Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Okay - been a little behind on blog posts. Each of the last two nights I've sat down at the laptop, opened up a new post... and then not written anything. So I'm gonna catch up, because it's actually been a pretty busy couple of days.

In Mazatlan, I ended up staying in a hotel for $43 for one night - by far the most expensive night I've had so far, especially when you add on the $13 dinner I had too. While I won't be spending that much often, in Mazatlan it worked out pretty well.

The last post was written just after getting off the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan and settling into the hotel room there - I needed to rest a little bit, because between the heat, the humidity, and getting the bike off the boat and then wandering around town for a bit trying to get to the hotel, I was absolutely soaked in sweat. It was pretty miserable, to be honest - one of the hottest, most humid days I'd experienced so far in the trip. The hotel was right on the malecon there, and I eventually just got tired of looking for something cheaper and decided to pay up for a little bit nicer room with AC.

So I settled into the hotel, showered, wrote up a blog post, and then picked out a few things to go see. I'm finding that the Lonely Planet guide to Mexico has been relatively useful for sights to see, though for housing I find it almost useless. (No I'm not going to pay $90 for a hotel in a place where food costs $3.) One of the things they recommended was to head up to the lighthouse, which is one of the highest in the world. Hurt ankle be damned, I decided to see it - the map showed a road up there anyway.

Yessir, there was a statue of  a dude on a motorcycle right there a few blocks from my hotel.

Panorama from a lookout point. (Click for larger, as always.)

That's where i'm headed - to the top of that.

I started walking over that way along the coast, catching a few pics on the way and getting a coconut from a guy too. (For those who haven't done it before, he hacks off the top of the coconut with a machete, pours the water into a bag for you to drink, and then scrapes out the meat into a bag for you to eat - with salt, lime, and chili sauce if you want.)

I made it down the end of the peninsula ready to start the walk up the road - and found out it wasn't much of a road. Washed out dirt path is more like it. For anyone who's done Mt. Woodson hike in San Diego, think the road from Lake Poway side - except with huge ruts from big rains. But I started up anyway, choosing my steps carefully.

A little way up, I noticed a dirt path that was a shortcut across a switch back of the road... so I scrambled up it. After that, there was another little one, so I scrambled up that to cut another switchback. It was less distance, but I had to very, very carefully choose my steps since I was (a) in sandals, and (b) on a sprained ankle. But I was rewarded with paths like this one.

These things look cool, but also harbor a lot of pollen that got all over my clothes.
After one of these little side treks, I noticed that I wasn't running into a road anymore... apparently it had gone off another direction, and I was stuck scrambling for a while. Oh well, I thought - I'll meet up with it later.


I ended up at a different part of the "top" than I expected. Suddenly everything opened up - to an almost vertical cliff face down in front of me, and a rather steep (but rough) rock face to my right, which ended at a small peak. I say small, but after very, very carefully doing a little scramble up to the peak, the view from up there was this.

The full 360 degree panorama. Click for REALLY large. Also shows you the slightly higher peak behind me which I had no intention of going to at this point.
Little better exposure on this one.
Pretty stunning. I admired the view for a while and enjoyed the breeze - there'd been none in the dense plants I'd been scrambling through - and then started to look for a way down that didn't involve that climb I did at the end. I found another path down through the brush, but as I started to make my way down, realized it was much rockier. That, combined with how sweaty my feet were becoming in my sandals, made for a rather treacherous descent. Suffice to say, by the time I reached the road I was drenched in sweat and extremely happy to have my feet on (relatively) flat ground.

I started making my way back towards town, but got distracted by a band playing in a bar, so I stopped for some water (which disappeared quickly) and some beer (which went a little more slowly as I enjoyed the music). When the band took a break, I ended up talking with the guitar player for a little bit. He let me jam on his guitar some (man I miss playing), and I showed him pics of my (former) instrument collection.

Newly rested (and a little tipsy from two beers on an empty stomach), I headed back into town - stopping to catch the sunset on the way.

Right time, right place
I then headed back to the hotel for a second "I'm drenched in sweat and can't stand this" shower. The hotel had provided two plastic chairs for sitting on the patio, but I took advantage of one of them to be an old man and rest my ankle in the shower.

After a bit of resting up and getting ready, I went out to explore the city a bit more. Mazatlan is a very cool town, and since I was there on a Friday night, things were relatively busy. The main draw is the plaza, with restaurants all around and vendors selling their wares.

A nearby cathedral - a little hard to catch with the sun down.
I wandered around there for a bit, before making my way to a side street for dinner. While the restaurants in the plaza seemed nice, they were clearly catering to the tourist crowd - the guys on the sidewalk were yelling out specials in English. I found my way to a nice bar/restaurant with some sports on, and managed to figure out on the Spanish menu which item was the honey-glazed pork belly. (Okay I mostly just guessed, but it had a word that looked like pancetta, so I figured it would taste good no matter what.)

I debated heading out to a bar - I'd seen something in the lonely planet guide about a gay bar that was straight friendly and had karaoke - but after a poor previous night of sleep on the boat, I decided to call it a night and go to bed a little early - after one last shower, of course, to wash off the sweat from walking around at night.

In the morning I woke up and packed up the bike, and made my way to Sayulita - it was one of the longer rides I've done so far on the trip at over 250 miles, mostly through hot open fields and, because I chose not to take the tollway, a lot of speedbumps in the middle of small towns. Towards the end of the ride, however, I actually got *gasp* some shade! Some curvy roads through some very hilly terrain covered in trees gave me what turned out to be a pretty interesting ride for the last 80 miles or so, when I wasn't stuck behind a slow truck.

Sayulita was the destination, and I rolled into town and checked into a hostel there - a stark contrast from the $40 hotel I chose in Mazatlan. But Mazatlan had its own charms, and I was glad to splurge a little bit and treat myself to a nice shower and AC, with everything I did there.

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