The End: 14th March 2016. 40200kms

I cannot believe the trip is over it seems to have gone so fast and I still cannot really process all my experiences. The most important thing I did was get married on the 5th November 2015. I travelled 40200km (25000 miles) visited 22 countries and 7 states in America, rode my bike to 4810m at Paso de Jama in Chile, crossed the Amazon, patted a whale and overall just had a ball. I am really sad it is over as I just want to continue riding, but I miss my husband Joern terribly and I think it is time to go home… however I’ll be BACK

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route

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USA: Arkansas & Tennessee

USA: Arkansas & Tennessee

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spelt Arkansas but pronounced Arkansaaawww

Clarksville Arkansas (13th to 14th March)

While I was in Mustang with Marc and Janine I sat down with Marc and planned a nice scenic route that would take me off the interstate (since I am making such good time)  to a town in the mountains called Eureka Springs which I found out is known as little Switzerland. However on my way along the I-40 I rode through two small showers, nothing special but at the turnoff I would have taken to go up to Eureka all I could see were black clouds, so I changed my mind and rode onto Clarksville. Not 15 minutes after I arrived the sky opened and it poured, so I was happy with my decision, but sad that I missed seeing Eureka.

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Something you don’t see on the menu every day … unless you live in Arkansas

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The following day I took a route off the i-40 up to a tiny town called Sand Gap. I just wanted to see the area and it was worth the little trip. The sun was out and area is so nice, I can imagine how beautiful it must be in summer, all green and lush. The road was great, long sweeping twisties, just the kind I like, and hardly any traffic, what a great last day ridding.  After this detour I just headed straight to Memphis as fast as I could as I was so keen to see my nephew.

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Memphis Tennessee (14th to 17th March)

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My nephew, Justin, moved to the states (to Oshkosh Wisconsin) 4 years ago but I have not seen him for 6 years and I could not wait to catch up on all his news. He is now living in Memphis and opening his own company. He is an aircraft mechanic and only 24 but he is a really hard, conscientious and professional worker, plus very intelligent and ambitious, so of all the people I know I am convinced that he will be successful and I am very proud of him.

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My nephew Justin doing what Justin does .. fix planes

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another one of the nice place in the hanger … I liked this one … I don’t even know what it is but I like it 🙂

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Just been bathed and ready to settle into new digs

While in Memphis I also had the opportunity to see Brain, who I rode the Amazon with, and his lovely wife Bonita. They invited Justin and me to a good old South African Braai (BBQ), YUMMMMMY What a lovely couple, we had a really great evening. It was so nice to catch up with Brain again and meet Bonita who is a very talented artist, we just didn’t want to leave.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A Zimbo cooking a mean steak

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Bonita, Brain and Me

Other than seeing friends, visiting with Justin and sorting my bike, out which will stay in Memphis, I didn’t get to see much as I just had too much to organise. However I liked what I did see and am very sure I will be back to see more of the USA as this was really just a drop in the ocean on my way to Tennessee from Central America.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA With Justin my nephew

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA One very very sad lady leaving her beloved bike 😦

 

USA: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas & Oklahoma

Scottsdale & Holbrook Arizona (7th to 10th March)

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It felt a little surreal to be back in the USA, but I certainly enjoyed the feeling, especially spending time with Leigh and Cathy Abel, the most awesome couple in the world. I rode through the Amazon with them and they have ridden all over the world together so they have a plethora of great travel stories to tell. I honestly aspire to be like them. I spent 2 nights with Leigh and Cathy in Scottsdale and got a small insight into life in Arizona. I was surprised at how beautiful the place is. I didn’t think cacti could be so lovely and interesting.

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After leaving Scottsdale I headed out to Holbrook through the Tonto national forest. I had such a good day, the ride was quick, easy and the scenery was fantastic I kept stopping to take photos. It was quite cold in the mountains with little bits of snow still on the ground, however not unbearably cold so I didn’t even stop to put another layer on.

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In Holbrook I stopped in my first America motel, it was nothing like the Bates model from psycho or any other dingy motel we so often see in the movies. It was cheap, simple but very clean and the water was hot, which is very important to me after a chilly ride.

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Albuquerque New Mexico, Amarillo Texas & Mustang Oklahoma (10th to 13th March) 

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I like the states but it is different to Latin America so I’m having a little culture shock. After 8 months it’s a breath of fresh air to hear / speak English instead of Spanish, the food the scenery everything is different. Like Latin America though, American people are super friendly. However I don’t think I’d like to live here, visit yes and I really do want to do a big bike trip here but I just like Europe especially Switzerland more than the USA. The main thing I love about the states are the open spaces, it really is like a breath of fresh air. I am not sure where this comes from but when I see open spaces I am just happy. What I don’t like are the politics for one & the waste, I mean all the portions are huge not just in the restaurants but cold drink, coffee, M&Ms etc all twice the size as back home. I find it excessive and unnecessary. I also don’t like how you are assaulted by advertising especially for food. Massive bill boards everywhere adverting food, when you fill up with gas as you fill up you hear a voice coming from the pump adverting stuff that is now 50% off in the shop (this has just happened in a few gas stations but it certainly caught me by surprise). Just constant adverting and it is mostly, food, medicine and insurance. Maybe it’s because I am not used to it but I genuinely found it disturbing this constant bombardment of advertising and over indulgence of food.

However the scenery is AWESOME 🙂

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I had my first motel experience in Holbrook and the 2nd in Albuquerque. I thought it would be very much like the motels in the movies and they do look like that from the outside, however the rooms are very nice and they are affordable. 40 usd which I do think is  a lot but is the cheapest  option, in an ok motel. However the people are a bit hmmmm. The one in Holbrook had this guy 2 doors down screaming at his 2 cute little boys. When I arrived the boys were playing outside with little cars and they were so cute and friendly. Then in the morning all I could hear was  ”what the F are you crying about now, you f&^%?ing idiot” etc it was horrible. More horrible than the homeless dogs I saw in on my trip

Then in Albuquerque a couple a few doors down had  a massive fight, the door was open and he was standing  in it smoking and, let’s just say, he was less than desirable looking. This happened as I was walking past to go to my room. I showered changed etc and on my way out to eat it was still going on. The only thing I heard was the woman say ”fine I’ll do my thing and you do yours or why don’t you just f off for good” She was dressed in leopard print T-shirt and a tiny mini, and I think was about 60 years old, and not nice enough to pull it off. On my way back from dinner there were 2 police cars at the motel outside their room. Not sure what happened but at least all was quiet. It was all quite interesting, a different view on another part of society, interesting but not very nice.

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On my way to Amarillo I went off the I-40 interstate and rode on parts of route 66. I stopped in the small town of Tucumcari where the route 66 monument is. This town is great it’s like something out of the 60’s and I felt like I had been transported back in time. It is great that they have left so much of it in the old style and renovated a few buildings. It is however sad that so much of it is derelict as more and more people move to the big cities these little towns get smaller and smaller and eventually just become ghost towns.

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After Amarillo on my way to Mustang Oklahoma I again went off the Interstate and stopped at another route 66 town, Shamrock, I really like these little places. I stopped for something to eat and ended up chatting to a lady there about the weather, biking etc and she restored my faith in humanity again after the 2 sad incidence at the motels.

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In Mustang I had the pleasure of staying with Marc Bradly and his wife Janine, their two cats and two gorgeous America bulldogs (Willow and Bolder, I thought they were pit bulls at first but Marc explained that they are America bull dogs, a breed I had never heard of and they are gorgeous) I made friends with Marc through the KLR FB group and it was great to meet someone from the group in person. Marc and Janine’s pets are rescue pets which I just love and Bolder is completely deaf. He knows a little sign language and is the friendliest most loving dog. I just fell in love with him. Marc also raises bees and it was interesting to see his hive and learn a bit about them. Marc and Janine own an organic garden supply store. It seems a lot of Americas are looking into a healthier lifestyles and that was interesting to me. As a foreigner you only know about America from what you see on TV, until you go there and meet the people. I’ve been to the states about 5 times over the last 30 years and it is interesting to hear about this organic food movement and see the changes over the years.

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Janine is a fantastic cook, so I had a great home cooked meal (organic), good coffee, good conversation and great company. I could not have asked for a better evening. Also slept like a log and with a pregnant pussy cat at my feet (She is a stray who adopted Marc and Janine who found out she was pregnant. I think she wanted a safe home to have her kittens in).

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Mexico: The Bahia – Bahía de los Ángeles, San Filepe & Mexicali ( 3rd to 7th March)

After seeing/touching whales no other experience in Bahia could be as good, however I still enjoyed the riding 🙂

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Unusual cacti in the Bahia

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I planned on spending 2 days in San Filepe in order to not cross the border over a weekend and to spend my last 2 days by the seaside. Once again the ride was just good, downright good. Bahia de Los Angeles is a tiny town with not much there except a few RVs driven south by the Americans and Canadians who come to the Bahia to escape the winter cold. I told them they are like migrating birds and there are a lot of them, and all very friendly indeed.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA a rather unusual house

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After Bahia de Los Angeles I hit a 100km dirt road, the last bit of dirt on my long Latin American trip so I made the most of it. I stopped in at Cocos Corner and met the famous Coco which was quite an experience, as well as 2 other American bikers enjoying the Bahia. Unfortunately the bad dirt road rattled something loose in my speedometer/odometer and now it is not working. However I have an appointment with a mechanic in Scottsdale as I need a new back tire so he’ll take a look at it. I tried to see what was wrong but everything looks good no loose connections, I do hope he can sort it out.

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Couple of fun dirt roads

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San Filepe is another touristy town and nice but not awesome, however what was great was the campground, it was very clean and well run and had double story palapas. This was a fun experience so I put my tent up, having to find ingenious ways to put a tent up with no tent pegs due to the floor being concrete.  I really do like my little tent it is like my secure bat cave.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A couple of local buskers in San Filepe

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Dudly the most gorgeous dog in camp, I just fell in love with him.

The camp had more friendly America bikers who gave me some good advice on routes through the states and a plethora of extremely friendly RV campers. I just had a really nice, fun, good time in San Filepe. It was truly the epilogue I wanted to my Latin American experience.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A gorgeous sunrise in San Filepe

My final riding day in the Bahia was from San Filepe to Mexicali and easy 200kms on pristine road with more good scenery. I felt on top of the world and also strangely looking forward to crossing the border to the states even though this means the beginning of the end of my trip. The border crossing was extremely simple, quick, easy and the officials all very nice, friendly and helpful. I am visiting friends and family in the states and just cannot wait to catch up with them.

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Final pictures of the Bahia

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Enjoying the last bit of dirt on this trip

Mexico: The Bahia – Loreto & San Ignacio ( 28th February to 3rd March)

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Heading out of La Paz north to Loreto the one thing in no short supply were bikers. Every few kms I came across a group of bikers usually Harley riders in groups of 6 to 12, but a few single riders or couples. It was fantastic, obviously all friendly and happy to see a single female riders travelling through Mexico. I subsequently found out that there is a huge bike meet up in Cabo next week, sadly I do not have time to go as that would have been fun especially as I am missing out on Daytona bike week … just not enough time to do all the things I want to do.

Other than the riders and more street dogs that I desperately wanted to adopt the ride was easy, uneventful but with some great views. Loreto is a nice seaside town, very picturesque and I just chilled for 2 days. I am not much of a sea beach person I am definitely more a mountain person, however there is something about the ocean that is just very calming. I just wanted to spend some time at the beach simply being. It was so nice to walk along the beach and watch the pelicans fishing, I am really getting into pelicans I thing they are just lovely. I also spotted a couple of woodpeckers, and a road runner on the road going into Loreto that was cute.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Fish in mango sauce yumm

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Buzzards in the desert, not sure how reassuring that is … but at least I know my body won’t go to waste

After Loreto I headed across to the west coast to San Ignacio to see the whales. I had another nice ride to San Ignacio which is a tiny quaint town. I am really taking it easy on the Bahia, relaxing, and enjoying my riding.

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I met a really nice group of Americans who come to Bahia every year to see the whales and were staying in the same hotel. I joined them on the whale tour and WOW I never guessed it would be as good as it was. I thought I’d see whales well… I Touched a Whale and it was awesome. The humpback whales come to San Ignacio every year to calve, there were 300 whales in the bay with calves. The area is a marine reserve and the wardens limit the number of boats on the water. You are only allowed in the bay for 1.5 hrs, and no swimming. They also restrict the area the boats can go so if the whales do not want to interact they just swim away. It is the calves that come to the boats to check us out, but the mothers will also push them up to see us … or perhaps to show off their beautiful babies. They stay in the bay for 4 months while the calves get big and strong and then head north to the arctic.

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It was just AWESOME to see them and get to touch them. We were told that at this time they are less playful as the mothers now put the calves in training and literally swim laps up and down the lagoon to get them fit and ready for the big swim north. I could not have wished for a better experience, especially since I only found out about the whale watching when I was in Cabo, I had no idea this was the season to see them with calves, what a nice surprise.

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Mexico: The Bahia – La Paz and Cabo san Lucas ( 25th to 27th February)

Saying good-bye to Dario and Elias and heading off for the final bit of my Mexican adventure, I was a little sad that my trip was nearing its end but I was so filled with excitement to see the Bahia . What nice guys, but then again they are Mexican and I have yet to meet a Mexican person I don’t like. So much for all the media bollox about how dangerous Mexico is. Obviously you need to be careful in some places and avoid others and have some common sense but that goes for every country in the world even Switzerland.

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After arriving so late into La Paz I didn’t really get to see much of it. I rode alongside the boardwalk and only got to the hotel at 5pm. By this time I was famished so had a quick shower and went down to the Chinese buffet restaurant next door to the hotel and had a huge and very yummy Chinese dinner.

The next day I headed down to Cabo. I took the longer scenic route and it was well worth it. I also just took my time, stopping often to enjoy the views. When I arrived in Cabo I was pretty hungry so stopped near the pier and went for lunch after which I just walked around for ages seeing what the place is like. It is very touristy but still very nice, I met a really nice group of American bikers who are in the Bahia for 10 days dirt biking. The leader Richard was fantastic and gave me some really good maps and ideas for my trip north.

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I was told by multiple people that I must see Cabo which is why I took the 2 days to go south and see it. I will admit I liked it, but to be honest cannot say it is the most awesome place to see. One of the most important things I needed to do in Cabo was try get a new tire. I had checked my tires while in Queretaro and even Daniel agreed that they should get me to the states. However within 2 days the front tire just dropped in tread so quickly I was really surprised. It had done 18000kms by then but my front TKC80 tires usually last me 20 to 22000kms. This had now become a small emergency, however I did know that if I could not get one in Cabo I could in La Paz, however that meant going back to La Paz for an extra 2 days, due to the 28th being a Sunday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Gadgets gets to visit the seaside in Cabo

I went to TodoMotos, as advised, and asked them about tires. The lady said no problem they would have one for me at 9am the next day. She insisted I pay a deposit but took the details and assured me the tire would be there. I arrived at 9am sharp, 9 am came and went and I kept on getting told it is on the way, every 10 mins. At 10:30am the tire arrived. Now I did say (to myself not them) that if they give me a street tire or MX I don’t care as long as it fits I’ll take it. hmmm famous last words. They had a proper hard core MX tire with very big and very spaced out knobblies, and it was a 21 80/100. Oh and it was also usd205

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I said no way am I taking this tire as I am riding up to 10000kms on road, I also knew the tire wouldn’t be road legal in the sates so that meant buying another tire. So in effect wasting usd205, which at this stage I can ill afford. So I waited another 30mins and they brought a new tire a nice road tire but it was 70/70, they tried to argue that it would fit WTF it was visibly far too narrow. I even agreed to go with their sales guy to the mechanic Arturo who I had met the day before, he spoke English (no one in the shop did) and I liked him. He took one look at the tire and went ”erm no way will this fit”. He then sent me to Yamaha but was not sure if they had tires as he said they don’t really keep many spares. TodoMoto was recommended which is how I ended up there, otherwise I would have tried Yamaha first. Yamaha had a good Pirelli but a 21 80/90, they assured me it would be okay and after consulting, through Joern with his excellent mechanic in Switzerland I got the tire, and it fitted fine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Arturo the mechanic what a nice guy

So I took the Yamaha tire to Arturo, he fitted it and I went back to the shop and demanded my deposit back, oh yes the Yamaha tire was only usd95. They did not argue about the deposit and apologised a lot for the situation so that was okay. All’s well that ends well.

The WORST part is that I went to Cabo to see the rock arch in the sea and did not get to see it 😦 what a waste of 2 days. In order to see the arch you need to go on a tour or water taxi (just 2 hrs on the water, and only usd10) to see the arch. Yesterday I arrived at 3pm and went for lunch and walked around, then did the tire and then found out that you cannot see the arch from the land so needed a water taxi but they don’t go in the evening (obviously)

images The arch that I missed seeing

So I thought no probs. I get the tire at 9am, drop it and the bike at the mechanic, and go see the arch with a water taxi, have lunch and leave for La Paz after lunch (only 135kms on the direct route).

hmm well all in all the tire thing took so long I only rode out of Cabo at 2pm no time to see arch and get to la paz in one day. Loreto is 500km from Cabo and the road is ok but I wanted to get to La Paz to take a few kms off the journey. Thank goodness I had decided to do the La Paz stop-off  as leaving Cabo at 2pm would never have given me enough time to get to Loreto before dark.

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I stopped on the way back to La Paz to watch these guys ride the river bed, it looked like serious fun.

So in a nutshell I did waste my time going to Cabo. I was told I MUST go by 4 different people 2 Canadians and 2 Mexicans so though it was a must see. It is nice but I hope the rest of the Bahia is better, although I cannot really say a waste of time as I enjoyed the riding so much.  I also enjoyed actually getting to see some of La Paz during my second trip there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA La Paz

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The Bahia, diverse scenery, stunning beaches and lovely people.

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Mexico: Guadalajara to Mazatlan and Ferry to La Paz ( 22nd to 25th February)

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The ride to Guadalajara was uneventful just direct as I wanted to get there and go to bed so as to kick the last remnants of my cold. The ride to Mazatlan on the other hand, although another straight highway was great. One of those days, just perfect. Easy cruising down the motorway for 480kms, but with lovely scenery so the time and distance just whistled by. Just me, my bike, travelling, happy, healthy and feeling fantastic. DAMN it’s good to be alive and oh so sweet not to be sitting behind a desk 🙂

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Although Mazatlan is a touristy seaside town it is nice and the beach is lovely with a great boardwalk. While walking along the beach I saw a small group of people looking at / touching something flapping in the sand. When I got closer I saw it was a small or baby stingray. They were lifting up its fins and taking pictures of its mouth. One guy put his fingers in its mouth. I just pushed past them grabbed it and threw it as far in the water as I could. It was almost washed back but a few waves and a lot of flapping saw it finally swim away. While I stood guard and shouted ‘’swim baby swim’’ much to the amusement / disappointment of the group who had their photo session cut short. People can be such assholes when it comes to animals. I then stood and watched the sun set on a wonderful day. I got that high on life feeling. That feeling that no drug on earth can replicate.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I just loved watching the pelicans fishing

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The following day while walking on the beach I saw a few little stingrays in surf. It was high tide so none got washed ashore, but they were swimming really close to the edge … adrenaline junkies. There were also loads of sea birds (I was not sure what type), seagulls and pelicans. I think there were schools of small fish swimming by and the stingrays and birds were feasting on them.

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After my lovely walk and still feeling that life high I got ready to go catch the ferry to La Paz on the Bahia peninsula. I hate ferries and was a little nervous as it is a 17 hour long trip. I thought it would be like the one in Brazil across the Amazon (the 2nd time around), dirty smelly…well just disgusting. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. The ferry is very much a trucking ferry and has far more room for trucks than passengers and it is HUGE like 4 stories tall. I had booked a cabin and was glad I did as the seating area although very nice (aeroplane like seats) was crowded and they showed Spanish movies till late into the night. The cabin was huge and had 2×2 bunk beds and a very clean bathroom. I had no idea I had a bathroom in the cabin and I immediately got out of my riding gear and had a very nice hot shower. On the Amazon ferry the bathroom was so disgusting I would clean my teeth over the side of the boat never mind shower in it.

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The only bad thing about the La Paz ferry was the delay. I arrived at 1pm 3 hours before the 4pm departure as required on the website. The ferry itself only arrived at 5pm and took over an hour to unload trucks and people, then we could board at about 6pm and the ferry only left at 7pm 3 hours late. We were scheduled to arrive at 9am but only arrived at 3:30pm. However with such nice cabins I did not even mind, and I just plugged in my laptop and watched an entire TV series. I watched Quantico which is not great but it kept me entertained.

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I had also met 2 Mexican riders going to the Bahia for 5 days. Elias and Dario, what awesome guys so nice, friendly and funny. I really enjoyed meeting them and making friends with them. They are both riding KTM 1190s and are in the Bahia to test them out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Watching the sunset from the ferry before it departed 

So here I am in La Pas on the famous Bahia peninsula 🙂 My last Latin American adventure before crossing into the states for the final leg of my journey.

 

Mexico: Querétaro ( 17th to 21st February)

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The ride from Puebla to Queretaro was another long easy boring highway but I made good time and was excited about getting to Queretaro to see Daniel and Aline. After leaving the Yucatan the one thing I have noticed is the increase in traffic. There is very little traffic all over Mexico and the increase was not that much until I got about an hour outside of Queretaro. Wow it was nuts the traffic was almost bumper to bumper except driving at 100km/hr. The Mexicans are not bad drivers just incredibly impatient and drive fast. After the lovely quiet road of the Yucatan this took me by surprise and I had to shift gear back into crazy Latin American driving mode to survive.

The landscape had also changed it is a lot drier more arid in this region and reminds me of some areas of South Africa. Aline and Daniel live in a new suburb is a stunning house. The area is really nice and very safe, I liked it immediately. I cannot even begin to describe how awesome it was to see them again, they left Switzerland a year ago to come back to Mexico and seeing them again was fantastic. I had planned on staying 3 nights but ended up staying 5 due to the ferry timetable to La Paz. I was so happy to spend the extra days in Queretaro it all turned out really well.

I was suffering from quite a cold when I arrived and over the next coupe of days it got worse finally breaking the day I left. So it was really good to just have one place to stay, relax and recover. Aline was awesome, she looked after me really well and would put up a huge argument if I even tried to wash a single dish. I am not used to staying at people houses and not helping out, but Aline was having none of it, I felt extremely spoilt 🙂 Other than seeing Aline and Daniel again it was also great to see their cats Trotsky and Frieda, they are the most beautiful cats, a bit weary of strangers but I like them a lot. The best pet they now have is a little cocker spaniel called Luke. He is the sweetest dog you have ever met, he was abandoned in a house and Aline rescued him. I just totally fell in love with Luke and wanted to bring him home with me … I don’t understand why Aline would not let me do that 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Trotsky who looks like he wants to take over the world

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Frieda contemplating life with a bike in the house

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I was so busy over the 5 days in Queretaro it went so fast. I went sightseeing, shopping, house hunting, out to eat, off-road riding, walking and also just relaxed. Aline and I went into Queretaro town and had lunch with Rob, who was on the Amazon tour with me. It was so nice to see him again and catch up on all the news. He is a really nice and funny guy, we had a great lunch and then Aline and I went shopping. Unless you are a girl who hasn’t been shopping for over 8 months you just won’t understand how much fun I had. I will admit that I am not a shopping girl, I usually hate clothes shopping. However when you haven’t been shopping and get to go with someone you know and like it is just great. We did also do some sightseeing and Queretaro old town is a really lovely town, well worth seeing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Aline and me with Rob

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Aline and me at the train transport museum

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Queretero

12742085_949458218443282_1151840060657179008_n What the Queretero aqueduct looked like when it was first build

We went to see a couple of houses as Alien and Daniel are looking to buy a place. I love looking at houses as I imagine decorating every house I enter. However what we did the most of was eat, the food in Mexico is fantastic and when you are with people who live there you go to the places that serve the best food.

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When you go to a good restaurant you get good food, good drinks and a quality Mariachi band

Daniel also spoilt me by doing a service on my bike … in the living room. His sports bike lives in the living room, and when he does any work on bikes it is in the house. I was quite shocked but also amused, I think Aline is amazing to allow that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Gadget in da houuuuse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Daniel parking after work

Daniel and I spent the Saturday going sightseeing and riding off-road. It was one of the best days I have had on the trip. We went to San Miguel which is a beautiful city. We also went to see two abandoned haciendas that were old mines, but are now just ghost towns and very interesting. On the way to the first one we stopped in a tiny village that Daniel had not been to before and accidentally come across as we were off the beaten track and this town isn’t even on the map. It has the most stunning little church, where we met two Canadian couples one of who have a winter house near there. Like all Canadians they were very nice people. It took Daniel and I 11 hours to ride 240kms (over half off-road) and do all the sightseeing we did. We got home just as the sun set, exhausted but extremely happy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA San Miguel

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We accidentally discovered this lovely little church

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Santa brigida mine in Pozos

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looking down one of the old mineshafts, scary stuff

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Date above the door is 1888. Kilns at the Santa brigida mine in Pozos, these were the first kilns on the continent

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The Ccinco Senores mine in Pozos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Some of the beautiful scenery we saw

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I spent the Sunday sitting in the TV room vegging, I watched 3 movies with Luke and just chilled and tried to get over my cold. It was a good day. The following day I had to leave for Guadalajara in order to get the Mazatlan to catch the ferry to the Bahia peninsula. I was so sad to leave Daniel and Aline I had such a great time with them and have already made plans with Joern to come back and see them and more of Mexico.

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Mexico: Palenque, La Victoria and Pueblo ( 13th to 16th February)

After Chichen-Itza I could not wait to see the Mayan runes at Palenque as I heard they were even better. The ride to Palenque was good, easy and just fun.

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The Mayan runes were breathtaking, I was just blown away at how stunning they are. I love seeing old runes, temples, castles etc and these were certainly up there in my top 10. What I loved was that you could go inside one of them and see into others. You could climb up them and see what they are like up at the top as well as some great views. I just highly recommend them I had a great day seeing them and spent hours walking around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Mayan runes at Palenque

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The town of Palenque is also nice with a lot of good restaurants and a lot nicer than Chichen-Itza so I was happy to spend two nights there to have a whole day free for sightseeing.

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After he mom swept outside her shop this little guy got the broom and started sweeping, too cute. Maybe he thought she didn’t do a good job.

After Palenque I headed out to Lago Catemaco. I had simply chosen this spot as it was too far to ride from Palenque to Queretero and knew I would need 3 days so just looked at the map and chose 2 spots each roughly a third of the way, but worth seeing and at least one off the beaten track. So I ended up at lake Catemaco and what a lovely surprise.

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The lake is stunning and the road there and then on to Pueblo is a small secondary country road so travelling though small villages and over hills, with amazing views. I did not stay in the town of Catemaco but a tiny small village called La Victoria in a small family run B&B. This is really my kind of place, clean, comfortable and right on the lake. I took an afternoon stroll around the village and everyone I met said hello, this is the Mexico worth seeing not only the tourist places, so I enjoyed it and found it very interesting. There were lovely small but nicely painted houses and also a few tiny shacks, evidence that this was a low income fishing village. I spent the evening sitting on the balcony outside my room watching the fishermen and listening to the cacophony of birds in the trees. I could not have been more relaxed. There are no restaurants in this village but the lady at the B&B cooks and wow what a meal. Fresh out of the lake fish home cooked, a little taste of heaven.

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One of my favourite pictures of the lake taken from my balcony. It was just so peaceful.

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The following day I pushed onto Pueblo and what a difference. A Large busy city, modern and nice but just too big for me to enjoy. I stayed in a city express just off the motorway, impersonal but very clean and comfortable. This was a real travelling stop over with no character. The best thing about Pueblo is that met up with Cesar who I travelled across Russia with in 2012, we did the BAM together and we got on very well, so had a lot of catching up to do. It was so fantastically wonderful to see him again, and he told me that had had come back from Russia and did his private pilots license. He actually flew to Pueblo form Acapulco where he was for a few days on vacation. Wow I was pretty impressed at that. It is always good to see friends when you are on the road.

Mexico: Tulum, Chichen-Itza and Campeche (8th to 13th February)

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Tulum beaches

Tulum It took me 3 seconds in Mexico to realise that when a Mexican says ‘’no it is not hot spicy at all’’ that it will blow the roof of my mouth clean through the top of my head. DAMN the food is spicy 🙂 However the food is soooooo good that even I am enjoying the milder (not as head blowing) spicy food. I have also discovered the non spicy food like Chicken breast in Mango sauce ohhh yum.

The other thing about Mexico is that it is a tad chilly. I have finally reached the northern hemisphere winter and was wondering when that would happen and how cold it would be. However when I say chilly, I mean a slight chill in the air especially in the early mornings but NOTHING like any winter I’ve ever experienced. In fact generally the temperatures are just great especially for riding, gone are those hot sweaty days when I need to drink 3 litres of water just to keep sane.

My first stop in Mexico was Tulum and it’s a nice place. Somewhat touristy but not over the top. The beaches are lovely and the Tulum Mayan runes nice but a little crowded. I only stayed 2 nights just enough time to see the runes and beachs and eat some good food.

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There were loads of these little guys all over the Mayan runes in Tulum

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Tulum Mayan runes

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Cake and coffee on the beach, what more could I want?

Chichen-Itza Next I headed to Chichen-Itza one of the most famous Mayan rune site with one of the largest Mayan pyramids. I loved seeing this place as I just love seeing ancient runes, however I have to say it pales in comparison to Tikal in Guatemala. One of the reasons is that Tikal is in the jungle and has very few visitors so it kind of feels a little Indiana Jonesy. It is easy to go find a rune in the jungle with no people on it to explore at your leisure. The runes at Chichen-itza are in great condition but all roped off which makes sense due the number of visitors. So there is no climbing on or exploring the runes. The place is also packed with vendors selling tourist trinkets, they are however very friendly and not pushy or abusive like those at the Egyptian pyramids so it is not at all unpleasant. The town of Chichen-itza itself is not worth seeing so I only stayed one night as I arrived early enough to go see the Mayan runes in the afternoon. I did also however find time to go see the Ik Kil Cenote which is stunning. I was staying very close to it and sine I arrived in Chichen-Itze very early I decided to stop off before going to the hotel. What a good idea as I arrived before the large tourist buses. There must have been about 15 people there already but as I left 2 large tourist buses and 3 mini vans just pulled up. I am not quite sure how they all fit in the Cenote but guess they must regulate how many people can swim at once. The Cenotes in the Yucatan region of are amazing and there are hundreds of them and hundreds of Mayan runes. It was quite amusing to see a couple right in the middle of the motorway they literally just build the road around them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the Ik Kil Cenote

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The Chichen-Itza mayan runes

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skeletons were a big thing in mexico way way back

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It must have taken ages to play noughts and crosses this way

Campeche So far I am really enjoying Mexico, the sites, the people and the food. The roads are in very good condition and there is not much traffic, well in the Yucatan region that is. After Chichen-itza I headed to the Gulf of Mexico to a town called Campeche which is a UNESCO heritage site and just lovely. The whole town in painted in vibrant colours and it is just  a pleasant place to visit, also touristy but not at all overcrowded or unpleasant.

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The street dogs in Latin America break my heart and I want to take them all home. This little girl nearly got a forever home from me, but I could not catch her. She was so young she had clearly not had a litter yet and she was so scared and limping. It really broke my heart to leave her.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Campeche’s very colourful buildingsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am not sure how it fits in but there is a distinct pirate theme all over Campeche

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Gulf of Mexico

Heading towards Palenque after Campeche I rode along the coast and had one of those amazing riding days where I remembered why I do this. I just love the feeling / experience / adventure of going from one interesting / exotic place to another  on my motorbike. Seeing the people and villages along the way and how the scenery changes. I had such a super cool experience riding along the coast right alongside a pelican for quite a few seconds. I cannot begin to describe how awesome this was. I kept on having to remind myself to look at the road, which was fortunately dead straight. Once I passed one pelican I’d come across another flying level  with my bike it was something surreal and I felt like I was in a commercial or something as it felt  just too good to be true … only it wasn’t. It was one of those stand on the foot pegs and punch the sky moments.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA pelicans everywhere

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One of the beauties that flew next to me along the coast, what a thrill

I have never seen so many pelicans in one place in my life as in the small fishing village of Champoton. It’s days like this that make me feel happy, wonderful and just downright alive.