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México

(Baja California - La Paz - Durango - Zacatecas - México City)

The Baja, a brutal desert

[September 23, 2004] It was fairly easy to cross the border, but from now on everybody only speaks Spanish. And I had to fight my way through with the visa and the import papers for the bike, my little Spanish grammar book will now be a must every day!
The people around the border cities don´t look trustworthy and I decide to hit the desert directly.

Here she is, the Baja.



And I really wanted to see and experience it, great with 125 F, now shadow anywhere and just the fu… sun. And of course, just me, nobody else would drive it, no locals… The new motocross tyres are really worth it as the sand now is deep and the rocks are sharp. A few crashes and the heat make me drink 6 liters of water and a sixpack of Corona this evening. And again I meet nobody, no locals or tourists in these regions.

After being in the desert for 3 days, 1200 miles and now shadow I decided to kick back in La Paz a few days and to organize the ferry to the mainland. And I definentaly had to clean me and the whole equipment of the sand…
The mainland differs a lot from the Baja, it is green and offers a wide variety of vegetation. And reminds me of home…
However, the basura or trash can be fund everywhere, it's the burdain this country has to carry for the rapid economical growth. And as there are no solutions yet the whole dump is just set on fire - imagine the smell!

The Sierra Madre was and still remains rich of Silver and Gold. That is why the Spaniards had a great interest in the sites. And it let to a wealth that can today be seen in the architectural sites of churches and buildings.
My travels through this area really gave me a good impression of the regions history. And this week was only a big party as the Mexicans celebrated their Independence Day, with fireworks, loud musik, trumpets and dancing in the streets. Somehow like Cologne Karneval, but the Koelsch missing.



And again I meet nice people, this time a Swiss couple Nadine and Cello, being on their way South as well! And I am sure we will meet again.

Mex City also showed the other extreme, a city with more than 25 million inhabitants, full of dirt, emissions and traffic, but still offering a variety of cultures and confronting you with the gap between the Rich and the Poor.
And I was rewarded with a little surprise as the Kaefer or VW Beetle as we call them is still present and running here serving all purposes of life! Whether as a taxi or with tuning, it's a great surprise to see, to hear and to smell them aircooled Boxerengines again. My friends will understand me.

I give the KTM a quick check and service, we both have experienced already 11000 miles, almost halftime And after 3 days of smog and dirt I do want to move on South, to Oaxaca.



The wild and beautiful South

(Mexico City - Oaxaca - San Cristobal - Palenque)

[Oct. 2, 2004] I was really happy to leave the dirt and the smog of Mexico City behind. The highway accends into the mountains over a 11000 ft high pass of the surrounding volcanos. And the air was clean again…

Now I headed direction Puebla, the Volkswagen city! Every kid knows the success story of the little sedan, and all Mexicans are proud of it. And they do keep the beetles on the streets! The Volkswagen plant dominates the city and gave it a prospering wealth. One can see the streets and little businesses everywhere.

The highway towards Oaxaca runs through a mountain range, sometimes full of vegetation, sometimes nearly being a desert with various cactus again.

Oaxaca is right in a green flat inbetween those mountains on 5000 ft elevation. It presented itself very lively, less tourism, but a lot of locals and Indios going out this weekend.



As I had to continue fighting with Montezuma (the shits) I finally gave up and went to see a doctor. Doc Luciano gave me the treatment and was so impressed with my story that he directly volunteered to guide me on my way to Oaxaca, at least for some miles. And after another nice evening with the Swiss couple Nadine and Cello I was ready again for more action. So was the KTM, however needing after 12000 miles now another service and new tires. We"ll fix it in Antigua, Baby!

The road in the mountains was made for bikes and Doc, Hugo and I enjoyed the ride. And meet more of his friends, mainly BMW later. And everyone wanted to know, Where from, Where to, Why? And concluded, What a crazy German! Well, live your dreams, man!

So it really was a nice morning and I continued towards Techuantepec, a small town on the coast. Not much being there but the heat I continued very early in the morning to San Cristobal, one of the nicest cities I have seen in Mexico! Stunning in the mountains with a mixture of colors and cultures,



but also again showing the deep contrasts between the Rich and the Poor, mainly Indios.

As the local elections are due the upcoming weekend, the town is full of activities of the parties involved. Nadine and Cello show up and we stroll through the city. A great town to learn more about the culture. However, we decide to leave the Chiapas region before the election Sunday as there are still areas very unsafe and we repeatedly hear stories of robberies around. So I start early to the old Maya town, Palenque, a former capital around 500 AD and right within the dschungle and swamps being hot and humid.



And it really was an amazing visit of an old history and culture. They were so advanced in geometry and followed the moon and sun to drive their life, again:



Amazing.

The Yucatan Island being a tourist trap I decided to directly drive to Belize with its beautiful sand beaches and the caribean flair.
Hasta la proxima, Mexico, you did surprise me!

Rasmus