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Old 06-21-2013, 04:32 PM   #256
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Originally Posted by Sunday Rider View Post
Great to see you back to update the rest of the ride.
Yeah, sorry for the delay. Right now I live in the woods where there's not even cell phone service and I work 12 hour days (saving up for that next big trip this winter). In "the office" in Utah for a couple of days so have a chance to get a few more days' worth up
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #257
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04/08/2013 - 04/09/2013 - Oaxaca take two.



I spent the next few days in Oaxaca, drinking great coffee, hanging out with some new friends and visiting some sites I didn't see the first time. Looking back I think I should have spent less time here as it cost me time in Mexico City and Guadalajara, both of which deserved more. But how was I to know I would be running short on time later... It was really fun though and it leaves me things to see next time!

One of the sites I didn't see my previous stay was Hierve de Agua, a set of pools and rock formations reminiscent of Yellowstone N.P. to some degree. A few of the girls from the hostel and I took a collectivo to Mitla, a village where they went shopping while I drank coffee, and then to the pools for a swim. I'm glad I came back to see it. It was well worth it in every sense.

A rare food shot from Mitla. Mmmmm... chili relleno...


From the back of a collectivo. (is this allowed in the report?)


Hierve de Agua






Some friends from the hostel.






The good life.*










Before I left for Mexico City I made contact with Gary on the ADV tentspace list and he was kind enough to offer me a place to stay for a couple of days. It isn't too far from Oaxaca to Mexico City, but I had to get there by six to meet him at his job (it didn't work out). I decided to get a good nights sleep and leave early in order to make it.





* Some date imprinted photos not taken by me.
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Old 06-22-2013, 03:51 AM   #258
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Now we know why you decided to day in Oaxaca for the extra time.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:25 AM   #259
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04/13/2013 - Ride to Mexico City









Leaving Oaxaca, I rode through some beautiful country. I tried to stay off the main (read: toll) roads as much as possible. Not only is it less expensive, but a lot more fun and a lot more scenic. Win win. I wound my way north through the forested hills. Eventually I made it into Puebla (the state) as the landscape around me turned slowly from forest to desert.





























The riding was smooth and easy. As I was approaching Mexico City, there was a fire up in the hills which I mistook for an erupting volcano for quite a while. Before I knew it I was climbing up a mountain and entering Mexico City, one of the biggest cities in the world.













I've heard many stories about El Jefé (the BOSS) and about how difficult it was to ride through, and about how hard it was to navigate, and about how bad the traffic was (not to mention the air quality). To my surprise, none of those things really panned out as expected. It's true that the raised freeways and multi-splitting exits weren't very clear, and my hiking GPS didn't help much, but I didn't find navigating too bad. Although I did get lost (one wrong turn damn it, out of 50!) on the way to meeting Gary resulting in being late and missing him. This was nothing like riding through the chaos of Hanoi or Saigon surrounded by a flock of other bikes all weaving in and out with no semblance of rules or order. The traffic wasn't bad at all (I guess I got lucky) and the drivers were polite, and better than in many parts of the USA I've ridden through. It was a pleasant ride through a modern city with wide streets and plenty of signage (most of which I couldn't understand though). Overall I was really impressed with the city. I felt like I was in Europe.







After missing Gary and not wanting to further intrude on his life, I cruised to the center to find a hostel. My first choice, Hostel 333 (to which I regrettably returned later [but that's another story]) was full, so I spent the night at Hostel Casa Vieja, down a sketchy alley off of a main street. The hostel cost $12.50. Mexico City is the first place I parked my bike on the street unattended overnight. Nothing bad happened.



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Old 06-22-2013, 06:26 AM   #260
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Now we know why you decided to day in Oaxaca for the extra time.
Guilty as charged
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:21 PM   #261
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Hey you are leaving out the gratuitous bike shot of the day.....

Who would have thought going through Mexico City would be so easy. Glad you got through it okay.

Beautiful pictures.
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:55 PM   #262
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04/14/2013 – 04/16/2013 – Mexico City

Gratuitous bike shot of the day and hostel.


I spent the next few days hanging out in and exploring Mexico City. The first morning I decided to move over to Hostel 333 because it looked cool and was in a good area (and relatively cheap at $10.75 a night ). When I arrived they informed me of a unique (in CA to my knowledge) policy where they take and KEEP your passport while you are staying there "for your safety and theirs" (this is pretty normal in SEA). At first I resisted, but then eventually complied as I really wanted to stay there. While they are very attentive to getting your passport when you arrive, unfortunately they are quite negligent in making sure they give it back when it's time to leave. This wouldn't be an issue if it were common practice, but remembering to get your passport when checking out, especially if they don't offer to return it, can be an issue. Luckily the USA will let you back into the country with no trouble if you happen to not have your passport at the border.





Hostel 333 with safe street parking.










The juxtaposition of modern and ancient.


While in town one of my priorities was meeting up with a friend I met in Mazunte. Hector was pretty busy with school. He was starting his masters in literature, but was just accepted to NYU for a creative studies masters program. (Awesome). We eventually met up for some beers and hit the night life. Mexico City is very cool. I'm sure there are lots of parts to it that are very poor, riddled with crime and lack proper sanitation (as is true with many cities). However, the parts that I saw were very clean, safe and friendly. I could definitely live here!

The main central plaza.


















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Old 06-28-2013, 02:58 PM   #263
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04/17/2013 – 04/18/2013 – Guadalajara

Time was starting to run short, and I had several more thousand miles to ride, so I decided to move on. I had one more stop to make before, more or less, booking it the rest of the way home. So in the morning I left Mexico City pointing westward, towards Guadalajara. Getting out of the city wasn't too complicated with only one wrong turn, and before I knew it I was on the highway riding through the hot, dry desert. It's pretty much all desert from here on out until I get back into California.









I tried to take the smaller roads for as long as I could, but after less than half way to Guadalajara, I was forced onto the toll expressway, as it was the only direct/semi-direct way to the city. Alas, that also meant many stops to pay tolls, less scenic views and running the KLR above what I think of as “pleasant speed”. That's okay though since my camera battery died and I couldn't take photos if it was scenic. The KLR didn't like running at those speeds too much either and developed a stuttering/hesitation which I haven't felt before. At one point I stopped and swapped out the fuel filter (my first use of a spare part I brought with me), but that didn't solve the problem. Eventually, after I poked around the hoses and vent line, I must have loosened a crimp as the problem went away.





















I made it to Guadalajara in the late afternoon and found a nice backpacker hostel in the Chapultepec district (Hostel Hospedarte Chapultepec), not far from the center. I happen to get there during a special and the rate was only 100 pesos ($8.35), but the next night it went up to 180 pesos ($15.00). The average wasn't bad. I wandered around for a bit to get my bearing and found some great food. Then called it a night.







I spent the next day wandering around the city and checking out the sights. Guadalajara is another beautiful city and I really liked what I saw. There are plenty of things to see and do here, but I mostly just wandered and relaxed. A day of sights and good food ended with drinks at the hostel with some backpackers. It was time to seriously hit the road with no more scheduled stops outside of crashing for the night. Even riding straight through, it'll be days before I'm in the USA again, and many days before I'm “home”.







Art.






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Old 06-29-2013, 04:36 AM   #264
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I don't know how you do it, but it seems like there is no traffic around, and Mexico City could be almost any big city in North America, especially the shot of the highway with the rectangular digital clock. Love the contrast of the old and modern buildings.

I have to stop reading these ride reports going to Mexico and points south. I've been wanting to go North and West, but my bucket list is starting to have a change of heart.

Looks like you had great weather as well.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:50 AM   #265
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Still a good read, still enjoying the pictures.
This one, the first thought in my head was Pull the string!!! Pull the string!!!
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:27 AM   #266
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So why the sudden change of plans to get home so fast? Did you have a time frame when you started he ride? I must have missed it. As usual, thanks for taking us along, this is great!
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