Friday, March 25, 2011

The first 5000

I'm all in.  Sign me up.  Coach, put me in the game.  Deal me in.  Lets do this.  

Both the United States and the Baja were simply a warm up.  They were definitely an integral component of my trip and I needed them to get here.  I needed all of it to get here.  I am now over 5000 kms into my estimated 20,000 km journey and I feel like I'm now just settling in.  Maybe 'settling in' isn't the phrase as that sounds too comfortable and cozy.  Life on the road in Mexico is far from cozy.  1/4 could be looked at as a fairly empty glass, but this trip has already been full and this will undoubtedly continue.  

This glass is 1/4 full. 

Views from my cockpit where I'm spending a great deal of time
Scenes from the road

I have now landed in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.  The draw here, as for many, are the waves.  This IS Mexico's Pipeline.  Huge, hollow waves rip down the main beach of Zicatela on a constant basis.  I've heard they are so big at times that they fully block out the horizon.  Am I planning to surf Mexico's Pipeline?  Absolutely not.  This wave separates the men from the boys.  In Puerto Escondido, I am a boy.  Zicatela is the main break and they say La Punta (the Point) is the beginner spot at the far end of Playa Zicatela.  Looks like I won't be getting in the kiddy-pool here either... as it too is enormous at the moment.  Instead, I'll update my blog, watch some crazy surf, post some pictures of waves I didn't surf, and then I'll drink beers... like a man. 

Sayulita, just north of Puerto Vallarta.

Longboard gringa at Sayulita
Local Sayulita chico showing the tourists how to rip
Surfers come in all shapes and sizes

Streets of Sayulita, Mexico

Lets rewind a week.  Last Thursday I traveled by ferry from La Paz, Baja to Mazatlan, mainland Mexico.  This was a 17hr crossing that left at 7pm and arrived the next day at high noon.  The ferry was mainly a cargo boat bringing trucks, truckers and their goods over to the mainland.  It was surprising that the ferry sailed on time and by the time we docked in Mazatlan the next day, I was getting 'buena suerte' and 'buen viaje's (good luck and good trip) in addition to hugs and typical mexico 'fist-pumps' from my new found trucker buddies (one was hauling a semi-load FULL of potatoes!)

I wanted nothing to do with Mazatlan (or any of the bigger cities for that matter) so once I hit pavement, I cracked the throttle on Rojo and burned through town continuing along Hwy 200 south as long as I could before dark.  

One of my favourite road signs
Another road sign that I smile at...

Topes, topes, topes... SO many topes!  (Always a good place to pass big trucks)

Topes come in all shapes and sizes... 'Ah-hem' <clearing throat>
Had an amazing wood fired pizza in Barra de Navidad
San Blas.  Sayulita.  Barra de Navidad.  Saladita (always confused with Sayulita - amazing longboard wave just north of Zihuatanejo).  Playa Ventura.  

And now Puerto Escondido. 

Hard to believe that the distance from Mazatlan to P.Escondido is almost the same distance I traveled from northern California to the tip of the Baja.  Mexico is a huge country that people take for granted, including me.  I figured I'd be at the Guatemala border by now and I still have a couple days ahead to get there.  I feel like I've been motoring with some long days on the bike and I'm sure I'll encounter the same thing on my route north back through Mexico.  This is a destination country that I could easily spend more time and touring through with greater detail.  I'm certain that a few surfer friends back home are asking why I didn't stop to surf at Playa La Ticla, or Rio Nexpa, more world class surf spots.  The reason?  I'd still be there and surfing is not my main priority.  Surfing is a way for me to get off my bike and to relax, get some activity and to mix it up.  The duration of my entire journey wouldn't be enough time to truly explore Mexico by moto.   

Getting prepped for my first 5000km oil-change and maintenance

Giving Rojo a bit of well deserved love

My digs at Saladita - a surf spot I was at in 2005 with BC friends
Playa La Saladita

La Saladita

A seaside comida break - this lovely woman served up a mean fish soup
Acapulco was another city I zipped right through
A wrong turn in Acapulco got me this picture 'Go Team Canada' Bus!

I rolled 20,000kms on Rojo just north of P.Escondido (the bike had about 14,000kms when leaving Canada)

La Punta, Puerto Escondido

This little guy was an amazing surfer

La Punta, Puerto Escondido

La Punta, Puerto Escondido

A few memorable moments on the road over the past week:

Coming around a left corner south of Puerto Vallarta with a bus fully in my lane.  The crazy thing if that isn't crazy enough, the bus wasn't even passing anyone.  I think the driver was enjoying the sights.  Had I been in a vehicle, I would have been in trouble.  On my bike, I swerved over, waved my fist, turned up my music and carried on.

Coming around another left corner to a surfboard flying in the air.  My heart skipped a few beats and once I realized the board was somehow attached to the car by its leash and not coming straight at me I started breathing again.  It was flailing behind the car smacking the road, the back of the car, it was all over the place.  Either the driver had the music cranked and didn't hear it, or it had just happened. 

Personal rules I stick with at all times while on roads in Mexico:

1.  Always assume the brake lights in the vehicle ahead of you do not work... even if they work.
2.  Always assume that YOUR brake lights do not work, even if they do work.
3.  Expect the unexpected (note:  buses and surfboards in your lane)
4.  Assume that around every corner, regardless of your speed, there will be something exciting.  That something could be anything from a dead lizard, a donkey grazing, a little kid walking on their own, big cows, flying surfboards, or guys with machetes cutting down road-side brush as examples. 
5.  Finally, when traveling on roads in Mexico - never assume.

Nothing like a hammock, a cold Modelo and some Golden Nuts after a long day

Next up = Guatemala.

Crossing my fingers for a smooth border crossing from MEX to Guatemala in the next couple of days.  First time on this trip that I'll be entering a country I have yet to visit and I'm excited about that.  My plan is to save the surf for El Salvador and to hit the Lake Attilan and the Antigua areas skipping Guat. surf this time around.  I might study a hint more spanish in Antigua for a couple of days, we'll see how my time looks.

Cheers, highfives and fist-pumps for now.


  1. After 5,000km's I'm surprised your nuts are still golden!

  2. (Dan A)So funny to see you 'working' on a bike...Like watching you So great to see your trip and follow along dude...keep up the great read..


  3. Aahh Sayulita! We visited there for the first time a couple years ago. Can't wait to go back. Good luck!