29 April 2011

Xico to Oaxaca... the x is a j sound, which is an h sound, like in Jalcomulco

Location: Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Months on the road: 4
Percentage of nights inside my tent: 25%
Punctures: 6
Tortillas: 700+
Colloquiallisms: No por mucho madrugar amanece mas temprano-- Getting up earlier won't get you anywhere faster.  Medios chiles-- I'm good, as in, no more beer for me, please. 
Mexican tongue twister: Pablito clavo un clavito en la calva de un calvito.  En la calva de un calvito, Pablito clavo un clavito.

I made it to Oaxaca.  Most of Mexico and North America is behind me as I turn the corner for Chiapas.  However, this next stretch of Central America has shown itself to be the ending point for many a cycle tour I have followed.  Off hand I can think of 8 that I have followed to their end here...  Guatemala has been the target for so long, I must now move it to Panama and the excitement that is reaching Colombia, lest I let my guard slack.  Honestly, the last week has dished up the steepest hills I have ever ridden on a bicycle.  And I have been down a road or two...  Spending days in 1st gear, except for a few sparse moments zipping to the bottom of the next gruelling torturefest taxed my desire for the harsh roads.  Honestly, I was convinced that the level ground I finally encountered on the way into town was a huge downhill and hammered away at the pedals in top gear.  I love the looks of folks on the sidewalk as a gringo in lycra and a cowboy hat blasts by at top speed on what most assume to be a motorcycle.  I don't get that part.  I guess the panniers make it look like a motorcycle?  Or maybe it is my waterbottles that look like a motor?  Whatever.  Here are the pics, with the usual smart-ass remarks...  As usual, Picasa likes to load arbitrarily, so pictures are only loosely chronological.

Knocking down the perfect serving of ice cream.... 1.3L

Clearly half dreaming in the Pulque den outside Xico, I saw Pancho Villa in the leaves.  Do you see his face?

View from the porch of the pulque den, where everyone seemed to be out of their gourds...

Except for guard turkey.  he was cool.

50 pesos a night.  the tent was for fleas and mosquitos.

always a fan of some good spray paint or airbrush work...

coffee plantation power wagon!!!!!!!

bike and tree

how a tailgate lasted this long in mexico, i will never understand...

apparently the adventures have a limit called dry season.  the rapids were sparse.

but iguana bike helped me do a pedal bearing cleansing and rebuild.

pico de orizaba looms around the corner one day!

wow.  that is a short bug.  Bocho.

Speer hammock in the mango orchard.

probably the best tree house ever.  Epic Ficus.

a second look at how short the Bocho is...

tree church?

hella rainstorm picked a churro stand up in the wind, knocking over Tatanka and bending my brake lever :(

Pico de Orizaba.  Tall. 18,491 feet.

I had fun gawking at it for about a week.

sun dappled easy riding for once...  so nice.

as usual, I find a different way.

that involves steep grades and sweltering heat.

major pannier blowout!

take it to the Tapiceria, where they reupholster seats.

Tatanka on a stone bridge.

This is what Slime looks like when it dries.  Like a fiber!

Xalbike, a cool bike shop in Córdoba.

The crew at Xalbike.

Dear lord it is time for a haircut.

Juan and his wonderful family who hosted me in Córdoba.

Yeah Slime!

Yes.  I go there.  No.  I go straight.  How do you say that????

Karla.  so cute.

mexican bike tattoo

something you don't see in America.


Trick: road convexities make for good photos

outside Magdalena, where the roads are punishingly steep.  I was beaten to the top by two small girls with a flock of sheep.

Midnight baptism in Tequila.

Ricardo carries the candle.  I wished I had a candle.

Mateo in the church ceiling!

Ricardo and Fatima look over Dalia with her godparents.  Dalia is looking at me.

The church is really just a place to collect Jesus statues.

A fight almost breaks out over the holy water.  Quite entertaining.

High roads through the jungle.

Ricardo's ranchito had some trout in the spring.  Delicious.

on one side of the road there was a mountain.  on the other side there was nothing... --Arlo Guthrie

Dalia gets a ride on Tatanka to the howling laughter of the entire family.

Ricardo and his friend from Córdoba.

The bus shelter is made from a bus roof.  I love this.

when everything is steep in Latin America, they still find flat ground for the soccer field.

so it goes...

defaced signs can be way more fun...

up and around the corner, it always gets steeper.

near the top of the 40th false summit of the week.


another switchback to try and break my hub.  or back.

sinuous road.  when it is more than curvy.

and then another pantload of a downhill.

why they build towns here, I will never understand.  where do they get their water?

market day in Tehuipango.

Elote = ear of sweet corn with mayonaise, shredded cheese, chili powder, lime and salt.  AMAZING.  5 pesos.

checking out the market in Tehuipango.

another Ol' Swolley comes to rest outside Tehuipango.

The clouds were really neat that day.

I'll be derned if it weren't a spigot on the side of the road.  we need more of these!

oh crap.  up we go.

here, the houses are made from bottle cap blanks.  very colorful and many interesting patterns.

crazy sky and maguey plants.

more crazy sky.

just one lone tree...

this sign is not a lie.

finally, the 2 day climb chilled out and I followed the ridge, looking down at other 2-day climbs up to the ridge.

I went right.

looking down the other side of the ridge.

look closely at the road following this ridge out into the desert.

The road is on the left in this picture.

more downhill.

following the ridge out to more crazy downhill.  maybe 1500 meters in 15 mintues.

flat ground at last!

the desert is full of beautiful formations.

and sugar cane.


the little tasties are playing!

cactus country

more cactus and red rock...

bike and tree...

dawn patrol in the desert.

a river!  rare sight indeed.

the road followed the river for about 100 miles...  up up and up...

ever so slightly we go up.

and up

when you see a side canyon, you go check it out.  this one did not disappoint.

quickly the walls grew to a height of 250 meters.

the canyone was full of boulders and a small creek.

and green parrots.  i saw two fly past.

the rock is neat to examine.

there are caves full of bats.

and cool mud flakes

and sometimes the only way is under the boulders.

like a tunnel!

sometimes you have to pull some sticks out to pass through.

and the water was pleasant!

taking a bath under the boulders. 

cool dead Javelina!

the entrance and exit to the canyon is blocked by an old dam, that involves some creative thinking to ''unlock its secrets''.

so neat!

bridge over the river.  perfect for swimming...

perfect backroads for Tatanka.

Camping in the cactus in the ol Speer hammock


the climb continues.  day 2

and up

woops!.  more up

oaxaca has a thriving tuktuk scene.

who is Juquilita?

it also has a thriving burro scene...


lycra and a 2011 harley davidson sportster 1200!

wanna trade? 


dd_traveler said...

your blog is a serious time suck - in the best way :) LOVE the pics!!

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