A Quick Run to Merida
South out of Progresso I went to find some lunch in Merida. The traffic in the city is quite intense, and the roads are difficult to navigate. I rode through the city square mid day and hardly moved anywhere for 45 minutes. I didn’t take many photos because I was far too busy trying to orientate myself.
It is however a great city with an interesting history. There is a lot of colonial influence everywhere you look.
And they have a massive cemetery on the east side of town.
I walked around the streets a while, explored the side roads on my bike, and got some grilled chicken at one of the 10,000 places serving it street side. It was a little too hectic to hang out though, so I headed a little further south to quieter scenery.
Setting up camp in the sticks, typical:
The only thing I had really wanted to see was the northern coast, and since I had done that, I meandered back across the Yucatan towards Chichen Itza. I had passed close by previously, but didn’t stop in. Time to check it out.
Ok, now what. Get some water and check the maps.
The Northern Yucatan Peninsula
I used to follow the motorcycle travel blog of a fellow ADV Rider (stickfigure) who has done some great ride reports down through Central America. I had the opportunity to cross paths with him at a beach bar and exchange notes and beers. I wanted to ride up to the national park (Ria Lagartos) on the north coast of the Yucatan, and he had been through there. He confirmed which trails were worth the effort and I solidified my route.
Getting from the east coast of the Yucatan to the north coast without going to Cancun is a total PITA. There are only a few roads that go diagonally, one of them is blocked by security and wouldn’t let me through, and the other two are seemingly impossible to find. I’ve since found some back roads that circumvent the security stations outside Playa del Carmen, but they aren’t mapped. They look something like this:
On this occasion I succumbed to unfamiliarity and went north to Cancun….. ugh.
I hate the pavement routes, but before long I was in the coastal town of El Cuyo and ready to rip along the beach in search of flamingos!
Just like Stickfigure promised, I found some of the most fun riding in months!
Long sandy stretches that hugged the beach.
And lots of entry points to hop onto the beach and let the gas drain.
Sometimes there are cemeteries in the strangest places. I always stop to have a look.
The bird sanctuary is what I came to see, and the fantastic riding continued right through the middle of it. There are large bays of very shallow protected water where all the birds hang out. There are towers scattered around the park for bird watching, but they were all locked. I think you have to be a part of a tour group to get access to the towers. Like always, I take the self guided option.
Flamingos in the distance!
Found them. They just stand around a chill out. Way to be.
Did I mention how great the riding was out here?
At one point I dumped the bike and the cheap Mexican hose connector snapped. Go figure. The second I bought it I knew it was crap.
Thankfully I carry spare everything! I removed the T and fuel filter and ran some new hose. Much better.
Some of the water in Rio Lagartos is bright pink. I’m told it is because of all the salt in the area, but that doesn’t sound quite right to me.
After I scared off all the birds I browsed around the town of Rio Lagartos and got a cheap hotel for the night. Beach front with wifi.
The town was quite slow, and once the sun went down there was no one around. So the next morning I packed up and kept moving.
The pavement out towards Progresso was surprisingly enjoyable.
There are coconut farms everywhere in the Yucatan.
And makeshift trawlers.
Cheap ocean front fixer-upper properties can be found for dirt cheap all along the coast here. I stopped to peek at a few. They were all destroyed by a hurricane a few years back when the beach was washed away. There were some squatters living in this one.
Progresso is a nice little town. It has a cute downtown area with nice cafes and people walking about, as well as a couple touristy bars along the water. An enormous pier jets way out into the ocean, I tried to ride out, but was denied access. I’m told the cruise ships occasionally pass through and tie up.
More Motor Stuff
I managed to collect all the parts I needed for the motor, then got to work.
Still Hanging Around
Greetings from southern Mexico!
I’ve been down here a while now and couldn’t be having a better time. I have no specific timeline for getting to Ushuia, I am in route and just enjoying life as it comes. I’ve been on the road since September and have nothing but time.
Last night I was sitting at a little restaurant having some tacos. A cute mexican girl sat at the table across from me and ordered food. We catch each others eyes. I say hello, she asks if I’m here with a friend. I say no. She motions that she might join me. I invite her over and she moves to my table. This should be fun, I love meeting new mexican girls. Things go south very quickly.
We do the standard greetings – who are you, where are you from, mucho gusto, etc. I’m having a beer, she only has food.
“I’d like a beer.”
Are you going to buy me a drink?
Opening up the Motor
As I mentioned the XR isn’t so healthy. Aside from it’s bent axle, oil lines, and the dozen other worn out and broken parts, the motor is also toast. There’s no compression, so I got to tearing it down in a makeshift outdoor garage.
Relaxing in the Yucatan
Ten of my college friends were in town for the week. It was a great time, as it always is. Typical vacation resort type place.
We explored a bit and checked out some cenotes (underwater caves), did some cliff jumping, and toured some of the Mayan ruins.
Race Inspired Yamaha XS1100 With a Past
I know I know, another Yamaha XS1100 post. Thankfully many of my readers are into them just as much as I am. To the others, please bear with me.
Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows I have a predilection for Yamaha XS1100’s. I’m not sure how it developed, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important are the bikes!
I recently stumbled upon this spectacular custom built example and thought I would share.
1976 Kawasaki KH100
I haven’t had a Kawasaki KH100 before and never paid much attention to them. But I just stumbled across this example being sold by a gent in California who used it as a display piece in his dealership. It only has 17 miles on it!
A lot of the road going 2 strokes of this vintage pull the fuel and oil directly into the crank. This creates a nice long lasting bottom end, but sacrifices performance. I suppose there isn’t much use comparing the 2 stroke technology of yesteryear to that of today because they are so sharply divorced, so I’ll spare you that for now. But what interests me about this particular model is the orientation of the carburetor. Where is it?! Do you see it?
Joe Petrali and his Twin Downtube Flat Tracker
I was just reading an article in Classic American Iron from a year ago posing a question about one of Joe Petrali’s flat track race bikes. I’ve been on a bit of a flat track kick lately and was just posting a few cool photos over in the forums, so I thought I’d answer it for them (since I know the answer).
They ask about the double down tubes on Joe’s bike (seen in the photo to the left) and ask why the bike same bike, which is on display at the Indiana Motor Speedway Museum, has only a single down tube (seen in the photos below).
The answer may be obvious to some, but it’s an interesting bit of history so allow me to explain.