My man cave has been looking more like a storage cave lately, so I decided to put a motorcycle in it to get back on track: ) My plan was to ride Broken Arrow, my 1995 Honda Pacific Coast, south to Puerto Vallarta over the holidays, accomplishing both a Man Cave and Man revitalization in one stroke. This was not as easy as it might sound as: (1) All the necessary paper work to get Broken Arrow over the border would need to be completed ( a weeks-long process that was only solved at the last minute by the One Mexican Bureaucrat Who Wants to Do His Job ); (2) BA would need some mechanical love if he was to be reliable for the 1500 mile trip and (most importantly), (3) I would need a tune up as well since I’d not ridden BA for at least three years and was pretty worried that he wouldn’t “feel good” versus my newest child, Now Voyager.
I’m aware that most of you are probably thinking, “Is Fred crazy? Riding anything short of an armored tank into Mexico is a sure death wish,” but honestly, the issue of safety was never a major concern. Mechanical breakdown? Ya, that kept me awake. And the thought of being stopped south of the border with the wrong paper work resulted in a couple sleepless nights. But the threat of being caught up in the Narco Wars wasn’t troubling to me: )
I’ve felt guilty about casting BA aside for NV’s hi tech version of an adventure tourer for years. After all, BA — and his exact twin
predecessor “Ruby” — was responsible for all of our motorcycle trips prior to South America. We’ve ridden him to Alaska, throughout Mexico, and lots of places in between. But frankly, at 41,0o0 miles and over 17 years of riding, I was worried that BA would be up for another trip. Was he too long in the tooth to make it? Was I?
For those of you who are not motorcyclists, you can skip this paragraph, because all motorcyclists form a bond with their machine that is very, very strong — but probably unimaginable by non-motorcyclists. And this bond, or more importantly, its renewal was the key question about this trip. Would Broken Arrow and me get our groove back? Would we become one? Or would I yearn for the newer, faster, lighter, more electrified Now Voyager?
The route was pretty simple: haul east past Palm Springs to Indio, then make a sharp right heading south to the border at Calexico, cross into Mexicali, where I’d spend the first night. Mexicali is a dump of a down, but a familiar dump as I’d crossed it several times and knew where the Immigration and Customs offices were. More importantly, I wanted to get across the border the first night so I didn’t have to wait for the Immigration office to open on a Saturday. From Mexicali, I’d run east paralleling the border on the Mexican side to Sonoyta, then head southeast into the north Mexican desert. Three or four hours later we’d hit Santa Ana and catch the major toll road, Hwy 15, dead south. Night Two was spent in Guaymas, a small port town in the state of Sinoloa. Day Three was an all day straight shot of 440+ miles south through Ciudad Obregon, Navojoa, Los Mochis, Culiacan and eventually Mazatlan, for night three. The last day would be south along Hwy 15 until turning sharp right into the mountainous jungle to the coast at San Blas, which is about 120+ miles north of Puerto Vallarta. A couple of more hours and I’d be at La Corona: two full days, two half days and 1500 miles later.