Slowing Down – Mexican Pacific Coast


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Note: Salty language ahead! You have been warned..

The last week has been very leisurely in terms of bike travel. After covering more than four thousand miles from Maryland to Mexico’s pacific coast, I’ve only travelled four hundred or so miles in the last week. This is partially because the roads down here are much slower to ride, but also because there are so many great beach towns where it’s too easy to stop and stay for a day or five.

After my mountain adventures from Durango, the first stop was Teacapan, on the recommendation of new friends in Mazatlan. Here I ran into the first long distance bikers of the trip so far. It was good to talk shop and compare notes with Christian & Birgit. They had flown from Germany to Calgary, bought a motorbike and were en-route to Argentina, like me. Hope to meet them again at some point down the road.

There’s not much going on in the town of Teacapan. There are no great beaches, no nightlife, and not many options for eating out. But the it was clean, quiet, the locals friendly, and the seafood tasty. Finally, the price was right for accommodations so I settled in for a couple of days.

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$18 a night gets you your own Mexican yurt

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Dining/Parking area

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Teacapan Seafront

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Teacapan Sunset

I whiled away a couple of days here not doing much. I checked out the nearby beach, worked on the blog but mostly just sat around the restaurant patio chewing the cud with the locals and helping the waitress with her English.

From Tecapan I moved on south down to San Blas. I meant to stay just two nights but quickly fell into the local expat scene so ended up here for four nights. Mostly I spent my time at the San Blas Social Club. It served great food, had friendly American and Mexican owners, and had a wide range of booze and clientele. There were a lot of Americans and Canadians spending the winter here so it was a convivial spot to hang out. I also found another bar where they kept a crocodile in a pen on the patio. Keeping a pet reptile in a drinking establishment might not sound like a great idea, but I was assured that it was no problem. The croc, whose name is Fluffy, is sixty seven, has few teeth, and is fed regularly, so I was assured it posed no danger to the patrons.

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The San Blas Social Club

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Fluffy the Crocodile

It was high time to get the bike serviced and I did just that  in San Blas. Oil change, brake pads and general cleanup only cost twenty seven dollars, including labor. A real bargain. The maintenance might cost a pittance but the cost of bikes in Mexico is astronomical. I have been asked several times in my travels here if the bike was for sale. I haven’t any intention of selling the bike but the just to see the reaction I asked for seven thousand dollars and each time the interested parties didn’t blink a the price. This got me curious so I checked the Suzuki Mexico website and saw that the same bike here costs a mind-numbing seventeen thousand dollars! No wonder my “poor traveller” act isn’t getting any sympathy round these parts…

Photo interlude: Around San Blas

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Hotel Rooftop – San Blas

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San Blas

I eventually tore myself away from San Blas and made it two hundred and fifty miles down the coast to Barra De Navidad. I’m following the Pan American Highway now, which technically leads all the way to Argentina. Highway might be too grand a name for the road, though. So far its been a narrow two lane road with potholes when you least expect it and a million speed bumps. Since the north of Mexico these speed bumps have increased in frequency and size. They serve as sort of traffic calming measures in the small towns and villages.The benefit on a motorbike is that you need to slow down a lot less for speed bumps than four wheeled traffic, so I can easily overtake cars and trucks even if I’m slowed down to fifteen mph. Some of the bumps are very severe though, and I don’t know how many times I’ve gone over them only to hear a grating KERTHUNK! .If there’s one accessory that has paid for itself it’s the bash plate I installed underneath the engine. So many times the bike has bottomed out with a clunk going over these speed bumps. It protects not only the exhaust, but the oil filter as well, so money well spent.

As difficult as the road is, the manners of most other road users is great. Other cars and truck drivers give plenty of space, and indicate when its safe to overtake, and I reciprocate if I’m being overtaken. There’s a sort of cooperation among road users you rarely see elsewhere. The bus drivers, on the other hand, are the worst I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how else to say it but they are fucking maniacs. Whenever I see a bus in the mirror , tense times are about to happen. It goes like this: No matter how fast I’m going they will try to overtake me, no matter if there’s a bend or blind crest looming ahead. First of all they hang about two feet off my tail light and then overtake me as close as possible without going into the oncoming lane.  Then after overtaking they pull in sharply a couple of feet in front of me. This happens regardless if the road is twisty or straight. As much as I hate it, it’s a clear case of might is right, so there’s nothing I can do about it really but just learn to anticipate and react better.

Temperatures and humidity have really increased over the last couple of days as I make my way into a more tropical landscape and climate. It is HOT. While on the bike at speed its tolerable, even with wearing all the heavy protective gear.I go through 5 litres of water a day on the road and am still parched , and have to drink a litre or two of water as soon as I stop for the day.

Anyway, I’m here in Barra De Navidad and enjoying the off season and deserted beaches. From here  I’ll head south along the coast along the Pan American towards Oaxaca and Chiapas. Or maybe I’ll go back up into the highlands for a few days and then cut down on to the coast again.  Or maybe I’ll take the day off again tomorrow and sit on the beach. Decision making is tough sometimes.

Photo interlude to sign off

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Puerto Vallarta

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Coastline Outside Puerto Vallarta

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Bad Self Portrait with Camera Timer Function

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Farmland on a Remote Section of the PanAmerican Highway

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Downtown Barra De Navidad

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Recent Hurricane Damage on the Beachfront

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Rehydrating

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An Outlying Beach. I Could Sit here all Day. In Fact, I Might do that tomorrow

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Barra De Navidad

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4 Responses to Slowing Down – Mexican Pacific Coast

  1. Doug says:

    The incredible travelogue continues! Great story – fantastic photos! As always, stay safe!

  2. Mary Cogan says:

    It really is another world! I’m really enjoying your insight into a world so far apart from lovely Listowel. I mentioned you today in my listowelconnection blog so you will a few more followers from now on.
    I don’t envy you the heat.

  3. Fr. Declan says:

    Conor! Well done. It is great for us here at home in your home town of Listowel to journey with you in mid November. These days are so dark with the days getting shorter that it is up-lifting for us to get an insight into a different culture and way of life and to realise that at the other side of the world there is light. Keep up the good work on the blog and enjoy the trip. Fr. Declan

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