19 March 2011

Chili Dumptruck and the Lords of DEET

Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Days on the road: 80
States ridden: 6
Tortilla count: 539
Nights in my actual tent: 18
Nights in hammock: 6
Crops seen in last 10 days: Mangoes, every type of chile, tomatos and tomatillos, coconuts, jack fruits (i passed on getting a glass of fresh squeezed jack fruit juice), bananas of all varieties, tobacco, agave, limes, pineapples, avocados, watermelons, sugar cane, corn, wheat, sorghum, and lord knows what else.
Nights spent camping amongst said crops: 4 (bananas, mangoes, agave, and tobacco)
Year that Horst Stuewe was Canadian cycling champion: 1969
Punctures: 1
Types of farm implements drafted: 3 (disc, baler, and combines)
Canadian D-bag percentage: 77%
It's El Tequila, not La Tequila.  Who knew?

After leaving Mazatlan, I worked my way south, following the coast.  I found a nice stretch of beach to ride for a while, but kept having to hitch rides on lanchas or pangas to cross the estuaries, as they were too deep to cross, even at low tide.  In San Blas, I spent a day surfing and resting at Stoner's Surf Camp, a cozy little grass palapa on the beach.  Then I turned on the jets and crushed inland to Guadalajara.  Away from the bugs and humidity and into the crispy, bug-free furnace that is inland Jalisco state.

Sometimes there is just too much poop for the tent.

your choice of tacos in old town Mazatlan

Fireworks for Carnaval.

Awesome graffiti wall near the harbor.

Tatanka admiring the handiwork.

Honestly, the various warnings for speed bumps are endlessly amusing.

Silly hats ARE allowed.

JalapeƱos are usually harvested green, so these were past due.

Morning mist in the palms near Isla del Bosque.

Dumptruck full of chiles.  These were waiting to go into the drying ovens.

Take a second look at the door art.

It is always more fun to come to town when they have a cool arch.

To cross the estuary at Teacapan, you need to hire a boat.  Obviously, the one with a Cobra on the bow was the best choice!

Tatanka crossing the mighty Delaware.  And yes, that's my Virgin of Guadalupe spoke card.

They told me it was only an hour and a half down the beach to Playa Novillero.  I prepared myself for the worst.

Sorry birds, I am not wheeling through deep sand to avoid you.

Sand peso.

Really awesome tortuga shell.  I wanted to keep it, but as you can see, my junk pile is maxxxed already.

Endless flat, hard beach riding near Playa Novillero.  Fantastic.

Occasionally there is interesting dead stuff.

Lovely sunsets in these parts.  Bring the DEET or God save you.

Another estuary to cross in the morning near Cuotla.  A "kind" Canadian expat shouted from his yard that "there's nothing down there but a dead end and a lot of bugs."  He was right about the bugs.  But the town was full of friendly folks, a Carnaval dance involving a pig's head on a platter, and a fascinating fishing community.  "Save yourself some time and turn back now.  All the cyclists turn back."  I'll take my chances with the fishmermen, thank you.  

This guy said he was too tippy for the bike.

But the next guy had a bigger boat.

Mexicans aren't the only fishers around here.

Blasting through the fog for ports unknown.

Deep sand is not fun with a 100 lb rig.  Shoulda brought a Pugsley.

The reward, after reaching the woods, was some great sun-dappled, dirt road riding.

and a return to pavement...

It's not that the cows know where to cross, it's that the hwy department knows where the cows cross.   Which is how it was explained to me.  I still think it's funny.

Hobby horse rider crossing!  Look ma, no bottom bracket.

Taking pictures from first base during some pickup baseball in Santa Cruz.

Big ol Tostadas.

Nayarit, my 4th Mexican state so far.

Taking the ferry to Mexcaltitan, the original Mexico city.  The dog's name is Pantera.  Awesome.

Mexcaltitan is a small circular island, so walking the streets always has you peering around the corner.  For 5 minutes.  Then you are back where you started.

No cars means everybody uses wheelbarrows and tricycles.  And boats.  Obvi.

You get weird looks asking for a 50ml syringe, but the vet was a cyclist.  Time for a Rohloff oil change.

The construction crew from Guadalajara let me camp with them.  3 weeks on the island, and 4 days at home with family. They loved looking at my map, but I don't know where the pride in toilet paper or princess notebooks came from.  A great group of guys.

Fresh fresh fresh shrimp tamales for breakfast in Mexcaltitan.

Cobbled streets await you.  Honestly, the potholes are far less noticeable.

Running the sprinklers...

Mexico is generally BYOTP, but occasionally someone graciously leaves you the tube...

use it wisely.

Admiring the iron maidens in the plaza of Santiago Ixcuintla.

Sunset on the river...

More wetlands near San Blas with the inviting Sierra beyond.

Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees...

2 nights camping on the beach, surfboard rental, kitchen, showers, bathrooms, and cokes: 200 pesos.  Stoner's Surf Camp.  San Blas, Mexico.

While procrastinating my riding by ogling my map, I heard the unmistakable sound of a nice ratchet-pawl -- a real bike just went by!  I caught up to 75-year-old Horst Stuewe, 1969 Canadian champ.  He had some great stories, and lots of memorabilia of his life full of cycling, travel, and women. Training for the world senior cycling championships, he kept a brisk pace back to his seaside home, where we yakked about life over sandwiches and beer.  Absolute riot.

Trying out my new shoe prototype.  Horst pointed out that 2 different shoes is great theft deterrent.

Jungly and curvy along the coast. 

Rush hour and a tight squeeze...

Cowboys head out of town at sunset, just ahead of the combine.

Flatbillers are always losing their hats on Mexico 200

Mexican roadkill


Fire in Compostela at sundown.

I'm always a sucker for camping under big trees.  Dawn patrol.

Not for brushing teeth.  Just brushing steel.

No amount of lube will ease a worn cog.  Pinging chain.

This cow looks more fun than other signs.

Volcanic dinosaurs!

Tongue twister of a taqueria.

The tire shops are no longer desponchadoras.  They're Llanteras.

El Guero serves up some great goat tacos.

We will hook up our scanner to your classic truck.

The adventure shirt becomes a salt lick.

The original.

Cool ceramic signs and cobbled streets in Tequila.

Cool national museum of Tequila.

Which is mostly full of bottles of tequila and pictures of old people.

Oak barrels for aging the tequila.

Cool old tequila bottles.

Why the bicycle stumps so many artists, I'll never understand.

The look on her face "makes" this painting.  Tequila!

At the gates of regret...

You can take a tour in a barrel.  Wow.

Even though you're in Tequila, sometimes you just want a frickin' liter o cola.

Aerostar pickup is Dinamita!

Trucks full of Agave hearts headed to the distilleries.

Best done with a DD.

Agave grow in every nook and cranny here.

Creepy agave face statue thing.

Tequila sunrise.  Most of the fields have a big shade tree in the middle for the workers to rest under.  Supposedly the trees are planted upside down so they will have those wide canopies.


Steel wire is the culprit.

bungee cord and hemostats make an impromptu truing stand.  Wheel's dead true.  No worries.  But, my fender is rusty!

Zebra rim strip courtesy of Jenna!

Cool crossing sign: Stop, look, listen.

These easter basket things are full of non-potable water and perfect for rinsing off soot after crashing through the scorched brush to gain access to the toll highway.

Gansito means little goose.  It's a Little Debbie type snack.  Recuerdame means "remember me".

The Quality Control geek loves knowing that she's ISO 9001-2000 certified.

Blog-posting at Charla's house in Guadalajara with banana split in hand.


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