Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Acapulco to Puerto Escondido

Arriving in Acapulco from Ft Lauderdale on Continental, we were greeted on the tarmac by an official who ushered us all into a waiting area. We then formed a line and had our temperature taken. After this, an official handed us forms to fill out along with a brochure detailing the effects of swine flu. We went inside, reported on our temperature, and handed the form to a doctor who asked us a few questions. I questioned the process, and was told that this was to prevent swine flu sufferers from entering Mexico. I did, however, explain that being greeted by some mariachis with frozen pina coladas might be more conducive to tourism! You don't feel any of this when traveling inside Mexico...the U.S. press really has made more of this thing than is reality.

My trip home was great. It was so nice to see friends, re-connect, hit the gym and to generally enjoy the benefits of an air-conditioned house where I didn’t have to re-pack every day. Christian, the CEO of Chris’ company came to Acapulco with me to meet with Chris and do a quick business update. It was great to be with him and to enjoy this transition back into our adventure. We went to a fantastic restaurant in Acapulco called Zibu, and had drinks at an equally great place called Becco al Mare. The guys went fishing and caught some yellowfin tuna….the chef at the Elcano Hotel, where we stayed, prepared it for us and we enjoyed a great dinner overlooking Acapulco Bay. Chris spent much of his spare time in Acapulco fixing the fridge, which he broke when he did a 50+mile offroad adventure while I was gone. The poor fridge rattled itself to death! He bought a soldering iron at Home Depot in Acapulco, got some spare parts from a computer store and it was as good as new. We met some bikers who had come to Acapulco from Mexico City, Luis and the guys, super nice guys who gave us some good information and tips. We also went to see the Cliff Divers which happens at the Hotel Mirador, a long way from the center of town. This prompted Chris to come up with one of the many "Yogi Berra-isms" he had had on this trip. We were riding in taxi and the ride went on, and on and on...he looked at me and said "In Latin America, to go somewhere you have to go everywhere."

We did a VERY long ride to Puerto Escondido, 7 hours in high heat and humidity. Towards the end of the ride the skies got ominous and we had to pull out our raingear. Arriving in Puerto Escondido, we pulled out the Lonely Planet and found a great little hotel above a surf shop called Las Olas. Turns out the Quicksilver Surfing Championships are happening right now, so the town is filled with pro surfers and a really good vibe. This prompted another comment from Chris, "I think that Muslims should take up surfing." Yikes....This is a great little town, where we were supposed to spend one night and move on to Oaxaca..tonight will be our third night here. That's the 'problem' with Mexico...this hospitality is so good, the people so nice, you can't make yourself move on!

El Fuerte to Acapulco Solo

Chris wrote: When we first planned this trip Melissa was going to take a break every 4 weeks for a week to go home and then fly back and rejoin me; however she had a lot more fun than she expected--and I didn't want her to leave, so she stayed for over two and a half months and then took a 10 day break to check on our stuff back home. This allowed me to spend some time going off-road in the heart of Mexico. She's back! and we are having a blast again. This posting is about the second half of my solo trip.

I left El Fuerte and headed south and ended up in a small town called Copala, on the road to Durango from the coast.This town was first established as a mining town in the 1600's and is now a quaint little town in the mountains, with cobblestone streets, whitewashed walls and red barrel-tile roofs, occupied by Mexicans and a combination of Americans and Canadians. They live there because Copala is 3000 meters above sea level and in the tropics surrounded by jungle, the perfect climate.

Copala's Mission. Every town has a Mission, my mission is to photograph them.

I really could have stayed a lot longer.

I then decided to do a bit of a offbeat route and headed to Durango, I didn't know that Mexico was so vast and green, with a beautiful mountain range; many times I thought I was in the Drakensberg Mountains back in South Africa.

This is a back country Starbucks, terrible coffee.

2500 meters up

This is the local form of transport in the mountains.

Windy roads, but in very good condition.

I had to take this pic, I don't know how many there are but the brolly is a nice touch for the 100- degree weather. I was surprised Granny wasn't in a rocking chair.

Road to ?

Every place that I stayed allowed me to bring my bike inside and to park it right ouside my bedroom door. This place was in a town called Mezquital at the end of the tarmac road. The rate for my room, $4. I had to buy a towel which cost me $5.

The next day I headed south on a dirt road in to the heart of Mexico and most of the people I met had never seen a Gringo or a bike like mine. This little kid was fascinated especially when I gave him my camera to take the next pic.

I am smiling here because I had no idea what I was about to get into.

In the back you can see a lady with her child, she is sitting in her kitchen next to her dining room, open plan and all, which also happens to be the town resurant and the local "Starbucks."

After I left this town I rode for a while and came across an area of road which was barely passable by car and I see this red SUV parked on a corner and a old man sitting on a rock, in the middle of nowhere, so I pull up to say hi, and he is smoking a bit of the dilly stuff. As I greet him these 3 young kids poke their heads out the window of the car to see this gringo and his bike. Only after I left did I realize what he was doing, the road was so bad that he needed to cool his nerves and slow his driving down, I don't think it would work on 2 wheels.

After a 100 miles of terrible dirt road, Thuli Pass for 100 miles, I came to this point where a guy stopped me because they were blasting the road with dynamite. Half an hour later there was a really big bang and I headed up the road to find a big bulldozer making a new road through the rubble, that took another half hour and I went through only to find another crew drilling and placing more explosives in the middle of the road. The only way through was to ride over the already placed charges. This really is a different world.

The river had washed this road away so the only way across was through to the right: not too deep-- about 2 feet.

Riverbank soccer, when you get muddy you kick the ball into the river and chase after it.

Now this was about 3 to 4 feet deep and about 300 feet across and brown water so I could not see what was down there, so I put the bike in first gear and aimed at one of the tire tracks and held on for dear life. The BMW R 1200 GS Adventurer really is the 2 wheel King of Adventure touring.

Locals in their Sunday-morning dress. They wanted to swap a photo for a lift. Guess they figured a big bike could take the whole family, so I played dumb ( I had to try real hard) and gave them some Pesos instead.
Shortly after this I got caught at sunset on a road being newly constructed in a torrential downpoour. It was like riding down the side of a mountain in a river. All in all, a fantastic 190 miles of off road.

Back at the coast again. Hot muggy and dreamlike beaches for as far as the eye can see.

This is where I spent a night, in a little cabana right on the beach with this sunset, fantastic

Lying in my hammock at sunset.

Not bad, hey?

Acapulco, a big group of riders from Mexico city.

Cliff diving, more on this later.
Missy is back now and so she will be picking up on her responsibilities soon!! Her posting to come.