Two up on two wheels hacia el sur (finally)



All trips should start at 5:30AM:) Now Voyager is loaded and ready to go outside my Factory Place apartment, in the Arts District of downtown LA. “Light” load included two spare tires, KR’s m/c clothes, my clothes, assorted electronics, spare parts and tools.  Oh, and two spare gas cans.

I’ve been wanting to go south on two wheels ever since we got back from South America almost three years ago.   Can it really be that long ago?  Seems like a lifetime ago, but that’s a whole ‘nother tale.  Exploring the remaining parts of South America and all of Central America feels like unfinished business.  So, early this summer I came up with a plot to take Now Voyager to Central America during the holidays and sprung it on KR.  I was half expecting her to say “have a good time,” but of course she said, “Great!  When do we go?”  “Sometime in December,” I replied and that was pretty much the extent of our planning for this trip.

Well, guess what?  December’s here and we’re a couple of days from shoving off.


This is the second new member of the family – Izz the iguana. KR found him on one of the trees in the courtyard and has since adopted him. When he “got out,” KR and the neighbors chased him into one of the neighbor’s houses, found him on their Xmas tree and “trapped him.” He’s now hanging out in the garage watching over Now Voyager.

Preparation is concentrated on getting our house and business in order.  LACI is now a burgeoning little enterprise that’s going …(hold your breath as this is really true) global.  Ian H. and I recently spent a week in Berlin setting up the European leg of our Global Innovation Network (GIN – shaken, not stirred of course).   When we get back its off to Mexico City with the Mayor,  Washington DC to the ARPA-E Summit, and eventually the Far East with Mayor again in the Fall.   Anyway, the good news is that one is never really disconnected in our world no matter how far you go or in what way.  Which means one can always pull on the Oars of Commerce.

Getting our house in order has taken on new meaning around Corona Adobe, aka our Bed & Wine.  Karen is working hard to be an Inn Keeper and has booked Corona for Christmas, New Years and much of January.  Most of this will take place while we’re away, which adds a whole other level of complexity.  We’re also renting out Little Big Sur this season which has necessitated a whole range of repairs and refurbishments.  LBS now represents the ultimate in luxury camping:)

Getting Now Voyager ready consisted of buying a spare set of tires, changing his oil, and buying new maps for the Garmin.  Done.  Paperwork consisted of a temporary m/c permit for Mexico, some m/c insurance, an int’l drivers license for grins and copies of all documents that someone might want to take a look at.  Done.  I didn’t even have time to wash the guy.



What stuff? And this is BEFORE KR moves in:)


Sunrise over the northern Mexico desert on the way to PV to pick up Karen. I broke two personal records this trip: (1) 88 miles in one hour; (2) 689 miles in one day.


This is the face of a happy camper. First serious motorcycle trip in three years. My god, it feels good to be doing nothing but hauling ass down the highway.


Extra gas is a good thing, especially when I’m only getting about 30 mpg (see comment on 88 miles in an hour) and a touch more than 120 miles to the tankful.


The Paradise Hotel in Culiacan (see picture below) on the second night offers close parking facilities.  This is a bit of a long story, so hang in.  The night before leaving for PV, I saw a new documentary, “Narco Cultura,” about the music and musicians celebrating the Narco Life in Mexico.   Think the Mexican version of Gangsta Rap and you get the idea.  Fascinating and disgusting at the same time.  Anyway, I find out that the headquarters city for this particular cartel is Culiacan, which I’ve never been to.  Now fast forward and I’m on the road and read the GPS incorrectly thus getting stuck out on the highway late at night. This is the day I do 689 miles.  I drive another 100 miles at night and pull into the next town… Culiacan:)


So, I hit Culiacan which is a very large city for Mexico late at night AND CAN’T FIND ONE HOTEL.  Dozens of farmacias (I don’t get it), but no hotels.  I spend 30 minutes driving through this Cartel Capital and nada.   I backtrack to the  highway and find one hotel.  This one:)   Well, I got charged 450 pesos ($37USD), had a clean room, a pretty damn good dinner, and the coldest Corona south of the border.  Go figure


On the other side of the scenic scale was lunch in San Blas.  Almost home (2 more hours).  Not speaking Spanish has its downsides.  It took me 15 minutes to convince my fellow diner that I wanted him to take MY picture, not the other way round. He had about four cans of Corona on the table, so it wasn’t all my fault.



Close to 1600 miles later, I pull into my Man Cave.   10 minutes later I was taking a swim and less than an hour we were on the beach having cocktails.


Ye of little faith, count the motorcycles in my Man Cave.  True, there’s all that stuff on the left…


Once in PV, first order of business was getting the tires put on NV. Go to Honda dealer (we can’t do it), then Yamaha dealer (we don’t have the right machine), then a “real” retail tire store (we always give our m/c tires to Gordo down the street) and finally to “Gordo’s  place on a little street in some part of PV that I’ve never been to before.  Picture is of his showroom of his current stock for sale.


It takes Gordo about 30 minutes to change both tires with modern day tools. Total cost: less than $20 US


It’s been a very long time since I’ve gotten to work on my m/c in my garage. OK, perhaps not the neatest guy around and with a limited set of tools, but if Gordo can do it…


Remember I said we had TWO new members of the family? Well, meet No. 2, “Squirt.” Another long story, but I’ll get even with Debbie H once I get a chance. Seems Debbie rescued Squirt from two down and out kids on the Malecon only to immediately bring him/her? home to Karen. Case closed… Lilly now has a bed mate.


Road hazard Puerto Vallarta style. Close the street, put up a gigantic screen and have a party on a Wednesday night.


Calm before the storm? Still three days left of prep before shoving off, but there’s always time to gaze at the Bay and dream of what may lay ahead.

11 replies
  1. Debbie says:

    Hey Fred,
    Good to hear from you, Merry Christmas to you and KR….Have a wonderful road trip, post pics so we can travel a long with you.
    “Squirt” cute eh?
    Debbie and Dennis

  2. Ron says:

    What a great update. Thanks.
    689 miles in a day?!? 88 miles in an hour?!? And KR is still willing to head off with you again? I’d have to say that she defines the term “supportive spouse.” Looking forward to seeing pictures from the trip. Have a great time (as if you two ever have any other kind, no matter what the circumstances!).
    Merry Christmas and happy new year to you both.

  3. Gary Wescott says:

    Hi Fred & KR,

    Here we are in Nice on the French Côte d’Azur waiting for UPS to deliver a $2 part for our hot water heating system. (Cost $100 to get it here from Maine.) With any luck we’ll be in Monte Carlo tomorrow and on to Italy to spend Christmas somewhere. Winter has arrived here. Maybe there will be some sun as we head south into Italy, but there has already been snow in Istanbul where we will hang out until the 15,000-foot passes along the Afgan border are open. There are days when we wish we were on a beach in Baja, but this is the fun part of driving around the world, so we don’t want to miss it,—I think?

    Merry Christmas,

    Gary & Monika
    The Turtle Expedition, Unltd.

  4. Gregg Power says:

    Valla con Dios! Me gustaría que cielo despejado y desconocidos amables con sus viajes al sur.


    Tisha & Gregorio

  5. FHW says:

    I’m jealous. I’d like to drive around the world no matter when, how or in what:)) It’s tough weather here in PV as well. Sunny. About 75-80. Nice breeze in the morning and afternoon. It took me 2 weeks to get over a cold I got in Berlin in November. Safe travels. fw

  6. Sindhu & Greg says:

    Via con Dios, Amigos

    Merry Christmas and all the best for KR and Fred and all us following their adventures.

  7. Peter H.Hershfield says:

    Fantastically interesting trip report. Can’t wait until further adventures are available. GO BABIES!!!

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *