Mexico 12/20/2019 - xxxx
Thanksgiving is three days away, and less than a month until we're
on the road again. The plan is to loop the Americas; go down to
Argentina via the West coast and back up the East. Once we get back
to the US in maybe a year or year and a half, then Europe or
We, is me and my honey. If you know me then you know
her. She's not into social media and likes to live a private
life, so, I'll respect her wishes and keep her the mystery woman in
There was a lot of debate regarding the mode of transportation,
probably just as much between me and myself as between her and I.
Questions like, what's the goal, see the world or ride the
motorcycle; or, after three months and 9000 miles of riding Mexico
and Guatemala do I still want to do this, am I up to it physically;
or, how much stuff do we need to take and how much space do we need?
In the end, we'll be taking two vehicles, my DR650 and an older
Subaru Outback. I've also got a towing attachment (not a
trailer, more on this later) so the car can tow the bike as needed,
which will most likely be most of the way to and through
Mexico. As we go further South, to areas I haven't ridden
through yet, and the roads get nicer, I'll be riding. For the
car, other than putting some spring assist spacers on the rear and
setting up and bringing a normal size spare, we'll probably leave it
stock. Still debating bringing one of those enclosed rooftop
containers, but hey, it's an Outback, not a two ton pickup, so, just
as well, we can't take that much stuff.
As when I took off in May, there's mixed feelings and apprehension,
though less about borders and do I know enough Spanish to get
by!? The bigger question is will be opt out of some countries?
We may need to go around some or get through relatively
quickly. Venezuela comes to mind on the return trip, but who
knows, maybe things will be a bit more stable in a year or however
long it takes us to get there. What are we up to now, about 4
million people have left that country? We took a look at the
government travel site and there's a whole lot of places in this
world that are not recommended. Yeah, what else is new?
Maybe if the US and other world powers stopped meddling and sucking
out their natural resources, they'd be way better off... so much
more could be said... Anyway, we'll play it by ear, and as before,
only plan a few days in advance.
And here's how things are looking right now.
Using honey's place for a staging area (no... we're not taking the
ottoman). She's been selling off stuff, giving it away, and figuring
out what she wants to pack and keep. Fire Sale!
In the mean time, we just got about 18" of snow here in the Boulder
area. Eeeeeeeehah! The car is buried and the bike is
sitting in my daughters garage.
The packing continues. A lot of the stuff has already been
sold off or boxed and stored. The place is looking pretty
empty. Some boxes, kitchen stuff, kitchen table and three
chairs, mattress on the floor (bed was sold a while ago).
Tonight we're going to see Kahlil, my grandson, at his first violin
recital (I hear it's a few seconds of playing.) and then we'll have
dinner and say our goodbyes. My honey's daughter and fiance
are coming over Wednesday to pick up the table and chairs and to say
Looks like the weather will be sunny come the weekend, so that's a
Over the last couple months I've been thinking about how to deal
with a car and a motorcycle. Don't want honey to have to pull
a trailer all the time, not to mention the extra licensing, title,
registration at the borders. But it would be nice to be able to tow
the motorcycle for the long and boring stretches, and basically most
of Mexico since I've ridden so much of the country already. I
found the MOTOW and a few devices like it, but MOTOW is by far the
better design, vs. a similar unit that's all over E-bay, Amazon, and
Walmart for $100 and not worth 50 cents! So, bit the bullet
and bought a Motow.
Had to do a little modification to the bracketry to get some
clearance at the bumper and took it for a first tow from my
daughters to the departure point in Boulder. It's a neat
design, meant to have the rear wheel in the carrier that slips into
the hitch receiver. It has a hinge so follows just like a
trailer. Also, lowers and raises with a screw.
Then on the front it uses straps on the handlebars to lock the bars
in place so that bike tracks straight.
The bike does lean a few degrees and sway a bit from free play, and
after the first few blocks the bar straps loosened, which had the
front wheel doing a shimmy, but once I retightened it, it seemed to
be ok. Since then, I've bought some heavier straps I'll
use. Talked to the manufacturer and they recommended a hitch
stabilizer, which is on order, to knock down some of the
swaying. Talked to them enough to get some more confidence
that this thing will actually work. They sent me a photo of a
guy hauling a Ducati with hard bags and two tires on it, for
thousands of miles.
Also figured out a way to rig up some lights on the front of the
bike, so that people following me will have more than just a couple
small flags. They are magnetic mount and the bike's reflector
brackets are the perfect place for them.
Just have to drop off a few more boxes at my daughters house in the
next couple days, and we'll be ready to go. Thursday night
we'll be sleeping on a yoga mat and a blow up camping pad! Some guy
is coming for the mattress. No place to live, minimal stuff, a
car, the motorcycle, some food, pots and pans, some clothes, some
shoes, and that's it. The journey continue.
Alright, and we are off again!
Morning of the 20th, got of out Dodge. Made our way south toward
Colorado Springs, stopped for a short hike up to the Castle Rock in
ahhh... Castle Rock... then took a walk at Garden of the Gods and
continued on to our digs for the night in Alamosa CO.
With the stops and the hiking we got to Alamosa after dark. Where
apparently they had temps in the negative double digits last week...
as in -40??? Guess it's one of the coldest places in the country.
All of a sudden, towing the bike to warmer climates didn't seem like
a bad idea!
In the morning it was in the negative single digits. Loaded the car
back up, took off the bike cover, and cable locking it to the
receiver and took off for Aztec NM.
So far the towing arrangement is working well. The handlebar and the
mirror visible in my side mirror was my indication at all was well
with the bike. Some beautiful scenery along the way.
Stopped for gas in a little town called Pagosa Springs. Local guy
came over to check out the towing arrangement and we got to talking
bikes. He told us about the hotsprings just down the road... so...
Pagosa Hotsprings it is! Situated right next to the San Juan River
in Pagosa. They have pools from 86 degrees F to 110 degrees F. So we
bounced around for a couple hours among the pools. I also took a
wade into the river. Not very deep this time of year, but cold has
heck. After about 20 seconds I couldn't feel my legs any more... So,
back into the 106 degree pool! If you're in the area, it's a must
do. Apparently Pagosa means Healing Waters in native American...
High sulfur content, along with other minerals. At $26-30 per person
(bring your own towel or pay +$4) it aint cheap, but you can stay
there all day. They also sell drinks and food right in the pool
After getting thoroughly steamed, we finished off the days drive.
Yup, definitely have had worse days!
That "fog" in the distance is actually smoke. Something was
burning, not sure what. Maybe a controlled burn.
Aztec NM to Lake Powell area. About 260 miles.
Before taking off for the morning we took a couple mile walk from
where we were staying to the Aztec ruins.
All the doors were less than 5ft tall...
Pretty complex layout. Multi level condos made of stona and wood on
the outside and then a large central meeting area in the middle of
One of the main corridors, half under ground. Very cool in there. As
you enter each section there are additional passages to the left;
living quarters. Took decades to build.
Then you gots to grind the corn to make your corn flour so you can
make your tortillas...
Got ourselves back on the road. Some pretty nice scenery along 64
and 160 headed West. A desolate beauty.
Planted for a couple nights. We'll see what we can see around here
So, near Page AZ apparently are a few slot canyons. After doing some
research, picked Waterholes to go see, which is about 2 miles long.
Compare that to Antelope which is more expensive, more crowded and
only about 200 meters long, and Waterholes is a clear winner. Use to
be you could just buy a permit from the Navajo and take the tour
yourself, but no more. Now, none of this is cheap... About
$58/person for a 1.5 hour tour. They drive you to the start of the
Canyon, and you hike back to where you took off from. It's private
land owned by a Navajo family. Our guide was 20 years old kid. He
knew his stuff and answered all our questions. Pretty straight
forward. There are definitely some tight areas, and you have to
shimmy down some ladders.
Honestly, I was a bit ticked that I couldn't just go hiking on my
own. Felt like I was getting shafted. But I considered it a donation
to the Navajos, for chasing them off their land. I also learned
about the Long Walk... where the US basically made the Navajos and
other natives migrate across three desert states back in the
1800's. Many of them died in the process.
Yes, this is actually a walkable slot. At the bottom is
sand. If there wasn't any then you would literally be walking
on two walls that come to a point. When it rains, the rain
quickly builds up and rushes through these canyons at huge
speeds. The water can actually remove all the sand. If
too much sand gets removed then the slot's have to be refilled by
dumping sand from above.
This was at the end of the slot, and goes to join the Colorado
And the Colorado River right after the dam.
Overlook onto Lake Powell; Glenn Canyon Rec. area.
Merry Christmas Eve!
The day started out a little foggy and got worst from there, but
there were definitely some bright spots! Holed up for a couple days
in Williams AZ, on historic route 66.
This was 89 headed south out of Page AZ... snow on the ground, fog
in the air... winter wonderland!
Stopped at this place called Cameron. Selling all sorts of Native
wares. Check this out, a manual loom (is that what they call them?).
A little old native lady was working on it, says it will take her
about a year to finish... The smaller rugs on the wall sold for
thousands, so I'm guessing this will be about $15-$20G's
There was a basket there that took a year to weave, price... a cool
They had sand art and pottery... butt-load of jewelry. Good thing we
don't have the money or the space in the car!
They also had a post office there, so mailed off a couple post cards
to the grand-kids, and conversed with the nice lady working the
counter. She had hair down past her butt, said she was thinking of
cutting it cause it's heavy... Me being a near cueball, have no clue
how that would feel. Does your neck get tired?
Also had a restaurant there, so we shared a vegan Navajo taco for
lunch (you can have it with Muton I think). MMMMmmmm... Beans,
veggies, on fry-bread (yeah, bread that's fried instead of baked).
First Navajo taco ever. If you haven't had one... find one. There
was a restaurant in Page (Steer89) that was suppose to have them,
but they were closed, so this was a nice surprise...
So, after our taco, we proceeded on toward the Grand Canyon...
Yeah... things didn't look so good.
We got to the gate and they told us only part of the road was open,
and we couldn't get to Williams that way, so had to turn back
around. Got out of the snow, but as we got closer to Williams, more
of the same.
Made it safely to our Motel, motorcycle still attached! Though
definitely in need of a wash when the weather clears up in a few
days and we head further South.
And why is the Subaru sagging in the rear, cause we didn't bring the
kitchen sink, but we brought the stove and kitchen! Making Christmas
Eve dinner... Rice, salad, some home made sauerkraut... Honey, pass
the Soy sauce, would you? Where's the granola?
Two nights in Williams was a good idea. Got another snow storm the
second night and clearer skies in the morning.
Took a walk down main street (Route 66) during the day. This
was a tree in the front yard of some motel. Definitely get the prize
for largest decorations!
And this was the state of affairs this morning.
In Phoenix for the night, where it's a balmy 61 degrees... and NO
snow. Head for the border tomorrow!
They grow some big cactus down in Southern Arizona and Northern
Took an short hike through Organ Pipe Cactus National
Monument. The stats on these big cacti are crazy. Takes
them until they about 75-100 years old before they start growing
their first arms. They get to be 30 ft tall! They bear
flowers one day out of the year and then produce fruit.
That's about 8 miles from the Mexico border in Arizona. And figured
that it was time to pull the bike off the MOTOW and ride through the
border. Given that I only had about 6" of ground clearance while
towing it, and knowing that Mexico has those speed bumps (topos)
everywhere, the towing was over for now, unless I lift the rear of
Well, the border at Sonoyta was not much of an issue, at first.
Jabbering back and fourth with the guy giving us our tourist cards
went on for a while. But the Banjercito was about 17 miles down the
road, so on we went. It was in the 40's and started raining, so put
on the full rain gear, turned on the heated grips and heated vest,
and we went on our way; me on the bike, honey in the Subaru. Took
hours to get the Temporary Import for the Car, because it's a
Colorado salvage car, and Colorado gives you a title with a Colorado
assigned IDCO instead of the Vin number, and the car actually has
two VIN numbers (cause it was pieced together), but people want the
VIN number, they don't want some IDCO, so it took conversations,
phone calls, looking through manuals, talking to three different
guys, taking pictures, and so on. By the time it all got sorted out
it was dark already and we were still two hours from our
destination... So, riding in the dark, in the cold on unfamiliar
roads... sketchy. At one point there was a construction site, where
basically part of the highway was missing... just a mess...
literally craters, washboard, mud... and sharing it with semi's.
Luckily it was only a quarter mile or so, or it wold have been even
a longer night. Finally made it to our destination at 8:30... File
that under "don't ever do that again!". Next border, get there
early, and leave plenty of time!
Took a walk around parts of Caborca and came across this. It's a
depository for bottle caps, because apparently caps are not
generally recycled when plastic bottles are. What do you do with all
You stick them to walls to make murals pointing out the need to stop
polluting the world... pretty cool..
This morning in no hurry to head for our next destination. Struck up
a conversation with a young Mexican guy that had the room next to
ours. He's been riding for three days shooting to get across Mexico,
on his 200cc bike, all loaded up with gear. Said it was cold. I bet,
hitting low 40's at night, and he came in late. Even with heated
gear and heated grips I was getting cold the night before. We said
our goodbye's and honey and I took off. Brisk morning, still needed
the heated vest and grips to stay warm.
Not much going on here, four lane split highway... snooooooz...
Some three hours later we got to our next destination and what was
supposed to be our Air B&B for the night. But I got a message
from the guy saying, sorry I don't own that property any more...
great. So, we looked up some hotels for the night... And here's what
$18 dollars gets you in Mexico... A two story with a garage on the
bottom, big enough for the car and bike and room to spare, and a
room with a king size bed on the second level... S-weeeeeet... Made
some phone calls, made dinner, and plans for the next few days...
And yeah, that's a line drawing of a naked woman on the shower with
the see through glass and blue light... Ha!
We had a really great place in Mermosillo. Cristina the host
was very nice and friendly and we muddled through a conversation
regarding New Year's eve celebration. She made some
recommendations regarding restaurants that were having New Year's
Eve dinners. But we didn't bring any dressy clothes, so
Cristina offered to have us join their family. We agreed and
she'd let us know what time to come down (we were up on the second
floor of the house). On the 31'st they stared with music early
and the evening rolled on. Finally at 9:30 she said we can
come down, that dinner would be there in an hour. Eating
dinner at 10:30 at night?... We had eaten dinner, and we were
getting tired. I thanked her but said we were going to go to
sleep. Music could be heard from downstairs and around the
neighborhood until 3:00 in the morning! So, didn't sleep great
View from the rooftop.
While down below someone was laying on the deck doing her nails...
Yeah, it was a rough couple days...
Well, the bottle caps recycling is a step in the right direction,
but still got a ways to go to get things cleaned up...
Took off from Hermosillo this morning for San Carlos, which is just
far enough from Guaymas (which is the more popular spot) to be not
near a big city...
Yeah, not much going on on the way there. More four lane highway,
though brand new and grooved concrete; 15 headed south.
Got their early and got checked in. Girl at the counter speaks poco
Ingles, and I speak poco Espanol, so checkin was smooth and easy.
Got our stuff in the room... Nice view from the sliding glass back
door, with a path to the pool... and all for less than a Motel 6 in
Took off and headed for the beaches, which are just across the
street from the hotel. Walked around a bit and got the flavor. Yup,
that's a lot of beach, and practically empty. There were quite a few
people making a ruckus in one of the grass roofed restaurants. Feliz
Tons of shells everywhere, about 70 degrees, with a steady West
breeze, waves lapping at the shore. Yup, it's going to be rough here
for a few days!
There's also a small Canyon just North of us, so will do a hike to
check that out, and see what else we can turn up around here.
Got up before dawn to try and catch the sunrise, but the clouds hid
it on us..
Took the main road out West to see where it would take us. Came to a
Mirador with a really nice view.
Hiked down the hill into the bay area, wandered around and climbed
some of the rocks along the edges...
Took the road all the way to the end. Ends in a dirt road leading to
a tiny poor town, where they're obviously trying to attract
tourists, not sure they're having much success..
Bought some groceries at a couple of the food stores in town, got
back to the hotel and ordered lunch from Arbolitos De Cajeme
Restaurant... Deep fried fish... they make cuts in the fish on a
crosshatch pattern, on both sides, then dunk it in oil, so that you
get chunks that are fried crispy on five sides and are flaky in the
center... with some rice, a stack of tortillas, a little salad, some
Went and took in some sun at the pool, then took another walk on the
beach... Yeah, rough day... I think I broke a sweat climbing that
Napula Canyon. A very busy three kilometer hike; about one hour in,
one hour out. You feel like you're in another world. And for those
who really want the full adventure, they also have zip lines there.
There are at least six or seven lines across the canyon, but to get
to them you have to climb ladders, suspended bridges, repel on
ropes, and climb up rock faces. Didn't do that. Just did the hike in
and out. During the rainier season there is a waterfall and swimming
holes. Couldn't really take enough pictures, and it's hard to relay
These palm trees are huge. About four to five feet across with the
dried palms. And just couldn't get the height in the photo.
You can see one of the zip lines here, but if you look really close,
you can see a couple people on the face of the cliff... Hard to see.
The place is huge.
And later at the hotel, sitting by the pool, after lunch and siesta,
I got the blessing from a local bee. Just one of those shots...
Slow paced day today. I slept relatively late, not even sure
what time. Doesn't really matter. I know the date
because I look, but still don't know the day unless I inadvertently
come across it somewhere. Honey came from running on the beach
at sunrise, I did my morning Yoga, and helped make breakfast, and we
discussed plans for the next few days as we ate.
Some time later we went back to the beach, just walked along the
shore (wait, did I take a nap after breakfast... I know I took one
after lunch...). A person on some peddle craft with a small
sail went by close to shore and pointed some distance behind
her. Dolphins. Yes, I saw some fins skimming the
surface. Guess it was morning feeding time. I took a
dive into the water... brrrr... just a little warmer than beer
temperature... and splashed around a bit hoping to attract them!
Honey pointed out that we've been on our Journey two weeks
now. Again, didn't know. It's been interesting traveling
with her. Of course we get along really well, it's easy.
Even when we disagree, we talk through things, and move on. I
knew going in, that the journey would be different than what either
one of us is used to. For me, we're moving way slower and
smaller distances per day. I wouldn't think twice about doing
a 200 mile day, stay two days and move on, but she doesn't really
like driving, so two to three hours is the limit, with rest stops
every hour. Also, staying three nights or more in one place
will happen more frequently, whereas I rarely stayed more than two
nights. Anyway, slower pace, enjoying each place more, seeing
more. Truly no rush. Because there is no point in
rushing. I'm glad we're finding this balance.
Anyway, after the beach, came back to the room, made lunch, took
showers, went and sat out by the pool in the sun, came and took a
nap, woke up, went back for a walk along the beach and to the
grocery store to get some more prepackaged, baked, corn
tortillas. There's no Tortillaria to get them fresh;
definitely a tourist town. Came back to the room, snacked a
bit, and that's it. Our last night here; back on the road
Been a relatively uneventful couple days. 1/5 stayed with a really
nice lady in Obregon. We practiced our Spanish, she practiced her
English. Just outstanding hospitality. The night we came she gave us
some fresh eggs for dinner, as in from a chicken at a friends house
across the street... also taught us how to make stove top bread,
though it ended up being more like a pie cause we went overboard
with the apples, but there wasn't a crumb left! Her dogs were too
funny, one looked like a sheered sheep and the other looked like a
person with blond hair that parted in the center of her head. When
we were leaving this morning she gave us some oranges for the road,
picked fresh off a tree the other day. She also knows a guy by the
name of Robert; rogueadventures.com who's been doing some world
travel. Tied to find him on the internet, no luck.
Little one was begging for more tortilla.
Found a tortillaria this morning, hot a and steaming tortillas, so I
was in heaven.
Got moving about noon today. Just four lane highway to Los Mochis.
Put the bike on the hitch again and burned up the miles.
Found this little guy scrounging on the side of the road when we
stopped to take a break. Tossed him some tortilla but he wasn't
interested. Too bad, you could see his ribs. Not much to him.
Made it to our destination after the GPS took us for a ride. "We're
here." "I don't see you. Sometimes the GPS takes people to the wrong
place." Yeah, figured that out after talking to a few people and
Was also a somber day. Saw a couple hairy accidents. One car in a
ditch all accordioned nose first, no glass, airbags deployed.
Another one with a couple guy who were on a motorcycle being tended
to while lying in the street. Not good. Had a close call myself,
blew right through a stop sign and it wasn't a four way. Couple
seconds later and it could have been all over... shit... focus..
focus... focus... yeah, the sign was hidden and yeah we're looking
for where we need to go... but damn... as it was, I got away with a
horn blowing... Whew.
Safely behind bars again, for a couple nights at least, maybe longer
if we like the place. Going to check out the beaches tomorrow, and
see what else is around here. Los Mochis is a big town, fairly well
organized... still has some really crappy streets though; typical
Mexico. But it does have a couple Walmarts, a McDonalds, and a
Burger King, so it's getting fully Americanized!
Spent the day today going to a local a-burr-eat-em (though there
wasn't really any food there so not sure what the eat part has to do
with it... ) also know as the Jardin Botanico and after that went
down to the El Maviri beach, which is about 30 minutes out of town.
The day was high 70's, sunny, and breezy... another rough one...
This guy was a good three feet long.
iguanas, turtles, ducks, geese, butterflies, tropical plants, all
sorts of cacti varieties...
Good way to raise awareness regarding bottle disposal.. make a trash
can out of bottles..
And here we have the lovely Vanah modeling the 7 foot wide tree...
And then, for a little break... mostly very fine sand, feels like
mud between your toes when you walk out into the water. It was like
that in both directions, hardly a soul...
You can walk out like 50 yards and still not be in the water to your
Did nada... laid in the sun, dug a hole, pretended to make a sand
castle, bought a bag of peanuts from an old Mexican lady and threw
shells at the sea gulls while we munched the good parts.
While the slight breeze blew sand over our towels and nearly made
Yup, another rough day... Back on the road again tomorrow.
I'm kind of liking this traveling with the honey thing. Slowing me
down a bit; smell more of the roses along the way...
Ok, where was I... Yeah, we stayed two nights in Mochis and moved on
to Culiacan. Just as we were leaving I noticed the smell of
gasoline. Found that my auxiliary fuel filter I installed was
leaking. Tightened it up but that just made it worse.
So, turned the petcock to off and pulled the filter off and gas was
pouring out of my tank... Ah.. that's not right... duh, turned the
petcock to prime instead of off. Anyway, took the filter out
of the line, reconnected the line and we were off... deal with it
later... Took route 15 down instead of 15D (the four laner), so got
to see a little scenery, some farmland, some curves. Nice break.
There really aren't many options along the west coast as far as
Had some trouble finding our Airbb for the night, but worked through
it (yeah, first world problems in the third world). Turned out to be
a four apartment building, and by the end of the night the whole
family was there getting stuff done. We were officially the first
guests in this place. They built it just to rent out. Everything new
and a large enclosed parking area. Hostess spoke pretty good English
and had both of her kids with her, who spoke good English. Later the
father came to fix the garage/yard door while the kids fixed our
wi-fi... hospitality! ... or debugging... hostess was all excited
they had electricity... good plan...
After we got our stuff unloaded, we walked a few blocks to get some
groceries. There are some big hills in this town... took a picture
of one of the roads peak to peak... it was steep walking, like
steeper than some of the Colorado mountains.
By the time we got back it was almost sunset so went up to the
rooftop and got a view.
Today I spent the whole morning doing maintenance on the bike. That
fancy fuel filter I had was leaking the other day, so had to take it
off. Checked it today and the rubber seal got hard (cheap ass
rubber), checked the valves (they were right on), and turns out
after about 16,000 miles my chain was worn out, so had to replace it
and the sprockets; had spares with me. The chain tool I had wasn't
the greatest and I don't like the swage job it did on the master
link, but I'll see how it goes, if I notice anything going weird
I'll just go to a dealer and have them put a new master in it.
Speaking of dealers, there was a Suzuki dealer in town so got a
couple of iridium spark plugs, so won't have to change those again
for a while. Took it for a test drive and the chain didn't fall
off! Maybe I should raise my standards...
Well, no beaches around here and the one an hour away you can't swim
in cause it's got bugs like e-coli, stuff that causes pink eye,
swimmers ear, and other assorted niceties... So, found another
arboretum after lunch and walked around.
These trees are just freaky. They let out roots from branches, and
when they hit ground, they root and become a new trunk. They will
wrap them selves around themselves or even other trees.
Some pretty cool banzai trees too...
And that's a wrap... back on the road tomorrow.
The road to Mazatlan... the most important thing... the newly
installed chain didn't fall off! Also the bike had a 14 tooth front
sprocket, the one I installed is a stock 15 tooth. Now it's a little
easier going faster... Took route 15 again, the road less traveled.
Not bad, just enough curves going through some high hills / low
mountains, and some small towns, to keep it interesting, and use up
some of my side rubber. Honey bought some corn on the cob from a
roadside seller, so took a corn break a little while after.
Got to Mazatlan and the traffic was just clog city. But it was
familiar from this summer; the first West Coast city I visited.
Made it to our digs. Basically six days in a small condo with full
kitchen, a block from the beach, for less than one nights hotel room
in the US. Gots to love it! And they use bars and spikes in their
Got our stuff unloaded, had a quick dinner, and took a walk down to
the beach and down the strip. Talk about a lot of stores selling a
lot of crap... Alart!: Major Tourist Trap... Hey, you want to be a
guest for our 90 minute presentation, then we'll give you a free
cruise? Yeah... we'll let you know. Then there was the "Beer
Boutique" store... didn't even ask. Everything from hand painted
sinks to blow up floatties for the kiddies. Did see a place where
you can get breakfast to $2.50 US. Cars, noise, lights, tight
sidewalks with merchandise intruding on your space.
The beach side of the strip is all "All Inclusives" far as the eye
can see. There was a stiff breeze on the beach, though nice and
balmy. The weather will be in the 80's for the next few days.
Saw a t-shirt that said: Relax, you're on the fun side of the Wall.
and another one about a Trump sandwich, White Bread, a lot of
bologna, with Russian dressing, and a small pickle...
Even a "Trump 2020" license plate... good to see they have a sense
of humor about it.
Today, I think we set a new record... three beaches in one day. Went
to Playa Cerritos, but the tide was so high there was no beach. So
went further north and found a massive empty expanse. That will
Pelicans flying in formation...
When it looked like the tide was low enough, headed back to
Cerritos. Walked the rocks and enjoyed the captive pools which had
some small fish and crab roaming around.
Then back to the main strip, and Playa Brujas.
Yeah, it looks like a postcard, but it's just too commercial for
me... certainly makes the spread between rich and poor more readily
apparent. I would say there's no less All Inclusives here than there
are in Cancun, though maybe they're a little smaller here. But the
water here is murky because the sand is brown and very fine, so
makes it look muddy when it's not.
Rooftop view back at the domicile...
Went over to the Fero Lighthouse (visited there this summer) to do
the hike again.
The place has gone to the cats... Someone actually cares, they put
out some water. Off to the right there was a couple dogs
hanging around too.
This guy was just lounging around on the steps up to the lighthouse,
and there were more cats up there too. I went over to pet him,
he barely lifted his head and went back to snoozing.
It's about a 30-40 minute hike with about 300+ steps. Climb is about
500 vertical feet total.
Just below the lighthouse is a peer/barrier to protect the port.
From 500 ft up it looked like a gravel road. Part of it is, but most
of it is these huge boulders and concrete shapes. So we went
and at the end there's nothing but a small tower, with razor wire
After getting back we went to the beach and rented a small catamaran
for an hour (honey's a skipper) and sailed along shore.
Lazy days in Mazatlan. Walked the beach some more, swam, made
Nopales cactus for the first time. Taste kind of like green beans,
and the liquid behaves kind of like okra; strings liquid when you
pick it up. Played bocci ball on the beach with a couple that
resides in the building we were staying in. Stopped up for some
chips, nuts, and wine after dinner. Interesting couple, been all
over the world in their 70+ years. Currently reside in Canada during
warm season and Mazatlan in the winter.
Today we said our goodbyes and took the road to Acaponeta for the
night, a small town half way between Mazatlan and Tepic, on 15.
Stopped along the way to buy some roadside shrimp tamales from a
lady and her daughter. Two big shrimp in each one, shell, legs,
eyes, antlers and all (is that what shrink have, antlers?). Put a
little lime on it, spit out the unwanted bits and delicious. But
there is something about biting into it and seeing two eyes staring
back at you...
Got to the hotel and it was like stepping back a century. Sure, you
can pull the motorcycle right through the lobby to the courtyard...
works for me.
Big blue fabric closes off the opening in the courtyard, giving
everything a blue color while the sun is shining.
The room is small, has a bathroom where the toilet, sink, and shower
share the same space, no curtain just a drain on the floor, and
literally has 15-18 foot ceilings...
Photo on the wall...
The church next door, from the balcony.
Went for a walk through parts of town...
Scored big with some fresh vegetables and apples without stickers on
The central square from the balcony of the hotel...
View from the room...
Honey by the water fountain...
There's all sorts of sounds coming through the window. People
mulling around the square, car and motorcycle exhaust fading, street
vendors selling their wares, kids yelling and playing... It's alive!
There's even a pretty nice restaurant next door. These are the kind
of towns a like. Big enough to have a decent economic base, but
small enough to be personal. But, moving on tomorrow.
Took 15 South again toward Tepic. Avoided the tollway again (15D)
until the last toll. Again, there's a bunch of people at the toll
booth, none of them in the actual booths, and they have a rope
strung across the lane to prevent you from passing. So, what are you
going to do? Pay the man. Honey was in front with the car and paid,
but they waved me by without paying. As I was sitting waiting, I was
trying to figure if I should challenge them. But just past the tool
booth I saw what looked like a police truck with lights flashing, so
guess they were legit. I'm wondering if the state allows groups to
collect the normal tolls to support causes?
Other than that, relatively uneventful until we got into town. The
address was across town so had to go through downtown traffic
getting there. Then, dirt, and hills, and ditches. I can't believe
there are actually streets like that in places. At one point I look
at where I'm going and it goes up a steep hill with ruts and rocks,
and there's a road going to the left, but narrow, and a chicken in
my way... well, it's going to move cause once I get some momentum
going up this thing, I'm not stopping. I make it up, take the turn
and stop. I look back and see the hood on honey's car and then I see
her going backward... I'm thinking she's not going to make it. But
she gives it another run and comes around. The road ahead is worse
than what we just came up, so I tell her to wait and let me scout it
out. I go a few blocks and it's a dead end and yeah, there's no way
she can make it with the Subaru, not enough ground clearance, the
ruts are too deep and irregular. So, I come back, point back down
hill at the next block, but she doesn't think she can manage it. So,
I go down on the bike, and walk back up to take the Subaru down, and
then send a message to our host, like wafakawi? I give him an
address and number and hes says we're in the wrong place. I'm like
WTF, it's the location that's in AirBB. Turns out he's 30 minutes
across town in the direction that we just came from. Great. Honey
and I discuss it, and she doesn't feel comfortable going down, so I
just tell her I'm going to take a path, just make sure two of your
wheels are on it as you follow me. She does and we get out of the
mess. Mini adventure and first world problems in a third world
We're in for the night, in a house where the entire first level has
no windows and the garage is right next to the living room. I doubt
the FBI could find us. Got here late because of the shenanigans so
no town walk. Maybe tomorrow, but only staying one night here, so
At breakfast today, our host, and nine times grandmother! gave us a
demonstration of making tortillas from scratch using this
contraption; basically a press, with two pieces of plastic. So, you
mix Masa (cooked and blended corn) with water, make balls, stick a
ball between plastic, bring the press on it... boom.. tortilla. She
cooked them up for us and they were delicious, also gave us some
home made picante, not too spicy.... mmm.. mmmm...
After breakfast we mulled it over and decided we should just take
off so the days journey wouldn't be rushed. Good move, because
Nyarit is on a different time zone so we lost an hour. The route
from Tepic to the Puerto Vallarta is a nice two laner for the most
part, but it was kind of crowded, with some slow moving trucks, so
not idea, but nice blend of curves, lush greenery, and small towns.
Stopped for and afternoon break and snack.
We got into town and as we got closer to our stay for the night
we're on a dirt road again, thinking it was going to be a repeat of
yesterday, but never got that bad, and at the end is a series of
nicely paved roads and gated communities. We met our host and the
place did not disappoint. Turns our we're their first guests. I like
this, people are opening up their homes just in time for us to stay
Nice bedroom, private bath, full use of the kitchen, and... a
community pool across the street (which we promptly enjoyed),
complete with palms and coconuts.
We're here for two nights, so we'll probably check out the nearby
beaches tomorrow. Far enough north of Puerto Vallarta to avoid the
city mess and congestion. Our next day will be going Southeast to
end up in the midst of a dozen or so Volcanos, found a small town
there and I'm guessing the volcanoes are not active... but let's not
get ahead of ourselves... enjoying one day at a time. At least doing
this story keeps me in touch with what date it is, though which day
it is gets lost occasionally.
Another day, some more pool time, some more beach time, some more
smelling the flowers along the way...
Da boys at the homestead...
Da boat on da beach... and the fancy beachfront properties...
Da beach... Playa Bucerias
Da chillin on da beach...
Back on the road again tomorrow morning, headed for those volcanoes.
Host tells me the road is all up and down and back and forth...
Yesterday was one month since we took off from Boulder... Somewhere
over 2000 miles.
Started out the day by making our own tortillas for breakfast.
Bought some Masa (dry corn kernels cooked with ash then drained,
washed and mashed) at a local store. Nothing like fresh tortillas...
Took route 70 Southwest. Not bad, after a bit there's some nice
scenery going up into the mountains, and in some places the road is
s-weet, in good condition or repaved, with some nice sweepers. Other
places, not so much; rough and potholed. Chain still hasn't fallen
Ended up just outside of Mescota at the Villa Cantabaria, down a
gravel road off of 70, an old villa converted to a hotel some 15
years ago, according to the staff. There's hammocks, and sitting
areas, bungalows, huge rooms, a pool, nice view of the mountains,
open air lobby, open air kitchen, temps in the 70's... and we're the
only guests. Apparently September is the busy season, very popular
with the motorcycle community... come for the road, stay for it all.
We got the room at the far right end of the place, so yeah, just
pull the vehicles around.
Huge old tree in the front yard of the place, like one of those we
saw in the arboretum a few days back.
We can just make out the town in the distance. Muy tranquilo aqui!
Open air kitchen, with industrial stove for cooking massive amounts
of food. They will make you breakfast from a short list of options.
The kitchen assistant helping us with dinner... nicest mild mannered
There was some rain just after we settled in, so got the official
welcome rainbow. A little after this photo a herd of cows went
across this grass... the leader out front and the rest of the herd
following in line... that explains the hoof prints over in the grass
by where we parked. Couple horses mulling around too.
Someone went for a swim, but I was content with mid thigh, cause it
was chilly and that water was beer temperature! Brrrr... I'm sure it
would be great in July-Sep.
After dinner sat in the open air lobby, listened to music, danced a
bit (well, honey danced and I faked it). And there was a bit of Jose
in a bottle behind the bar, so yeah, why not?
Short day, only about 70 miles for the day, about two hours with the
slow traffic, the speed bumps, and the curves.
Staying here a few nights, seeing what we can see around here.
Apparently the kitchen helper is a nap helper too...
and that's kind of how it's been. Just did absolutely nothing
yesterday; some sun time, some siesta time, making meals, enjoying
the birds chirping in the yard. Tranquil definitely describes this
place. I think we've reached a new level of relaxation. And with
views like this, how can you not?
This morning after breakfast, thought we'd venture out try to hit
one of the volcanos (showed a hiking trail around it on the map) and
a Municipal Park (Petrificado el Malpais). No idea what to expect.
First attempt was a fail, road was crap. Talked to a local, he
suggested not going further, rather turn around and go through town.
Well, the park was closer so went there instead, also rough road,
nice scenery (river steaming in the cool morning air in the
but a closed gate that we opened, and we end up in some guys front
yard, next to the stable with cows and horses. Fail again. So, went
back through town to go to the volcano. The town roads are all rock,
some worse than others, so slow going, but guess it wasn't slow
enough for some so they actually had rock speed bumps across the
rock road... nice...
Well, got to where the trail around the volcano starts, and we're
greeted by a big gate with a sign that basically says NO!... Ok,
then... Thought about going south to a lake area, but figured we'd
save that for tomorrow. Went back, made lunch, reserved the place
for one more night, got some more sun and more chillin...
In the later afternoon we chucked a frizbee around and the horses
from the farm started doing some edge trimming around the trees and
stone walkway. There's also a whole herd of cows that comes walking
across the front lawn every day like clockwork; out in the morning,
back in the evening.
Took a walk into town, less than a mile away, stopped at a store and
bought some locally grown avocados. Like 21 pesos ($1.05?) for five.
Brought them back, chilled for a bit, made dinner... rough
day. Couple dogs followed us home from town... I don't know,
guess they just liked us. Speaking of dogs, as we were driving
around earlier, found that quite a few of the dogs in town have a
striking resemblance to our kitchen helper... someone gets around.
Speaking of town, there's suppose to be about 100k people living
there. Could have fooled me; relatively empty streets. Lot of
agriculture in this valley, nestled between a couple dozen
volcanoes, the youngest one of which could be as young as 1000
We'll see if that lake has a locked gate around it, ma(nj)ana...
Well, last day in Mascota (Pueblo Magico)...
Sunrise at the homestead...
The herd going out to pasture...
My new "hugs" emoticon... On the road going to Presa Corrinchis...
(Corrinchis dam). The usual mix of rock roads, gravel roads.. The
gravel feels like a superhighway after bouncing around on those rock
La Molcajete restaurant... mess of a road getting there and a mess
there... guess they're doing some renovation off season.
The restaurant has a view of the lake and surrounding hills. Talked
to the caretaker about a road (shows as a hiking trail on Maps.me).
He confirmed it goes around the lake, and we missed the turnoff
So, after a plate of guack and chips, which was very good by the
way... $3.25... we headed back up the road to find it.
But it was another gate... sigh... so much for hiking trails around
On the way back to the homestead stopped in town center.
So, the Mexicans have this tradition where the 15 year old girls
have a coming out of sorts... so they get all dressed up and have
their picture taken, etc.. We've seen a lot of that as we're
traveling... the hearts are standard town decor..
Back on the bouncing rocks to the homestead... to feed the calves!..
apparently they don't like apples...
And took a walk around the homestead... the herd... looked like they
were ready to come back home... Those flat topped cones were the
That's a wrap for Mescota... pubeblo magico indeed...
But like all paradises it's not quite perfect. The place we're
staying in has this musty smell, which was just rustic, for a couple
days, now it's annoying... they need to clean some mold off the
shower curtains. And the whole place is kind of damp, and I have a
series of bites on me (similar to this summer) which seems to say
sand flies or bed bugs or something...but can't find any evidence of
them... other than the very itchy bites, but they look very familiar
and feel the same... So far way less then I had in the summer, I'm
sleeping with sweat pants tucked in my socks, long sleeves tucked in
my sweat pants, and a hat... and honey is somehow immune..
Time to gooooo..., and hopefully not bring them with...
Ok, and off we went. Soon as we got out of Mascota the road takes
you up into the mountains where you can see the whole Mascota area.
The entire route we took (starting with 70/90) was a mixed bag).
Some really nice sections of new curvy pavement and some teeth
jarring, potholed, badly patched stuff.
Stopped at a small town along the way to buy some groceries and have
a lunch snack before moving on.
And carried on...
Got confusing as we got about 2/3 rd's of the way along. The GPS was
doing some crazy things; one telling us the route was impossible,
another one routing us up north and than back down (ah.. no..). So,
played it by ear and made adjustments as we went along. About half
an hour out of Jocotepec, or destination, traffic came to a
standstill and was just c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g... Some work was getting
done at a major intersection and the lanes were filtering down and
having to cross another highway, so everyone had to wait their turn
to go... Oy. What should have been about a four hour trip was 6.5 by
the time we got to my Aunt and Uncles house. They insisted we stay
with them while in the area and it's awesome to see them.
Today they took us around the town a bit. Hilltop view of Lake
Chapala, then down by the lake... Joco(tepec), as they call it, is
like retirement mecca apparently. The weather is relatively mild all
year round, at about 2500 ft above sea level. A bunch of ex-pats
(25k+), from all over the world, choose to make their homes here.
And it's not cheap. Houses are about what they cost in the US or
more, in the gated communities.
A lot of fruit is grown in this area and a lot of the silver things
in the distance are covered fields,like greenhouses... Which by the
way are intended for export to the US, not for local consumption, so
the food will sometimes get imported back from the US.
Down by the lake are all sorts of sea birds...
The greenery in the forefront is not grass, or even ground, it's
some kind of water plants that grow thick and cover the surface near
Introducing the new hit band ... Jocote... ok, not really... honey,
me, and my Aunt and Uncle.
After walking around the park and shore we went to dinner in a near
town. Yves is the name of the place and there's a story about some
old man feeding a mule... so they had some artwork and well...
a couple of hairy mules!
The place was actually really good. Prices maybe a bit lower than
the US, but good food and something for everyone. And besides the
mules, it has a large pool with fountain, inside or outside seating,
and American music playing on the speakers. It is what the ex-pats
expect! And the waitresses speak Spanish, but answer to English...
How long we going to stay? Not sure. I've got some papers I need
notarized by the US consulate (at $50 a signature... sheeeesh...),
which is in Guadalajara, about 45 minutes away, but couldn't get an
appointment for two weeks. So, unless they agree to see me sooner,
we may get to know this area pretty good.
Some action from the last couple days...
Can't put my finger on it, but there's something fishy about this
picture... The lakefront at Jocotepec.
and clearly the pelicans think there's something fishy here too...
Lakefront at Chapala...
Some hand made crafts... Made by five native Mexicans all dressed in
their native colors...
The walk on the right of this photo goes on for a mile, we never did
get to the end of it... Pretty cool. There's a skate park there,
vendors, people mulling around. Don't go on the weekend, you'll have
to park three blocks away; popular place.
Statue of Jesus the fisherman...
At one time this bridge wasn't there, so you had to take a boat out
to the Jesus statue...
Now here's some entertainment (see video below if it loads)... these
guys climb this pole, then they wrap those ropes around the pole by
spinning around on the thing they're sitting on... then they hang
upside down by one leg while they spin and lower to the ground...
while one of them plays the flute... then they come around asking
for donations... ok, that was worth a few pesos...
and here we have the latest in Mexican gringo fashion... I wouldn't
mess with the short guy... he looks tough...
This is a huge restaurant on the Chapala shore... we went and ate a
couple doors to the left...
Red snapper bathing in the sunset... yum...
Sunset on the shore...
The moon, Venus (I assume), and the shore...
Not a bad couple days...
So, been doing important things, like playing with noodles and
So, if you shoot one of the pool water supply jets through a noodle,
you can float the ball ... one of our important discoveries...
Then a discussion ensued as to why honey can float and I start
sinking feet first... has to do with muscle mass, body fat
distribution, and such...
Then yesterday we decided to actually go do something. Kind of a
overcast rainy day but went over to Mazamitla, which is about 1.5
hours Southeast into the mountains and about 8000ft. Temps in the
low 50's. Most of the road getting there is actually pretty nice.
Curves and mountain scenery.
Town center is definitely kind of touristy, and there were signs
about Pueblo Magico... must be some kind of designation they assign
to particularly charming towns... Anyway, after we had lunch figured
we'd go check out a nearby waterfall, Cascada El Salto, about 15
minutes further South. Ended up at a gate where you could proceed by
foot (no thanks) or by riding horses (in the rain, no thanks). We
see cars coming out and ask why they can drive in and out, and he
says they live there, so some kind of gated community in the forest.
Confusing conversation ensues and he wants 500 pesos... we're like
wtf.. later! But more conversation and we settle on $20 US and they
give us a visitor pass and let us through... The road winds through
the wooded hills, with some pretty big houses scattered around.
Someone has money... we speculated this is where the cartel lives...
secluded in the mountains only one road in and out... But anyway,
after bouncing around the rock roads, getting lost once, making a 12
point turn, cause the road was really narrow, we got to the end and
a small walking path...
then you end up at what is the top of the falls, so you have to go
down this rocky staircase...
And you get to the bottom and get your reward...
The fall is over 200 ft tall. And actually there's suppose to be
another one very near by, but we weren't that adventurous.
On the way back we stopped to just one side of the gate as you're
about to leave town. A whole row of metal mariachi players. A couple
of them holding empty tequila bottles. Seems fitting...
On the way back we had three police trucks pass us and they were in
a hurry... little further down they were at an intersection looking
all riled up in their full bulletproof outfits... My uncle says
maybe someone got shot. Yeah, well, maybe... It's a beautiful area,
but I'm sure there's trouble if you go looking for it.
Lazy day... woke up at like 8-something, made breakfast by 10, did
nothing until about 2:00. Then my aunt and uncle took us over to
Cajititlan, which is on a lake that goes by the same name, just
North over the mountains from Chapala. On the way there we stopped
at what is supposed to be the best burrito place in the area. It
didn't disappoint, but it definitely leans toward the meat menu. The
place was huge, a couple lines, one for eating inside and outside.
The burritos are on the small side, so you have to have two or
three. I opted for the Chillie Rellenos (sp?). If you're in the
area, on route 23 in Santa Rosa, it's a definite stop.
Los Burritos da Nayahua or now Los Milagros de Daliila; view from
inside the dining room...
El gato en el Burro alado de caballo... (I think I got that right)
in the restaurant courtyard.
The main food line... with interesting fake parrot water falling
pool kind of thing... They're fast! Gave me a number for my dish,
and by the time got to a table to sit down, the girl was right
behind me with the food.
After getting pleasantly stuffed we continued to the lake... There
was some kind of fiesta going on, so streets had all sorts of
vendors, and the shore area was just packed with people. They had
three bands within 50 feet of each other all playing at the same
There were a few places selling these Gorditas de Nata (not sure
what the Nutella is in the picture for, maybe should be a topping?),
which are kind of fat, sweet, corn flour pancakes. Bought a stack of
four, hot off the grill, for $1.30. Yum...
Also bought two hats, one wide brim ladies straw hat, for honey, for
$1.50... and my uncle bought a nice brim hat for like $7.00... How
do they even make stuff that cheap?
Local architecture... there's always a church in the square...
And that's about it. Still no word from the consulate regarding
moving up my appointment to have some papers notarized, so looks
like we'll be here through the 6th, so will start thinking about
where we're headed next.
Dinner at some awesome neighbors and some thoughts about the
Been just hanging around, temps are barely hitting mid sixties and
it's been cloudy and rainy. My aunt says it is very unusual for this
area. Global weirding again! Got invited for dinner by some
neighbors of my aunt and uncle, Frank and Rose, and not just any
dinner but make your own pizza! And normally they would do that in
their outdoor brick oven, but cold and rainy, we did it in the
regular oven. They are originally from England, Rose was in the air
force and retired at 40! And Frank was a firefighter for many years
and traveled around the world, they both have. Awesome people, do a
lot for the community. Enjoyed talking to them. They have an amazing
place too, which they bought for a song and dance and renovated
So, they have a full sliding door in their living room that opens up
to the patio, and the world becomes their living room! Not a bad was
to live. Outdoor grill and brick oven to the left...
So one of the things we talked about was the cartel, and thieves,
etc.. The cartel has businesses, some normal stuff like restaurants
and stores, and then other stuff, and they don't like trouble for
themselves, or the community. They don't like to attract attention.
They don't like tourists getting robbed cause it's bad for business.
So, petty thieves in Mexico not only have the police to deal with
(sometimes people just disappear, or get the crap beat out of them,
when they get caught; who's got time for courts) but also the cartel
(like people getting dragged away and having their hands cut off to
set an example). But, there is still crime, like in this
neighborhood, a housekeeper got threatened into helping would be
robbers. The house was completely cleared out... came with a
truck... loaded up and took off... but I'm guessing that's not going
to happen again. But there are other deterrents... like one neighbor
with the guns who asks the police, can a shoot a guy that comes on
my property? I can't tell you yes or no, but don't shoot anyone in
the back... good enough! He did shoot a guy. What the exact
relationship is between the police and the cartel, I don't know, but
it's all very interesting. I'm guessing if they each keep to
themselves it's live and let live.
And how does that effect me as an obvious tourist? Well, If I don't
go looking for trouble, I'm hoping trouble stays away from me. Some
common sense, and respect brings respect.