Squeezing the brakes at 28 MPH

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End May 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel San Diego

Flag of Mexico  , Jalisco,
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mazamitla to San Diego: 24.5miles / 40 kilometers
from 2400 m to 1600m

We were first up at the cabaņa and Dave put on the hot water for morning coffee. While waiting for it to heat, the elderly proprietor arrived and expressed interest, in Spanish, in our next destination. Dave told him we were going to Valle de Juarez on our way to Morelia. He said Juarez was only 11 km away, too soon to stop. Dave showed the general itinerary given to us by the travel agent in Ajijic . He looked at it a moment and shook his head... yes, he approved! He said (amazing how 2 people can communicate speaking totally different languages) we could go on to Cotija de La Paz and he drew a detailed map, including which road 'not' to take. This was good because the official road map of the area did not show a direct road to Cotija. And this man confirmed that there was a good way. We learned where the hotels were along the way and we were delighted.

We pushed our bikes up the cobblestone street and made our way up to edge of town where Restaurant La Troje beckoned us in. Dave had a traditional local dish: "El Minguiche" a pot melted cheese with chilies and onions served with...what else... homemade tortillas. This may have been the same as attempted by the restaurant in Manzanilla town, but La Troje's version was absolutely delicious. Michelle wasn't as adventurous and opted for a superb omelet, bread and coffee.

A gang of bikers in leathers arrived. They were on a morning ride from Guadalajara. One snapped a few photos of Michelle's loaded bike. They were impressed! We said a brief 'hello'.

We lingered awhile before jumping on our bikes for the exhilarating ride down to Valle de Juarez.The newly paved road we had been on ended a mile out of Mazamitla when we turned off on a narrow potholed road. It was all down hill and we had to squeeze our brakes when we hit about 28 miles per hour. First, the air was cold at this speed, second, the road had potholes that we had to slalom around, and third, loaded bikes are tricky to maneuverer at any speed.

We climbed up to the town plaza at Valle de Juarez and paused for a drink of 'Be Light' and stretched our legs. Soon we were on our way again toward Cotija. The route had its ups and downs...and plenty of potholes. We breeze past the town of Quitupan and stopped a few miles later when we spotted a line of people at a fruit vendor serving a steady line of customers. We fell in line and had watermelon and papaya. The man with a thin mustache was quite humorless and he rapidly chopped and grated and served his customers. We had a second round.

We arrived at the turn to Cotija and made our way across a broad valley to the unimpressive and gloomy town of San Diego where the route split. One way went down the mountain to Puerto Vallarta and the other stayed high in the El Tigre Sierra mountains. We spotted a hotel sign and decided to break early in the small crossroad town of San Diego. The hotel was spartan but had a washing machine that ran on US quarters. We were early enough to hang our clothes to dry in the sun and went to find a place to eat.

Two taco stands were operating in the plaza. We had learned not to expect many options in small towns such as this but decided to check around for something better. We found a 'pizza and pasta' restaurant and decided to have a look. No customers yet. In fact, it just opened today, and we would be the first. What the heck! Dave had a garlic shrimp and chicken pasta dish. Michelle a medium mushroom and cheese pizza. Surprisingly tasty. Firm pasta and nice crust on the pizza. The owner had worked a number of years in a Pizza/Pasta place in Santa Rosa California (or maybe it was San Pedro) and was using their recipes. He had learned his craft well and we went to bed stuffed.
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