Iron Butt from Mexico

11/25/07

 

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It is exhilarating to visit another country, but it is always very nice to come home to the US of A. The world is such a vast area of variety in landscapes and cultures. It was good to extend my horizon this past weekend to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

I had been planning an Iron Butt ride through Mexico that I was going to do in December, but my weekend became available and I wanted to go ahead and take advantage of it. The weather was forecast to be wet Saturday and Sunday here, but it was forecast to snow out in Big Bend. I had to avoid going west if possible. I had originally planned on passing through Laredo on the way to Mexico because you can enter the country pretty quickly that way. I had planned on returning back through Presidio because you can enter fairly quickly that way. Laredo can take up to two hours especially on a Sunday afternoon according to my research. I wanted to avoid Laredo for my return if I could, but the weather dictated staying south on this trip which meant going and coming through Laredo.

I had always wanted to go to San Miguel de Allende (SM), because my uncle and aunt (Buzz and Gus) had lived there for a couple of years back in the 90's and I never had the chance to go see it. Some friends (Wes Knipmeyer, Charles Martin, & Doc Hermann) had also traveled down there by motorcycle a few years back and I had seen there photos and was even more enticed by their trip. In addition, SM is 1000 miles from home so I could qualify for another Iron Butt on the way home. I like to pay my dues annually and my other opportunites didn't work out for this year as of yet.

I got off work at 1 pm on Friday and I needed to go by and add a bridge to Teague's (my son) network at his office. I thought it was going to be a quick fix, then off to Mexico. However, It took me an hour and a half to get the thing going and I wasn't sure it was going to work at all. I know I needed to stay until I got it to work, and I was getting concerned about getting through Dallas in a timely manner. Magically, it started to work after a 1000 or so changes and I was off to make the trip. I ran home and punched up some insurance on the internet and ran out to start the bike and go. However, the battery was dead. How can this be? Is somebody trying to tell me something. Just grab the cables and get this thing started so I can go. I'm off.

The ride through Dallas and south was pretty good with considerably light traffic through this region. The Thanksgiving holiday had everyone doing something else, probably shopping. It works for me. Going south from San Antonio after dark changed to a wet ride, but I was in no hurry. The temps were in the 40's by now. I decided to stop at Cotulla to check out their selection of motels, but I was concerned the deer hunters would have moved in to take over. I was delighted to find a perfect habitat for the night.

Up early and off to Laredo the next morning while it was raining. I made a brief stop in Laredo to exchange some money and wait for the daylight. The crossing was very simple and easy. In fact it was the quickest border crossing I had ever made except for that one time in Los Palomas where I didn't stop to do any paperwork. I was only in Mexico a brief time during that particular trip to Tombstone.

The moisture continued down to Monterrey and I opted for the tollway roads (cuota) where they were available so I could make good time and scout the roads for the Iron Butt ride the following day. Everything worked great and the traffic was flowing good. I had a great ride south once the rain had stopped, and I made it to SM by 5:30 that evening. I had plenty of time to ride around town, take a few photos and relax for the evening.

The next morning, I woke up at 3:30 ready to depart. After a quick shower and some minor preparation, I cranked up the bike to find the headlight burnt out. I couldn't find my spare, so I turned on the highbeams and headed out of town. The policia lead me out of town (by coincidence) and didn't even slow down for a stop sign. You are constantly reminded that you are not at home.

It was 52 degrees, the moon was full and not a cloud in the sky. It was a great ride out that morning. I could only ride about 40 mph for the first 30 miles because of safety reasons on the two-lane. Once I got to the 4-lane, I picked it up a notch or two, but stayed cautious until the sun came up.

The ride was uneventful back to Laredo with a couple of showers and an accident or two (not mine), but nothing that major to obstruct a good average speed. The border crossing took me at least two hours, but the weather was perfect.

I hit San Antonio about dark and the pavement showed signs of moisture. The traffic was heavy but it had a good pace. I stopped in Round Rock to get a new bulb from Wal-Mart and continued on North. I arrived back home around Midnight and it was 39 degrees.

What a great weekend. You know you're having too much fun when you can't hardly get out of bed Monday morning, but you are smiling anyway.

 

   
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Motel in Cotulla, TX for $39 (I love the dry parking)
Great accommodations, I'm happy
And even a TV to go to sleep by
This is my greeting once I'm in Mexico. Two pesos to go to the bathroom
A flea market along the way. They have several different types of birds including a hawk to the right of my mirror
The desert area included some overgrown Yucca
Plenty of big trucks rolling down the highway
This is what I had expected the Pan American highway to be in all the southern countries, but only here?
Potential obstacles and notice all the trash next to the trash container sign
Small town in Mexico just before San Miguel de Allende
How wonderful it is to have signs with choices vs an intersection where you have to figure it out (like some of Central and South America)
Arriving at San Miguel de Allende
 
 
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