SF to Panama... eventually

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by stickfigure, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    Jeff,

    Here's a hotel I'd definitely recommend if you're planning on visiting Tikal.
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6753261&postcount=101

    I already had a room in Flores when we stopped here on our way back from Tikal. If I hadn't I definitely would have stayed here.
  2. dpaz

    dpaz Adventurer

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    Hey Stickfigure, great report and pics. I agree with you about traveling by motorcycle and getting to see the small towns and meeting the people. Keep up the great report. :clap
  3. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Now I introduce a new character to the cast. This is Gavin:

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3156/2436762197_5d1e11424d.jpg"/>

    Gavin and his girlfriend split up a couple months ago so it was a good time to join me on a long motorcycle trip. The Ducati Multistrada 620 he's riding was his first bike, bought two years ago. It has MT60 tires, shod last summer for a rainy trip on Usal Road - proof that any bike can be a dualsport with the right attitude and big enough repair budget. We will ride much dirt.

    Gavin is a techie like me. Unlike me, he still has a day job - although it's an odd one. He created a famously successful Java open-source project, which was acquired by JBoss, which was itself acquired by RedHat. This precipitated his move from Melbourne to Atlanta four years ago. Now he lives in San Francisco and his primary occupational responsibility seems to be flying around the world to knock heads of various standards committees. Yeah, tough life... but it means he will need to periodically fly elsewhere, leaving all the margaritas and beautiful women to me :evil
  4. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    I genuinely fear that Zacatecas may have ruined the rest of Mexico for me.

    I've been here almost two weeks. Gavin arrived a day after I did and life has been a whirlwind of Spanish lessons, tourist antics, working out, and hard partying.

    <b>Cool Thing #1 about Zacatecas: This town is gorgeous</b>

    Really, unbelievably gorgeous. It's full of colonial buildings in great condition nestled into a small canyon. The streets jag left and right and most are cobblestoned. For the first time in Mexico, there are PUBLIC TRASH CANS on most street corners. Surprise surprise, this town is <i>limpia</i>!

    From the air:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3288/2416522531_7749c93555.jpg"/></a>

    Other direction:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3280/2416519105_e1fecaae71.jpg"/></a>

    At night:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2042/2416571835_9d1001e723.jpg"/></a>

    <b>Cool Thing #2 about Zacatecas: The Hostel Villa Colonial</b>

    This is my favorite lodging so far in Mexico. It's not because the rooms themselves are especially nice; they show the standard Mexican zeal for deferred maintenance. But the atmosphere is fantastic. The owners are super-cool and party with the guests. The guests come from all over the world, including Mexico (about 1/3 are in-country tourists) and most of them are around my age. Beer is cheap (9 pesos), the rooftop terrace has a great view of the cathedral two blocks away, and everyone is having a fabulous time. Gavin and I have a small two-bedroom apartment with kitchen for 250 pesos per night, total - about $23 USD. Best deal in Mexico.

    The view from my balcony:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2185/2416531341_1da414f787.jpg"/></a>

    The view from the roof terrace at night:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2103/2417353540_b184e89771.jpg"/></a>

    <b>Cool Thing #3 about Zacatecas: The Spanish school here rocks</b>

    <a href="http://www.fenixlanguageinstitute.com/">Fenix Language Institute</a> is a five-minute walk away from the hostel and has been giving us each five hours per day of effectively private instruction for $110 USD per week. This is apparently the low season, so the school is mostly empty; I've only had another person in my class once. It's working wonders for my facility.

    <b>Cool Thing #4 about Zacatecas: The natives are friendly</b>

    I mean <b>really</b> friendly. On at least four different occasions women have blown *wolf whistles* at Gavin and I walking down the street. Color me impressed! Most Mexicanas in the southern regions seem afraid to make eye contact.

    <b>Cool Thing #5 about Zacatecas: This is a good foodie town</b>

    It's not a huge city but there are plenty of restaurants and the food is excellent. You can get French and Italian fare in addition to the usual northern Mexican dishes. Wine is available, some of which is vinted locally - although Zacatecan wine ranges from "merely drinkable" to "mislabeled vinegar".

    <b>Cool Thing #6 about Zacatecas: They take art seriously</b>

    There is a big modern art movement here that extends beyond the museums and into the bars and restaurants. Zacatecanos are stylish.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2400/2416536237_a114c5f962.jpg"/></a>

    Not-atypical interior of a bar (the pebble floor is an interesting touch):

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2333/2417295894_fe0db8a294.jpg"/></a>

    <b>Cool Thing #7 about Zacatecas: The <i>teleférico</i></b>

    There is a Swiss-built cable car that runs from one mountainside to the top of another, with a little museum and (of course) a church on top. The mountain is (predictably) called "La Bufa".

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3011/2417332398_b6b46ca719.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2255/2417339150_4a2b85b67c.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3140/2417344628_f021314040.jpg"/></a>

    <b>The Only Uncool Thing about Zacatecas: Mornings</b>

    Around 7am trucks start driving around town with loudspeakers broadcasting what someone thought would be a catchy little jingle punctuated by a male voice proclaiming "GAS PLOOOS!" (Gas Plus). As if I got up early to stand near the door (or at that volume, anywhere on the city block) desperately waiting for someone - anyone - to bring me a tank of propane, and couldn't figure out how to use a phone to call the damn dispatcher. This phenomenon is a relic of a former time and should be banned by all civilized nations.
  5. kennyanc

    kennyanc Long timer

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    I will have to agree, Zacatecas is a great town. Beautiful old Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and some of the friendliest people in all of Mexico. Have you got in on any Callejoneadas yet. They are a blast. From my report from last October.


    Kenny
  6. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    Damn you, Kenny. Just read the link and now I'm going to have to read the whole thread. But, need sleep ....... Maybe tomorrow after I arrive in Antigua .... Definitely, before I get into Mexico ....

    Now I've got to put Zacatecas on my list of places to hit on my way home thanks to you and Stickfigue. :thumb
  7. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Oddly enough, despite two weeks in Zacatecas, we never joined any of the callejonedas. Believe it or not, we were too busy! We saw quite a few and hung out a little bit with some though. There are a few experiences that we missed out on - the callejonedas, the tour of the Modelo brewery, and the local prehispanic ruins. We're in Guanajuato now, but we're planning to come through Zacatecas again on the way back!

    Lots more stories of Zacatecas coming later today. I'm still uploading pictures. And reading your ride report :thumb
  8. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Zacatecas gets a lot of tourism from elsewhere in Mexico, and the Hostel Villa Colonial is *the* hotspot. One weekend thirteen foreign-exchange students studying in Guanajuato came to visit Zacatecas. Here are some shots from one stupidly-fun night on the town.

    We started out on the roof terrace of the hostel, where beer is 9 pesos - cheapest in Mexico:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2114/2417368482_fe28981ec7.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2192/2436306761_8d79b3fb30.jpg"/></a>

    Then we went to Las Quince Letras, a cantina that's been around since 1906:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3126/2416556003_1309ce9df4.jpg"/></a>

    At this point our sobriety is beginning to become questionable. The middle two are Raul and his friend, Zacatecanos who adopted us at the hostel. I can't reiterate enough how awesome the Hostel Villa Colonial is... we made a lot of new friends.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3153/2416555205_eddb4f4ced.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3181/2436309077_265f92fa9c.jpg"/></a>

    From there we went to the silliest bar in Zacatecas, full of kitchy decor and luche libre paraphernalia. They even have a faux-wrestling-ring where live bands play. I love this place.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3181/2417378192_67185feb47.jpg"/></a>

    Salsa dancing:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2182/2416568643_ced14e08ed.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2220/2436317075_7852256e08.jpg"/></a>

    At this point sobriety is only a fleeting memory...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2387/2416560723_c951e46a7f.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3296/2416561851_241edf3e18.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2237/2436419141_74d5ed361c.jpg"/></a>

    What do drunk people do? They sing karaoke, of course! Sadly, the bar closed just as we arrived...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3241/2416570147_c9f7181f35.jpg"/></a>

    At 3am we drove up to La Bufa to get some night shots:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3149/2436389047_fdfb48e61b.jpg"/></a>

    The final group photo... yes we are dorks!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2367/2437200230_d20a718a5c.jpg"/></a>

    Raul is a semiprofessional photographer - check out his <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25927955@N05/">flickr photos from the evening</a>. They aren't organized so you might have to click to the beginning of his photostream depending on whether or not he has upload more pics since this post.
  9. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    10 de Abril, 2008

    Hoy me levanté a las 8, pero no dormí bien. Siempre que estoy dormido en la mañana, una persona grita "GAS!" en la calle y me despiertó. Me enoja esa persona. Quiero echarle agua, pero no quiero levantarme a las siete.

    Despues de estudiar en la escuela, Gavin y yo comímos asado de boda otra vez en otro restuarante. Estuvo bien. Despues, fuimos al mercado porque estuvimos buscando sombreros. Nos probamos muchos sombreros y finalmente cada uno de nosotros compró uno.

    Nosotros fuimos al aquaducto y yo tomé fotos. Hay un museo cerca del aquaducto se llama Museo Francisco Goitia, entonces nosotros entramos. Vimos mucho arte modeno de artistas Zacatecanos.

    Cuando regresamos, hicimos nuestra tarea. Estoy escribiando este diario ahora. En una hora, vamos a cenar en un restaurante mysterioso con amigos de la hostel. Voy a describirlo otra vez.

    [Hey, it's progress!]
  10. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    One Saturday night Gavin and I went to La Mina ("the mine"). Zacatecas was built from the wealth of hundreds of silver mines, one of which is underneath the town itself. The El Edén mine offers tours during the day and at night... becomes a nightclub! One of the large caverns has been converted into a modern club worthy of any major city in the world.

    First you ride deep into the mountain on a MINE TRAIN!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2400/2416639473_3cac58ff23.jpg"/></a>

    Here's what it looks like during the day:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2190/2438475273_5d4ae4ea10.jpg"/></a>

    Here's what it looks like after you've had a few beers:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3249/2416634189_119e41b181.jpg"/></a>

    Off the train, you walk down a narrow corridor...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2326/2417459436_ebafab7cff.jpg"/></a>

    ...into the main space:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3261/2416640777_e4cc5fd802.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2338/2416641889_905b5e3905.jpg"/></a>

    Early in the night they played a lot of American/UK favorites, later in the night they played Mexican pop favorites. The crowd was rockin' with lots of salsa dancing and singing. This is one of my favorite things about Mexican culture - everyone sings together in bars! I have made it my mission to memorize the words to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A63E9iVz680">Estos Celos</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdHhHCy9MpA">El Rey</a>.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3266/2417462520_2e16b133a9.jpg"/></a>

    That's Raul waving in the middle of this pic:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3013/2416647187_b8723e6b17.jpg"/></a>

    Gavin and I hung out with two Mexicanas also staying at the hostel, a doctor and a lawyer vacationing from Moncolva in the north. Rosalba:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2179/2417463056_0d7c091923.jpg"/></a>

    Ileana:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2102/2416657223_3e2ece1199.jpg"/></a>

    The four of us became very close over the next week. It worked *wonders* for my Spanish fluency :evil

    Gavin took much better pictures than I did, but here's a few cute ones:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2314/2437725670_d2df153ac3.jpg"/></a>

    On the hostel roof terrace (it gets COLD in Zacatecas!):

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3050/2436856079_db563e779f.jpg"/></a>

    We rode the girls up to La Bufa on the bikes. I confess that, with only two helmets between us, Gavin and I rode helmetless - and very carefully. Yes, yes, I know.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2015/2437758646_8f37cc1e14.jpg"/></a>

    Back in Las Quince Letras:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2339/2439210594_4343ce7044.jpg"/></a>
  11. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Some random shots from Zacatecas. For a really great set that captures the feeling of the city, look at <a href="http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=278826&page=2">kennyanc's ride report</a>.

    The three shops that sell local "wine":

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2204/2417346042_48a27e16a9.jpg"/></a>

    Best-named store EVER. "Oh you sexy little frog...":

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3225/2437770568_e5d49fa14c.jpg"/></a>

    Worst-named store EVER:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2105/2437774336_c9188f2129.jpg"/></a>

    The crazy shop that managed to drill out the sheared stainless bolt in my subframe (for $5). I must find grade-8 tempered steel replacement bolts; this cannot keep happening.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2190/2416541731_6e71feb876.jpg"/></a>

    A couple from SF arrived in Zacatecas on a KLR and a DR650. This was the second set of riders I met at the hostel:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2083/2439316218_bc7752b874.jpg"/></a>

    There's something funny about a big impressive ornate church marred by ugly mismatched CF bulbs. I may be the only tourist who didn't take a picture of the cathedral facade in Zacatecas.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2162/2440197382_2aff459bd7.jpg"/></a>

    One roof from the ruined convent, now turned into a museum:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2061/2437779916_dbcd55c84d.jpg"/></a>

    Random shot of my bike and a fountain:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3050/2438499909_3d3eddfd3c.jpg"/></a>

    We got some serious rain, lightning, and thunder one afternoon:

    <object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/j16ZRRWPa4E"> </param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/j16ZRRWPa4E" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"> </embed> </object>

    More food porn. Enchiladas at a secretive restaurant whose name I forget; there isn't much of a sign and you have to ring the doorbell. There was a person playing the piano inside the small space and cute little birds were flying around the foyer to the bathrooms.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2029/2417359582_3fa0091bf5.jpg"/></a>

    You can get a good mocha frappe in Zacatecas:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2166/2417356196_341884b8ce.jpg"/></a>

    The closer dish is Asado de Boda, a Zacatecan speciality. It's beef in a mole-ish sauce, super delicious.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3116/2416533081_98bc410274.jpg"/></a>

    Random torta. Actually, the tortas in Zacatecas were disappointing - they're better in other parts of Mexico:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecas/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3203/2417298318_bbe3379acd.jpg"/></a>
  12. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    It was hard to leave Zacatecas, but if I stay more than two weeks in one place I risk taking root. I plotted a mostly-dirt course to Guanajuato. Gavin is having problems getting power to his Zumo cradle so I'm in charge of the route for now.

    Now that there are two of us with cameras, you get more pictures of motorcycles!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2381/2442951447_1728e98707.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3041/2443834198_8fce7e5413.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3124/2444110216_2fa08fdabe.jpg"/></a>

    We rode in the wash of a deep ravine. The sand was super soft and deep, and at times the road was unrecognizable. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of the "good" parts.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2121/2444133612_f2f6969087.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2095/2443317869_5b07214064.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3184/2443336469_ab8dfc16b2.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2113/2444124514_12b5077288.jpg"/></a>

    At one point we hit a soft, deep, powdery sand. Both bikes went down within a few feet of each other.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3222/2443229005_58d3639787.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2055/2444061580_31eb3ec160.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2194/2446639405_97041b8b81.jpg"/></a>

    This is how far my feet went into the sand just by stepping on it.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/zacatecastoguanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2133/2443238789_830293691b.jpg"/></a>
  13. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    524
    Location:
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    I used (another) one of my nine lives. Gavin and I were riding a dirt road punctuated by occasional concrete/cobblestone dips where streams would cross the road if there was any water. I failed to notice one until the last second as I was doing a good 60-65mph. The dip was short but deep.

    I had been playing with the dips, trying to figure out a good speed that might get some air on departure without plunging into the hole on entry. Generally the process is to hover on the footpegs, stand as the bike drops out from under me, then let my legs compress again as the bike comes up the other side. The best I had yet managed was getting the frontend up, probably less than a foot.

    I saw my impending doom at the last second, just soon enough to bleed off 10-15mph of speed and set my weight. OH FUCK went through my head, along with a quick mental image of my body hitting dry rocky compacted dirt at 50mph. The bike fell away and then in no time it came back up to meet me... and kept going. I distinctly remember two things as I held on to the tank with my knees: The feeling of weightlessness that lasted eerily long, and the uncanny appearance of the ground, much farther away than I normally expect to see it. The front tire hit first, followed by the rear a fraction of a second later. The suspension didn't even bottom out. I managed to control the landing, but just barely - I ran the bike into a rough ditch off the road but kept the bike upright. Somehow I was laughing by the time I came to a stop.

    I probably wasn't more than a few feet off the ground and hang time was less than two seconds... but it scared the shit out of me. Sadly, I didn't think to take pictures of the site.

    This event could have gone a lot of different ways; I entirely blame my lack of (likely significant) injury on superior equipment. I assure you, my continued survival has nothing to do with skill or experience - of which I have neither with respect to airborne motorcycles. Thank you, my Austrian friends.

    Gavin's comment: "Don't do that again."
  14. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,553
    Location:
    Kansas City, MISSOURI
    WHEW!!!:yikes I´m glad you came out of that in one piece. Scary shit.

    Speaking of equipment. What kind of boots are you wearing?

    After breaking my ankle in Flores my first goal was go get a good pair of boots before returning and getting my bike. I ended up with a pair of Alpinestars ( S-MX Plus Racing Boot). They certainly are a big improvement over what I had on when I went down.

    Thanks for the great report on Zacatecas :super. If at all possible, I´m going to try and spend a few days there on my way back.
  15. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    524
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    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    I'm wearing a couple-year-old model of Alpinestars Web Goretex boot. It's not a MX boot by any stretch of imagination, but they're waterproof, durable, and comfortable to wear around town. When I started this trip I only brought the boots and a pair of tevas, so the boots had to work off the bike too. On my last flight to SF (before the half-marathon) I brought back a pair of running shoes to train with, and I've been using those for daily-wear on non-riding days. Since I'm now carrying three pairs of footwear I could probably do with a riding boot that offers more rigidity, although only if I can find one that's waterproof. Next time :D

    Zacatecas... and don't miss Guanajuato! It looks like we're going to be here for another three weeks, for about a month total. I dearly, dearly love this place. I will write about it soon.

    Jeff
  16. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,553
    Location:
    Kansas City, MISSOURI
    3 years ago on my very first trip to Mexico is when I discovered Guanajuato. What a great place! We stayed just up the hill from the university, parked our bikes and walked all around.

    If I can ever get my bike fixed, I´m headed that way and maybe a few days in San Miguel.

    Are you going to be in Guanajuato for 3 more weeks? If so, I might get a chance to buy you a cerveza. :slurp
  17. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
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    Looks like we'll be leaving on or around the 15th of May. I'm sure our paths will cross one way or another - let's definitely get a beer :beer

    Jeff
  18. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    I lack the words.

    It's been three weeks. We plan to stay another week. If I stay here much longer, I may get stuck for a long time.

    The architecture is beautiful. Like Zacatecas, Guanajuato is built in a narrow canyon. However, they routed much of the street traffic into old tunnels under the city and blocked off most of the surface streets to vehicles. The centro is large, dense, beautiful, and incredibly friendly to pedestrians.*

    There is no question that this is a university town. Young, beautiful people are everywhere. Everyone is friendly! There are endless bars and clubs and plazas and sidewalk restaurants. Almost every night of the week the city becomes a huge party, and live music is everywhere. There are three karaoke bars, and we gringos weren't the only ones singing the (handful of) english-language songs.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3170/2455145476_55981dfdce.jpg"/></a>

    The second best thing in Guanajuato is El Corcho de Baco, a wine bar and charcuteria on the plazuela San Fernando. They have some *great* wine from Baja as well as numerous Argentinian and Chilean options:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3015/2446168115_cd1392c609.jpg"/></a>

    Gavin and I have made this place our second home. It helps that the cafe next door has free wifi.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3047/2491029188_c4a1c12233.jpg"/></a>

    When Gavin and I were in Zacatecas, we met about a dozen US foreign-exchange students studying in Guanajuato. The first time we set out on foot, we bumped into several of them on the street and immediately celebrated our reunion over micheladas. They gave us a great orientation to Guanajuato and recommended this cool hotel above a cafe:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2350/2446296483_7d83f90d4b.jpg"/></a>

    In order to get the bikes parked here, we had to ride up some stairs. I LOVE RIDING STAIRS! Although, I need to drop the gearing if I'm going to do this regularly - I'm currently running one tooth short of stock on the rear sprocket; one tooth higher than stock would probably be perfect.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3042/2454306107_5d9006279a.jpg"/></a>

    Gavin's Multistrada isn't equipped quite so well for this kind of hooliganism. He scraped the bike undercarriage going up. Inspecting the scratches, I discovered that the oil filter (yes, the one made of cheap chinese pot metal) is placed in the WORST POSSIBLE LOCATION for an adventure bike, perfect for catching rocks and other sharp objects:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2353/2446194307_47d72b1875.jpg"/></a>

    Notice the nice dent in the filter. We're going to have to be a lot more careful with this bike offroad than either of us realized. Gavin is emailing the Terramostro people to find out if their bash plate can be adapted to the 'strada, but I doubt it will be ready for this trip.

    The very best thing in Guanajuato is Guille:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2104/2454342305_08ca045472.jpg"/></a>

    We met randomly in front of my hotel a couple days after I arrived. Because she spent several years on the US, she's finishing her university program later than most and has another year or two left here. I'm going to be heartbroken when I have to leave.

    * There is one caveat to this. The surface streets that do exist downtown are narrow and the sidewalks even narrower (when they exist). On one occasion I physically grabbed (a now, much more cautious) Gavin and yanked him out of the street before he got sideswiped by a bus turning around the corner he was standing on. "I rode a motorcycle through Mexico and got killed as a pedestrian" wouldn't make a very good tshirt.
  19. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
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    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/guanajuato/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3055/2517145693_de3ac3412f.jpg"/></a>

    Her name is "Mole".
  20. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,976
    Location:
    Forest Grove, OR
    I know you are down in MX living the dream but you forgot that there are a bunch of FFs waiting for you next installment. Your last effort was pretty much a kick in the slats.

    Enjoy you ride but don't forget that there are a bunch of guys riding your shoulder.