Sun, 30 Oct 2022 23:42:02 +0000

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2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
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Sun, 30 Oct 2022 23:42:02 +0000 linkquote
On the heels of my longest one-way ride just a few days before (Newburgh, NY, which I thought I'd posted here but apparently didn't), I rode Thelonica to my dealer for a stem-to-stern evaluation for my insurance claim, then packed bags to join Le Wife for a month-long stay in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico, where she has an artists' residency. I was a tad hesitant about tagging along, even with all the lovely photos of where we'd be staying (Villa QQ, a decidedly-Mexican take on a boutique hotel, now affiliated with the arts organization Le Wife is working with). Now that we've been here going on two weeks, I can say the place, and Chapala itself, has seriously grown on me in ways I didn't at all expect.

Though perhaps I should have: Chapala, and nearby Ajijic, has long been something of a low-key expat magnet, and we've run into quite a few Yanks and Canucks who've been here from just a few years to decades. Geographically, Chapala (South of Guadalajara) is sort of in a planetary sweet spot: there is a rainy season (we just missed that), but much of the rain occurs overnight; at an altitude of roughly 4700ft, the air is fairly arid, and the hottest days are generally in the low 80s, while the coolest evenings fall into the low 50s (F). Sunrises are insanely gorgeous, and the mountains are tantalizingly close, as is Chapala Lake.

So: as I was merely coming along for the ride (providing moral support as Le Wife worked), I pretty much needed to sort out what I wanted to do, and how. Naturally, I packed a few cameras (digital and film), along with my journal, laptop, and hopefully the right amount of clothing for the month. (Rule of Thumb: Pack what you'll wear in the course of a week, plus a day or two, if a washer/dryer or laundry service is close at hand. I ended up bringing a bit more than necessary, but didn't screw up too badly.) One thing I immediately thought of was photographing the local moto culture, and it turns out there's quite a bit to see.

It's clearly a "helmet-optional" deal down here, as I saw lots of people zipping through town on everything from ratty 50cc scoots to 400cc nakeds, either riding solo or 2-, 3-, or four-up. Quite the sight when you consider roughly half of Chapala's streets are (sorta) smoothly-paved, the remaining half being cobbled and in varying states of repair. I saw some bikes pogoing so badly that I questioned whether the front forks had any damping-factor left in them.

Which brings me to the bikes themselves: I've seen maybe a handful of familiar names (my tally up to today: two Harleys, one Indian, one KTM, five Yamahas, maybe ten Hondas, and one Ducati). The vast majority are brands I either vaguely know of or never heard of: Italika, Vento, BCS. The bulk of those bikes on the street are dual-sports, with a smattering of naked and sportbikes. Engine displacement is usually between 125-250cc, with a few 350/400s every few blocks.

Nearly all these bikes, like Chapala, are fairly worn around the edges, though perhaps not as charmingly as the town itself. The same goes for stuff on four wheels: lots of pickups down here, but even the fanciest numbers actually get used to haul crap in back; few people here have the bucks for a vehicle to have just as a toy, and the proof is in their rides, scars and all. What I sort of envy is how Mexico gets the kind of sensible pickups and utes(!) that I presume manufacturers don't think would sell in the States: sanely-sized RAM utes, compact pickups from RAM, Chevy and Nissan that would make Ford's new "compact" Maverick look like an early-aughts F-150.

One other thing: Not a single EV in sight. Two- or four-wheeled. No e-bikes, either. Then too, I didn't see even the most mangled ICE vehicle, gas or diesel, smoking it up in the least. Fasinating. (Of course, the electrical grid here leaves a wee bit to be desired, not to mention Internet access, which is decent when it's working.)

A few more posts (and pics) to come, most likely. Meanwhile, we're seriously liking it here, and have made a few friends, including one who thought we'd have a not-too-shabby life down here. Would we? Way too soon to tell, but I wouldn't say "no" outright.


Where We Be At: Almost ridiculously alluring.


The Apartment: Almost too much to show and tell in one go, but it's very, very nice.


On the Street: With one seriously-dusted Duster. I think it actually runs.


Le Wife, one block from where we're staying. Not sure if this is a hotel or residence behind her.


From the Balcony: There are permanent residences here as well.


The Rides, I: Did I mention "rough-and-ready?"


Rides, II: They don't do "full-size" pickups here that much, but when they do, it's because they truly need 'em.


Rides, III: Most of the time, you see stuff like this.


Rides, IV: Lots and lots of delivery dudes.


Rides, V: Lots of Honda Navis, plus a Grom or two.


Along Chapala Lake.


Between Towns: We took a one-mile walk to a mini-supermarket catering to gringos like me. The road connecting Chapala and Ajijic is rather nice, at least until traffic backs up.


Semi-Impromptu Parade: At home, it's all about Halloween; Here, the big deal is Day of the Dead, taken quite seriously, and we're lucky to be here for it.


Rides, VI: That Ducati. Somewhere between Chapala and Ajijic.


Rides, VII: In Ajijic: Pretty much typical of the scoots here.


Rides, VIII: Solo, en Familia.


"Oh, no, Guadalajara won't do…" - Steely Dan


Rides, IX: Nicely-done, too.



Last edited by amateriat on Wed, 02 Nov 2022 19:46:41 +0000; edited 2 times
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 00:13:07 +0000

Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
Joined: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 19:59:19 +0000
Posts: 12235
Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
 
Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
Joined: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 19:59:19 +0000
Posts: 12235
Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 00:13:07 +0000 linkquote
Zaragoza!

the scar upon my face turns red upon the mention of my brother's name... may he stay in exile an eternity.

Last edited by greasy125 on Mon, 31 Oct 2022 23:53:39 +0000; edited 1 time
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 00:27:37 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
 
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
Posts: 3770
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 00:27:37 +0000 linkquote
greasy125 wrote:
Zaragoza!

the scar upon my face turns red upon the mention of my brother's name... may be stay in exile an eternity.
Hey, you're way-closer to here than I usually am.
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 00:53:05 +0000

Molto Verboso
Dongfang 170cc, CF Moto Fashion 250
Joined: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 14:09:48 +0000
Posts: 1680
Location: Hyde Park, New York
 
Molto Verboso
Dongfang 170cc, CF Moto Fashion 250
Joined: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 14:09:48 +0000
Posts: 1680
Location: Hyde Park, New York
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 00:53:05 +0000 linkquote
Where in Newburgh? Motorcyclepedia?
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 01:43:09 +0000

Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: Fri, 14 Sep 2012 00:46:39 +0000
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Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: Fri, 14 Sep 2012 00:46:39 +0000
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Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 01:43:09 +0000 linkquote
Whoa, lucky you! That's one area in central Mexico I've yet to visit. And Dia de los Muertos to boot! Didn't know much about it until I had the fateful meeting with my wife-to-be a couple of decades back. Not sure what the vibe is there, but I expect it to be pretty cool.

I'm guessing the scooter scene is dominated by the local brand, Italika. Anyway, always fun to look around at what's on the road.
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 04:12:54 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
Posts: 3770
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
 
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 04:12:54 +0000 linkquote
kz1000ST wrote:
Where in Newburgh? Motorcyclepedia?
Literally around the corner: a photography/arts center where I was overhauling a slew of iMacs over two days, and the last trip I took with Nica before handing her over to my dealer for a full damage assessment for insurance purposes from her knock-over incident in Gotham over a month-and-change ago. Trip was about 110 miles each way, mostly a lot of fun.
fledermaus wrote:
Whoa, lucky you! That's one area in central Mexico I've yet to visit. And Dia de los Muertos to boot! Didn't know much about it until I had the fateful meeting with my wife-to-be a couple of decades back. Not sure what the vibe is there, but I expect it to be pretty cool.

I'm guessing the scooter scene is dominated by the local brand, Italika. Anyway, always fun to look around at what's on the road.
Vibe is muy cool here, and we were lucky to time the visit this way (Actually Le Wife's third try at this, the last two attempts scrubbed for COVID-related issues). And yes, Italika rules all over the place, to the extent that I'm trying to find out more about the brand.


Earlier, in Newburgh: A few weeks back, a few days upstate on an IT gig.


Across the Street: Newburgh's Motorcyclepedia. Didn't have time to check it out this time, but I have a return date shortly after Mexico

Mon, 31 Oct 2022 04:24:34 +0000

Ossessionato
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2 sold 'em
Joined: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 19:02:56 +0000
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Location: St. Pete, Fla
 
Ossessionato
Vespa LX150 GTS250ie GTS300x2 sold 'em
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Mon, 31 Oct 2022 04:24:34 +0000 linkquote
That's all great but what about a glimpse of why you are there. Your wife's art.
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 05:09:04 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Ossessionato
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 05:09:04 +0000 linkquote
lostboater wrote:
That's all great but what about a glimpse of why you are there. Your wife's art.
'Tis a work-in-progress; when she has something she's finished and happy with, she might let me share it.
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 05:20:42 +0000

Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
Joined: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 04:24:58 +0000
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Location: Oregon City, OR
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
Joined: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 04:24:58 +0000
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Mon, 31 Oct 2022 05:20:42 +0000 linkquote
Several years ago, my partner and I spent a few weeks in Ajijic and visited Chapala several times. We enjoyed it quite a bit. Great weather for us gringos. Not too hot or humid in the summer. Cools down a fair amount in the winter. Many homes and pubs have fireplaces. The streets smell of wood smoke in the morning. Guadalajara is just over the ridge. The markets at Tlaquepaque are definitely worth a visit or two. Great art scene. Enjoy!
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 21:47:22 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Ossessionato
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 21:47:22 +0000 linkquote
Dooglas wrote:
Several years ago, my partner and I spent a few weeks in Ajijic and visited Chapala several times. We enjoyed it quite a bit. Great weather for us gringos. Not too hot or humid in the summer. Cools down a fair amount in the winter. Many homes and pubs have fireplaces. The streets smell of wood smoke in the morning. Guadalajara is just over the ridge. The markets at Tlaquepaque are definitely worth a visit or two. Great art scene. Enjoy!
We're sorting out a day to get to Guadalajara, but taking it easy today, since the next two days will be filled with walking the streets of both Chapala and Ajijic to see as much DoTD happenings as possible. Will also see about Tlaquepaque if we can!


I thought those eyes were following me...

Fri, 04 Nov 2022 00:31:32 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Ossessionato
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Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Fri, 04 Nov 2022 00:31:32 +0000 linkquote
The Chapala Tour: The Continuing Adventures of...

The past two days: pretty much absorbed with Day of the Dead activities, of which there were a lot, and that was just here in Chapala…plans to skip over to Ajijic were canned based on what was going on scarcely beyond our doorstep.

I next to never leave the apartment without having at least one camera on-hand, and that habit has pretty much paid off. In addition to everything else, I'm still delving into the two-wheeled life here, and learning as I go.


The Kids are Allright: And seriously into the vibe.


Costume: Detail and attitude in full view.


Long-Time Gringo: Don has lived in the area for about twenty years, and used to be a heavy-duty dealer tech for several of the major motorcycle manufacturers, including H-D. We had a long-ranging chat about..almost everything.


A social services office in Chapala, replete with one official sedan, two pickups, and a pair of dual-sports bikes with hardcases. (And whoever owns that GS must be loaded, or at least *was*.)


Against the Sunset: The light was as beautiful as it was maddening to properly photograph, but the performances were so worth it.


Serious Riders: I'd say roughly one-third of the riders I've seen are doing the All-The Gear/Most-All-The Gear thing, like this guy. His ride is on the cheap-n-cheerful side, but done up rather well.


Helmets: Speaking of gear, I totally loved this.


Shrine with Self-Portrait: A centerpiece of the celebration are the shrines to the departed; many of them include a mirror, which is a subtle way of saying "someday this could be you."


Night Parade: Not especially large, but huge in spirit.

Tue, 15 Nov 2022 22:07:52 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Ossessionato
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Tue, 15 Nov 2022 22:07:52 +0000 linkquote
Farther Afield: To Guadalajara and Back.

Time, indeed, flies: just a few more days before we fly back to the States, and Chapala has grown on us both, big-time: we're absolutely returning next year, for starters. We've made friends, taken in all manner of events, and just love the overall vibe here. A month seems almost criminally short.

And, of course, I've continued to take in the moto-scene here, which continues to fascinate…(Warning: More Navi snaps here, including one bad pun.)

To be continued...


Off To the Bus Station: With the minimum five dogs along the way to greet us.


Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: The bus depot in Chapala has clearly seen better years. The buses themselves are thankfully quite new, and very comfy.


Closed: The big draw for Le Wife was a fairly-prominent gallery in Guadalajara where she wanted to see a specific exhibit, as well as inquire about the gallery scene in general for her own purposes. Not to be


Just across the street from the gallery, however, I was checking out other things, like dressier-looking Navis than I'm generally used to.


Moving Right Along: We strolled along one main drag in the city, which has a huge, bustling outdoor marketplace...


…with the occasional anomaly.


Noted: Foot and motor traffic get seriously close to one another here, too.


More Three-Wheelin': He needed that reverse gear some 30 seconds after I took this.


Delivery Run: Nearly every rider I saw in Guadalajara, was helmeted, in stark contrast to Chapala


Funny coincidence: I saw my first (and only) Repsol gas station just blocks from where this Navi was parked.


Heading Back: Even in Guadalajara, the bus station seems designed to make you want to run the other way. But the buses are just fine (with on-board wi-fi that mostly works).


Back in Chapala: Five will get you ten this poor Italika is only two years old.


Navi Dad: Average number of passengers seen on Navis: Two.

Sun, 20 Nov 2022 00:40:32 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Ossessionato
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Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 00:40:32 +0000 linkquote
Epilog: A wrap-up, and update on Thelonica.

We made it back to the Jersey Shore late Thursday afternoon, less jet-lagged than tight-737-seat-lagged (better than the usual Airbus, but just barely). Had a great dinner with our new expat friends the night before, but got precious little sleep between then and 4AM when we crammed into a taxi for the airport in Guadalajara. Let's just say we're definitely coming back next year.

The set of photos here aren't quite chronological, as I appear to have forgotten a few important ones from the batch I took earlier.

And: Got in touch with my dealer on the estimate to be sent to the Gecko gang: Let's just say Nica is in for a serious makeover (pending approval), but they'll still likely prefer that to shelling out for, say, a '23 Tech. (And I'd rather stick with my '22, for assorted reasons.)


This is as close to a Vespa as I got in this part of Mexico. (Yes, they exist, but not here.)


From our patio: I can't say enough about Villa QQ, and the people running it, making our stay unforgettable.


A few blocks away: Something about necessity and invention...


Rides: They might be cheap (and somewhat disposable), but they try for personality.


Buying It: No "dedicated" MC/scooter dealers close-by, just shops that sold other items in addition to motor.


Doggo & Moto: Rider was in for a shave and haircut.


Older scooter-dude poses for Le Wife.


On All Fours, I: Other than a late-model Miata, I think this was the only ragtop I saw in all of Chapala. Go figure.


On All Fours, II: Old and well-preserved.


A night out in Chapala.


On All Fours, III: You can still find a lot of Beetles running around, but most are pretty "used-up." This one was the glaring exception. (Guadalajara.)


On All Fours, IV: On the other hand, Microbuses were fewer in number, but nearly all seemed affectionately preserved.

Sun, 20 Nov 2022 02:11:04 +0000

Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: Fri, 14 Sep 2012 00:46:39 +0000
Posts: 11036
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: Fri, 14 Sep 2012 00:46:39 +0000
Posts: 11036
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 02:11:04 +0000 linkquote
Nice post!

Yeah, Mexico can get into your blood...it's been since March and I'm thinking about when we go back... maybe a good way to break up a long winter.....
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 16:41:55 +0000

Molto Verboso
Dongfang 170cc, CF Moto Fashion 250
Joined: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 14:09:48 +0000
Posts: 1680
Location: Hyde Park, New York
 
Molto Verboso
Dongfang 170cc, CF Moto Fashion 250
Joined: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 14:09:48 +0000
Posts: 1680
Location: Hyde Park, New York
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 16:41:55 +0000 linkquote
amateriat wrote:
Epilog: A wrap-up, and update on Thelonica.
And: Got in touch with my dealer on the estimate to be sent to the Gecko gang: Let's just say Nica is in for a serious makeover (pending approval), but they'll still likely prefer that to shelling out for, say, a '23 Tech. (And I'd rather stick with my '22, for assorted reasons.)
And how long will it be shop bound in conservative time estimates?
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 17:53:26 +0000

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
Posts: 3770
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
 
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica)
Joined: Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:25:54 +0000
Posts: 3770
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 17:53:26 +0000 linkquote
kz1000ST wrote:
And how long will it be shop bound in conservative time estimates?
Depends: shop estimate includes a new frame. Upside is that if the big G signs off on it, I can use the bike until all the necessary bits come in, then it'll likely be a few weeks. But that's just a back-of-the-envelope estimate.
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 02:02:29 +0000

Molto Verboso
Dongfang 170cc, CF Moto Fashion 250
Joined: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 14:09:48 +0000
Posts: 1680
Location: Hyde Park, New York
 
Molto Verboso
Dongfang 170cc, CF Moto Fashion 250
Joined: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 14:09:48 +0000
Posts: 1680
Location: Hyde Park, New York
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 02:02:29 +0000 linkquote
amateriat wrote:
Depends: shop estimate includes a new frame. Upside is that if the big G signs off on it, I can use the bike until all the necessary bits come in, then it'll likely be a few weeks. But that's just a back-of-the-envelope estimate.
Time to think about a spare two wheeled companion.
   

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