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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by d_mob, Nov 6, 2013.
thanks for the great pics and story, enjoying your RR. subscribed!
Subscribed!! I just happened upon your RR today. Enjoying your writing and your quality pictures. I lost my dad several years ago, he was 53. Since then I've tried to live life NOW, while also making time for my family.
You're LIVING, Enjoy your trip!!
Great RR my friend, touring Mexico looks even better than I imagined. Snow on the ground here so this is my only two wheeled escapism!
USA climber died on one of those "snow capped mtns" you mention very recently! If you voulunteer in Oaxaca-many of the kids I did Spanish school with there do so @ the orphanage in the city. If you like "real home made ice cream" find the plaza where several families serve it at night! I saw the guvner of state there one night-as pointed out by the guy buying my ice cream from his wifes family! It's real near Domino Pizza downtown area.
If you ride to coast @ Puerto Angel the hotel there near beach (with womans name escapes me now) is good stay-tiny pool good to soak your bones. Restaurant across road(sand floor) from there is OK, not my favorite either.
Good RR! My MX juices are flowing!!!
Headed out to Escondido shortly. Can't wait...
I actually met a guy named Frank from Guatemala when I was checking out Monte Alban. We went out for dinner and drinks here in Oaxaca and he was actually asked to be a part of the rescue team to go up and extract the body. He was pretty moved and saddened by the whole thing. The accident happened Saturday late in the day. By the time they had compiled a team and doctor it was midnight. They didn't arrive on scene until around 3:am... Unfortunately the boy had passed, but they were fairly certain it was instant due to the fall anyway.
Two other climbers (father/son) had to be extracted via helicopter earlier that same day. They were able to self arrest, but not without injury. Pico Orizaba is no joke! Apparently a LOT of people make the attempt to climb it, and apparently a LOT fail (unfortunately).
God speed to Charles King and prayers to his family.
Really enjoying this ride report. You have a great writing style in that you put down more than pictures and facts. You're sharing your thoughts and emotions and that right there is what draws people in and takes your ride report from good to amazing.
Also just ordered myself a copy of Vagabonding because of the quote you posted
thanks for sharing your ride with rest of us corporate slaves!
I rode into Oaxaca not knowing what to expect. I knew I wanted to eat a metric $hit ton of food as I've heard it's the cuisine capitol of LatAm (didn't let me down). I also had plans to volunteer at an organization called Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots. I pulled up to the hostel (Hostel Cielo Rojo) and was greeted at the door by Mauricio. He is a friendly guy that started the hostel with a friend a few years back. In advance I had sent him a note and he offered to put the bike in the plaza of the hostel, which was really great. 150 pesos per night w/ secure parking and a community of fantastic people makes for a solid deal.
The first full day I trudged the eight or nine blocks over to OSC. I walked in and met with Cliff (one of the founders) and Peppo (the volunteer manager). It really is a great organization and I'd highly recommend getting involved if you have the urge to help. Their mission is too... "provide Oaxacan children living in extreme poverty with an education. At our center we provide nutritious meals, medical care, and all support necessary for more than 600 children to attend public school." Along the way I also heard about another orphanage/school called Los Hijos de la Luna. OSC is very well run and there are actually quite a few volunteers around. The other (Los Hijos) is also well run, but there was a real lack in assistance from volunteers, so that's where I spent a bit more time. The first time I walked in I was 'attacked' by 30 or 40 kids starving for attention and interaction. I hung out, kicked the football, smiled, laughed, and even taught a beautiful little girl a little bit about riding a bike. It really was magical and put things into perspective for sure. If you find yourself in Oaxaca I would recommend stopping by both organizations.
One of the highlights from Oaxaca was visiting Monte Alban. It is a pre-Columbian archeological site with ruins overlooking Oaxaca from a beautiful vista. I explored a bit on my own and then ran into a small group of English-speakers. I met Frank, who was a Guatemalan traveler currently living stateside. He was a really interesting guy as-is, but he told me an incredible story as I got to know him. The route from Tehuacan to Oaxaca took me through the town of Orizaba. It sits at the base of Pico de Orizaba, which is an 18,500 foot glacier-capped mountain. The largest peak in Mexico and third largest in North America. Frank was there to summit the peak. However, a 25 year old American named Charles King fell the day Frank got there and he was asked to be a part of the rescue/extraction team. He gave up his goal of summiting to hike up the mountain in the middle of the night to retrieve the body. By the time they organized a medical and extraction team and reached the area it was 3am. He said it was obvious Charles didn't suffer. It seemed to really move Frank emotionally. Sometimes we do the things we love in life, but don't think about the dangers or consequences. The phrase "at least he passed doing something he loved" is thrown about quite frequently. In this case it seems fitting. Godspeed Charles King... Prayers and best wishes to you and your family.
Another highlight from Oaxaca was meeting and hanging out with my new friends Josephine, Gabriel, Erick, and Lisa. They are a great group who were driving around and visiting from D.F. (Mexico City). They invited me into their clan for a day to replace their amigo who was thrown in jail for the night for pissing on the street in front of a cop (long story - he got out safe and sound). After eating crickets in the market, they drove me up to Calpulalpam. It is a beautiful, tranquil, small village considered to be one of the magical towns of Oaxaca State. We drove for a couple of hours listening to amazing music, sampling mezcal, laughing, and exploring viewpoints and sights along the way. It really was an incredible day. Even the flat tire and visit to the vulcanizadora (tire shop) didn't change that.
When it came time to leave Oaxaca I was a bit sad actually as I enjoyed it so much. However, duty calls and the road was quite long to Puerto Escondido. I started my ride around 10am and didn't finish until around 9pm. Yeah, I know, I know... Rule # 1 of motorcycle travel, don't travel after dark. It is a long story but I ended up taking a very, very, very remote route through the mountains to Escondido. After riding for what seemed like forever, we ran into an impassable section only 20 miles from Escondido. We had to backtrack almost 40 miles back up and over the mountain to the main route. I say "we" because I ran into my first fellow motorcycle adventurers during the ride. I encountered Fred and Karen just after leaving Oaxaca. They were headed the road 'more' traveled, I was headed the road 'less' traveled (in the end we ended up on the road 'least' traveled). We agreed maybe to meet up in Escondido. Well, fast forward a few hours later, we all ended up randomly stopping at the same roadside grill for a rest, and some food and drink. Their GPS routed them the wrong way. We had a quite an adventure and I look forward to connecting with them sometime in the future. They've traveled quite a bit around the world on their 650, and Fred's blog can be found here.
Anyway, I've finally made it to Escondido. When I arrived last night to Vivo Escondido (a killer hostel started by a couple of friends - one of which is a fellow ADV Rider) I was greeted at the door by Mallory. They've let me park my bike in the secure pool/courtyard area. When I pulled in I was surprisingly greeted by Walter and Martin. These dudes are great. I met them at the last hostel and didn't expect to see them here. Walter is a cool guy from California, and Martin is a really hilarious, interesting guy from France who has been traveling on/off for approx four years. I was greeted with a beer and a plate of fish tacos. What an entrance!
Anyway, I'm being pestered by Martin to go to the beach, so I'm going to run for now....
Life on two wheels is good. Life in general is good. More to come,
PS... I fell in love last night briefly, but the feeling wasn't mutual. More to come on that as well. :)
really enjoying your RR man, admirable the work you do with the kids and sharing your experiences. good stuff!
and if that beauty above is the one you fell for.......well, you're doing alright i think! :eek1
That's her amigo. Sara is from Mexico City, but after sharing a few drinks last night, unfortunately she had to leave to head home.
Perhaps another visit to DF is in order. :)
If there's one thing I've learned from reading about rides like yours, it's that you just never know what's gonna happen. :)
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Fantastic RR! Keep it coming & stay safe!
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I awoke this morning feeling a bit melancholic. Nothing wrong, but it's my last day here in Escondido and I've realized that my travels through Mexico are soon coming to an end. The first thing I did after rolling out of bed was turn on this song by Deer Tick. The lyrics are fitting - "I can't sleep, I can't close my eyes... Blink one second, the whole world pass you by..."
It really has been great here, and I didn't expect to love it so much. I thought my new travel partner/friend Daniel (met him in Oaxaca) and I would pass through for a party, and quickly move on to Mazunte (another smaller beach farther south). Well, I ended up developing pretty solid friendships with two other guys. The four of us, Daniel, Walter, Martin, and I were a four amigos of sorts. We spent our days lounging on the beach, and nights dancing salsa, sampling mezcal, and testing our broken Spanish on several beautiful girls that we met along the way. I also met a really special girl the first night and we got along fairly well. Alas, she had to head back to Mexico City after a couple of nights, so our days together were short lived. Ahh, c'est la vie... I'll think of Sarah often.
One thing happened along the way that was a little less positive. I've come to the realization that it's difficult for me to keep in touch with friends and family back home. Aside from brief text messages here and there, real contact has become few and far between. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming anyone or saying people should reach out more, and I'm equally guilty of it. It's just hard to imagine how it will look six or seven months from now. Several long term travel books that I read talked about this being a difficult realization. I was a day late with birthday wishes to my father a few days back and felt horrible (SORRY POPS!!!). Because of that mistake, and the realization, I'm definitely going to make more of a concerted effort to stay in touch with friends and family back home. At the end of the day, that's most important I feel. On a positive note, one reason I'm on this trip is to make great new friends along the way, something that has certainly flourished so far. I'm looking forward to more...
Daniel and I are headed to grab some breakfast, then we're off to Mazunte. He is hopping a bus and I'll take the short, sweaty ride south on the bike. We're thinking of checking out a place called Posada del Arquitecto for a few days of relaxation on the tranquil beaches in/around Mazunte. After that, it's off to San Cristobal de las Casas (I think), then will start the crossing into Guatemala to begin the next chapter of the trip. I'm thinking of studying for a bit in either Antigua, or one of several smaller cities I've heard about. My Spanish is getting better, but it is still fairly elementary I've realized.
A couple shouts to close... Graciela, you have AMAZING taste in music and your playlists have kept me smiling along the way. Teresa (TeeRee), thanks for the Spanish lessons, the amazing day on the beach, and our fun times together here in Escondido. Daniel, Walter, and Martin, thanks for hanging out and ripping up the city with me. Our jokes and laughs will last forever. Martin, I still think the French have a worse reputation that Americans! :)
That's it for now... Time to motivate. More to come sooner than later,
Damn you David!!! Spent the whole morning catching up on your adventure as I should be tending to my routine duties. Loving your updates and was impressed with your reference to Deer Tick,(I catch live shows when I can).
I live out west and have passes to three different Tahoe mountains with conditions either bony as can be or non-existent and no snow in the furthest outlook with temps in the mid 50's every day. Back on the bike again until the snow flies and will find a way to continue on through your Bike Trip Porn.
Stay safe my friend.
Great to see that you found Vivo Escondido. The other owner, Ross, just left my house in Scottsdale on Tuesday morning with a new bike (F650GS) that he is riding back down to PE. Their new hostel has gotten great reviews on Trip Advisor and has since become the best hostel in PE.
For anyone else, Vivo Escondido is very rider friendly with secure parking for your bike, look'em up if your in the neighborhood.
Yeah, I was sorry I missed Ross. Maybe I'll pass back through another time and meet him then. Regardless, the property was great, as was the staff, and other guests. Nothing but good things to say... Except maybe too much partying with everyone from the hostel.
The ride south from Escondido to Mazunte was short, quick, but incredibly HOT!!! By the time I arrived I was covered in sweat. I checked into Posada del Arquitecto and booked two 'Estrellas' (hanging beds that overlook the ocean and sit under the stars). One for me and the other for Daniel, my temporary travel partner, but permanent new friend. He arrived by bus some time later that day. After dropping my bags, I ran to the shower, stripped down, and stood there under the cold water for what seemed like hours. I can't even describe how good that felt. I'd end up taking six or seven just like it during my time there.
As soon as I arrived in Mazunte I realized how different it was than other beach towns like Escondido. It is a small village that has a cozy feel and family vibe (everyone seems to know each other), filled to the brim with laid back, super cool, young hippies. There is also a compound filled with families that prefer to live and raise their families 'off the grid'. There is a 'one-with-the-earth', peaceful feeling that surrounds the place. Although everyone seems to do their fair share of partying (mostly 'organic' - I was offered mushrooms by the bracelet guy, and weed by the tattoo guy within minutes of arriving), I'd say there is much more healthy living that consumes most people's time. All around there are people giving/receiving Reiki, chanting, meditating, and the place is scattered with people semi-permanently fixed in various different yoga poses.
The first night Daniel and I explored the city a bit, then called it early. There was a five day festival going on, which brought people from all around to celebrate the saint of the village (the name escapes me). I guess the travels from the day, exploring the town a bit, and the preceding days/long nights in Escondido did a number on us. After a decent night I woke up early for a sunrise run on the beach, which was really magic. I tell ya, when the right song comes on at the right moment, sometimes life just feels right... almost too good. After my run and workout, I laid there on the empty beach next to a beach dog listening to music, thinking, and basking in the morning sun for a bit (this track a good example). Later that day we took the bike on a bit of a detour to La Ventanilla to do a short boat tour where we watched a massive crocodile devour a pelican. It was straight out of National Geographic. I felt like the croc deserved propina (a tip) for the show. Then we rode out to the point to watch the sunset. We were perched atop a rocky cliff with a group of hippies blowing conch shells and chanting. The sun set perfectly and then behind us a bright and beautiful full moon rose up to overpower the sky. It is hard to describe... I'm thirsty to take in more moments just like it.
That night we met a couple of British girls. Jo had just finished organizing an electronic music festival in Playa del Carmen. Apparently she is a bit of a big deal in the music scene. She met up with her friend who is a production manager for Bestival (another popular music festival in England). We partied it up for a bit in the plaza over buckets of mojitos, street food, and cold beer. It was the final night of the five day celebration, so the plaza was filled with a mass of people dancing and getting proper 'mega-spangled' (like that Jo? I was able to work in our new word). Those two were good fun and will be amazing music contacts to have in the future. I envy that they are both passionate about their work, but at the same time get to travel the world and do what they love. Sounds pretty spectacular.
Yesterday morning I woke up and packed. I had originally planned to spend a night in Salina Cruz at a surf camp, but got a wild hair over breakfast and figured I'd just book it all the way to San Cristobal, which would give me three nights there instead of two. The ride was long (360+ miles / 9hrs), but I'm really glad I did it. I experienced every bit of riding bliss along the way. The beginning of the route was filled with amazing twisty roads, sunshine, and endless beach views. The middle of the ride was flat road through beautiful wind turbine farms. Again, the right song at the right time had me playing air drums and dancing in the saddle. Throughout the ride the temperature dropped significantly. It started out around 87F and ended around 47F. The third part of the ride was incredibly exhilarating as I found myself darting quickly in and out of busy night traffic through the streets of Tuxtla Gutierrez. It is hard to keep up with the delivery guys on the little 125cc bikes, but I'm happy to say that I bolted through the city center in what had to have been record time. Only sideswiping one car with my pannier (oops!). The final bit of the ride was again filled with absolutely amazing twisty sections and then opened up into some nice smoothly paved high speed sweepers that led down into San Cristobal, which at that point was resting peacefully below a gorgeous yellow/grey full moon.
I checked into Rosso's Backpacker Hostel here in S.C. and was pleasantly surprised that not only did they have a perfect, secure courtyard for the bike, but they offered me a free night. Apparently Rosso loves motorbikes and if you arrive here on one, your first night is comped. After getting unpacked and showered, I met a few travelers in the courtyard and we explored a couple of restaurants/bars. Both had amazing live music and an uber cool crowd. The young people here remind me of the hipsters in Buenos Aires. Sharply dressed, confident, smart, and full of life. Since this is Chiapas, home of the Zapatista movement, there is a bit of a rebellious aura about them as well. The second bar had a great live salsa/cumbia band. I met Veronica straight away. She is a local that speaks zero English. My broken Spanish didn't help things, but we hit it off on the dance floor and danced sweaty salsa through the night. It was quite fun and she wants to meet up again tonight. I plan to explore the city today after finishing up some much needed chores (i.e. finances, e-mail, laundry, etc). I also need to buy an iPhone 5 charger as mine stopped working, which may be a challenge tracking down.
For those reading this, if you are on the fence about doing a trip like this. Seriously, fucking do it!!! Sorry for the language, but there is no other way to put it. Someday never comes... Along the way I've experienced life like I've never felt before. Some good (mostly all good), some bad. At times I've been lonely, at times surrounded by new friends. At times I'm at wits end (i.e. crashing the bike, being lost, etc), but the majority of the time I'm in a constant state of surreal elation. It really is an amazing feeling. During the ride yesterday I realized that this is a temporary journey, and made a point to really soak in the day.
I guess that's it for now... I'll write more from here in San Cristobal. After this I plan to make the trek to Antigua where I'll study Spanish and live with a host family for a week and begin the next chapter of the adventure in Guatemala and the remainder of Central America.
Until then, salud!!! ~ D
Ride safely amigo!
This is fantastic....every bit of it!