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Old 04-04-2008, 11:13 PM   #151
stickfigure OP
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Malinalco

Once again I flew back to Mexico and once again I picked up my bike from Motoaltavista (My Personal Garage In The DF). It never gets old!

Gavin flew back to Phoenix to continue his ride in my direction. He crossed the border today and should meet me in Zacatecas in another two days.

I rode out to Yolitia for a couple days, this time to explore the adjacent town of Malinalco with my Hungarian friend. Malinalco is only an hour or two outside of the DF and has one of the few Aztec ruins that the Spaniards did not completely reduce to rubble. The temple is carved into the side of a cliff far above the town.













The temple overlooks the town:



The walk into town followed part of the (extensive) irrigation canal network:





Some more trucha (yes, it came right out of the tank):





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Old 04-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #152
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Thanks for the report Jeff!

You would be amazed how many times I get warned not to travel by road in Mexico. I think the stories have become a bit over-hyped. Any tips for crossing the border into Mexico? Are you going to stop by Belize (my dream) or Guatemala? (been there twice). I highly recommend Tikal. Cheers,

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Old 04-09-2008, 05:44 PM   #153
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Thumb Great RR!

Jeff,

This is a great ride report. Well written and great photos. I'm really enjoying it. And I'll second Dorian's recommendation for Tikal. There's a really cool place to stay on the road to Tikal in El Remate called "La Casa De Don David" that's really reasonable and has a great restaurant.

Do you know when you are going to get to Guatemala and what your route will be?

I have a bike in Flores I'm flying down to pick up. I fly into Guatemala City on the 19th and fly out to Flores on the 20th or 21st. I'll pick up my bike and ride it back to GC to meet a friend who is flying in on the 23rd. We're going to rent him a bike and head to San Pedro for a few days and then probably head to Monterrico until May 5th. He'll head back to GC to fly home and I'll head to the Mexican border to ride home.

If you're going to be in the area let me know and maybe we can hook up for a few cervezas .
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:31 AM   #154
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Outstanding!
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:02 PM   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sp4ce
People of all nationalities would be well advised to watch their cornholes around Uncle Sam. The last time I returned from Mexico, US immigration stuck us up at the border to the tune of $550 because my wife forgot her green card. She did have her valid British passport and the immigration official had computer records of her green card and the dozens of entries she has made on that green card over the last 4 years. The $550 was just for "processing" and "special exemption".

I never worry about "corruption" or "extortion" when I travel abroad - hell, it's 10 times worse at home in the fucking US. We just codify it and make it all real legal-like...so you can't haggle.

Unsurprisingly, some countries have started making special exceptions for American tourists and are returning the kind treatment their citizens recieve when they visit us.

-sp4ce
I find it sad that honest, law abiding vistors (like your wife) have to the pay the price for the 20 million or so that "visited" and never left.

The fact that the Mexican govenrnment openly encourages this behavior assuages any sadness I might have had when Mexican citizens are the target of such measures.
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:42 PM   #156
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Thanks everyone! I'm in Zacatecas right now, and will be for another week. Spanish school, playing tourist, nightlife, and a pokey net connection have kept me away from the keyboard but I'll have an update soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nata Harli
Do you know when you are going to get to Guatemala and what your route will be?
I have only a vague notion of route and timing so far, but I would love to get a beer when our paths cross. I read your RR a couple months ago and I'm subscribed now!

Tikal is definitely on the list. I suspect Gavin and I will ride through the Yucatan and down into Belize, then into Guatemala. It's a long ways away from now though.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:58 PM   #157
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Malinalco To Morelia

I've been in Zacatecas for a week now but the road to get here was quite an adventure. Between two maps and the Zumo, I was able to plot a route that cut diagonally northwest, skipping all of the cuotas. In fact, the route ended up being half dirt (by time, not distance) and took two days - including an overnight in Morelia. It was awesome.







At times the "road" became little more than a goat trail with a thick canopy of foliage. I passed several fully-loaded burros. I was never too far from pavement, though. Early on I had a long run on dirt, so I stopped to drop the pressure in my front tire. Right around the next corner the pavement started again. After a fair amount of road I stopped at a Pemex to fill up and return the tire to street pressure... and less than a mile later I was back on dirt. Sigh.







The path to Morelia passed by a nice lake with a lot of Mexican tourists:



Some of the architecture reminds me of Lake Tahoe:



The dam spillway:





More flood-control fun:



I really like these dirt roads through farmland:













Once more I found myself on MEX 15 east of Morelia. It's a windy well-paved road with little traffic. This time I made the entire way without a flat tire!

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Old 04-12-2008, 03:16 PM   #158
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Great report!
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Old 04-12-2008, 03:26 PM   #159
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Morelia To Zacatecas

The route from Morelia to Zacatecas was more of the same. Let me know if you're getting tired of these random flyby pictures, because I never will What I love most about traveling by motorcycle in Mexico is that I get to see all the little villages and farm towns and campesino houses that would be invisible to a bus or plane traveler. In rural areas I stop every now and then at little stores to get a drink and chat with the (almost always very friendly) locals.







This is one of the moments that I love the Zumo+Bicimapas combo. I'm riding along a minor highway and it tells me that I need to make a left turn down a steep hill that goes right through a little town. Where it is paved, it is paved with cobblestones. Then the road passes through lush green farmland. This kind of thing happens *all the time*.





Zacatecas state is much drier than Michoacán.







Unfortuately, about an hour before Zacatecas my luggage rack sheared YET ANOTHER FUCKING BOLT in the subframe. This is #3. Plus, the bolt on the other side *fell out*. I suddenly noticed my drybag pressed up against my back, something that should be physically impossible in the standard configuration of my motorcycle.

Here I am:

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Old 04-12-2008, 03:43 PM   #160
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Wow!

What a terrific set of pictures from this most recent part of your trip. Those road conditions and the weather appear to be perfect. It's still snowing and gray in this part of the US and the warm temperatures and scenery that you have are enviable. Keep those pictures coming.
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:16 PM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickfigure
Tikal is definitely on the list.
Thanks,
Jeff
Jeff,

Here's a hotel I'd definitely recommend if you're planning on visiting Tikal.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...&postcount=101

I already had a room in Flores when we stopped here on our way back from Tikal. If I hadn't I definitely would have stayed here.
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:28 PM   #162
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Great Report

Hey Stickfigure, great report and pics. I agree with you about traveling by motorcycle and getting to see the small towns and meeting the people. Keep up the great report.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:36 PM   #163
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All The World's A Stage

Now I introduce a new character to the cast. This is Gavin:



Gavin and his girlfriend split up a couple months ago so it was a good time to join me on a long motorcycle trip. The Ducati Multistrada 620 he's riding was his first bike, bought two years ago. It has MT60 tires, shod last summer for a rainy trip on Usal Road - proof that any bike can be a dualsport with the right attitude and big enough repair budget. We will ride much dirt.

Gavin is a techie like me. Unlike me, he still has a day job - although it's an odd one. He created a famously successful Java open-source project, which was acquired by JBoss, which was itself acquired by RedHat. This precipitated his move from Melbourne to Atlanta four years ago. Now he lives in San Francisco and his primary occupational responsibility seems to be flying around the world to knock heads of various standards committees. Yeah, tough life... but it means he will need to periodically fly elsewhere, leaving all the margaritas and beautiful women to me
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Old 04-23-2008, 04:20 PM   #164
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I Love Zacatecas

I genuinely fear that Zacatecas may have ruined the rest of Mexico for me.

I've been here almost two weeks. Gavin arrived a day after I did and life has been a whirlwind of Spanish lessons, tourist antics, working out, and hard partying.

Cool Thing #1 about Zacatecas: This town is gorgeous

Really, unbelievably gorgeous. It's full of colonial buildings in great condition nestled into a small canyon. The streets jag left and right and most are cobblestoned. For the first time in Mexico, there are PUBLIC TRASH CANS on most street corners. Surprise surprise, this town is limpia!

From the air:



Other direction:



At night:



Cool Thing #2 about Zacatecas: The Hostel Villa Colonial

This is my favorite lodging so far in Mexico. It's not because the rooms themselves are especially nice; they show the standard Mexican zeal for deferred maintenance. But the atmosphere is fantastic. The owners are super-cool and party with the guests. The guests come from all over the world, including Mexico (about 1/3 are in-country tourists) and most of them are around my age. Beer is cheap (9 pesos), the rooftop terrace has a great view of the cathedral two blocks away, and everyone is having a fabulous time. Gavin and I have a small two-bedroom apartment with kitchen for 250 pesos per night, total - about $23 USD. Best deal in Mexico.

The view from my balcony:



The view from the roof terrace at night:



Cool Thing #3 about Zacatecas: The Spanish school here rocks

Fenix Language Institute is a five-minute walk away from the hostel and has been giving us each five hours per day of effectively private instruction for $110 USD per week. This is apparently the low season, so the school is mostly empty; I've only had another person in my class once. It's working wonders for my facility.

Cool Thing #4 about Zacatecas: The natives are friendly

I mean really friendly. On at least four different occasions women have blown *wolf whistles* at Gavin and I walking down the street. Color me impressed! Most Mexicanas in the southern regions seem afraid to make eye contact.

Cool Thing #5 about Zacatecas: This is a good foodie town

It's not a huge city but there are plenty of restaurants and the food is excellent. You can get French and Italian fare in addition to the usual northern Mexican dishes. Wine is available, some of which is vinted locally - although Zacatecan wine ranges from "merely drinkable" to "mislabeled vinegar".

Cool Thing #6 about Zacatecas: They take art seriously

There is a big modern art movement here that extends beyond the museums and into the bars and restaurants. Zacatecanos are stylish.



Not-atypical interior of a bar (the pebble floor is an interesting touch):



Cool Thing #7 about Zacatecas: The teleférico

There is a Swiss-built cable car that runs from one mountainside to the top of another, with a little museum and (of course) a church on top. The mountain is (predictably) called "La Bufa".







The Only Uncool Thing about Zacatecas: Mornings

Around 7am trucks start driving around town with loudspeakers broadcasting what someone thought would be a catchy little jingle punctuated by a male voice proclaiming "GAS PLOOOS!" (Gas Plus). As if I got up early to stand near the door (or at that volume, anywhere on the city block) desperately waiting for someone - anyone - to bring me a tank of propane, and couldn't figure out how to use a phone to call the damn dispatcher. This phenomenon is a relic of a former time and should be banned by all civilized nations.
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:47 PM   #165
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I also loved Zacatecas

I will have to agree, Zacatecas is a great town. Beautiful old Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and some of the friendliest people in all of Mexico. Have you got in on any Callejoneadas yet. They are a blast. From my report from last October.


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