November 12, 2006

Mazatlan and Beyond

After a 500 mile round trip day to the border, Doug and I finally are making progress south. Oddly, they didn´t ask for my original registration at the border when we were getting the permits, but they did ask for Doug's. Like most things in Mexico, it doesn´t make a lot of sense. And since we left the border, we have not been stopped once at any roadblocks or by police to check for the permit. Guess if we wouldn´t have got it we´d be sitting in jail, so probably just as well.

We left San Carlos early the next morning and cranked out another 500 mile day and made it all the way to Mazatlan. That was on all toll roads, which were somewhat expensive but all very fast. Since then we have cut down towards the coast and are following the west coast of Mexico. Every night has been camping and usually we end up in RV parks, which have been great. They are full of Canadians and Americans. Doug and I are consistently amazed by how curious people are in our bikes and our trip. Not just Americans but Mexicans as well. We´ve met some amazing people and seen some unbelievable sites.

The riding has been spectacular. The first few days was through farm country and I couldn´t believe that there were fields of tomatoes as far as the eye could see. Today we rode for hours through groves of papaya and coconut farms.

We finally made it far enough south to bid the Sea of Cortez goodbye and be totally along the Pacific. The ocean and beaches down along the west coast are some of the best I´ve seen anywhere. On the northern part it really reminded me of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. In the southern part it is much like the Caribbean. Very tropical and humid.

In Mazatlan we camped right along the beach and met a German Canadian who hitchhiked years ago from Nogales to Ushuaia (southern tip of Chile). He left with $200 and returned with $60. It took him two years round trip... unbelievable. Mazatlan was beautiful and the people very nice as well.

Some of the roads can be a little sketchy, but we´ve been pretty careful and lucky. Lots of traffic can get backed up on some of the hilly and curvy roads, and buses and trucks pass on blind corners. Pretty crazy. Yesterday amidst full on combat conditions, another BMW rider came up behind us and rode with us for about an hour. We finally stopped and it was a local guy named Alejandro. He said we had to follow him down another road to get to where we were going. We did and it was amazing. Curvy, ups and downs, good pavement and no traffic. After about 30 miles we stopped and said our goodbyes. He gave us more advice on some fun roads ahead and he was headed to a local beach. It´s been the only other BMW we´ve seen down here. Another old guy with an older woman on a small Honda pulled over at one stop, just to see where we were going. And in bigger towns inevitably we end up at stop lights talking with someone on a small motorbike that pulls up to check ours out.

We have been getting by quite well on our limited Spanish and learning more every day. The food has been fantastic. I´ve tried more sauces and condiment things than I ever imagined were in my food repertoire. All of them have been great. One RV couple from Canada cooked us fabulous chili one night. Last night we pulled into a campground just in time for burgers and margaritas by the pool. Pretty lucky in that respect so far.

The weather has been sunny and warm. Actually hot and humid. We´ve had a few sprinkles of rain, but nothing that makes the riding conditions too dangerous.

We rode through Puerto Vallarta today, and it was a really busy but beautiful town. Tonight we are in a town that isn´t even on our map... Moloque. Beautiful beach and very friendly people, even the locals. Tomorrow we should be somewhere near Acapulco. I haven´t been there since 1985 with my Dad and my high school Spanish club trip. It will be interesting to see how much it has changed.

Back to the beach for now.