Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/67.html

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    From Tapalpa, we head eastwards further inland. We've been really blessed with sunny weather on this trip, normally it rains all throughout our previous trips. The ride takes us through a lot of farmer's fields and as we approach Uruapan, the geography changes to a tropical jungle, large leafy trees line the roads. We've crossed into our 7th state - Michoacan - supposed to be one of the most beautiful states in Mexico.

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    From desert cactus back to leafy trees

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    Spying lunch at the "food court" in Uruapan

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    Beautiful bass walking the streets looking for a gig

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    Downtown streets of Uruapan

    Neda went hiking through El Parque Nacional de Uruapan, which is right inside the city. It boasts many white water rivers and waterfalls throughout its area, with rainbow trout swimming freely through its waters.

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    These kids would dive if you gave them a few pesos at El Parque Nacional de Uruapan

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    White water rivers in El Parque Nacional de Uruapan

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    Updating RideDOT.com in our very nice habitacion

    We're staying a few days in the city in a great little casita, run by a Spanish couple who know the the area really well. They've given us some amazing recommendations for places to see and things to eat. Uruapan is the avocado capital of the world, and the fields we passed through on the way in were avocado farms!

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    Amazing guacamole!

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    Art gallery inside an old converted fabric factory

    On Sunday, while we were coming back to our casita, we saw the housekeeper leave and we asked where she was going. She told us she was going to watch "los luchadores" in the town square. We thought "luchadores" had something to do with a lightshow or fireworks? From the Spanish word for light? When we went down to the square to see for ourselves, we found out "Luchadores" means wrestlers!!! OMG SO COOOL!!!

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    The town square is filled to capacity to watch the luchadores

    So apparently, the WWF or WWE or whatever they call it in America, got its inspiration from Lucha Libres, a very popular Mexican sport founded in 1933. The wrestlers wear colourful masks, which would explain the popularity of all the masks being sold in the souvenir stores all over Mexico. Matches mostly consist of Battle Royales, tag teams or trios, such as the one we were watching today.

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    As with any wrestling match, there's a lot of this at the beginning...

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    ...followed by a lot of that

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    This little girl in front of me wasn't very impressed
    She was more interested in my camera. SO CUTE!


    The crowd was chanting, "Tecnicos! Tecnicos! Tecnicos!", which I guess was one of the teams. So we got into the action, and joined in the chants as well. The locals standing around us thought that was hilarious, as it was obvious we had no clue who or what we were chanting for. Later when we got back to our casita, I looked up "Tecnicos", and it turns out that in any match, there are the good guys, "Tecnicos" and the bad guys, "Rudos". The Tecnicos play by the rules, have the better skills and moves, while the Rudos rely on breaking the rules to win.

    While the cheering was strong for the Tecnicos, the crowd went absolutely crazy when the referees got into the action, getting a move put on them by one of the Rudos (or even a Tecnico!). Such a good time! We found out that these wrestling matches happen every other Sunday!

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    Somebody's gonna get hurt reel bad...

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    The greatest insult is to be unmasked in public by another wrestler

    At this point I realized that we were watching a live action Saturday-morning superhero cartoon. So:

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  2. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    Kamloops, BC
    Loving the story and pics....:clap

    I will be in Uruapan next week....what is the name address of the place you are/were at there?
  3. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    i've read many rr's of mexico and all are different. i'm enjoying your experiences too. but no one ever mentions laundry. how is that done? back in the early 70's, i spent 3 months in Switzerland working. there were no laundrymats. I had to wash all my clothes by hand in the sink. please tell me there are ways to do it down there.
  4. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Hi, we use TripAdvisor a lot when deciding where to stay and this place popped up as being quite nice:

    http://www.casachikita.com/

    It's a beautiful B&B about 2 minute walk away from the town square and it is a little bit expensive but we negotiated a discount by opting out of the breakfast. The owners were so nice that they made us breakfast one morning anyway! We originally wanted to stay for a couple of days, we ended up staying for 8 nights! There is also free parking across the street at a secured lot that is gated and locked at night.

    Run by Aline and Salvador, she's an event planner and he's an artist (his works decorate the entire casa and in the habitacions). And they're both ridiculously good-looking as well... Tell them we said hi if you decide to stay there!

    They have some great recommendations for food and restaurants in Uruapan. By the time we left, we were regulars at the Yucatan restaurant across the street from the casa. It's not a large menu, but we tried every single thing they offered and it's all great! My favorite were the Panuchos - 16 pesos each!

    haha, the thing no one tells you is that clothing is so cheap here that it's cheaper to buy new clothes than to wash your old ones!

    Just kidding! :D In the larger towns (where we usually ended up staying), there's always either a coin-op or full-service laundromat. The coin-ops are a bit grungy and the full-service ones are not that much more expensive and they do deliver it to where you are staying so we've gone the F/S route a few times in Mexico.
  5. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    Currently - Canada

    I did plenty of sink washing on my trip, but when I was staying for a day or two I'd take to full service. Usually a few bucks had your laundry clean and folded and placed nicely in a bag. Being that I was on a tight budget the places I went didn't deliver to where I was staying, but it's a great opportunity to walk around the city/town some more. Always a different experience everytime I went out, even if it was the same walk every time.

    I'm subscribed to this RR so I'm in it for the long term. Seems like you guys are having a great time! Interesting seeing Mexico from other people's view. Where I basically lived in my tent or cheap hostels, it's neat seeing the nicely prepared food and hotels. I was completely happy with my street taco's and arroz leche, but it's different reading this RR.

    Not sure your direction / plan of attack, but many people recommend (myself included) Quanjuanto just NW of Mexico City.

    Pelenque for ruins, and skipping most of the Yucatan.
  6. Patrick46

    Patrick46 visionary

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    Ooooooooooooo......fresh homemade guac......YES!!!! :clap :tb :super

    Have an awesome trip kids!!! :norton
  7. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    Whew finally caught up! And fabulous photos for sure:clap esp of the masked wrestler in the air. Was just curious, read that Neda is Croatian, the Nedas I know are Persian, any Persian in your ancestry Neda? Adios...
  8. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Your pictures get better all the time, you are a quick study with a great eye. The Wrestler in Blue looks like the "Koodo" guy.

    Very much enjoying your ride report, and have from the start. It has give me even more of a push to plan my future trip in the same direction. Keep up the great work.:clap
  9. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Neda says, "No, no Persian ancestry, but Croatian does have a lot of influences over history, like the Roman Empire, the time of the Austro-Hungarian rule and the Ottoman Empire - from where the Persian influences come from."

    Neda is not an uncommon name in Croatia/Serbia, lots of famous Nedas from the area: the singer Neda Ukraden, the actress Neda Arneric...
  10. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    LOL! I had to Google "Koodo":

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  11. DrydenRider

    DrydenRider Sun Seeker

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    Ha ha his name is El Tabador but in the christmas commercial he over eats and calls himself El Flabador

  12. TOTim

    TOTim Been here awhile

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    Toronto On
    Thanks for allowing me to be traveling with you via this great ride report.
    Back here in Hogtown it's -10 C and snowing. The GS is locked away in the garage for
    the long post Christmas stretch of a TO winter. Keep the adventure coming.
  13. mountainduro

    mountainduro hardened rider

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    I will be waiting for you guys at Honduras :clap,very inspiring :super
  14. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    Kamloops, BC
    Thanks....Tripadvisor and Google maps....:deal:clap
  15. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Gene, your reports get better each time.
  16. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/68.html


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    In 1943, a fissure opened up in a cornfield just outside of Uruapan. The farmer and his wife watched as ash and stones erupted from a small hole in the ground. A week later, that fissure grew up to be a volcano measuring 5 stories high and after a year it was over 1,000 feet tall! During this time, the volcano continued spewing lava and ash, covering the field and burying two neighbouring villages, Paricutin (which the volcano was named after) and San Juan.

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    We wanted to see this volcano first-hand, so we rode about 15 minutes outside of Uruapan and stopped for lunch in Nuevo San Juan. The inhabitants of old San Juan had plenty of time to evacuate their homes and they relocated their town further away from the volcano and named it Nuevo San Juan. After lunch, we rode further uphill to where the farmer's field used to be. The road crumbled away to a dirt path through a very scenic forest.

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    "Excuse me!" Neda beeps her horn... nothing.
    "Con permisso?"... ah, that did the trick - Spanish-speaking cows...


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    The trail gets smaller and disappears into the forest

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    Trail becomes a field of fine volcanic ash

    The ash is like sand, which is our sworn nemesis! Our big, heavy bikes with smooth, street tires leave deep gouges in the soft surface. As Neda tries to accelerate out of the dark ash, her rear tire leaves a smokey ash-cloud in the air that hangs in the air behind her until my bike cuts through it. Instead of paddling our way through all of this, we decide to park the bikes and hike 30 minutes to the farmer's field.

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    From across the field, the volcano appears in the distance, rising 1,400 feet in the air

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    Although we are assured by many people that the volcano is dormant, we're a bit taken aback
    when hot, smelly gases still rise from the fissures in the ground!


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    For once, I'm not responsible for the smell behind me...

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    Scrabbling up the very steep summit of the volcano, we take different paths
    because whoever's ahead leaves a small landslide of babyhead volcanic rocks


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    We reach the top, and bask in the... uh, sulfuric gases

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    Looking into the crater of the Paricutin Volcano

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    There's an awful lot of heat and activity here for a "dormant" volcano...

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    Hiking around the rim of the volcano

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    In the very far distance, my zoom lense captures what remains of old San Juan

    Old San Juan lies almost completely covered in lava from the Paricutin Volcano. From the peak, we can see the direction and the shape of the lava flow. The only thing standing in San Juan is the top of the the church. It's too far to hike today, as it's taken us 2 hours to get from the bike to the summit, and the sun is starting to hang low in the sky.

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    Getting ready to descend

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    Spectacular views from the top of Paricuctin

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/f4ZeXooMhto" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

    We take another way down the volcano, as it seems a bit more direct, although it's much more steeper. From the video above, we slid down as if we were on snowboards down a Double Black Diamond run - smoke still rising all around us! When we reached the bottom, we got a bit lost and spent almost an hour rummaging through thick foliage trying to find the path back to the field we came in from. We had less than an hour of sun left and I was starting to panic a bit, but thankfully Neda has the tracking skills of a woman in a shoe store on Boxing Day and we made it out into the field as the sun was beginning to set.

    Just another 30 minutes to get back to the bike and then a ride through the forest in the dark. Not looking forward to that.

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    And then, salvation!

    Castullo and his brother were also visiting the volcano, and they managed to drive through the ash and park a lot closer than we did. When they saw us walking though the ash field, they offered us a ride in the back of their pickup truck. We had seen tons of Mexicans riding in the back of pickup trucks in our travels, and now we were doing the exact same thing as the locals! So awesome! We were giggling like kids and taking lots of shakey pictures all the way back on the bumpy ride to the bikes, and the two brothers were shaking their heads and laughing at us from inside the truck. :)

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    We thanked Castullo for the ride and then negotiated the rest of the ash field

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    I couldn't put my kickstand down to help, so I had to ride past Neda, park and come back to pick her bike up.
    It was getting dark very fast...


    We did manage to get back to Uruapan safely, and it was only after a couple of days of rest from our long hike that we felt ready to venture out to the other side of Paricutin to try to find the remnants of the church in the lava.

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    Had lunch at Angahuan, the closest town to old San Juan

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    We were a bit worried about eating here, didn't seem that sanitary... but the food tasted good

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    We rented a couple of horses and descended down the steep path strewn with volcanic rock

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    There it is, the remains of the church in old San Juan

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    This was the only building remaining in the entire town

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    There are shanties set up just outside the ruins and it looks like people still worship at the church
  17. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    thanks for the volcano/lava pics. i've not seen this area any any rr's untill now. another spot for my preplanning map.
  18. attaboy

    attaboy Let's go for it!

    Joined:
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    It's Monday morning at the office, a tasty coffee in my hand and reading my weekly update of this fantastic RR once again...
    This "dormant" volcano story will inspire me for the day!!

    Your pictures are great. this is the adventure of a lifetime... until the next one :D:D:D

    :lurk
  19. deersSlayer

    deersSlayer Been here awhile

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    Ottawa, Canada
    :clap I love this RR! :clap
  20. Dekatria

    Dekatria Ad Astra Per Aspera

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    Powerful pics, those of the church. Amazing stuff :clap