Side note: We really do eat tacos every day. Sometimes twice or thrice.
|School books, back packs, homework and tequila.|
|Refer to previous photo.|
|Atley's Mexican parents|
|Bernardo, National champion 1978 and still wearing the same pants.|
|Who wants donuts.|
Ferg accepted the invitation from his host Dad to go to the Mexican rodeo, called Chariado. Staged in a small indoor amphitheatre, various horse and bull roping events take place before a heavily-moustachioed, all-Mexican crowd, eagerly anticipating the release of the next beast. It wasn’t until Ferg’s host dad’s arrival into the arena was announced over the loud speaker that he learned that his host dad was not just another crazed fanatic, living and breathing the Chariado, but a 5 time State and one time National champion! In the arena, style is worth just as much as roping a beast to the ground, so the lavishly dressed cowboys work the crowd with ease. A pleased crowd are happy to throw hats, shoes, boots, glasses, scarves, wallets, purses and even the child sitting next to them, onto the arena, in order to have their Chariado hero reward them with a smile.
|Looking for that elusive rattle...|
|Field trips in Guadalajara|
|Ferg's bike on departure day in Guadalajara.|
|Just another big headed Mexican...|
There’s nothing more exciting than being on a motorbike trip in a remote part of another country, like the Baja Peninsula, until someone says, “Hey Ferg, there’s oil dripping out of your engine.” Then you get that fearful rushing thought, “Which bit’s the engine?” Luckily we know the mechanic stuff, and put a big bit of tape over it until we could get it to a Mexican mechanic in Guadalajara. But it’s strange how time flies, and suddenly it was a few days until we were due to leave the city, and the mechanic guy was just getting started! Ever the optimist, Ferg was confident in the word of his Mexican, and strutted boldly up to the workshop to collect the bike on the morning we were due to leave, to find it closed. When he went to next day, the bike was still in pieces, awaiting the go-ahead to replace valve stem seals and machine valve seats. With the go-ahead given, we sat back to enjoy some school-free days in Guadalajara, only for me to get sick! Perfect timing. Someone or thing did not want us to leave GDL in a hurry, and with a variety of social engagements to fill our non-sick and not-waiting-on-motorbikes-anymore moments, it was a week before we rolled out of the city.
|On walkabout on the streets of Sayulita|
In the mean time Atley was waiting on neither motorbike nor illness, but rather was BEING waited for by his girlfriend, The Wendy, in the wrinkly town of Puerto Vallarta. He spent the week with her there, then we all met up in the small beachside town of Sayulita. There we stayed at another great hostel, only to randomly bump into our Aussie friend Lewis, who we’d been in Spanish school with a few weeks earlier. He slotted into our crew nicely and we spent some fun days having a relaxing beachside holiday, a well deserved break from our hectic social and language-learning schedule in Guadalajara.
|Taco time in Sayulita! Hi Phil!|
|The beast conquering the climbing wall at the hostel|
|Mexican support crew|
|At the Gay bar, gay bar, gay bar......|
|Mojito production line|
|Mexican Pacific coast. Get it up ya.|
Travelling down the Pacific coast from Puerto Vallarta was terrifically scenic. The twisty coast road passes endless beaches, coves, islands, rock formations, taco stands and staring locals. We stopped at a lovely beach on the first afternoon with intentions to briefly rest, but after chatting with locals, were invited to sleep under a huge grass hut that was in the process of being turned into a restaurant. I spent my first night sleeping in my hammock, and loved waking up to the crashing ocean 50 meters away. We rode the coast all the next day, then again pitched our tents on the beach, until we were awakened at 4am by an excited local who wanted to show us the huge sea turtle laying eggs right near Atley’s tent. In a sleepy haze I turned on my head lamp, but it scared the turtle into aborting the birthing scene, and it began crawling back towards the ocean. The local guy wasn’t happy with this, so after plopping the turtle back in its intended birthing arena with no success multiple times, he hoisted the flapping beast over his head and ran off down the beach with it, never to be seen again. Had The Marks not confirmed all this actually happening, I would have thought it all another sweaty Mexican dream.
|Hammocking by the ocean|
Leaving the beautiful Pacific coast of central Mexico and heading inland is now officially inscribed in our Book of Good Ideas, and presented us with yet more Quality Motorbiking Moments, proudly brought to you by Kawasaki. We speak often of our endless search for more twisty and windy roads, as they’re so enjoyable on the bikes, but Mexico has proven that you CAN have too much bacon. Hundreds of kilometres of endless curves, mountain passes, cliff edge roads with distracting views and no-place-to-rest-because-Mexicans-don’t-get-tired-so-keep-riding roads. The day we left the coast saw us go from sea level, literally into the clouds at 1900 meters, then back to 400 meters in an ear-popping, brake-burning, footpeg-scraping bonanza! We dodged at least 50 separate groups of cows, donkeys, dogs, chickens, goats, horses, children, old people, road workers, enormous spiders and smiling Dual Sport Supporters happily waving, all enjoying wandering around on the road. I even saw an animal run out in front of me that I am still unable to identify - it was like a monkey crossed with a cat and I didn’t like it. At lunch time I looked out from the restaurant to see a horse being chased down the highway by three small dogs. No one else saw, but I’m telling you I saw it, and it looked funny.
|Free public beach camping|
|Free sea turtle|
|Mountain views from the side of the road|
|Mountain roads from the side of the view|
|Getting ready for some cloud riding|
|Taxco's San Cristobal|
Once we entered Taxco, where we are now, and saw the beautiful scene of houses crammed on top of one another, going right up the mountain side, we decided we’d stay here for the Day of the Dead celebrations and to watch the mountain bike race. While sitting at the bottom of a section of 100 or more stairs that the racers ride down, Ferg and I witnessed a rider lose control, cartwheel down the last 20 stairs, break his arm, femur and horribly dislocate his ankle, to the screams and cheers of heartless, blood-thirsty Mexican children. The remaining riders were highly skilled, and made the massive jumps, ramps, stair sections and narrow roads look effortless.
|Our hotel in Taxco|
|Mountains made of houses|
|Day of the dead|
A couple of nights ago we went out for a few beers at the pub and got chatting with some interesting locals. They offered to take us for a ride on their four wheel motorbikes, which seemed like a wonderful idea at the time. When we got to the bikes it turned out one was actually a scooter, the rear seat of which was allocated to be my riding position. Once on the road the riding pace quickened, until we were tearing through the city streets, at a pace to frighten even the most seasoned Dual Sporter. Sure enough a wet corner was our undoing, and the hefty female operator slammed the scooter to the cobblestones, with my wrist and knee taking the brunt of our fall. I write this now with a bandaged, but healing wrist, and yet more lessons learned about 2 wheeled vehicle travel. Needless to say I’m currently on a self-imposed motorbike restriction, so our time in Taxco has been extended until I can squeeze a motorbike clutch comfortably. The silver lining is that we’ve finally had time to getting around to spending a couple of days polishing up this blog post for all our screaming fans.
|Those Mayans ruin everything|
|The Mayan emperor surveying his lands.|
|Beers with a view|
|Taxco downhill mountainbike course|
|Structural load testing, Mexican style|