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Old 11-13-2012, 08:50 AM   #451
JDowns OP
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Found a nice place to stay in the small town of Teotitlan last night. The stormy wind and rain blew over the Oaxacan mountains and it was raining by the time I uploaded pictures last night so I went to the town square and asked around for a hotel and was directed down the street to the Ryo Hotel where I am now at:

N 18 08.066'
W 97 04.295'

180 pesos or $14.40 with TV, hot shower and wifi.

Yesterday's total for gas, food and lodging was 371 pesos or $29.68. I don't mind spending the money when its raining and I'm gross from changing a tire on the side of the road. But if you were on a really tight budget there were plenty of places to camp up in the mountains if you were determined. You could definitely travel more frugally than I have been the last few days. I've been on the road almost a month so I will take the time to tally up what I've spent so far and report back what paypal donations have added up to. I have no idea since I charged everything in the US so I could keep track and changed 500 dollars at the border which I was planning to spend in Mexico for two weeks or so and head to Guatemala when it ran low.

It will be interesting to figure out. I hear a band with drums and horns playing down the street so it might be a parade. Have to go check it out. More later....

Saludos,
Juanboy
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:40 PM   #452
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If you use your CC in Mexico watch out for USA transaction fee. I think only Captial One don't charge.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:03 PM   #453
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Jammin said he uses Capitol One for that reason.
I'm at CitiBank ATM but would change for a trip.

Any comments Juanito?

Best Regards,
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:20 PM   #454
lennyledoux
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JD, just found your trip today. I am a retired Boeing guy living in Cuenca, Ecuador. If you come this way you can crash, wash up, attend anything that needs attended to on the bike. Just give me a holler. Best of luck.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:23 PM   #455
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lennyledoux View Post
JD, just found your trip today. I am a retired Boeing guy living in Cuenca, Ecuador. If you come this way you can crash, wash up, attend anything that needs attended to on the bike. Just give me a holler. Best of luck.
Hi Lenny,

I must go to Cuenca now. I have a leatherman with Boeing carved in the handle that another Boeing friend gave me years ago. Thanks for the kind offer. I will PM you when I am in the area.

Muchas gracias!
Juanito
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:27 PM   #456
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldPete View Post
Jammin said he uses Capitol One for that reason.
I'm at CitiBank ATM but would change for a trip.

Any comments Juanito?

Best Regards,
OldPete
Hi Old Pete,

My credit card charged me 10 dollar surcharge for the banercito charge for the bike. I haven't used it since. I think you are better off with the Capitol One option or using a debit card to withdraw money at an ATM down here. I haven't tried it yet since I still have money left from the border.

Best,
Juanito Conchito
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:06 PM   #457
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I left Teotitlan in northern Oaxaca (wa-hocka) this morning after getting directions to the repuestos de moto (motorcycle parts) store in town:



That's Emilio working on the scooter inside.



Emilio's place of business is called El Raton Motos. Rat bike motors. Looks like I came to the right place. So Emilio doesn't have an 18" tube but he can run get one for 120 pesos. A little steep but I don't feel like running around so let him do it instead. First tube he brings back on his motorcycle is a skinny 2.75 x 18 for a 125 skinny tire, so he goes away again and comes back with a 4.0 x 18 and I take off into the countryside.

It reminds me of the desert southwest out here in upcountry Oaxaca:







I like these blue-green saguaro cacti:



I spent most of the day leaned over as the 100 miles south was nothing but curves as it climbed into the mountains:



A herd of goats came blasting out from behind a road cut and I don't know how I missed them all. They parted like a flock of birds being chased by a hawk. It was sheer luck I didn't graze one like the dog that bounced off the front tire yesterday. Later a guy passed me on a 125 Honda who was flying. I followed him for 20 or 30 miles at a respectful distance and enjoyed just watching him throw that little ripper into the hairpins. Eventually I stopped to take this picture:



of the hills off in the distance that the road was heading towards. Really nice day. Light traffic. Not too many towns so fewer topes, and just enough potholes to keep you on your toes. I took my gloves off at one point to take a picture and stuffed them between the speedometer and numberplate. I caught one just as it was about to fly away and realized the other one was gone. Yikes! That'll teach me to ride with no gloves. So I doubled back to the next town to see if it flew off going over the topes. But no luck. Alas.

Then I looked down and it was stuck in my crotch. Boy howdy, was I glad to see that. You always lose stuff when you travel long enough. It just happens and you have to get over it. But losing a glove would have been worse than losing my favorite socks in Texas or my camera in Oklahoma.

Fifty miles from Oaxaca city there started to be bicyclists in some sort of race. Only there were trucks with shrines decorated with flowers and at one point a runner with a torch. I stopped to ask a gal what it was all about and she said it was something to do with Puebla de Mexico whatever that means. There were trucks letting people off every 100 meters and they were standing there to carry the torch to the next person. So for the next fifty miles there was a person in a blue or red uniform with a matching cap standing every 100 meters along the road. This was a huge well organized event with flat bed trucks full of port-a-potties and huge kitchens set up on the side of the road cooking up grub for the runners. And dozens of trucks following the bicyclists that seemed to be taking part in the same procession. It was like the tour de france at times as I had to pass hundreds of cyclists into oncoming traffic. They had dozens of motorcycle escorts decorated with flowers. And ambulances with their sirens going, along with trucks with huge speakers blasting out music. Sort of a Catholic Tour de France on acid.

I stopped to take some pics of a small contingent. This group stretches back about a mile but you can't tell from this picture:



and one of two torch bearers I passed:



and some cyclists taking a break on the side of the road:



I made my way to Monte Alban, a pre-Colombian temple complex. I'll be back when those photos load to give you my Monte Alban as seen through a stonemason's viewpoint.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:30 PM   #458
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I passed through the town of Oaxaca and rode up to see the pyramids at Monte Alban. I walked around looking at the place for a long time trying to figure it out from the writing on the walls. It seemed more like a Universal Studios Tour of the backlot. I was looking for stonework that was 2000 years old and I saw a lot of freshly quarried stone that couldn't have been exposed to the atmosphere for more than 100 years. Everything was cemented together with portland cement based mortars and concrete. There were reinforced concrete lintels over the doorways. No way this was done 2000 years ago.

There was some stone that was original, but it had all been re-assembled like lego in a mishmash of styles over the last 100 years or so. Some of it was pretty bad. Some was nicely done. It just wasn't what I was expecting. It was re-assembled the way some archeology designer thought it should look. I could almost hear the conversation. Oh lets put this here, and that there, and stand up these big carvings and cement them in place and fill in the gaps. And lets build this staircase to look like an ancient ruin that is crumbling and yes lets add some side walls that look like they're falling apart. Never mind that the stone is from a different quarry' The stupid tourists will never know the difference. Or something along those lines.

Some of the work had cement based mortar with stones pressed in that looked like it was from the depression era around the thirties. This it turns out after looking at wikipedia is when the place was excavated and re-assembled to look ilke a ruin. Aha! I knew it. You could tell that they took all the decent stair stones and built the main staircase.

Then the cement block masons came in and added a few courses at the bottom of this wall. They always leave horizontal gutters. They can't help it. That's the only stonework they know how to do. If it's not a rectangle, they're lost. Then the random rubble guys came in a few years later and added the top few courses. They are the same guys that did the entry and museum. None of which is historic in any way other than in style. Here you can tell the difference of the original dark thirties original stone assembled by the stair guys from the rectangular block lower wall couses and the newer random rubble courses:



This thin slate is probably laid on top of a poured concrete staircase. Pre-Columbian? I think not. The stone isn't even from the site:



The wall behind this sign was built within the last 50 or sixty years. The A team of stone masons did this wall and the work around the main entrance. Definitely Post-Columbian:



Same guys did this random rubble wall at the end of the main square. Nice work but not 2000 years old:



This ball court was re-assembled with stone original to the site. My guess is maybe 80-100 years ago by the age of the portland cement mortar with stones embedded in it. They did nice work. The end walls and the far walls were done more recently probably by the same crew that did the entry sometime in the last 50 years:



This work was done at the same time as the ball court reassembled from the original stone.



This mishmash was assembled from found stelas and filled in poorly with mortar and rubble. Pretty awful, especially the upper left corner:



This was probably laying on the ground broken and was reassembled and stands on a stone platform put together in the thirties or so. The sign says it may have something to do with astronomy. Looks more like fertility to me. Edward James would have liked it I bet:



It was interesting walking around and figuring this place out. Like my bike it looks good from a distance:





And if it makes the tourists happy I suppose that's okay. It looks more interesting today than lumpy grassy piles of stones which is what the historic pictures portray.

Nice views of Oaxaca from the top of the main temple:





I got my 57 pesos worth. But the sun was setting so time to head off through the big city. Dark clouds were starting to form in the east but it was sunny to the south and I saw a sign for 175, so decided to follow jimmex's advice and take it down to the coast. Living in Nebraska, I haven't seen the ocean since I came back from Panama over two years ago.

I rode till dark and currently am in a cheap hotel in a town south of Oaxaca. I spent 460 pesos or $36.80 today on gas, food, temple fees, tire tube and lodging.

Hasta Luego,
Juanito
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:49 PM   #459
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Monte Alban

I wouldn't dispute your take on the reconstruction of Monte Alban. The real wonder of the place is what was there all along, without any intervention of man: spectacular views in all directions! I especially enjoy watching the waning afternoon from that vantage point. It's simply inspirational and you can immediately understand its attraction to people throughout the centuries.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:19 PM   #460
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What next, debunking the Chupacabra?

Made my first trip to MX in 2001. While I was sitting on the sidewalk in Poza Rica checking my tires, and figuring out why I thought riding to MX was a good idea, a couple recommend some ruins south of town (El Tajin). These sites have been a focus of my rides ever since.
Your last report was a bit like being told there is no Santa. You kinda know already but it's still a kick in the nuts.Don't know what your route looks like in Guatemala, but el Ceibal (South of Tikal) was pretty authentic when I was there in 2003. I'm sure more has been uncovered by now.
Your report is excellent btw, I wish I could have felt comfortable going the places you have. The K100 and GS are too much bike for me to enjoy in MX.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:35 AM   #461
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You would be a tough/good on the job foreman Juanito.
It does pass the 100' inspection and the last pics in that string offer the magic.

I'm on pg. 112 of crashmaster's RR in SA and earlier he said if he had to choose another bike it would be a XR250.
EDIT: a XR250 would do'er and a XR650 would need a top-end refresh 1/2 way through. Getting to old to quote. ;-)

A VG update TY,

OldPete

OldPete screwed with this post 11-14-2012 at 07:08 AM Reason: noted
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:38 AM   #462
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripletreat View Post
I wouldn't dispute your take on the reconstruction of Monte Alban. The real wonder of the place is what was there all along, without any intervention of man: spectacular views in all directions! I especially enjoy watching the waning afternoon from that vantage point. It's simply inspirational and you can immediately understand its attraction to people throughout the centuries.
Hi Tripletreat,

Yes, it is a magical place. Especially at sunset when I was there the views were really nice.

I should probably shut up about stone masonry commentary for the rest of the trip and stick to riding fun roads and reporting back what I find.

After going to Universal Studios tours it changed my outlook on movies seeing how they were made. I don't want to do the same for others appreciation of these ruins and historic sites. I think they tried to make something authentic to the spirit of what the grassy mounds of rocks had looked like. And that's all I'll say about that.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:48 AM   #463
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FKNBUM View Post
Made my first trip to MX in 2001. While I was sitting on the sidewalk in Poza Rica checking my tires, and figuring out why I thought riding to MX was a good idea, a couple recommend some ruins south of town (El Tajin). These sites have been a focus of my rides ever since.
Your last report was a bit like being told there is no Santa. You kinda know already but it's still a kick in the nuts.Don't know what your route looks like in Guatemala, but el Ceibal (South of Tikal) was pretty authentic when I was there in 2003. I'm sure more has been uncovered by now.
Your report is excellent btw, I wish I could have felt comfortable going the places you have. The K100 and GS are too much bike for me to enjoy in MX.
Hi FKNBUM,

Nice name! I'll check out el Ceibal. It's just down the road. I'm just reporting back the facts as I see them. Didn't mean to spoil Christmas. Sorry.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:16 AM   #464
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Hey Juanito!
I am pretty sure Santa will survive but the Oaxacan tourism bureau will likely put a bounty on you. LOL!
Nice summary and a very, very interesting perspective.
If you get a chance (because, darn it, you missed it) take a look around La Cantona across the Puebla state line from Perote. Very little of it has been "restored" and I think you will find it very cool to visit. Easy camping in that area there, too.
Your insight is important because 100 years from now, people will have no clue as to the re-build.
I think you would also like Quiahuixtlan on the coast because it, like La Cantona, is still fairly virgin in the "rebuild" sense.
I can also show you how locals here partially destroyed one pyramid and had there eyes on two more, for using the pyramid material to make bricks. The UNAM archeo types rescued the one pyramid and have made sure the other two will be kept as is.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:13 AM   #465
lm248
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post

I should probably shut up about stone masonry commentary for the rest of the trip and stick to riding fun roads and reporting back what I find.

Best,
John Downs
Please don't shut up about what you see,,,,
One of the things I love about ADVrider is all of the different perspectives I get exposed to.
Everyone looks at things through their own mindset,,,, yours happens to be masonry.
And being cheep
I love seeing all of that "behind the scenes" stuff.
It makes your RR different from everyone elses.
Just like your visit to La Poza,
I've read a lot od RR's about Mexico, but I've never heard about La Poza until I read about it in your report.
Please continue,,,,
Les
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