Yucatan Mayan Adventure: Trip Proposal

Day 1. Fly into Cancun (A) and take the bus to Playa del Carmen. Relax on the beach, or by the pool at hotel LunaSol.

Day 2: Pick up the motorcycle and ride down the coast to check out the ruins at Tulum (:

Then, in the afternoon, ride inland and check out the ruins at Coba (C):

In the late afternoon, refresh with a swim in the Dzitnup or Keken cenote just south of Valladolid:

After that head into the town of Valladolid for Margaritas. Stay in the boutique hotel El Meson del Marques. Be sure to sample the wine produced locally by the owners.

Day 3: Head out early to beat the tour buses to perhaps the greatest mayan ruins in existence: Chichen Itza (E)

Head to the Mayan-influenced city of Merida to enjoy a late lunch. I have been told by Mexicans that the food in Merida is worth a trip in itself. It is influenced by the local Mayan culture as well as the Caribbean, Middle East, and Europe. Let lunch turn into dinner and just keep on eating and sipping cocktails into the night. Turn in at the boutique hotel Cascadas de Merida.

Day 4: Head south to the jungle covered ruins of Uxmal (F):

Then continue deep into the Calakmul biosphere reserve. Spend the night at the Puerto Calakmul Eco-hotel.

Day 5: Perhaps the highlight of the trip. Ride the dirt road south through the jungle to the remote ruins of Calakmul (H).

After playing Indiana Jones all day, return to the eco-hotel for the night.

Day 6: Head out first thing in the morning to the Becan ruins (G). Then ride back to Playa del Carmen.  If time allows, there are plenty of great places along the Mayan Riviera to stop for a day or two along the way.

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Mexico Road King Adventure

I just got back from a week touring around Mexico on a rented Harley Davidson Roak King. This scenario came about when my bike was not allowed to cross into mainland Mexico because of a temporary vehicle import permit snaffu. I decided to salvage the trip by renting the Hog. I rented the bike from PV Cycles in Puerto Vallarta. From there I rode down the coast to Manzanillo. The next day I hit some spectacular coast roads on my way to the next stop: Zihuatanejo. I relaxed in beautiful Villa Carolina for a couple of days. Then it was time to hit the road again. I rode inland to Patzcuaro, a mountain village straight out of the 1500s. I stayed in a centuries-old building called Hotel Posada de la Basilica. In the morning I rode the shores of mist-shrouded Lake Patzcuaro. I stumbled across the ruins of the city of Ihuiatzio, which was the capital of the P’urhepecha kingdom from 1200-1530, although it had been settled since 900.

From there I rode through the mountains and rancheros to hook up with the main toll highway leading to Guadalajara from Mexico City.  It was wonderful to open up the throttle on the wide smooth 4-laned freeway. I managed to get the King up to 105 mph, but this was on a slight downgrade. The best I ever managed on the flat was 99 mph. I exited after a couple of hundred km so that I could ride the southern shore of Lake Chapala and around to the town of Chapala, where I spent my last night in Mexico. The ride along the south shore of Lake Chapala was a winner with great views of the lake and mountains. I stayed in an English B&B in Chapala that had a proper English garden in the inner courtyard. I also ate a proper English breakfast to set me off for my last day of riding from Chapala over the spectacular Sierra Madre to Puerto Vallarta.

A complete set of my Harley Mexico trip photos are posted on flickr.

Another Baja Adventure

I was lucky enough to spend a week riding in Baja California this past December. My bike had been in storage in San Diego and my plan was to cross into Mexico and ride down to La Paz and take the ferry over to Mazatlan on the mainland. My eventual plan was to ride to Cancun a week at a time.  However, after riding for days through the Baja, I ran into a bureaucratic nightmare involving temporary vehicle import permits when I got to La Paz. The bottom line is that I was told I had to go all the way back to Tijuana to get an old permit that expired in 2010 removed from the computer system before a new permit could be issued. A permit is required for mainland Mexico, but not for Baja California. Thus my DRZ400 will remain in storage in Los Barriles in Baja California for the time being.

Oh well it gives me an excuse to head back to Baja at some point in the future to retrieve my bike. I had an awesome time there yet again. I rode down to San Felipe on the sea of Cortez from San Diego. From there I headed for Ricardo’s Rice and Beans, the unofficial stopover of the Baja 1000. On this ride I hit rain, wind, and downright cold weather. It was only about 12 degrees Celcius in the mountains. I stopped at a roadside shack for shelter and was surprised that it was non-other than Coco’s Corner of “From Dusk to Glory” fame. Coco is a 77 year old man with both legs amputated below the knees who has been collecting memorabilia from the Baja 1000 race for decades. I signed his guest book and left him a piece of my motorcycle – my windscreen. It was irritating me always coming loose and now it has a happy home. Coco told me the rain I was sheltering from was the first rain in more than 2 years.

I eventually made my way to Loreto and then Los Barriles where I relaxed in the beautiful Palmas hotel located next to the beach. I ended up flying home from Los Cabos.


Above: Coco’s corner. It is really in the middle of nowhere. It is on a dusty dirt road south of Gonzaga bay.


Coco is 77 years old and he says he thinks he will only keep his place open another 10 years or so before he retires.


I was lucky enough to run into the first rain in 2 years to hit this part of the Baja.


The coastal ride into Los Barriles.


Hotel Palmas de Cortez.

For more photos, please see my complete Baja Adventure collection.

Swimming with the Whale Sharks in the sea of Cortez

 


This video was put together by Pepe Murrieta, a Naturalist Guide from Mexico who co founded Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. He got me onto a marine biologist expedition to photograph and GPS-tag the whale sharks off the coast of La Paz, Baja California. He had an underwater camera and caught some footage of me swimming with a “juvenile” whale shark, which is “only” about 7 metres long and weighs in at “measly” 7 tonnes. Adults can be more than 12 metres long and weigh more than 20 tonnes. The marine biologists explained that they have visually catalogued 250 separate animals, and that they know a lot of them by name as they come back year after year. Some are easily recognized by the scars and “boat hits” they have sustained. There were at least 15 different animals in the bay during our expedition, and I swam with almost all of them. Their mouths looked so huge that I wondered if they could swallow a human by mistake. At one point, with a huge gaping whale shark mouth approaching from one side and a “flock” of sting rays behind me, I admit I hyperventilated a little. But I have to say that this was one of the highlights of my life. It is right up there with coming face to face with a silverback mountain gorilla in Uganda and staring down and Elephant in Botswana. How many opportunities are there to be a couple feet away from an animal this big? Just don’t call them whales around marine biologists. They are fish. The world’s largest.