Monday, December 11, 2017

Pushin' On - 2 December 2017

2 December 2017 – I got up early to leave Las Varas, Mexico. I wanted to get some kilometers under my belt. I was ready to leave by 8:00 a.m. but it seemed like nothing was moving. No hotel staff was present. Come to find out I was right on the edge of a time zone. My cell phone was saying it was 8 o’clock and the local time was 7:00 a.m. This hotel took security seriously. All the windows were covered with expanded sheet metal screens, all the vents for the bathrooms and showers had bars bolted in, the walls going around the hotel had shards of glass embedded in the concrete and the entrance to the hotel had a 12 foot / 4-meter-high gate that was open and closed with a garage door opener. The gate closed at 1:00 a.m. in the morning and did not opened till 7:00 a.m. I asked the lady who operated the hotel about the gate and she said it was put there so she could sleep better. It was a nice clean place and reasonable. I paid the cleaning lady for washing my clothes and left.

As I drove out of town there was a semi-truck laying on its side. It happened during the night. The driver pulled over to the shoulder and didn’t see the drainage ditch alongside the road. The right-side wheels fell into the drainage ditch and the truck flopped over on its right side. The drainage ditch was about 12 Inches / 31 Centimeters deep. A bad night and day for the driver.

I continued on into Puerto Vallarta on Hwy 200. Initially coming into the city, the buildings, the streets and highways were very modern. There were lots of tourists everywhere. Then the highway was directed through the tourist shopping area. It’s an older part of town swarming with people. The streets I would say, were cobblestone. The stones stuck above the concrete from 1/2 to 1 inch / 2 to 3 centimeters and spaced about 2 inches / 5 centimeters apart. Driving slowly over these stones, to say the very least, is difficult with my motorcycle. They were similar to the speed bumps you find in parking lots. Some of the streets have broken up over time, which added to my driving attentiveness. I was 100 percent focused on driving as I worked my way through this shopping district.

Eventually, the road worked its way out of the city, suburbs, and then became rural again. The rest of the day was pretty much driving mountains with their endless switch backs and curves. About 1:00 p.m. I stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. Of course I was the focus of everyone’s attention. Who is this guy? I ordered my favorite Huevos Rancheros. No problems with ordering it. I ate it, paid my bill and was leaving.

I was outside putting on my helmet and one of guys sitting at the table next to me asked in good American English “where are you from?” I was a bit shocked.  I told him St. Paul / Minneapolis, Minnesota area. He asked if I rode my motorcycle all the way down here. I told him, yes. I asked him where he was from and he said, Portland, Oregon. He said he drove down to Mexico and was visiting family. He said he was on his way back to Portland. Again, the small world we live in.

I got on my bike and drove about a 20 mile straight stretch of road. All new black top. I thought I died and went to Heaven. Wherever there is sunshine thought, there a little rain. Mexico is in the process of improving this highway in this area. Probably about 20 miles of it was in some sort of re-building. I was going from dirt to pavement and back forth. In one particular area they had a valley dug out of the road. It was about 40 feet / 14 meters deep and I had to ride down and up in loose dirt combined with rocks. I waited till the last car cleared the valley and took a run for it. I could not stall on the upside of that valley. If did, I probably couldn’t get going again. I was on the gas and kick’n ass. I made it up and out of the valley ok and continued on through the road construction. I imagine I will see more of that in my future.

I continued to ride until 4:00 p.m., then pushed the lodging button on my GPS looking for the nearest hotel. I found one near the town of Melaque called Hotel Rio. I rode about 200 miles / 322 kilometers and my butt was feeling it. I checked my oil mileage and it has been just about 2,000 miles / 3226 kilometers since I changed it in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. I’ve got to make a decision whether to keep going on Hwy 200 with all the curves and switch backs, or get on the Mexican tollways. I like Hwy 200 because it’s more rural and has small towns. I just can’t make any headway though. A lot of 35 Mph / 56 Kph. Getting on the tollways will take some planning on my part. So, I have to look at the map and plan some strategy. Time for bed.

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