We made it back safe and sound after this hub and spoke trip. Excellent riding and a great intro to Mexico for our friends!
This morning trail guide Ray showed up at 8:30 for a quick discussion of the expected ride and an even quicker coffee and then we were off on the bikes. Tony and John G on the new 750GSs and the rest of us 650GSs, except Camera Mike on the big 1200.
The north side of the lake is made up of many small Towns / Villages so immediately the ride is an overload on sights and sounds, and because we are on motorcycles smells as well. The sights are as with any new experience just the newness of the lands and in Mexico that includes native plants all out in full bloom, the brightly painted adobe walls that make up the store fronts and houses and the people themselves who dress in bright colours; The sounds are celebration explosions, laughter, dogs barking and a few car horns….which could mean “hi”, or “see me I’m here”….but hardly ever the mad honking of Toronto; the smells would have to be the least exciting sense and include sewer gasses, dead animals at the side of the road (which do not get picked up and buried, they throw a few shovels full of lime on them and call it a day, and that’s only a few) and wood smoke and food smells from personal outdoor cooking or the larger restaurant cooking, It’s all good and a huge part of what makes Mexico…..Mexico.
Our ride today took us north west of the City through some pine forests and hilly lands just like northern Ontario, with the exception of car eating pot holes all over the place…the worst ones hiding at the apex around the blind corners, or in the shadow of a pine tree.
We had a break in the “Orange Juice Town” and lunch in Talpalapa, both very clean colonial towns with exposed wood columns and beams, beautiful central squares and very old churches. The food everywhere is amazing but actually pretty bland, it’s your job to add the spice which is at the table. Fresh fruit picked locally and lots of beans, rice and corn. Yum
Our afternoon ride took us to a hang glide “club house” where on a high grassy ridge you can look out into the valley below and see for miles and miles and miles. The hang gliders land right beside the spectators and are quite happy to talk about their sport….kind of like bikers talking about their bikes.
Back in time for a swim, a beer and stories of the ride…then a fantastic Thanksgiving Turkey dinner!!!!!
Today as we are all getting up having our breakfast and coffee the doorbell rings and it is our friend Arnolfo here to take us on a tour of the Town. Having lived here all his life his English is great and of course he knows everyone.
The trip started off with a hike up the mountain overlooking the Town and the lake; beautiful views with every step and wild flowers everywhere. The trek took longer than the one hour, but no problem…it a vacation….no hurry…..no worries….
Back to the house to get lunch at the local taco place…then it’s off for Toni and Jamie’s first Mexican ride. ….and we took our special guest Arnolfo on the back with Mike.
We did the same route as yesterday, but this time we did get the kids to wave….it could have been the 7 bikes and not just 3….or the fact that they did see us the day before but they were waving!!
Swim, wash up and then we were off to Tango for a dinner of “extra large meat portions”. Bellies full we ended up at El Bar Co for some dancing into the wee hours of the night.
Today started with the usual urgency of Mexico….we slowly wake up to the roosters and dogs telling their world to get up…..the sounds of people getting ready for work….some going in to Guadalajara for work, some into the fields for a back breaking day of picking produce for shipment to Canada.
The morning air is cool and crisp, but a pair of socks and a fleece do the trick for comfort. Sitting beside the pool with a coffee we listen to all the birds, hearing some familiar songs and lots of new ones….the morning light is low causing the colours of the flowers and greenery to provide a visual vista in every corner of the garden.
John, Mike and I went for a ride on the north side of the Lake through the Town of Chapala, past small shops, past a large group of men setting up for a fair, and onto Mascala.
Our ride onto Mascala took us over cobblestone roads, past even smaller shops then in the previous town and past lots of school kids just getting out for lunch. Very shy, we got the smallest kids to wave at us, but no one else….but all eyes were huge as saucers, we’ll try again tomorrow when we have Tony and Jamie with us.
A great breakfast in town, Hevos Rancheros and refried beans (That’s 2 sunny side up eggs on a flour tortia smothered in a mild red sauce) …..with a really green drink….weird looking but great!
Then off to the market – Wednesday is market day in Ajijic! Fresh fish, vegetables, clothes, jewelry…and lots of colourful people. Lots of filming, and lots of fun.
Just swimming and hanging around for the rest of today.
So a new thing for ‘Riders of the Serria Madre’ is a Hub and Spoke tour…this is where you stay in the same hotel every night (the Hub) and ride out on a different spoke tour every day. Perfect for couples as I could see someone not wanting to be on the back of a bike every day….or a rider not wanting to ride every day (What not ride every day?). Ajijic is a great place for a hub as it a clean town with a great boardwalk at the lake, great shopping and cool lunch spots all within walking distance from the hotel.
So this morning we had breakfast, looked at the bikes again….especially the new BMW 750….. then John Williams went out for a check out ride, which is just a quick half an hour ride over asphalt and cobblestones to get used to the bike and take away some of the pre-ride jitters.
With the pre-ride complete and Mike loaded up with 50 pounds of camera gear we were off on the first adventure. John Gilbank on the new 750, and the rest of us on the 650’s including John and Marnie who were 2 up.
Our ride today took us to the south side of Lake Chapala to a great lunch stop in Mazamitla. The ride took us past agricultural lands and green houses past horses and burros and through small towns and villages. Some construction traffic flat roads twisties…it’s all within an hours of Ajijic.
We were back in time to change and have another great dinner.
A day of walking the dogs, shopping and touring the Town of Ajijic , eating taco’s from the local guy steps from the front door, swimming in the bathtub hot pool, a fantastic meal at Tango and a visit to El Bar Co. for old time sake…..
Yesterday was a typical fly day. Tired from the late night packing on Saturday but pumped and ready to go at 4:00 in the morning we loaded up the truck with our bags and drove the 600 feet to the front door of John and Marilyn (Marne) Williams our closest neighbor for miles. John is a 7 time American National Champion, a 10 time Canadian National Champion and a 5 time World National Champion Hill Climber and of course Marne is one of the reasons that he is all that. Both in their 70’s they are up and ready to go like a couple of kids on Christmas morning. With all of us and the gear in our truck its off to the airport.
It’s 5:00 in the morning and there are 400 people in a room lined waiting up for the American customs to open….with the only 4 smiles in the entire room we are through, on the plane and in the air. With a quick stop in Dallas (a truly amazing airport) for a great lunch and shopping were in a plane where I can touch from side to side. It’s a quick hop to Guadalajara from Dallas…I don’t think that we ever level out, it’s just an up and a down.
4:00 arrival in Mexico and the temperature is hot and the smells are “home”. We pick up our bags…… well we pick up all but one bag…the one with all of our clothes in it haha at least we have our riding gear!!!!! So today our faith is in the airlines…the bag is to be delivered to John and Lynn’s house in Ajijic.
So last night our hosts had the car waiting at the airport for us, and at their house in Ajijic the beer and wine flowed the welcome meal was amazing and the camaraderie between bikers classic.
New jobs and busy lives have left us little time for vacations this year.
We have done a lot of weekend riding on the Harley’s this summer…one of the driest and sunniest on record….but no epic adventure riding.
So tomorrow when it is dark and really early, we say good-by to the cat and the cat sitters (parents) and head out with our neighbours to Pearson International for a day of line-ups, security checks and connector flights. At this time tomorrow we’ll be relaxing with a cocktail in Ajicic, Mexico, with our great friends John and Lynne. Can’t wait to see you both and the puppies (Jack, Gina and Willy)….and can’t forget Chacha the cool cat!
The huge bag is our riding gear and helmets…the small one is clothes for 10 days – 2 people.
Up with the crickets at 5:00 for a half an hour taxi ride to the airport….a transfer through the Dallas Fort Worth Airport and eventually we make it back to Toronto and home..at 6:00.