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Old 11-09-2013, 05:09 PM   #31
motoroberto OP
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Oaxaca Day 2

Now, with the company of me luverly wife, another day off the bike just wandering around enjoying Oaxaca. Roaming the streets, stopping in here or there, and making a trip to the market. The main market has just about everything for sale, as well as butchers, fishmongers, and bustling restaurants. We passed many tempting displays of all manner of meats right next to a sizzling open flame grill. The air was filled with smoke and the smell of deliciousness. Some other stalls sell everything from mezcal to local honey to the paste bases for moles. And of course, we had to try some fried grasshoppers.








Even Lizzy had to admit, Oaxaca has nice knockers.





Mezcal break!











Found the sink doohickey I've been looking all over for back home for 25 cents. Oh, and a bag of fried grasshoppers.





Dinner platter in the midst of being completely destroyed.





Camoflaged Komanche.





Sunshine, good beer, artisinal mezcal, awesome food and fried bugs. Not a bad way to kill the day. And kill it we did, before we knew it night was upon us, and it was time to prepare for tomorrow, the 131 to Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast.
For those who don't know, 131 is often subject to closures, especially during the rainy season, which we were traveling in. I was actually pretty concerned whether we would make it to Puerto Escondido at all. 131 had been closed just the week before. A massive rainstorm had moved through and caused mudslides and washouts that made it unpassable. I called the place in Puerto Escondido where we had a reservation for the following night and asked if the road was indeed open, and they said it was. Actually, I already knew the road was opened post storm by keeping up with the 'Is Mexico Safe' thread and getting info from adv'ers close by, but things can always change day to day.
I ran into the manager of our hotel and told her our plans. She said, "Oh, no, no. You will not go this road. This road is much too dangerous. You will take the road to Puerto Angel and then...." I stopped listening. Nothing against Puerto Angel or the road to it. Hell, with more time, I would have ridden the coast road from Puerto Escondido over to Puerto Angel to stay there as well, then take the 175 back. But the plan was to take 131, which was open.
The manager's input rekindled a bit of concern in my wife. You see, on my way south, I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up with current info or even be sure I'd have wifi. So on the phone one night (I think in Ciudad Valles) I asked Lizzy if she could do a little research on the 131 from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. Well, that was a mistake. Accidents, deaths, and pictures. Pictures of mudslides, pictures of deaths, pictures of vehicles that had plunged down the side of a mountain. This, by the way, happened for everywhere I told her I was. She would search it, and what comes up but the police blotter. At one point she said she would be happy to stay put in Oaxaca.
I, of course, couldn't wait to take the 131. Just tell me how much I shouldn't do something and I want to do it that much more. Besides, Atlantic to Pacific, man! Going south! Not Atlantic to within 175 miles of Pacific.
But I understood her concern. I said "Darlin, the road's open. That means trucks and buses are going through. Big 8 foot plus wide vehicles are getting through and all we need is less than a foot wide of road to get through. It's only about 300k long. If at any point it gets too hairy and you're really not comfortable, we'll head back."
She looked at me for a second through narrowed eyes. "Okay."
I love her. "That's my little adventure rider!"


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Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=931315
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:35 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ba_ View Post
Looks like a great trip Bob! Can't wait to see what's next. Brad
Wasssup, Brad! Long time no see... I hear you and JJ have been doing some cool trips.
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Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=931315
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:37 PM   #33
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Great action. I avoided D.F. for years until I decided I was a pussy for doing it and dived in; what a great city. Went to Opera Bar on first trip like you, looking for an old timey bar. Met my girlfriend in Oaxaca as well, brilliant I say. We even stayed at the Hotel Maella last time a bunch of us were there and like you really liked it. Go eat at Casa Oaxaca or the little pizza place across from the museum/cathedral (not the one on the zocalo). You'll love the ride down to P. Escondido. I would take Mex 175 down and Mex 131 back. Hotel Sante Fe is excellent but high; restaurant is excellent as well. Buen Viaje!
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Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:41 PM   #34
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[QUOTE
As an ex-pat New Yorker, I too miss the old NYC of my youth: who knew that the same streets where I could buy a cold six pack of tall-boys, a switchblade, porn, and fireworks just before getting mugged at 12 years old would now be entertaining my 4 year old with Minnie Mouse and some whacked out hello kitty!!![/QUOTE]

Remember the Playland arcade in Times Square? The best.
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Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:34 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by motoroberto View Post
Wasssup, Brad! Long time no see... I hear you and JJ have been doing some cool trips.
Not as cool as Mexico but we're trying. Hope all is well...
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:51 PM   #36
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South Till I Cain't Go No Mo

Last day of the great push south. Again could not ask for better weather to start. All that's standing between us and the Pacific is 300k of soaring, dropping, truck and bus menacing, mudslide and washout threatened, occasionally closed, winding blind-cornered mountain road. I couldn't be happier.





So we head out. Just south of the city past the airport to where the road splits. To the left, 175 to Puerto Angel, the recommended 'safe' route. To the right, 131 to Puerto Escondido, death and destruction. If I had taken my hands off the bars, the Komanche would've gone right on it's own.
My excitement and normal 'spirited' pace brought me close to the bumper of a lazy car in front of us. My wife informed me through our helmet communicator that she believed I was riding a bit aggressively, and to remember to ride responsibly so as not to incur her wrath. I immediately started to dismiss her just as a massive pothole emerged from beneath the car in front with no time for me to react. We bashed right across it so hard that I thought I may have bent the rim.
Right. She's got a point. Leave room for reaction time, especially on a potentially dangerous road you've never been on. Stand up and check the rim. It's fine.
Then I passed the fucker soon as I could and resumed the 'spirited' pace.

This road, this day, delivered the goods. We had a bit of everything. I wish I had taken more pictures or go-pro'd the entire thing, but I'm sure most of you guys know how it is: you are riding and in the moment, and taking it all in while keeping it all good. Sometimes stopping for a photo would be dangerous, sometimes I was just loving being in motion, hitting apex after apex and letting the scenery seep in like light on the film of my memory. The mountains take all of your attention. I came upon many (but not as many as I thought) cars, trucks and buses, and came upon very few straights. This made passing interesting. Gotta know the roll-on ability of your bike. I'd be slow rolling on an uphill behind a smoke belching truck, road easing right. Swerve left for a peek, back in quick for the oncoming bus. Swerve back out, about 500 ft to another bus headed downhill. HIT IT. Drop a gear, a nice throaty BRAAAP and the fully loaded Komanche shoots past the truck and tucks in to the right again. Sometimes the corner was blind but I could see the road rising and winding up the mountain ahead, with no oncoming cars. Pass four cars at a time that way.
Actually the majority of the time was just us and the road. It's just when you do get stuck behind a slower vehicle, it's really gonna hold you up if you don't get around it.
Soon we started to see the effects of the storm. It started with the dirty residue in corners where water was coming down the mountain, collected then crossed the road. Eventually we started to see washouts. They began small, then got big. If you don't know, it's when the water erodes dirt away from the downward slope side of (usually) a corner. The pavement, without support, then crumbles away down the mountain. It's a bit of a surprise to come full tilt around a corner to see your lane is gone. Often people will place large rocks as if they were cones around the apexes of these. The places where the mud gave way from higher elevations were getting much more prominent as well. They went from the dirt trails I mentioned before to a slide taking up the shoulder to a full lane blockage to places where obviously the entire road had been buried and a bulldozer cleared just enough for 1 lane of traffic.

Here the dirt had been cleared enough for one lane, the mountain dropped off quite steeply to the right.








Then the skies darkened. Here it comes. Had I put on my rain gear right away, the sun would have come back right away. But we both thought let's chance it, maybe it's just a passing shower. It wasn't. It got heavy. Now pull over and pull on the gear. And now I have all the little worries creep in that I don't tell my wife about. Like how all this rain is gonna carry all this freshly exposed dirt across the road at every corner but now it's not dirt, it's slippery brown snot. Or what if this is gonna be a LOT of rain and there are places where the dirt is just waiting to give way. That plus the normal visibility concerns, with these oncoming trucks and buses who don't give a FUCK about you and take that single lane around the slide whether you got there first or not because might makes right. I had already seen buses especially go for passes on two lane road making oncoming traffic get onto the shoulder to get out of the way. Except here, there was no shoulder.
Fuck it, push on. Probably rained for about a half hour more, then started to clear up. Passed a couple of spots where the dozers were out clearing the road. Glad to see them at first, but had to be careful because they created a good couple hundred feet of thick wet mud on the road.
Now the rain diminished to a drizzle, and the road surface took a turn for the worse. It was a potholed moonscape for what seemed like maybe 40k. That with the occasional collapsed section of road kept me constantly changing my line. Then we saw something in the road... "What is that? A crab? No, it's not a crab, its... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
A tarantula crossing the road. I can add that to the list of animals that have crossed the road in front of me. Should've stopped for a pic, kept going.
Finally the skies dried out and we were endlessly winding our way toward the coast once again in bright sunshine. After just about 5 hours of the infamous 131, Puerto Escondido, and the immense Pacific, came into sight.
I was happy to finally be there, but I was pretty fatigued from the ride and now it was HOT. I stopped to check the map. Just then a surreal moment happened. There I was, the farthest south I've ever been in Mexico, the culmination of the trip, and up rolls a car with a couple surfer-dudes in it. They were probably about 50 years old, but looked 30. Michigan plates. "Hey man, what kind of bike is that?" I guess I half expected some kind of encounter like this, I knew that Escondido is a huge surfer destination. Still, it was funny that that was my first contact. They were really cool, knew exactly where we were staying and helped me backtrack to where I needed to go. They looked like they've been coming there for a LONG time.
Following their instructions I made my way toward our hotel, in Carrizalillo, a quiet bay just west of the bahia principal. A left off the main drag, then a right, then I see the sign for our hotel, pointing us down a little road that will take me the last couple hundred yards. Of sand.
Shit. I hate sand. Here we go. Not so bad, not very deep, stick to the hardpack, we're doin fine, a little wavy here, a little wavy there, oh, getting a little deep, I'll just gas a little to lift the front... and now the out of control snowplow and we slam down to the right. Shit. I have to laugh about it. I help Lizzy up. She says she's OK. We pick the bike up. I've knocked off the right pannier. No big deal. Catch our breath.
I'm not good on sand to begin with, let alone two up with gear. Probably about 900 pounds all up. Add 6-8 inches of sand and we're on our asses.
I'm ready to go the last hundred yards or so to our destination, but I see Lizzy has lit a cigarette. She says "I'm good, I'm gonna walk the rest of the way." OK, I say. I start to go slowly. I realize this is new for her. I've slammed the Komanche around trails from North Carolina to Ontario and been off way more times than I'd like to admit, but this was her first time, and she was a little shaken up. I stopped, waiting for her to catch up.
I said that she should get back on. It's important to psychologically move on from a fall, and put trust in yourself (or in this case me) and the bike again. Besides, I didn't want it to be said that I came 3000 miles only to not deliver my wife's golden ass directly to the doorstep of our hotel.
She trusted me and got back on, and I slowly paddled our way through the thick stuff then onto the hardpack then then to the front door of Villas Carrizalillo, our home for the next couple of days.
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Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=931315
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:01 PM   #37
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Ahhh Playland. Lots of money spent, lost, stolen there. THE BEST!


Just the place you'd send your kid to play today!
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:52 AM   #38
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Keep this up and I'll have to reward you with a steak at Peter Luger's back in Brooklyn.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:17 AM   #39
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Great report! enjoying it from back here in NYC. My father and I rode a similar route last year and hit the Pacific in Puerto Encondido. If you have any flexibility in your schedule I recommend a night at Zipolite beach about 50 miles south of PE by Puerto Angel. You can hit it and then return to Oaxaca up 175. It was one of our favorite spots we stayed on a trip that covered most of C America.

Side note- saw the Roaming Rally sticker on your bike- Looks like we live in the same city and we've ridden together. Hope to connect one of the days.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:48 AM   #40
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I'm guessing no Internet access. So far loving it. Safe travels.
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:28 AM   #41
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Carrizalillo/Puerto Escondido










As soon as we got settled in to our room, I went back to the front dest to ask if we could stay a third night. Beautiful room, beautiful views, the perfect place to kick back for a couple of days and do nothing. And worth every perilous mile on 131.





Perfect spot for an 8am swim.





The neighbor would often drop in.








We had an excellent restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner just steps from our room, but we made the effort to check out the rest of town, with it's little beachside cafes and famous fish market.

Find the hidden Komanche:





Careful putting salt in your beer!











We sat on our balcony with morning coffee and enjoyed the hummingbirds and bees buzzing around the flowers, sat under shady umbrellas on the beach enjoying a couple of beers, watching locals and tourists learn to surf, and kept our eyes open for the sea turtle that you could see from the cliffside restaurant, surfacing and diving, foraging for something to eat.

The beauty of our surroundings was offset by the bittersweet realization that after 3000 miles of an amazing trip, it was time to turn around and begin heading back. We would return to Oaxaca for one more night, then I would drop my wife off at the airport and start my push back north. But for the moment, we would enjoy what was before us.








And before we knew it, it was time to go. On a hot morning we packed up our things and loaded up the Komanche. I realized I broke the latch on the right pannier that latches the bag to the frame when we went down on the way in. Time to bust out the Rok straps! Always good to have...
Having done the 131 already and knowing what to expect, we ventured toward the mountains with the steely confidence of grizzled adventure riders. And for the most part, had an uneventful day, if uneventful includes all the altitudes and constant serpentine movement of a great mountain road. Had to remember to be careful of the same washouts and slides, and at one point the bulldozers had fresh wet foot-high soft dirt spread over about 50 yards. A bit tricky, but doable.
Soon enough we were back in Oaxaca for our last night. We went back to nice-and-comfy hotel Maela. We wandered around, had a great dinner, and went back to our favorite place on the Zocalo to end the evening, an evening of saying goodbye to Oaxaca.


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Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:15 AM   #42
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Great report and even better you got to enjoy it with the wife! Im going to see if i can talk my wife into something like this.
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:28 PM   #43
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Keep this up and I'll have to reward you with a steak at Peter Luger's back in Brooklyn.
I'd have to take you up on that- I've lived just a few blocks away from there for 11 years and still have not gone in!
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Brooklyn to Puerto Escondido, MX:
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:05 PM   #44
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In addition to steak we'll also get Luger's famous bacon strips appetizer

Let me guess where you got the idea for Oaxaca's Hotel Maela
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:30 PM   #45
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Awesome thanks for the memories. Stayed at the same Hotel in Oaxaca and rode that shock busting 131 too!

I loved the narrative. I have tried to talk my wife into going for 6 months to no avail. Even my daughter is on my side; I'm envious.
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