December 16, 2006


We continue our trek north. We crossed our easiest border crossing to date. After driving some amazingly scenic mountain roads with some great twisty sections, out of nowhere we came to the Guatemalan/Mexican border. To our surprise, there was a fairly robust town at the border, with a ton of traffic and shops, somewhat typical of a border town. But we were surprised because this one sits in the middle of nowhere, and we had traveled hours since going through a really large establishment. When we got into this town we thought we were in for another torturous border crossing. To our surprise, we got to the border, they raised a gate, and we drove through. Once inside the gate it was fairly quiet and not so much chaos going on. We walked right up to immigration, and the folks that check our bikes through. It was quick and smooth, mostly because we were about the only ones there. Getting back into Mexico was a snap, as we already have our motorcycle permits from when we came through the first time.

With relief we are back in Mexico. The roads are good and the driving seems sane. We remember when we first got into Mexico a few months back and we thought THIS was full on driving conditions. Little did we know. Mexico seems civilized and sane after most of the other Central American countries.

We spent a fabulous night in San Cristobal. Possibly our favorite town to date. Another colonial town with some great squares and very Alamo-ish looking cathedrals. There are some great markets, and since it's the holidays season, lots of people out browsing. Such a great feeling in the air. SC sits at 7000 feet, so the air is quite crisp at night and feels pretty good. The architecture here is astounding, and we spent the afternoon and evening just walking around in awe. And of course, they have some great shops and bakeries. We did a bit of shopping here, as there are many unique things to be found. On top of the hill in the center of town, there is a cathedral that is all lit up at night, so we decided to hike up to that. It felt great, but after so many weeks on the road my hiking legs and lungs just aren´t what they should be. But the views of the town were spectacular, with all the area cathedrals lit up. We did come across one particular impressive piece of architecture, called Carmens Arch. This was erected in 1680 and still stands, and is every bit as beautiful today as it was back then.

We put in a long day to get back to the Pacific coast. As expected, it turned out to be hot and sunny. Something we are going to have to get used to again it seems. We did pass through some familiar territory, that we had passed on the way down. This was the narrow area where we almost got blown off the road. This time it wasn´t so windy and it was a pretty nice ride. With less wind, the wind generator farm had all the windmills turning. This is no small affair, as these props are several stories high, and the field of these things goes on for miles. I tried to count them but gave up after 30, as I wasn´t even half way done with them. I´m guessing there are about 75 of these, and it is quite a sight to see all this gigantic props spinning!

In Tehauntepec, traffic was backed up at a bridge crossing a river between two towns. There were hundreds of people walking back and forth across the bridge. As we approached, it looked like a parade of sorts, but what was apparent was there wasn´t any traffic going across the bridge. In customary fashion, we weaved to the very front of the line, where we learned we would be going no further. There was some sort of political uprising, and they had the bridge closed on the other side and not letting any traffic go in either direction. Thus why all the people were walking. One gentleman told us it would be several hours at least before this thing was ended. He told us about a tunnel under the road and a gravel path that would take us across the river. Doug wanted to try our luck crossing the bridge, I wasn´t real interested in getting shot, so we went and found the tunnel. We weaved along the river bed and made a few river crossings and were on our way. I guess that is what these bikes are designed for, so it worked out fine.

We didn´t think it prudent to stick around to find out what the uprising was, but someone told us it was probably a teacher's strike, which has been somewhat common in this area lately. Either way, it was more fun driving through the river than crossing the bridge anyway, so their political stand was lost on us.

We headed towards a good beach town we had heard about called Zipilite. We actually thought we were there, but we ended up several miles short of it, in a place called San Agustinillo. Fortunately for us, this is a better spot than Zipilite. Quite possibly the most scenic beach we have been too. We had a refreshing swim in the surf and watched the sun go down. A perfect end to a long, hot day on the road. We are pretty consistently amazed at how quiet these beach towns are. They are geared for some quantity of tourism, but it seems we have been hitting everything on the off season. What we really found out is that the state of Oaxca has been having some political problems, and as a result, the US Government has warned people about traveling here. Suits us fine, we had the beach mostly to ourselves.

Next we´ll head inland into the mountains and a town called Taxco. I visited this place 20 years ago with my Dad, so it will be interesting to see how it has changed.

Until next time,