "Ensenada" is on our radar for tomorrow.  Al Nino

March 6, 2017

The morning air crisp, the sunrise beautiful, so many birds foraging amongst the desert foliage. Amazing the abundance of life the desert holds. Excited to get going early, as we want to visit "Loreto" today, then continue to the small coastal town of "Mulaje" where we will camp for the night. All goes as planned, great ride amongst the "Cacti" clad roads, beautuful scenery, just an awesone day. Arriving at our campsite early, we took advantage of the hot showers, ate dinner, and enjoyed the sunset. Darkness falls upon us rapidly, the desert air is chilly, and the winds have picked up. Sounds like the perfect recipe to retire to our comfortable little dwellings, for the night. All is well in the "Baja". Al Nino

March 5,2017

Our stay at the "One Hotel" in"La Paz" has been an enjoyable experience. A very clean establishment, that also offers you a complimentary breakfast, has a rooftop pool, lounging area, and great views of the city from there. Also a washer and dryer that are for guest usage. Scott made contact this morning, and is having his carbeurtor worked on, he has been halving stalling issues, and must be rectified. Agreeing to meet him at 12:30 p.m. in "La Paz", we will head north and see where we end up. Upon Scotts arrival he picks up a few last minute items, and off we go. The plan was to make it as far as "Loreto", but darkness is working against us, as we had a late start. Camping is still on the agenda, and we have been told of a campground near "Insurgenties" a small town south of "Loreto". Not being able to locate the campground on "gps", either it is not up and running anymore, or we have missed it in the darkness. We pull into a petrol station and ask the attendant for assistance. He graciously offers us to set up camp behind the station in a field, for free, "bonus". He assures us it is safe, there are lots of trucks parked, while the truckers sleep. Being dark, cold, and tired, it didn't take much convincing for us to stay. First time for everything we thought. Camp was set up quickly, and we cooked dinner the same. Lights out, was soon to follow, nothing like a good nights sleep in a tent, below the stars, and breathing in the cool desert air. Al Nino

Tuesday 7 March 2017

March 4, 2017

The ship was pretty busy by 6:00 am, passengers walking about, going outside for their wake up breath of fresh air. Over coffee we agreed on how little sleep we had as well, even though we tried different areas of the ship. Andy, outside on an air mattress. Jon and I on random couches, and Scott on the floor of the rear T.V. lounge area. Oh well, ferries are noisy, no matter what time it is, although it was pretty quiet between 2:00 am and 6:00 am. Docked and departing the ferry by 9:30, we must pay a fee of "87 Pesos" per bike at security, then to the military clearance zone we go for inspection and passports. Thumbs up, we all head down the road and into "La Paz". Jon and Scott will have their chains replaced asap. We locate a shop and things get underway. After some discussion, Scott is heading to the town of "Todos Santos" this afternoon, his brother lives there, and will rejoin Jon and myself in "La Paz" tomorrow. We will be getting supplies for camping and catching up on some much needed rest. Andy was going to see the whales in "San Ignacio", we will meet up with him at a later date. The bikes were ready to go by 2:00 pm. Scott hit the road, and Jon and I went about our business, then checked ourselves into a hotel. Looking forward, to getting things organized, hot showers, food and sleep. Al Nino

March 3, 2017

At it early, I say my goodbyes to Doug and off I go. Planning on taking another route to "Mazatlan" my decision is altered as the new route seems cluttered with slow moving vehicles, due to roadwork. I turn back and take the more direct route to "Tepic" and continue on to "Highway 15d, which is a direct route into "Mazatlan". As I am heading down highway 15d, Scott and Jon appear in my rear view mirrors, they are coming from "Guadalajara", talk about timing, or sheer coincidence. Glad to see each other again, we rode together for awhile, then parted, only to meet at the "Ferry " later on. The "Baha Ferry" procedures differ from ours some what. First you check in with security, then pick up your ticket at the ticket office, then drive to the military checkpoint, where drug dogs and soldiers check you out. Then drive to the holding area, where you load after the cars, inside and up a ramp you go, to one side and strap your bikes down with tiedowns. Anticipating rough seas, or just being prepared. Then up the stairs, it's passport and ticket time again. Really!! Maybe their giving out a prize to a passenger who shows their passport the most in 3 hours. It was smooth sailing so far, nice ship, with some cabins, lounge area, and big sleeper seats. Pretty tired after riding, and all the ferry procedures, we will see how much sleep we catch during the 13 hour voyage. Al Nino

March 2, 2017

Another day of relaxation, reorganization, and laundry. Dropped laundry off a the "Lavanderia", they washed and folded all my clothes, except my bathing suit, which I was wearing. Total for "3 kilos of laundry" 42 pesos, that's $2.75 Canadian dollars, what a deal. After lunch, I went to get the bike, and was most impressed. The staff and service was exceptional, right on time and my bike was washed as well. Off I go back to the hotel teeth chattering, on the cobble stones, but most happy to have my bike serviced. Andy headed up north to meet some friends, and stay the night. I will stay one more night with Doug, and will meet up with Scott, Jon, and Andy in "Mazatlan" tomorrow, where we will take the ferry to "LaPaz" on the "Baja". Back at the hotel, taking in the last moments of the sun, we are entertained by a musician. His name, "Vallarta Cowboy" this man is a total entertainment package. He could be a stand up comic, a very funny individual with great songs, and stories. It will be an early night tonight, as I must get to "Mazatlan" by early afternoon to board the ferry. Arrival time at the terminal is "Tres" hours before departure, for processing, security etc, and is a requirement of "Baja Ferries" Al Nino

March 1, 2017

Awakening to a beautuful day, going to be a great ride into "Puerto Vallarta". Highway 200 is a definite blast, lots of twisty's to keep you on the edge of your seat. Arriving early in the day, and continuing on to the "Rosita Hotel" to meet with Doug the town is bustling. As I get close I hear someone yelling at me, there is my "Amigo" Doug on the street, and Andy is with him. I park my bike in the hotel lobby, along with a few other bikes, lots of room, not invasive to other guests. Doug checks me into his room, and then it is pool time. Looking forward to some down time off the bike. Lots of kilometers this past week. Doug has an extended family in "P.V" really nice people, who return every year and have for many years. It was a real pleasure meeting them, and they made us feel most welcome. Thanks to, Olden, Jack, Doug, Norm, Colleen, Darryl, Bill, Richard, Corrine, Jeff,and Roma for your hospitality. Earlier I had made arrangements to have a new chain put on the bike. Dropping my "moto" off at "Comoto Honda, Puerto Vallarta" just a few kilometers away, and will pick it up tomorrow. Taking a cab back to the hotel was an experience, bouncing around on the cobblestone streets, they must, have suspension issues with their vehicles. The rest of the day was laid back and we will meet for dinner. Dougs choice, and ribs it is, sounds delightful. Al Nino

Feb 27/28, 2017

What a treat, sleep in till 8:30 am, been overdue. Still have things to take care of today, must do things, no excuses. First on the agenda, rondivou with Scott, using "Uber", which was most impressive. After coffee and breakfast, we went our seperate ways. Ed and Scott have the pleasure of getting the "Podor", lucky guys. Jon and myself are off to pick up oil for the bikes, new chains, and insurance, change out the oil, chains, and get the "motos" road worthy. Oil and insurance accomplished, we missed the boat, with the chains. Our insurance visit took longer than expected, and the shop was closed. "Putting my "VIN" on Jons paperwork, it all had to be redone. Accuracy is key here, always check your documents. Left unoticed, we would probably have a major issue trying to leave the country. All must be correct when importing and exporting our "motos", T's crossed I's dotted. Chains will have to wait, I am leaving "Mexico City" at 5:30 am , and heading to "Puerto Vallarta. I will meet with Doug, a friend from "Nanaimo" who spends a portion of the winters there. Unfortunately his wife Helen has already returned home, somebody has to take care of the homefront, we will toast one for her just the same. Riding all day and into the evening, I made it to the town of "Compostela" tucked away in the mountains,120 kilometers from "PV". After 835 kilometers, time to get off the road. Checked into the "Plaza Hotel " and lights out. "P.V" will be "Menyana" Al Nino

February 26, 2017

Big day of riding ahead of us, plannng on making it to "Mexico City". My ass is already sore just thinking about it. Fortunatley the roads have improved, double lanes, divided highway, we will be screaming down the road, at least the engines will be. Making good time, our stops for fuel and food are relatively quick. The highway is very busy and there are many "Toll Booths" to contend with. Think I actually spent more money on tolls than fuel. Line ups can be long, unless you ride down the shoulder of the road like we do, then you just simply cut in front. No problem, "Perfecto". Nobody gets mad at you, because there are guards with guns, and lots of them. It was a very long day of riding, but we managed to pull it off, and were relieved to see the lights of the big city, 788 kilometers later. Tomorrow we meet up with Scott, he is taking over Ed's bike, and they need to seek out a "Notary" and get a "Podor" drawn up for Scott to continue with the ride, as Ed is flying home on Wednesday. Al Nino

February 25, 2017

Hoping to get from "Tikal" to the border of "Mexico" it is another early start to the day. Bikes all packed up and ready to go at 7:00 am. We say our farewells to our new friend "Juan", and Ed gave him a Canadian ball cap which was really nice. Quite foggy this morning, so it slows us a little at the start, but soon the sun pulls through for us and all is clear. We stop in the town of "Flores" for breakfast, and enjoy the view of the lake. A few hours pass and we hit the border of "El Ceibo", not too crowded, couldn't be better. We check out of "Guatemala" in record time. Now into "Mexico", that went pretty well also, wow things are looking up. Off we go heading for the town of "Villahermosa" where we will stop for the night. Traveling just over 500 kilometers with a border crossing, and hot riding conditions is tiring. Stopping at the "Carmalita's 42 Su Hotel" we had nice clean rooms, and secure parking, for our tired two wheeled friends.  Al Nino