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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!