Friday, December 13, 2013

Mexico - July 7th

Durango to Zacatecas

Start the week out right with a latin mass in the Durango Cathedral.

The road to Zacatecas is wide, smooth and fast. Zacatecas is medieval! I got lost for ages on crazy cobblestone streets. Up and down steep and twisty side streets, circling the town center looking for Hostal Plaza Del Carmen. The bike decides to fall over, not my idea, at one particularly steep down hill stop. Ooph! Getting it up again on a steep down hill turn.

I get some relief when I get stuck in a taxi cue. No moving forward or back, so I remove the helmet and hang with the taxi drivers. Finally I find Hostal Plaza Del Carmen, which is closed for renovation.

So, I pull into the Hotel Meson De La Merced next door. Secure parking and a view of the Cathedral. As soon as I walk in rain starts pouring down, thunder and lightning. Add riding on wet cobblestones to the list of things to avoid on an old airhead, they're a lot harder to land on than sand.

In my room enjoying the sound of church bells, the rain, and Formula 1 on the TV.


Mexico - July 8th

Broken down in Zacatecas.

I decided to leave Zacatecas around noon. Zacatecas had other plans. Packed up the bike, everything ready to go, click, click goes the starter. Must be the battery, so I get a jump from a couple of guys in a beat Mustang. Click, click,click.....nada, negativa, muerto! I'm not at all sure of what to do next, and around the corner comes Frederico, owner of the Hostel Plaza del Carmen. We push the bike down the street and into his courtyard and park it between a beautiful Africa Twin and a Yamaha XT. We try the battery from his Honda, click, click, nothing. His brother Jose dissects the the starter relay, and it is working fine. Finally we pull the starter motor. Now it's getting late and time for dinner.......

Mexico - July 9th


Frederico took me and the starter to a shop on his Africa Twin. The shop looked more like a hospital operating room than a mechanics shop. It was immaculate with ancient machines and electrical devices all in pristine working condition. The owner, in a blue lab coat, was cleaning the side walk in front as we arrived. We left the starter and went for breakfast tacos. When we returned the starter had been opened, and it didn't look good. The infamous Valeo starter had lost it's magnets.

I was concerned, what now? "No problem", says the electrician, "this is the same starter as a 1996 Ford Fiesta, I'll find you a used one" "Are there many of those in Zacatecas?" I ask. "No, but don't worry."

A few hours later we are back at the shop, the starter has been reassembled with parts found in a junkyard. It looks good, and it bench-tests well. By 6:00pm It's back in the bike, 24 hours after it originally failed. And It's time for another fantastic Zacatecan diner with Frederico and Jose.

Thank you Frederico and Jose, you are accruing some powerful karma!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mexico - July 10th

San Luis Potosi

The two hour ride from Zacatecas to San Luis Potosi is on a smooth, wide and mostly flat "libre" road. My style seems to be: get into a new city and get completly lost, then stop, get off the bike and see what happens. Today I met Samuel on a Harley. I asked directions to a hotel I thought I wanted to stay at, he said "I know a better one, follow me". So I did. We wove our way through the old town center and arrived at the Hotel Concordia, a decent place with reasonable rates right behind the Cathedral. In the center of things. Samuel handed me his card and said "If you need anything give me a call". Thanks!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mexico - July 11th

San Luis Potosi to Xilitla

Today I rode through butterflies. Bright yellow and iridescent. Clouds, flurries, of them. Ever more as I neared Xilitla.

The road from San Luis Potosi east to Rio Verde is spectacular. It winds through the mountains, from cactus forests to pine and oak forests. Fantastic rock formations can be seen, some with villages built into them. The road into Xilita is also amazing, it winds up into tropical mountains filled with dense jungle.


Mexico - July 12th

Las Pozas

Edward James' surreal jungle masterpiece. 

Surrealism is beyond any rational description, so a few photos will have to suffice.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mexico - July 13th

Xilitla to Zacatlan - Day of the 10,000 topes.

The topes between Xilitla and Zacatlan are like the Bodhisattvas, too numerous to count.

Highway 105 south of Huejutla De Reys is spectacular. The road is cut into the steep jagged mountains. It rises into the mist of a dense rain forest. Giant ferns hang from the rock cliffs alongside the road. The mountains, and the vertical rock faces shrouded in cloud, look like something from an acient Chinese landscape painting.

I headed south east from Zacualtipan towards Zacatlan on secondary roads. The weather turned from mist to rain as the road turned from mostly paved to mostly potholes to dirt. By the time I arrived at Zacatlan it was pouring and the street into town was more like a fast shallow river. Found the Hotel San Pedro, a 7 by 9 foot room, a block from the cathedral and fast wifi. Feels like a palace after 9 hours of travel.

Mexico - July 14th

Zacatlan to Orizaba

Sunday morning in Zacatlan was bright and sunny after a night of rain. I started the week off with morning mass in the cathedral. Latin prayers, the smell of incense, and cold hard mexican tiles beneath my knees.


In Orizaba they like to mix their beer with sarsaparilla.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mexico - July 15th

Orizaba to Oaxaca

Gran Cafe de Orizaba
Bar del Jardin, Oaxaca

Mexico - July 16th & 17th

Aimless in Oaxaca

Church bells, sky rockets, deep sleep, good coffee, church bells, sky rockets.

Wednesday in Oaxaca, any day in Oaxaca, Oaxaca will give something. A brass band parade, led by the usual, crazy, skyrocket throwing, pyromaniac. Paper shapes, dancers, free shots of mezcal poured out to any one along the way. I could hear them coming through the city for an hour before they arrived in the Zocalo. The exploding sky rockets competing with the claps of thunder. It poured rain briefly before they came round the corner, but then they played so loud they kept the rain up in the sky.