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Introduction

WEEK 3 – MAZATLAN TO MEXICO CITY (TOLUCA) About 2,500 Miles Traveled

WEEK 3 – MAZATLAN TO MEXICO CITY (TOLUCA) About 2,500 Miles Traveled

Another amazing week traveling through Mexico, despite a recent incident in which landed me here at the lovely Crowne Plaza (although I won’t get ahead of myself just yet). Let me pick up where I left off- from the Ferry boat on my way to Mazatlan. Luckily, I had met a group of bicyclists who were on their way to Brazil to following their instructor to study Brazilian martial arts- that combines dance and martial arts. Probably one of the most amazing things was this young man that had hurt his leg and yet figured out a way to pedal his bicycle with a stick. I told him that he would serve as an inspiration later on (At the time, I didn’t realize this inspiration would come sooner than I had expected for me). The ferry was quite arduous and literally provided no comfortable place to sleep, as all of the sleeper cabins were sold out. I felt the need to protect my things and literally strapped my bag on to myself. I went up to the top of the ferry deck and set up a place to sleep. The rain and the wind were too much for me to bare, so I decidedly struck up conversations with fellow travelers (truck drivers) to pick their brains on which road was best and which areas were the safest. Coincidentally, as I am writing this, I am roughly 20 miles from two areas they warned me to stay away from.

Randy's bike outside the Ferry before boarding
Randy’s bike outside the Ferry before boarding

Mazatlan was beautiful and provided a few days of rest and relaxation on the beach for me to catch up on sleep. Also, I was able to test out my new Lasik eyes swimming for the first time- I think unless you have been blind it’s hard to understand the difference in being able to see after surgery! I was amazed how few English speaking tourists there were and how many police were on the streets. The media has really scared away American Tourists, and I believe has given Mexico a name that it is not. When leaving for this trip, I had decided to make it a rule to assume the best in people I meet along the way yet still have some level of caution if they prove otherwise. This has allowed me to experience everyone I have met in such a better light- it’s so much better than being constantly on guard and fearing everyone in Mexico is out to get me.

Randy on the Ferry Boat
Randy on the Ferry Boat

As my stay in Mazatlan came to a close, I packed up and headed off to Guadalajara- roughly 300 miles away. I didn’t quite make it the whole way and decided to stop in a little town that you may have heard of- Tequila Mexico. Yes, this is where tequila was founded and where a lot of the tequila is still manufactured. I felt it imperative to do some detailed research and have some hands-on experience at the factories. And- what do you know- there was a festival going on with a ton of people walking around enjoying all the music and attractions. I did notice that no one seemed to be from out of the area, and I was the only blonde in town. I stayed and toured the Sauza factory, and I can tell you I will now only drink Anejo!

The Sauza Plant that Randy toured
The Sauza Plant that Randy toured

After the tour (and a sip of 140 proof tequila) I was back on my way to Guadalajara. I couldn’t help but think how similar all of the rolling agricultural fields looked to home. I checked into a historic hotel called Hotel Morales, a few hundred years old but recently remodeled. I decided to wander around after checking in without my GPS, imagine that: A few errands it would have taken me only about 45 minutes to do back home, ended up taking me the entire day. However I did get to utilize my Spanish and ask roughly 40 people for directions. Word of advice: Don’t walk 5 blocks in Guadalajara without a great map or GPS.

The Tequila Festival in Tequila, MX
The Tequila Festival in Tequila, MX

Although I really wanted to stay another day in Guadalajara, the hotel was completely sold out. I figured since I was packed (which seems to take over at an hour no matter what I do) I would head off to little town south of Mexico City for my first orphanage stop. Fortunately, the rain that day provided me a great opportunity for me to try out on my raingear- how’s that for positive spin- versus saying “oh my god it’s raining and I’m on a motorcycle.” It’s funny, a few times I had pulled over to check my bags, and at one stop a truck with four men also stopped… to help me? I must admit, I was a bit on edge and gave them an immediate “thumbs up”, thinking they would move on. I had to laugh at myself once I realized they were stopping in to the overpass to also check their belongings in the back of their truck.

I made it to a little town and searched for over an hour for a place to stay, as well as safe enough to park my motorcycle overnight. I found the Eco Motel in which provided a closed-secure garage for my bike. The next morning, I had discovered a young man cleaning my bike.

The guy that Randy found washing his Bike outside the Eco Motel
The guy that Randy found washing his Bike outside the Eco Motel

It’s so funny how the day before I thought, “hey if I don’t wash my bike, maybe it won’t get so much attention. One thing I’ve learned is when you’re traveling…. you gotta just roll with the punches.

I pulled up to the toll booth on a slanted hill, and when I reach to grab the ticket I lost my balance and the bike fell. There I was- on the freeway on ramp- with my bike on its side with no help in sight. I decided I must try and lift it myself…it was at this moment my leg gave out and I felt a massive amount of pain around my foot. A couple of guys stopped to help me lift the bike and get back on. The realization hit me that I was one hundred miles away from any major town I needed to be in, with one leg I couldn’t walk on. I decided that I would loosen my boot up put on some music and drive a couple hundred miles. I checked into the best hotel I could find- so here I am at the Crowne Plaza in Toluca, MX. In fact, this hotel has been the best stay of the whole trip thus far- even though I’ve been icing my leg the whole time.

I’ll be arriving in Miacatlan, Morelos Mexico tomorrow in the afternoon for my first orphanage visit. I will be there throughout the weekend as they have kindly arranged a stay for me there. I’ll be certain to post photos from my visit this week on Facebook, as well as my blog.

Question of the week: How much do you think my bike and all my gear weighs, including me? Send me an email at [email protected] I will mail the winner a prize. FYI I had to weigh in before I got in the boat. Thanks for tuning in!