surfer dude

Surfer dudes hang after a hard day riding the outside waves in Puerto Escondido.

I want to be a surfer dude, with a surfer chick, hanging ten on my surfboard, which is tied to my surfer dude van.  I’d take said chick and board, climb into the van, and cruise way down here to Puerto Escondido, one of the few towns in Mexico where surfer dudes like me are king.  Once in Puerto Escondido, I’d ride my board or buy a new one in one of the surf board shops, get even more tan, and prance my surfer chick around.  Then we’d hang in surfer dude bars that play videos of surfer-dudes-who’ve-eaten-the-big-one and hang out with dudes and chicks like me and talk about today’s waves.  I’d be a king in Puerto Escondido.

In the meantime I’ll settle for being a biker dude, with a biker chick, hanging out with all the dudes and chicks in this once sleepy surfer town gone wild.  Eight years ago when we first started to think about a place in Mexico, we researched Escondido.  We concluded it was too remote and small.  It might still be remote, but its reputation is international as we saw surfer dudes from all over the world.  Unfortunately, I think it’s on the way to being a surfer dude version of Cancun.

(As of Friday) We’ve gone south roughly 1000 miles from PV and the border is still nowhere in sight.  This is a bit of a surprise as KR and I thought we’d be at the border in a couple of days, but then again everything is a surprise given our extensive trip planning regimen.  We’ve taken Hwy 200, which shadows the coast but rarely reveals it, which cuts through really thick jungle and small, luscious farms mostly growing coconuts (first fun fact that KR screamed into my helmet speaker:  the state of Guerrero is the premier coconut producing region of the world.  I can’t tell you how much this running commentary through my helmet speaker adds to the scenery).

Every few miles there’s a small town — village really– that usually possess the bane of our existence:  topes.   Topes are raised bumps in the road constructed to slow traffic.  Much cheaper than traffic signals and just as effective, provided you see them or know where they are beforehand.  If you don’t see them, then one slams over them and I get a “uggggghhhh!” in the helmet speaker.  We’ve developed a staged Tope Alert System in which KR announces:  “Potential Tope,”  “Tope Alert” Tope!!”  Pretty exciting stuff, but it’s the little things that make travel safe:)

These first five or six days have all been twisty motorcycle-friendly roads.  No more than 10% were in a straight line.  This makes for great motorcycle riding as one is quickly forced to find the “rhythm of the road.”   An impossible task if one’s passenger wasn’t into finding that rhythm, but I’m very lucky here, as for some reason, KR and I got into the groove of traveling by bike very quickly.  There were still early-trip adjustments that needed to be made (think seat, think clothing, etc.).  All’s well with biker chick, biker and bike.

Well, not so fast, as what Walti motorcycle trip would be complete without motorcycle problems?    30 miles north of Acapulco, Now Voyager began stalling, especially in traffic and when its hot.  Riding a full loaded motorcycle in rush hour we’re-going-to-party-all-day/night Acapulco traffic brought up butt-puckering images of a certain tunnel in Argentina.  Nursing NV to Acapulco was a challenge on all fronts — keeping the bike running, avoiding the kamikaze drivers, trying to find our hotel, and keeping the biker chick informed of when NV stalled so she could become an immediate Caution Flag was fun. Not.

To save us, our International Rescue Crew sprang into action again!  Bruce Conrad, Ryan Reza and Sam Hershfield.  First was a roundtable discussion (via email) on what the problem was (probably something to do with the fuel pump), then a city-wide search for a mechanic (on the internet again), then a wider search for BMW expertise in ANY city close by (there were none) and finally all kinds of advice on how to replace said fuel pump/filter by Yours Truly.    Which I did in the front of the Holiday Inn Resort in Acapulco.   More on this in a bit.

We stayed in Acapulco for almost two days making repairs.  We’d never been to Acapulco, not heard anything good about it on the news (its full of Narco Gangstas!) and no one we knew had ever  been.   Well, its still not our cup of tea as its too big and too commercially touristy, but the physical place is stunningly beautiful, rivaling cities like San Francisco and Rio for beauty.  Aside from the mechanical problems with NV, we had a thoroughly great time.

Next day we headed toward SurferVille, which is where this post was started.  Here’s a recap in pictures of the first week on the road.

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We try to start all our trips with an offering to the gods

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Karen tells one of our neighbors where we’re going. “You’re going where on that thing!” he graciously replies

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Road Warrior (early version). You gotta love a woman all suited up for adventure 🙂

 

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We’ve stayed in a lot of hotels, most of them good. This was the brightest one, in a beach town south of Manzanillo.  Pool was bathtub warm.

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Road hazards of all types… these were very large bulls. Goats, man-eating roosters, lazy dogs, and pigs were also encountered along the way.   The bulls were so big that they stopped buses.

 

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Kidnapped pinata on the way to a Christmas party. There were two more pinatas and a family of five inside the car.  I read later that the poor pinata was tortured beyond recognition.

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It’s great to spend Christmas with family, even if its a family one meets in a roadside truck stop. There wasn’t a Christmas tree, but there was a

Santa, singing “ho ho ho!” Our family Christmas was a great laugh. Santa was feeling no pain, notice the beer bottles under his chair:)

 

Adventure riding is tiring business, necessitating the occasional nap

Adventure riding is tiring business, necessitating the occasional nap

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We finally made it to Acapulco and were beyond thankful that the Holiday Inn had room for us..

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This is what a Road Warrior looks like after he’s made it to the fortress. It’s been a long time since KR and I stayed in a resort-like hotel.

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KR liked the lunch overlooking the Acapulco bay. We could get used to this..

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One type of Acapulco taxi which KR particularly liked.

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When in Acapulco, you gotta see the cliff divers, no? Well, apparently hundreds of other people had the same idea. This is a shot down the stairs toward the rocks lit like a Christmas tree. The divers jump off from there…

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No way would I ever do this. It’s probably not an accident that all the divers where kids — teenagers at the oldest. They timed their dives to match the tide. Scary.

 

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Almost as scary was the prospect of Yours Truly having to take the fuel pump out of NV in front of the Holiday Inn.  This didn’t endear me to the resort guests who were wondering why should they have to endure this on vacation too?

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The patient lived through the operation as can be seen here. I found a problem with the fuel pump and repaired it. I was hopeful that I had found THE problem, but that was not the case.  But, hey there weren’t any parts left over and NV started up afterwards.

 

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Every good surgeon needs training and mine was found on the Internet in the form of a BMW service manual.

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A drink is called for in one of the dozens and dozens of tourist bars…

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After a while, its difficult to tell the real pirates from the fakes.

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These bunnies probably won’t be invited to The Mansion, but were friendly none the less

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Continuing south from Acapulco, the mountains occasionally reveal the coast. Between developments, there were miles and miles of deserted beaches like these.

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We went to the town of Ometepec as we heard it was settled by escaped slaves. Instead  we found this Wedgewood style church. Nice church, but unfortunately Now Voyager’s stalling problem re-emerged, making the next 130 miles close to a religious experience.

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Karen tastes some Mezcal at a roadside artsy booze store. Afterwards, she remarks that I’m driving much better. Who’s to argue?

A couple of hours later and all's right with the world.  Honey, you really are a good driver...

A couple of hours later and all’s right with the world. Honey, you really are a good driver… Now, are we there yet?

Cows and wind turbines in the southern tip of Mexico

Cows and wind turbines in the southern tip of Mexico

 

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We arrive at Puerto Escondido in time to see the surfer dudes leaving the beach for…

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A surfer dude bar.  This place was one of the most unique bars we’ve been in (which is saying something) as we were practically the only non-surfer dude types and everyone was talking surfing in many, many languages.

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Dudes and dudettes watched an endless loop of Famous Surfer Dudes and waves that didn’t make it.  It’s the first “memorial” video I’ve seen in a bar.

 

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There are no bicycle racks in Puerto Escondido, just surf board racks.  The place has a pretty unique vibe.

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We had morning coffee, caught up on email and thought about what’s next from our room overlooking the beach.  Generally speaking, surfer dudes aren’t morning dudes.

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In between shopping for surfer dude stuff, I ponder… “Can I do it?  Just grab the board and run into the waves…”

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Eight hours later and I look like the worn and torn biker dude that I am.  How we got to this business hotel in the middle of a town I can’t remember is a story in of itself, but for a later post.

 

This just in — we made it to the Mexico/Guatemala border on Sunday night!  According to our official GPS-oligist, Sam Hershfield, we’ve made it 3100 miles from LA.  See below for route.  Sam’s sent me a link to monitor live-on-the-ground trip progress, but I don’t know how to imbed it yet 🙂

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This is the trip’s route as of Sunday, December 29th, courtesy Sam Hershfield

Today — Sunday — has been a challenge on all fronts.  We broke pushed our mileage record to 275+ miles at a record short  6 1/2 hours, due mainly to all straight roads allowing 80+MPH speeds.  Unfortunately, once our speed got back down to earth as we entered the border town of Tapachula, NV went into fits.  We then went to three — count them three– hotels to no avail and finally ended up at the Holiday Inn Express.  All of this was happening as our first CoronaAdobe guest was having the visit from hell — five days of rain, no hot water, etc.,etc.  It’s almost as tough being an Innkeeper as it is being an Adventure Biker Dude.  Almost:)

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I can’t argue with this young Acapulco vacationer: )

 

 

10 replies
  1. Peter H.Hershfield says:

    Great trip report thus far. We hope that Buena Suerte follows you from now until L.A. Aneth and I love the trip report.

  2. Sindhu & Greg says:

    My only trip to Acapulco was years ago and I stayed at a resort that was south of the city.

    Biker Dude & Dudette —- once again a great adventure begins, but I think you are going to need to map BMW shops along the way. Do you guys carry a hard copy of the NV manual? Did you ever figure out why NV is stalling — bad gasoline, faulty wiring, etc?

    Feliz año nuevo

  3. Gwen Stevens says:

    Once again your hard core resistance level continues to amaze me. Be happy you are dry. Christmas Day was a winner, but PV continues to not only rain, but down pour! I have offered a rain check to people scheduled to come to LAPA LAPA tomorrow and the next day. There were three couples out there during this horrible weather … Just hoping they bonded. Didn’t you have guests out there as well? Tell me what I can do to help your guests @Corona Adobe. Happy trails … Gwen

  4. Ken Passon says:

    You and Karen need to donate your brain(s) to science. There is either a special section which no one else has, or a large chunk missing or not fully developed. Stay safe.

  5. Joe Crowley says:

    Happy, safe travels. Love the reports; looking forward to one day putting my AIRBNB account to good use down in PV!

  6. Caryn Goldsmith says:

    What a trip! Love all the details. Am amazed at your bike-repairing abilities (you get extra points for the attempts – I would just cry and drink). Happy New Year and continue to enjoy!!

  7. FHW says:

    Both KR and I laughed out loud when we read this comment. Very funny. I have no idea what the case is, of course. We were just talking about something related today. To our serious m/c adventure acquaintances, KR and I are adventure travel wimps. Basically, we exhibit no guts. To the vast majority of our friends, they share your perspective:) fw

  8. Erik says:

    Never realized just how long that MX coast is… Sounds like an amazing journey and great to see you taking on the repair challenge!

  9. WorldRider says:

    Hey, maybe I missed this before you got to Guatemala, but how was the Isthmus of Tehuantepec? I remember the winds there battled those of Patagonia!!! ???

  10. Peter H.Hershfield says:

    What a great adventure. What a great description thereof. You two are my travel icons.
    The Journal was amazingly crafted and full of interesting tidbits and strange situations that deserve to be shown to folks who want to make such a daunting endeavor. Aneth and I salute you and welcome you back to a period of rest before your next adventure.

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