October 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 You name it, they can arrange it. Muchas Gracias.

We 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.

Other 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.