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Old 01-16-2008, 10:35 PM   #91
Jamie Z OP
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I left Manzanillo headed southeast down the coast. I traveled for a short while with an Israeli I met in the city. He drove an Isuzu Trooper, and seemingly complained about everything.



The views were gorgeous. The roads twisty and and clean.





We stopped in the surfer village of Nexpa where my companion immediately got into an argument with a hotel owner concerning the rate for a room. I wandered off and found a palapa for $5. I didn't see my friend again after that.





This Mexican family was out fishing for the day. They proudly showed me their day's catch.



I had a buddy join me in camp.



In the morning, trouble.





I've never had a flat before, but I had the necessary tools and a general idea how to fix it. Forty-five minutes later, I was ready to go.



On the road out of town, an iguana darted across the road. I swerved. Didn't hear or feel anything, but went back to look...



I'd hit him. He wasn't dead, and he was unhappy. I didn't see any humane way to finish him off. That's the strangest thing I've ever hit.

And some random odd pictures.

Vote for Moron.



Five on a scooter. And people 'round here think you need a Suburban to haul a family.

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Old 01-17-2008, 12:10 PM   #92
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Security?

Thanks for the reply. How did you feel about security and being by yourself down in Mexico? I noticed in your pics that your tent was always set up very close to your bike. Any security tips for a first time traveler?

GhostriderADV screwed with this post 01-17-2008 at 01:25 PM
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:16 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostrider Wannabe
Any security tips for a first time traveler?
That topic could be its own thread, but I can cover a few general things here.

You're right that I parked my bike close to my tent. Not just for security, but for practical purposes. I don't want to carry all my crap very far. I almost always made camp and set up my tent before the sun set. I wanted to have a good view of where I was. I try to leave early in the morning.

When I look for a place to camp, the more remote the better. My philosophy is that if nobody knows I'm there, then nobody will bother me. I own a dark color tent, and I use only a small headlamp inside my tent. I'll even go so far as to put my tent between my bike and the road so the shiny stuff is less visible. Camping among some trees or behind a building is good, but trees and buildings aren't so common in Mexico.

When I pick a place to set up my tent, I take a general view and decide how likely is it that someone will just happen upon me. I give thought to whether anyone who might find me might have any reason to be upset with me (for example, am I sleeping on somebody's property?). I always consider whether this spot might be a hangout for local teenagers (and avoid those spots). Take a look around for empty beer bottles and the like.

Sometimes a place might already have signs of previous campers, such as a fire ring. That's a good place, I think.

I've set up my tent in places all over the US, and in various parts of the world. I've never had a problem from anyone. Talked to a couple of police and park rangers, and the worst they've ever said is, "You're not supposed to camp here... better pack up and be out of here in a couple of hours."

Overall, I've found that anyone I've encountered has been fascinated with my trip and wants to hear about it. Occasionally an encounter has turned into an invitation to sleep in a warm bed, or have a beer.

Funny you should ask about security though. Read on.

Jamie
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:17 PM   #94
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This next installment has no pictures, but I feel is an important inclusion to my story. This is more-or-less quoted from a previous post I made.

After fixing my flat tire in Nexpa, I headed inland on highway 37. I wanted to see Volcan Paricutin. I stopped at the Pemex in Arteaga to check my tire pressure. Was only there a few minutes and hadn't talked to anyone. A little red(?) Japanese car pulled up to me and the young man inside asked me (in Spanish) if I would wait a minute. He had a friend who wanted to see me. What the hell?

We went back and forth about why he wanted me to wait. He made me nervous, and my first idea was to simply get on my bike and take off. I concluded that if he followed me, I'd really be in some crap. This was mountainous terrain, and I didn't know the roads. He did.

As he talked to me, he also talked into a high-end walkie-talkie. It was too hard for me to hear and understand what he was saying. After about five minutes, another car pulled up and parked in front of my bike. I surveyed the situation and determined that I still had room to pull out, if needed. This new guy spoke very good English. He asked for my ID. I paused and asked him who he was, did he have a badge or any ID on him? He tried to convince me that he was an anti-crime unit with the police, and that he needed to verify who I was and what was in my bags.

I was straddling my bike at this point, wearing all my riding gear. The key was in the ignition, but the bike was off. I was positioning myself to bolt if needed--but I was very wary of an ensuing chase.

As we talked, he progressively become agitated with my stalling. Of course I had nothing to hide, but I wanted to move very slowly and weigh my options carefully. I suggested maybe we go down to a police station, I told him I was uncomfortable with the situation. He refused and told me that the police would bring more trouble.

He asked me, "Do you know who La Familia is?" I told him no.

In the meantime, another guy came from somewhere with a big bag of marijuana. They spoke a few words back and forth, and then he left.

Frustrated, the guy finally told me that if I really wanted, he would call the police, but that it would be an even longer wait and more trouble for me. I told him I'd like for him to do that. He kept insisting that if I just show him my ID and open my bags that I could be on my way. I was very afraid of being robbed, although he hadn't made any suggestion like that.

He pulled his cell phone and made a hurried call. I wasn't able to pick up anything he said, but felt sure that he hadn't called the police. I felt like I'd made a bigger mess by being so resistant. So I gave him my (Xeroxed and laminated) license. This pleased him greatly. He opened up a little bit and smiled. Asked me to pronounce my name and asked me where I had been and where I was going. He also asked me to remove my helmet, which I did, but strapped to my pillion seat--again, in case of a hasty escape.

Soon enough, a police truck pulled up with several uniformed officers in the back. One got out and asked me in very poor English why there was a problem. I explained that there was no problem, I just didn't know who this guy was. I told him now that the police were here, I'd be happy to show him my luggage.

I opened up my cases; they inspected them for about 30 seconds total. The young guy handed back my license. When he gave it to me, he said, "You know the mafia in the United States? We're like them. Don't cause us any trouble."

And with that they all left.

It was a very tense situation for me for a few minutes, but if it's any consolation, I have to say that the gangster dude was very professional. He never threatened me. He just did his best to reason with me.

Later that day I stopped at a motorcycle dealer in Apatzingan to buy an oil filter. The parts guy there was really cool, and very interested in my trip--wanted to see my bike, and look on a map where I'd been. I asked him about "La Familia," but the moment I said the name, he got quiet and looked around the room. He said, "We don't talk about that, we don't see anything. Shhh." When I showed him on my map where I planned to go (basically over to Patzcuaro, and then down to Huetamo de Nunez by gravel road) he said it was a bad idea and outlined a different route he thought I should take. I ended up taking my intended path with no trouble.

Jamie
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Old 01-19-2008, 10:09 AM   #95
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More please!

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Old 01-20-2008, 07:28 AM   #96
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Since my last chapter contained no photos, the next couple have extra photos.

In the evening after my run-in with La Famila, I looked for a place to camp in the rain. I found a campground, tent site $2.50. The owner offered an upstairs loft with a nice bed and a desk for $5. I opted for the bed.



Volcan Paricutin is famous because it rose out of nothing back in the 40s. It buried an entire town, save the Catholic church. I hiked out there the next day.







In Angahuan, you can see indiginous life, as well as European influence.





An old church in Patzcuaro is now a library housing a creepy mural.





And the market in town.



I was witness to a bizarre Mardi Gras-like festival. People crowded in the streets, while others tossed gifts from above. Unfortunately, there weren't any bared breasts.



And to make sure nobody got out of hand.



From Patzcuaro, I followed gravel and paved roads southeast. I stopped here for lunch.



And took a break at this church.

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Old 01-20-2008, 04:53 PM   #97
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keep going mang.
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:31 PM   #98
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When I got to the border between Michoacán and Guerrero, I encounterd a large river, and no bridge. A ferry was doing a brisk business and I paid $5 to cross.



Requisite cattle-in-the-road picture



In Guerrero I aimed southwest toward Zihuatanejo on 134, a road which I marked as especially good in my atlas.



It's a little scary riding through the mountains when you can hardly see the edge of the road.



I rode the coastline to Acapulco where I paid $3 to watch cliff divers. Expensive, I thought, until I learned it came with a free beer. The cliff diving was touristy and cheesy.





What I found most amazing was the diver's ability to climb the cliff barefoot and without any rigging.



I did a quick spin through Acapulco to look at all the rich bastards, then headed out of town.



I met this Californian carrying two surf boards on his Italika.



One of my goals for the ride was to hit highway 175, which crosses from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico.









Next time... fun in Oaxaca.

Jamie
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:40 PM   #99
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Lovin' it, Jamie!!
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:00 PM   #100
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:57 PM   #101
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Perfect trip report!!! I will me riding there in March...not as far...I hope to camp a lot of good information!!!!!
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:43 PM   #102
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I like the four-door Ford Ranger in the back-ground...

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Old 01-22-2008, 07:53 PM   #103
Jamie Z OP
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I was still looking for a Central American guidebooks and maps. I'd posted a request on ADV looking for information. Inmate DoNR replied and said he was in Oaxaca, and had a Lonely Planet I could use. I aimed for Oaxaca and met Bill at his hotel.



We split a room for a couple of days. Bill was waiting on new chain and sprockets for his KLR to arrive from the US. When the parts arrived, we/he/they fixed his bike at a local dealership.



Bill just wanted to borrow some tools to do the work himself, but soon enough the shop mechanic wanted to help.







Then Bill showed me his favorite streetside eatery. We double-parked and I invited one of the ladies to join me.





Bill and I took a ride up to Monte Albán, ruins in the hills outside Oaxaca. A local Harley group was there.







Bill does an Egyptian dance. Or something.



Back in Oaxaca, Bill wanted to eat crickets. Really.



And we went and saw the Biggest Tree in the World.



After that we swapped bikes and headed into the hills. I thought the KLR was a handful on the highway, but once off the pavement, it felt incredibly confident. The road got pretty hairy, so we swapped back. Bill told me he didn't want to drop my bike.

Bill on the KLR.





We stopped for some pics.





We found ourselves in a tiny valley village just before sunset. Road construction forced us to return the way we'd come: up and over a 700m (2200ft) mountain after dark. At the bottom Bill admitted, "I can't believe a V-Strom rider kept up with me." Score one for Suzuki.

Bill gave me the Lonely Planet as well as a copy of Mi Moto Fidel. He headed out the next morning. Notice his bike loaded for a three-month ride through Central America. He's the king of traveling light. Hey Bill, you reading this? Great to meet you!





I left Oaxaca too, but not before going back out to the motorcycle shop for a pic of the hottie who works there. She gave me her phone number.

Jamie

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Old 01-22-2008, 08:24 PM   #104
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Jamie,

You have an eye for beauty!
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:11 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Z

Well, that 'splains the avatar.

Great report! Might have to expand my list beyond Baja. Keep it coming!
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