Page 9: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
We have a small outside area in the back with a sink and cloths line. This guy likes to watch.
After getting the email from my buddy Tom Colter telling us the parts are here, we marched straight to the DHL office. Parts in hand! I have to get On-It, Now.
I create a small paradise right in front of our room.
The cables on the switch are too short. Just as well because the original wires run through a big wire harness and would be a big hassle to take the old wires out and fish the new wires in. The switch came with a kit to splice wires together. No Problem Mon……I hate mechanical wire clamps but that’s all I had. I cut, strip and clamp the wires together. I use a vice-grip pliers to crimp the wires. It seemed to work just fine but I still wish I had soldered the wires.
Installing the new 50 amp main circuit breaker. Oh Yeah…..
A new dent. It must have happened on the ferry. The girls are fine, I'm OK with it.
If you don’t mind heat and humidity, Mazatlan is a great place for marathon walking tours. The beach is almost endless, the malecon is at least 5 miles long, the tourist section and old Mazatlan Centro are all fun areas to explore.
When Heidi & I look for a long term place to hang out we minimally look for good walking and hopefully a gym. We signed up for 2 weeks at JB Gym. It’s a 20 minute walk right on the malecon.
We saw a movie with Madonna a couple weeks ago. I tell Heidi “You use to have arms like that. You can have them again. I’ll be your trainer and we can work out together”. A dream, an opportunity, a focus. Adenture travel is a great medium to evaluate where you are, where you want to go and start something new.
We do an intense 4 day split using progressive resistance / pyramiding techniques. I count out the reps, Heidi ‘grunts out’ the last one or two. We are discovering all over again why we fell in love in the first place…..
I’m getting ready to meet a hero of mine. Heidi says I’m running around like someone getting ready for his first date. I say to her “How would you be acting if you were getting ready to meet Madonna?” She backed off and said she understood, but she still enjoyed razzing me.
He is coming over to pick us up, a guy I have never met before but I feel like I have known him for years. Glen Heggstad , an extreme world motorcycle adventurer and author of “Two Wheels through Terror”. I have been reading Glens motorcycle ride reports on the internet since 2001’, from his ride through Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, his Central and South American ride which included being kidnapped and held prisoner by Columbian rebels (book) and his most recent ride, two years round the world (book coming soon). Glen has inspired thousands, including several rides of ours. This is a big event for me.
It was like meeting a brother I haven’t seen in a long time. “Where are you riding from?” “Where are you going?” Glen wants to know all about our bike and if we need anything. He says” You are just starting out. On the way back from South America is when you will need parts” Glen is offering tons of information about our route south. We get a comforting feeling that help is out there, all the way to South America and back. We all head out to get some carne asada, Glen knows of a great place. I have a million questions formed in my head.
Our bike was unloaded and it felt like a dirt bike. I’m having fun chasing the StrikingViking to the carne asada stand. Heidi, on the other hand is hanging on a lot tighter than normal. Yeehaw...
We will stop here again. Glen has fun giving ‘crap’ to the guys working here, everyone knows him. He says this place sells more carne asada than they can make. We can see why, delicious big thin hunks of beef, grilled to perfection, right in front of you.
I tell you, I have never been so speechless in my whole life. All I could say was “Wow”, “Cool” and “Unreal”. Glen is bigger then life, telling the stories, giving the emotions with his eyes, bursting with new big ideas. I couldn’t absorb what he was saying fast enough. The experience was overwhelming. To say Glen was a gracious host to us would be a understatement.
Thanks man, I hope we meet again.
Mazatlan was great for us but a travelers desire to hit the road again is never far away.
Back on the road:
I do a couple motorcycle repairs before leaving Mazatlan. Our new rubber foot peg got ripped when the bike fell over on the ferry ride over to Mazatlan. We are carrying Goop and JB Weld glue so it’s time to use it. Goop is great stuff and seems to have worked well on the foot peg.
The new windshield we put on seems a little wobbly. The screws are tight but the posts still wiggle around. I think a little dap of JB Weld epoxy glue should remedy that.
We hit the road early out of Mazatlan and are heading for San Blas, a small fishing village that has become a surfer destination. We thought this was going to be a short ride but it seemed to take forever, the going was real slow. We arrived in San Blas around 1:00 PM
There are no hotels on the beach here so we rented this small cabana, $18.00 / night and it’s right on the beach.
Inside the cabana:
We paid for 3 nights here because we didn’t want to chance finding a vacancy in Puerto Vallarta, our next destination, on a Saturday night. Good enough reason for us (ha, ha)
The food was good, the beer was cold and there were a lot of surfers around partying. Having a little too much fun the first night we crashed early and didn’t bother putting on any bug dope. Big mistake, we got eaten alive by mosquitoes and no-see-ums and didn’t do anything about it until morning. We had bites all over and were itching like crazy. San Blas is famous for mosquitoes and now we know why.
We saw a few guys drag something down to the beach and it looked like they were burying it. Heidi and I always like to come up with theories about what people are doing and why. This was a mystery. It seemed a lot of others were curious also and went to check out what was going on. We finally realized they were filling sand bags and hauling them out to the surf at a marked spot. We think they were making an artificial point-break for the surfing competition happening tomorrow.
Later a truck came down to the beach and set up this tent and tower for the surfing competition.
This police truck picked up a pile of kids from the school and hauled them away. We suspected some type of field trip or something. What a great use of, I’m sure, a normally idle vehicle and police force.
Barra De Navidad:
Taking off from San Blas we were on the road by 7:30 AM, our earliest start since we entered Mexico. We were planning on a short ride to Puerto Vallarta today and hoped to find an inexpensive place to stay on the beach outside of town. We got to Puerto Vallarta super early but couldn’t find any place along the coast in out price range. It was early so we decided to continue on and shoot for Barra De Navidad, a pretty little tourist village on the Pacific coast.
Puerto Vallarta to Barra De Navidad was a heck of a ride. The scenery went from palm trees to pine trees to some type of large flowering tree. While riding along we would suddenly hear loud buzzing sounds, like swarms of crickets or something. It was weird. The road is super twisty, hilly and shaded with sections of huge pot holes. The pot holes were far enough apart to avoid if I could see them but in the dark shaded areas it was impossible to tell a pot hole from a dark shadow. Still we were lucky and only hit a couple of small holes, the big ones would have hurt for sure.
Waiting for some on-coming local traffic to pass.
9 hours later we made it into Barra De Navidad, around 4:30 PM. We were toast. The first hotel we tried was full, and this was a Sunday. We were glad we stayed an extra day in San Blas and didn’t try to travel and find a place on a Saturday. The next hotel we tried had vacancies and was a lot cheaper, $23 / night. We spent 3 nights in Barra De Navidad two years ago so we only stayed for one night this time. This is a very friendly and fun place to visit but we were looking forward to spending more time at places we haven’t been to before.
Barra De Navidad
It seemed weird not spending anytime in Barra De Navidad but we were anxious to push further south.
Before entering Mexico I planned on buying a 19 inch inner tube for emergencies, like if we get a flat and can’t stop the leak with a plug. I forgot to get one in Yuma AZ and have been planning on getting one in Mexico. I spent a good part of a day looking for a tube in Mazatlan but no luck. I will not leave Mexico without carrying a tube. Every town we travel through Heidi and I look for a motorcycle shop. We tool through the center of Manzanillo with the sole intent of finding a tube. This is a big city with confusing traffic but just before the end of town we see a large modern Honda motorcycle shop. I tell the guy at the parts counter what I want “Quiere camara de aire por moto. 19-100/90” He nods with assurance and heads back to the parts room. I give a huge silent cheer.
We chewed up a lot of time in Manzanillo looking for a tube and getting lost. The next good destination, Playa Azul, is a long drive with not much in between. We decided to look for a hotel early in the day at Tecoman, a non-tourist Mexican town with a lively atmosphere and friendly feel. We find a nice place, Hotel Plaza.
Good food all around, cocktails in hand, pool at our feet and emergency inner tube in our backpack . Live is good…..
We hit the road early. We are shooting for Playa Azul today. I remember reading something about this place in the guide book we left at home.
We got super lost trying to get out of Tecoman. We thought our hotel was on the main highway. After zigzagging around some one-way, stone embedded residential streets we finally see what looks like a highway. After a few miles of nothing but palm trees we turn back to town and look for a gas station. I wanted a full tank because the map didn’t show much for the next 150 miles south. We had to go all the way to our hotel and past to find gas. After, we get back on the highway, we ride through the palm tree groves again. About 8 miles later we hit a little beach village. When we reach the village and the Pacific coast the road turns right and heads back north. Crap, this is the opposite direction we need to be heading. Heidi and I are getting tense. She’s trying to read road signs and bark out which way we should go or not go. Heidi is getting mad because I’m having trouble hearing her, plus I have completely different ideas about which way we should go. After about 2 dozen topes (speed bumps) in a 1 km stretch, the road dead ends. Heidi yells out “You Need to Look at a Map.” At this point I had to agree. OK, we are hosed, we shouldn’t be at the coast at all and need to head back to Tecoman, again, and find the correct highway south. When we get back to town I see a group of policemen at a small station. I stop, take off my helmet and one guy says “Como estas?” (How are you doing) I say “No muy bien” (Not very good) we are all smiling. I ask for directions to highway 200 south. The policemen were very helpful, using hand gestures saying “derecho, izquierda, derecha” (straight, left then right) This helped a ton. When we were on what we thought was the correct road I pull over one last time to look at the map. A guy walks up to us and offers help. He confirms that we are on the correct road for where we are trying to go. Sweeee... People in Mexico have been so nice to us it’s sometimes overwhelming.
We hit a military check point and for the first time we get inspected. We open the panniers and a couple guys do a very minimal search through our stuff. The guys were friendly and asked a few questions about our bike and what we are up to. I thank them for helping keep the highways safe for us. Heidi said I was a little off with my Spanish but they got the gist and smiled.
The road from Tecoman to Playa Azul is in good shape and is a bikers dream with constant twists and turns. The landscape is getting much more tropical now and has a jungle feel. The growth along side the road is dense right up to and sometimes reaching onto the roadway. At times the trees arch over the entire road and give the feeling like we are riding through a dark tunnel. This is cool….
Getting close to playa Azul we start seeing some beautiful costal scenery.
Playa Azul was beautiful and I wish I stopped to take some photos. It was like a scene out of some fantasy dream. We rode through town and several miles out of town along the coast looking for the right hotel. We never found one. All the hotels were off the beach and didn’t look inviting and I didn’t like the parking security either. Heidi and I discuss our options. I think I remember what I read about this town in the guide book now. Years ago the Mexican government designated several spots for tourist development and this was one of them, but it never took off. I think the reason was because of the extreme surf break here. Anyway we decided to push on to a town not far away, Puerto de Lazaro Cardenas.
Puerto de Lazaro Cardenas is a large bustling city. We were driving through heavy rush hour traffic and it was getting a little tense. A lot of one way streets and even the two way streets looked like one way streets, everyone parking on both sides of the street pointing in the same direction, opposite the direction we were traveling. We see several large hotels in the middle of town but none with a court yard for parking. All the parking was underground under the hotel. This would be fine if we were planning on staying here for a couple days but we didn’t want to unload all the stuff from the bike just for one short night. Bummer, because the downtown was busting with activity and looked like it would be a lot of fun to explore on foot.
Driving into town I saw a drive in auto hotel (sexo hotel) Heidi says “We aren’t staying there” I say “These places are perfect for us and have a private garage attached to the rooms” She gives in.
We pull into the compound and drive right into a garage stall attached to the room. The room had a king size bed, huge 6 foot by 10 foot mirrors in front and behind the bed, a big TV with a large variety of channels (if ya know what I mean) And the room comes with two complimentary bottles of beer. The place also has room service with a dumb waiter window.
We order food and some more beer and enjoy the rest of the evening.
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