PEDLIN´ FOR THE BAND!!! Los Ayala to Villa Corona, 1-22-08 thru 1-31-08

February 2, 2008

p1310303.jpgp1310292.jpgp1310287.jpgp1280217.jpgp1260204.jpgp1240184.jpgAfter spending several days at April´s wonderful “Coco Loco” Bungalow in the peaceful, quiet beachtown of Los Ayala we biked to Sayulita, 30 miles south along the coast.  Sayulita is a great little surf town far enough north of Puerto Vallarta to not be crazy!! 

We ran into the travelling bike band we had met in Todo Santos who are biking on extra cycles with a drumset, guitars, a cello and an entire P.A. system thru Mexico from California!  Their bikes weigh 150 to 200 lbs!!!! OWY!!!  We also met up with Bear, Summer and David, the extra-cyclists we met in San Blas!  The band had a gig that night at a local bar, so we went to catch the show.  They power the system with generators attached to their bikes.  They have 2 bikes on stands beside the band and 2 people pedal them the entire time the band plays.  If they stop pedaling, the concert goes acoustic, or “unplugged” as Eric Clapton labeled it.  Well guess who got suckered into riding for the band!!  Don´t get me wrong — we´re perfectly fine with it — we´re comfortable, you may even say “at home” on our bikes, and God knows we need the exercise!  It was really fun, was a great way to sweat out the tequila and a perfectly fitting thing to do on this trip! 

While on the beach in Sayulita, we ran into Robbie from our valley!  He´s spending a bunch of the winter surfing here–Sayulita is known for great surfing.  It was Robbie´s birthday so we attended his birthday party at the hostel where he was staying.  We stayed at Mario and Linda´s “Duende” hotel, which Mario designed and continues to build more beautiful and unique rooms tucked into the hillside overlooking the town and beach! 

Reluctantly leaving Sayulita, we travelled along the coast, then turned east and headed for the interior.  We got to a small city, San Juan de Abajo, when we inquired about the road we wanted to take and soon found out a bridge was washed out ahead.  After trying to explain the directions to us (a guy on a motorcycle and 2 policemen ) they finally gave up and hopped in their vehicles and escorted us back thru town, thru a maize of dirt farm roads and eventually to the paved road we needed.  Without their help, we would never have found our way!  Small town Mexican police, we have slowly learned, are part cop, part delivery service (they picked up a drunk man along the way and dropped him off at his house) and part tourist info center.  (The thought also entered my mind — “Let´s help these crazy cyclists get out of our town ASAP!)

We started some serious climbing after that and near the end of the day we met up again with the extra cyclists who happened to be going the same route!  (Now there are 12 of us on bikes!) They had just met an ex-olympian runner who was truly amazed at what we were all doing.  He had just invited them to his cabin just down the hill for a fish fry and a place to stay for the night!  We tagged along.  It was a great spot, a secluded cabin that slept 20, in the forest on a crystal clear creek, and, of course, with a live band!!! We had a great evening and in the morning most of the band stayed there to get a tour of the property and have a goat roast!  We decided to pedal on!  Thank you Hector for a great time!

That day we climbed thousands of feet over the next 18 miles, I think we got to well over 7000 feet, climbing up thru small fields of beautiful blue agave plants (what tequila comes from) and corn fields and then into ponderosa forests.  It reminded me of Colorado high country only with a cactus plant here and there.  After dropping steeply over 10 miles, we biked thru a large valley full of cattle ranches, agave and corn farms to several towns at about 5000´ elevation.  One town, Mixtlan was the cleanest, quietest Mexican town we´ve come to so far on the trip.  The little church was full of huge bouquets of live flowers and was absolutely georgeous!!

After a few more rolling hills and thru more cattle, agave and now sugarcane fields, we arrived at Villa Corona, where our friend´s Chess and Allison, we had met in New Mexico, are camped.   It´s great to catch up on their travels and also to get info about the road ahead!  We are enjoying a few days here and are staying at the campground here that has numerous huge hotwater pools to enjoy.  The water comes deeep from underground at a source near the long dormant volcanoes in the area. 

We took a bus into the busy city of Guadalajara yesterday and got to enjoy the sites, sounds, smells and markets of the second largest city in Mexico!  Tomorrow we will continue east towards the lake district in central Mexico and south of Mexico city.  We are looking forward to this part of the trip, it is suppose to be the real heart of Mexico!

Until next time!  Bikin´ On, Ralph & Pat



  1. Hi Ralph and Pat,
    We just got back from spending a month in a little cabin about 2 hours from our home. We had no electricity and only a wood stove for heat. Lots of fun x-country skiing. snowshoeing, fishing and hiking.
    We are now in Vancouver, on our way to visit our daughter in Dallas (flying), then on to Los Ayala- what a coincidence- looks like we missed you by only a couple of weeks. Plan to spend 6 weeks in Los Ayala – any hints that you could pass on to us about that area?
    Sounds like you are continuing to have a great adventure and we love to follow your progress.

    Take care.

    Doug and Evelyn

  2. Thanks for the update.
    I love the diversity you are getting with all the folks you are connecting with.
    WE are buried in snow. It just keeps coming.
    I send you lots of energy to keep on bikin’.

  3. It seems like the fun is really getting started now!
    I’m shoveling snow and grinding concrete. Lake Patzcuaro, the monarch butterflies north of Ocampo, and San Miguel de Allende/Queretero arereally nice. The pictures are teriffic with this post!

  4. Missed you guys on the hut trip, as well as Mark Mace. I still can not imagine all that you experience in such a short time. Another friend who cycled a great distance told me he still reflects on all that he learned about himself on the trip. Your pics are wonderful to view.

  5. Hey Ralph,
    At times like that bike powered band, I just bet that you would’ve had your trumpet to join in on the jam! Thanks for the updates

  6. big year here going skiing again hope all is well

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