Crossing the border
Last we wrote to you The Pack Track was headed for a quick stop in Dilley, Texas, before crossing the Mexican border. The 'quick stop' turned in to two weeks!! We pulled in to Dilley to have a chat with the owner (Hank) of Motohanks BMW motorcycle service and repair centre about our proposed route through the America's. Hank has over 20 years experience working on BMW motorcycles and has travelled the roads of Mexico, Central America and South America on his own as well as taking motorcycle tours. Hank had a good look over our bikes and recommended replacing the shocks with the heavy duty Tourtech shocks to handle the bumpy roads ahead of us. One of the main advantages of the Tourtech shock is that it can be repaired (again we are not being sponsored by Touratech). Its important that we are able to patch up our bikes on the go and avoid situations where we are stuck waiting for new parts to be posted to us.
Our time in Dilley was not wasted. We spent a few days visiting San Antonio, a great city with some gems including the historic missions and the River Walk. We did some day rides to the famous Hill Country (two of the three sisters) to the south and west of San Antonio. Friends of Hank, Jim and Pat, kindly let us take a safari around their ranch looking for coyotes and roadrunners.
Into our second week in Dilley, Jochen from Germany arrived, also en route to Brazil for the world cup. Jochen is an old friend of Hanks and arranged the purchase of a yellow 1150 BMW through consignment for his trip (the colour of a bike is very important!). It was great to see two friends reunited, reminiscing their shared experiences, discussing BMW's and the riding highlights of the America's. One day this will be us!
Skipping forward to the border crossing, Hank and Jochen offered to ride with us to Real de Catorce in Mexico to assist with the border crossing at Laredo and get us off to a good start and their help was a god send. We rotated seamlessly through the various counters of the Aduana (customs) to get paperwork completed and stamped and luckily there was no queue so the process was speedy. It was a spoon-fed experience for us but for those unfamiliar with the process, the dramas are usually related to long queues, language barriers (Hank interpreted for us) and correct documentation for each person and vehicle. Please don't underestimate the importance of having the neccessary and accurate paperwork! Interestingly, you are only allowed one vehicle permit per person which is why it was important that stu's bike be registered in his name and my bike in my name. Now to the question on everyones mind and to Janells amazement, we had no trouble at all taking Skyla in to Mexico. Luck was most definitely on our side this time. We don't expect border crossings to be this easy in the future but we do hope for it.
Once we got across the border the plan was to ride to Real de Catorce from Dilley in one day but as the day went on, and even with a quick border crossing, the decision was made to pull in and look for accommodation just after Monterrey. The road we took between Monterrey and Santiago where we found accomodation was so pretty; the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. We ascended and descended a mountain which had some challenging sections of road which made Janell quite nervous. When we finally settled for the night the first thing on her mind was an icy cold beer and a hot shower to loosen up the muscles and relax before bed. A good nights sleep was necessary to face the next days challenge...riding to our hotel in Real de Catorce.
Photo above is our campsite that was set up in Hank's backyard for the two weeks. Hank and his Mum (Olivia) were so kind to put up with the three of us and all our stuff and made us feel quite at home :o)
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