Places Beyond: California to TDF

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by advFord, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    908
    Location:
    Kamloops, BC
    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 :D
    #81
  2. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    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.
    #82
  3. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    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.
    #83
  4. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,201
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Subscribed..and just catching up. Great notes and pics - thanks for taking the effort/time so we can follow along.:clap

    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!
    #84
  5. ChicoProf

    ChicoProf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Chico, CA
    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
    #85
  6. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    908
    Location:
    Kamloops, BC

    Yes, That comment was mostly made in jest :D
    #86
  7. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    14,263
    Location:
    Circumlocution Office of Little Dorrit
    No Ca'maras... yeah, that's a rule folks even notice. :D
    #87
  8. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    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.
    [​IMG]
    #88
  9. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    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).</p>
    <p>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.
    </p>
    <div id="attachment_970" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-970 " alt="Casa Municipal in Plaza Hidalgo in centro Coyoacán" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0348.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Casa Municipal in Plaza Hidalgo in centro Coyoacán</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_988" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-988" alt="IMG_0355" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0355.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Inside Casa Municipal which has been used for government administration since it was built in the 18th century.</p></div>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-994" alt="IMG_0365" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0365.jpg" width="717" height="463" /></p>​
    <p>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.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-989" alt="IMG_0356" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0356.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-990" alt="IMG_0359" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0359.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: left;">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.</p>
    <div id="attachment_992" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-992 " alt="Parish of San Juan Bautista." src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0361.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Goin’ to the Cathedral. Parish of San Juan Bautista. Built from 1522-1552 is one of the three oldest churches in Mexico City.</p></div>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-991" alt="IMG_0360" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0360.jpg" width="477" height="717" /></p>
    <div id="attachment_993" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-993" alt="IMG_0363" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0363.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">I bet this guy comes here for lunch everyday to check out the nuns.</p></div>​
    <p>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.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-996" alt="IMG_0368" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0368.jpg" width="477" height="717" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: left;">​
    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.</p>
    <p>With so many more incredible restaurants, cantinas, museums, and places to see, <span style="color: #000000;">Coyoacán</span> is definitely worth checking out. Especially if you don’t want the chaos of Mexico City centro.​
    #89
  10. ChrisK7

    ChrisK7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Stanfield, Oregon 97875
    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?
    #90
  11. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Honestly even the borders I've crossed into and out of Mexico I haven't had a moment where I felt unsafe because of "bad people". Bad drivers? ha yes, just a couple of times, but I've had more close calls on L.A. highways than down here. It's all good. As much as I can I keep a low profile in areas I don't know and if I'm by myself I'm not out late wandering around.

    It's been an amazing month of learning about the ways people live down here. The rides and scenery has been great but it's definitely been the interactions with the people I'm enjoying the most. Taking a spanish class has helped a lot and as I continue that will hopefully just keep getting better. Definitely start learning some spanish now - download the free app Duolingo. It's a great place to start.
    #91
  12. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Have you found the Buddha Bar in San Pedro yet? It was one of the few places on the trip that I was able to find IPA's....not sure if you're an IPA guy.:1drink

    Which Spanish School are you going to?
    #92
  13. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA

    IPA's!?!?! Donde estas Budha Bar? I have to find this place!

    I'm at Flor de Maiz School.
    #93
  14. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    When I tell people that I plan to be traveling solo for 8 months, one of the things people will ask me is “won’t you be lonely traveling by yourself?”
    That’s certainly a possibility and I will no doubt miss my family and friends, but traveling is what you make of it. One way to be lonely is to get a hotel room every night and not talk to anyone. Personally I think you miss out on so much by doing that. Traveling solo doesn’t mean you’re always solo.
    <p>I’ve written about <a title="Courchsurfing" href="http://www.couchsurfing.org" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.couchsurfing.org']);" target="_blank">Couchsurfing</a> on here but I wanted to write about the gem of a place I found in Mexico City and the amazing people who live there. Through the blog and the <a title="Places Beyond Facebook Page" href="http://www.facebook.com/placesbeyond" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.facebook.com']);" target="_blank">Places Beyond Facebook Page </a>I have been asking people for suggestions for places to stay, if they have family or friends I could stay with or even just meet along my route. When I asked about Mexico City I got connected with a friend of a friend of a friends guest house called Warm Heart. I looked at their <a title="Warm Heart Guest House" href="https://www.facebook.com/WarmHeartMexico" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.facebook.com']);" target="_blank">Facebook Page </a>and it sounded like the kinda place and people I would enjoy spending time with.</p>
    <p>Warm Heart Guest House is located in the village of Coyoacán, which is one of the oldest areas of Mexico City. Close to the metro, great restaurants, museums, and anything else you could want, it’s the ideal place. Away from the chaos of centro Mexico City but if you want it, you’re only a few minutes away.</p>
    <p>As soon as I arrived I knew this place was different. Warm Heart was started by Cynthia a little over a year ago. She wanted to open a hostel that provided a place for people to experience life in Mexico City and if they wanted, get connected with different opportunities to help the local communities. With the energy, ambition, skills, and support from family and friends, her dream became a reality.
    Working along side Cynthia are three other equally amazing staff to work on the day to day operations of the house. I met Edgar, Isabel, and Chelsea the first night I arrived and enjoyed the next few days with them.</p>
    <p>The guest house has a couple of dorm rooms with bunk beds, a shared bathroom, and a community kitchen. The tiles of the kitchen and bathroom walls are covered in quotes and messages.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1032" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1032 " alt="Hostel wall wisdom. So True." src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7102.jpg" width="717" height="538" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Hostel wall wisdom. So True.</p></div>​
    <p>Forget the stale bread and cheap juice that every other hostel gives you, Warm Heart serves up french toast or eggs, coffee, tea, and fresh bread.<br />
    Tuesday night is Waffle Night. I made sure to be back in time to not miss out. I was glad I did because on the night I was there it was pumpkin waffle night.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1002" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1002 " alt="Edgar preparing for the famous Waffle Night" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0385.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Edgar preparing for the famous Waffle Night</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_1003" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1003" alt="IMG_0388" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0388.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Chelsea does everything with a smile. Even while washing dishes.</p></div>​
    <p>The first thing that stood out to me about being at Warm Heart was how caring the staff was. I don’t mean they just cared after me and the other guests, but outside their jobs they cared about the people in their communities, especially those in need. An example is every week the staff organizes an art therapy workshop at a nearby home for young girls and women with mental challenges, many of whom have been physically and sexually abused.</p>
    <p>Isabel and Chelsea asked if I would like to come help and even though I know nothing about painting, I wanted to at least pass out paint brushes and hang out with the people who lived at the home. I didn’t know what to expect from the night but by the end I was so thankful they invited me. For the few hours we were at the home, the room was filled with laughter. Looking around as Chelsea led the workshop, the girls smiled as they painted scenes of birds, the sun, and flowers. Just as the sun always shines again and flowers grow after winter, we can all have new beginnings after going through different storms in life. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve been in a room filled with so much joy. Just being around that is infectious.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1028" alt="IMG_7093" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7093.jpg" width="717" height="538" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1026" alt="IMG_7090" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7090.jpg" width="717" height="538" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1029" alt="IMG_7096" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7096.jpg" width="717" height="538" /></p>​
    <p>On my last night in Mexico I walked into the living room where I was surprised with a choir of 10 people singing happy birthday. I blew out my birthday candle and made a wish. Thanks Warm Heart friends!</p>
    <div id="attachment_1005" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1005 " alt="My pumpkin muffin birthday muffin. Complete with both the Mexican and American Happy Birthday songs. " src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0392.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">My pumpkin muffin birthday muffin. Complete with both the Mexican and American Happy Birthday songs.</p></div>​
    <p>Afterward, we played Monopoly and nothing can prepare you for how the game is played here. Alliances, backdoor deals, shifty property sales, and high interest loans make Monopoly here unforgettable and if you’re competitive, extremely frustrated.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1009" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1009 " alt="Anything is possible when playing Monopoly in Mexico City" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0401.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Anything is possible when playing Monopoly in Mexico City</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_1007" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1007 " alt="Monopoly" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0399.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Monopoly in Mexico City knows no rules</p></div>​
    <p>On my last morning at Warm Heart I was going to leave early to drive to Oaxaca, but Isabel made french toast, so obviously I stayed a few more hours and enjoyed the morning chatting with everyone. If I had stayed at a hotel or anywhere else I would have missed out on meeting these amazing people and experiencing a different part of life in Mexico City. So while I’m technically traveling solo, I’m making new friends along my way. Your travels are what you make of them.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1020" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1020 " alt="Edgar, me, Isabel, and Chelsea" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/warm-heart-1.jpg" width="717" height="538" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Edgar, me, Isabel, and Chelsea</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_1022" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1022" alt="warm heart 3" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/warm-heart-3.jpg" width="717" height="538" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Loaded up with my rain gear just behind me because it’s Mexico and apparently it loves to rain when I ride.</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_1021" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 548px"><img class=" wp-image-1021 " alt="And I'm off to Oaxaca!" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/warm-heart-2.jpg" width="538" height="717" /><p class="wp-caption-text">And I’m off to Oaxaca!</p></div>​
    <p>Just relying on word of mouth, <a title="Warm Heart Facebook Page" href="https://www.facebook.com/WarmHeartMexico" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.facebook.com']);" target="_blank">Warm Heart</a> gets a steady stream of people from all over. If you’re passing through Mexico City or maybe you’re already there but looking for a place to stay or get connected with volunteer opportunities, contact Cynthia at cynthia.ramirezmartinez AT gmail DOT com. Once again this isn’t your typical hostel, it’s so much more. Thanks Will R. for connecting me with your friends in Mexico City.
    #94
  15. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    It was down in Gringo Land. I can't remember San Pedro well enough to give you good directions. Just ask around, it shouldn't be hard to find. The owner is an American expat (assuming he's still down there and still owns it) and he imports Brooklyn Brewery stuff. Spent more than a few nights drinking in the Budha Bar. :1drink
    #95
  16. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Lake Havasu City, AZ.
    I'm sitting in San Jose Del Cabo BCS and have just caught up. I'm in to the end.
    Best of luck and ride safe.
    Phillip
    #96
  17. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    a quick update about the road from DF to Oaxaca. I hit the road and somehow managed to not get lost at all leaving Mexico City. It was a miracle. I opted for the toll roads cause I was excited to get to my next destination. I took Mexico 150, 135D, and 190. Leaving Mexico City the road became surround by forests and thick fog. I thought for a moment I was driving around the Bay Area in California. The few tolls weren't very expensive and the traffic wasn't bad. I had 300 miles to cover so I didn't stop for too many photos but here are some.

    <iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=s_d&amp;saddr=Mexico+City,+Federal+District,+Mexico&amp;daddr=Tlacolula+de+Matamoros,+Mexico&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FaCEKAEd6FgX-ikHdQnbJgDOhTFB6F4mdhAGVA%3BFQa0AgEdLes_-ikzT8XEtMzAhTHboYKH221a-w&amp;aq=1&amp;oq=Tlacolu&amp;sll=19.432608,-99.133208&amp;sspn=1.497048,2.460937&amp;mra=ls&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=m&amp;z=8&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=embed&amp;saddr=Mexico+City,+Federal+District,+Mexico&amp;daddr=Tlacolula+de+Matamoros,+Mexico&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FaCEKAEd6FgX-ikHdQnbJgDOhTFB6F4mdhAGVA%3BFQa0AgEdLes_-ikzT8XEtMzAhTHboYKH221a-w&amp;aq=1&amp;oq=Tlacolu&amp;sll=19.432608,-99.133208&amp;sspn=1.497048,2.460937&amp;mra=ls&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=m&amp;z=8" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>

    <div id="attachment_1039" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1039" alt="IMG_0404" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0404.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Just when the rain started coming down I pulled over to grab lunch and get my rain gear on.</p></div>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1040" alt="IMG_0405" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0405.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <div id="attachment_1041" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1041" alt="IMG_0406" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0406.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">After having 4 different paninis, hoagies, I can say that Mexico knows how to make a tasty sandwich.</p></div>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1042" alt="IMG_0409" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0409.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <div id="attachment_1043" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1043" alt="IMG_0410" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0410.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Gorgeous vista and trash. Sadly they seem to go together here.</p></div>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1044" alt="IMG_0411" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0411.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <div id="attachment_1045" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1045" alt="IMG_0412" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0412.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Stopped at a construction zone. This one was particularly nice because local vendors came up and sold snacks.</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_1046" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1046" alt="IMG_0414" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0414.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Riding into Mordor. Luckily I ended up missing this storm somehow.</p></div>​
    #97
  18. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I knew early on in the planning of this trip that I would celebrate a pretty big birthday on the road. On October 24th I turned 30 and was not at all how I imagined I’d celebrate reaching a new decade of life.</p>
    <p>If you had asked me a few weeks ago what I was going to do for my 30th birthday I would have said I would probably be in Mexico City, at a club with a world renowned DJ spinning good music and having a blast. Instead there was an opportunity that when I first heard about it I knew it was how I was supposed to spend it. Hundreds of miles away from the bright lights of Mexico City and outside a much smaller town with the funny name of Tlacolula lies a little piece of paradise in one of Mexico’s poorest states. A short drive down a dirt road and surround by mountains is the beautiful property of Hogar Para Niños, a children’s home.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1087" alt="IMG_0711" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_07111.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p>Hogar Para Niños is a children’s home for 60 children from the ages of 2 to 22. I learned about the organization through a friend and originally it was just going to be a place where I would stop by for a night. But I asked if I could help out for a few days and they said there’s always work to be done and that I was welcome. I was mistaken when earlier I told some friends that I would be going to an orphanage, that’s not what this is, as almost of the kids there have families. They’re living at the home for many reasons but mainly it’s because their home-life isn’t a nurturing place to grow up. Whether it’s substance abuse or the family financially is not able to raise them and abandons them. The home gets requests from families to take their son or daughter all the time.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1070" alt="IMG_0702" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0702.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1071" alt="IMG_0703" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0703.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p>The kids live in homes according to their ages and each home has house parents to care for them. I’ve been to children’s homes in other parts of Mexico and in East Africa and this is by far the best run and maintained place I’ve seen. Not only is the landscape surrounding these kids a paradise, but the kids have a nice place to sleep, eat, do their homework, and most importantly they have a team of people that love and care for them.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1069" alt="IMG_0700" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0700.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1065" alt="IMG_0536" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0536.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1064" alt="IMG_0533" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0533.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p>Hogar Para Niños is in the beginning phase of construction of a new school building so I helped out with the mixing of concrete for the foundation. I was surprised to see teachers and other staff come out to help mix the sand, rock, and cement. I doubt that’s on their job description. Even if it was, it shows how dedicated these people are to helping give these kids every opportunity possible.</p>
    <p>For a few hours in the hot sun, we managed to get about 30 feet of foundation poured. This isn’t like in the USA where a big cement truck shows up and pours it for you. Every part of the concrete is mixed together and poured by hand.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1058" alt="IMG_0434" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04341.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1057" alt="IMG_0433" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04331.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1059" alt="IMG_0435" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04351.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1052" alt="IMG_0422" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04221.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1054" alt="IMG_0425" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04251.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1051" alt="IMG_0421" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04211.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1056" alt="IMG_0431" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04311.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1055" alt="IMG_0427" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04271.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1048" alt="IMG_0418" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04181.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1050" alt="IMG_0420" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_04201.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></p>
    <p>While the concrete was left to dry we moved to another project that needed to be done. A chain link fence needed to be installed around the perimeter. Cutting small strips of steel wire, we secured the fence but tying wire every 18 inches. I spent hours out there securing the fence and installing more sections of fence which allowed me to get to know Ian. He and his wife Elaine moved down to work at the home over 12 years ago. He works on the construction of all the buildings and Elaine teaches art, quilting, and sewing classes to the kids at the home as well as to women in nearby villages. She also quilts a blanket for each child when they come to the home.</p>
    <p>Currently they are running the school out of a temporary building for some of the students and the others go to schools in town. One of the things that makes Hogar Para Ninos special is that when a child turns 18 they allow them to stay at the home and will support them through university. Knowing the likely outcomes of 18 year olds kicked out of foster care in the US (I don’t know but I’m assuming it’s similar in Mexico) it’s great to see the support and love doesn’t stop when they become legal adults.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1072" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1072" alt="IMG_0709" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0709.jpg" width="717" height="477" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Off to school.</p></div>​
    <p>While I was at the children’s home I got to meet all the staff who dedicate way more than your typical work week. All of them in different ways were inspiring. Jill, Aaron, Santiago, Abi, Pedro, Jeanette, Ian, Elaine, Alondra, Marcelino, and so many more. Mostly it was constantly seeing them go beyond what a job would be. It’s obviously way more than a job.</p>
    <p>Saturday night after dinner, Aaron loaded up the mini school bus with any kid that wanted to go and we drove to the next town to play at the outdoor park. Under the spotlights we played soccer for hours. After weeks of riding and little exercise I’m in horrible shape and I had to go up against kids with endless energy and who are born knowing how to play soccer. Although with the current state of the Mexican national soccer team, maybe that inherent talent is slipping :-) My highlight from the night was when the kids from my team picked me to kick a penalty shot. With the ball set on the line and all the kids watching, I took a few steps back, looked at the goalie, ran up, and with my worn out Converse sneakers I kicked the ball. In my head it all happened in slow motion, the ball went higher and higher towards the top of the goal, the goalie reached their hands up to block but they couldn’t get to it fast enough and the ball sailed into the back of the net. Goooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllll! So yes, my highlight of the night was scoring a penalty kick on a 12 year old.</p>
    <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-1073" alt="IMG_7148" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7148.jpg" width="717" height="538" /></p>
    <p style="text-align: left;">On the night of my birthday we were hanging out with a group of the teenagers and they bursted into the happy birthday song. I still don’t know what the Mexican Happy Birthday song translation is. But it seems a lot more festive than the standard one. The next night Marcelino, one of the newer staff members, whipped up the biggest birthday cake ever. He took a semester off from college in the US and decided to spend it helping out by teaching a few classes like cooking and english to the kids. These kids are so lucky. Just look at the pics below and you’ll know why. Marcelino and I were talking about desserts and he asked if I had tres leches cake yet. I hadn’t so off to the store we went.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1060" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1060" alt="IMG_7125" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7125.jpg" width="717" height="538" /><p class="wp-caption-text">These ingredients will make one of the tastiest cakes you’ll ever eat.</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_1061" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1061" alt="IMG_7128" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7128.jpg" width="717" height="538" /><p class="wp-caption-text">The master at work</p></div>
    <div id="attachment_1062" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1062" alt="IMG_7143" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7143.jpg" width="717" height="538" /><p class="wp-caption-text">The finished masterpiece. Marcelino’s tres leches cake.</p></div>​
    <p style="text-align: left;">When the cake was finished we went over to one of the staff homes and enjoyed Marcelino’s delicious tres leches pastel. While I would have loved to spend my birthday celebrating with my twin sister and family and friends. This was an unforgettable. Not the cake. Well, I won’t forget that. But the days spent here. I definitely hope to return in the future.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1063" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><img class=" wp-image-1063" alt="IMG_7146" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_7146.jpg" width="717" height="538" /><p class="wp-caption-text">A happy birthday indeed</p></div>​
    <p>I wanted to help make a difference on this trip and so I’ve been raising funds for <a title="IJM Website" href="http://www.ijm.org/" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.ijm.org']);" target="_blank">International Justice Mission</a>, an organization who helps rescue men, women, and children from human trafficking, oppression, and other forms of injustice. One of the ways to end these types of tragedies is to break the cycle of poverty and to do that you need to provide people with education, hope, and opportunities. It takes organizations like Cristo Por Su Mundo who are giving these kids a home, eduction, and love which hopefully leads to opportunities for them to change their families lives and in turn their communities. There’s many organizations that are doing great things but please consider supporting either of these two. The 2013 tax year is coming to an end soon and if you haven’t made any charitable donations, both of these are tax deductible. To support International Justice Mission and help me reach the goal of $10,000, you can make your tax deductible <a title="Freedom Maker Campaign " href="https://www.ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/1704/Places-Beyond-A-motorcycle-journey-supporting-freedom/" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.ijmfreedommaker.org']);" target="_blank">donation here</a>. To support the work of Cristo Por Su Mundo by sponsoring a child or through a one time donation <a title="Foundation For His Ministry Cristo Por Su Mundo" href="http://www.ffhm.org/contribute/make-a-donation/" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.ffhm.org']);" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p>
    <div id="attachment_1066" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 727px"><a href="http://www.ffhm.org/sponsor/sponsor-a-child/" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.ffhm.org']);"><img class=" wp-image-1066" alt="IMG_0557" src="http://placesbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_0557.jpg" width="717" height="477" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Sponsor a child at Hogar Para Ninos</p>​
    </div>[/CENTER]
    #98
  19. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Lake Havasu City, AZ.
    Good for you to help out. I met a new friend in Baja a few days ago who is also traveling to TDF. He is also raising money for orphanages. He is on his way to MEXICO CITY to visit the first orphanage. His name is Randy Masters and he rides a NEW R 1200 GSA. I hope you two meet up, he a good guy as well.

    Phillip
    #99
  20. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Happy 30th Birthday! And what an incredible, selfless way to celebrate. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and photos here.

    I've been slow to catch up, but will be with you for the trip!

    Suerte,
    Mike