Hooray we made it through the border and into Mexico!
We rode right on through the border without even seeing any border officials and there was nobody there to ask for our passports and no official looking office I could see to file our motorcycle import papers at. I thought to myself this can’t be right?! Because I had read many times the process on how to cross into Mexico I knew I had to locate the immigration building to take care of my vehicle import permit and to process our passports so off we went driving around lost already. Finding the immigration office however was a bit tricky because it was located about five kilometres away from the border with very little directional signage. I asked around for directions and was pointed the right way but of course all the signs are now in spanish and me no hablo espaniol so… this trip has begun!!
The paperwork at the immigration office was pretty straight forward thanks to my education on adventurerider.com of how the process should go. Passports checked in, 180 day tourist visa obtained a $400 deposit charged to our credit card to secure the bike is checked out upon us exiting Mexico and not sold within the country and we were on our way.
We figured out why there is nobody at the border to check you in about 30km down the road as we approached the “official” entry point of Mexico where immigration officers wait to ensure that you have checked yourself in correctly. Basically tourists can travel into Mexico roughly 30km along the border towns without checking in but after that it’s paperwork time. We were confident that we had all our documents when we were questioned by the inspector and he didn’t even ask to see our papers so lets hope we do!
Allende was our destination for the first night about 300km from the border. We clearly chose the wrong road because we hit three tolls and got hammered close to $19.00 in fees. We rode into Allende a fairly large town and went on the hunt for the Gran motel San Carlos. We have purchased a travel book full of budget hotels to help us find decent beds at night but I use the term decent loosely because in the same sentence “budget” and “decent” do not exist in Mexico as we were quick to discover. Hotel San Carlos is what can be referred to as a “sex motel” we drove up to the room the guy was pointing to and into a garage that has a curtain for a door.
The lot guy quickly closed the curtains behind us to conceal our wheels and then he disappeared. We opened the door to our room and staring at us was a stripper pole a sex chair and mirrors on the ceiling… que the 1980’s porn music. The sign read $170.00 pesos (aprox. $14.00 cdn) per hour but after we told the guy we wanted a room for the entire night he took us over to the not so pimped out rooms and we squared up for $27.00. We busted a gut knowing we had stumbled upon our first sex motel and of course we slept in our sleeping bags on top of plastic covered mattress tonight.
While we where unpacking we noticed Blanco had a screw in his rear tire. Only 300 km into Mexico and we were already facing our first flat tire, nice! The tire was still holding air and I wondered if maybe by the luck of god this screw was a shorty and had only punctured the tire tread and not the tube below. I wasn’t about to pull out the screw until I found a tire shop to help with the need be repair so off we went looking for a tire shop known as a vulka in Mexico. At the tire shop I tugged out the screw and luckily it had not punctured the tube only the tire so no problemo.
We headed out for our first mexican dinner of chicken, rice and beans of course and then off to bed.
Today we left Allende and headed to a little town called Rayones where we hoped to do some fishing on the Pilon river. The riding was AMAZING through mountains and along twisty curves that made both us and the bikes mouth water.
We arrived in Reynosa to find mostly a dried up river with very little area to approach the water from so we rolled onto the next small town called Galena.
Now this is where the riding gets more my style as we spent the next hour and a half in the backcountry of the mexican mountains riding from Rayones to Galeana. Twenty five kilometres offroad with rocks, washouts and rivers that made us feel like we were back home in the Canadian rockies.
We arrived in Galeana and checked into a hotel Magdalena for $30.00. We unpacked and spent most of the day walking around trying to get food while looking like confused monkeys. After laughing at our shitty Spanish and our poor attempts at sign language we decided alcohol was needed and grabbed a couple 1 litre beers to have in the plaza outside our hotel. All was well with the world now until a couple of military boys packing machine guns said “NO CERVEZA” and pointed us back to your hotel… stupido gringo!!!!
Today we thought we would try a little fishing at Lagona de Labradores nearby Galeana. We were full of excitement to catch our first fish in Mexico but as we pulled up to a lake we noticed it was completely flooded. We could only find one place to fish from shore as the water had made its way up the banks and into the trees along the shoreline. Fishing was a bust but we enjoyed the beautiful mountain scenery and listened to mexican music playing from the hills in the background.
After a few hours and no fish we decided to end our fishing day or should we say wishing day and headed for Matehuala.
Along the way we passed a large check stop that had trucks lined up for miles with military and police using sniffer dogs looking for drugs, weapons, etc.. highway 57 north and south is a major shipping lane from central Mexico to the U.S.A. and it was evident that military are here trying to intercept any illegal shipments heading up to America, we were waved right on through and were not inspected.
We arrived in Matehuala checked ourselves into Las Palmas hotel and headed straight to the pool for Cervezas and sunshine!
So far Mexico has been exactly the adventure we hoped it would be. Not being able to converse in Spanish has been trying at times but we just smile and fumble through awkward conversations until the point gets across. We are headed to the west coast to the beaches of Sayulita for some beach tans and hope to be there by middle of next week as we are not rushing and have more stops to make in the interior first. Buenos noches all!
Our travels today landed us in San Luis Potosi, a chaotic city to navigate with all its one way streets and lack of stop signs. It’s basically organized chaos here and It goes like this, you hesitate and you lose so claim your spot in the traffic flow and wait for the guy behind/beside you to yield and then you win your spot! Most four way intersections have no controlled stop signs so whomever is most aggressive wins the right of way.
We tracked down our hotel Hotel Guadalajara and booked in for two nights at $26.50 per night.
Hotel Guadalajara was perfect walking distance to the core of the city centre and all the Plazas. The large cities all have a city centro where people gather and relax. San Luis Potosi has many of these plazas all great for enjoying a beer, listening to music and people watching.
The city is full of beautiful cathedrals and the most elegant cathedral for us was the church of Del Carmen built in 1764. We found the craftsmanship in the wood work and the stone work to be surreal.
We visited the Museo Nacional de la Mascara which means National mask museum. Hundreds of masks in different sizes, shapes, materials, and colors from all over Mexico where put on display.
We enjoyed San Luis Potosi sights, sounds and taco carts :) but it’s time to push out and continue west where the beaches are calling!
We left Luis Potosi this morning heading for a small mountain town called Jalpa. With miles and miles of twisty mountain roads to turn and burn on you had to stay alert or you can blow a corner and end up like this cat.
We rolled into Jalpa a sleepy mountain town of 11,000 residents. We headed for the centro to scope things out and find our hotel the El Sol.
We found Hotel El Sol and grabbed a room for the night. It’s very basic room with no hot water and pillows practically made of concrete but for $20.00 it’s a roof over our heads and a done deal. Miguel and Maria the owners of the hotel are super nice and Miguel even walks us around town showing us the best places to eat.
We had some tacos but craved more substance so we headed over to the chinese takeout joint where we almost got kicked out for not speaking spanish to an angry Asian women. She was talking the fastest spanish we have ever heard or maybe it was chexican we couldn’t tell.
We left Jalpa in the morning and headed straight up into the mountains again. Today was by far the best motorcycle road I have ever ridden on! The curvy mountain road leads up into the mountains west of Jalpa and is what motorcycle dreams are made of.
Curves, curves and more curves as we climbed up to and above 2,400 meters where the views was spectacular. Then is was straight down the other side and on route to Tequila.
Another day of winding through the beautiful mountains from Jalpa to Tequila!
After seeing Tequila on the map we had to check it out. This little town of 30,000 residents has twenty seven tequila distilleries and produces 70% of the worlds tequila. With distillery tours and free samples I think we are going to like this place! So we booked into the perfect hotel for a coupe days Hotel Tequila, $27 pr/night. The hotel is located directly between the Sauze and Jose Cuervo factories. This could be dangerous!
Tonight marks our one week wandering around Mexico. So far our trip has been great. We have encountered no trouble from the locals and find everyone here to be friendly and courteous. We averaged out to spend a total of $82.00 per day which includes hotels, food, beers, gas and all other living expenses. We are under our set budget and couldn’t be happier about it. We headed out for dinner and some tequila sampling. The steak was mouth watering and the tequila ever so smooth and sweet. Tomorrow we will explore around the distilleries and report back our findings.
We bumped into an American fellow named Douglas that has been living in Tequila for the past six years. Douglas has become the local photographer for the city and has published many books about the town of Tequila. We joined Douglas for dinner to gossip about the area and met up again with him the following morning for breakfast.
Douglas recommended that we take a tour of the Rubio tequila factory so off we went in the chillymobile.
The tequila produced here starts with the blue agave plant that is grown locally in the hills.
The agave plant is harvested around the five to eight year range and what’s called the “pina” or pineapple of the plant is used to produce the tequila pulp.
The pinas are hauled to the processing factory and production begins.
The dried pinas are then ground into pulp and the pulp is mixed with sugar at ratios of 51% agave to 49% sugar from sugar cane to produce the tequila that is exported all over the world. This type of tequila is what we get in North America and is considered to be low grade tequila by mexican standards.
The best of the best tequila is produced using 100% blue agave sugars only and very little is exported to North America. Next time you by a bottle of Tequila look for 100% BLUE AGAVE on the label and good luck finding it because if you do my friends this bottle is gold!
The premium tequila is aged in wooden barrels from three to five years and the barrels are watered as frequently as every fifteen minutes to keep them from drying out and evaporating the tequila.
We tasted some 100% blue agave tequila after the tour and let me tell you any tequila I have ever bought and drank in Canada does not even come close to the smooth qualities of this stuff…not even close!
We spent the rest of the afternoon wondering around this magical little city admiring all the tequila offerings.
Our friend Douglas has provided us some photos from his collection for us to share below. He publishes books online through Amazon entitled “This is Tequila” and his books contain many photos of Tequilas people its distilleries and its culture that make this place a famous tourist stopover. Thank you Douglas for allowing us to share your photos.
After our tequila one O one course we headed out to dinner and enjoyed the most tastiest fish of our lives. If you can get past your dinner winking at you while you consume it I think you’d agree that this delicious fish was some good eats.
Home afterwards to do the laundry and plan for tomorrow. We are headed to Sayulita and hope to arrive tomorrow night in time to catch our first beach sunset in Mexico.
The drive form the high dry mountain side of tequila down in to the tropical jungles of the pacific coast line was amazing. The climate seemed to change just about every hour and the temperatures climbed as did the humidity.
We pulled into Sayulita and went to look for accommodations
This town is in full tourist swing this time of year and almost all hotels had “no vacancy” signs on all the doors.
I had read online about a little secret gem of a location that was at the library where they from time to time had rooms available upstairs so we rode around for awhile looking for the “libreria”. We found the libreria and went in to ask about rooms. I was told to come back in 30 minutes so the manager could contact the owners in Edmonton to see if any rooms were available. We held our breath waiting because it seemed everything else was all full up, luckily there was one room open so we jumped on it. The stairs up to our room was one not to be tackled under the influence and hauling our gear up was even a task.
Our room here over the quiet library and only two blocks to the beach was $63.00 per night and just perfect for us. Prices here have certainly jumped up hard from what we were paying in the interior of Mexico but I guess that was to be expected being at the beach. We booked in for as many nights as were available and we are here now until Wednesday morning.
We wandered on down to the beach to finally taste the salt water on our lips.
The beach here is beautiful but also very busy with many tourists.
Lots and lots of license plates from all over North America here including many from B.C and Alberta. Our two hotel neighbours Bob and Lara are both from Vancouver and we enjoyed gabbing with them over dinners and patio drinks in the evenings.
Today was our day to track down some local fishing gurus and get the low down on the fishing styles here on the coast. We first bumped into a gringo named Greg that had a fishing pole in hand just leaving the beach so I sparked up conversation with him. Greg is from California but moved permanently to Sayulita around 20 years ago in 1994. He runs a Casa here in Sayulita that rents out five two bedroom units, his casa is pimp and the views were awesome.
We talked about fishing and he showed us some pictures of his catches along the beach here. Greg had Pictures of 10 to 15lb snooks and many Jacks in the 5 to 10 pound range all caught from the beach. We traded some lures and I left him with some trout spoons I had brought from home. With our new tackle arsenal it was our turn to hit the beach and try our luck.
I struck out this morning but things got better this afternoon after we met back up with Greg and got some more tips from the master. Greg caught this Jack or Toro as they are called here on one of my trout spoons. I was pretty stoked to see these lures working here and catching saltwater fish.
The beaches in Sayulita are perfect. Long beautiful stretches are set under a back drop of jungle and palm trees. We took a short hike over to the next beach and it was basically secluded with nobody in sight.
It rained for the next few days so we enjoyed some down time and snuck out between rain storms to fill our bellies. The food here ranges from high end tourist expensive fair to local taco cart offerings and small street vendors serving up many tasty meals. Street tacos can be bought up for only 13 pesos ($1.30) a piece and beers at $1.50 all over the place make the price of food here a no worry.
We had a delicious meal of chicken, beef, sausage, potatoes, onions, jalapenos, cactus and fried bananas from this guy last night and including beers it was approximately $37.00 for four of us and we all left stuffed.
We spent Sunday night in true American fashion watching Superbowl eating pizza and drinking beers with Bob and the many other football tourist fans here in town.
We had a major setback this week with our saltwater surf rod breaking near the tip after only throwing fifty or so casts with it. Defiantly a bummer but after contacting the great guys at psfishing.net and speaking with Peter the owner he was able to send out a replacement rod right away, great service Peter! So as we wait for the rod to arrive our new friend Greg has most graciously lent me one of his surf rods so we could continue to fish. We are working out some deals with local guides aswell to get off shore next week and go after some big fish, we can’t wait!
It’s been a great week here in Sayulita so we decided to stay another week. We needed to find another hotel as ours was booked this week so we moved down the street to hotel Lola. The rooms here are $45.00 a night very clean but basic, no t.v. no bathroom or running water in the room just comfy beds and a shared bathroom down the hall. I believe this is a first for both Jenn and I to have no bathroom or water in the room but it’s all good because I didn’t have to shovel out my bike this morning to head over to the beach (:
Things are a bit more expensive here in Sayuita and last week we averaged out at $112.00 per day. The office view ain’t bad so I think we’ll stay another week.
Saturday we hopped a bus into Puerto Vallarta with amigo Bob. We jumped off the coach bus from Sayulita and rode the city bus into down town to take a stroll along the malecon.
It’s full tourist season down here and the beaches are packed and tourist dollars are flowing.
Prices are inline with Canada and the USA for food, mixed drinks and tourist type entertainment including and unfortunately this new flying superhero like stunt that I have been wanting to try but for $100us for 30 minutes today wasn’t my day.
However it turned out that today was going to be our lucky day! By pure luck we asked the “right” local selling cloths in the market where we could grab some good tacos. The friendly guy walks us four blocks over to the exact same taco stand I ate at four years ago and had enjoyed possibly the best tacos on the planet at. I was stoked!
I had just mentioned to Jenn about this exact taco stand and of course how I would never be able to find it again in the fairly large city of Vallarta and then puff ten minutes later we are repeating taco consumption history all over again.. Why so good you ask?! Fresh made Tortillas to order! ! !
And filled with bliss.
I was pumped, the tacos rocked and if I lived in P.V. I’d be the new best customer! Bellies full we headed over to the beach for a few relaxing margaritas before we caught the bus back to Sayulita for our siesta.
This morning we met up with Greg to throw more lures from the beach. There was many schools of Lady fish yes Lady fish, busting up sardines on the surface near the beach this morning and we noticed huge schools of Jack Travells pushing bait fish 200+ yards offshore. We waited patiently all morning for them to push into our direction but it wasn’t to be and the big school ate their lunch offshore while Jenn caught their left overs inshore.
A two hour siesta after all that casting this morning, dinner consisting of every possible bbq’d meat from down the street plus three shots of raicilla mezcal (mexican moonshine) with Bob the builder later and it’s home to bed by 9:30pm way before the street lights even come on. Tomorrow repeat!
Hung around the hotel this morning to enjoy some laziness then headed over to the beach this to see about some fishing. Right away we notice heavy bird action along the surf and many other people already down there casting away.
Greg was there already and was running around casting lures like a jacked up child. We got in on the action and started chucking. Jenn got hit hard a few times but no hook up and I caught a football sized Jack while the master Greg reeled in a few more Jacks and one beauty bonito tuna.
Jenn landed this little tasty sea perch and Greg was happy to add it to his bag before heading off home for dinner.
Our fishing amigo got in on the action too and was heading home with his dinner catch.
It was a good afternoon of fishing and watching a humpback whales off shore breaching, spouting and waving at us. Only a couple days left in Sayulita before we head back inland again and work our way over to the gulf of Mexico.
We took a little bike ride over to the next beach just down from Sayulita to check out the fishing there but when we arrived the waves were crashing the beach hard and the surf was well over ten feet tall. With no fishing to be had there we headed back to Sayulita to try our luck. Was only about five minutes into fishing that Jenn landed this beauty Jack.
The fisherman were all lined up waiting for the Jacks to rush the beach and feed on the bait fish.
The waves were still large and the kids were killing it on the boogie boards.
The fish action slowly calmed down and Jenn decided this little guy deserved her fish. He was pretty pumped when he figured out it was being given to him to take home.
It was a good afternoon forsure!
2rods 2wheels 2up goes formal with official cards! If only travelling would pay then these could be the last business cards we would ever need… if only!
We spent our last two days in Sayulita wishing about fishing. The surfers were loving the big surf but us fisherman didn’t stand a chance against the ten foot plus waves.
We sat on the beach and just watched the waves roll in.
I even threw myself into mother natures washing machine and the power of the surf was incredible. Funny how sand can get into the strangest places and turn toilet paper into sandpaper.
After play time I went to pack up the fishing gear and tear down the rods and reels. While doing so I found another fishing gear fatality, this seized up fishing reel… Don’t ask me how this one happened but that’s strike two on the fishing gear saga and we’re only a few weeks into the trip. Jenns parents might have to bring along another suitcase full of new fishing goodies for us when we meet up with them in further south in mexico mid march.
I finally stopped sulking about the reel and we headed out on the town for one last dinner in Sayulita with our new friends Bob and Dee at La Rustica. Our friend Dee bumped into us by pure coincidence at the pub one night and is actually from Fernie..small world forsure! Her and Jenn had trained many times together at the local gym back home. Bellies full it was time to sip some tequila and say farewell to our new amigos Bob and Dee. Great to meet you both guys see you all back in Canada.
Jenn decided to taste a few too many of the local bevys last night and woke up this morning feeling like a steamy pile of dog shit.. self induced torture she called it to be exact. Bob must of sensed it from across the street and showed up with a fat coconut water to help ease the suffering. Another point for the “I’m never drinking again” catch phrase… ya right!
All loaded up leaving Sayulita heading outwards and onwards back into the mountains of Mexico.
Short day today as to not make Jenn suffer too much although it was kinda funny at times to watch. We ended up in Mascota about 150km east of Puerta Vallarta, it’s a little sleepy mountain town and a great spot for an afternoon nap. $25.00 a night rooms and Blanco was allowed to spend the night tucked safely inside the hotel lobby.
Not much going on this afternoon and it started to rain so that’s a wrap folks.
Tomorrow we make our way over to Lake Chapala where there is known to be a large number of Canadian and American expats living around the lake. I’m hoping maybe even a fish or two are living there aswell!
We left Mascota in the morning and headed towards Lake Chapala
After another beautiful mountain ride we bumped into an expat American couple named Dan his wife Andy and Dans brother Randy at a gas station about 45 minutes outside Jocotepec. Dan and Andy had moved permanently to Ajijic seven years ago and when they heard we were headed to Jocotepec suggested we stay in Ajijic instead as there was more to see there. Problem was Ajijic is so packed up with American and Canadian tourists this time of year that getting a room wouldn’t be easy. Andy grabbed her cell phone and went to work calling around trying to get a room located for us and was easily the best darn travel agent we have ever worked with finding us a room in under ten minutes after trying several places first. Andy, Dan and Randy really looked after us as if we were long lost friends and Dan rides a BMW aswell so instantly we had much to talk about. We met up with Dan his brother Randy and riding buddy Dave who just finished a trip of South America in the morning for some great travel chat and tips on places to visit in S.A. Dave was a great help and a wealth of knowledge.
Lake Chapala is the largest lake in Mexico but unfortunately was to dirty to take a dip in unless you’re really looking to dirty dip. Our friend Douglas from Tequila mentioned the lake had an algae overgrowth a couple years ago that unfortunately caused most of the fish to die off. The tilapia have begun to come back but it’s not a great fishing hole we were told.
ummm don’t ask me but the cealiac suffer in your family might want one of these for Christmas?!?!?!?!
We took a hike up the north side of town to a small chapel in the mountains where the views of Ajijic were beautiful.
On the way back to town we tried meeting a new friend
But “Mr. Ed” decided friends off!
We enjoyed a beautiful mountain sunset to end a great day.
We left Ajijic in the morning and made our way over to Zamora. We went from mountain riding to flat farm land in no time. We rolled into Zamora and found a hotel called RAM-VAL downtown for $42.00.
We went out in search of excitement and comida “food” and seen another ADV rider across the street checking into a hotel. Our social radar was on full alert and without any hesitation we approached the guy on a WR250. Quickly we found out that Stephano who an Italian rider that has been on the road making his way north from South America over the last fifteen months. After we helped him get his bike over the curb and into the hotel we went out for dinner and exchanged travel stories.
We met back up with Stefano in the morning for more map talk and to listen to Stefanos tips and tales from the road. A super great guy and a true adventure!! I strongly suggest you copy/paste this link to look at his webpage as I feel Stefano has some of the best ADV riding photos I’ve seen to date http://www.stefanomelgrati.com/archives/project/chile
Stephano pushed off heading north and we went to visit this massive cathedral called Diocesan sanctuary of the virgin of Guadalupe. Construction begun in 1898 and it now stands a whopping 105 meters tall, a very impressive sight.
Yesterday marked our one month here in Mexico and I thought some of you might be curious as to how much travelling around down here actually costs. While every traveller has his or her own budget and comfort level we feel that we would be a good representation of the “middle of the road” style of travellers. Meaning we have not stayed in hostels or camped nor stayed in fancy expensive hotels just basic accommodations including secure parking for the bike and a bed to rest our heads on. Actually most of our hotels have been more then adequate for our needs and have ranged from $20.00 to $63.00 per night. We have ate well consisting of a light breakfast in the morning usually yogurt, fruit, milk and cereal bought at the local stores for only a few dollars, street tacos for lunch again very cheap but tasty and a hardy dinner at the local restaurants usually including a few cold bevys to wash it all down. We have averaged out over the last four weeks to spend $103.00 as a couple per day equalling $51.50 a day each. I’m pretty certain we spent more then that back home on our daily living expenses and we are surprised how affordable travelling can actually be. Each day can and sometimes does have challenges that we could do without but as the days roll on the road and the journey ahead seems to be getting clearer, to live and explore without expectation and to appreciate all that we have here now aswell as back at home. Life is a blessing and we most certainly feel blessed.
We left Zamora headed for our next Mexican mountain destination of Guanajuato.
Another great scenic mountain ride full of curves and butter smooth pavement that had both me and Blanco smiling from ear to ear.
We pulled into Guanajuato and found a hotel only steps away from our main attraction, the museo de las momias or for us that no hablo espanol the mummy museum. We wondered over to the museum to study the nastiness known as half decomposed bodies. These are real mummified corpses that had been exhumed for research. I’m not gonna lie it was a little bit cool and a whole lot of morbid, Jenn of course loved it!
After a couple of hours which it took me to regain my appetite we strolled downtown to grab some food and see the sights.
After breakfast in bed we left Guanajuato and headed for San Miguel De Allende where we had been told the city had much character to be discovered.
San Miguel is like a Mexican Disneyland for retirees which makes the town quite busy during the winter months. We tried six or seven hotels before we found vacancy but at a hefty price of $90.00 per night. We were both hot and tired and when we heard about the pool in the courtyard we laid down the cash. The views where stunning and that too helped easy the financial pain and suffering.
The city is built into the hills with steep cobblestone streets. We walked around up and down until we couldn’t feel our legs anymore.
And we ended the day watching the sunset over the city from our patio.
This morning we moved to a much more wallet friendly hotel for $54.00 that was recommended to us by a gentleman named Tim that we had previously met at the Texas/Mexico border one month ago while crossing into Mexico. Tim spends most of his winters here in San Miguel and we met up with Tim again this morning to talk tourist talk about the city. Tim gave us some city pointers and even offered us a place to stay at his ranchito tomorrow night. We accepted his invitation for tomorrow night and Tim promised to show us some hot springs nearby that we will also visit.
We wandered around town again this afternoon taking in the sights, cervezas and of course the mandatory siesta. Tomorrow we head to Tims ranchito for a soak in the hot springs.
We met up with our new friend Tim in the morning as planned and Tim had us follow him out to his ranchito. Now keep in mind that we just by luck bumped into this “Tim” at the border crossing in Laredo Tx/Mexico and could have bumped into any other type of “Tim” but the Tim we lucked into meeting was the kind of guy that this world needs more of. Tim offered us to stay at his ranchito just outside of San Miguel and we took him up on his generous offer and stayed two nights. I can’t begin to describe to you how special this place really was because my words wouldn’t do it justice so we will let the pictures do the talking.
It took Tim and his helpers seventeen years to build this fantasy land casa and it took us the entire two days to fully visually appreciate every little detail that went into such an amazing home. This place had it all including a bocci court, hot sauna, many out buildings and one very generous owner, Tim. Tim even came prepared with a fully stocked cooler that he left at the ranch for us stocked with food and drinks so we wouldn’t go hungry while we were there, what a great guy!
Obviously a wicked cool spot to spend a few days!
We woke up Sunday morning and headed to the hot springs just down the road called La Grutas (the caves) for a soak and some more relaxing down time. This place was pretty cool albeit a bit commercialized it was perfect for a Sunday morning chill session. There was a cool cave section that we swam into but unfortunately steam and camera lenses don’t mix well so not all pictures turned out.
The cave section where the water got much hotter and it turned into a sauna like atmosphere.
We headed back to the ranchito after our soak and decided to scrub the last six weeks and 5,000km of road souvenirs off Blanco.
Tim arrived this morning to see us off and make sure that we had gotten enough rest at his place. We can’t thank him enough for his kindness. Muchas gracias amigo y mucho gusto!
We headed off with a short day of riding planned but when we arrived in Xichu our original destination we had not yet had our fill riding for the day and decided to carry on. What we were carrying onto was another story so here goes. The road from Xichu to our next planned destination of Pinal de Amoles was not on any of our maps and didn’t show on our GPS and was a 100+ km of over mountain passes one after another without any signage or directional clues other then the locals that we happened to stumble upon in these very small mountain communities. Only god knows why these towns even exist way in the backcountry of the Sierra Gorda Mexico but thankfully they do and fortunately the people living in these towns were friendly and patient when it came to playing the game of, what the hell does this gringo want, why the hell does he look very lost and how come he can’t speak or understand any spanish when we try and tell him where to go… Today we defiantly earned our adventure riding stripes!!
We reached hard pavement and the highway 120 that we were looking for and with only 25km left in the fuel tank it was a welcomed sight. The highway 120 is undoubtedly one of the sickest motorcycle roads I’ve ever laid rubber on and if I’ve said it before I will say it again the motorcycle riding in Mexico will be hard to beat!
We arrived in Pinal de Amoles with only minutes to spare before dark and rely on ol’e trusty adventure riding hotel handbook to score us a room for $32.50. Dinner and a quick blog update before the curtains fall on a glorious day and one full of true adventure!
We left Pina de Amoles and headed up hwy 120 to Xilitla. Hwy 120 is fast, curvy and uber fun to ride! The roads here to most disbelief are perfectly paved and the corners are carved into the natural mountain terrain making the ride super sweet!
The ride to Xilitla carried us high into the mountains and above the clouds at times creating an inversion in the surrounding towns.
On the way to Xilitla I noticed the bike was a bit spongy in the front end and pulled over to find the front tire half flat. We noticed a thorn in the tire and a small leak from the tube. I topped up the air and we pressed on to Xilitla.
Once in Xilitla I pulled off the tire and headed over to the Vulcanizadora (tire mechanico) to get the tube patched up. Total cost for a thirty minute repair was $3.50 and for $5.00 including tip it was as good as new!
We stayed in Xilitla so we could visit the Garden of Las Pozas. The garden was constructed by an Englishman named Edward James in 1936 to 1950. Las Pozas was a fantasy land of structures and gardens wound throughout the jungle.
It was a very foggy day up in the clouds at Los Pozas and the foggy mist added an eerie aura to our visit.
The sweet lady that owned San Ignacio hotel named Maria was like a mother to us bringing us fresh orange juice and bananas each morning and wished us safe travels on the road ahead. She gave us a huge discount on the room for the two nights we stayed there and made us feel very welcome almost like family.
We had received a tip on a must see place from Tim in San Miguel called La Grutas Tolantongo and headed in that direction. We decided to take another shortcut through the mountains and like the last shortcut ended up being a three hour detour through the mexican mountains with no signage, no gps maps and no frigging idea where the hell we were going. Eventually we made it but but ended up arriving at Grutas Tolantongo well after dark and breaking the golden rule of never riding at night in Mexico…shhhhh don’t tell La momma.
Tolantongo was a sight to be seen! A hot river warmed by the earths core and then spit back out to the surface for us to enjoy. The water was said to be around 38 degrees celsius in the upper caves and tunnels and down river around 20 degrees C. We had a great morning of soaking and sight seeing.
And on the drive out we got to see what we missed the night before coming in in the dark.
From Tolantongo we pushed off onto Puebla a large modern very clean city with many expensive restaurants and cafes. We only stayed one night at a budget motel ($18.000) and headed out in the morning for Oaxaca.
Oaxaca is home to many archeological ruins and we decided to venture out and visit two nearby. First we visited the ruins of Milta a small but characteristic site that was inhabited by the Zapotecs in the 1500’s. The ruins were okay but we were not blown away by them.
Next up was ruins of Monte Alban and this place was a whole other story! Only a short ten minute drive from Oaxaca Monte Alban was a sight worth seeing. Inhabited from 500B.C. to 750A.D again by the Zepotecs Monte Alban was impressive! Eventually the city was abandoned after the spanish conquest around 800A.D. The pictures I hope show its mass size and the work that must have taken place to build such an impressive city for its time.
Tomorrow we head for the beaches of Puerto Escondido to relax for a few weeks and work off this farmers tan.
We headed out of Oaxaca in the morning after finishing breakfast and saying our goodbyes to our new friend and motorcycle collector Sergio. Sergio even secretly prepaid for our breakfast at the restaurant across the street from his hotel when he heard we would be eating there before we left this morning. Sergio owns hotel Paris and if you ever visit Oaxaca on a bike make sure you stay there!! Thanks for the unbelievably kind hospitality Sergio, mucho gusto amigo!
You can tell from the map above that the road to Escondido is a very twisty one. Climbing up and down mountain passes and carving corners is what this countries highways are all about.
About halfway to Escondido we were passed by this fellow riding and railing corners like a pro. Of course my inner “race pace” self kicked in and I sped up in hopes of keeping up with him for awhile. Fortunate for us he wanted to meet the touring gringos and slowed down so we could keep up with him.
Eduardo made the “pull over for a drink” moto sign language signal and we grabbed a bevy together at the local tienda. We chatted motos and Eduardo later informed us that he rides this curvy mountain pass almost every weekend to visit his girlfriend in Oaxaca city. Major advantage goes to local knowledge and after our break there was no way I was able to keep up with him on the tarmac, he was a very fast experienced rider.
We rolled into Escondido and set up shop right on the beach in our own private cabana. The cabana included a refrigerator and stove so Jenn could enjoying doing her thing in the kitchen again. $32.00/night
We strolled along the beach at sunset and enjoyed the very quiet vibe of playa zicatela here in Escondido.
There are many local fishing boats near our hotel so naturally we went over to look for a ride and book some fishing.
We found the perfect captain named Gume and his son Syndel to take us out fishing. Gume and Syndel really know how to fish and within minutes the rods were going off sometimes two and three at a time.
The fishing was great and we caught a bakers dozen of bonito tuna. We also seen many dolphins, sea turtles and even a humpback whale off in the distance during the day.
After our morning of fishing captain Gume invited us to his house to have dinner with him his wife Flores and son Syndel. The fish Flores cooked for us was the days catch and it was possibly the best tasting fish dinner we had ever eaten. Such a kind gesture by some wonderful people and we enjoyed every minute of their company together. We have booked another fishing trip with Gume and Syndel on sunday where we plan to head out to deeper waters and target the big boys of sailfish, marlin and dorado. Don’t think I’ll be sleeping much saturday night…
It is very very hot here and with the temps above 30 degrees celsius plus humidity during the day we usually just hang in the shade and enjoy the hotels pool. Jenns really enjoyed being able to cook for us and we have enjoyed many fresh fish dinners together.
We received an email invitation from Eduardo to a beach birthday party for his girlfriend and were happy to attend the party. We arrived at the beach venue and instantly were treated like family by everyone. Kisses and hugs all around were shared by Eduardos family like crew of amigos. We had much to talk about and many of Edwardos friends spoke very good english and many also rode motorbikes.
The were very curious about our trip and asked us many questions about our travels throughout mexico and about the road ahead. The party was very fun and of course mucho tequila was enjoyed by all.
Old traditions never die and the birthday girl got a very close up look at the cakes ingredients.
We had a great night out with our new friends and it reinforced just how wonderful the mexican peoples are towards travelling strangers. Thanks very much Eduardo for showing us a very fun time with your great friends!
It’s 2:00 am and I’m wide awake and wired! At 6:00 am we fish and I think tomorrow Jenn and I both have a chance at catching the fish of a lifetime. I know we have the perfect guides in Gume and Syndel to make it happen so I better try and sleep. Goodnight friends and please say a prayer to the fish gods for us. Buenas noches!
Well friends we thank you for your prayers and sacrifices made to the fish gods for us!
It was a beautiful morning to stroll the beach and meet up with captain Gume.
We rolled out with the fleet of many other boats filled with wannabe dream seekers.
With a solid captain at the wheel it took less then one hour of fishing before we had a big tug on the line. Gumes son and assistant captain Syndel worked patiently waiting until the Sailfish had a good firm grip on our bait before driving home the hookset and then it was game on!!
My opponent jumped and bucked rising above the water four or five times pulling at the line like his life meant it, in truth it did!! I cranked and reeled but he still took out more line. Ten or so minutes of cranking and reeling until the 60lb’r began to tire out and was boat side.
Captain Gume mounted up for the big hoist and the gorgeous specimen was now bucking and kicking on the boats deck.
Pretty sure I have not smiled this big before and with my heart pounding and knees shaking we hoisted up our trophy! High fives and a celebratory brew was enjoyed. It was only 8:00 am but I didn’t care as beer after any victory always tastes the best!
With the entire morning left ahead of us I was certain Jenn was going to land a beast of her own but unfortunately it wasn’t to be today. With the radio squawking on the boat all morning and the captains at sea asking “where is the fish, donde esta los peces?” all we did was smile and give thanks as we had one of only three sailfish caught amongst the entire fleet of sport boats today and ours the biggest catch of the three.
Look Gume and Syndel up when in Puerto Escondido because you wont find a nicer more professional duo to fish with anywhere else! Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/gumecindocarlos.sanchezmendez?fref=ts
The fishing had slowed down but the sight seeing really picked up. We must have seen around fifty to sixty dolphins throughout the morning and many were happy to show off for us.
The morning came to an end and we headed for shore.
We landed on shore and again admired our prize.
The fish was hauled off to be filleted and captain Gume again invited us to his house to eat fresh sailfish cooked by his wife, sister, mom, sons girlfriend and all the other ladies of the family while us men joked around telling fish stories. The bbq’d fish was of course delicious!!
We are not yet near done with the beautiful country of Mexico and want to share more stories and photos with you guys. We have decided to do you all a favour and create a “Mexico part 2” page in the menu header at the top of the page, hopefully this will take some “load time” off your computers when you click to view more. Enjoy Mexico part 2!!