After riding down the middle of Mexico, we felt that it was time to head to some water, the coast was a little far so we decided on Lake Chapala. We had to negotiate our way through or preferably around Guadalajara, Mexicos second city. We rode with Ruth and Merv and I was surprised how much more attention we attracted, being 3 bikes rather than 2.
By the time we had got through the city traffic good practice for when we head to the capital, it was getting late. It was a quick road to Chapala, apart from traffic congestion outside every cemetery, the dead it seemed were still being celebrated. The town had no inexpensive hotels with parking however, so we headed out toward Ajijic and found a campsite. Pitched our tent in the semi darkness and went to find food.
We awoke he next morning to the sound of rain on the tent, oh joy!! Now to decide, stay and get wet, or go and get wet. When Ruth came back from the bathrooms saying there was no water the decision was easier, we go. Ruth and Merv decided to stay and have a look at the town, so exchanged email addresses and agreed to meet up somewhere before crossing into Guatemala in a month or so.
It was a slow ride to Pátzcauro and very soggy. At a Pemex station, where we stopped for a warming cuppa, we met up with a group of Israelies, 2 riding enduros bought in the States and 3 driving one of those large American vans. Their ultimate destination also S. America. Needless to say all their kit was nice and dry inside their support vehicle. When we got to Pátzcauro and found a place to stay with the help of a friendly local, we filled our room with drying clothes and later our tent. I dont think the maid was too impressed.
It rained for 3 more days and so we stayed put, seeing the town in between the showers. One morning, we managed to go for a ride to a neighbouring village where the Day of the Dead celebrations are one of the largest in the country. Had a wander around the cemetery, where unfortunately the decorations had been a little spoiled by the rain. It still looked very colourful and judging by the debris strewn around, as if one huge party had taken place.
As soon as there was a break in the weather, we left for Angangueo, a small village up in the mountains. Its claim to fame being proximity to where the monarch butterflies come to spend the winter. The butterfly reserve was about 12km away, to Arnos delight along a dirt road, well dirt and mud thanks to the recent weather. We decided to take only the XT, a wise choice I felt, as I clung on while Arno flew around the steep curves and splashed through the mud.
I dont think he enjoyed seeing the butterflies half as much as the ride up and down.
Our next big adventure was the ride into Mexico City, most people thought we were crazy to go there. We had heard so many stories of traffic chaos, corrupt police, taxi kidnappings and pickpockets that we were beginning to have second thoughts. We had things that we wanted to do there however, so we planned to ride into the city early on a Sunday morning. Saturday evening we spent in Tula, cement factory capital of Mexico. From the top of the Toltec pyramid, a forest of smokestacks could be seen belching out goodness knows what into the atmosphere.
We left Tula as soon as it was light and headed to the capital, taking the Autopista at the first opportunity. It was expensive, U$5 each, but got us into the city limits by 8am. The traffic was not too heavy or crazy, in fact it reminded me of riding through Napoli, Italy. The worst drivers were taxi drivers, in their green and white volkswagen beetles. They seemed to delight in cutting you up, forcing you into the path of other traffic, veering unexpectedly left or right, or just sitting on your tail with just a few centimetres in between. We missed our turning towards the centre of town, so stopped for directions. Were soon back on track and amazingly enough, I could remember enough of the city from my last visit in 1998, to get us to Plaza de la Revolución, just around the corner from the hostel. Unfortunately the roads around the plaza were all blocked off by the police. We stopped and asked what was going on and whether we could pass. After the usual questions, we were let through and no money changed hands!! By 9am we were settled in the hostel, bikes parked safely drinking a cuppa. So much for the hair-raising ride we were expecting!!
Posted by Sian Mackenzie at November 15, 2002 01:21 AM GMT
Next HU Events
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- Greece: June 5-8
- Bulgaria Mini: June 13-14
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- Montenegro: June 26-29
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!
Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!