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Old 10-29-2013, 06:36 PM   #76
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Great RR. You're right there are some great cities in northern Mexico. Guanajuato, queretaro, Morelia, Zacatecas and San Miguel de Allende are all worthy of a visit.
Enjoy it, you're not missing anything from OC. Well i did get a parking ticket yesterday, so I got that going for me.
Quick question about insurance? Did you buy it before the trip? Anyone ask about it?
don't forget Patzcuaro and Bernal plus Chapala & Mazamitla.

when in SMA don't missing soaking at La Gruta hot springs!
http://www.lagrutaspa.com/
the health food store - Via Organica - in SMA serves some great food and tasty homemade beer.

i use to live in GTO and you'll be blow away how awesome of a town it is.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:55 AM   #77
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When I get on the road early enough I can take my time and enjoy the side roads to get to the next city. Leaving Zacatecas after breakfast with Cloe, I skipped the main autopista and jumped on highway 54 to ride to Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. I passed by police and military trucks with soldiers in the back, rifles in their hands. This is the governments response to recent attacks from organized crime in the state and city. I’m glad it doesn’t seem to have drastically affected the city as it’s such an incredible place. This was the most military presence I had seen so far on my route through Mexico. Once I was away from the city I didn’t see any police or military for most of the trip except the time when I blew past a police car parked at a roadside restaurant. Thankfully he must have been paying attention to his food and not my speed. The road would pass through small towns every so often that had the same charm as Zacatecas but much smaller. Villaneuva and a few of the others were also built in the colonial Spanish style.


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The further south and east I went the land became lush and green with farms of all kinds, especially maguay farms (the plant that the make mezcal from) dotting the countryside.


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About 80km outside of Guadalajara the road makes an impressive ascent into and over the mountains. The temperature climbed too and I had to open the vents on my jacket to keep cool. As long as I was moving it was fine. Coming around a bend in the mountain I was instantly in the middle of Guadalajara’s urban sprawl. Buses, motos, and people everywhere. Some intersections had ten guys, many young teenagers, trying to wash the windows of the cars waiting at the traffic lights. Here’s an advantage of motorcycle travel I didn’t realize till today. No one ever bothers me about cleaning my windshield. Though my visor could certainly have the bugs wiped away.


In Guadalajara I am staying with my friend’s cousin Priscila, her husband Oskar, and their young son. Priscila gave me directions and with only the help of a gas station worker and one phone call I was at their house. Though once again the gas station worker said the road I was looking for was 4km away when in reality it was 12 or 13km.


I spent Friday and Saturday in Guadalajara with Priscila, Oskar, and their son. Oskar showed me around his city on Saturday. The centro of Guadalajara is a nice place to just walk around and see the sights. We went to one neighborhood for breakfast at this neat place called Piggy Back. There were a few things on the menu that I had to try. The first was the traditional Mexican dish, chilaquiles. The other was machaca, a dried and spiced pork or beef that they shred into thin pieces. The food and coffee was delicious and the restaurant had a great atmosphere with good tunes playing on the radio. I could see this place being my breakfast spot if I lived in Guadalajara

.


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Piggy Back. Open Thursday-Sunday Justo Sierra 1819, Col. Americana
44160 Guadalajara, Jalisco


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Chilaquiles


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It was a beautiful sunny day in Guadalajara so the sidewalks were busy with families and tourists. The streets are lined with your basic stores, fancy coffee shops and restaurants, along with your traditional barrage of American fast food chains. We walked from one end of the center to the other and took in all the sights. From cathedrals, to the main plaza with old people dancing, to the opera house and market.


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Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento


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This church is booked out almost everyday for weddings and Quinceañera. There was a Quinceañera taking place while I was here. Outside waited a new Honda Civic. Not a bad present. I wish I had a Quinceañera. :-)


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Catedral de Guadalajara


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La Danza de los Viejitos, The little old men Dance

The above photo of the Dance of the little old men is a famous traditional folk dance in Mexico from the state of Michoacán. The dance has been around for hundreds of years. They say the origins of the dance came from when the Spanish arrived in Mexico the people were surprised at how fast they aged. They made a dance mocking them. Though others say it was around before then and is just a fun way to honor old age. Either way it’s entertaining. Typically the dance is performed by kids who dress up with masks and use canes. They walk in circles, hunched over using their canes like they are very old, then jump into a spirited dance, tapping their feet and moving around.


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San Juan de Dios Market, one of the largest in Mexico. Also known as mercado libertad on the maps


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Guadalajara Light Rail known as Tren ligero de Guadalajara


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After spending most of the day in the centro of Guadalajara we drove over to the neighboring town of Zapopan. I really liked this small city. It moved at a slower pace than Guadalajara. One of the things Zapopan is known for is at the Zapopan Basilica where the The Virgin of Zapopan is. Annually since 1794 on the 12th of October there is a massive parade to honor the virgin Mary. Over 1 million people participate. They participate, they don’t just sit on the side. A procession of 1 million people, many dressed in vary outfits and performing dances. I was just a week late to see this but it sounded fascinating.


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Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Zapopan


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One of the neighborhoods in Zapopan filled with restaurants in this classic style

Later that day we went to the mall to run some errands. This place was so nice. For those that live in Orange County, this mall in Guadalajara matched or was nicer than South Coast Plaza. While they ran errands I enjoyed a Starbucks iced coffee. Always refreshing. We went to a sushi restaurant where they served “Mexican sushi”. I got a California roll and wasn’t too surprised that the “mexican sushi” was better than the normal rolls. It was so nice to spend 2 nights with them; sharing meals, learning about their lives, and their city. Once again, I’m feeling blessed.

With Oskar, Pricilla, and their baby boy.

With Oskar, Priscila, and their baby boy.

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Old 10-30-2013, 09:09 AM   #78
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thanks dan for keeping up with the report.

enjoying your commentaries and pics. makes me want to see and experience it for myself.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:09 AM   #79
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Getting to Mexico City from Guadalajara. Bring a weeks worth of $$

Guadalajara and Zapopan had a lot more to see but I had to get to Mexico City by Sunday night. A few months before I left I saw an email from the band Muse, one of my favorites, announcing their fall tour. In the middle of the tour was a few nights playing in Mexico City the week of my birthday. How could I not go? Tickets were a great price so I picked one up on Ticketmaster and planned to get to Mexico City in time for the show Sunday night.


Oskar insisted I have a real breakfast before I spent a day on the road. I was fine with Coco Krispys but he served fresh melon and bread with a really good jelly and honey. Thanks, Oskar! Once again I mapped out my route out so I would not get lost leaving Guadalajara and more importantly arriving in Mexico City. I was reminded of the wealth around Guadalajara when in the first hour of leaving the city I was passed by 4 Ferraris and 3 Lamborghinis.


There’s one main highway that goes from Guadalajara to Mexico City so I opted for the most direct and shortest route. Mexico 15 is an impressive 4 to 6 lane highway that easily gets you from one city to the next. But you pay for this. I came up to one toll and handed over 77 pesos. A few miles later another toll. 55 pesos. And then another and another. By the time I got to Mexico City I spent more than a days entire budget on tolls. I think it was about 400 pesos in total on Mexico 15 and 55 between the two cities. There are free roads but they will take you longer and after all, I had my favorite band to see. If I didn’t have the concert to get to I would have bailed on the toll road and taken another route.


Outside Mexico City it started raining. I stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road and put on my rain gear. There was a group of Harley riders inside, too afraid to get wet I guess. The highway made its way into the mountains and the temperature kept dropping, heavy fog and rain made it even colder. I’m so glad I bought those cheap $6 Chinese heated hand grips and that they work! I came to what I hoped was my last toll and started to pull away when a Policia Federal truck pulled in front of me with its lights on. Great. I’m getting pulled over. But they rolled the window down and waved at me to keep going. Hmmm. Maybe I’m getting a welcome escort into Mexico City? That seems strange. Then more cars were behind the truck and they motioned to slow down. So much for special treatment, they were just slowing the traffic either because of the fog or an accident.


As we slowly rolled into the city a BMW 1200GS and a KTM LC4 came up next to me. They were local riders but I was excited to see other adventure riders. I’ve been surprised that I have only seen two other traveling motorcyclists so far on the entire trip. That was in Baja from Guerero Negro to Santa Rosalia and they blew by me doing about 90MPH so I wasn’t going to keep up. We passed an accident and the police left and off we went. There was a split in the highway that I didn’t see on the map and quickly had to decide where I should go. A few blocks later I realized I should have gone the other way. Well if I was going to get lost in Mexico City I couldn’t have picked a better place as I found myself in Reforma near Chapultepec, one of the nicest neighborhoods of the city. Ok all I have to do is turn right on Perificio up ahead and then make another right. Simple. A few minutes later I didn’t see Perificio and was once again not where I needed to be. Looking at my iPhone Google Maps I could see where I was and where I needed to be but without directions. Ok now I just need to turn right then left then right onto another street and I’ll be good. Except a median split the road into two and I needed to be on the other side. This went on for 45 minutes till I finally arrived at Warm Heart Guest House in Coyoacan. As frustrating as it is to get lost, I usually see cool parts of the city and it feels good to have conquered Mexico City. It’s the little things that make me happy, besides I was still on time for the concert so it’s all good.


I parked the bike, unpacked my stuff, changed clothes and was headed to catch the metro in 15 minutes. No time to rest, I had a concert to get to. I paid my 3 pesos for a metro ticket and was on the train. I just needed to make 1 connection and take it a few stops over. While I was riding the busy metro I realized how free and comfortable I felt. I’ve heard all kinds of things about Mexico and how I would be killed and ransomed. As I rode the train I looked around at all the people around me. Families, young twenty-somethings, teenagers, and old people, all living their lives. Reading books, listening to iPods, playing games on their phones. Yea there’s room to be cautious in life especially in cities known for pickpockets and muggings but you take some precautions and just live life. I made the connection and got off at the stop for the Palacia de los deportes where Muse was playing.


Outside the stadium you had to pass through a small city of vendors all selling Muse merchandise and for cheap. There were at least 500 booths set up. Inside the gates there were two small booths with signs saying Official Merchandise. There was an entire mini economy of bootleg Muse merchandise just outside the gates. In the US there are bootleggers but they usually have the t-shirts in their hands and are ready to run from police when they come. But this was an established thing. Maybe it wasn’t bootleg merchandise but I highly doubt it. It looked bootleg. Just a small observation on differences attending a concert in Mexico vs the US.


Muse Ticket


Once I was inside the stadium I found my seat and ten minutes later the opening band started playing. Talk about making it right on time. By the time Muse was ready to go on, the stadium was packed with about 20,000 people. The next two hours were everything I had hoped for. A fun night seeing one of my favorite bands in a new country surrounded by 20,000 people who speak a different language but we were all singing along and jumping around together. I left the concert excited to experience Mexico City over the next few days. So far my time here is off to a great start.


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For those not familiar with Muse, here are a few songs of theirs.


<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/w8KQmps-Sog?list=PL8DC71F030636770C” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>


<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/Ek0SgwWmF9w” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Old 10-30-2013, 03:17 PM   #80
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Muse, rock on! Saw them here in Portland, what a stage show, fantastic production. Enjoying your report, would love to make the trip south some day, but until then I'll have keep on reading about rides like yours, keep up the good work.
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:08 PM   #81
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I am always on the lookout for Mexican RR's....and just found yours. ...and luvin it. Good pics and comments.

And I have learned two important things:

1) Plastidip

2) Couchsurfing.....just to meet people who might look like Cloe
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:06 PM   #82
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I am always on the lookout for Mexican RR's....and just found yours. ...and luvin it. Good pics and comments.

And I have learned two important things:

1) Plastidip

2) Couchsurfing.....just to meet people who might look like Cloe
I wish I had more than a month here in Mexico. I'd spend a month just in Zacatecas. You know, cause the city is that great ;-) I would recommend Couchsurfing but not to meet chicks. just an awesome way to connect with people usually from the cities you're traveling in. Cloe is 1 in a million.

I'll let you know about the plastidip, I'm having my doubts about it only 1 month in.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:09 PM   #83
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Muse, rock on! Saw them here in Portland, what a stage show, fantastic production. Enjoying your report, would love to make the trip south some day, but until then I'll have keep on reading about rides like yours, keep up the good work.
I've seen them a few times now and they are one of the best out there live.
Thanks for following.

Anything you subscribers want to hear more about?
Just let me know.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:27 PM   #84
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Subscribed..and just catching up. Great notes and pics - thanks for taking the effort/time so we can follow along.

Like your color thoughts with the "X" - I'm in the middle of farklizing and upgrading mine for just such a journey someday...

Be safe and keep up the great RR!
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:05 PM   #85
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I've seen them a few times now and they are one of the best out there live.
Thanks for following.

Anything you subscribers want to hear more about?
Just let me know.
Dan,
I really love the personal story and the way you integrate the hosts you've stayed with into that narrative along with the pics of places and people. Personally, I think the story comes alive when you show us who you spent time with. Keep it up!
Brian
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:05 PM   #86
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......I would recommend Couchsurfing but not to meet chicks. just an awesome way to connect with people usually from the cities you're traveling in. Cloe is 1 in a million. .....

Yes, That comment was mostly made in jest
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:39 AM   #87
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... ...
No Ca'maras... yeah, that's a rule folks even notice.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:13 PM   #88
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sorry not sorry

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been busy learning Spanish and having too much fun in San Pedro La Laguna Guatemala.

Working on getting updates up tonight and tomorrow!

This is Trevor, another advrider going to Argentina.
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:47 PM   #89
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Coyoacan - A Different Part Of Mexico City

Here in Mexico City I’m staying in Coyoacán, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Through a friend I found an awesome guest house to stay in while I’m here (I’ll write about that later).


Coyoacán was once it’s own city and so it has it’s own zocalo and town centro. Stopping by a cafe and getting a chai tea to go, I headed to the zocalo just to relax and watch what happens here. With so much constant moving and doing on the trip, a morning of just sitting on a park bench was quite nice.


Casa Municipal in Plaza Hidalgo in centro Coyoacán

Casa Municipal in Plaza Hidalgo in centro Coyoacán


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Inside Casa Municipal which has been used for government administration since it was built in the 18th century.


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The original village of Coyoacán is quite small so I didn’t take a map and just walked around the city streets. Away from the chaos of the centro of Mexico City and the countless vendors, people here just went about their daily lives.


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Nearby in Plaza del Centenario, I watched as these nuns hurried back to the church. They walked arm in arm to help their older sister.


Parish of San Juan Bautista.

Goin’ to the Cathedral. Parish of San Juan Bautista. Built from 1522-1552 is one of the three oldest churches in Mexico City.


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I bet this guy comes here for lunch everyday to check out the nuns.

Before heading back in the afternoon I went for a walk in the Viveros de Coyoacan, a public park and nursery. Since I was without a map I didn’t know how big the park was. Come to find out it’s 96 acres. With countless paths and trails for running or walking, many people were out getting their exercise.


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I didn’t take any photos but I went to La Cantina La Coyoacana for a drink. It was just about the beginning of the dinner rush so a group of mariachis arrived and began to play.


With so many more incredible restaurants, cantinas, museums, and places to see, Coyoacán is definitely worth checking out. Especially if you don’t want the chaos of Mexico City centro.

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Old 11-07-2013, 06:18 PM   #90
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I'm really enjoying your RR. Keep it up. I can't wait to head south of the border myself. Never been down there on a bike by myself so I'm trying to learn as much as I can ahead of time. Aside from the boarder area's have you found much to worry or be concerned about as far as bad people or situations?
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