Heading North

Wild Camping in Mexico

Spiders…? They’re OK, I guess.

Big spiders…? Erm… They’re OK too, I suppose.

Big albino spiders that can JUMP? No! Definitely not! They are not on my list of likeable things.

Apart from witnessing the surreal and scary jumping spider while breaking camp the other day, it’s been a fantastic few days of riding and generally hanging-out in the great outdoors. The mountains of central Mexico are glorious! The roads are usually in fair-to-good condition, there is barely a straight section of road to be had anywhere and there are loads of places to set up camp for the night, with amazing morning views to reward.

…and here’s a little video to prove it.

Play Video in YouTube

While spending a couple of Halloween days in Ajijic (which was great fun), just after writing the previous blog post, I came to a decision that had a bigger psychological effect on me than I assumed it would. It was a decision that was always going to be part of this trip, and it involved the point at which I should turn around and start heading north east.

In other words… to stop venturing south.

It almost feels like my trip is now all but complete and I’m simply heading home, which is not how I was expecting to feel. Texas and the USA’s Deep South are both high on my list of places to experience so I’m still ‘moving forward’, just no longer into the more exotic and tropical realms of Central America. In fact, I’m now only 6 hours behind GMT which is great, considering I was about 10 hours ahead of GMT when in Vladivostok not so long ago.

Some of the decision to head north was guided by the ever dwindling bank balance, but I’ve also been thinking about the weather and how it’s going to be on the Atlantic coast and in New England. Basically, it’s going to be an easier/safer ride in mid-to-late November than it would be in December or January.

Tomorrow is a border-crossing day (Brownsville Texas), then it’s time for a tyre-change (I’m fed up of lugging these road tyres around on the back of the bike) and some exploring of the Texan Gulf coast and Houston.

Houston… We don’t have a problem.

Finally, if you plan to visit Mexico in a car, here are some tips for preparing your car for the Mexican roads:

  1. Remove or tape over your speedometer, you won’t need that in Mexico.
  2. Completely disconnect one of your brake lights – it doesn’t matter which one.
  3. Take the remaining/working brake light and remove the red plastic cover, leaving the plain white bulb exposed.
  4. Take the wires for the rear indicators (turn signals) and reverse them, but leave the front ones wired up correctly. Signalling left should make the front left turn signal blink, and the rear right turn signal blink. Seriously, this seems to be an almost standard thing here and it’s freakin’ dangerous for the uninitiated.
  5. Remove the catalytic converter and replace with a length of regular metal tube.
  6. Take the output of the exhaust pipe and angle it upwards slightly to prove to every passing biker and pedestrian that you have indeed removed the catalytic converter.
  7. Finally, add a few dents to the body panels to suit your taste. The fashion at the moment seems to involve a small dent in the rear bumper (fender) and a good-sized dent on the bonnet (hood).

That’s it, you’re all set for the Mexican road trip of your dreams!

P.S. The standard of driving in Mexico is actually pretty good, it’s just that they drive wrecks of vehicles and completely ignore the speed limits. Bosnia’s title of ‘Scariest Drivers’ remains unchallenged, but then I haven’t ridden in Africa… yet 🙂

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