Back in the Saddle
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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After saying our goodbyes to Vero (the housekeeper) and her family, the only people up so early on Sunday morning, 30 minutes later than planned, we pulled out of Casa Vilasanta at 9am. It was a cool and overcast morning. Perfect for riding. About 100 yards from our hotel a guy opened a car door right in front of Dave. Luckily Dave was ready for him and, after spewing a few choice words at the guy, we continued.
Guadalajara is in a "bowl" so no matter which direction you go, you're climbing gradually. Finally after 18km, we left the urban area behind and had a pretty decent shoulder to ride on till well beyond the Guadalajara airport. Here the busy highway has 3 lanes in each direction until it eventually reduced to two lanes in each direction. We stopped for lunch at one of the many places along the roadside. The sun was breaking out by now and our thermometer read 85F. So far the hills were nothing we couldn't handle. At about mile 30 for the day, that would change.
We had been warned about this long narrow steep climb. And by now, the nice shoulder had ended and we were exposed to the vehicle traffic. We took a little rest at the bottom of it, enjoyed a cold chocolate milk and cycled up the incline as far as we could. We then pushed our bikes up the rest of the way. Many blind corners and little or no shoulder made it pretty treacherous. It took us 45 hair razing minutes to get to the top. Some cars would swerve to avoid hitting us as they came racing around the corners. We just kept our fingers crossed that they had no cell phones to distract them. From the top the pay-off was big. Boy, what a thrill the down-hill was. We turned west toward Ajijic for the final 5 km's of hilly terrain along a narrow two lane road. We were pretty rubber legged by the time we entered the charming town of Ajijic on the shores of Lake Chapala (the largest natural lake in Mexico). This is a place many Americans and Canadians call home. An many more snowbirds will arrive the first of November then go home in April. Aijic has a decidedly western feel. I can understand why people love it here. The weather is great all year round. It is scenic, nestled between the mountains and the lake. But again those charming brain rattling cobble stone streets! Bougainvillea and honeysuckle drape in abundance over walls and courtyards. And next to the usual taco, torta and fruit stalls are some trendy restaurants catering to every taste and pocketbook.
On the main plaza we met a delightful lady from Ventura, CA. Mini is dog sitting here for 8 weeks. She searched housesitting situations through housecarers.com ($45 per year to belong) and housesitting-Mexico.com ($25 per year to belong) Mini gave us some tips for hotels in Ajijic. So while Michelle continued talking with Mini while watching the bikes, Dave went in search of hotel. Hotel Italio was an older place just off the town square, and overpriced for what it was.
After bit more checking around, Dave met Don at Adobe Walls Inn who just hung a new sign up last week. He seemed in awe that the sign worked to draw someone in. Don, originally from California, bought the unfinished property years back and began an extensive rebuilding project. And we could tell it was a labor of love. He opened the Inn just last January and is still working on completing more rooms. The Inn has a large open courtyard with welcoming common areas with many homey touches. The best part, I hate to say, were the gallons of hot water from the high pressure shower. After a long day in the saddle, that shower was desperately needed. We were reborn (again).
We slept a bit late and enjoyed coffee, muesli, fruit and yogurt provided by the Inn. Later we had a super Thai lunch at Simply Thai in Ajijic and a simple dinner burrito at Super Burrito. Both were awesome. Dave was able to find 700 x 38c tube with a presta valve at the bike shop in the middle of town on the south side of the main carretera. It might have been Bicicletas Rayo. (He couldn't find one in Guadalajara and wanted a spare after destroying a tube earlier). Then we walked across the road and stopped in at a travel agency where the couple there gave us a map and suggestions on scenic stops between here through Uruapan to Morelia. Sad to say, I don't know their names. After talking with them, we became anxious to get on our bikes and find the next interesting Mexican town.