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Old 01-01-2013, 02:05 PM   #76
0theories OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAllWhoWanderRLost View Post


Hope you have a Happy New Year!
Thanks Wander. Happy New Year to you to! And to everyone reading!
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:17 PM   #77
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12/28/2012 Kindred Spirits

The morning greeted me with sunshine and warmth. I packed up the bags and headed out without even the usual coffee jump-start. It was time to get to the beach and spend some quality time with salt water sand and sun.

Riding to the coast.


The ride down Rt. 200 to La Manzanilla was pleasant and surprisingly short. I must have made many more miles the night before than I realized. I arrived in the busy little town towards noon, running deep into my reserve tank as there wasn't a gas station for the last 50 Km or more and the next one was in Manzanillo, 20 Km further south.

Almost there.


When I found Jolanda's Restaurant I was greeted by a herd of bikes filling the parking lot. Inside was a motley collection of bikers relaxing to some coffee. Now these are my type of people! I didn't hesitate to join in. In the party were Jolanda and Leon (the owners, rode around the world on bikes), Randy (r6-lover), Ken and Carol (Australians traveling around the world on a BMW for five years now http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/duval/) and Spencer and Mary who live in Manzanillo (Spencer has traveled the world by BMW). They mostly post to Horizon's Unlimited.

From left to right: Mary, Spencer, Ken, Carol and Randy.


The rest of the day was spent sitting around Jolanda's drinking beer and telling (mostly listening to) stories of world travel by bike over every continent. I spent close to seven hours (we switched to beer shortly after my arrival) just hanging out there without so much as touching the ocean not 100 meters away. Tomorrow.

Sunset.


As it was getting dark, Spencer and Mary went home and we rode over to Jolanda's cabanas in a big bike pack. The cabanas were a couple of kilometers inland down a dirt road. It's a pretty spot and we spent the evening hanging out and talking. It's so nice to be in good company! Then I went to sleep in my comfy, king sized bed.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:35 AM   #78
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12/29/2012 – 12/31/2012 A break.

In the morning and with daylight I got a chance to take a look at my surroundings. Jolanda and Leon have a few cabanas circled around a small pool with an outdoor kitchen, surrounded by fruit trees and a garden. It's really lovely.

View from my veranda.




I made myself some coffee (first time using my stove on the trip) while taking in the sunshine and the beautiful surroundings. The place was full with the group from the previous night and we spent the morning telling stories and relaxing. Then it was off to town for brunch and the beach.



The next few days were an exercise in relaxation and recuperation. I lay out on the beach (and finally got some color), hung out at Jolanda's restaurant and generally vacationed in a traditional manner.

The beach.


Ken and Carol are a non-stop motorcycle story resource with Ken mostly telling the stories (and Carol serving as external memory for the details) and I learned all kinds of interesting things from them on topics ranging from Carnet de Passages to the Dakar (which I knew very little about before this). The food at Jolanda's is fantastic and the company couldn't be better (well, I guess there could have been a few more beautiful women my age there... I'm just sayin').



La Manzanilla is bordered by a swamp to the north, and that swamp is full of gators. Randy and I made a small trek over to see them. There's a “preserve” that charges 10 pesos to get in, with the proceeds going to maintain the beach and protect the gators. Some of the gators were huge (over 12 feet long). After a visit to the gators we got some of the best fish tacos I've ever had (especially once you get the chipotle sauce on them) at a truck on the corner of the main street.

Crocs (not the shoe).








As we're basically heading to the same place, it made sense for Randy and I to travel together. This arrangement will last for the foreseeable future. I think this trip will be even more fun with good company. Before Spencer and Mary left they invited us to their house for New Year's Eve and we decided to head that way on the 31st. They have a house across the street from the beach in Manzanillo and I could not think of a better place to celebrate the coming of the new year.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:20 AM   #79
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Heck yeah! Subscribed!
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:15 PM   #80
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aw man you missed Sayulita.
glad you made it into mex. enjoy!
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:46 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0theories View Post
“This is the most restful night of sleep I've had in a while” I thought to myself as I woke up in Mendodave's cozy trailer. And probably the most restful I'll have in a while. No worries about the bike being messed with, no hassle of breaking down a went camp... I actually had a dream the night before of waking up at camp and finding my bike in various pieces as I hiked down the trail trying to track it down. In the dream I wasn't upset about about it, and I'd like to think I wouldn't be in real life, but I doubt that's true. As Chuck Palahniuk wrote, “The things you own end up owning you.”

So I packed up my gear and drank a delicious cup of coffee that Dave made me, then after the mandatory photos, I was on my way. My plan was to follow Rt. 1 down to the Bay, but after fighting the severe wind for a few miles I cut across on the 128 back to Hwy 101 where it was wetter, but not nearly as windy.

Dave (a BMW rider) happily posing in front of the KLR...


I'm in a beautiful forest, why not stop for some preventive maintenance...


It was another uneventful day in the saddle. At this point I'm just making miles to be at certain places at certain times. This report will be pretty boring until I actually make it into Mexico (sorry). Crossing the Richmond bridge was super sketchy with the wind trying to blow me off the side. I did detour into central Berkeley where I used to live and had the BEST vegan duck! If you're interested, the place is called “Long Life Vegi House” (on University and Shattuck). The vegan duck there is better than any duck I've had anywhere, real or otherwise. It was a pure delight (and I have leftovers!!).

I proceeded through the urban sprawl of the Bay area and finally came out on the 101 heading south to Gilroy, where I was to stay with Mongox. He's hosting a Advrider event this weekend, but I think I'm too early to participate in the festivities.

I followed Mongox's extensive directions down some narrow, twisty roads in the dark and rain. He lives in a beautiful area which I'm excited to see during daylight hours tomorrow. Tonight it's fascinating, but mostly in an academic sense. I'm just ready to arrive. I found his house with little difficulty, but had a moment of self doubt when I arrived at his driveway. Luckily, as I turned around to insure I was in the right place, Mongox came out and blinked his flashlight to attract my attention.

We hung out for a bit and chatted. Mongox is a very interesting guy, with one of the coolest jobs ever. He's living the life! Nice to meet you man!! After relaxing and having a good conversation I hit the sack (in my tent, set up under some cover from the rain), and fell asleep to the sound of raindrops hitting various surfaces, making a lullaby of sorts.

Dave is a great guy. He also looked after us back in October 2012. Hi Dave.
Dazzer and Leigh
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:50 PM   #82
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Welcome Woodly!

I know Eakins! Bucerias was recommended to me (and it sucked). I should have just turned off at Sayulita. I heard it was sweet. Oh well, next time.
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:01 PM   #83
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12/31/2012 – 01/01/2013 The sky can't fall forever.

Woke up to the unexpected; cloudy, overcast sky with the promise of rain in the air. The next step of the journey was to take me to Manzanillo, which was less than an hours ride away, so there was time to wait out the weather. “It never rains here in the winter” I was told. “This doesn't happen here, it'll pass” they said. By late morning it had begun to rain.

Randy and I decided to cruise over to Jolandas restaurant for some brunch hoping that the rain will stop and the sun would return as promised. By mid-afternoon it was clear that it was not going to stop raining (in fact it was getting worse) despite how unusual it was. We said our good-byes and headed south.

Despite a thorough drenching we arrived at Spencer and Mary's house without incident. After a quick settling in, we got ready for the party hopping evening that New Years Eve held in store for us. After a wonderful dinner at the house, we went to second dinner at a friends house who had relatives visiting, then another friends house to watch a spectacular fireworks show on the beach. Spencer even lit off a few fireworks of his own (which resembled a large amount of gunpowder wrapped in newspaper), that set the car alarms off. It even briefly stopped raining for the occasion.



The sky was still coming down on the first, but Spencer had limited time off, so we decided to go for a ride to “Secret Beach”. I rarely ride with other people, and I think I've been missing out all these years. It's so much fun to ride in a group. We headed north out of town and took a dirt road west towards the coast. The road was actually broken up cobblestone, slick with the rain, and very fun.

Randy and Spencer near a Banyan tree.


After cruising up and over a small mountain range, through some forest, we arrived at the beach. It was still raining and overcast, so after a quick look around we headed back with only a slight detour to look for crocodiles down a side dirt road.



Secret Beach would have been a bit nicer in the sun.


Randy on his KLR.
-]

This soon turned into deep loose sand so we turned around and headed back. Dirt roads, in contrast to cobblestone, are quite a bit more pleasant to ride on and less precarious. It was a short ride, but really fun.

On the way back from the ride we picked up a couple of chickens for lunch (with some grilled onions and peppers), then later, tacos served as a late dinner. One thing about Mexico (that I especially like): they sure know how to eat, and eat often.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:03 PM   #84
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01/02/2012 A loop into the mountains.

Since Spencer had to go back to work and Mary had plans with friends (that fell through as we were going to meet up with them in Comala), Randy and I decided to ride a loop through the mountains to Comala, then north to a volcano (outside La Yerbabuena) and a coffee plantation, then back south the fast way. The morning was overcast but dry, and after a prompting from Spencer via phone call from work, we finally motivated to get out of the house and on our way.

Hunting for photos.


Found a spot (most scenic overlooks are blocked by trees).




We took Rt. 86 which was one of the curviest, most fun roads I have ridden in Mexico to date. It wound it's way northwest over to Colima (becoming Rt. 8 after Minatitlan).

Curves.


From Colima it was just a few kilometers north to this quaint little town with cobblestone streets and restaurants that will bring you small plates of food (sort of like tapas) when you order drinks. When we got there we promptly parked in a no parking zone and went to eat. The policeman was nice enough to ask us to move (instead of handing out tickets) and even found us better spots right by the restaurant. Great guy, who later corrected us as we were riding down the wrong way on a one-way street.

Comala streets.


Comala cathedral.




We got a couple of beers and were brought a few platters of goodies (although one was boiled pig “leather" [read: skin]) which was not appetizing in the least. Apparently they were supposed to keep bringing food while we sat there, but the caveat was that you had to finish what they brought. Not knowing this, we declined to eat the whole plate of pig skin, so no more food came and after a while we left.

From Comala we headed north up another superb twistie road and then east onto a cobblestone/dirt road that wound its way to La Yerbabuena.

Randy on cobblestone/brick.


Gratuitous bike shot.


This sleepy little village was mostly shut down as it was a weekday and no tourist buses were en route. After circling the village looking for a coffee plantation (all closed) we took a dirt road up to the volcano. Many curves later we arrived at a locked gate with a sign in Spanish that I interpreted (perhaps incorrectly) as saying “Prohibited! Health personnel only...” plus a bunch more writing. We looked around then left (but later found out from some friendly kids that we could have just climbed over the gate and beyond was the coffee plantation we were seeking as well as the “Guardian Tree” with magical properties of protection). I was pretty bummed I missed that as big, old trees are my favorite thing in the world.

Rain is in the air.


We headed back as the sky was gathering clouds. Before reaching Comala again, there is a spot in the road called (unimaginatively) “Magic Road”. Apparently if you stop and place your vehicle in neutral, it will roll up hill instead of down. Something to do with: a) magic b) a magnetic field or c) optical illusion.

Zona Magica:


Randy rolling uphill (maybe).


After another stop in Comala (which was much busier now) for coffee, we took the fast, toll road back to Manzanillo and encountered a fierce, unseasonal rainstorm 10 Kms from “home”. As Mary later put it, “the sky opened up” on us. The yard was flooded with 6 inches of standing water and the thought that crossed my mind was “the end of the world came a few days late”.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:34 AM   #85
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01/03/2013 Twisties to the south.

The epic rain storm had passed and the sky had cleared up. It was time to head south once again. As I was informed, we would be riding through bandito territory. Advice to me: “Gas up in Tecoman and don't stop again until Playa Azul” (our next destination just north of Guacamayas). Okay, I thought, we'll see what happens.

Dancing bears?


The stretch south on Rt. 200 along the coast was some of the twistiest, curviest and most fun road I have ridden in my life. The only things not liking that road were my Givi side cases due to the scars they now carry from where I leaned too far (on both sides). Kinda wish I had the VFR for that road, but the KLR performed admirably.

Randy led today.






It was all fun and sun with a short stop for lunch at a restaurant with beautiful views of the coast and beach below. We had some fish (more than we wanted due to a slight language barrier with the little girl that was serving us). It was delicious, but a bit overpriced. I guess you pay for the view (and it was worth it).

Randy having lunch.






Gratuitous motorbike shot of the day.




A celebration?




And another




Aside from the phenomenal riding there is little to report for the day (no trouble with banditos [we were lucky], just nice people going about their business).

A portrait.


We eventually stumbled into Playa Azul (Blue Beach) after a long day of riding and began the tedious task of looking for a hotel. After a few stops we were approached by an older gentleman who offered us lodgings in his house for a reasonable sum. Apparently many houses along the beach rent out spare rooms to tourists who don't want to pay hotel prices or when hotels are full. I promised his son (a lifeguard who spoke good English) that I would post the location for others to find. This is what he wrote on the piece of paper (I'm not entirely sure what all of that means):

Shark (he called it)
Playa Azul Mich.
5360292
Sr. Renta Cuartos
Calie Emiliano Zapata
Ronbo Al Betula


The place is right on the beach just north of the main round-about. It was really nice with two spare rooms and space to camp in the sand. A garage across the street housed our bikes for the night. The town was still really busy with Mexican tourists (no gringos) so we wandered the streets and ate delicious street food (and beer) for dinner before turning in for the night.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:10 PM   #86
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Great pictures and write up.

You sure are chasing away my winter blues with your RR.

Thanks for taking the trouble to post up your adventure.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:04 PM   #87
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Great pictures and write up.

You sure are chasing away my winter blues with your RR.

Thanks for taking the trouble to post up your adventure.
Thanks a lot Sunday. My pictures (and writing) need a lot of work though... You can tell the post processed pictures from the raw pretty clearly (and the writing is all raw [I'm a scientist, not a writer dammit!]) Thanks for coming along!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:18 PM   #88
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01/04/2013 Twisties to the East.

As I regularly mine JDowns' (the super sherpa guy here on adv) ride reports for interesting bits, I learned that one of his favorite roads in Mexico is (or was maybe) Rt. 37 heading north out of Playa Azul (which he took accidentally). I thought it would be a good idea to ride up it a ways and then back down a toll road and make a semi-loop day out of it, ending up somewhere near Zahuatanejo.

View hunting.






The road is indeed really fun, even though we didn't take it as far north as John. It wound and curved its way over the mountains and we were soon in the high desert. It's pretty amazing how much the climate changes over such a short distance. I think it has a lot to do with elevation (adiabatic cooling and all that).

The desert.




We rode through the parched, arid landscape until we reached the little village of Las Cañas where we stopped to get coffee before taking the on-ramp to Mex 14D, heading back to the coast.

Randy and some cactus.


Mex 14D is like a super highway, all down hill with everyone driving at very high speeds. It was there that I reached the limitations of the KLR. I was passing a bus and only took her up to 117 Kph when I experienced extreme front end wobble. It was so bad I thought I was going to go down! I rapidly slowed to a reasonable 105, but the damage was done. I lost confidence in the KLR. The rest of the ride on Mex 14D was nerve wracking as I was constantly watching my speed and not passing vehicles I would normally blow by. I guess it's a pretty common problem and can be caused by a) poorly setup suspension b) too much weight in the rear c) the front fender? I'm not sure where the problem lies as any of these could be true, but the bottom line is I have a speed limit of 110 Kph from here on out (which may be a good thing, but doesn't feel like it).

Super highway.


I get scared so Randy takes the lead.


After getting back to Rt. 200, we cruised along at a comfortable pace before reaching the Hotel Alamar along the side of the road (near Los Achotes) which suited our needs. Even more so as it had a pool and the owner reduced the price from one we were originally not willing to pay. The pool was a blessing as the heat was becoming unbearable and the street food stand down the road was full of entertainment as we tried to have a conversation with some young Mexican women who had way too many kids for their age.

Home sweet home (for the night).
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:22 PM   #89
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01/05/1013 Errands

We originally agreed that Acapulco was not going to be a part of our itinerary for several reasons which included (but were not limited to) its gaudiness, potential danger (or so we heard) and general touristy unpleasantness. But our plan changed when Randy's computer ceased functioning. What would normally be a hit against the city was actually a blessing: Acapulco had a Costco (of which Randy was a member and to which Randy could return items if need be). So we rolled into Acapulco looking for the Costco so Randy could purchase a replacement laptop.

Just riding along...


Daily bike shot.


Entering Acapulco.


It was actually not as bad as I imagined, but worst than I would have liked it to be. The traffic was terrible, the heat was overwhelming and the whole mission was a general failure. After riding around the city for a bit we finally stopped at McD's to use the internet to find the Costco (it's right on the main road south of town).

Searching Acapulco.


We found the place and Randy bought a new laptop and then we went to another McDs to use the internet some more and set up the new computer. One thing we did not notice at Costco is that the laptops all have Spanish keyboards. Try as we might, we could not get the “@” symbol to work (I even looked it up online and still nothing [yes, we tried every combination of ALT, CTRL and FN we could think of]). So Randy went back to return the computer while I posted an earlier ride report entry.

Acapulco Bay.


After the failed mission we headed back out hoping to put some miles between us and Acapulco before it got dark. The road back to Rt. 200 was only a few hundred meters, but cost us a toll of 28 pesos. After the toll booth it was all narrow road and topes again. What exactly did we pay for?

We got as far as San Marcos and found a nice little motel with internet for a very good price. While unpacking, Randy looked out the front entrance and sitting on the side of the road looking at Randy's bike was Dylan.S (on adv) whose riding around the world on a 1150GS (he has a great ride report going). We had dinner and beers and he decided to press on through the night (unwise as we see in his report) while we stayed behind. Great to meet you Dylan!
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:57 PM   #90
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Just got caught up after a couple days... Thanks for the updates and the photos, I enjoyed all of the amazing scenery! There's nothing quite like the sheer terror of a high speed death wobble. Nice work keeping a cool head and pulling it off! By chance, did you or Randy get any video?
I'm looking forward to the next episode.
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