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Old 02-03-2010, 09:55 PM   #31
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Miguel, looks like a great trip. I'll get back and read more closely with a map in hand. Great pictures too. I'll be following. Lulu S
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:42 PM   #32
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Crazy-busy with work in Alamos. I'll update soon with more details. Meantime, here are some pics of the trip since I last posted.

My cohorts ran into "inclement weather leaving NM and had to spend an extra day on the road. I timed my departure from San Carlos, hoping to run into Mundobravo & Gemma on the ride south from San Carlos to Ciudad Obregon. About an hour into the day's ride I spied a familiar BMW moto on the side of the road at a chicken barbecue.
Mundo's doing the "chicken dance" at the chicken shack where they had just eaten before I arrived.

La Puerta Roja, the B & B we're staying in in Alamos.

First course of one of the gourmet breakfasts they serve.

Street scenes from Alamos.

More soon.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:13 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Gustavo
Good start to what promises to be a great trip. Just make those pictures a bit larger, so we can enjoy Mexico in full size, eh?

Are you running Distanzias? Looked like it in one of the pics, is the rear a 150/70 or OE size?

Gustavo: Yes they are Distanzias. 160/70. I've been uploading my pics to, and they get saved in the size format you see here. I'll have to look into changing account settings there.

The tourist: Thanks for the pic of the hotel. It's on my radar for next time.

Soulduck/Lulu: Thanks mate. I'll be here for at least a couple of months, so check back and let me know how I'm doing.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:14 PM   #34
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Well, this is the second year I've returned to Alamos, so I guess I must like the town. Last year I was befriended by two ex-pats ho happen to own the best two bar/restaurants in town and they've been entertaining me to my full satisfaction again this year. If you get to town you've got to stop into El Tesoro for one of Jose Luis's most excellent margaritas, and if you can afford it, you should treat yourself to dinner at Charisma. Joseph, the chef will astound you with a culinary treat here in a little backwater of the Sonoran Desert. We spent 5 days at La Puerta Roja, a wonderful bed and breakfast, where Teri, the owner will blow you away with gourmet breakfasts of multiple courses. This visit is a mix for me. I'm working on shooting video for a pilot of a program I hope to pitch to a cable TV channel while savoring the town and all that I loved about it the first time around. My friends at El Tesoro/Charisma have comped the rooms for me and my compadres, Gemma, and Mundo so we're staying gratis now that our lease has expired at La Puerta Roja.

The town is the first capital of Sonora and Chihuahua. It was a mining center during the 18th century when gold was discovered here, and it became a major center of commerce. The Homes are architecturally significant. It is generally beautiful here. The bars however close early if there's no one drinking this particular night, so if you decide to leave the one you're in for another, you might want to consider the move before implementing it.

This a really beautiful, albeit quiet town.

Rained all day today. Of course we decided we needed to go for a ride on our bikes. We were riding through 200 yard long "puddles" that were as deep as 12 inches. Who needs to plan for drainage when you live in a desert?

First course at the Puerta Roja Inn...

Second course at la Puerta Roja Inn...

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Old 02-06-2010, 09:06 AM   #35
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Mundo and Gemma left for New Mexico yesterday morning, so I'm on my own again. Alamos is a beautiful little town, and I'm psyched to being treated to a free room at El Tesoro. My friends are treating me well with a killer steak dinner last night at their restaurant "Charisma". I'll try to get a travel article published in a US newspaper about the town in exchange for the hospitality we've received here. I'm thinking of blowing off returning to Mulege. I was offered the casita there for another $100 for February, and I'll spend almost $400 taking the ferry back and forth. So, I'm thinking I'll stay here to watch the super bowl tomorrow and head down the west coast on Monday.

The pool at my new digs, El Tesoro.

The courtyard at El Tesoro

The kissing alley in Alamos

Typical street scene outside "the chocolate palace", the house on the left where the heiress to the Mars Candy Company lived at least some of the time.

There's a very unique ecosystem around here...

but it's threatened by buldozers clearing the land for grazing.

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Old 02-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #36
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Mundo and Miguel scheduled a break in the videotaping on the one day it poured down rain here in the Sonoran Desert. We had planned on riding out the ĎRuta Sierra Y Marí to Maciaca, but when we got our first look at the mud, we dropped back and punted, by re-routing back the pavement to Navajoa, which was underwater. Literally 200 yard long puddles, 10Ē deep, one after another. Then we rode the long way around to Masiaca and rode in a bit on the dirt portion before turning around and doing it again. We stopped at a little tiendita for a snack of galletas, cheetos, and coke. How do you say ďCheetosĒ in Spanish?

Narco-War tour, Pt.1

Well, all the gringos have been telling me how some very bad men live out San Bernardo way, and that itís best not to go out that way. I know some of you serious dirt riders have undoubtedly been through that town having crossed the Sierra Madres via that route. On one of my last days in Alamos I ran into Steve, a Brit with an aging Honda DL-360 who assured me that San Bernardo was cool, and beautiful to boot, so I delayed my departure date and the two of us rode out that way. But only after Steveís kickstand had fallen off, and he replaced his spark plug. All is good! The ride was fun and beautiful. Steve took me for a little side trip off the main road to check out the river and the swimming hole he uses.

We passed numerous caballeros and their herds, and they all waved to us when we passed by. When we got to San Bernardo we shared a quart of Pacifico Clara on the square. The guy at the cervezeria was very friendly and talked about the area and its history, (mostly ranching and mining). Thereís a recently opened hotel there on the plaza for anyone coming over the pass too late to go on to Alamos BTW. When we were ready to depart, I noticed my rear tire was low and could hear an audible hissing from it. Fortunately there was a Llanteria a couple of doors down. I offered to let him fix it, but he said he didnít have the right plugs, so I pulled out my tire repair kit and worked its magic with those black gooey strings, and we were on our way.

The next day, the tire hadnít lost any pressure so I rode off on the dirt road to Masiaca, but decided to check the pressure regularly hereafter.

Back to the highway, I soon decided to detour to El Fuerte, then took some back roads to Orinaca and Sinaloa del Leyva, then to Bamoa.

Sinaloa de Leyva is another colonial town, but not so "fixed-up" as Alamos. I saw a homeless person, fairly young, passed out on a porch. Didn't take a picture of her though...

I spent the night in Culiacan, a town Iíd always bypassed previously, as it looks pretty industrial. I decided to ride into el centro, to see what the town was really like and it was dark by the time I found the downtown, (no easy feat if youíre relying on the road signs). I checked int the Luxo-rific Hotel San Marcos for about $65/night. In Culiacan that gets you bell hops dressed in spiffy green and white uniforms who will carry your bags to your room, and make sure the TV is working, and tune it to the only English speaking channel, (might have been the Home Shopping Network), and adjust the volume to an annoyingly loud level. I was glad I stopped in el centro, and found a nice outdoor restaurant with some attractive women at the next table and proceeded to drink beer and eat.

When I left Culiacan it was raining, but it cleared up almost immediately. (Yay!) Decided to hammer down the cuota, (the toll road), to Mazatlan, (The Ocean City, NJ of Mexicoís West coast). Got into town early and checked into a room, (this one was only $24/night, but because of the weekend crowd expected for Lent the price was going to double tomorrow).

I checked for a replacement tire for my rear wheel, and nothing was available that I could find, so with the room rate doubling I left for Tepic on the cuota. I saw some pretty destitute dwellings on the ride south. I had seen a migrant labor camp the previous day, but hadn't stopped to get a photo. It strikes me that while Caesar Chavez improved the lot of migrant workers in the US, there is still plenty of room for improvement in Mexico. I wonder if the workers were from points south, such as Guatemala, seeking to improve their lives by moving further north, towards the US.

The blue agave farms were beautiful.

Soon, I realized Iíd spent about $35 dollars in tolls to go about 120 Km, so I jumped off at Rosamorada.

Along the way south I decided to detour to San Blas. Highly recommend this excursion if youíre in the area. There are lots of nice twisties on the ride down out of the mountains, and there was little traffic when I did it. Iím spending the night here in San Blas, which looks like a pretty cool little town. I splurged again on a $65/night room at the lovely Hotel Hacienda Flamingos, which for that price should include a bottle or two of water, but they donít. They did bring a pitcher of filtered water to the room however, and the mini-fridg is stocked with cerveza, which has allowed me to take the time to write this before heading out to check out the town. Being the cheap bastard that I am, Iíll restock the bar before I leave tomorrow with cans of Modelo Especial that cost about 2/5 of what the mini-bar cost is.

Went out on the town for dinner, and my feelings are mixed. The place I ate, (The San Blas Social Club), was great and the food was good, and I ended up having an extended conversation with the cook, an American ex-pat. I went down to the bar and found a scene that seems to repeat itself wherever Americans congregate here in Mexico. I find the general gestalt, insular, as they wait to see if perhaps youíre someone they should cultivate or not. Perhaps to wait to see if you're just a tourist who'll disappear tomorrow. If I were living in a little town in Mexico with only a couple of hundred ex-pats living in it, I'd be talking to anybody who pulled into town, I'm afraid. Maybe I'm just not cut out for the expat life. Either that, or these people are all wanted for crimes back in the states, and are just laying low. While there are things about the town I appreciate, the general scene I was witness to tonight, makes me want to flee to the interior, where perhaps fewer gringos have congregated. Iíll see how I feel tomorrow morning. Will I check in to El Hotel Bucanero, which costs about ľ of tonightís room, or move on to another town? Stay tunedÖ
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:29 PM   #37
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Thumb Great work on the reporting

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Old 02-18-2010, 02:07 PM   #38
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San Blas to Acapulco

The next day
backtracked a couple of miles to the little hill town of Libertad, where I saw a woman carrying her groceries home on a platter balanced on her head.

La Libertad.

Rode out the long way around and joined the highway, (carretera), at Zacaluapan. Once on the highway, I saw a sign for ‘Chacala”, a beach town I last visited in 1998 with the woman I was then falling in love with, and would soon become my wife, before going on to break my heart. Maybe it was the masochist in me, but I decided to ride the 9 Km to the beach to see how it had changed in the interim. Like my ex and I, Chacala had weathered some storms, and had moved on from where it had been when last I saw it. The town was choc-a-bloc with little hotels and many new vacation homes dotted the hillside. It looked like most of the town had been sold or was for sale. Say-La-Vee…

San Francisco


Sayulita. Well, I didn’t really want to hit another gringo town, but I’ve been hearing about this place for years, so I had to at least stop by and check it out. It’s the kind of scene you might expect from a town that has been getting good press, and has fallen into the narcoleptic belief in its’ own press clippings. Don’t get me wrong. There are many things to like about the town. It’s setting for one thing. Nestled on beautiful hills next to the sea, with a break that surfers like for one. Besides that it has all those trim and fit young and old surfer body types, so the girl watching ain’t bad either.

View from my room at La Casona hotel, Sayulita.

There’s a studied coolness that can cross over into a sort of self-conscious narcissism that bothers me the most. I saw the worst of it in the business owners, many of whom I thought outright rude, (gringo and Mexicano alike). Others undoubtedly have access to better ganga than I, so their superiority may actually be something to strive for. Maybe they’re pissed that their cool little town has been invaded by all the usual suspects trying to catch a wave or the groove of a once-cool town that may have jumped the shark in it’s embrace of it’s new found fame.

Sayulita surf scene.

Nonetheless it’s got a cool music scene, I heard accomplished jazz, reggae, and funk artists in the two nights I spent here.

It’s expensive. 30 pesos for a beer in a bar is not unusual, and I’m still trying to match the taste and value of the fish tacos at Danny’s Asadero in Mulege.

Sayulita street scene.

I spent my first night at La Casona just off the main drag once you get to the heart of town, and the girls who run the place were helpful, fun, and cute. The rooms were great but at $75 US I would have expected as much. Of course the next morning after a night of carousing, I was awoken waaay to early by the obligatory Mexican truck equipped with loudspeakers announcing some good or service I had zero interest in. Pillow over head, and I got back to sleep very quickly. They served a continental breakfast of granola, yogurt, fruit and coffee that had me reminiscing about the gourmet breakfasts at La Puerta Roja in Alamos.

The next day I moved just a half block toward the beach to the rustic little orange hotel, where the daily rate dropped to 400 oesos or about $32 US. It’s nothing fancy but the breaking surf is just outside my window, so that’s a big plus, and it’s less than half the price of La Casona. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow as to whether I have to escape to a town that hopefully will be at least 50% Mexicanos. Puerto Vallarta is just down the road, but I may just cruise on by.

The orange hotel economico.

It was nice to just cruise on by PV. I’d been here 11 years ago and didn’t feel a need to repeat the experience. I did however stop at Wal-Mart to buy a new headlamp as the strap attachment on mine had broken a couple of days previously. Note: for those of you who haven’t traveled the cheap hotel circuit in Mexico, you’re likely to have only one bulb in the center of the ceiling, so if you like to read, or write in bed, as I do, it would behoove you to bring a headlamp even if you don’t intend to camp.

A few klicks south of town, and the road started some nice twisting and turning, and the traffic thinned out. It was a great day’s ride with very little traffic that wasn’t easily passed. Towards the end of the day, I pulled into an obscure little beach town thinking this might be a “real” Mexican beach town. The first thing I saw was Anglos bicycling around town, and when I stopped to inquire about rooms, there were more anglos, and the rooms were 700 pesos a night (WTF?). So I rode on.

Typical view during the day's ride

Eventually I pulled into the little beach town of La Manzanita, (or it could have been La Manzanilla). Either way, I was tired and checked into Michel’s Hotel, which was owned by a native family, and cost 350 pesos/night. I went on a pub crawl around this gringo town that was wiped out by a tsunami in1998, but has been totally rebuilt. It’s a nice little town, but again, Muchos gringos.

What I’m starting to realize is that this trip is spending a lot of my time in beach towns, and the corollary is that gringos love the beach. One of the locals at dinner tonight told me about a colonial town, Comala, up in the mountains about 50 km, so I may ride up there tomorrow.

The following day

Rode up to Comala on the ‘Libre’, (non-toll road). It was a nice ride. I stopped and ate lunch in Colima, which seems like a nice town. Then I rode into Comala, and had a couple of cervezas on the square. I wish I hadn’t eaten all ready. The waiter brought me a plate of enchiladas with my beer, which I told him I didn’t order. It turns out that this restaurant offers free food with your drinks, (which are over priced, but still a good deal if you’re hungry). The guys at the next table were chowing down on multiple courses, so if you’re in the area, DON’T EAT BEFORE YOU ARRIVE IN COMALA!

snow capped peaks on the volcano above Comala!

The road back to Manzanillo

I decided to burn some miles and pondered going up to Guadalajara and Lake Chapala before heading south, but in the end decided to go back to the coast and head south from Tecoman. I’d been warned to fill up my tank before leaving Tecoman, and the advice is sound. The ride south from there is a road biker’s dream: nothing but twisties and sweeping turns for the next 200 km. It was only about 2:30, so I figured I had time to make the next bigger town before dark, but I’d made that estimate long before I realized I’d be making the trip mostly in second, third, and fourth gears.

There’s a pattern and rhythm to it. As I move inexorably southward, I climb as I move out around the points, then descend as I round the point, with a brief glimpse of a speco view to the south, then cross a bridge or two, and begin swerving my way back up to the next point. Michoacan’s shoreline is Mexico’s lost coastline. Too far from most cities and airports to be frequented and developed like the towns I’ve been seeing so far on the ride south, there are miles of unspoiled coastal bays and craggy promontories here for those fortunate enough to pass this way.

Pushing it about as hard as I wanted to is taking me about 9 minutes to go 10 km, or an average of about 42 mph. I think I just got lucky with the trucks, because I never even came up on one in this whole section. I saw goats, dogs, and burros on the roadside along the way, and am convinced I don’t want to ride this road after dark. So I’m pushing it. And it’s killing me. Cause the views are gorgeous! And there are cool little villages I’m speeding by that I know I would like to stop and chat with some locals and share a beer, but I keep keepin’ on even though I know I’m not gonna make it before dark.

typical view today

Then eventually this little town appears in the distance where I spy the only Pemex station since Tecoman and it’s open, so I pull in as the last light of the day is fading and fill up. The pump girl tells me there are a couple of hotels “economico” in town. So I head into town and find a room at the Hotel Yuriritzi for 350 pesos a night.

The Hotel Your-a-Ritzi

Dancing Dog's sculpture along the ride.

I can tell you straight up, that you may in fact be a “ritzi”, but the hotel is not. Still, it’s clean, and even though they stuck the gringo in room 13 with no hot water, I don’t care. I’m showered, and I had a great camarones al mojo de ajo dinner at Adeles, where she had to send her daughter across the plaza to get a couple of beers for this tired gringo boy. I don’t even know the name of this town, but I like it, and I’ll find out tomorrow. That’s all for now.

The town with the Pemex and the Hotel Yuraritzi, is Calla de Campos, (I think).

Next day

Abandoned Pemex with a view in Zihuateneho.

Zihuateneho. I liked this town, and probably should have spent a night just to check it out.

San Miguelito. :)

Long day today. Made it to the legendary Acapulco. Haven’t seen any cliff divers so far. I did find a nice little motel on the way into town with overhead fans, no AC, and a pool. Nice little setting, and the room was only 250 pesos.

The $20/night hotel a few miles from downtown Acapulco.

Got up and tried to find my way to a moto shop to find a new tire as the rear tire is losing pressure more rapidly now, and I’ve logged almost 5000 miles on it, the wear strips are showing, and it’s time to replace it. Navigating around Acapulco is a bit of a crap shoot, but, I finally made it to a Yamaha dealer who not only had the right size tire, he had a Avon Distanzia to match the one I was replacing, so I’m pleased. They also changed the oil, and adjusted the chain, so all is good.

I’m tired of riding, so I wanted to find a place to spend a couple of days to relax. The first place I stopped at on the way south out of town charged about $300 us a night, so I rode back into town, so I could walk where I wanted during my layover. I found a more modest place near the beach for about $47/night with AC, which is starting to seem more of a desirable thing as I move south. I was totally drenched in sweat within a few minutes of leaving the motel this morning. I spent the afternoon and evening in a bar/restaurant which has wifi, and caught up on correspondence. I’m going to spend at least another night here before heading south to Oaxaca.

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Old 02-18-2010, 06:46 PM   #39
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Looks like you are having a great ride. I am along for the ride on my couch.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:46 PM   #40
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Thanks for the update

Love the report...keep'm coming.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:07 PM   #41
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Great report, great pictures
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:55 PM   #42
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This is a great ride report. Your narrative is excellent! Thanks for taking the time to post. I'm probably heading down that way in the fall. I appreciate you listing hotel prices - it's going to make life easier.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:22 AM   #43
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must . get . back . to . mexico!

Great photos. I can never get enough.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:46 PM   #44
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Thanks to all for reading and commenting. MikeinSA, regarding those hotel prices, It's often worth trying to negotiate the price, although the bigger tourist towns it doesn't work as well as other places. Also it can be worth just asking if they have a different room that's less expensive. The natural inclination of hotel operators the world over, is to put you in the most expensive room they have.

Well, after two rest days in Acapulco, I set out for Puerto Escondido on the Oaxacan coast. Started off with tons of topes, and Iíve gotten better at spotting them, but still miss them occasionally. I hit one at speed today, and had my front suspension bottom out. Ouch! Later the road opened up a lot more, and had some nice twists and turns. The ride today, while near the coast, moved a tad inland. Oaxaca has a good feel to it. The people here are beautiful. Iíve heard skin color described as ďcoffee coloredĒ which I think describes the indios complexion here perfectly.

Got into Puerto Escondido with lots of daylight to spare and I found a great room for $25 a night at a place operated by Manfred and Anjelique, on Ave. Benito Juarez. Then I went for my first ocean swim since Iíve been here, and it was perfect. The beach near my hotel is very secluded from town, though still crowded, and much less turbulent than Playa Zicatela in town, famous for itís big wave surfing.

But my room was only available for one night so I moved across the street to a kick-ass 2 BR apartment for about $45/night. The value you get for your money here is good. I paid more for my room in Acapulco, which was a one-room dump in comparison to the rooms Iíve stayed in here. Tomorrow I move into a little casita Iíve rented for the month. It looks pretty beautiful, and I paid a little more than I wanted, but itís sweet. And it comes with internet service.

Mi casita

with secure parking for the bike.

Nice little architectural detail at the base of the Portal posts.

Itís pretty hot here. You can tell by the way people cluster in the shady spotsÖ

To give you an idea of just how good the music scene is here, here's a 2 minute video I made of an Italian band that's gigging here this winter. Unfortunately I don't remember their name, (which was the name of the lead guitarist).

Catfish Keith is playing some gigs around town right now, so I'll probably check him out this weekend.

I'm really digging the town, but I havenít taken many pictures here yet. Iíll post some soon.

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Old 03-01-2010, 10:43 AM   #45
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where are you ? liven on P.E. time ?
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