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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Jan 28, 2012.
Thanks for more pictures and future destinations!
Day 25 - Feb 10
Wow! What a day. Seem to be saying that a lot. Went about 160 km in 7 ½ hours - and the first 40 k and last 30 k were pavement.
Wasn't sure what to expect. Some maps said no road there and others looked like a super highway. It was a bit more towards the no road end of the spectrum.
Here is where I went
Not unusual to see little landslides like this - everybody just drives around until they get around to fixing them - based on the number I saw, fixing is not a priority.
Turned off Hwy 93 a few km north of Tlapa. Road was decent - rough pavement interspersed with potholes. Not a few, a few hundred feet at a time - not rough road, pavement with tons of potholes . . . of all sizes - sometimes, potholes with a bit of pavement. So, you can't be very aggressive on the good pavement parts because you come around a corner to a whole herd of potholes or, to really make you pay attention, there are potholes on the other side of the road and Juan in his taxi is coming down your side of the road in the corner to avoid them. After a couple of those, I might even get religion.
Anyhow, a great road to start the day. Deposits me in Tlalixtaquilla - it's Sunday and pretty quiet. Stop at a little two table restaurant - lady cooks me up some eggs with sausage, beans, tortillas and some sweet, warm beverage (I'm not exactly sure what this is called but it might be Café la Pluma)
Head out of town following "the plan" and all of a sudden the road turns nasty. (Ummm, seeing a pattern here?) Follow it briefly through a creek and a nasty, really rutted, steep rock road - get to the top and don't see any change. Figure if it's going to be like this I'd better look at some alternatives. Virginia is not happy. Started scolding me. Tried another road for awhile but started to agree with Virginia so, went back into town. Finally found the town square after many turn arounds and back and forths - they like one way streets here and on steep grades, many streets don't go all the way through.
Got my Guia Roji out and sat on a step trying to figure out what to do. Nice guy comes over - doesn't speak English but we get by. Points me in the right direction to get on the road Virginia wanted me on to begin with - about 2 blocks below where she originally had me going. Says the road is bueno . . . that is Mexican slang for "doable" . . . which it was.
Road varies between decent dirt road and short rocky inclines. Next stop Santa Cruz de Bravo (the first town name in this area I could pronounce right off the bat) and on to Santiago Yucuyachi connected by paved roads. Then ingloriously deposited back on dirt out of Yucuyachi.
The good dirt road
Same spot - other direction
Start seeing these massive cacti
Some more mountains - my photography skills are massively lacking as I'm loosing a huge amount of depth and perspective in these types of shots
Somewhere past Yucuyachi I'm going through this town, following "the plan" past a whole group of guys doing something, whip up this hill and the road stops. (Pardon the lesser quality of this next series of pics but I just figured out how to grab stills off my GoPro videos)
Frickin steep rocky and rutted and not going anywhere out of this town. Turn around - slowly. Now have about a dozen guys down the road standing in the road watching me.
Pull up and try to explain to my now 12 or so audience where I want to go when I don't even know the name of the next town. Finally a young guy in the back asks if I speak English as I'm dragging out my Guia Roji. Figure where I need to go.
Instead of going to the top of the hill I turned around on, turn right . . . oh, there's a road there. I thought that dump truck was parked in a driveway. Oh yah, and they all agreed the road was bueno, hmmm. The guy in the striped shirt was the english speaker.
Anyhow, this group were the local men of this little community building a house for another family. Sunday project. Kind of the way rural communities used to do things back in the early part of last century in North America. Offered dinner - I didn't have the feeling this road they were sending me on was a freeway and I didn't want to be out in the tulies dodging cows, burrows and goats in the dark so I really reluctantly declined. Tough though - I would have liked to have stayed. Not staying is one of my regrets of this trip.
Every time somebody tells me a road will be "no problem" or, "doable" or "bueno", I know I'm in for some work. Same this time. Many places with steep, big gullies down the road, embedded rock, loose rock - I was bagged in the first 5 km. Up and down big valleys a number of times. It was a workout but spectacular. Had a couple of heart stoppers but bulldozed through. Being between 5000 and 7000 feet altitude all day probably didn't help this abused body much either.
Finally came to a view of Nieves Ixpantepec across the valley - really pretty. Arrived into town and back to pavement, of sorts. 5 km to Hwy 15 that eventually joins Hwy 125.
While I had originally thought I would make it through to Pinotepa Nacional on Hwy 200 by the end of this day and Virginia said I would be there before dark, I have learned that her predicted time of arrival on these roads is off by hours.
Santiago Juxtlahuaca is the next town of size. Looks like they have 8 or 10 hotels. Check out one, they want 200p but no secure parking. Walked across the street and get a room with good WiFi, secure parking, hot water for 130p . . . that is $10. A new record! Now, I"ll be the first to admit the ambiance in this place is probably not what many would call top drawer, it"s a bit noisy and the room doesn't have a window. But it'll work just fine tonight.
I'm downtown right next to the market - most stores closed since it is Sunday. Lot of families out. I think I am the only non-Mexican in town. I don't think they have a big tourist trade here.
Had some outstanding Tacos al Pastor at a street stand in the market. Obviously a popular place in town. The lady was grinding tacos out non-stop the whole time I was there. Choice of four meats plus you get an onion or two and some peppers. Some people were getting to-go orders of 20-30 tacos.
I'm finding these areas that are off the beaten track to be fascinating. The people are reserved but friendly and when I needed a hand, they immediately offered. In this area, the people are much more traditional and native clothing is seen fairly often. Asked some of the ladies in the market if I could take their picture but was usually declined. I understand in some of the native cultures they believe a photograph captures their soul. Maybe true here or, maybe they just don't like their pictures taken.
Certainly can't complain about the cost of things there -- the price of gasoline is rising almost daily here (almost $4.00/gallon today). Hotel for $10? Add a zero to that for here!:eek1
How do I sign-up for this Mexico adventure?
p.s. That ice cream bar was clever, indeed.
RexBuck: I am writhing all this down, you are traveling through all the little places that I just love to see!
And your SPEED 160 KM in 7.5 hours.... you are almost down to where I cruise at... LOL.... better to stop and smell the taco carts that way.... took me a long time to learn to go that slow....BTW.....
Keep up the good ride report.....
Things are generally less expensive here except around the tourist destinations - prices and atmosphere become more North Americanized. My median hotel cost has probably been around 400p - might be a bit higher with Mrs RexBuck now down here for a few weeks.
LOL - I've really tried to slow down - I'm not a fast rider to begin with but on gravel, by myself, out in the boonies and with a fully loaded bike, a lot of go-slow. Tried to shorten the days also - gives some time to soak up your destination.
Subscribed - great report so far!
I lived in Oaxaca state from 2004 to 2007, and I am really enjoying your pictures and comments.
Thanks for that LS650. Been in Oaxaca state for the past week and it is phenominal.
Day 26 - Feb 11
First thing this morning, went next door and wandered around their little market.
Girl selling peppers
Carnicería (Meat market) - deep fried pork rind in the front
Some traditional garb
Lady with a basket on her back - probably doing her shopping
Left this morning expecting a somewhat relaxing pavement ride. I knew Hwy 15 joined Hwy 125 a bit down the road. GPS tells me to turn on a little side street, says Road to Hwy 125 made sense. Holy cow, this Hwy 125 is a mess. Huge patches of potholes. Man, if this whole couple hundred km is like this, its going to be a long day. Suddenly realize Im still on the road to Hwy 125 and its 40 km to the turn.
Could turn around and go back to 15 till it joins 125 or carry on lets just see whats over the next hill. Not a great road but not bad . . . then the potholes became more frequent then the pavement became less frequent, then dirt road with periodic pieces of pavement that were like hitting square rocks. Eventually gave way to a mediocre dirt road. Road is used a lot by locals so pretty beat up and dusty.
Meandered through a number of small communities. Must have been some event going in one as there were people walking, riding in backs of trucks, etc. Ladies with their traditional dresses on, some older men with their satchels. Continue to see beautiful country more forest than open plains like yesterday.
Finally got to Hwy 125. Seemed to be a fair number of small towns and wide spots in the road and everybody has to have their set of topes. Still quite a few potholes so had to be pretty cautious. Couple of really nice stretches of twisties the best stretch had about 5 km of nice twisties and another 20 km or so of what would have been nice twisties but had a couple of inches of pea gravel spread on it. Got to Pinotepa Nacional probably should have called it a day there. But, had set my sites on Puerto Escondido.
Booked into Hotel Inez pricy (600p) but too bagged to go look somewhere else. Quite nice. Big room, small kitchen, set up for North Am tourists. Entire hotel seems to be full of Americans and Canadians. Nice enough people.
Went walking down the street looking for a restaurant. Interesting mix of people reminds more of Maui. Whole bunch of geezers and whole bunch of young folks, mostly here surfing. Party time!
Found a restaurant that looked reasonably busy, got a table, ordered a Negro Modelo and a Hamburger. Beer came, bread came, condiments came . . . noticed others who had come in well after me getting served. Waitress was ignoring me. Finally got her attention and asked for my bill for the beer and left. No apology, didnt ask if I wanted to wait just: 25 pesos . . . ok, here ya go . . . only time on this trip I have not tipped usually pretty decent (and well deserved) tips since the bills are so small.
I think the Mexicans are a bit jaded towards gringos in this town which might explain the crappy service. Probably just me tired and too much of a culture shock coming from the simplicity in the mountains to the glitz of a Gringo resort town.
Can't know for sure since I wasn't with you but my experience says that a hamburger is typically the menu item a restaurant down there is least prepared to serve in a timely manner. They'll still accept your order and try but the results may not be so great. By my experience, anyway.
I usually wait until I encounter a McDonalds or even a VIPs to satisfy my burger jones. When pressed for time I ask the server to make recommendations. Those are always served more promptly.
Yah, not usually what I order. Generally don't order a hamburgesa unless it's flashed all over the marque outside and at the top of the menu inside with a whole bunch of varieties - which it was in this case. Some of the Mexican hamburgers have been pretty decent but, like I say, not my usual choice. When in Rome, etc.
Day 27 - Feb 12
Wanted to go to Zipolite since so many people have raved about it. Only an hours ride from Puerto Escondido see, another reason should have stayed in Pinotepa.
Looked for a couple of places I'd read about, couldnt find them. Guy directed me to another - price was right, 150p and the owner was a nice guy but, the room was just too dungey for what I felt like living in for a couple of days. Finally went down towards the north end of the beach and probably overpaid for what I got, but its ok. 300p internet, park in front of the room but not secured, no hot water. But, nice beach location. Little bar and restaurant, watch the surf, watch the people. Really nice young family own it. Great!
Well, the beach is . . . very relaxed. This is kind of Corona commercial stuff expansive beach, surf crashing in, favorite beverage . . . Learned the attraction of hammocks.
Quite an interesting mix of people. Old to young of every dimension. About 90%+ are wearing clothes. The others, hmmmm. A few guys strutting around, some old people, mostly couples, few middle ager couples. As I saw one lady in the distance, I thought what a baggy suit she has. . .ooops! More than once I thought of running to the store to find some eye bleach. Some people really should think of others before making some choices in their lives. I opted to be considerate of others and maintain a little decorum I just think there are certain parts of the male body that shouldn't have a tan.
Funky town, quite enjoyed it. Tons of little restaurants. Business not too bad. Old folks, surfers and hippies about sums it up. Kind of an Alices Restaurant atmosphere.
Checked out some other hotels here and in a couple of neighboring towns for my return with Mrs Rexbuck. Zipolite has a very unique atmosphere while the other town that I found attractive is next door at San Augustinillo. Nice places - impression was that the beach and town are a bit more conservative.
Thanks for following along cycleman.
"what a baggy suit she has"
Day 28 - Feb 13
Discovered a few more pics of Zipolite that I couldn't find for yesterday's posting
Some of the many Hostels on the beach
Looking down the beach - it goes to those hills in the background
Sitting in front of my room with another of my favorite friends, Bohemia Obscura
The knife sharpener - I just thought this was cool. Guy would just carry his machine from store to store doing knives. Have since seen more of these elsewhere.
Was getting ready to leave for Oaxaca and a guy wanders up to my bike and introduces himself as kennyanc, a fellow inmate here. Didn't have a lot of time to chat but hope to get together with him when I come back.
Mrs Rexbuck arriving in Oaxaca tomorrow (Yahoo!) so, heading over today to get ready for her arrival in the morning.
Rode over on the spectacular Hwy 175. In the first 40 km, the road climbs to over 7000 feet, cresting later at over 9000 feet. What a fun road! Amazing tight curves, pavement below 7000 feet is great - rough in places, above 7000 gets a bit pot holy but, amazing vistas of mountains, valleys, little villages perched on hillsides, etc.
This little community was at around 9000 feet altitude
The only flat spot around for houses is on top of the mountain
Temps started the morning in the low 20s and by the time I started to loose altitude from the peak, it was down to 15.5 - brrr. Level out at 5000 feet and it was a balmy 34 in the afternoon. (For those of you not fluent in C, that would be low 70's, 60, 93 deg F)
Now, the road was most bitchin! . . . for the first half. The second half was crap, flat, ugly towns with beat up roads and a City. I'd do it again (and will, probably twice this trip) in a heartbeat.
Stopped at a little restaurant run by a couple of ladies - had a whole bunch of pots of stuff simmering away on their wood fired stoves. Had chicken and rice soup - unlike Campbells Soup, this one only had one piece of chicken but it was about 2/3 of a breast. Hmmmm.good!
Here is a picture of their pretty nice Baños (bathroom). Quick guide to a Mexican low-tech toilet (yes, many places have flush toilets). Notice there is no toilet tank on the toilet. When finished, go outside, get that bucket on the fence, dip a bucketfull of water out of the big barrel in front and pour it into the toilet. Simple.
Oh, and used toilet paper goes in the waste basket that is always next to the toilet. Some of the older plumbing systems won't handle the paper and they get miffed if they figure you plugged up their biff with paper. That is their custom, so I can honor that.
Tried to take it easy and get used to going over Topes slowly when I have Mrs Rexbuck on the back. Still forget myself and do a tope pass around a truck grinding over a tope and through some potholes - sit down, and say - Hmmm, I don't think that will go too well if I keep that up.
Got to the Hotel Maela - what a gem. Right downtown about 7 blocks from the Zócolo, nice entrance, secure parking, big room with a King Sized bed and a double bed to spread all my crap out on, with a stove & fridge, hot water and good WiFi - 600p.
Wow - this town is magic! Wandered down towards the Zócolo looking for dinner. Thought I'd find food pretty quick but this place was so alive, I just kept walking enthralled by the people, sounds and variety of stuff going on. Just kept walking and all of a sudden I was at the Zócolo and now it was sensory overdrive. There were people everywhere, mainly just enjoying the night. Individuals, couples, families, street vendors, entertainment - all at once. There was an orchestra set up in the bandstand, there were clowns, buskers, performers on other stages and on and on.
I finally just sat down at one of the many restaurants - looked at the menu under the Oaxaca food section, didn't recognize any of the items so just chose one to see what would come up. Chapulines turns out to be a very popular local food - bascily crushed grasshoppers with some spices. Served with guacamole and salsa. It was really good - salty. Quite liked it other than the odd leg that would get stuck in my teeth. I didn't have my camera with me but here is a pic of what they look like
Thanks for sharing, love Mexico reports.
Mexico reports are fun to read but not as fun as being here.
But I think you already know that.
Thanks for tagging along.
Great ride report! Waiting for more<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
More photos of road food!!!!