Once we left the state of Quintana Roo which is the furthest East in Mexico, and actually in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States, we realized we were now pointing closer to home rather than further away for the first time. According to Google, we were 3,609 miles from home via the fastest route. That number was in my mind as I checked the condition of my back tire after almost 10,000 miles already.
Hmmm, is that a crack?? Yup, it seemed like this tire was about due but we had more riding to go before we could get that taken care of. After all, it still held air….
We had one more stop on our bucket list of places to visit in Mexico, the fantastic mountain town in the state of Chaipas, San Cristobol de las Casas. We briefly visited there once before and it was always on our list of places to return. It is another colonial town, and is part of the Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns) of Mexico. After spending two days waiting out the rain in Palenque we woke up to a dry but overcast sky and planned our route to San Cristobol. The map showed a wonderful twisty road through the mountains and a trip length of 132 miles with a projected time of just over 5 hours. I did something I hadn’t done for the whole trip, I didn’t make a reservation for the night. Maybe a premonition?
Soon we were climbing from nearly sea level to over 3,000 feet. The road was fun sweeping around the mountains with spectacular views as we climbed out of the jungle into the hills.
There are usually people selling things along the road, and I’ve seen this before, but I had my helmet cam on and got a picture of this woman. She was holding up a rope to stop traffic. As I slowed down her children came running with snacks for sale.
It’s a little hard to say no to the kids but we slowly kept going. The mother was having nothing to do with it and still holding the rope wouldn’t let us go.
I politely said no but finally had to creep ahead until she dropped the rope.
There was a lot of road construction and plenty of mud from the recent rain. At one point I got behind a grader who was leaving a big mound of gravel to his left. Deby, was much smarter and managed to ride of the left side of the road leaving me to jump the big motorcycle over the mound of gravel. Not easy….
Ater a couple of hours and only 62 miles we came to a road block. This one looked serious. There were semi-trucks parked in a long line and nobody was moving. Now what…
Yep, the road to San Cristobol was closed. Washed out in the recent rains and there was no indication when it would open.
There was no way to get to Ocosingo so we stopped and considered our options.
There we were on the side of the road with the truckers, stopped cars and food vendors keeping everyone fed. I had Google maps and my Garmin GPS and we had to formulate a plan. Was there a way around??? Maybe a small dirt road we could get by on with the motorcycles? I actually asked the police that question in my lousy Spanish and he just laughed. We decided to turn north. There was a small highway that went back into the mountains to the Northwest, our general direction home so off we went.
Yea, this was a mountain road that I guarantee not many gringos go on. I realize now I didn’t take many pictures because we were just busy navigating the back road.
We came to one small town and I noticed it had a bypass so we could skip all the topes and slow traffic through the pueblo. Just when we came to the far end of town where the roads connected a pickup truck full of police came flying out of that road and stopped in front of us. Suddenly out of nowhere another pickup full of uniformed police pulled up behind us to block us in. They all jumped out – guns at the ready. We were surrounded by at least a dozen heavily armed police closing in on us. Hmmm, what the? I figured it would be a good time to turn off the bike and lift my visor. I left my helmet on and started answering rapid fire questions the best I could in Spanish. Since our helmet radios were connected I could hear Deby doing the same and hearing both conversations added to the confusion.
Basically, they couldn’t believe a couple of tourists would be going down this back road in the mountains of Chiapas. Why were we there? Where were we going? The seemed suspicious but I think they believed my story that we wanted to go to the magic city of San Cristobol and were re-routed to their village because the road was washed out. Eventually after discussing it with themselves they told us to follow them. Oh great…. where. The police station? Some remote location where we would never be heard from again? I was wondering if my satellite tracker was turned on in my trunk, it was. Well, eventually someone would follow the signal and look for us. I hoped. The drove ever so slowly through the remaining part of town escorting us down the road. It was so slow we were constantly slipping our clutches hoping they would speed it up a little. Finally, at the edge of town they pulled over and waved us by. Ha, it was just an escort out of town. Not sure what that was all about we waved as we gassed it and flew back into the mountains. Whew… i think.
The road north took us back to Villahermosa, the place where we went to visit the big heads in the rain. We decided to stay there since we sort of knew the city and had a hotel in mind. Before we got there we were pulled over twice more at road blocks and one time they wanted to see our passports and tourist visas. That was a first for the whole trip. Eight hours and 190 miles later we were safely checked into our hotel for the night.
Ok, that was it. We were tired of mountains, rain, cold, mud and ready for sun and warm. Someone along they way told us about a place on the pacific side called Puerto Arista. I typed it into Google maps and it said 186 miles in about five and a half hours. We were soon on our way.
I typed our destination into Booking.com and glanced at a few places and had a short consultation with Deby. It took about 5 minutes to pick a place and we just hoped for the best….
Ha, when we got there and I looked at the directions I saw this dotted line from the road to Entremares resort. They don’t have a website but you can find them on Facebook or booking.com or click here to find out more: https://www.sniffhotels.com/mx/en/hotel/entremares
Did I miss something? We were on an island? How would that work with two fully loaded motorcycles? Well, here is how it works. First you park at this guy’s house where his family will care for the motorcycles while we are gone. This young family I don’t think has an affiliation with the hotel, they are just a parking service.
Then he loads your stuff into a bicycle cart with his two young children helping.
They took us to the boat launch.
Where another guy picks us up in a boat and takes us across the channel.
When we get there another guy comes with a wheelbarrow and hauls our stuff to our cabin.
We sleep in a tent like structure under the mosquito netting while being lulled to sleep by the sound of the surf.
Wake up to a beautiful view.
There were a few rules posted in the tent.
Get angry very little
Shout only with joy
No food inside the cabin
Smile every day
Cry only with emotion
Exclusive use towels for showers
Respect hours of rest
They even had a nice restaurant on the beach…
We could have stayed longer… and almost did but the pull of heading home was starting to get to us. Way too soon we were back on the boat heading to the mainland. When we arrived the little kid was waiting for us all alone with the cart. We loaded our stuff and helped him push it up the hill back to his house.
The kids took turns sitting on the motorcycles as we got loaded up.
But wait, something was wrong with the bikes when we got back. I looked and looked, that was different??? Oh… I couldn’t believe it, they were clean!! Not just clean but really clean! Wow, I thanked the dad and could just imagine the whole family taking the time to scrub off all the road grime of the last few thousand miles. Needless to say we gave them a good tip. Totally unexpected from this young family just eeking out a living in this remote part of Mexico. We were seriously sad to leave and grateful for their hospitality.
The next day it was hot hard narrow road riding along the Pacific Coast back to the city of Puerto Escondido. Eight hours 313 miles and did I mention it was HOT? Then it started to rain and so it was hot AND wet. It was a tough ride. We arrived in town without a reservation and just pulled into the same hotel we had been to twice before like we owned the place. We talked to the same guy at the desk and soon we had a room and were on the beach. We had dinner at the same place with the green LED lights and watched the last of the storm over the Pacific ocean.
The sky and green lights combined for some nice pictures and a relaxing end to a hard day of riding.
Ok, the heck with it. We were tired and not sure where we were going next so I went to the front desk and asked for a second night. We took a day off from our vacation and spent it on the beach catching up on sun and reading. The Wifi at the hotel was almost non existent and the cell signal was weak so we were forced to relax… ahhhh.
By now we were looking at routes north. The shortest direction was really to follow the coast but it was hot hot hot in the 90’s and muggy. We geared up and made another hot ride almost as far as Acapulco and found a beach stay just outside of town at the Mishol Hotel and Beach Club: https://mishol.com/. Ohhh, sounds fancy… and it was rather nice. I took this nice picture from the pool.
This place actually had rather fast internet so I convinced Deby we should stay an extra night so I could upload some pictures and get caught up on my blog. She would only agree if it was ok if she sat by the pool reading while I worked. Hmmm, I suppose…
Next, another hot day riding. I felt like we were on a mission – ride – rinse – repeat. Hot and muggy. We packed it in and the next logical destination along the coast was Zihuatanejo, a city we stopped at on the way down. We arrive early enough to jump in the pool to cool off and then go for a walk on the beach. We didn’t have time last time to check out the beach and were really impressed this time. They have a wonderful beach with a fantastic malecon to walk along into the main part of town.
It’s on a nice secluded bay. In the morning we walked to the marina where the fishing boats were coming in with their catches.
They were getting cleaned right there and the buyers for the local restaurants were lined up getting their purchases in for the day.
Cats were everywhere waiting for scraps, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.
It was getting hot and muggy again and we decided to cut our walk short and get back on the bikes. This time we decided to make a change from following the Pacific coast home and pointed back into the cooler mountains. I was thinking about my nearly bald back tire and decided to return to visit our friend Beto at Moto Llantas Michoacan in Quiroga. I messaged him using WhatsApp and he had a tire ready to go.
We spent the night back in Patzcuaro at what was by now one of our favorite hotels, Hotel Casa Encantada. It was cooler at 7,000 feet and we dug out our jackets and went for a walk around town on Sunday evening. The market was just closing up when we got there. Deby took this picture and posted it on her Instagram page…. I think it grossed out almost everyone but at most Mexican markets this would be a normal thing…
Lots of colorful fruit and vegetables.
And these things…. I’m pretty sure was fried pork skin. A popular thing down here.
Hmmm, speaking of fried skin… we finally had to leave and get to Beto’s place for some new tires.
Before we knew it Beto’s crew had two new TKC70s mounted and we were back on our way.
We had one more stop on our list that I didn’t think we would make it to. We checked the map and sure enough it was on our way…. Tequila!
Yes, that is the name of the city and yes because of the drink. Tequila is a town in the state of Jalisco and is known as the birthplace of the famous spirit. It is located near the foot of the Tequila Volcano and the outskirts of town are dotted with fields of blue agave, the liquor’s main ingredient. We arrive in time to visit the national Tequila museum and then tour the Destilería La Rojeña de José Cuervo, the original factory for Jose Cuervo tequila. We learned the whole tequila making process buy touring this functioning factory. Here are the agave plant bulbs that are the raw materials getting ready to be loaded in a crusher.
We saw the whole process which I won’t describe here but it was a worthwhile tour.
Big copper vats… always a hit with Deby.
You could smell the tequila everywhere. Not just in the factory which was in the middle of town but literally, the whole town smelled like tequila.
At the end of the tour was, of course, a tasting. We went light on the samples before moving out into town to walk around some more. It’s a great historical city to explore.
Kind of a cool statue to the tequila workers.
Lots of referrences to El Borrancho or La Borracha (The drunks).
There was even live music and dancing in the streets with this family band. Fun stuff.
Ahhh, but finally it was time to move on. We looked at our logical route and the best bet was back to the coast – Mazatlan.
Dropping out of the mountains we knew it would be hot so we started the day in mesh jackets and weren’t disappointed. Soon we were back into the hot (90’s) and humid weather. We hardly stopped except for gas and beelined it to a nice beach resort right in the heart of town. We didn’t care… as soon as possible we were checked into our room with the bikes parked and soon we jumped in the pool to cool off. Ahhhh, can we stay another night I asked the front desk person still dripping wet in my swim suit? Sure….
So that’s where we are. Fast internet means I can upload photos and get a blog post uploaded. This seems like it was a long one. I thought it would be short but then kept remembering oh yea.. and that… what about…. and soon it’s all these words. Blah, blah, blah. From here it’s north.. seriously, I think we’ll be across the border in a few days and I can wrap up this series of blog posts until the next adventure.
As usual, thanks for following. It’s been a ton of fun to share our travels once again. Remember if you really want to know you can follow our real-time location by clicking HERE.
Donn and Deby