|06-02-2014, 11:34 AM||#1|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
6 months on a Harley Sportser from Los Angeles to Southern Ecuador and back!
Hello all! This is the story of my partner Sophia and I travelling from Los Angeles to Southern Ecuador and back on our 2006 Sportster. I had this posted on my own site but never got much interest so I figured I'd copy it over to advrider.
We're currently in Colombia on the tail end of our trip and will be flying with our motorcycle into Miami next week. From there we'll ride back to California along the I-10.
We're going to need someone in Miami who can lace a new rear rim as sea water rusted the one on the bike and is causing us to get flat tires. We could also use cheap places to stay as we cross the States mostly via the I-10, so suggestions would be very welcome.
There is quite a lot here. I'm going to start at the beginning, back in December 2013 and add a new post for each blog entry. I hope you all find it a good read. Oh and here are a bunch of pics from the ride so far to whet yer whistle.
Oh and an aside; we started with two bikes, the Sporty and a Sym 150. It was named Mr. Bop Bop. We had to sell it near Mexico City.
|06-02-2014, 11:36 AM||#2|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 2nd Dec 2013
We're trying really hard to stay on track for our leaving date of Wednesday, 4th Dec. A lot has been going on, probably the most important of which is that Bop Bop's googly eye has been fixed without expenditure. One of the rear signals was hanging off due to the bad Sym signal mounts. I just took the mounts away and mounted the signals directly to the back of the bike.
Sym Wolf 150 signals mounted to fender
I also removed and re-installed Mr. Bop-Bop's engine to replace a pesky valve cover that had been stuck for a while. Finally I patched up his cheapish saddlebags and riveted the joints - see below. I also fitted metal plates (cut from an old computer case) so they won't get holed on the passenger foot pegs.
Sym Wolf 150 Saddlebags
I flipped out a bit this week as our leaving date is coming up so soon and put some hard work into figuring out a route. It looks like we're going to cross the border at Los Algodones which is a nice little border near Yuma Arizona. I'm figuring we'll ride through the Joshua Tree park then on to surface roads to get down there. Something like this:
Our route to Mexico
We'd find a cheap place to sleep, then cross early in the morning, heading down the inside edge of the peninsula. I haven't yet found out if we can do the necessary paperwork to temporarily import our bikes at this crossing though. If not it's going to be one of the bigger borders which will be less nice.
What else... Last weekend we went to a fantastic warehouse party in LA, where we ran into my ex-wife which was really nice as we got to re-connect before leaving for Ecuador. Hopefully she'll come and visit sometime in the future. Also while in Los Angeles we happened to check out the Annenberg Space for Photography. We both got pretty inspired to wok on our own photography on our adventure.
Other than that we're waiting for late items in the mail. Soph ordered a fancy camera so we'll be able to put up beautiful pictures and videos. I ordered headsets for the Midland radios we'll be using to communicate. We also got Soph a really warm 32 degree "Down Sleeping Bag". It packs up so small she'll be able to keep it in the dry storm case on her bike. I'm a bit jealous to be honest. Pic is below, my foot is there for scale!
Ozark Trail Sleeping Bag
All men starting out on an adventure like this should know the most important thing is to keep your woman comfortable! A grumpy woman can really mess up an otherwise fantastic adventure.
I have some more things to order / do today:
Spare drive belt for the Donkey
GPS handlebar mount (only for use when looking for immigration places etc)
Wet weather gear for both of us (we have one set, so that might do for me - need to experiment)
Rechargeable batteries and charger for the cameras
Get my eyes tested and new glasses made
Find the big chain and padlock for locking the bikes up (haven't seen it in weeks)
Start assembling a travel tool kit
Probably a few other things
All in all things are going to plan although we won't make the 4th due to the time some of these things are taking to arrive. We also have to trial pack the bikes and figure out the border crossing we're going to use.
I believe I finally understand the point of deadlines and why no-one ever meets them!
Next report in a few days.
|06-02-2014, 11:38 AM||#3|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 5th Dec 2013
Well I know that Wednesday has come and gone, but everything is on track, and what is a deadline for if not breaking? Anyway, we've been continuing to obtain stuff and get things ready to go. I spent this morning getting The Donkey kitted out with her GPS mount and figuring out how to pack the tent and spare gas can. I'm thinking we'll carry an extra gallon of gas each even though Mr Bop Bop has a much better range than The Donkey. We'll probably bungee the gas cans to the tops of the storm cases.
I also built a tool kit with everything we'll need to maintain both bikes. It took a while but here is the finished set:
Harley Sportster Tool Kit
List of items:
Tire Irons x2
Flat blade screwdrivers small and large
3 philips screwdriver heads
Torx bits T-25, T-27, T-40, T-45
.05 and .15 feeler gauges
Puncture repair kit
Hex Bits 4mm, 5/32, 3/16, 5/16
Sockets 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 11/16, 3/4, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 19mm
Adaptors for sockets and screwdriver bits
Socket extender bars short and long
Wrenches 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 5/8, 15/16
Special Tappet Adjuster for Sym
1/4 allen wrench
Electrical Test Meter
Miniature 12v Tire Pump with gauge
And here is The Donkey, kitted out with GPS mount and tent. There is a new pouch on the front for often used tools.
Harley Sportster Adventure Bike
Harley Sportster Adventure Bike
A couple of weeks ago I saw a video on making a simple alcohol stove from a beer can. Well this interested me on many levels; building something useful from nothing, fulfilling a need we had for a piece of equipment, drinking a can of beer and so on. I made the thing exactly as outlined in the video and it functions beautifully, except it is sensitive to breeze. I figured that would be easy enough to fix with another beer can, so one large can of fosters later I had a decent wind break for my stove.
I then found that the cooking kit I got from Walmart a few days ago is practically made to work with this stove. See below for pictures, and the you tube video on how to make one yourself.
Home made portable cooker
I think Soph is gonna make a bigger version of this stove for using with a fry pan or bigger pot. We'll make some videos of the construction and the thing in action and post them when done.
We're still waiting on a few bits and pieces. Soph's fancypants camera didn't show up yet. The headsets for our radios probably won't come in at Wally Mart until Monday. I need a warm, compact sleeping bag.
I'm still figuring on crossing as Los Algodones (see 2nd Dec blog entry). I haven't figured if we can get our TVIPs there (temporary vehicle import permits) but I reckon we can just ask where to get 'em.
Soph has been doing a bit of stuff on her bike Mr Bop Bop since I fitted the saddlebags. He is now sporting many stickers:
Sym Wolf 150 Adventure Bike
Finally, we're now planning to leave on Mon or Tues after the headsets show up. More updates soon!
|06-02-2014, 11:40 AM||#4|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 12th Dec 2013
Looks like we're leaving tomorrow... I'm hazarding a guess that it may be Saturday but could be proven wrong. Everything of mine is packed... The Donkey is looking good. Soph's not quite there yet. She may or may not be ready this evening! She had a lot more stuff to deal with than me. Also she hasn't finished packing her bike yet and that can take a while.
The weather here in Joshua Tree is warming up. Today was in the high forties which was way warmer than a few days ago. We did get a bit of snow today though. I went out on my motorbike and rode up to a peak in the Joshua Tree park. It was nice sitting listening to the snow rustle as it settled to the ground.
Snowy mountains in Joshua TreeSoph took this photo from the yard.
On a different note I have discovered suspenders. Not the sexy kind girls (mostly) wear around their upper thighs but the kind old burly mountain dwelling men use to hold their pants or trousers up. Braces we call them in England. I'm a new man. Been strutting about the place with my thumbs hooked through my braces for the last couple of days. Feel great. I've not been brave enough to try them with my adventure hat yet. I'm not entirely sure what will happen.
Nothing much else to report. More when we actually do leave.
|06-02-2014, 11:41 AM||#5|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 16th Dec 2013 WE'RE IN MEXICO!!!!!
I'm in Golfo De Santa Clara sitting at a table in the hotel courtyard drinking a beer. We've been traveling 2 days and today was our first in Mexico. We committed a few cardinal travel sins this evening. One: We didn't check the room before we dropped forty big ones. Two: We didn't check the shower worked (it doesn't). Three: We didn't ask how much the tacos we're before ordering.
We were ok on one and three so the travel gods let us off lightly.
We hit the road yesterday. Saying goodbye to my Mom was hard but we'll be seeing her again soon (my dad accompanied us to the border).
It took some work getting the bikes finally packed. We're still shedding pounds of junk. Soph got rid of almost a whole bag of it! Before and after photos follow. From Joshua Tree we went South through Mecca, funnily enough for those who have camped with us there, then on to Brawley. From Brawley we went east and camped in the desert our first night. The scenery was stunning and the pics below do it no justice. We went from scrub-land to great cathedrals of rock to sand dunes. All with a huge moon hanging just over the desert so low we could almost touch it!
Camping was great right up until we climbed into what we thought were nice 32 degree sleeping bags. They most definitely aren't. I was freezing and so was Sophia. My dad slept like a log happily ensconced in his 20+ year old cheapo bag. Not too happy about our purchases there. We did, as I said have a great time chattin' and drinkin' though.
This morning we got up from our non-slumber and headed first to Yuma AZ for some nice breakfast then to the border at Los Albondigas... no Los Algodones.
The border stuff went ok, but our South of the Border riding approach took some dialing in. There were some disagreements! Now we're getting it though. Crossing at such a small border meant we couldn't do our vehicle import paperwork there and then- but had to ride round on the Mexican side to the much bigger border at San Luis Rio Colorado. We then had another disagreement with Soph yelling something about a flag and me yelling "Yeah, cool" when really I was supposed to ride over and park under it. Oh that brings me to the headsets. They don't work very well and have been discarded. Shame but they were too much of a PITA.
So after sorting out the vehicle paperwork and paying some huge deposits ($700 US in all) we headed South at a sedate 50mph, finally arriving in Golfo De Santa Clara, a funny little beach resort. Its pretty warm here for December. I imagine it must be hotter n hell in the summer. The Sonora is a bleak bastard of a desert but pretty in its own ways. Only problem is the road ran out! We have to turn round and backtrack 70mi only to start south again! Doh!
We just got back from amazing tacos and dodging smokey pickup trucks. Oh and there is a guy screaming up and down the street on some monster 2-stroke ATV.
|06-02-2014, 11:42 AM||#6|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 17th Dec 2013
A fishing boat heading out onto Puerto Penasco bay at sunset. Photo courtesy of Sophia McFoy and her fancy new camera.
Today we rode from Golfo De Santa Clara do Puerto Penasco, about 110 miles. It was a pretty easy ride with very few cars and some pretty vistas. However, when looking for our hotel in Puerto Penasco Soph got angry about my dreadful sense of direction. Well, really I got sensitive about my terrible sense of direction and became very defensive thereby making Soph angry by snapping at her when I didn't even know I was doing it. Its better now though.
The bikes are running great. Mr Bop Bop (the lowly 150cc) hasn't missed a beat. We do a steady 55mph and let the miles roll by. The Donkey doesn't seem to mind, and is in fact running better on the gas here in Mexico than back in the States. I'm guessing it doesn't have any ethanol or oxygenation in it.
Tomorrow we're headed for Hermosillo. Its a good long ride, 300 miles or so. Thing is this desert is just going on and on and other than the beautiful bay at Puerto Penasco which you see in the pics its getting a bit samey. Also we're not finding others our age to hang with and accommodation is a bit on the pricey side. So, we're getting an early night and getting up with first light tomorrow. We've got a nice looking hotel to aim for over there, and we're looking forward to getting on into territory with more adventurers and cheap fun hostels.
Que mas? Well we went into town (we're staying at a cheapish place on the edge of town). Downtown Puerto Penasco is pretty nice. We sat and had a beer and some really nice fries and watched the sun go down. There were hundreds of pelicans diving for fish, then an old fishing boat went chugging out into the sea. I think they may send it out at sunset for people to take photos! Well we got some nice ones.
After that we walked about town a bit and had a coffee, then headed back to the hotel two up on The Donkey (we left Mr Bop Bop at the hotel earlier). After a couple of beers I was driving like a local!! Stop sign? BAH!!!
Finally a small cat has adopted us and I'd like to smuggle it to the farm, but alas its not gonna be possible :(
On the road
|06-02-2014, 11:44 AM||#7|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 21st Dec 2013
Its been a few days... very eventful days. So where to begin? Well, the 300 mile ride to Hermosillo was quite tough as you imagine an eight or so hour ride through Mexico could be, for Sophia especially. She did fantastic though and I was really proud when we got into Hermosillo, tired and sore. The ride itself was long more than eventful. I started out trying to baby her along a bit and stop every now and then but she soon told me she'd stop when she needed to. So we rode until we ran out of gas, first through miles of deserted.... desert? which was quite nice and relaxing. When we got onto the busier main roads things got a bit more stressful as Soph was babying Mr Bop Bop and only managing 50mph at times. I must say though - for the most part the drivers south of the border are more forgiving than those in California. Where someone would get angry and try to get revenge by tailgating or passing too close in Cali, the drivers here simply hang back and overtake quite safely when they can. For the most part! Anyway we've decided to quit babying Mr Bop Bop and run close to or flat out on those main roads. Those old CB engines are really tough and should handle it just fine. If we wear him out getting to Vilca, his engine's very easy to rebuild.
So we rode and rode. At one point we stopped to look for coffee and a really nice local and his girlfriend asked if we needed help then proceeded to get in their car and lead us to the coffee shop! People are really nice here although we've got a bit tired of every town looking like 29 Palms and are looking forward to having some more interesting stuff to look at.
The Hotel Ibis in Hermosillo was pretty nice, although we were really too tired to appreciate it. We walked up the street, dodging cars and ate at a place called Vips, which is like Dennys with good food. We then hit Walmart for some bits and pieces. Water, hair stuff for Soph, batteries for my now lost flashlight. It constantly amazes me how expensive stuff is, at least in this part of Mexico. I paid $8 for some AA batteries, the hair gunk was $12. It goes on.
Well, instead of resting up the next day we got it in our heads that we should head to a beach Soph had found on the internet. It looked amazing. Completely secluded. I had images of swimming in warm clear water au naturel and camping on a soft beach with a little fire.
So we got up thinking we'd get a fairly early start. From the beginning it was one of "those" days. Everything was way harder than it should have been. Perhaps the exhaustion made us stupider? Anyway right from getting my stuff together to getting breakfast (well washed fruit from a little shop across the street) to getting a few supplies from the ubiquitous Walmart it was like pushing a rock up a mountain. Having ate the fruit we felt like hell. Then we went to get supplies for the beach and somehow we were in a huge line in Walmart with 30 mins left till we had to check out of the hotel (we had to leave our cart and go back and do it over after check out).
Eventually we got the heck outta there and rode down to the beach. It was a nice ride and things seemed to be looking up. After 50 miles or so on the 2 lane road we turned off on a fun little road made almost entirely from potholes.
That part was great fun. It was warm, I was riding along a picturesque deserted road with my best bud making videos and taking pics of each other. Pretty soon we got on to the dirt roads and there things started to get a bit tough. Soon the trail got sandy and Soph took a tumble. I turned round quick, roared back to her then skidded to a halt smothering her in a big cloud of dust. A farm hand was running up from the other direction. She was ok, however. She laid on the ground for a bit enjoying the soft dirt while I picked her bike up.
Soph having taken her tumble on the way to Himalaya Beach, Sonora, Mexico
We rode on but she was still having a helluva time. A mile or so I let her tires down to around 20 psi which improved handling greatly. She rode very slow most of the rest of the way to the beach until the end where she all of a sudden got her bike riding legs and decided she didn't give a -I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!- anymore and took off like a bat out of hell. I couldn't keep up with her!
Eventually after a few wrong turns we got to the beach. It was gorgeous!
Himalaya Beach, Sonora, Mexico
So we got set up, and chose a spot round the little spit you can see in the center of the photo. We got Bop Bop over there without too much trouble but I didn't want to try the same with the weighty Donkey so I parked her right before the spit. Well, common sense soon prevailed and I realized that was a couple feet from the high water mark. I didn't fancy seeing her disappear into the surf so I moved her back to the road which was pretty far from camp. I thought then I should move her just off the road. I did, and she bogged up to her rear axle. Gunning the engine I got almost across a small bit of scrub land and back to the relative safety of the rocky part of the beach but there she dug in and wouldn't move an inch. Putting rocks and scrub under the wheel I got her a foot or so further and even more stuck, although she was close to the edge of the scrub land and a small hill leading back down to the rocky beach. It was dark by then, Soph was in a bad mood, and I was tired. So I reluctantly gave up and left the poor bike there to resume my efforts in the morning.
I retired to the camp site. Soph had the tent up, as well as you can put a tent up in soft sand which is not well at all, but we weren't worried as it was lovely and warm and there was no wind. We lit a little fire and sat talking, Soph laying against me, watching the sunset.
Well, the wind blew up a bit. Didn't bother us except for a bit of smoke in the eyes. Soon we finished the meager supply of driftwood and feathers we'd found to burn and smothered the fire. I'd finished my caguama of Tecate (a big pot shaped bottle of beer) so we retired to bed and didn't sleep at all.
The wind got louder. The tent kept hitting Soph and waking her up. We switched sides. She didn't sleep on the other side of the tent either. I might have got an hour. By now the wind was strong. I'd been out for a pee and was worried by the stormy looking sky but was trying to stick it out. Soph then got up around midnight.
"We need to get the -I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!- out of here!"
By now the waves were crashing loudly about 40 feet from the tent and 20 feet from Bop Bop. I knew the Donkey was safe for now. I got up hurriedly and got the heavy stuff packed up, found my flashlight and put fresh batteries in it. As I went outside the tent Soph was by her bike yelling at me to help. The see was getting ready to cut off our route out. I got the bike started and with her pushing managed to get it unstuck from the sand. I rode quickly along the beach and up the road, looking sadly at my Donkey on the way past. I parked Bop Bop and ran back.
Soph had gotten most of the stuff out of the tent in a pile. We got an end each and, fighting the wind, carried it up by mr Bop Bop. Someone had to stay and hold the tent and that was Soph. So I bolted back down the beach and grabbed an armful of stuff. My box with my passports, paperwork and laptop came first along with our helmets and whatever clothes I could stuff in them. Next came the cooking gear and Soph's backpack, named "The Monster" after Cheryl Strayed's backpack from her book "Wild" - check it out if you want a good read. My little backpack was next along with the two gas cans which I bungeeed to myself. Running up the beach attached to 3 gallons of gas I felt like some kind of mad suicide bomber! Finally the small things I grabbed and moved to the other side of the spit. I had to get the Donkey out. The sea was getting meaner by the second and had infact cut off our little beach as I ran through the last time.
I ran over to the Donkey and with Sophs help tipped her on her side. As I'd done before we stuffed a bunch of rocks under the back wheel. I fired her up. She moved a bit then fell back in the hole. More rocks and scrub under the wheel. Again no go. We tried several more times but were digging an even bigger hole. Its strange how easy it is to move a 250 pound bike and how difficult it is to move a 550 pound bike when its stuck. She wouldn't budge. It was like trying to lift a house! Eventually we tipped her right on her side. It was a sad sight. I then dragged the back round as hard as I could and got it into a patch of clear ground. We stood her up. Thankfully she started. Remember the sea was getting closer this whole time. Still she was stuck. Some scrub had got under her engine and she was beached on it. Well by now things were getting a bit scary. I just about lost it and tore the ground out from under the bike with my hands. I was pulling the scrub out in handfuls and eventually got down to the roots. Finally there was a gap under the engine. I got on the bike and without starting her rolled her down to the hard rock under the ledge of soft dirt she'd been stuck on. I fired her up and rode her around to the road, then blasted up the road leaving a trench and cloud of dust behind in triumph. Having parked her and shut her off I turned round and Soph was walking slowly up the road sobbing. It had all been too much.
We went to bed not sure if she'd be completing the trip with me, at least on her own bike. We were safe, but the night wasn't done with us yet. The wind blew up even harder keeping us awake, but the tent held up even without guy ropes. It's an old style Eureka Timberline A-Frame. One of the few pieces of hardware beside the bikes that has really proved itself on this trip.
As morning came, Soph wanted to leave. I wasn't about to argue. So as we packed up what happened? It started raining.
We rode out of the beach canyon. As we started on the 15 miles of dirt roads back to civilization I suddenly realized how beautiful the scenery was. I didn't get any pictures, but the road, scrub and cacti were glistening. The small mountains disappeared into the mist and the rain was falling softly. This was what I'd been dreaming of, although I could've done without the beach drama. So I got happy. But what of Soph? with her bike's light weight and decent ground clearence, and her new found offroading skills she was flying along again. Again I couldn't keep up. Soon we were having a good time despite the rain. As we got out to the softer dirt road we found it had turned to mud. I was worried about Soph but it turned out it was my turn for a tumble.
As I rode along enjoying the view I rode onto a long slick patch of deep mud. The 550 pound bike slithered from side to side but I didn't have a hope of staying on. I hit the ground which was luckily very soft at fifteen or so MPH, sliding gently to a holt whilst turning the engine off. I've nearly put a foot through a spinning back wheel enough times to know that one!
Now it was Soph's turn. She rode up like a pro on the same bit of road that wiped me out and asked if I was ok. She parked her bike and helped me lift mine up. Thankfully it was OK. Nothing bent, just a damaged pannier clip.
We rode the rest of the way out to the pothole road and inflated our tires. Then we headed out to the main 2 lane highway. By now it was pouring with rain. I was a little worried about Sophia as it was her first wet weather ride, and as usual it was a humdinger. It poured for the 40 miles or so to Guayamas.
I aimed for the first hotel I saw. I thought Soph would be in a hell of a state. But the ol McFoy not giving a -I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!- had kicked in and she was blasting along. She didn't want to stay at that one so we rode round Guayamas till we found a cheap (for Sonora) hotel we could deal with. It ended up being about 800 pesos (68 bucks) for two nights.
That's where we are now. I was pretty depressed last night, but I knew that all trips have a dark hole you get into sometimes that you have to dig your way out of. So, resolving to do that I went to sleep.
This morning we went to Walmart (there's always a walmart) for water and stuff for lunch. I also brought some oil for Soph's bike, which gets about 1000 mi between changes (we've done 950). I then planned the next couple of days and Soph washed clothes. Getting the washing machine working was another fun thing. Lets say we know a lot about the little clockwork control system inside commercial washers now!
Next I did a bit of maintenance on the bikes. I changed Bop Bop's oil. I also found the clutch a bit slack. On examination I found the clutch cable almost entirely severed at the lever end! It was a pretty bad moment having planned tomorrow's ride and even reserved a hotel. I then remembered asking Soph to pack the clutch cable I'd ordered for her bike nearly a year ago on a whim. When she came back I asked with baited breath if she had it and she did! Very happy moments were had by all!
Soph's clutch cable - only two strands left!!
I finished the oil change and fitted the new cable. All is well now. I also cleaned all the mud out of my bike's clutch lever and doused it with WD-40. Now I don't think mine will give out any time soon, although I get a bunch of WD-40 on my hand every time I use the clutch.
Tomorrow we're up early and headed 120 miles to "Hotel California" in Novajoa. Its just a place to spend the night but it's cheap. We'll get there pretty early and chill. Maybe see if the city is any different from 29 Palms. It might be, we're almost at the point where hostels and things start. The following night we're at an actual real hostel at Los Mochis near the copper canyons. I'm quite excited and even hopeful we'll find a few cool folks to share Christmas with.
|06-02-2014, 11:46 AM||#8|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 25th Dec 2013 merry christmas!!
Christmas Eve from our room in Mazatlan
Ok... better first catch up to where I was (reads last blog).
Right! Hotel Novajoa. That place was pretty nice. The ride wasn't so hard but I was still finding it stressful having Soph behind me as her speed would vary and I never knew how much she had in reserve for overtaking slow trucks and things. Anyway. The hotel was very cheap and was also the nicest we'd stayed in up to that point. Arriving early I decided to do a bit of bikey maintenance and while lubing Soph's chain a worker from the hotel came over and invited me to park the bikes in a secure locked area. He said (I figured out after much gesturing, repeating and terrible Spanish on my part) that he would leave the gate unlocked and that I should just apply the pad lock so it looked locked. Fair enough, thought I and parked the bikes back there.
The town itself was nice and clean although it felt a bit like some place in the OC. We walked a ways up the street and ate some kind of food. I cant remember what. On returning to the hotel, the cold I picked up in the rain the other day got the better of me and we both got an early night.
Correction. We tried to get an early night. Some drunken youths played music out of their room and screamed stupid things in their stupid teenage half-broken voices until after one a.m. Ok I'm over it. It sounded like fun.
Right so after that we slept ok. Up early as we had a long day ahead (230 miles to Culiacan) we were out loading the bikes when an old fella came up and babbled a bunch of stuff we didn't understand. Ultimately we found out he was mildly vexed we'd parked in his secure area and left it unlocked. He then started asking for beer money. I didn't want to give him any, since we wouldn't have parked in his space if the other guy hadn't told us we could. So, we moved the bikes out hurriedly with the old guy babbling at us.
Now we had a little problem as we'd brought most of our stuff down thinking we had a locked area to load up in. The bikes were visible from the street and loaded with Soph's monster bag, the tent and much other stuff. We decided "-I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!- it" and went for breakfast. I think by now we're both of the opinion that it would make our lives way easier if half our stuff got stolen.
After breakfast and checkout we went out to the bikes and everything was still there. Damn.
This was the first day we decided to switch around. Soph would be riding point and myself following. There are many reasons this works better. Soph has an almost superhuman (compared to me) ability to navigate. Her bike is slower therefore its easy for me to overtake and do some "whizzing" if necessary to catch up. I can keep an eye on her all the time, although that's no longer necessary. In Mexico, every day one rides gives one about 3 months riding experience in somewhere like the US. So now she rides like someone who's been riding a lot for over a year.
We rode, stopped, rode some more, stopped, rode some more etc. As we passed the "Welcome to Sinaloa" sign we both whooped it up and beeped our horns. We had conquered the Sonoran desert. That's a big bastard of a place.
We weren't out of the woods yet however. Culiacan is big, busy, dangerous, and smells like everyone is cooking poo. We got all stressed out finding the hotel we'd booked as the GPS is often a half mile or more off when looking for a street address here. We have no other option though because there are no maps. We braved the rush hour madness looking for the hotel until we stopped at one that looked a bit like it might be it. On trying to check in I found our hotel was four blocks down the street. Down the street we rode. Pulling up we looked for the parking lot. No parking lot. We parked on a street corner which was the only place free. I went in and tried to find out where to park. I was rewarded with a stream of Spanish as far beyond my capability to understand as Trigonometry must be to a Gecko. I was given a key. Hmm the parking must be somewhere else. But where? I understood only red and white. Then a guy came running out and gestured to follow. I grabbed an arm full of stuff off the bike and went in. Then he pointed down a corridor. "Parking?" I asked. "Si". So I thought there was a door to the parking area down the corridor.
I went back to my bike with the stuff thinking I could grab it once the bike was parked. Hopping on the Donkey I was now in "-I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!- it" mode. I roared out into traffic, spun round in the intersection and roared down the street looking for the parking. After turning again I found it. It was an ugly, shit and trash strewn lot with an ineffective looking gate secured with an even less effective looking chain and lock. No door leading to the hotel as it was on the next blog. Damn. I rode back to the hotel, past the guy who was walking down the street to make sure I got the gate open. He started coming back up to see what was going on. In his defense he didn't get angry at all. God knows what he was trying to show me in the hotel though. All this time Soph was sitting with her head in her hands hoping to be hit by a bus.
Parking back up where I'd been 5 minutes before I started to unload. I grabbed the "Monster". I started going in with it and Soph yelled at me that the cover was falling of. I knew that, and figured it would hopefully stay on until I got to the room. I grabbed the key and ran it up to our room, which was actually rather nice. I repeated until I was very sweaty and all our crap was moved. Soph had to stay by the bikes because of the two or three street urchins hanging around.
Once that was done Soph went up to the room and I went to park the bikes. First the Donkey. Again I blasted down the street and around the intersection. This time pulling up outside the crap box. I opened the gate and parked the bike by one wall, hoping it would be hidden a bit (it wasn't). I locked up and walked back for Bop Bop and repeated. I then locked both bikes and covered them as best I could. I locked the gate carefully and went to the room.
After hanging out a bit we walked up the street for food and found a burger joint. The burgers were, I thought, pretty damn good. And only about $2.50 each with fries. They had no beer though.
Across the street I brought a beer, which I needed medicinally. Walking back up we passed the bikes and Soph said why didn't I park them against the other wall where at least the passing road traffic wouldn't have a fantastic view of them? We went for the key.
Soph was first. She wheeled Mr Bop Bop across the lot and parked him close to the wall which we then realized was covered with human excrement. How did this happen? Ok ok. I got my bike and parked it next to hers and locked them together. We put the cover on, trying not to get covered in poo and then locked the gate carefully. We said our goodbyes to our trusty steeds and walked back to the hotel.
One uneventful night later:
We slept in as we only had 130MI or so to go to Mazatlan. Easy Peasy. This was now Christmas Eve. We were both a bit out of sorts. We went downstairs and had no breakfast, then checked out. The woman gave me 50 pesos, which was nice. I hadn't realized but the price of the room included a deposit. Lovely!
We walked up the street to where our bikes had been, and they were still there!! Score! We extricated them from the poo-wall and rode them to the hotel where our junk was waiting. We loaded up quick and got the -I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!--I LUV XLF!- out of Culiacan.
We argued a bit on the road so we didn't talk until we were safely ensconced in Mazatlan.
The ride other than that was entirely uneventful. Which is a good way for a ride to be.
As we rode the last few miles towards Mazatlan it seemed as if someone had flicked a "Tropical" switch. The plants all changed to something much closer to Jungle, and the air seemed now to be nurturing our souls instead of trying to kill us. This was nice.
We rode into town as it started to rain. We had no place picked out as the internet at the "hotel mierda" in Culiacan had not worked. Reaching the seafront we turned up into the "Dorado" which is the tourist spot. We pulled into the first hotel, the AguasMarina or something. It was nice. It was Christmas Eve. It was expensive. We decided to stay for a night.
The room was really nice. I decided to have a swim and Soph went out to have a bit of time on her own. I then sat by the pool and drank an expensive beer and ate an expensive sandwich and read.
Later on we patched up our argument and hopped on a sort of golf cart thing (vw bug based) into the old town. Old town Mazatlan is absolutely stunning. All kinds of old buildings. Some deserted and falling down. No traffic. Trees, happy people. We had a coffee and a cheesecake and wondered if my folks had come to this spot when they were here. We then wandered about until the sun started to set. It was a really nice time. We walked all the old streets and took many photos. One house was like something out of the Munsters. I loved it!! many photos in the gallery below.
Finally, we took another golf cart thing back to the hotel. I really like the golf carts because they are incredibly slow and therefore not terrifying as a normal taxi is.
We sat in our room watching the Simpsons in Spanish, and ate a sort of ham sandwich of the gods we'd brought earlier. Nice Christmas Eve.
Soph woke me at some ungodly hour jabbering about a hostel we'd been thinking about transferring to. I mumbled "yeah" and "uh huh" until she left me alone to go to sleep. In the morning I learned she'd booked us at a hostel up the road. Sounded good. She'd also written them about moving there that day, Christmas Day and they'd replied that would be fine. Great. A plan.
We wandered down for breakfast and found a buffet. Pricey but the food was sublime. After we'd eaten and were enjoying amazing coffee, we opened the small gifts we'd got each other the day before. I got Soph a sort of Mayan cat, and a bottle top with Frida on it. So this is how it is to be middle class! She got me a tiny Kalimba; an African musical instrument with little tuned metal bars. This one was made from an orange peel! It sounds great!
After that we packed up, then headed for the new hostel.
That's where I'm typing this. It's fantastic. There is another guy on a motorbike trip and everyone's nice. Its a proper hostel! our first one. We've got a room in the back next to the pool. Its got a kitchen and a bathroom. It comes out to $34 a night. Bit high for hostels I know but its the nicest hostel I've ever stayed in. We're staying here for new years.
Our Hostel in Mazatlan
This part of Mazatlan is really cool too. Its as if someone took a normal town but made two thirds of it park land. Behind each set of houses is a huge park, a bit overgrown, with swings or a meeting center or benches to eat at. We can exit the back of our hostel next to our room straight into the park. I think the States or at least Southern California would be such a different place if the cities were planned this way. I've never been anywhere like it.
I've just finished a beer and I've just finished typing this report. I'll throw up a gallery too. Soph took half the photos :)
Night all, and Merry Christmas from Mazatlan.
|06-02-2014, 11:47 AM||#9|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 1st jan 2014 happy new year!!
New Years eve in Old Town Mazatlan with new friends
Well we've been chilling pretty hard since my last update. We explored the old town further. Its an amazing place! We also explored the parks in the neighborhood of our hostel and found they all sort of link up. Where they cross a road, the park is raised so that cars cant drive through it. It all makes for a great place to live and a crappy place to drive!!
A few days ago we climbed the Mazatlan lighthouse. Its still in use and is the highest one in South and Central America. They didn't have to work too hard for this because its really a little shack perched on top of a huge rock sitting in the sea! Not quite Portland Bill. It's very pretty over there though. Oh also we made the steep hike up to the lighthouse in under seven minutes which was hard work but pleasing. At the top is a little plaque putting you in various categories according to your speed. I can't remember what ours was but it was the second from the top.
Mazatlan lighthouse view out to sea
The rest of the time we've been resting, mostly. One night I went on a mad night out with another British fella and two Israelis but I'm not so into partying as I used to be. T'was fun though. I've been in the sea a couple of times also. It's pretty warm.
New Years Eve we played pretty low key. We went into the old town with some friends from the hostel. We tried to haggle the collectivo driver (a collectivo is a small pickup with bench seats and a little roof on the back) down from one hundred pesos. We got him down to eighty but he dropped us on some back street in the pouring rain instead of at the square and drove away cackling (ok I made that last bit up). It took us a while and the assistance of a kindly local to find our way.
The square was surrounded by fairly up market restaurants filled with foofy people. It was a nice atmosphere though except for the crappy music (Red Hot Chilli Peppers?). We hung around there eating sublime cakes and drinking big bottles of beer and chatted with a Colombian Krishna devotee. He was real nice and full of the joy of life. I think he lifted the evening for everyone.
Pretty soon we decided to leave the foofy rich folks and head for the beach where we knew the firework display would be located. It was as well we did too, as we had a hard time getting a ride. The first golf cart cab thing we encountered screeched off when Mullet Mike tried to haggle. I ask you? Is not haggling the right of every traveler and the duty of every Latin American cab driver? We were greatly vexed and offended by this unsavory character. But we did not let it ruin our New Years Eve.
Eventually we found our way to the beach at our end of town. Settling down on a blanket graciously provided by our friends we ate some amazing ceviche and chips and drank more beer. Sophia and the others then stood knee deep in the warm sea and watched a stunning firework display put on by a young child not more than twenty feet from our location. I didn't go in the sea because I couldn't be bothered to remove my shoes.
Sophia and I headed back to our hostel to sleep after that even though, in classic Mexican tradition, the party hadn't even started. When we got up this morning it was still going strong and only ended a few hours ago. I don't know how they do it! The only drama occurred when someone stole the hostel owner's cellphone and called his friend saying they'd kidnapped him! The friend showed up drunk this morning yelling about a kidnapping then flipped out when he found out it was a joke! Took him a while and a lot of profuse swearing to get it out of his system.
This morning the wonderful Soph and I headed out to get some bread and cereal. We took a taxi as the roads were all flooded due to rain, and at least half the drivers on the road were blind drunk. I haggled with the driver which somewhat restored the faith on my part.
There was no bread to be found at the market and a friendly older lady informed Sophia it would be out soon and that she better hang around if she wanted to get some. She wasn't joking either! When the bread came out you would have been forgiven for thinking we were all starving! Respectable looking folks all rushed the bread counter even snatching loaves off the floor when they were hurled there by the mad throng. Soph held her own and got us four very tasty mini loaves while I carefully stood back and bravely videoed the event. See below:
After that we returned to the hostel and ate breakfast, then got the bikes ready to head for Durango in the morning. That should be a great ride. Most scenic road in Mexico we're told. Pics coming soon.
Soph found she had maggots living in one of her side bags and had to attend the unsavory task of removing them. This she enjoyed immensely as you can imagine.
This afternoon the hosts are cooking lobster and some other stuff which should be nice. I'm friggin hungry right now to be honest so I wouldn't mind if they got a move on.
|06-02-2014, 11:48 AM||#10|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 6th jan 2014 durango and zacatecas
I just asked Soph what day we left Mazatlan and she replied "I've no idea - I don't know days anymore!" I think that it was either the second or third. Either way we'd had a really nice time at the Funky Monkey hostel and met some great people.
We had a bit of a hard time leaving Mazatlan because the GPS was, as usual, trying to kill us. After finding the right road but riding the wrong direction on it for ten miles or so we got it right and headed out of town. We we're both enjoying the warm weather and the feeling of being on the road again.
Pretty soon we turned up the toll road to Durango. The road got steep quick. We paid our first toll; 165 pesos each; highest yet. The road went up and up, winding through the mountains. We passed 4000ft then 5000. Crossing a huge suspension bridge we pulled up infront of some cars that were occupying the inside lane of the road with their flashers on and stopped for a break.
Suspension bridge on the way to Durango
By this time Mr Bop-bop was running a little rough due to the altitude. This meant at times we were running as slow as 20mph on some of the huge hills, with cars and trucks passing us on the single lane road. It got pretty scary. The road eventually reached more than 9000ft. By this time Soph's bike was surging badly and she was getting pretty upset. The plucky little bike kept running though and eventually we reached the high plains that constitute the center of Mexico. It was now only fifty or so miles to Durango and the road was reasonably flat. We managed 50mph on the straights but were down in the 30s on the hills. I rode behind with my hazard flashers on the whole time and with the exception of a mini-bus driver, who seemed hell-bent on killing the both of us, the drivers were fairly considerate.
We entered Durango stressed and tired and were unable to find a hostel. I decided to plump for a hotel - the San Agustin Posada in the historic center of Durango. It was a nice room but it should have been for the price. They were nice though and let us park our bikes in the foyer, where I later stealthily re jetted Mr Bop-bop. For those interested we went from 100 to 98 main jet and I dropped the needle half a mark... this is the standard set up from the factory and leaner than the higher performance jetting I'd done for more power at sea level.
Rejetting the Sym in the Hotel Posada foyer, Durango
I test rode the bike and he ran pretty good at 6000ft or so in Durango so we were set to leave the next day.
That evening we ate at a Chinese Buffet (Soph always finds Chinese Buffets). After that we headed into the Historic Centro which was lit up like a Christmas Tree (pun intended).
Durango, Mexico at New Years
We then turned in pretty early. We had another 150mi or so to cover the next day.
Our ride to Zacatecas was much less eventful, although Mr Bop-bop's altitude sickness kicked in again as we passed 8000ft into Zacatecas, although not quite as badly. Soph handled it brilliantly. I was thinking there would be no way she could follow me as I climbed one of the insanely steep streets on The Donkey but she kept right behind me.
It took us a bit of work to find our hostel, Via Colonial. The streets of Zacatecas are mad. Super steep and never straight they are also almost always one way. And the one way streets all go in the same direction - There is no such thing as going "round the block." Despite these issues we fell in love with the city. It is always vibrant, people are amazingly friendly and the cab drivers don't even try to run you over!
The hostel itself has no parking so we booked a room off the street and pulled our bikes in. Bad idea. The room was full of gasoline fumes by the time we tried to go to sleep. I was drunk, having met a couple guys with a huge bottle of tequila on the roof, but it had to be done. At midnight I started the Donkey in the hotel room!! Must've been a shock to the other guests!
I got her out as quick as I could and joined Soph up the street a little ways with Mr Bop-bop. We locked the bikes and went back to the room which was now full of exhaust fumes. Some arguing ensued. Cut to the next day.
The beautiful sights of Zacatecas soon cured us of our bad moods and as we walked out of a gorgeous park, past a huge 16th century viaduct, life started to look much better. Since then we've been on our feet for three days, walking all over the city. We went down a silver mine, enjoyed the view from the cable cars suspended several hundred feet above town, and had the best tacos in the world twice. We also walked through the barrio above town. Its all stunning! see photos at the end of the blog.
After that we went back to the hostel to try to change rooms since we couldn't keep our bikes inside anyway. They were pretty nice about it and let us move to a small room on the 3rd floor. Now we had a balcony! It was cheaper too, but it came with duppies (ghosts). Soph was awoken in the middle of the night by something holding her down. Eventually she managed to call to me in the other bed and as I came over, they - there were three of the things - faded away. This same thing has happened to me before and its really really scary. It took her a while to get back to sleep after that, and she had nightmares. Strangely I had one of the most uplifting dreams of my life at the same time. I was talking to Jesus. That was hard for me to say as I've always thought of myself as a Spiritualist and shunned Christianity, or at least the Christianity that makes a few men immensely powerful over the lives of many. He was so loving and strong and yet so approachable that a feeling of wellbeing permeated all around me and made my darker sides disappear. I've been a lighter, better, happier person since.
The next morning we decided to pay extra and move to another room in the hostel. My experience was amazing but we couldn't repeat Sophia's.
Later we took to The Donkey and rhode the 30mi or so to the Pyramid at Quemada. After arguing with the gate attendant (we thought we should get in free and he didn't) we parked up and walked to the pyramid and structures. They weren't quite as stunning as the pyramids of the sun and moon further south which I visited a few years ago but in their own right they were pretty special.
Pyramid at Quemada
There were many steps and we got very tired! Sophia has a great write up of our exploration of the complex at:http://www.myphilosophia.org/blog/20...-or-chicomztoc and I can't be bothered to write my own, so there it is!
Today we expected rain, so decided to hang around instead of moving on to Guanajuato. It did rain but only for a bit in the afternoon. I did however get a bit of time to jet Soph's bike a bit leaner still and fit the smaller front sprocket I've been carrying for this eventuality. The bike is by no means fast but it goes up hills now which is the best we can expect, and with the exception of another 9000ft pass near Mexico City this is about the highest elevation at which we'll need to ride.
Tomorrow we are off to Guanajuato which is about 160mi. Should be a reasonably good ride as we descend from 8500ft to 6000ft. We're excited escape from the cold! Zacatecas has been in the 30's at night.
Mr Bop-bop should run better too, although we won't be able to run much more than 50-55 with the lower gearing.
|06-02-2014, 11:49 AM||#11|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
A quick aside - If anyone wants to see more pictures you can check out my site. Its all the same stuff as here, except there are a bunch of photo galleries. http://www.joensophtravels.com/newadvindex.htm
|06-02-2014, 11:50 AM||#12|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 14th jan 2014 guanajuato
A street corner in Guanajuato.
O....K..... Sorry for the delay in the blog writeups. I'm going to have to do several and post all at once. This is the first and probably the longest - Guanajuato.
As I wrote in the last blog, we decided to wait an extra day in Zacatecas due to weather. Well, the bad weather came, but it came a day later - the day on which we had decided to leave. Waking early to get on the road I lifted one of the blankets we'd placed over the windows to keep the cold out, and was greeted by a thick cold fog. Everything was soaked outside and the temperature was in the mid 30s fahrenheit. "F it".
After going back to bed for a bit we decided to leave anyway. We packed then wandered through the thick fog to the nearest Vips (Dennys but good). As usual we had to ask about the breakfast specials we'd seen displayed a few days before. They always miraculously disappear at breakfast time. We munched our breakfast specials and looked out at the fog which had become even thicker.
Back at the hostel we removed the cat-piss reeking motorcycle cover from the bikes and started to load them. Soph now had on twelve layers or so of clothing.
Leaving Zacatecas on a foggy morning
We eventually finished loading and headed out after being given big hugs by the hostel proprietor. Now Bop Bop had no gas at all due to my rejetting work - every time I made a change I'd have to ride the bike, and every time I rode the bike I'd get lost and find my way back after half an hour or so. There are no gas stations in town so I didn't get the chance to refill. Our emergency gas cans were empty already.
We rode up to the top road and then across I think to the West to get on the big road out of town. At a large roundabout bop bop spluttered and stopped. Damn - out of gas! Well Soph got him started again and with me behind with hazard flashers on we managed to get around the insane roundabout and on to the fast road. Great! Down hill. We coasted along for a half mile or so and had amazing luck to find a gas station on our side. However, we'd managed to find the only closed gas station in Mexico. The only thing for it was for me to go looking for gas on The Donkey which still had a little, and bring a full can back for Soph.
Off I went down the main road. Immediately I saw a gas station on the other side. "No problem!" I thought - "Ill just turn around." Eight miles later I found a bridge with some complicated roundabout things and managed to get on the return side of the road. Back I rode, and found the gas station. After filling up I headed off, the wrong way as there was no way to get back to Soph's side of the road. Five miles later I found a spot to turn and eventually got back to Soph and Mr Bop Bop with the precious liquid.
We headed out. The whole goose-chase had taken well over an hour and it was now after one in the afternoon, and we had perhaps a hundred and fifty miles to cover to Guanajuato.
It was a cold cold ride. The temps were in the forties throughout. Eventually we made a wrong turn and lost another half hour and 100 pesos due to getting back on a toll road the wrong way.
It got dark, and we were still riding. As I had the GPS and mount we had to switch round from our usual method of Soph riding in front and me in the rear to me infront and Soph in the rear. Now things got really terrifying. I had to keep an eye on Soph in the rear view mirror. Problem was all I had to identify her was her headlamp which was on high. A couple of times I thought I lost her. On top of this the battery on the GPS was running out and I had to keep switching it on and off. This had become almost impossible to achieve when riding because I'd spilt some ketchup on it at lunch and now the switch was sticky. I could either turn it off or turn it on but locked. The damn switch wouldn't go to the middle "Unlocked" position. On top of this and the light thing, I had to remove my visor as the stupid thing is smoked and I couldn't see a thing. So; to recap I was trying to keep Soph in the rear view mirror and not loose her, my visor was tucked between my left leg and the fuel tank. My left glove was off and I was sitting on it, I was fumbling with the sticky switch on the infernal gps, turning it on and off because it didn't have enough battery to get us to Guanajuato and I was trying to read the stupid thing to tell us where to go.
All the above amazingly didn't get us killed and we rode into Guanajuato. The thing about Guanajuato is all the roads are tunnels. GPS doesn't work in tunnels. Even if it did, the roads we needed were closed.
Soph had the great idea to hail a taxi. This we did, and he led us through the mad maze to the hostel we'd looked up on the Rough Guide. When we got there we found it was 500 pesos for the night, but we couldn't get back on the bikes again. We thought we were done, but there was one more surprise in store!
After checking in, the clerk at the front desk gave us the name of a hotel where we could park our bikes. We couldn't understand his directions so instead of getting on the motorcycles we walked off into town to try to find it. Five days later, when we left Guanajuato, we still hadn't found it!
On our return to the hostel, the clerk I think sensed our desperate and possibly violent intentions. He relented and let us park in the foyer. Thank God!!!
The following morning we awoke to beautiful music which the front desk lady was playing. We showered and went for our free breakfast. All was better in the world.
Our good friend Mike (known as Mullet Mike) had recommended a cheaper place to us called Hostel Diego Rivera and was staying close by. We hopped on the bikes and with Soph's superior sense of direction we found it in an hour or so. We were shown a pretty grotty room with an even grottier shower, but it was 200 pesos (about $18) a night. I persuaded Soph to stay and she agreed despite her better judgment. After we put our stuff down in the hovel room the storm clouds began to gather over Soph's head and I realized my mistake.
Silence. Silence as we sat in the room. Silence as we walked around town. Silence as we ate lunch....
Then we bumped into Mike! Awesome. We caught up on each other's adventures since Mazatlan. He showed us where he was staying. A beautiful 260 year old mansion in the center of Guanajuato. Turns out his aunt and uncle know the owner and paid for his stay for a few days. Well, we grabbed a little bottle of tequila and a few beers and sat on the roof as the evening came in.
A fine dinner at Cafe Ofelia then a little more tequila and beer on the roof ensued, and before we knew it we were in a heated Jenga tournament!
Mike employing the toothpick Jenga methodology.
The next day Mike invited us to meet the owner of the Hotel Alma Del Sol, Hugo, for breakfast. Hugo was really nice and offered us a room in the beautiful house at way less than the usual rate. We even had our choice of rooms and ended up in a suite with two! We stayed there for the rest of our time in Guanajuato - five days.
The sitting area outside our room at Alma Del Sol.
We had a fantastic breakfast, cooked by the wonderful Angeles every day and even took a workshop with Hugo, as he is a world renowned print artist. See the prints we made in the gallery below. Soph has a writeup of the print-making session on her website at: http://www.myphilosophia.org/blog/20...-in-guanajuato.
We'd like to thank Hugo for his amazing hospitality. He really made us feel at home in Guanajuato and it was hard to leave.
Other than this we had a great many amazing meals, walked the barrios, and walked many many miles around town. We enjoyed Guanajuato very much. It was hard to leave, but we did leave eventually - bound for Ceyla to meet up with our friend Daniel. More on that in the next blog entry.
|06-02-2014, 11:51 AM||#13|
Joined: Sep 2010
Looks like a great ride and report, subscribed!
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!
-Hunter S. Thompson
|06-02-2014, 11:52 AM||#14|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
blog - 17th jan 2014 guanajuato to celaya to valle de bravo
Guanajuato to Celaya was a long but reasonably uneventful ride. We had no runnings out of gas and no near death experiences that I can recall. It was a bit warmer than our ride from Zacatecas to Guanajuato. We started pretty early and rode a good hundred miles.
Celaya is big. BIG. And we later found out from our friend Daniel, dangerous. However, unaware of these things we rode happily through town and had a bite at Pollo Feliz; Soph's new favorite fast food joint. They have excellent chicken burgers.
As we ate I sent Daniel a message on my Kindle Keyboard, Third Generation with 3G and Wifi (sorry for listing every event here, its just that there wasn't much happening) and he showed up after about 45 mins to lead us into his place. I know Daniel only from Facebook; he is a Corvair fan and has a '69 two door just like the one I had. It's currently being rebuilt.
As we pulled into Daniel's garage the first thing I saw was an early seventies Austin Mini, in fantastic condition, with even British number plates. Daniel had imported it so sell, as they bring a lot of money in Mexico but had had some trouble with the import company and was waiting for that to be resolved.
Later on that night Daniel and his girlfriend, Andi took us out to see the sites of Celaya and have a late meal. The meal was fantastic as was the company.
The next morning we ate a tasty breakfast at Andi and Daniel's restaurant then went looking for tires for Mr Bop Bop, and oil for both bikes. Oil we found, tires we did not. Well, we sort of found oil. I've been using GTX here as I can't find Shell Rotella Synthetic.
In the afternoon, Daniel went to work and I changed the oil in both bikes. That evening, when Daniel got home he let me drive the Mini!
The following morning we headed for Valle de Bravo. We were a bit sad to leave Daniel's place but happy to have made new friends. We're also very thankful for the amazing hospitality we received!
We'd selected Valle de Bravo as our intermediate stop on the way to Amatlan as Mike was staying there and we figured on hanging out a bit. The ride there was uneventful, (I say that as I don't really remember it) and we pulled into the town in the early afternoon. Finding the hostel Mike was at was pretty easy. The place was cheap and the room was nice. I was only slightly hassled by an old panhandler who went away when I told him I was a poor farmer. I've just realized that probably doesn't work that well when I'm lolling around in the street sitting on a big shiny Harley Davidson, but he went away anyhow.
After pulling the bikes in and unloading I went up to the roof to see Mike. Unfortunately an old foot injury had flared up and he wasn't able to come out to dinner, so I said we'd pick him up a little bottle of tequila.
Soph and I walked all over town, and weren't that taken with it. People seemed a bit rude, which is the way it can be when we get into somewhere "Muy Turistico". We eventually found food that wasn't fish and wasn't insanely expensive and had a nice meal sitting on a terrace overlooking a cobble stoned street.
Sophia, Mike and I in Valle Del Bravo
Heading back to the hostel we picked up a little 40 peso tequila for Mike. We then hung out talking on the hostel balcony and had an early-ish night, as the morning would bring a hard ride through Mexico city then over a ten-thousand foot pass into Amatlan.
|06-02-2014, 11:52 AM||#15|
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Joshua Tree, CA
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|