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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rockymountainoyster, Dec 19, 2012.
Its really hard to avoid in p rich environments.
At my age the field of fire is really large in scope... gets me in constant trouble... 20 somethings, MILFs and very fit 50 something yoginis... damn you got that right Jim!
A lot has happened since my last post. I had not realized how difficult it is to keep up a ride report while actually on the ride. Radioman and the others who do it so well have my deep admiration. Thanks guys for your inspiration too.
I flew to Chile in mid-January and returned here in mid-February. I picked up my bike at my friend Pepe's house and got back on the road on February 18th. Went to Papantla and the El Tajin Ruins and then made my way casually down to Veracruz where I had some great rides and times with ADV Rider Mike Mike (Michael Strah), an affable Canadian, good rider and great photographer. Michael is a great source on riding and riding safely in Mexico and in particular in Veracruz and surrounds. He has lived there for some time now and knows some sweet routes and amazing places that one would not see without local knowledge. He tells a pretty good tale too and can often be found ranting on the Is Mexico Safe thread on this website.
While I was in Veracruz, just before I was going to leave and head for Catemaco and the annual gathering of brujos there, I got word from my lawyer that I had to be in Los Angeles for a divorce trial. Had to scramble to find a flight, and get my gear and bike safely stored for the week that I would have to be gone. Mike Mike to the rescue. He let me store my gear at his place, not only that but he picked it up from the hotel! Stored the bike at MotoPits, the excellent independent moto shop that Mike had introduced me to. Rafael is a great mechanic, got some issues with my bike handled, changed the oil and provided a safe storage place. Had coffee and hung out with Rafael and his friend Juan Pablo the last day I was in Veracruz. JP speaks English, works for United Air Lines (my condolences) so with my improving but still limited Spanish we were having a good time talking over all of the things motorcycle guys having coffee talk over. Yeah, nice round wheels.
I have been laying over/laid up in this little town in the Chiapas Highlands (Altitude 7200 feet) since Tuesday night. I dropped the bike on the way down here from Palenque, really stupid thing, was making a U-turn on my heavily loaded and already top heavy GS, lost focus at a critical point in the turn and down I went. Tweaked my knee pretty badly so have had to stop for a few days. As usual the Mexicans who saw me fall were out of their vehicles in an instant and were helping me get the machine righted and off the road before I could even turn off the key to stop the blaring horn. It was a good thing too. There was no way that my knee would have let me right the bike and move it on my own. I walked it off for more than a few minutes and managed to get back on the road. I rode into some pretty unreasonable weather, cold, wet, foggy, going slowly with flashers on and staying way to the right kind of weather. Fortunately everyone else, even the truckers, was taking it easy too.
I am staying at the Hotel Real Jovel on Avenida Insurgentes #66. It is right next to the OCC Bus Station. It was the first decent looking place I saw as I rode into town and I was not up to looking around a lot. It is quiet and very clean with secure off street parking for the bike and a good deal at 250 pesos/night. It is maybe a half mile or less walk up Insurgentes to the Zocalo. Normally that would not be an issue but it has been a bit of a challenge with the injured knee. Fortunately I put my very lightweight collapsible trekking poles into my kit before I left home. They have been invaluable in getting around.
A "norte" was blowing into town the same day I did and it has been mostly cold and cloudy since my arrival. Yesterday was the first warm sunny day, my knee was feeling better and I got out on the town. Lots of people were out enjoying the sunshine and that went on into the evening. There are several pedestrian streets here that are lined with shops and restaurants. The place is known for amber. There are a lot of tourists, young and old from the US, Europe, South and Central America and Mexico. There is a nice mix or people in the coffee shops and restaurants engaging in lively conversation and enjoying themselves. The place has quite an interesting history that you can read on line or in the Rough Guide book.
There are a lot of indigenous people here. The women wear heavy skirts made from the skin of a black sheep and wear colorful tops. The skirt is held up by a wide handcrafted, often beaded, belt. They are generally selling all kinds of hand made crafts and carrying a baby in a sling on their backs. On the whole they are diminutive people and it is amazing what they carry with them.
Pix to follow. I need to upload a bunch to SmugMug. It is always easier with a good strong internet connection is also connected to a high speed router. That combination is not always available down here.
David, Sorry to hear about your knee...hope you recover quickly! It seems like years ago since we were in Zacatecus...glad you're still on the road! Any idea when you will be coming through CA? Jim
Plan to be in CA at the end of April to ride up PCH, visit Marin and then head east on US 50.
Benito Juarez, a full blooded Zapotec who did not speak Spanish until he was in his teens. Served as President of Mexico for five terms. (1858-1872) One of the most revered men in Mexico. Tomorrow is his holiday although he was on March 21. This sculpture is in front of the main post office in Veracruz.
Eagle. Veracruz. Plaza in front of Post Office
Detail of "workers" sculpture in front of Veracruz Post Office
Detail of "worker" sculpture
Huachinango al Mojo de Ajo, it's what's for dinner! Or lunch, maybe even breakfast. Veracruz 2/13. Restaurant on Malecon near the paseo to the Zocalo.
It's what to drink with dinner.
For smoking after dinner.
For listening while eating, drinking or smoking.
Nice fotos. Like the patina on the xylophone.
Drums, xylophone aka marimba, bagpipes, and the accordion are what happens when Russian motorcycle engineers develop musical instruments.
Shame on you Michael. In high school one of my buddies had a 2CV (deau chevaut) that we eventually hung up on a log in the woods and just left it there. When the woods were bulldozed for now houses I can only imagine the look on the equipment operator's face. We used to say that that car was hand built in the dark by drunk Russians. They are currently the only ones who have a lift vehicle that can service the ISS. I love bagpipes, accordions, concertinas, marimbas and ouds.
I banged out 358 miles today with my bum knee. You cynics and skeptics can say what you will but the curandero and massage therapist I saw last night put me well on the way to full recovery, way more efficaciously that the best allopathic practices. Each has its values. The big difference is that traditional practitioners recognize the value of allopathic modalities and feel no threat. The allopaths are terrified of the holistic practitioners. But I digress.
The ride down from San Cristobal is a lot of fun. There are a couple of boring stretches but you can make really good time through them on the two lane autopistas. This is where a big GS really shines, even loaded down like my poor pig. I get a real kick out of how the toll takers and gasolineros are very curious about where I am from, where I am going and where I have been. For some strange reason they seem to like us down here and are curious about us. The young soldiers are a bit more standoffish but you can see them ogling the bike when their NCO or OIC are not looking.
Warning: There is not one damn hotel between where the 185D Cuota meets the Mex 200 west of Salina Cruz. Get to that intersection and enjoy the hell out of that road before darkness falls. The first hotel you will see is a series of really expensive ones up off the road until you get to two reasonable ones... 600 pesos/night. I picked the Hotel Plaza Tangolunda and am very happy with the choice. A spacious room with king bed that I would not mind sharing with Salma or some other needful lady! Snake and all!
Tomorrow I head up to Zipolite and Thursday to Oaxaca and then on to Jimmex' suggested route through the Sierra to Zihuatanejo. It is great to be back on the bike!
Mexican TV ain't all that bad. especially when you mute the volume and make up your own dialogue in esperanto or Klingon.
Mojarra (lake perch) al mojo de ajo. Lake Catemaco, Vercruz
Side of building on lakefront. Catemaco
Parakeet? Budgie? I don' t know what you call these "tweetie birds" Sure were pretty though.
The song was written about Veracruz life.
The Poet Ibrahim, San Cristobal de Las Casas
Magic Hour, Real Guadalupe Pedestrian Street, San Cristobal de Las Casas
On the road again! Good to hear that knee is on the mend. Let the good times roll, brujo!
I am in Zipolite in a nice house on a cliff that overlooks the ocean with a 270 or better degree view. I rode all of 52 miles today. I had planned to head up to Oaxaca and then on to Zihua. Forces much smaller and numerous than I have forced me to change my plans. As I write this the minions of Montezuma are locked in intense combat with my natural fauna. The raging battle will keep me horizontal for much of tomorrow and close to the big white telephone for urgent communiques from the battle front.
I am going to have to skip Oaxaca and the great route Jimmex suggested through the Sierra and grin and bear the slog up the 200. Since my GPS crashed last week I have had to make my way with the highly flawed Guia Roji. It makes a day's trip a bit longer as I have to stop frequently for clarification. Not only do you need to know your final destination but it is helpful to know the towns on the route between because that is often where the signs direct you.
I really like the description of your physical condition...but Zipolite isn't too bad a spot to hang out and recover.
Is this your friend? He gets around!
Hope the recovery and the lawyerly stuff goes well David!
Where did you take that picture Jim? Mine are from San Cristobal.
Just kidding about your friend getting around...my pic was taken in San Cristobal too!
I have spent the day with my knee up applying ice packs and arnica gel. My range of motion has improved but the damn thing aches most of the time like a bad tooth ache. Alleve seems to help and staying off of it seems to help. It is a good thing that I had booked this week long stay with my daughter and her boyfriend. My knee needs the rest. That is hard to do because I want to be out enjoying the beach and the town and the life here. The casitas where we are staying, Casa de las Piedras is an incredible location that had been lovingly built over nearly forty years by its owner, artist Grace Relfe. She raised two sons in this remarkable place. For me, the challenge is that the place is built on a steep hillside with difficult to negotiate stone stairs and pathways. I manage with some help from some trekking poles and patient kids.
I have given some thought now to the whole idea of traveling solo on a motorcycle in a foreign country. It all works well if nothing goes wrong. A physical injury to the left leg is a bit of a problem on a motorcycle. We use that leg a lot. I am fortunate that the injury was not worse for I could have been in considerable difficulty if it had been. I have been fortunate to have found a series of healers, massage therapists and caring individuals who have taken steps to help me towards recovery. There are many miracles in Mexico, I am not in a hurry, and the food is damn good. The only issue really is that the pain in the leg diminishes the quality of the overall experience. I learn something new every day. That was what the adventure was about in the first place.
Those are 4 true sentences for one honest man.
(Trying my Neil Armstrong mojo on ya!)