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Old 09-30-2012, 10:26 PM   #46
Hewby OP
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Thanks Tom, hope you are treating them well so they break a few more drill bits for your new buildings ;)
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:34 PM   #47
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Great RR

Make sure to let me know when you get closer to Guatemala, so I can get you in touch with some riding and cooking friends of mine.
Too bad I wont be back by then , but I'm still having so much fun that I'm still going really slow and never in straight lines

Ride safe !

Julio
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:37 PM   #48
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Leaving the coast I headed to Guadalajara to stay with friends of Marcins’, Erik, Maria and their two young children. They welcome me into their home, and their family life. A friend of the family who was also into motorcycles, Juan Pablo came around for dinner and I had the delight of cooking up some local wild mushrooms that Erik, my host had bought from the market of his family holiday home from where they had just returned from a long weekend away.
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Guadalajara is a fabulous town to walk around. Huge old, fabulous buildings. Artworks. Sculptures. Street entertainment. Mariachis. Making for a brilliant day wandering around.

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Of course the food was excellent, and again I had trouble keeping my eyes to the size of my stomach. Often asking as I walked by stands ¿Como se llama esto?, What is this called? ¿Puedo probar?, Can I try some? My want to try too many items often led me to hand over my purchases to the homeless people begging on the streets, who seemed very happy to receive half a torta, a cup of fruit mixed with chili and lime, some strange mix of sweets, in order that I had room to try more. At least my curiosity did not go to waste.

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My friend and host Erik also helped also assisting me get the bike serviced at the local BMW dealers to check out a dodgy clutch that had been bothering me for a few days; the bike often locking in gear, not the best thing on the mountain passes, where I had been moving through the gears constantly. Even though a native Spanish speaker had explained the problem over the phone before I arrived, it required the assistance of three ‘translators’ when I arrived, one just passing by who heard my interactions! But thankfully after 24 hours my bike was returned to me running well, the clutch sorted, new oil, new flushed coolant (from my mishap with the water pump), tightened searing head bearings, and nicely cleaned as well ;)

I took a trip down to the town of Tequila, and saw how the towns namesake was made, and of course to sample a little ;)
However I held off my purchases until on my way out of Guadalajara as I headed to the little town of Atotonilco el Alto where I had heard they had the sweetest, smoothest tequila on the market, a present for Marcin who would be coming to meet me on the road in a month. After my tasting some English speaking tequila lovers from the north of the state, who had also sought out this distillery, assured me it was one of the best as we all walked out with bottles of the extra añejo.

GOPR6223
IMG_2055
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:41 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by GuateRider View Post
Great RR

Make sure to let me know when you get closer to Guatemala, so I can get you in touch with some riding and cooking friends of mine.
Too bad I wont be back by then , but I'm still having so much fun that I'm still going really slow and never in straight lines

Ride safe !

Julio
Thanks Julio, I know what it is not to travel in straight lines. It seems it will be November now till I make it to Guatemala! I have decided on language school in Oaxaca as I am taking to long to get down the coast. Better to go slow, see less places but experience more I think! Maybe I will see you on the road after all!
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:34 PM   #50
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Cobblestones and dead ends

The roads of the last few days have provided some of the most challenging on road driving conditions I have experienced so far. Hitting the town of Valle de Bravo on sunset, I got caught in a traffic jam attempting to cross through the town. I was trying to find my way out to my friends holiday house where I have been offered the house to stay for a few days. Google maps tells me I am on the wrong street, yet I must have missed the turn off by meters, and suddlenly again I am in the middle of the map away from where the blue line of Goggle is telling me to go. Many of the streets are one way and I turn off out of the jam in desperation. I hit rough cobble stones. The bike starts jumping all over the place. The cars in frount of me slow down to an excruciatingly slow speed. I can hardly keep the bike up. And then the steep hills start. I have to bomb past them or I will fall over. The holes in the cobblestones and the gradient of the slops make it hard for my feet to touch the ground. I cannot see my iphone map as it is now too dark, and I need both hands on the handlebars and both eyes on the uneven road. Again I make a desperate turn. I find myself going in totally different directions than I hope. The streets are like a maze of rabbit warrens. Nothing is straight. The hills compound the problem. The one way streets not clearly marked also add an extra dimension. The darkness settles in. After an hour I find myself back where I started. This time I go left instead of right. I turn a up huge hill and get caught at a dead end. I ask directions. They say 'no say' literally 'I don't know' . My friend had told me navigation here can be hard. 'Call a taxi if you get lost and have them lead you'. But each time I thought. 'I must be nearly there!'. My independent and frugal nature not allowing myself to give in. Finally free of the dead end by slowly turning the bike I make it out. Trying to pick my path through the darkness. I cannot belive that I don't dump the bike on numerous occasions. I arrive 2 hours later, a mere 20km down the road at my friends house. The lights off the housekeepers thinking I am no longer coming. I phone the house to unlock the gate. I am exhausted. My Spanish comes out garbled. They come to get me and I thankfully put myself into a soft warm bed and sleep.

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the next morning it dropped the bike on the cobblestones!

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In the next few days Taxco provides a similar set of challenges. While this time I learn from past experiences and arrive with plenty of daylight to spare. The hills are incredible. This town is hanging precariously from the mountainside. One way streets and cobblestones are everywhere. Trying to find myself a place to sleep I miss a turn off as I am faced with more one way streets. I come over a hill and look down. I feel I am at the pinnacle point of a roller coaster. I take a deep breath put the bike in low gear and go down. Little white Beatles taxis infrount of me go screaming down the hill. And then near the bottom, taking leave from the roller coaster rides, the road makes a sharp right turn still on a step slope. I make a wide turn. It's here I discover it's not a one way street anymore. A car is headed my way. Thankfully it backs back so I can try and pull the bike round. My heart is in my throat. Finally, I get to near the main square and try to pull over to walk to find a hotel. Before I have even parked 5 people are at the bike. Speaking fast Spanish, touts wanting to get me to buy silver, hotel, breakfast, whatever! At this point I just want them to leave me alone. The bike is on a slope and I can't place it. I put the side stand down and the bike starts scraping backwards. There is nowhere to park. I ride off again leaving the touts calling at my back. I go on to another square finally finding a flat space for the bike. More touts come at me but I ignore them until the bike is parked, my cover on, and I catch my breath. 'Ok. Hotel'. I take the leave of one man who had been patiently waiting. He leads me thought the streets to find a hotel in my low price range with parking. He helps me unload the bike in it new home and ensures I am settled in. Explaining in broken English the hotels key system. Taking his time to ensure I am settled. While I hate the idea of touts I am thankful for his patience. I tip him and walk out to find dinner.
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From the beautiful sliver town of Taxco, I head to Puebla. Not wanting to take the toll roads that goggle maps wants me to, I pick a path that looks to me relatively straight forward, yet still classed as a major road, (orange on goggle maps, not yellow, or just a small grey line). I find myself in the hills of Tetela de volcan and San Miguel, struggling over small cobbled farming roads, that at times ver off to the side, so that you hit a dead end, or a dirt track, or simply go in circles in the small villages next to people harvesting their corn with machetes, or carting it to market on donkeys. The occasional bus helps me redirect myself back to the 'major road' or really the small cobbled lane with barely room for the bus to fit one way between the houses. By the end of the day I finally make it to Puebla, just on dusk after approx. 270km took 7 hours of travel, not once stepping off the bike.
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I am slowly learning to take toll roads if need just to escape a city, and make the days not so long. Also to try and leave earlier so i don't keep hitting my destination on sunset!
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:53 PM   #51
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Wow, you are having a time of it Miss Hewby. Just remember to leave the bike in 1st gear when you shut it down on a slope and try to park across the hill as much as you can. The Canadian drillers ask about you and wonder where you have gotten to by now. All is good here in Banamichi. Lynn says hola. Keep the RRs coming and be safe.

Abrazos
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:14 AM   #52
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Thanks turkey creek. Yeah. Getting better all the time, and learning lots! Soon I might even know Spanish! ;) Say hi to all at Los Arcos.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:06 AM   #53
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Seems like you are picking the right roads
I did the Tetela backroad 6 month ago and I loved it!
Just don't go to slow on the cobble stones
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:58 PM   #54
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Thanks Julio. I wasn't expecting a back road! But the problem with the worst cobble stones is often they signify a town and traffic going incredibly slow! Muy dificil!
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:28 PM   #55
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Puebla

Two days in the gritty Puebla I wander the streets in search of the food it is famous for. Chilies en Nogada lives up to its reputation as a sensory delight. A large green chili stuffed with chicken and dried fruit, covered with a creamy walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. I am lucky to have arrived at this time of the year when it is in season.
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The mole from this region was also something to be had; a tasting plate in a local restaurant leaves my taste buds dancing with flavors. IMG_2279

The Cuetlas, (caterpillars)

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and the chapulines (grasshoppers)
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Both crunchy and slightly chewy, possibly did not arrive in my table with their best colors, and left a little to be desired.

A few tacos Arabica later, and I am on my way to Veracruz.
IMG_2285
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:30 PM   #56
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That looks tasty
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:40 PM   #57
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The port of Veracruz

I leave early in the am to get to Veracruz. In the morning mist the rolling pastures lead to great views of Mexico’s largest mountain, the snow capped ‘Citlaltepetl’.

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I ride in the cool air with a smile and my heated gear going. This however doesn’t last long. Coming into Veracruz in the early afternoon the heat skyrockets as I ride into town in the blazing sun, and heavy traffic. My bike temperature gauge hits almost 47C ; a difference of over 35C from earlier that day. Thankfully my hotel is not too hard to find, and the cool breeze off the ocean starts to bring me back to more humane temperatures. I look for a swim but change my mind as I look into the oily glaze on the surface of the water and the grit of the huge working dock beside me.

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I walk the streets exploring as the heat starts to dissipate in the late afternoon. The town is hot and humid, and the streets show the grit and grime of a place too hot to be bothered doing much.
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The rawness of the streets is charming in its own way, and there is little pretentiousness in the town. It seems to hustle with the vibrancy of a working city alive. The people here are friendly, and over the evening I meet a range of people.
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The Zocalo is alive with music as the mariachi bands fight for airspace. Those with the loudest horns win. Others crowd around their audience seated at tables of beer, plates of seafood and caldo de mariscos and sing deep melodies under their big hats. Instruments are negotiated between tables. A harp is lifted over people’s heads and squeezes its way to rest between the tables. Five or so men with a variety of instruments and swish costumes gather around the table. The horn player stands back as not to offend the customers. Cheers go up. Requests are taken and notes exchanged. Another tune lights up the evening.

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Caldo de mariscos- a suposed hangover cure
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:54 PM   #58
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It is good to have an update. Guatemala soon?
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:43 PM   #59
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A reflection on vulnerability

In the high lonely hills between Veracruz and Oaxaca city, on one of the best motorcycle roads yet, I park the bike on a pull out and walk to the edge to take a photo. The ground is covered in garbage and smells like human waste. A man carrying a machete comes out of the bushes and walks to my bike, his machete nonchalantly swinging in his hand. I quickly take my shot and walk back to the bike. He says something akin to asking me for money, and motions for food. Thankfully I have some Dulces in my tank bag and hand him a bag of homemade sweets. We talk a little, but slightly on edge I am steadily working towards packing up my bike to take off. He tries to assist zipping up my tank bag, then the zipper vents on my thighs….. I brush his hand back and say in broken Spanish. ‘No, its too hot. I need the wind’ and thankfully at that point my key is in the ignition and I drive off. Innocent or no, it’s a reminder of my vulnerability.

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The debate in Australia around the events of Jill Meagher’s rape and murder, and the roles women ’need to take for their safety’ play in my head. My friends hold strong varying views on this and the social media in Australia raged for weeks. While there was alot of information circulating to assist women make themselves feel safer, there was also an outrage from women fighting against the fear mongering. Like many of the women commenting on the news, have said exactly the same. "It is my right to walk the streets and travel where I like. Tell men not to rape and murder!' I can be a woman like Jill Meagher who told her friends 'No don’t be silly. You don’t need to walk me home.' My refusal not to be scared, to be independent at times causing my occasional downfall. I have noticed possibly the Australian in me, used to refuse help from a man. And in that, I think maybe many Australian women have trained our men not to offer. Living in the UK and Canada my views and attitudes have softened. I can now accept a door being opened for me, a bag being carried, a walk to my car. I can even enjoy it. I can thank and love the men that offer, and not send a curt reply. Content that it doesn’t mean that I am not capable, but more an acceptance of a gift of another.

But still I refuse to live my life in fear, and not do the things I wish to do, even if this means solo. I assess the risks and then take them. And yes my risk tolerance is greater than most, for I often find thankfully for me the benefits have outweighed the danger. This risk tolerance has lead me to experiences that make my life feel more than full, and as I often tell my poor mother ‘If I die doing something that I love, know that I have lived’. I hope that by doing these things I advocate and show others that it can be done, and not to stop doing something that you dream because of fear, whether it be small like putting your hand up to complete a presentation, or bigger such as travelling the world solo. Women like Tiffany Coates, Sherri Jo Wilkins, Lois Pryce and Danielle Murdoch just to name a few are out there on bikes riding through all sort of countries including Iran and the Middle East, Africa and around the world.

I talk to other women on the internet that have been inspired by my ride and look to solo motorbike travel. Yes, there are times of extreme challenge, where your head gets the worst of you, and you struggle with feelings of being totally overwhelmed. Yes, there are times of loneliness. There are some times of fear, but each day I feel like I am learning more about so many things. Small interactions stay with me. Moments of pure joy as I celebrate my freedom, my adaptability, and my luck to grow up in a country that gives me access to a passport visas, and the right as a woman to even ride a motorbike, or travel alone. I am thankful for the people at home, encouraging me, listening to me, talking to me in a language I understand. Offering advice and assistance when I feel overwhelmed by the prospect of even the little things like managing the bike maintenance, or dealing with the technology that I rely on. Yes, it is worth it. Yes, I tell myself I can do this.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:32 PM   #60
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Wonderful attitude, good for you.
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