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Old 01-16-2013, 07:58 AM   #106
NotAllWhoWanderRLost
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I'm still enjoying your RR and all of the amazing scenery! Thank you for documenting your adventures.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:28 AM   #107
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I'm still enjoying your RR and all of the amazing scenery! Thank you for documenting your adventures.
Cool Wander, thanks for sticking with it. I know it hasn't been too eventful lately. I need to post process these photos. Maybe in the summer I can release the edited, updated final version
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:31 AM   #108
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Enjoying your RR

Thx for the ideas, we're starting our own adventure to Panama in 16 days. Really appreciate the style of your RR.

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Old 01-16-2013, 10:10 AM   #109
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01/12/2013 – The most beautiful place in the world?

The next destination on the “waterfall tour” was Cuetzalan, a town better known to tourists, but not by much. I had three options as far as routes to get there (at least according to Garmin, only one according to google maps). There was the southern route along a main (yet still twisty) road, Mex 148. There was the middle way via dirt road, some of which we traversed the day before. The one I chose was the northern route via a paved, yet very twisty road which connected with the southern route just north of Xalacapan. This would make an amazing loop for someone spending some time here.

The road east.

Imagine a panorama








Unfortunately, the most beautiful scenic pull-offs often looked like this looking down:


...and like this looking across:






Aside from being incredibly fun, the ride to Cuetzalan was relatively uneventful except for one thing: Somewhere along the way, Randy's license plate vibrated off his bike. A flashback: Sometime near Comala, way back on the Pacific coast one of bolts vibrated loose and his plate was banging about loud enough for me to notice. Randy zip-tied it back on and the matter was forgotten. Apparently the dirt riding we've been doing broke the zip-tie and the other corner of the plate broke off. This really bummed Randy out. Although I suggested he have the new plate sent to somewhere along the way, he began making plans to fly to Florida and retrieve it from his roommate who will be there for a cruise.

Lost the plate here?


Looking to the right.


Looking to the left (daily bike shot).




The ride itself was amazing. We followed the curvy road from one breathtaking view to the next. We were riding the “spine of the world” it felt like. There were ~1000 ft. deep valleys both to the left and to the right, sometimes in both directions at the same time! As if the views weren't enough, there was another aspect of this region which had *me* excited in particular. We were in COFFEE country! Coffee trees lined the roads, often covering the mountainsides. I was in heaven. At one point we took a detour up to the top of a mountain to Zongozotla. A sign promised a waterfall we never found, but the views were well worth the time, and the curves were well worth the ride.

Coffee!


Behind the back shot of Randy.


View of Zongozotla. The view is nice, but the important thing here is the tree to the right of the bike!




No luck finding the falls.


Moving on.


Looking back.


Looking forward.


Cuetzalan is perched on a steep mountainside. When we got there, we had little trouble finding a hostel as we looked for one (online) the night before (to avoid my least favorite daily tradition). Lucky for us, as most of the town streets are incredibly steep and closed to traffic (and the hotels I saw are expensive and have no parking [or even ride-up access]). The Hostel (Hotel?) Taselotzin is run by a collective of women who concentrate on Eco-tourism and fare trade for indigenous arts and crafts. It's a pretty place with a peaceful atmosphere and reasonable prices for a bunk.

Approaching Cuetzalan.


Hostel Taselotzin.




Every day the scenery gets more beautiful. It's actually ridiculous how gorgeous the mountains are here. If it doesn't get uglier soon, I think my heart will implode. If you don't hear from me again, it's because it got even better... It is an insult to post the poor excuse for photos which represent such beauty.

This was a slap in the face of nature as I attempted to show you what I saw.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:14 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by ADV Fool View Post
Thx for the ideas, we're starting our own adventure to Panama in 16 days. Really appreciate the style of your RR.

AdV Fool
Hi Fool (is that okay?), You'll have an amazing time! I HIGHLY recommend spending some time around Zacatlan and Cuetzalan. I've never heard of it before and visited on a whim. I would cry if I missed it and learned about it later. At the same time, I'm sure a lot of Mexico is a hidden gem that I'm missing as I pass through. Some say the best is yet to come in Chiapas...
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:51 PM   #111
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Enjoying every minute of this! Thank you for sharing your trip with us. And I think the pictures are good, nature is very hard to capture, but I think you are doing fine.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:40 PM   #112
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Enjoying every minute of this! Thank you for sharing your trip with us. And I think the pictures are good, nature is very hard to capture, but I think you are doing fine.
Enjoyed reading your comment Fourthree. Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:49 PM   #113
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01/13/2013 Down day.

Randy decided to retrace our path from the day before and try to find his plate. He remembered a spot where he scraped his rear fender in the dirt and that could be where the plate came off. I offered to go with him, but he decided to ride alone. That left me with a day to relax, explore the town and catch up on this ride report (as well as look for a job [for next season], write emails, try to see some waterfalls, explore some caves, catch up on facebook and other general tasks which I have been neglecting). It was the first full day I didn't get on the bike in over a month.

Cuetzalan streets.




After spending a few hours online I took a walk through the cobbled streets of town. It was Sunday and the town was crowded for the weekly market. I wandered about for a bit and had a small lunch while stoically enduring the laughter of the locals (for not understanding their Spanish). The clouds were moving in and I sensed rain, so I returned to the hostel.

More Cuetzalan.




Soon after my return, the clouds released their moisture in a torrent. I guess no waterfalls (or caves for that matter) for me today. I felt bad for Randy having to ride through this downpour but was glad he decided to go alone. He returned as the sun was setting having had no luck with the plate. The plan to fly to Florida was set in motion, but the details needed to be worked out. Where to fly from? How to get there? Where to leave the bike? There were many options but few easy answers.

Um... just a few photos of town for the day...


After figuring out that the cheapest place to fly from would be Cancun, and that Cancun is over 1600 Kms away. Randy decided that the best solution would be to Fedex the plate to himself in Oaxaca. This led to more questions such as: Fedex it to where? How long will it take? Is it reliable? Again, there were no easy answers. I helped where and how I could without completely taking over the task.

Over the last few days, some tension began developing in our riding relationship. Sometimes (with an increasing frequency) I felt like the unofficial tour-guide of our ride. That's not a position I want to be in.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:14 AM   #114
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boy oh boy do I understand those feelings, been there myself! Just remember that you two fellas are on the ride of a lifetime, you will NEVER it, and there are bound to be differences between the two of you when you spend so much time riding together. I think it happens to most of us. The decision to split up for a bit may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and when you see each other again you will know it's all good! Don't let it come between you guys...just try to enjoy it for what it is! Your report is great!
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:20 AM   #115
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Won't FedEx do a Will Call delivery?
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:20 AM   #116
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boy oh boy do I understand those feelings, been there myself! Just remember that you two fellas are on the ride of a lifetime, you will NEVER it, and there are bound to be differences between the two of you when you spend so much time riding together. I think it happens to most of us. The decision to split up for a bit may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and when you see each other again you will know it's all good! Don't let it come between you guys...just try to enjoy it for what it is! Your report is great!
Hey Woodly, I'm glad others can empathize It's not a big deal. Spoiler alert: we did end up going our separate ways but on good terms. Like entry #1 says I'm very comfortable on my own (often prefer it) and I'm sure Randy will be fine too. Plus I ended up finding a hostel 5 minutes later with room to park only ONE bike, so it was exactly that, a blessing in disguise (as the hostel is awesome!).
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:23 AM   #117
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Won't FedEx do a Will Call delivery?
Yeah slide, I think there are many good, easy solutions to the problem, but it wasn't my decision to make on how to solve it. Hope it all works out (I'm sure it will).
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:27 AM   #118
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01/14/2013 Riding south to Oaxaca (part 1 of 2).

After deciding not to explore any more waterfalls or caves in the area, it was time to press on to Oaxaca, a couple of easy days ride to the south. The morning found us deep in cloud cover with visibility reduced to less than 25 meters. Slowly we made our way down the mountain; around sharp curves, dodging suddenly appearing potholes, rocks in the road and oncoming traffic.

Through the clouds.






As we descended out of the mountains the climate once again changed to desert. We made our way down Mex 129 to Mex 144, then Mex 135, avoiding the tolls and enjoying the (mostly) slow pace and small villages. Ahead of us, with its snow covered peak loomed Pico de Orizaba (18,491 ft), the tallest mountain in Mexico. I considered a detour to further explore it, but decided against it in favor of reaching Oaxaca a bit sooner.

Out of the mountains.


Into the desert.






Pico de Orizaba






The road showed an amazing variety of conditions throughout the day's ride. We started on a narrow, curvy road (in good condition), graduated to a 4-lane highway, back to two lane black top, a little dirt and finally paved road riddled with potholes to the point that it was worse than dirt. This made an otherwise uneventful day much more enjoyable and interesting. One thing I can say about the roads in Mexico: They will sharpen your concentration and reflexes to a razors edge!



Passing through Tehuacan.


And moving on.








By late afternoon we were deep in the desert, surrounded by mountains which are more brown than green. What green they have is mostly cactus. It was beautiful in a different kind of way. I seriously considered stopping to camp for the night, as there were several potential opportunities, but in the end we found a cheap hotel (as it was outside of a tourist zone) with good parking in the small town of Teotitlán de Flores Magón.











Roads seriously deteriorating (don't want to ride this after dark).




Hotel Peredes is a family run establishment and the teenage daughter started blasting some seriously bad club music shortly after we arrived. We decided to investigate the town as a reprieve from the noise. Teotitlán de Flores Magón turned out to be quite a bit more touristy than I originally suspected. The place is riddled with tuk-tuks and it was surprisingly lively in the evening (although no other gringos). After wandering the streets and grabbing some dinner at a street taco stand (and some dessert at a panaderia) we went back to the hotel and called it a night. Unfortunately I neglected to take pictures of the town or the hotel.

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Old 01-17-2013, 03:27 PM   #119
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Wish I would've seen this when you were in Santa Barbara. Would've come up and bought you lunch!
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:47 PM   #120
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Wish I would've seen this when you were in Santa Barbara. Would've come up and bought you lunch!
No worries uberaudi... I'll be passing through on my way home most likely. I'll gladly take you up on your offer then, if it still stands
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