Saturday, February 27, 2010

Segment 13. Zacatecas, Zacatecas to Maruata, Michoacán via Guadalajara (February 10 - March 10)

Street busker, Zacatecas

View of the city from La Bufa, the cliffs high above Zacatecas, where an important battle was fought in the Mexican Revolution between Pancho Villa and federal forces.

The above photo is of the theater in Zacatecas, a beautiful building

Night shot of the cathedral, a little blurry, due to mescal consumption...
and here´s Cass, after spending the night in jail, a little blurry, due to mescal consumption:

Breakfast (pan dulce), totalling about $1.75


Jason and Cass enjoy some fresh juices at the market

Here´s a shot of pescado frito, during our goodbye lunch to Anna in Zacatecas.  Buen Viaje!

Out of the city, and back to the dirt roads we love

A few days after Zacatecas, climbing back up into the Sierra Madre, while getting a bit lost...

Riding some excellent dirt tracks, high in the remote sierra of Zacatecas, just as a rainstorm hits, and seconds after this photo Jason took a dinger on the muddy surface and went hurling into the barbed wire fence to the left of the road, at once giving himself a long gash to the face and also tearing up his GoLite rainjacket!

an amazing twilight descent in fog, still in stormy weather...

the storm breaking up at dawn

leaving our stealth campsite the way we entered, lifting our bikes over a barbed wire fence

misty morning riding... as we descended back out of the sierra...
Below, Cass cruises along on a beautiful stretch of cobbled rural road

As we neared Jalpa, in the state of Zacatecas still, we couldn`t help but stop off at this mescal distillery:

We made an impromptu tour of the facilities:

rows of young agave plants

 free samples of high quality mescal

storage capacity: 1 million liters of mescal each!!!!!

with the friendly staff... who sent us off with sample bottles...

The following day we were on our way to Guadalajara (Mexico's second-biggest city) in the state of Jalisco.  The road, although paved highway, proved to be very challenging for its thousands of feet of climbing and descending and climbing again, mostly in the hot sun.  We found refreshment 25 km from Guadalajara at a roadside fruit stand which sold fresh coconuts... a cyclist's dream.  Here Jeff is nearly intoxicated from the cocos:

After drinking the coco juice (agua de coco), the meat is cut out and served with, of course, chili and lime. Jeff ate a huge amount...

and shortly thereafter, collapsed on the sidewalk in the outskirts of Guadalajara...

the main cathedral of Guadalajara, and the main plaza:

Every Sunday, in an amazing display of civic progressiveness, the city closes down numerous major boulevards so that cyclists, walkers, joggers, skateboarders, in-line skaters, etc.. have a place to exercise and congregate without the violence of auto traffic.  Amazing...

literally, thousands of cyclists participate:

we took a break from the bike scene to have huge fresh squeezed fruit juices in one of the main markets of Guadalajara.  15 pesos a liter, or about $1.20.

we were hosted in Guadalajara by a Warm Showers contact, and here we are having a Sunday seafood lunch


Was the laptop invented before 1973? And how 'bout those socks?...

we left Guadalajara once again on dirt roads!


Here Cass is having his back rack welded after it developed a small crack:

American white pelicans

American license plate thief

This plate is called Tostadas de Ceviche, basically crispy corn rounds covered with fish ceviche and salsa.  At this restaurant in Jalisco it cost about 10 pesos ($0.80); leading us to label it one of the best food bargains in Mexico. 

cutting open a coconut for thirsty cyclists

Jorge Mariscal and family, who hosted us one night on their ranch- pure hospitality, as we had been ascending a dirt road in the twilight without a clue as to where we were going to sleep...

this was to be our last day of dirt road riding for a while...


... as we came ever closer to 4200 meter El Volcán Nevado de Colima...

When we arrived in Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco, we were thrilled to find a great deal on some cold coconuts. Cost: about $0.65 each

The following morning, as we begin cycling up the long 17 km climb towards the volcano, a local group of mountain bikers takes pity on us with our heavy bikes and totes us up to the end of the road!

Leaving the bikes, we head out on foot:

Below, Jason and Cass take in the mtn scenery

...this is the 3800 meter active volcano found just next to El Nevado:

Jeff contemplates the universe from a bench.  We couldn't ascend to the summit because we didn't have mountaineering gear, i.e. boots, crampons, and ice axes.  We will be better prepared for Izta and Orizaba...

the following day, a parting glimpse of the two volcanoes, agave plantations in the foreground.  In less than 24 hours we would descend from near the summit at 4000 meters down to sea level!

The aftermath, a thorough rest area wash down:


Jason's Schwalbe tire near the end of its long life

After 8 months of travelling, the majority through the mountains of Alaska, Canada, the western US, and the Sierra Madre, we arrive at the coast, a long-awaited dream...
this beach is called El Real, in the state of Colima...

our first ocean sunset during this trip

still on the beach the following morning, farmer's tans all around

an added bonus of a Mexican beach town: free water slide use with purchase of restaurant meal!

Jeff kicking around on the beach while Cass does yoga

These caballeros tote their instruments everywhere.

We soon left Colima and entered the fabled coastal stretch of Michoacán, 250 km of winding low-traffic roads and gorgeous ocean views, not to mention the plethora of beaches where we could stop to swim, lunch, or camp...

tarantula seen on the road itself, one of several, and enormous! (5-6 inches in length)

easy cruising on pavement, about to descend back down to the beach

arrived in Maruata, probably the nicest beach in Michoacán and certainly one of the best on the Pacific coast of Mexico.  We stayed several days here under the palm-thatch palapas, recuperating and relaxing...

egrets at dusk

Maruata beachside graffiti

our first Maruata sunset

Jeff and Jason said goodbye to Cass for awhile, and headed up the coast by bus to visit Puerto Vallarta, where Jeff's friend Harry owns a bar:  Harry's Bar, popular among locals and expats alike...

street dog who takes a fancy to Harry's

public transport in P. Vallarta

Harry and Andrea, our hosts in P. Vallarta

the scene in Vallarta, not quite our style...

back in Maruata, a local fisherman displays his catch, which he managed with a handline and an antiquated lure, fishing from the surf on the beach!

we love avocadoes, a cyclist's powerhouse food source, full of vitamins and fats

at Maruata's middle beach, where the surf comes crashing through a hole in the cliff face

calisthenics at sunset, at Maruata's wildest and most beautiful beach

just-hatched baby sea turtles on Maruata's Playa Larga, seen about midnight on a dark night, and by pure luck.  Here they are trying to climb up Jason's crocs and legs...

the babies are about the size of a silver dollar

a mama turtle on the way back to the sea after depositing her eggs in the scrub on the edge of the beach

Jeff's bike, retooled for the next 1000km of coastal riding.  Note the framebag, the lack of any panniers (where before there were four or two!), and the stylish new slick red tires: built for speed.  (all of this possible thanks to the Mexican Postal Service, which has delivered our gear to distant points in Mexico at minimal cost: for example, a box weighing 12.5 kilos, or about 30 pounds, cost 85 pesos, or about 6 dollars!)

1 comment:

Arturo G said...

Great photos of what looks like a great bike ride. Totally biased opinion here, but I think the Real de Jalpa mezcal is amazingly good! Full disclosure--my family is from the town "Guadalupe Victoria" seen in the sign in front of the distillery.