It's once again time to head further south. The plan was to head down to Bucerias, spend the night then continue on to La Manzanilla where I'd meet up with Randy (r6-lover on adv) and maybe spend New Year's. But first, breakfast at Mi Cocina (again) to say bye to James. He's a great guy; offered to let me stay at his house and have breakfast gratis (I declined the stay since I was leaving and left a hefty tip for breakfast in lieu of payment).
Leaving Funky Monkey. KLRs and "Vespas" littering the lot.
I made my way down the libre-15 (this time with no toll booths!) for a few hours and turned off on Rt. 54 towards the coast and San Blas. Finally getting off of a major highway, I started running into a lot more “Topes” (speed bumps), some unmarked. Topes, what topes? It was more like Tortas. The KLR just ate them up! I didn't even have to slow down for most of them, just had to stand up. Thank you progressive suspension...
It says “Libre” there better not be any tolls!
A big rock...
I cruised down Rt. 54 until I hit a dirt road and realized I went too far. Still having many miles to go, I decided to save the exploration for later and turned around to find the right road.
End of the paved road. Next time...
I eventually ran into coastal Rt. 200 and that's where the fun began! Rt. 200 runs along the coast pretty much all the way south as far as Mexico goes. In its northern (and maybe southern too?) section it alternates between straight sections of coastline with spectacular ocean views and high bluffs with very sharp curves. Here is where I decided listening to some music while riding is not a bad idea. It was a beautiful area but I didn't take many pictures because I was too busy rocking the f*ck out of those twisties while blasting dub step! My new favorite road sign is “Curva Peligrosa” (dangerous curves). I've read how the KLR is supposedly good at cornering, but up until now I had no idea. She's got more cornering capability than I do at this point! More and more I'm starting to really like this bike.
I eventually arrived at Bucerias with a huge grin on my face as the sun was setting. When I found Dugarel Plays I was in for a shock. Instead of a shack on the beach, what I saw was a five star restaurant with cloth tablecloths and waiters wearing button up white shirts and black slacks, and a huge patio hanging over the beach looking out onto the sunset. Hmm... I don't think I'll be camping on the beach under their patio (as James suggested)... I went in feeling slightly uncomfortable in my dirty riding gear and got a table. Might as well try the food while I wait to talk to Ruben. Ruben is a really great guy who was very hospitable. He brought out a complimentary appetizer and seemed genuinely happy to hear from James and try to help me out. As I was in an upper class touristy suburb of Peurto Vallarta, the chances of finding a motel within my desired price range was next to impossible. Ruben made a few calls and told me he arranged a place not far from the restaurant for a decent discount and gave me directions there. After I finished a terrific meal a bit more expensive than I would have liked to pay (but very reasonable compared to what it would have cost in the USA at a place like this), I headed to Hotel Carmolitas (not recommended).
At the hotel I was greeted by a shady guy who wanted to charge me twice what Ruben quoted me. He said it was impossible to give a discount because I was there at the pinnacle of tourist season and all the hotels were charging more. He was correct on all points although he just spoke to Ruben and agreed on the price, so I left his (completely devoid of customers) hotel and decided to try my luck just riding south. That may not have been the best idea... The hotel manager was right. There was not a reasonable priced hotel anywhere near Puerto Vallarta. I ended up riding south for hours in the dark, dodging potholes and negotiating twisties through the jungle (which was a little scary but mostly great fun since nothing bad happened) until I finally came upon a village with a beautiful little hotel: “Real Del Valle” (coincidentally, Randy randomly stayed here as well). By then I was beat and didn't much care what it cost (still cheaper than anything I saw in Puerto Vallarta) so I crashed there for the night.