It was a different couple of weeks being mostly off the bikes and having a “vacation from our vacation.” I’ll give you a brief summary but for my snowbound northern friends I’ll leave off most, but not all, of the beach and sunset photos.
The holidays were getting closer and our travelling companion, Richard had plans to store his motorcycle in San Miguel de Allende and fly home to Canada for Christmas. We rode the cuota (toll road) south on an uneventful and boring 200+ mile ride to town. The biggest excitement was getting lost when we finally arrived in San Miguel and having to negotiate some of the steep cobblestone roads in the 80+ degree heat. We eventually found the casa of our good friends and occasional travel companions Art and Carol. Art and Carol rode with us on our Portugal adventure, if you want to read about that click HERE.
We did arrive in time to attend one of the weekly Motoclassico motorcycle club meetings. Motoclassico is my kind of club, there are no dues, no official membership roster, no newsletter, bylaws and no club business transpires at the meetings. It’s just a bunch of guys that meet at a restaurant once a week to BS about motorcycles. They do have an e-mail list that is used to coordinate group rides, even those are are very informal. Deby and I were surprised to see a number of people we recognized from past trips in San Miguel and some who met us in Baja a couple years back.
We stayed in San Miguel almost a week at a most wonderful casa just blocks from el central. Deby and I spent the days catching up on laundry, blog posts and planning the next legs of the trips. It’s a beautiful city and is usually full of Norte Americanos. It might be me but it seemed like there were fewer gringos this year and flocks of Mexican families visiting for the holidays.
I didn’t try any of these….
The Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a grand, neo-Gothic 17th-century church known for its soaring pink spires & lofty, ornate sanctuary was all lit up with a huge Christmas tree out front. This was the main gathering space for everyone on the warm evenings.
Richard was busy getting his Covid test for his flight home and making motorcycle arrangements. On his last day he found an excellent hillside restaurant where he treated Deby and I to a nice Mexican dinner.
Before we left I launched my much neglected drone and took a picture of the church and surrounding area.
Here is a picture I took when wandering one of the many narrow streets.
With all our chores completed we left the city life of San Miguel for a beachside destination. The ride all the way to the ocean was too much for one day so we decided to stop for two days at an estancia just outside Guadalajara. The Defranca Alojamiento Boutique hotel is an amazing place that we learned about while travelling with Art and Carol. We booked two nights and loved every minute at this remote cliffside resort. We were almost the only ones there…. romantico!
The hotel sits dramatically right on a cliff overlooking Oblatos Canyon. Another little known spectacular canyon in Mexico. The following is from Wikipedia:
Barranca de Oblatos (English: Oblatos Canyon), also known as Barranca de Huentitán, is a canyon carved by the Río Grande de Santiago in Mexico in the state of Jalisco. It lies on the northeast side of the municipality of Guadalajara and on the edge of the municipalities of Tonalá, Zapotlanejo, Ixtlahuacán del Río and Zapopan in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area. Its beauty and structure make it a slightly smaller scale version of the Grand Canyon in the United States, and Barranca del Cobre in Chihuahua.
We found a perfect spot to hang out in the warm sun and read books while we watched the changing canyon walls as the sun arced above us.
The property has a small chapel and during our morning walk just days before Christmas I looked in to see the sun in perfect alignment with the cross. A planned event? I’m sure this alignment only would happen a couple times per year. I tried to capture it with my amateur iPhone photography skills.
Our daily walk took in some spectacular cliff views.
Finally, I launched the drone for a birds eye view. An amazing place for sure.
Yea, this motorcycle adventure stuff can be really tuff but we manage. What came next is worse, a week at a very remote beach.
Here is a drone shot of where we stayed about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta near the very small town of La Peñita de Jaltemba.
We were in the yellow casa on the left, the beach extended either direction with no development.
We spent most of our time in these two chairs.
This was the foot path into town through the jungle of Nayarit Mexico. Yes danger lurked but we were brave and walked it almost every day for groceries and supplies.
Danger number one was the pack of dogs who greeted us every day. Truthfully, they mostly ignored us until we started bringing our food scraps for them, then we had new best friends.
The second danger of our jungle trek was this….
Yes, we were walking along a shallow river and then needed to cross a narrow footbridge into town. These signs were everywhere warning about the Crocodiles. We looked for them every day and finally saw on on the last day. See if you can pick him out.
We had fun doing a bunch of nothing. It’s a good thing we were rested up for what was next.
It was only a short motorcycle ride south to the booming tourist town of Puerto Vallarta. Sure, we had a good time relaxing the last week but I couldn’t even remember the last time I filled up my motorcycle tank. We still had plenty of fuel for the short trip and then the bikes would be parked for about 10 days.
Christmas was only a few days away and we were excited to be joined by two of our three children and Lindsey, Jon’s fiancée. The next 10 days were a holiday blur, hiking, hanging out on the beach, sitting by the pool, nice restaurants, street food and sampling of the local crevasas and reposado.
NO! This is not the result of some local gang violence, it’s an ancient Mesoamerican ceremony/ritual still performed today called Danza de los Voladores. These guys performed every day on the malecon, it was pretty amazing to watch and a huge attraction for the tourists.
I had to take a picture of this street sign. Clearly you cannot go straight but evidently the city thought they needed this sign.
Ok, add another bad habit to the list…. everyday we stopped at the nearby coffee shop for this calorie bomb. Ummmm.
Every day there are two people that stack these rocks along the malecon. Every morning they are knocked over and they start again. I never did figure out who knocks them over, kids, or part of their plan. Anyhow it was cool to watch them work. Behind them you can see a sand Christmas Tree sculpture.
We hiked to a waterfall where the kids took turns cliff diving. Here is Weston.
We had lunch at this busy beach spot. As more customers came in the put more tables closer to the water. It didn’t matter that the tide was coming in and by the time we were done eating our feet were covered with water with every wave…. ahhh, Mexico!
We stayed at and AirBnB with a fantastic rooftop deck and three pools. Yea, motorcycle travel can be trying at times!
The motorcycles stayed safely stored on the street on a rather steep cobblestone road. I think the covers helped keeping them out of sight so to speak. We had no problems.
Finally Lindsey, Jon and Weston had to head back. They returned on the day that Seattle had the most cancelled flights in the world according to the Seattle Times. All three of them had flights cancelled and had to reschedule. Jon and Lindsey made it out the same day and we had an extra day to hang around with Weston which we certainly didn’t mind.
Of, course there was a HUGE snowstorm at our house. I asked Jon to check on things and he sent back this picture of our deck.
I received it on my phone while Deby and I were at a restaurant looking at this view….. dang.
We’ve come to expect that safety in Mexico is sometimes “third”, none of this safety first stuff we are used to. On New Years Eve we were walking on the malecon and I noticed they were setting up for the fireworks display. I just had to take a look since there was no caution tape or anyone keeping people away. I think I said something to Deby like, “hey, watch this and take a picture,” as I looked into the fireworks tubes to check out the explosives. And people think Mexico is dangerous…..
We started the night with a promise to stay up until midnight to watch the fireworks. We started with drinks at our favorite restaurant, Si Senor. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea as it turned out.
We walked to the beach and found a soft bit of sand to wait the last 45 minutes for the fireworks… we were sooo close! I turned around and noticed these people illuminated by their phones, they were like this for almost the whole time we were there. Touristas!
We stayed on the beach long enough to see the 2022 sign light up….
But….. at the last minute decided we would rather walk back to the hotel and watch the fireworks and ring in the new year from our rooftop lounge. Maybe a good call. We had a spectacular view of fireworks launched from downtown and all the big resorts around the bay. Even better when it was over we were in bed and asleep 10 minutes later. Welcome 2022… I think.
So there we go wrapping up 2021. Crazy, I don’t even know where to start about the year except we are super glad Deby and I and our family have escaped the virus so far.
Now we can get back to the ride. Here is a preview… no trip would be complete without a picture like this one.
Thanks for following and more to come!
Donn and Deby