Friday, October 12, 2018

Going south P.4

The Zona del Silencio - I only learned about the Zone of Silence a few months ago, but ever since hearing of this strange place I've felt like I was on a  Quest to see it.

On June 2 1970 the US launched a test missile from Green River, Utah. It was supposed to land in the White Sands test range in NEW Mexico, a distance of about 470 miles - IF it flew in a straight line like say - two African swallows carrying a coconut.

But somehow the missile got confused and kept going right on past White Sands and flew an additional 455 miles and landed in Mexico. After the US military found the errant missile they, with permission from the Mexican government of course, went into the area and cleaned it up. That is when they discovered that compasses and radio signals acted erratically in the area. Add to that reports of strange sightings of lights and other objects (and aliens....) and the fact that the Zone of Silence is on the 27th Parallel as are the Bermuda Triangle, and the Pyramids at Giza - and it all starts to make sense...

It was quiet when I was there, but I didn't very far on the nasty dirt road.

The next day it was time for an oil change...only three more to go..

Things along the road.

I got on a nice 'freeway' to burn some miles and saw a town off to the side. I thought I would take the 'exit and check it out.

This is what greeted me at the end of the 'exit'..
I'm looking back here, and it was harder to see at speed.
 I was to close swerve so I just hit the brakes hard then let off so the suspension would be settled and went across, and bumpity-bump - The Super Tenere did her job with aplomb and kept me upright.
I crossed at the nasty part.

I cross the Tropic of Cancer

I'm not in the most scenic of areas, when I get farther south I'll see more ruins etc. But I do like old churches and missions, and I found this one quite by accident; I saw a neat road and started following it and ended up here. The only name I could find was St. Tomal Mission. No dates.

I'm six days across the border and learning that my Spanish skills are lacking. I can read and understand a lot of that, but speaking requires patience of the native I'm speaking with. I'm improving slowly.

I've also learned that, in my case at least, gout doesn't like Mexican cuisine. I've had pain that got worse each day until finally two days ago I could not walk let alone ride on Mexico's unpredictable streets. I had taken the prescription meds I had brought with me, but they seemed to have ZERO affect on the problem. After a long day and a longer sleepless night, I threw in the towel and was going to return home...

Luckily I had earlier in the day visited a Pharmicia and they had sold me a bottle of some NSAID.  I'm leery of taking things when I can't read the label, but by three in the morning I was desperate for some pain relief...
I took two.

Within 20 minutes I fell asleep, then I was able to limp out to the bike the next morning and rode 200 miles north (foot and knee pain steadily improving this time..), was able to have a goods night rest and woke up around 8:00am wondering What-The-Hell I was doing going NORTH!?! long as I'm able I'm going to continue on and right now I'm focusing on my second goal of Panama City.

Stay toon't I hope to visit some Mayan ruins tomorrow, and make the Mexican southern border in 9 days if I can keep my bod together.

EDIT to add:  The gout wins. It returned with a vengeance so I have turned around and have headed for home.
I am bitterly disappointed to say the least.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Going south P.3

Bev stays at the condo, her flight is in the afternoon.
I ride south from Tucson toward the Mexican border. My plan is to cross at Agua Prieta, and my route takes me through Bisbee, Arizona. Bisbee is a pretty town with an even more pretty main street. I've been there before so I just snapped a couple pics and mosied along.

Stopped for a loooong time for some road construction, Martin and his older brother visit with me, and helped pass the time.

I end up in Nueva Casas Grande, at the Hotel Pinon. Most of the place is undergoing renovation and a bit dusty, but my room is spotless. The new owner comes over to talk bikes (GS for him) and is a great guy. I ask if my bike will be safe here and he leaves for a moment then returns with the night watchman and gives him instruction to pay special attention to my bike... Sweet!

Next day I stop in Camargo.

 I hate to admit this but I've been hurrying so as to get ahead of my Mexican insurance* schedule, I need to make an adjustment so I can do more rose smelling.
*Travelling in Mexico requires special insurance.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Going south P.2

Went to see San Xavier Mission, a few miles south of Tuscon.

A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction on the church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797

The Mission.

The courtyard next to the Mission.

After a very nice visit at the Mission we returned to the Pima museum to try and see what we missed on our first time there.

And there was plenty more to see!

B-36 230 foot wingspan. Winner of the cold war.

Mig alley...

C-14, one of two built.

787 Dreamliner

Bev standing in front of the Super Guppy which was used to haul plane and rocket parts. It only had a range of 500 mile so I hope they didn't have to go very far.. It was built on the C-97 platform.

Beautifully restored, airworthy B-17

Me landing the lunar module on the surface of the moon...pffft, nailed it both times!

Holy Helicopter (s)!
(Just a few of the many!)

Plane art...

Numerous Buffs

Bev flies home tomorrow and I ride into Mexico.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Going south P.1

I'm going south.

How far south?
How long will I be gone?

Dunno....I'm just going south until I turn around (after which, I'll be going...... 'north'..).

This Going South trip has been brewing in my mind for years and years, and then last April it went and brewed itself right into reality. I've been prepping ever since, with the plan to leave in October and follow the warm weather south.

Why am I doing this?

When I was a little child, my family lived on a small farm. On that small farm  was a large house that my family lived in, a small home that my parents rented out, and two good sized barns, mostly filled with animals.

So there I was, living on that small farm, and one summers day when I was probably around 6 or 7 years old I was out exploring our farm. And in one of the barns and I found some cardboard storage boxes. And, being kids I was nosing around in those boxes and came upon a stack of girly mags, I don't know who they belonged to, but it was likely whoever was renting the small house at the time. Now, mind you this would be in the early 60s so the 'porn' would be much milder than today regardless, when I saw the pictures I remember being grossed out! LOL...  But for some reason I kept turning the pages, curiosity I suppose. And then......... I came upon a story in one of the magazines!
(The stories....everyone gets those magazines for the stories right?....)

I read the story, then re-read it, then a few days later I went back out to read it again, but.....the box was gone!

But even though I didn't see it again, and I SURELY didn't dare ask anyone about it - I was hooked! On porn? Nope, I was hooked on the subject of the story.... and what was that subject?
It was of a man who was in a bar with his friend, they somehow got into a conversation about riding on a Go-kart around the world! They made a bet between them and the protagonist went out and did just that, rode a go-kart around the world.

I don't remember a lot of details, but I do remember he visited Japan, Italy, and I believe France. But what I remember the most is that from that moment on I have had a burning desire to go  'Round the world. At that time of course I wanted to ride, just like the hero in the story, around the world on a Go-Kart! A few years later the Go-Kart turned into a pickup truck, then a jeep, even a sailboat while I was in college, and finally for the last 20 years or so, it has morphed into a motorcycle.
That burning desire has mostly been held in check while Bev and I raised our children and made our contribution to furthering our society.
And, then, retirement snuck up on me and lo and behold....that burning desire reared its adventurous head once again!

And so......

I'm going south.

If I reach my ultimate goal for this trip I will make it to Ushuaia, Argentina. But, as yet, the farthest south I've ridden is the tip of Baja, Mexico, so any place farther south than that is the first goal. The second goal is Panama, City, and then once I get into South America (most likely Cartagena, Colombia) the ultimate goal is merely another 6,400 miles away.

I hope to update this blog at least a couple times a week, but I understand the wifi coverage in the south is spotty at best, however I'll do what I can so Bev can know where I'm at.

From our home to Ushuaia is about 11,500 miles...depending on the route, side trips, and getting lost occasionally. Of course that makes the round trip 23,000 miles, give or take a few feet...  :)

The total journey should take me less than 6 months, I hope to be home in 5 months.

Part of getting ready included finding a way to secure my luggage. I have BUMOT cases and they are lockable, but I also have for this trip three hard cases for extra luggage space. I can strap them onto the BUMOTs but security is a problem. So I thought I would get three cables and lock them over the hard cases.

The next problem was finding a place that makes a cable to the correct length. I first went to the local Mom and Pop hardware store but they told me their crimper was broken. They suggested a lock smith a few miles away, I went there, they suggested another lock smith 'a few miles away'....I went there....and on and on, until I was at Grainger Ind. supply and a customer suggested this place, and gave me directions to get there.
(the name on the building, not the truck)

I walked in and the guy behind the counter was on the phone, but he made eye contact and said, 'be right with you'.... 'Ok' I thought, 'I'm in a good place!'
Then moments later, another employee came in and started to help me - I pointed to my bike and explained what I wanted and he asked, 'what bike do you ride?'
Yes! Then I KNEW I was in a good place.
A short time later he had me all set a much lower price than I had anticipated.

On one of my trips into the garage to pack the bike I saw this fellow...I was able to snap a quick pic. Maybe I'll see more of him (her?) and his friends on this trip....

All loaded and ready to go...well, add some riding gear....

We hosted Bernard, from Belgium, for a few days while he was riding around the U.S.  He is returning home the same day I'm leaving on my trip!
We did some sightseeing then took him to the airport.

Then it was time for my departure.

Spent my first night in Tuba City, Arizona. Home of the World War II Navajo Code talkers.

The next day I went through Winslow, Arizona and visited the famous "corner".

On the road again - literally -... I was nodding off so much I decided I needed a nap, but when I stopped I didn't double check the kick stand and.... crash! My bike took a nap instead!  

A naked Super Tenere is a heavy pig, but a fully loaded S Ten is like an immovable object....  Lucky for me these two Gents stopped and helped me get the bike back up.
Both were stand-up-guys...(ahem).. and for me they saved the day!

And finally I make it to Tuscon, where Bev has reserved a condo for a week.
She's my huckleberry and will fly in and we'll spend the week touristing around Tuscon, then she will fly home and I'll be on my way south.

First we visit Tombstone

When I saw this hat I had to buy it; it was as if it spoke to me and knew my name..
(actually Bev got it for me...)

A good place to be.

Then on to the Pima air and space museum, which is an incredible place! If you are a plane buff you should go there, if you are a plain buff you should dress up nice and then go there!

Very rare! A shoulder fired 30mm gatling gun....(pay no attention to the warthog beside me)..

The Bumblebee, worlds smallest flyable bi-plane. Wingspan is 6.5 feet, length less than 10 feet range?....20 miles.

A KC-97. The USAF began operating the KC-97s in 1950 eventually purchasing  a total of 811 from Boeing. The Utah Air National Guard was the last USAF unit to exchange the KC-97s for the 'new' and improved KC-135 in 1978

And now its time to do laundry and repack preparing for her flight home and my...going south.
Stay tuned....