Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mexico - July 24th

Santo Domingo Tehuantepec to Puerto Escondido

The road from Salina Cruz to Puerto Escondido is mostly smooth with sweeping turns winding through the coast hills. There are always places to pull off and enjoy some shade.

Rose Esperanza

Mexico - July 25th

Puerto Escondito to Acapulco - 8 hours on Mex 200, and if your'e going to throw a party....

Juchitan, Guerrero

If your'e going to thow a party you will need horses, lots of horses. Pretty dresses for the girls. A banner and a tent, and a band. The girls will dance, with each other. The boys will dance with the horses. And the old guys paying for it will watch.

Mexico - July 26th

Acapulco to Zihuatanejo

Two or three police roadblocks set up along the coast today. Federales in full gear building sand baged gun placements.

Zihuatanejo has a split personality. The hills east of the bay are covered with expensive resorts. West of the bay live the fishermen, under the palms and mango trees. The zone between the two is filled with tourists and t-shirt shops and margarita bars and good seafood.

The Hostel Rincon del Viajero, west of the bay, set in a lush garden, is home to travelers, huge land crabs, iguanas, fireflies, and geckos.



Mexico - July 27th

Zihuatanejo to Barra de Navidad - 8 hours riding

Michoacan: The coast road through Michoacan is narrow and winding. Bushes and trees hang over and into the road, no maintenance along this road. There is often a strong smell of ripe mango, from the forests of mago trees, and burning plastic. Below the road are long, long white sand beaches with endless breaking waves. All completely deserted. The road is almost deserted, very few cars and very few gas stations, with the exception of the regular convoys of army, police and federales. Each convoy with up to 20 trucks. The army with its Humvees and armored personel carriers, the federales (and special Michoacan swat teams) with their blacked out suv's and armored cars with machine gun turrets.

North of Lazaro Cardenas I came upon this burned out bus in the middle of the road. Nothing else around, no traffic, nothing. I have no idea.

In northern Michoacan, just before crossing into Jalisco, and nearly out of gas, I had my first army search. Previous check points had been brief conversations in broken spanish, then waved on my way. This one was, off the bike, helmet off, open the bags. Which involved a lot of joking about the Mexican girls in short shorts also being stopped, everyone trying on my sunglasses, and me theirs. Discussions about how fast the bike was and how much it cost. And the commendante posing in my glasses for a picture.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mexico - July 28th

Barra de Navidad to Sayulita

Hard rain gonna fall

The road was nice and smooth, and fast, and I made it about an hour north of Barra de Navidad before the sky turned dark and lightning started streaking between cloud and earth. I thought I could wait it out under cover of a Pemex, but no. At one point, crossing unexpectedly deep water, my feet were swept off the pegs as the bike plowed through.

The road stayed good all the way to the hill into Puerto Vallarta, then it completly went to pieces, like Richard Burton. As I passed the deserted location for "Night of the Iguana" mud was washing across the road, filling bottomless potholes with a brown slippery mess. This is a fancy, expensive, neighborhood and the road is a disaster. There is a tunnel at the north end of the bay. As I went through, it was dark and the street was rushing with water. Like a journey down the river Styx, when I came out into the new commercial, nightmare, area of Vallarta, the side streets were 18" deep under water and the traffic was terrible. Busses were forming 4 foot breaking waves and compacts were drowning.

Eventually I left the Starbucks and Home Depots behind and the road returned to the narrow, curvy, overgrown, Mex 200 I have come to know and love. I arrived in Sayulita as the sky cleared. A still touristy, but cheaper and laid back, town. Found the funky Hotel Sayulita Central and diner and the beach.

Mexico - July 29th

Sayulita to Mazatlan


Pedro Infante, one of the "Tres Gallos Mexicanos"

Hotel Bellmar

Mexico - July 30th

Mazatlan to El Fuerte

Six hours, mostly on the Autopista. The road into El Fuerte is a nice change to the highway. It winds from the flat farmlands into the desert landscape of the hills. Hot and dry. El Fuerte is a beautiful, empty, town. It seems that I'm the only tourist here.

El Fuerte

Mexico - July 31st, August 1st & 2nd

El Fuerte to Hermosillo

The road from El Fuerte to El Carrizo is a great, narrow, back road through the desert foothills.
Truck drivers are striking in Ciudad Obrigon. The road is blocked by truckers holding big sticks. No trucks are allowed through without a lecture, it seems. However, they are very helpful at directing me to weave through the parked semi-trailers and ride along the sandy road shoulder for about a mile.
Arrived in Hermosillo and checked into an American style motel, not the pay by the hour variety.

Hermosillo to Tucson

Lots of highway. Crossed in Nogales. Canceling the temporary vehicle import permit was a breeze. Back n the US.

Tucson to Los Angeles

The road (111) from El Centro to Mecca, around the east side of the Salton Sea, is a great California road. I stopped at Niland, home to Salvation Mountain and Slab City. Another worthy pilgrimage destination like Watts Towers and Las Pozas. Salvation Mountain was built by Leonard Knight out of straw, mud, and a lot of paint.

Home, or 5,650 miles around Mexico without a flat tire.

The old bike and body made it home. On the best days I did not worry too much about the destination, it was either easily achievable or events conspired to make it unachievable. I tried to avoid expectations of what each day would bring. The times when I was, more or less, at the mercy of my surroundings, lost or broken down, a stranger reached out to help me. In the back of my mind was a thought I tried to suppress: When will I have the bad experience? It never happened. Many day's were hard, and at their end was a sense of accomplishment, but never an ugly or bad event.

Slab City

Salvation Mountain

Imperial Dunes

So Cal TT 2013