Moto Adventures

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Pretty Darn Big Tree

You wanted a pic, well here it is. Is the jury still out? It has to be pretty darn close to the biggest!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Monte Alban stretches out behind us and behind that the city of Oaxaca.

There are hundreds on little stores and stands selling Mexcal in Oaxaca. When I heard the name Mexcal I had visions of a worm swimming in the bottom of a bottle of tequilla, this is actually true. Indians made the mexcal from the aquave plant, used the fibre for making fabric etc. and ate the worms that lived in the plant. Thus, the worm in the bottom of the bottle!

Ken checks out the legs in the market.

Santo Domingo Cathedral, every wall shone from gold or silver.

We spent 3 pleasant days touring from Taxco to Oaxaca, riding again through the mountains. In this area you can see where water is coming out of the ground and in one town we stopped in they had made hot pools you could visit, we didn't stop and in retrospect I wish we would have made the time. The difference in this short leg of our trip is that on our last day, wanting to make a little time, we took the toll highway for about 60km at a cost of about $51 pesos or $4.50. The highway was great, it cut off about 30 kms and NO TOPES!!!

Arriving in Oaxaco we found it a bit more expensive but it is a big city, about 350,000 people, and very touristic so I guess it was to be expected. However, we managed to find a very cute hotel for $300 pesos and we settled to in the big city life. The first thing on our agenda was to visit Monte Alban, the oldest of the Zapotec ruins, dating back from 300 BC to about 800AD. They were by far the largest ruins we have visited and for the first time we hired a guide, $300 pesos but money well spent. From him we learned a lot about the ruins and because he spoke English quite well we were also able to talk to him about things that are happening in Mexico today, just the thing Ken enjoys doing. On the same day we rode out of town and visited a tree which they claim to be the biggest in the world, over 14mt. wide and 38 mt in circumference and over 2000 years old. We both agreed it was pretty darn big!

The rest of our stay we parked the bike, again in the foyer of our hotel, and hit the streets of Oaxaca visiting many of the squares, churches, and overwhelming markets. We even enjoyed a class of wine and a beer sitting at one one the restaurants around the main Zokalo. We found the St. Domingo cathedral absolutely amazing...the money. And the Asbesto market was bigger than any of the others and the walk from our hotel was very interesting, walking through streets with some very friendly girls and some hotels way cheaper than any we had seen in the rest on town. Oaxaca is a very artsy city, housing many theatres for art and music, museums, and if you are looking for Mexican handicrafts this is the place to come. One of the hotels we checked out in the arts district was over $200.00 and I'm sure it is not near the top of the scale.

We have really enjoyed our time here but we not feel the need for warmth and the sand. Today we head for Puerto Angel, on the west coast. Time to take some clothes off and put some sunscreen on!

Monday, January 17, 2011


We have been busy little bees, after spending a couple days twisting through the mountains we ended up in the top of a mountain in the city of Tasco, the silver city of Mexico. There are over 1500 silver shops in the city and I managed to visit a few, being the big shopper that I am. Another thing there is a lot of here are Volkswagen bugs, they are used for taxis here, they are the perfect vehicle for the steep cobblestone streets. We decided not to even try driving to the main square like we usually do and got a hotel on the main drag, these streets are not good for riding on bike. As is turns out we are a steep 5 minute walk to the Zocolo and the exercise is always good. These streets are so narrow here on some of the corners even the bugs have to back up and inch their way around. We hired a taxi, $50 peso for 20 minutes, which actually turned into 30 minutes(Mexicans have no sense of time)what a ride. It was the next best thing to a roller coaster ride!
We decided to take in a little tourist activity while we are here(besides the silver shops)so we took a 35 km drive to The Cacahuamilpa National Park. Cacahuamilpa derived from the words, cacahuate(peanut), milli(seed), and pa(in). So the word literally means in the seed of a peanut, which is good way to describe the caverns, the only difference being these caverns are over 2 km in with a ceiling height on close to 350 mt. These are to largest in the Americas. In February there are tours in the subterranean rivers which we would have loved to have taken time.
Today we are off and riding again, after a couple days rest we are again on the road and putting in some more miles to our destination of Oaxaco.
Tasco by day.

Yes, this is a two way street in the city, it might actually be a little wider than most.

This picture is a bit blurry but it can give you an idea as to how steep the streets are.

Tasco by night.

Caves at National Park Cacahuamilpa. That's Ken siluette off to right of the picture.

These caves are huge!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Monarch butterflies make the journey from eastern Canada and northeastern USA to this area in the middle of Mexico.
These trees look like they are brownish and dead but if you look closer...

you can see that the branches are loaded, literally coated with butterflies.

After having a picnic lunch, I sit and watch the butterflies for a while.

The Monarchs congregate in any source of water they can find.

We took a walk up the paths in Angangueo, the pueblo we stayed in while visiting the Monarch Sanctuary, and enjoyed the views of the red the roofs and the local church.

Angangueo is old and was the home of a booming gold mine until 1995.

I love all the little homes with the many pots of flowers.
What a ride! For the last 3 days we have been riding between 1900 and 2400 mts and that makes for nice cool riding temperatures, in fact we have been wearing just about every piece of warm clothing we have, but has it been worth it. The El Rosario Monarch Sanctuary was unbelievable! We stayed in Angangueo, a pueblo about 15 min. from Ocampo( the entrance to the sanctuary)where we turned up the mountain and rode on a cobblestone road up to 2800 mts where we paid our 40 peso entrance fee and started our hike up to about 3400 mts where the butterflies migrate to. We got to the top relatively early so the butterflies where slow in moving but the longer we waited and the warmer it got the more active they got. It wasn't until then that we realized how many butterflies there were. There are over 3000 trees that are literally coated with butterflies. Today, people are only allowed to walk to the place where the butterflies start to congregate, in recent years they could walk through the trees. We were happy to get to the point we did and see this amazing act by Mother Nature.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Return to Mexico Mainland

Baja Ferries, here is our ride from La Paz to Mazatlan.

In San Blas we helped celebrate The 3 Kings day. The sweet bread on the table went all the way around the Zocolo. The 3 Kings day is bigger for kids in Mexico than Xmas, it is on this day that they are brought presents. It just to happened than when we where in San Sebastian the truck with one of the Kings came to the Zocolo and gave gifts to all the small children in town.

A beautiful view of Rincon Guayabitos taken while we where on our hike with Karla.

Ileana and Efrain, loaded down in their Vstrom and side car on their way to La Fin del Mundo. Believe it or not, came all the way from South Carolina to Kamloops to get modifications done on their side car because the shop there was THE place to have the side car worked on.
If you are interested in finding out more about Ileana and Efrain and the work they are doing to educate street kids and eradicate poverty take a look at their link "Motonomadas" to the right sidebar.

Heather oversees the transfer of Raicilla into a Coke bottle after trying a couple of samples of the finca's private brew. Raicilla is similar to tequilla only it is made from green agave instead of blue agave. We tried a natural, a coco, and another flavour made from a local flower. The natural is for men(hombres), the coco is for women(mujers) and the flowery flavour is for grandmothers(abuelas).

Driving through the countryside.

Ken, yet again, gets his own private parking in Mazamitla.

Everyone who was anyone gets a new weath for the new year.

Miles and miles on country fences, stones gathered and stacked one wide and 4 feet high.

The Cathedral in Morelia with 230 ft twin towers and a 4600 flute organ.

One of the many squares in Morelia in the background is the aqueduct, 1.5 km long and contains 253 arches that gradually disappears into the ground(we just about walked the length of it the morning we left).

Have you ever not done something for a long time and then the next time you do that very thing you say to yourself "Man I love doing this! Why don't I do it more often?" We have been saying this for the last week, ever since we came back to Mainland Mexico.
The food, the people, and the countryside. I'm not sure if the feeling of ahhh lies in the fact that we are on the road again, travelling fancy free with the wind in our face and the bugs in our teeth or if it is due to the fact we are free anywhere(from work) or is it just that we love Mexico so much? Any which way, we are both wearing one big-ass smile on our face(Kens' also with a bit of a runny nose and a cough).

We spent a fairly rough trip over the Sea of Cortes, seeing as the winds were up and the boat was a rocking, but we arrived in Mazatlan early in the day on Wednesday, Jan. 3rd. $18(200 peso)rooms are still available if you know where to look, and we do because it was the same hotel we stayed at time we were here in 2007(?). We had seen a couple on a Vstrom1000 with a sidecar(same as ours except ours is a 650, minus the sidecar, although I think it looks comfy) around La Paz and on the boat we parked next to them, we met them on the Malicon in Mazatlan and traveled with them for a couple of days. Nice couple...interesting, her from Puerto Rico and him from Columbia and now they are on their way down to Fin del Mundo...ah the memories!

I liked Mazatlan more this stay, it seemed cleaner or something but it still only held our attention for the one and night and we were off to San Blas(too bad we missed you on the road Jack and Katie). Again we found a cute little town( with great surfing beaches and a bird sanctuary that included of all things... pink flamingos) awaiting us with yet another 200 peso room and a fish dinner fried in garlic that was out on this world for only just over $5 each. It was Day of the Kings the day we arrived and a sweet bread that circled the whole Zocolo was demolished by the locals then the kids were given dulces(candies)and gifts. In some South American countries this day is bigger than Christmas for the kids.

As much as we enjoyed San Blas the next day it was off again, travelling south on the little roads along the beach...which I have to tell you were the home to some amazing properties we may have to visit on the way back up. Rincon Guyobitis, here we are again, another spot we visited on our last trip on the Mainland and loved. We found the Hotel del Rio for $300 pesos a night(cheaper if you stay longer and it includes a kitchenette, which most hotel/suites do)and along with the friendly staff we found a great bunch of Canadians staying the winter. Ken and I hooked up with Karla and friends for walks or should I say hikes up the mountain 2 of the 3 mornings we were there and I have to tell you the exercise felt good because we haven't done a thing since we left the Baja and mountain biking. We also found Dan and Robbie at their place down here in La Pineta, wow what a great spot-Sunset Casa!

Three days in one spot and it was time to move on. We had decided it was time to head inland so it was off to San Sebastian, a little village in the mountains , cute little cobblestone streets and quaint shops selling local fare, however the tour bus full of sightseers swayed our decision a little and instead of staying there we headed off to Mascota for the night. There we found a beautiful little farming town, also with cobblestone streets(which Ken hates driving on by the way)and a quiet room and friendly locals.

The riding has been amazing. Small mountain roads, many ranchos, cowboys on horses and fantastic views keep our heads turning as we rode up and over mountains and through valleys. Man we love this countryside! Mazamilta, another small town this time tucked in the mountains and on the edge of a park with pine trees was the next nights stop. From here you can take a truck up into the mountains to do a little 4 by 4'ing. Fun but not on our agenda so we tasted a bit of the local goods, pecans in a creamy fudge and several flavours of local liquor...mmm good.

Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Morelia, a beautiful colonial city-lots of culture, and the gateway to the mountains where you can view the Monarch Butterfly migration. We walked around the city last night and were in awe of the buildings, you could spend days here walking the streets and going to museums...but we are here for the butterflies. Today we head for the mountains and hopefully tomorrow we will be in the midst of millions of yellow and black butterfly wings.

Monday, January 03, 2011

La Paz here and gone

As you may be able to see, La Paz continues to grow and grow and grow
Heather ripping up the mountainbike trail out back of
El Centenario...ha, ha, ha.
Spending time on the malecon in La Paz.

Christmas dinner with friends.

We have spent a great 2 weeks here in La Paz, visiting friends, mountain biking(my leg is sore but feeling a little stronger), going to movies, playing train with the ladies, shopping and just enjoying life. New years was great, we went for dinner then to the beach to enjoy a great fire with more food and drinks. We put on a great show of fireworks along with a lot of others on the beach, in El Centenario and La Paz. Ken loves blowing things up! Ken and I were one of the last to leave and we actually lasted until after midnight.
Tomorrow we are catching the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan. $375 for the 2 of us, the bike and a cabin. The ferry leaves La Paz at 10 p.m. and arrives at 8 a.m. in Mazatlan then the next leg of our adventure begins. We had planned to make it as far south as we could in this trip but after much discussion we have decided to take it easy this trip and maybe hold up in a few areas for a week or so and enjoy a bit more of the local fare. Whatever!
We have stopped by the Internet today on our way back for lunch(carnitas)so unfortunately I have no pictures to post but stay tuned and I will add them the next chance I get.