Thursday, March 26, 2009

The long Haul to Sayulita

One last sunset in Acapulco before I head off on another huge leg of the trip. Heres the plan. Im in Acapulco at the moment and the next stage is from Acapulco to Sayulita. Sayulita is a small surf town about 35 kilometers north of Puerto Vallarta. The next stage of the trip is a HUGE one maybe even bigger than the Guatemala City to Puerto Escondido trip. So here we go...

3/17 Acapulco - San Luis San Pedro 150 k

3/18 San Luis San Pedro - Zihuatanjo 110k

3/19 Zihuatanjo - Playa Azul 124k

3/20 Playa Azul - Maurata 122k

3/21 Maurata - Manzanillo 176k

3/22 Manzanillo - Tiny beach town near Morelos 131k

3/23 Morelos - Puerto Vallarta 122k

3/24 Puerto Vallarta - Sayulita 35k

The first day out was no problem. Check out the shoulder in this picture. Awesome! The road was nice and the scenery was perfect. Tons of coconut plantations and the mountains were off in the distance.

This was totally crazy! I was just crusing down the freeway when I swore I saw a freakin Bengal Tiger. Yup! Check it out! Lion, tiger, bears, and even a small monkey cage!

The road on this stretch started to get super close to the ocean. Theres a stretch of about 250 kilometers that hugs the pacific coast. These days are really the best. When the scenery is good nothing else really matters. I find that Ive been doing a lot of singin these days. Weather is perfect, good music on the IPOD...let it rip!


Check it out...Zihuatanjo. The funniest thing happened the night before. Shawshank Redemtion was on TV. I love that movie. This is the town where they dissapear to. ¨Hope Red....I hoe to see you in Zihuatanjo. Because hope is all we got!¨

Great little town with cobblestone streets, resturants, cafes and tons of taco stands. I was hoping to meet a few people here but Mexico is dead. There are no tourists here at all. The economy crunch plus the travel warnings have seriously kept people out.

Perfect sunset in Zihuatanjo. I had a few minutes to walk along the beach and just relax!

This was a nasty sight. Big ol factory off in the distance. I stopped in this little town that serviced all the factory workers. A few of the workers were super curious about my travels. I heard a few of them say, ¨loco gringo¨ under their breath...nothing new fellas!

Playa Azul was a nice break. I found this camp site but this place was super hot! I couldnt really get the tent together in the intense sun so I opted for a cooler room near the beach. These little beach towns are perfect. Usually they have a few resturants on the beach, cheep beer and a laid back vibe.

Time to relax a bit after a 124 kilometer day....

The road from Playa Azul to Maurate was one of the most amazing days of the trip. The road followed the coast the entire day. The spirts were high, the bike was running great and everyone that passed by was super cool. Were their hills??? Ohhh ya...but that didnt seem to matter because the views were perfect. One day I hope to come back to this stretch of land. Theres a ton of hidden beaches everywhere. Most of the beaches litterally only have 1 little shrimp shack and nothing else.

There was also a good omen this morning. I was cruising along the road with not a person in sight when I saw this impressive Eagle sitting in the middle of the road. He was looking the other way. I stopped peddaling and let my momentum catch up. When I was about a meter away he finally heard me and started flaping his wings as hard as possible. He got a slow start and at one point I got right next to him and we started to race down the road. It was amazing. Finally he headed up and out but it was a cool moment.

Sweaty after an hour climb!

Amazing little beaches. There also no problem with pulling into these places and setting up camp.
The view was amazing and worth the climb. For about 50 kilometers it was 4 or 5 kilometers up and then down. You get the instant reward of climbing the hill but it was a tuf workout.

Ya baby!

After 122 kilometers of some of the best road Ive seen I finally made it to Maurate. A beautiful little beach tucked a few kilometers from the main road.

When I got into the beach there was a group of about 10 people my age. They were camping and volunteering on the next beach over. They were there to Save the Sea Turtles. Super cool people with some amazing stories. Later that night I was hanging out with a few new friends, one of them a volunteer at the other beach, when the owner of the resturant came running over. Apparently a few months back one of the sea turtles laid some eggs right next door and that night the babies were hatching. They were having some trouble finding the ocean so we had an opportunity to help. They are precious little creatures!

So tiny!

ya, they tickle in your hand!

Happy Birthday to me! Nothing like a little yoga on the beach at sunrise on my birthday. The sunrise was amazing.

Rasing the sun rising over the hill.

My birthday was perfect. I had planned to go about 150 kilometers this day. The first half of the day followed the ocean. Heres a cool picture after an hour climb to the top of this giant hill!

From the ocean to the coconut plantations. The day was very diverse.

So I decided to bypass my destination at the 150 kilometer mark and keep pushing forward. I felt great, Ceasar was running in top shape, it was my birthday and I wanted to see what these old 29 year old legs could do. It was a TOTAL RUSH when I passed the turnoff for the 150 kiometer stop. I knew that everyhting had to run perfectly or I would get caught in the dark. Plus this was going to be my biggest day of the trip. 176 kilometers. Why not? I wanted to get to Manzanillo because I heard some cool things. Maybe...just maybe...if the legs are up to hit I could hit a club or something and do a bit of dancing. That would be amazing!

The last 30 kilometers was a beautiful paved autopista with a wide shoulder. I was getting super tired and really needed a pick-me-up. Right about that time I saw a ton of kids linning up along the freeway. They were doing a Passing of the torch relay from Mexico City to Manzanillo in honor of a passed away Mexican President. I was right in the middle of their race. They were so excited to me rolling down the street. So I decided to give the kids high 5´s for 25 kilometers. That was the perfect pick-me-up.

After that this giant truck pulls up next to me and slowly rolls down the window. This happens every few days. Usually its a tourist trying to get a better look or someone has a question or wants to take a picture. This time this guy starts asking me how many kilometers I rode this day, where I was going and where I started. It turns out that this guy leads bike trip from Mexico City to Cusco, Peru. They have a crew and everything. It takes the group around 110 days. Crazy! Sounds like fun. Anyway...after I told him that it was my biggest day at 175 kilometers and my birthday him and his crew start hooking me up with water, fruit, gatorades and everyhting. I sure needed it because the blood sugar was starting to get real low! Thanks guys!
A few beautiful lakes surround Manzanillo.
Thats a joke...right?

There it is!

Mazanillo to this tiny beach was a wild day. The day started of with a cool, nice, flat road then it got scary hilly. After a tiresome ride I found this super small shrimp shack on the side of the road. I decided to get a drink and take a look at the map. The next town was at least 30 kilometers away. I was exhauste and it was starting to get a bit late. The lady told me that if I went back up the road to the dirt road and under the bridge I would find a small little beach with a resturant. Well...why not? After pushing Ceasar through the sand and dirt and through somehting that resembled a swamp I saw this gringo chick walking down the street. Now this was a bit odd...I was in the middle of nowhere and this beach wasnt on my map or in the Lonely Planet. Anyway there was this wild group of hippies camped on a different beach. She invited me over but I think by the looks of her swagger they were having a bit too much fun. I passed and then found this magical little spot.

Sunset in Manzanillo. Perfect on my birthday.

This is a good one. So I pull into my hotel in Manzanillo and see this couple watching the sunset on the other side of the pool area. Ya...the place had a pool...I had to upgrade for the B day. Anyway...we all start talking and sharing stories when Darryl tells me he has a mountain bike with him.

Side note...Im trying desperatly to get someone to join me spontanously on this ride. Maybe this is it.

I tell Darryl that he shuold join me. I tell him stories about how beautiful Baja is and how it would help the kids. He likes the idea but I dont think he wife was into it as much. Anyway...before Darryl and his wife take off I try one last ditch effort. I tell him to meet me along the road at about 7.30am. I tell him to look for the Tank on 2 wheels. I kinda forgot about that last part of the conversation and head off for a nightclub in town. No nightclub so off to bed.

So the next morning rolls around and Im cruising down the road that follows the beach. I see a break in the hotels and resturants that gives off to a great view of the bay in Manzanillo. I go over to take a picture. When I slow down I hear someone calling my name. WHAT THE HECK?? It startled me and it took a second to register but there Darrly was...all ready to go with his bike! Amazing!

So here we are. I got a teamate for the day. Darryl even spells me on the big bike and I get his mountain bike. We ride for about 40 kilometers or so. Have an amazing lunch. Pass a few stories back and forth. What an amazing surprise. It was so nice to get a break from the bike but mostly it was such an energizing feeling to ride with another person. Literally for the entire day and the net day I thought about how cool that was and how awesome the ride was. It really helped me get my mind off the road. Thanks Darryl!!!

Here is that dirt road that led to that little hidden beach.

The little beach.

When I pulled into the beach I was blown away because it was so beautiful. It was this little tiny cove tucked away. On the right was this rocky little hill. When the sunset it lit up all the cacti that were perched on top the hill. On top of that I was able to make a few new friends. I met this Mexican family from Guadaljara. The guy was a doctor and he was with his wife and family. They made sure I got a good meal...some homemade ceviche and made sure I had a cold Modelo at all times. He said he saw me about 4 hours back and was curious because I looked like a grino but my shirt had EL SALVADOR on the back. Im sure he was a bit confussed. Either way it made for a nice afternoon.

This is typical. So I see this sign for Vallarta 113. Then I go about 30 kilometers and see another Vallarata sign for 75 kilometers. Then I go another 25 kilometers at least and see another Vallarata sing that say 72 kilometers. That really can kill the mood!

Its been about 7 days of long and hard riding. Im exhausted so I went for a bit of a pick me up. Almost to Vallarta!

The ride to PV was a hard one. I had a 30 kilometer climb. I got so high that the weather and the scenery totally changed. The plant life was completely different!

It was like being back in the jungle.

Im so ready to get off this bike!

In all honesty this picture isnt the best but IM soooo excited here you have no idea! It was also after a 28 kilometer down hill ride. The views were perfect for the end of the day.

PV is a super cool town. Good food. Fun tourists looking for a wild night out. Some cool museums and some beautiful churches.

Another pic from Vallarta.

ya baby!

Puerto Vallarta was cool but the pay day came when I got to Sayulita. I finally made it after 8 days of riding. I busted my butt to get here. Orginally I wanted to take 2 days off in each of these towns...Escondido, Acapulco and Vallarta and then get to Sayulita. Instead I took 1 day in Escondido, 1 day in Acapulco and a half day in Vallarta. Now Im going to chill for 2 days. This is going to be fun.

Looking at my map when I was hanging on the beach I realized that I came so far. Im really blow away. Only a few weeks ago I was biting my nails in Guatemala completly tripping about how I was going to do this. I got together a good routine. I started waking up a bit early, I stayed positive and now here I am. AMAZING! I ready for a few days off.

Have you been to Mexico? I think the first spanish I learned was Una mas cervez, por favor! Still comes in handy.

Sayulita is famous for its fish tacos, perfect surf and paradise beach. The town is completly grigofied but thats ok by me. Hopefully I can meet a few people here.

I dont know if its the fact that I rode my bike here and I have a sense of accomplishment when I sit on the beach but...I LOVE THIS PLACE! Seriously...Ive been to about 40 countries and I love it here. The beach is social, the food is great, the weather is perfect, the people are nice. I LOVE IT HERE!

So Here is the story of Omar...the dude on my right. I first met Omar in Panama. He was driving down with an Australian buddy and 2 other Australian girls. When the 4 of them got to Panama the girls took off for Colombia and the guys decided to drive back up to Mexico. BUT as it turned out the girls got on the airplane with all the documentation for the car. So Omar and his Aussie buddy were stuck in Panama at Lunas Castle hostel. We hung out a few times, passed some stories back and forth and that was it. He told me before I left to stop in Sayulita if I had a chance.
About a week later Mike and I are in the Purple House Hostel in David, Panama. The next day Mike is headed back to Panama and I was off to Costa Rica. Guess what...Omar pops into the hostel. They finally got the papers sorted and now they we headed back to Mexico. We hung for a night and the next day I was outta there.
About 10 days goes by and Im cruising along a back road in Costa Rica. Im standing over my bike because I had a flat tire or something when I see this Jeep fly down the road with music playing and a couple of girls in the back. That was odd because I was in a seriously remote area. The Jeep hits a U turn and I realize that its Omar, his Aussie buddy and a new gagle of ladies in the back. That was a wild turn. So they are headed to the beach and offer a ride but I was headed the oposite direction. I never met any of the other people but I actually radom bumped into one of the girls, Kara, who was in the back of the truck in Arenal, Costa Rica. Crazy small world!
So here I am in Sayulita and I make it my mission to find the guy. I meet Elliot, hes in the picture on my left and we go searching for the infamous Omar. I decided to find the guy the old fashion way. No calling, no email, no address, no facebook...I ask around! After going into a hotel, a bar and a resturant Elliot and I start treking down the beach and there he was...Omar! Hes walking away to this camp site or something as Im yelling his name down the beach. He sees me but of course doesnt recognize me because of the beard and the randomness of the situation. He stops, turns and starts to walk away. I think Elliot was thinking...sure know that guy? I yell out his name again and Omar throws up a big smile and says, THE BIKE GUY! Hell ya...anyway it was time to reconnect and have a bit of fun.
Met up with some cool ladies from San Francisco! Hell ya...

Peace, Power and Pedal


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