While i'm getting my life back together, please look at a fine selection of my photos:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Real de Catorse

Next stop after San Luis Potosi was Real de Catorce. An old silver mining town approximately 250 km north from San Luis Potosi. The road between Potosi and Catorce is not very fascinating. Unless you like desert:

My mom always tought me that it's healthy to have a divers diet. Taco's get boring after a while and some hotdogs seemed a nice change. They weren't really hot though and there was no mayonesa!

About to enter the cobblestone road to catorse.

Not really a problem, although you need a certain speed to overcome the most vibrations. Above 55kph worked for me, and the bike, because we arrived without losing parts (i know off anyway..). The cobblestones are quite slippery, combine this with oil spilling old cars and trucks and you can imagine that it can get real slippery. Aparantly, because at times my front wheel went a slightly different direction than anticipated.

Fantastic scenery halfway to Catorce.

Waiting for a GO!! the tunnel is the last bit to Catorce and one way only.

Inside the tunnel, just enough time for a pic. Total length is about 2km. Interesting: In the hayday of silvermining the was a railroad through the tunnel.

The light at the end of the tunnel was not from a incoming train, but the first view of Catorce. Nice place, very laid back and relaxed. But not, as i experienced, in weekends and Mexican vacations. The village and hotels are booked really well and the people on the street apply a bit more aggressive sales techniques. Not fun.

If you go there, make sure it's on weekdays!!

Nice pic of the church from our hotel.

By now Catorce is quite famous and the tourism really got to this likable town. There's quite a lot to do: horseback tours to a small ghost town or to the desert.

The museum gives a very good overview of the period when Catorce was in it's prime, which was about 1900. Around that period the silver price dropped and Mexican war for independence started which led to the closing of the mine. Ever since less and less people lived there. The town, although nowadays quite a few people make a living of the tourism, still has lots of deserted houses. Which gives it a nice atmosphere. The museum has usually one or more expositions on contemporary Mexican art.

The owner of an internet cafe told us that back in the days,1925-ish, this was the biggest power plant of mexico.

Everyday street life:

Pictures from the mine entrance. A 40 minute walk uphill. You can hire horses if your health doesn't allow that. Altitude of Catorce is about 2500m.

I liked Catorce. Very laid back and enough to do and see for a couple of days. Oh, i think the coolest bar in town is Club Social "Amor y Paz" . Very wel restored old building and awesome interior. Great contemporary music. Certainly worth a visit, if you happen too be in the neighberhood

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back on the road - San Luis Potosi

After 4 weeks I'm finally back on the road. Although i really liked this city with its great colonial architecture, tunnels, and winding streets, 4 weeks is a bit too much. Last week i finished my Spanish classes. Two weeks were great, the last week the grammar got so complicated my brain decided to shut down. Needed another week to recover ;-).
Maybe a little to much. 5 hours a day and homework really intense. The hostel live doesn't help either, English all around and too much diverdad (=fun).

Anyway, right now i feel i know less Spanish than i started with! Not true of course, it's all in my head somewhere, it's just that it's not there when i need it. Strange. Maybe i put to much pressure on myself to learn Spanish in three weeks. What was i thinking?! Not really realistic, ain't it?

Plan was to go to Real de Catorce and loop back to Guanajuato via Zacatecas. Would be nice to spend xmas there. Unfortunately Claudio had rotten peanuts for lunch yesterday and is in the middle of some serious cleansing of his digestive system. Poor guy. Hope he gets better soon. The last part to Catorce is quite a challenging road, so he needs to be fit.

San Luis Potosi is a crowded town with a charming and lively colonial center. Quite a suprise since the first appearance when entering the city is very industrial. Yesterday evening i went for a walk and i saw this magnificent illuminated churches and buildings. They (don't know who...) project animations on buildings accompanied by classical music, turnes out to be the annual Fiesta la Luz. I made some pictures and they turned out really bad, so i stole them from the government website:

There's also a movie, take a look, it's really special.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Hostel Casa Kloster in Guanajuato will be my home for the next couple of weeks.
Rented a private room for cheap 90 pesos/night. Parked my bike inside on the patio and settled in.
The past few weeks i've had the feeling i walked in the shadow of my buddy Claudio. I really envy him for his Spanish. Not for him being Italian nor for his bikechoice: A Guzzi!! Although, don't know what it is, if we walk together, girls first see me, i'm tall and blond. Next they notice Claudio, their eyes go his way and pupils start getting big and big smiles all over...

So, in order to appreciate in full all beauty of Mexico and everything south from there has to offer, I need to learn Spanish. Culture i mean here people! Come on!

The past three days i had 5 hours of classes a day and a hour or so homework. And now my head hurts. Jeez. I didn't do anything intellectually challenging the past five and a half months! The only thing i had to think about was to hit the clutch before shifting gear...sort of, anyway. And it's definitely something different. Great fun though. It's good to use your head in a different way.
And it gives me the feeling i do something useful for a change.
Besides that, mi profesora es muy bonita ;-)

Uh..what happened between Mazatlan and Guanajuato your wondering? Not much. Rather boring sceneries, stayed two nights in Guadalajara and moved on. Guadalajara is a very big city, with, ofcourse, al lot of people and some nice buildings and plazas. Too big to my taste really, i missed the nice and cozy plazas and laid back atmosphere of smaller city's. Guanajuanto is more my taste. I do have some nice pictures of Guadalajara though. There are wonderful wallpaintings inside the federal building. And nice fountains and sculptures.

The climate here is significantly different than the coastal area: It friggin' cold here! That wasn't in the plan (which plan??). During the day it's not too bad, but evenings and night go close to 5 Celcius and windy. The city is on 2000m elevation. One of the reasons, obviously. And its winter here too!! Supermarkets here getting ready for Christmas which is a bit weird actually. The temperature helps me focus on my language training. Which is a Good Thing.

The town is quite different from the usual straight and square blocks, consists of winding tunnels underneath the city and lots of twisty alleys. And all is one-way only. By far the best town to get lost, if you have a sence of humor. Lonely planet was right ;-). There's a big university here so lots of nice and trendy bars.

I'm sure i'll enjoy it here. Maybe even three weeks ;-)

I added a lot of pictures to my photowebsite , please do take a look, it gives a better view of the fun i had here ;-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Maztatlan. Nice harbor city, long Malecon with lots of activities, Colonial architecture and lively night live. Like La Paz, but bigger. Good times here again.

Mazatlan as seen from the lighthouse.

What can i say. My spanish improved quite a bit lately by applying the best method possible ;-) My friends from canada and Junneau know exactly what i've been up to now, so i could leave it with this. For everybody else, i'll elaborate a tiny bit about it anyway. This experience is also part of my trip and therefore of me.
I pretty much stick to the usual pictures and stories of great roads and gorgeous sceneries and this is, i think, a welcome change.

Claudio, my Italian travelbuddy for the past few weeks, contacted a Couch surfing member and she introduced us to a couple of friends. This turned out to be a good move and allowed me to experience a new aspect of traveling. I tend to stay away from romantic stuff, or better, romantic stuff tends to stay away from me, it seems, usually, but not this time.

Must be the sun and lively spirit of Mazatlan and Mexico. Dunno. We had a wonderful romantic weekend, seen all beautiful places in town, drank beer at the Malecon acompanied by music and went out till dawn and had Fun.

Adrianna, if you read this, you'll always have a special place in my heart. Love S.

All good things come to an end and i left Mazatlan with a heavy melancholic feeling. I think this picture, besides its just a good one i want to share with you, reflect a bit how I felt.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Espinosa del Diablo

I couldn't believe that there would be a better road then the California Hwy #1 at wondelful Big Sur. But i found it! Hwy. #40 between Durango and Mazatlan is a wonderful scenic route with about 100km of a REALLY terrible amount of sharp blind curves and presumable fantastic views. I'm not sure about the views, the driving was quite demanding and fun. Some days I don't want to do a photostop every 10 minutes but just Go!!! And reasonably good quality tarmac. To make it all a bit more challaging for bikers some stretches were coverend with a thin layer of fine gravel. Good times. Missed a bit of power, torque and forkstability again. At the other hand, having a small, powerless bike probably saves me from pushing the envelope to much, which is a good thing. No regrets for my bikechoice, especially if i see how Claudio and his Guzzi are struggled in the rough stuff. I changed my opinion on Guzzi's by the way, with reduced tire pressure i behaved remarkably well. And same for the narrow twisties. Anyway, picturetime again!

Leaving Durango

"Espinosa del Diablo" [The devil's Spine]. Now i know why. We were a bit in a hurry and it was very foggy so not many pictures. Here's a taste. I you find this way on google maps, you see exactly what i mean.

Earlier this morning we left Durango late and halfway to Mazatlan we ran out of daylight and pitched our tent, made diner (coocking noodles that is...) in a small Pueblo were the whole ritual was the event of the year for the kids. Nice experience, lots of regret that my spanish is still not at conversationlevel, even with kids. Unfortunately it is very damp there so the next morning we departed with a couple of kilograms water in out soaking wet tents.

Curious but shy kids at Coffeestop

Tight curved & Trucks do not go well together. This situation took about ten minutes of manouvering before traffic continued.

That's it for this part. Next story: Mazatlan!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Barranca del Cobre - Creel to Batopilas

We arrived in Creel in dark (again....) and cold, at altitude of 2300mi t gets chilly fast when the sun disappears. The cheapest hostel in town according to the lonely planet was a hostel and it turned out to be a nice place with, as always in hostels, lots of young (relatively that is) people from all over the
world. I forgot the name but it's easy to find: follow the direction to City center, drive all the way down to the plaza, passing lots of other hotels. The hostel is located in the right far corner of the Plaza. The price was right too: $80,- for a bed, diner and breakfast. Pesos that is, not US$ ;-) Cheapest so far. Apparently I move in the right direction. Baja was pretty expensive, with La Paz as an all time high. Other tips: right across the plaza, crossing the railroad there's a small a small green colored shop with great coffee for only $8, and a cute very skilled and nice girl running the place too ;-) Creel is nice to hang around for a day, which we did, and there are lots of tours to do. The hostel rents out mountainbikes.

After a day of recovery from our 2 day dirt road adventure (Which actually can be done in one day if you start early in El Fuerte or Choix and don't spend an hour and a half building up karma credits trying to fix a local's flat tire
or give a local drunk guy a lift. And don't have flats or other
misfortune of course...) we needed another adventure to keep our adreneline going....

Our next adventure was the route from Creel to Batopilas. A 65km dirtroad. After all, not many bikers do this, and it would certainly add to our list of adventures. We figured that since this road is actually on every map it wouldn't be as rough as we experienced earlier- this assumption turned out to be not entirely right ;-).

The first 75 km. is a fantastic road with challenging curves and great
scenic views.

Due to a lack of navigation skills and absence of
preparation (except from water and food, i get smarter every day...) we missed the turnoff to Batpilas completely. And had to backtrack. Funny thing: there's a sign "Batopilas" if you come from the south, from the north there isn't.

The road turned to gravel immediately. First few kilometers were pretty smooth. Then a large stretch of very bad road on the trace currently under
construction. After that it's not that bad actually, see picture above.

Depending your skills that is. We haven't got any of that, and our bikes are heavily loaded with all travel gear. So we took it sloooow and easy. In hindsight, it would have been better to make it a two day trip from Creel and leave as much luggage behind. Below: After 20 kilometer you see this awesome view. You have to go all the way down, cross the bridge and then back up again.

Even if you are the experienced off-road type, the road doesn't invite you
to go fast. There's hardly any shoulders and it's all single lane,
blind curves and lots of rocky stuff etcetera. Is it a difficult
technical road? No, i must say. A heavily loaded Moto Guzzi
can do it, so how hard can it be? What scared the crap out of me
the most was the narrowness, the distracting scenic views -does weird
things with your orientation and balance senses- and steep drop offs right nex to the road.

In short, if you take it easy it's a great adventure and fantastic
scenery. See pictures. We needed about 3.5 hours to cover the 65km.

We took the 2nd hotel in the Batopilas village, a double room for $100, hot shower and free potable water. Very cheap. Downside is that it is a 15 minute walk to the plaza with other
(nicer, more expensive) hotels and a few restaurants. We had dinner at
Restaurant Mary's at the plaza. Good food, nice and fairly cheap.

Batpilas has a strange feeling. People wear guns there and at night public guards walk around with 9mm and m16's. Nice... It's perfectly save though, accoording to a local...

It shows that mexico goes through a turmoil. In Creel a protest display with coffins and a text about the murder of innocent people in august this year made clear that there's a lot going on underneath the surfice.

Personally i haven't had a moment i thought i wasn't save. You have to pay attention to your belonings though. People, kids in particular, have the habbit of looking with their hands instead of their eyes. Ow, make sure you count your change. Although people are friendly in general, the will check out if your stupid ;-) Keeps you awake though...

barrance del cobre

Thursday, October 30, 2008

short update - El Fuerte to Creel

Short update, internet is expesive here.
It took us 2 days to get from El Fuerte to Creel, of which 200 kms dirtroad. These roads weren´t even on the map! ;) But made it in one piece. We had to camp somewhere on roadside though, don´t see bumps, holes etc. in dark.
Luckily i brought Ramen Noodles and Nescafe :)
The Guzzi of my travelbuddy Claudio behaves remarkebly well in offroad. TTR run fine all day in 1st and 2nd gear, running at high temperatures and bounching all over. I love the bike and despite the awkward starting habbits, i wouldn´t change it for the world. Although.... a button would be nice ;)
Detail: the trainride from El Fuerte to Creel takes about 6 hours. But that wouldn´t be any fun, right?
Chilling out in Creel for a day now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

El Fuerte - daily bikecheck works!!

We made it to the Mexican mainland yesterday. The ferry (1500 pesos) left from La Paz to Topolobampo at 15:30(ish..) We arrived there at about 22:00. Plesant ride. Which was good. The evening before we had a big party with several hostel guests till 3:00 am. Nice.

Instead of spending the night in Los Mochis we drove to El Fuerte. In dark. Not smart, but the road is very good. Despide that we still arrived a bit late, 1 a.m., in El Fuerte and found a cheap hostel. In general it is safe here, at least that's what my 6th sence tells me. Like Baja by the way. So far only friendly and helpful people.

The planning for today was to leave for Creel. But no. When i took a casual look at my bike yesterday, as i do every riding day, I noticed something wasn't quite right. The bold and washer on my rear axle was missing hmm, forgot to tighten it in the workshop in La Paz apparantly. Must be the high temperatures messing with my brain. Still not used to it, I'm affraid.

The axle almost came out of the link/bridge/whatever. Luckily the spacer for te chaintensioner was still there.

I looked up to the stars, made a cross and said a small thank you to whoever runs this place. Could be much worse, like loosing my rear tire with all unpleasant sideeffects. I Lucked out bigtime....

So anyway, today's entertainment program contains the game 'find a nut in El Fuerte'...

hasta luego!

La Paz

La Paz... it's friendly, relatively big, has a long malecon. Has great nightlife.
A shopping paradise voor Baja Sur. (Baja california is split in two major districs, Baja (northern part) and Baja Sur (southern part).

I found the cheapest hostel possible: 180 pesos for a room (which i shared with countless ants. Which wasn't really bad, other has cocroaches.

I stayed a bit longer than planned. In the process of trying to loosen up one of the chainadjuster bolts (spray dw-40, smoke cigarette/drink beer, turn bolt a bit - repeat) it broke off.

La Paz is as said a good place with all services, motorcycle repairshops included. A French mechanic (thank god, Mexicans try to solve everything with a hammer) was pretty gentle on my TTR. After quite a few attempts to remove the broken bolt we figured that the only way to solve the issue was to drill it out. We solved the problem with a slightly different system, but it works.

I met an Italian guy Claudio (what else ;-)) at the hostel. He flew his Moto Guzzi calfornia Evolutione (!) to New York and drove through Canada and US to Mexico. We decided travel together for a while. First Stop: Copper Canyon.

Viva La Paz , Viva Mexico!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I''m in Loreto now. A guy i met at The Old Mill, near San Quintin (nice, expensive) a couple of days back invited me to his Hacienda in Loreto. It's under construction but it's free. Hotels are quite expensive around here and a free stay for a couple of days is more than welcome.

Loreto is (finaly) a nice place to hang out for a few days. Something i missed since i left Ensenada. There are a lot of retired americans and canadians here and the local economy is (therefore) good, which is reflected by the nice admosphere (my perception). A nice Malecon, beach and friendly people and good food. And coffeshops with internet. A requirement these days.

So far Baja is not the place for colonial archtecture. It has lots of desert though. So if that's your thing, your right on the spot.

As you progress from north to south Baja, the climate and scenery chances slowly from dry desert to a bit more subtropical.

The past 2 weeks or so i was mainly fighting a cold and not in the mood to take lots of pictures. There's not much diversity here anyway. Long days on the bike on straight roads are boring. To my supprise the last 30 miles to Loreto is a beautiful twisty road following the rock coastline with some beautiful beaches with campsites.I really enjoyed riding again. A bit like Big Sur, less breathtaking though.

will add pictures later.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I crossed the border in Tijuana. Not the most relaxed place to enter
but i thought, lets see if it is a chaotic as people say. Well, it is

The funny thing is that you are not stopped. US citizens are
allowed to cross the border and don't need anything aslong as the stay
within a certain limit from the border.

For me, European, and
administrative stuff to take care of, i  have to stop, of course. The
weird thing is though, it's not very clear where. Or, at least to

As soon i noticed that all went all too easy i pulled
over and started thinking. Hmm..I should have done a bit more research
actually instead of going for it totally unprepared. Fun though, albeit
a bit stressful.

So, this is what i've elarned:
* You need a
tourist visa, which can be obtained at the Mexican immigration office
for US$22,75. You cannot pay by creditcard, cash only.(took me an extra
walk back to the ATM....

I parked the bike with an insurance company. a guy watched it for a few peso, he gave me good info though).

When in Baja, you don't need a temporary import permit for your
vehicle. You need it when entering the Mexican mainland. You can buy it
when leaving the ferry there, unless you want to enjoy the very
efficient (not) mexican administrative system, then get it at Tijuna ;-)

A stamp in your passport is not required. I noticed the following day
that there was no stamp in mine and i went to the immigration office at
the Ensenada Harbor. The official there said it was not neccessary,
there is a stamp on my tourist visa. I hope he's right.  (you can buy a
tourist visa here, but they charge you $5.50 extra for it)

* You
need to hand over your US I-94 visa slip to a US official, accoording
to the procedure on the back. The slip was till this morning still in
my passport. I should have handed it over to an American official.
Funny thing is that there are none at the mexican border when leaving
the US. Perhaps i should have taken the exit with "Last exit before
leaving US" on it, i donno...
Not handing this thing over has the
consequence that you are listed in the US immigration system as being
in the US with an outdated visa. This causes problems if you want to go
back in the future.

* Luckily US customs have an office in
Kentuky you can send the I-94 thingy to together with evidence of you
leaving the states. For me this is the Mexican tourist visa, with
datestamp, and a permit for temporary import of my motorcycle. Which i
did this morning.

All should be well now. I think....

is a nice harborcity with a lively fishmarket, A tourist strip for the
cruiseship people, and lots of nice bars and hangouts. I stay in a very
hospitable and relatively cheap backpackershostel ($18,-
night) and room to park your (motor)bike safely behind a fence in the
patio at the back. The hostel is close to the center and has a very
good internet connection. Carlos, the owner is a young guy with lots of
travel experience and he tries to make it a nice place.

I cought a flew or something and sit it out here. Nice to be surrounded
by a variaty of different people, all traveling to and from Mexico.

Mexican flag in Ensenada. You can't miss it, its Big!

New friends. Portugal, Brazil and US.

Ensenada Malecon.

Hasta Luego!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Entering Mexico

Just a short update. After two weeks traveling with my good friend Arend (Zion to Newbury park, LA) i'm back on my own. This post is made with Scribefire, a Mozilla pluging for Bloggin. I'm not a big fan of the blogger editor, it doesn't insert pictures on the cursor position, which is very, VERY annoying.
Hope this one works better. Anyways....

I'm a bad planner so right now I'm figuring out the insurance thing for Mexico in the public library in San Ysidro right at the border.

Yesterday was an interesting day. I departed late from a cheap hotel. There's no campsites around here, and RV parks would charge me the full hookup price ($71) do the obvious choice is a hotel for the same price. My trustworthy TTR (baptised 'old faithful', will come to that later) doesn't like cold starts in this hot and humid environment (so as me, btw...) So i left at 11:00 am. I enjoyed the LA coast and at 4pm had my first flat tire! Not an ordinary nail or something, nope, not me, i had something special: the valve got ripped out of the inner tube. Below, me fixing tire in beautiful sunset ;-)

Luckily i was at this nice beachpark area, surrounded my the young, rich and beautiful people of San Diege (no pics, sorry...). Good eye candy. None of them helped actually. :( Too busy being cool or something. A guy and his family offered help. It was a russian guy, working for the US Navy (huh?) who offered me help and even better, a bed and a good meal. I like russians. I got my spare 19" in and, ofcourse, puctured it when mounting the thing. The lack of practice i assume. In four months this was the first flat. Not a bad average though. (i don't count the time a bikeshop changed my front tire and punctured the inner tube). I had trouble breaking the bead, after jumping on the tire for a while i used WD-40, smoked a few cigarets and presto! Tire came of from the rim perfectly. Below a picture of Dimitri, his DR350 and Dog:

The following morning i departed on a queste for a new heavy duty inner tire. The 3th bikeshop i tried had one. Quite bizar: when i stopped a guy approached me. Turned out to be a marrocan guy, studied in Maastricht years ago. Nice guy. First human being on this continent who recognised the type of bike actually. He paid for my new heavy duty tube. Funny how things go.

Aad, buddy, thanks for the past weeks. It was good to have a friend near for a while. So far you have been my biggest sponsor of all (two...).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Zion to Newbury Park - traveling with buddy Aad.

My good friend Aad came over to ride with me for two weeks. He flew to Vegas and drove to Zion where i stayed on a campsite.

Aad arriving in Zion. Getting from Holland to Vegas to Zion wasn't exactly a breeze. Due to hurricane Ike a cancelled flight and unplanned stopover took one extra day all together. But eventually, he here was, on his beaufiful white Harley D.

The plan was to go from Grand Canyon to San Francisco to San Diego where he would drop off the bike and fly home.

Below: Aad is never too shy to show of he's not affraid of heights. Me, on the other hand, i'm a wuss on that matter. As my not really relaxed smile shows..

Nice portrait.

All pictures of our trip from Zion to Newbury Park can be found here.



Near campsite in Lees Ferry, between north and south RIM of grand canyon. Very beautiful red rock area. Campsite is situated in a Valley, so your surrounded by red rock formations.

Seligman, vollage on old Route 66

Deathvalley entrance

Camping at June Lake - COLD!!! at 2400m. altitude.

San Fransisco. 
Timetable didn't allow for multiple day visit. I guess i have to go back. So all we'd seen is the good old Golden Gate.
It's Long.
It's High

It's Deep.

We entered the famous Hwy. #1 in SF. From there we followed the coastline all the way to Newbury Park. We stayed at my friend Thad Wolffe (yes, the guy who wins bikeraces - see earlier post). Aad for a day, he had to catch a plane in San Diego - me for a couple of days. Service the bike for the Real Adventure: Mexico.

The Hwy. #1 is really breathtaking. The tourist information told us about a hostel at a lighthouse in Monterey. Nice.

Big Sur. 70 miles of breathtaking scenic road with plenty twisties in all sorts to make the ride interesting if the view bores you not likely you might think. Indeed. We saw the views three (3) times and nope, it doesn't get boring ;-)

In San Simeon i noticed that i forgot my creditcard in a restaurant in Big Sur. So we had to backtrack all the way, all the 70 miles.

And the next day, we had to do it all over again...

I'll tell ya, Hwy #1 at Big sur is by far the best place (to date) to forget something. 

San Diego Beach. Campsite nearly at the beach. Nice.

Another place for bikers to go to: Rock Store.
A (The) famous biker hangout in an mountainous/hilly area near LA. Every saturday/sunday vast amounts of bikers come over to show of and ride the scary twisty roads. One of them (forgot his name) guided us to Thad's house. To bad he didn't see the gravel whil passing a car with a crashed Duc as result. Oilcooler crashed and he bypassed it. His bike was not the only one with loose nuts and bolts.

Above: bad impression of the roads, but i have no other.

Aad had to go. Just before he left for San Diego. Our last picture in two fantastic weeks.

From now on, i was back on my own.  Mexico is calling.