Page 12: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
Puerto Escondido - Oaxaca:
Today we are shooting for Oaxaca, about 165 miles north of Puerto Escondido on highway 131. I read something about a village about half way that is in the mountains and has some great hiking trails nearby. We take off early just incase we need to make it all the way to Oaxaca (Yes, 165 miles can be a full days ride in Mexico)
To say the road out of Puerto Escondido is steep, twisty and windy and riddled with pot holes does not come close to describing it. Once and awhile we could average 30 miles per hour, I calculated in my head that we could make it all the way, including stops, in around seven hours. Then the road would get real steep and real twisty and our average speed would drop even further. This is a dream road for biking if you are into this kind of stuff and I am. I had to keep the speed under control because some of the turns were so sharp that long semi-trucks couldn’t make it around the turns without taking up the whole road. It was nice that road signs alerted you of such curves, saying, there is a single lane road ahead.
We were riding along and an oncoming car flashed its headlights at us. Through experience I have learned that this could be a greeting or a warning of something in the road ahead. This time it was the latter. When I first pulled over to take this photo there were three steers in the road. Not something you would want to come across at high speeds around a blind turn. Along this highway there were dozens of mules in the road also. It’s funny, the steers would want to move off of the road but the mules looked like they were frozen in place, like they were petrified.
We stop for gas at a small village.
There were close to a dozen young girls and a few old ladies that mob over to any vehicle pulling in for gas. They were trying to sell nuts, roasted seeds or fruit. Only one old lady approached us, she looked at least a hundred and was selling some type of seeds. I wasn’t sure what they were but I bought a couple of bags, cinco pesos (45 cents) they were great. I walked up to the group of girls in the photo below and bought this bag of fresh cut papaya, about 90 cents. Good stuff….
About noon we pull into another small village. I think this is the village we were hoping to spend the night and do some hiking. I see a sign at this restaurant saying “Café Ole”. Coffee sounds good right about now so we walk in for a bite. This village was a buzz with activity. It turned out the place where I parked is a mini-van bus stop. I had to move the bike twice.
Heidi ordered carne asada (grilled beef) and I ordered huevos asada (fried eggs) and coffee. The tortillas were huge and good. Heidi says the beef was a little chewy but good.
Heidi was a little concerned when she saw her raw beef hanging on a stick next to the grill (upper right). She said this will be a good test of her stomach. No problem…
There was only one hotel in town and it had street parking only. Bummer, we push on.
We hit one other bigger village before Oaxaca that had a hotel with parking but it was still early and we were only about fifteen miles away from Oaxaca. We decided to just drive on.
We got a good tip from Bonnie and Dan in Puerto Escondido about a nice little hotel in Oaxaca that is right in the heart of the centro zone and had a courtyard for parking. Sounds good.
Coming into town there were numerous signs pointing us to the centro zone. We find it without a problem but had a hard time finding the hotel. In heavy traffic I see a tourist info building and tell Heidi to jump off the bike and ask for a street address of the hotel. She thought I was nuts because of the crazy traffic and all the streets were one way. She says “How will I find you again?” I say “I’ll find you, don’t worry”. Luckily I found her without too much trouble. We have a street and approximate location now. Yes, this should be easy. We circle around and around and around. We ask two different people where the street is. They both seemed like they knew where it was but it was not where they said. WTF. I finally pull over at the central park (parque centro) Heidi gets off the bike and walks over and looks at a couple of street signs. I ask for directions from a manager of the restaurant I’m parked next to. This guy is super friendly and tells me where to go. He says we must return later for the best margaritas in town, Deal.
Heidi returns and I tell her the news. Great, but she says I can’t go down the street that way. I say “Get on the bike and watch me...” We were both a little tense after our nine hour ride through the mountains and the crazy Oaxacan rush hour traffic. I drive down the street, it was blocked off from car traffic but the bike could fit through the barricades, no problem. I turn right after one block. Heidi yells out “This is not the street!” I say “I don’t care, we are taking it!” Good thing because two blocks later the street magically turns into the street we want and we pull right into our hotel. Sweeeeeet.
Later we find out that ALL the streets change names right around parque centro.
The next morning I get up early and take a walk around the neighborhood.
Along the street our hotel is on, people set up stalls right on the road selling just about everything.
About two blocks away is a huge central market building that takes up an entire city block. This truck is bringing in the catch of the day.
I go back to get Heidi, we take off to the central park for breakfast. Sometimes I like to try something new. I ordered Huevos Oaxpequeno (Eggs Oaxacan style) It looked pretty strange when it came out but it was really good.
View from our breakfast table. This guy would play the trombone for a minute or two then sing out loud for a couple of minutes. He was really good and we were glad to throw a few pesos in his hat.
After breakfast we take a walk around the centro zone. Enjoy…..
I had one more emergency item to buy before we head south of Mexico, a siphon hose in case we run out of gas. I see a small hardware store so Heidi and I walk in. The place was super small and dark and it didn’t look like they had anything. Just as we were walking out the door I look down and see a pile of coiled hoses, all different sizes and shapes. I measure out nine feet, 90 cents. We Are Set.
Next we head into the huge central market right next to our hotel. We start a methodical zigzag pattern through the building so we don’t miss anything. Below are some photos that turned out.
Now we head outside and circle the building.
Just before getting back to the hotel I see this trike. The owner was very proud.
We did finally find it and signed up for a week membership, $6.80. Taking off on a two year motorcycle ride shouldn’t mean all we do is ride, eat and sleep. To us, taking time for ourselves is important and is part of what a two year adventure should be all about. Pumping iron, sucking air, exploring new places on foot and celebrating life is all part of what makes a ride like this great.
A big stage was set up next to us with a drive over ramp. Soon a bunch of Rally cars, girls and race car drivers started showing up.
All the photos of me with my arms around girls didn’t turn out but I assure you I was getting just as stupid as Heidi was. Good time.
The margaritas were just as good as we were told, too good. After we had enough of the scene and were walking back to the hotel, Heidi suggests we go have a beer somewhere. Of course, I say “I know of a nice bar on the way”
Oh my! The place was jumping. The couple next to us were drinking shots of tequila. My brain wasn’t working too well so I say “Dos vasos de tequila por favor” (Two shots of tequila please) Big Mistake…….
But boy, we sure had a good time……
At the corner just before our hotel is a great little taco stand. “cuatro tacos para llevar por favor” (four tacos to go please). What a great way to end the night. (that’s a pig head between those two guys)
We hope you enjoyed our ride to and little tour of OAXACA CENTRO .
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