19th, 2000. We’re in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. The last
three weeks were well spent in Mexico, although they have
not been without incidents. Shortly before leaving San Diego,
a miserable pedestrian chose to ignore both traffic laws and
common sense and jumped into the street right in front of
an oncoming motorcycle.
Full braking wasn’t good enough, so down I went. No harm done
however, only the panniers were bent and easily repaired.
We crossed into Mexico at Tijuana and had quite a pleasant
time riding down Baja California, when, shortly before Loreto,
Ellen’s rear tube blew. She took it quite elegantly, laying
the bike down in style, and coming away with a couple of scratches
and some bent metal as far as the bike was concerned. Getting
spare parts in Mexico proved to be a serious hassle, forcing
us to stay in Loreto for a week . Thanks again to Bill Olson
of American Honda for taking half the day off to get parts
to the airport to be flown to Loreto!
The really good part in this episode was the people we got
to know and appreciate during that week. The first evening
while we were celebrating Ellen’s first (and last, following
general consensus) crash, we met Brant, an American who had
been living and working in Mexico for several years. Besides
helping us wherever he could, he and his crew made the stay
in Loreto an experience that made us add the town to the list
of places we would like to return to. Fishing, scuba diving,
snorkeling with sea lions, fresh ceviche, and a great dinner
with Chino’ s family were some of the highlights. Check them
out under www.bajaoutdoors.com.
You name it, they can arrange it. Muchas Gracias.
also met a couple of other long distance riders, a german
couple, Kerstin and Tilo, that were exploring the Americas
for one year abord an XT600 and a BMW R80.
After leaving them, we took the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan,
rode east to Guadalajara, then back to the coast, joining
the Mexico 200 (coastline road) which we followed for 2000
km to the Guatemalan border. It was hot. Hot and wet. Nice
curvy stretches alternated with tedious straight roads, alternating
with villages infested with topes (meaning speed bumps from
hell). Whoever invented those things must have been a pedestrian,
although there’s no point doubting their efficiency.
Not only were there the “official” speed bumps, but there
was also one that some kids build on a sandy road (2 miles
long , leading to a hotel) in order to beg candy or money
from car drivers forced to slow down. Obviously, they were
not prepared for motorcycles. The road was deep sand, I just
barely made it through the mound they built, but Ellen went
down. Upon noticing that, I tried to stop, went down as well,
and got up again in a truly miserable mood. The hotel proved
worth it, and the kids had seen and heard enough to stay clear
on our return, and removed the speed bump.
This was my second ride through Mexico, and a couple of things
struck me that I hadn’t noticed the first time. One thing
was the amount of litter and dead animals alongside the roads.
The other, two suicidal birds, one hitting me straight in
the visor, the other going for the headlights. Again, no harm
done, at least as far as I was concerned.
cute and cuddly things encountered alongside the road included,
in descending order of cumbersome mass, horses, cattle, donkeys,
pigs, dogs, iguanas, lizards and tarantulas, none of which
was in the least bit concerned about oncoming traffic.
Along the way, we stopped mostly in little roadside taco stands
for lunch and in small towns overnight. Those places had a
ready supply of pleasant surprises, one of which was an invitation
to a funeral celebration (or at least that’s what we understood
it to be) in Cuajinicuilapa Guerrero. We still haven’t figured
out how to pronounce that.
The only tourist place we visited was Acapulco, which was
pleasant, if only because of the fact that a certain number
of services, such as Internet access, were available.
Once again, Mexico was an experience, a country filled with
friendly people that know how to cook great food (the wine’s
good too) and fabulous scenery. We rode a total of 4500 kilometers
in three weeks, bringing us to a total of 15.000 km in ten
weeks so far.
Central America is beckoning.
See you there.