We arrived in mission, TX last night for our last stop in the USA.  At some point on the ride today from Galveston, we passed the halfway point of the trip in distance – now we are closer to Belize than to Washington, DC.  When planning the trip, I had imagined that the “adventure” would begin once we crossed the border into Mexico.  But although we’re only five days into the trip, I can see that’s wrong.

One of our many gas stops

Riding a motorcycle is an entirely different way to take a road trip.  I love driving, but riding is a completely immersive experience.  Maybe even more than immersive because the speed seems to accentuate the elements.  Since Washington, we’ve faced sub-freezing temperatures, 30 mph wind gusts, rain and fog.  But we’ve also experienced the steady warming and some beautiful views as we left the Appalachian mountains behind and headed south into Bayou country on finally into Texas.  Our route took us southwest from Washington through Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and finally Texas.  We feel every every micro climate from the gusty passes to the sudden drop in temperature when crossing water.  Traveling by motorcycle allows you to feel every step of the trip instead of just the arrival.  I’ve traveled to Tokyo and back in less time than it has taken me to ride to the Mexican border; it is a great way to travel if you’re in no hurry.

A stop in New Orleans became the point for me that the trip became a vacation.  It was the first stop where we had time to get off the interstate, eat some local food and walk around for a bit.  Up until that point, the cold and the distance we needed to cover kept us at highway rest stops and chain hotels.  But the trip through Alabama and Louisiana provided the transition we needed in both temperature and mindset.  We arrived in New Orleans to a spectacular sunset over Lake Pontchartrain as we crossed the long bridge into town.  The night before was Mardis Gras but there was a festive group of stragglers left as we wandered the French Quarter.  Our plans to stop for just dinner before riding on were scuttled once we sat down for some fantastic food and drink.

Arriving in New Orleans
Char-grilled oysters
Felix’s on Bourbon St
Bourbon St
Mississippi in the morning
Packing up in the carriageway of our hotel

The next ride was through the swamps and lakes of Bayou country and to the ferry across the Galveston, Island.  We faced the first rain of the trip, which ups the stress level on a motorcycle, but the temperatures were warm and our gear ready.  Our trip from Galveston to Mission was uneventful with few stops as we were making time to get to the border town with enough time to prepare for the border crossing.  

Steamed crawdads in Jennings, LA
On the ferry to Galveston Island in Texas
Sign of a tough day on the road
Our hotel view of Galveston Beach

Pulling into Mission felt like a long plan finally accomplished as this is the border crossing that I’ve been reading about for months.  Today, we need to get 6 month tourist visas and temporary importation permits for the motorcycles.  Mexican motorcycle insurance is also a requirement, but that’s something we bought ahead of time since we wanted better coverage that you can buy at the border.  Although it has been an adventure already, the crossing will definitely amp up the adventure level.

The hotel manager told us to park next to his bike

P.S. Just a reminder that I’m posting daily ride reports to the link below, but will summarize here at key points in the trip.