Chiapas – Mexicos Colorful South

(16th May – 1st June 2016)

The unbearable heat continued as we finally crossed the border into the state of Chiapas, which we had heard about often even before entering Mexico. It’s beauty, nature, indigenous peoples, and the infamous Zapatistas – freedom fighters which are still active in the region. We were quite excited and somewhat nervous to finally be there and as it turned out we had good reason to be.

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Landrover Motor with radiator removed

Mechanical Mysteries – a Late Night Comedy

The Topes (speed bumps) in Mexico had proven a bit too much for the tired old shocks and springs especially after running over a few at full speed…. So, we planned a maintenance stop in Oaxaca at Overland Oasis. We ordered a complete new set of Terra Firma shocks and new front Springs for the Landy and decided that we had better order a new Temperature sensor as well since the temp gauge, with every long climb, headed towards the red. It had all started as we left the colder areas of the USA for warmer climes.

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Sleepless in Oaxaca

(29th April – 16th May, 2016)

The 800km from Morelia to Oaxaca passed relatively uneventfully and within only a few days. Due to poor camping opportunities and lack of any worthwhile things for us to visit. Nothing seemed to hold our attention and so we didn’t stay anywhere longer than a night.  The most interesting along the way was the 1st of May party in Cholula, which we stumbled upon by accident, and which was celebrated in the normal Mexican way. There was also a Campground in the botanical gardens of Helia Bravo Hollis in the middle of the desert, where we spent a very quiet night for a change before reaching the famous colonial town of Oaxaca.

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Colonial Jewels in Michoacán

 (22nd – 29th, April 2016)

After our visit to Paricutin we no longer had any thoughts about leaving the Cuota in Michoacan and so enjoyed our drive through the hilly landscape towards our next destination, which was no less a pleasant surprise.

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Parícutin – Magical Volcano

(15th – 21st April, 2016)

The state of Michoacán  has a very bad reputation, and not just with foreigners either. It was almost like when we crossed from the USA into Mexico when we told people where we were heading. The worried faces looking back at us spoke volumes along with the many stories ranging from “it’s not all that bad” to “fill up your tank before crossing the border and don’t stop for anything (not even to pee) and whatever you do don’t leave the Cuota!” The worst was in the neighboring state of Jalisco were everyone seemed to believe Michoacán  is the most dangerous place, so dangerous in fact that we should, if possible, avoid it and only when there is no other option to drive through –  and then as fast as possible and don’t forget only during daylight hours! We avoided the coastal region as everyone seemed to agree that it truly is really dangerous only visiting the most northerly region. Of course, no Cuota leads there. With a somewhat unsettled feeling we ventured into the territory. What we certainly hadn’t expected with our visit was that we would end up having some of the most amazing experiences and enjoy the most gracious of hospitality not only of Mexico but our entire trip so far.

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Jalisco, Mexico – Cowboys, Tequila and Hot Chilies

(30th March – 15th April, 2016)

Just after leaving the harbor we were plunged into the turbulent chaos that is the traffic of Mazatlan and it was made abundantly clear to us what was meant by the “light version” and the “real” Mexico – at least where the traffic was concerned. In comparison to the Baja we once again found ourselves in a completely different world.  The roads were packed with cars, trucks, motorcycles, and people and when we thought that the driving style on the Baja was a bit hard-hitting we were forced to realize that we really had no idea! Tailgating within mere centimeters of the car in front, crazy overtaking maneuvers and motorcycles squeezing through impossible gaps on either side were now the order of the day. Of course, everything was also suddenly more hectic, louder, and dynamic. We spent a few days outside the city on the Pacific and one more-or-less unwilling sleepless night directly in the city where we, completely unexpectedly, landed in the middle of the yearly Harley-Davidson meetup before leaving the coast to head inland through the states of Sinaloa and Nayarit.

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With the Ferry to the Mainland – a Real Mexican Experience

(29th – 30th March, 2016)

The ferry trip from La Paz to Mazatlan on the Mexican mainland was where the “real” Mexico started.  What that meant we didn’t really know at that moment, though we would soon find out.  We arrived at the La Paz harbor in the early afternoon so that we had enough time to complete all the formalities.  This time, however, there were a lot more people at the harbor than the last time we were there to buy our tickets.  The waiting area for foot passengers was already quite full and buses, taxis and overloaded autos arrived continuously disgorging loads more with all manner of baggage.  Slowly it dawned on us that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to be taking the ferry directly after the Easter weekend.  For some reason, we didn’t expect there to be so many locals travelling over the long weekend, and besides we thought that the majority would be heading home on Easter Monday, apparently we were sadly mistaken.

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Southern Baja California – Sun, Sea and Stars

(07th – 29th March, 2016)

Northern Baja was an exciting and adventurous experience for us – especially because of all the new impressions; we did ask ourselves, however, what was supposed to be so great about the Baja. As one of the most touristic areas of Mexico we had heard of beautiful beaches, wonderful towns, exceptionally friendly people and lots of Canadian and American “Snowbirds” (those not concerned with all the negative press) who spend the entire winter in the Baja. In the north, we had seen mostly poor and homely villages, no beaches worth mentioning and some somewhat friendly but mostly cool or reserved people.  Not exactly the picture that was painted for us.  In the South that all changed for the better and we soon understood why the Baja is, for the most part, considered beautiful.

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Baja California North – Bienvenidos a Mexico

(26th February – 7th March, 2016)

When you plan to travel to Mexico it is not exactly the best idea to travel through the USA beforehand as the level of negative propaganda and fear mongering is unbelievable.  Almost everyone, who we told that we were planning to go to Mexico, had the same series of emotions flicker across their faces.  First wide eyed shock that quickly transformed to a look of horror and then settled on foreboding. From a well meant “be very careful” all the way to horrifying tales of “They will rob you of your car and leave you dead in the ditch!”  We got the entire spectrum of warnings and horror stories all told from the perspective of “A friend of a friend” and besides everyone knows that Mexico is full of drug gangs, street thugs and violent criminals, right?  Read more

Spring in Southern California

(9th – 26th February, 2016)

With blue skies and a spring like 20 °C we left Las Vegas behind us and headed for the second time in the direction of California. We took the US 95 in southern Nevada heading first for the infamous area 51.  Curious, we tried very hard to see anything interesting but alas there was absolutely nothing to see except endless desert – no Aliens, UFOs, experimental Aircraft, or other strange things from all the conspiracy theories – all a big disappointment really! The only thing that even suggested at something out of the ordinary was the Alien Shop at a nearby gas station, other than that there wasn’t anything of interest to see.  Since it was close to dusk we drove a bit off the road in search of an out-of-the-way spot to camp for the night in the hope of at least seeing a UFO… though sadly we saw nothing but the twinkling of the night sky above us.

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