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Todos Santos, Baja to Los Ayala, Mexico 1/02-1/22/08

January 23, 2008

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After leaving Todos Santos we spent a week at Cabo Pulmo on the east coast of the Baha. We snorkeled, walked the beach at sunrise and sunset and hung out and enjoyed our time visiting with our daughter Crystal.

On January 11th we took Crystal to the airport, returned our rental car and once again were back on our bikes, kinda. We caught a bus ride back to LaPaz, then took the ferry across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. This ferry was not as nice and much smaller than the last ferry we took to get to LaPaz. I joked to Pat that it was just like being on the Titanic, since they were both built the same year! The boat rocked a bunch, so it was pretty entertaining to watch people try to walk down the corridors. It was even more interested to try to take a shower in a bathroom that was rocking. Luckily there was a pole to hold onto (so I was able to practice my pole dancing)!

We met some great folks on the boat, a friendly couple from Colorado and several world travelers. One lady has been backpacking the world for 7 years. Bill has travelled extensively in Latin America and was a wealth of knowledge. We really appreciated the info Bill.

Upon arriving in Mazatlan, we went straight to the center of town, found a beautiful plaza surrounded by gorgeous, colorful colonial buildings and had a bite to eat at a small cafe. It was there we met Marie, who invited us to stay at her place, a beautiful large house near old town. Thank you so much Marie, it was a kind gesture and it was great to get to know you! We wandered the old town, ate at great restaurants and then headed south along the coast riding past shrimp farms and fields of Ancho peppers!

We camped the first night along a deserted beach at a palapa. I made a great meal of onions, sauteed peppers, sardines and mashed potatoes! (You just had to be there to appreciate it.) I don’t think we’ve told you yet about sardines in Mexico! I believe they are the national canned food. While biking, we need a protein to carry with that won’t spoil. The choices in Mexican grocery stores are a form of canned tuna that is not good, spam and sardines (every Mexican grocery store has the exact same limited variety of foods – EXACT!) Luckily, the sardines, believe it or not, are very good! The best ones are packed in oil with a hot pepper – they really are good!

The next several days we rode more inland, since the coast roads didn’t connect. We discovered that we could ride on the toll roads for free, which have very little traffic and we have our own lane/shoulder that is 8 feet wide! We could study Spanish with cheat sheets on our handlebar packs while riding! We turned toward the coast and spent a couple nights in San Blas, a small town on the beach about 150 miles south of Mazatlan. We met Bear, Summer and Dave who are riding extracycles south along the coast. They are friends with Goat of “ridingthespine.com”, 3 guys that are doing our trip, but staying off pavement the whole way. (It was fun to get to know you guys – stay in touch). While in San Blas, we saw an amazing dance performance of traditional dances from all over Latin America.

We have since travelled south to a small, quiet, peaceful village on the beach, Los Ayala, where we are catching up on business and e-mails once again.

Now we are riding thru farmland instead of the scrubby, mountainous terrain of Northern Mexico. Here they have the biggest Mangrove swamps in the world, crocodiles, turtuga (turtle) sanctuaries and estuaries where hundreds of varieties of birds migrate to each year. They grow coconuts, mangoes, papayas (the size of footballs), pineapples, watermelons, squash and tobacco all on really steep hillsides and down into the valleys.

Each day we experience the usual Mexican noise of the town we are in. Their will always be a car with a load-speaker on top, that drives around town reading the daily news. Another car with a load-speaker will drive around announcing propane gas for sale as early as 7 AM! Along with that, every Mexican car driving down the street will blast their stereo with the typical UM-PA-PA music and roosters will crow all night long, (especially on a full moon)! Most places we stay have at least a few stray dogs roaming around and parakeets in a cage that call to you when you walk by (most of them can say “hola”, one did say “Muy Bien” the other day)!

The animals are mostly free-range in Mexico, so it means you will see cows, horses, pigs, goats, sheep and chickens on the roadways anytime of day or night! That is why it is not advised to drive in Mexico at night! (good advice!!!)

We try to buy groceries and do our own cooking whenever we can. We are currently staying in a newly-built 1 bedroom with a small kitchen and private bath for $20 per night! We can buy local-grown eggs for $1.50 a dozen, avocados are 40 cents each and 4 bananas cost about 32 cents. So groceries are about 1/4 to 1/3 U.S. prices!

We really are enjoying our travels thru Mexico and trying to learn more and more Spanish each day! It is fun, whenever we come into a new town, usually the locals honk and wave and call us their Amigos (friends) and the children will surround us and ask a million questions in Spanish. We explain that we only know pacito Espanol and we are able to ask them their names. They always want to know how to say their names in English and they think it sounds sooo funny! They will always run along with us or bike along with us and escort us when we leave town! The locals are always very friendly and helpful.

Adios, until next time, Bikin’ On Ralph & Pat

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5 comments

  1. Holy Crap I want your life!!!!! I have been trying to convince my man to go to thailand with me…


  2. Hey guys, great to hear you are still alive and well and having a kickass bike tour. I am SUPER Jealous. Especially with all the snow here in Durango. I hope all continues well and goes great. Can’t wait to see where you go next. – Colin


  3. Your blog never ceases to amaze me.
    I keep wandering which part of Mexico you are travelling through. I booked a last minute trip to the Yucatan penisula for a yoga retreat to get out of the cold and get zenned out.
    Namaste!


  4. All went well at the Eisman hut, deep, fresh, light powder. Max brought his dad from Vermont, what a fireplug! 59 years young, almost as old as me! My dad died this mouning unexpectedly after an aneurism. He held on for 48 hours after so theres been some time to reflect. Headed to Connecticut Friday so I’ll miss the hut trip to the Fowler/Hillyard. Everyone was waiting excitedly for your last blog. Some warm weather would be nice! The tough part comes Saturday, but the whole family has gotten very close through it all. Sorry about the sad news. spin a few revolutions for me. Mark


  5. Patty and Ralph, I am sure the last people you ever expected to hear from are an “old” (in both meanings of the word)aunt and uncle from North Dakota. We are absolutely in awe of what you are doing and want you to know we wish you the best. I have read every word of your blog and anxiously await new words. You know you have the makings of a book here!! We,too are envious altho thankfully too old to do anything about it. Ha Safe and happy biking and God Bless!!



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