la penita de jaltemba

leaving ferryWe should have known from the start that it was suspension fluid and not just oil, but we didn’t really know until we were on the road riding towards San Blas. At any decent speed, I was bobbing up and down rhythmicaly, as if I were galloping on a horse. Whenever I hit a pot hole, or, worse, a speed bump, I’d spring up and down as if I were on a pogo stick. Aaron, still feeling ill from the ferry and being in rather low spirits, would frequently drop behind me to watch for a quick laugh.

We caught the Thursday ferry. This meant that we arrived in Mazatlan on Friday. A couple hours riding brought us to San Blas. We stopped at an American styled bar and grill that had a seven to eight foot crocodile living in the back and tried to figure out the next move. We were stuck between meeting back up with the Bells in Las Penitas, new friends we met back at Applebees in La Paz, or just trying to recover from the ferry right where we were. Every minute the food took to arrive took minutes away from daylight, of which we had precious little at this point.

We didn’t have their exact location, so, while waiting for the club sandwich I ordered, I went to several pay phones in town and discovered that they all only took phone cards. This was depressing, because I had a pocket full of coins and find a certain satisfaction in getting rid of them. It always upsets me when I’m in another country and require change in a transaction and they take it as an opportunity to get clear out every piece of metal they’ve accumulated over the past month. Just because I’m foreign, doesn’t mean my pockets are any more durable than anyone elses.

Anyways, we made the choice not to buy a phone or have a phone card early on in the trip for no reason other than we didn’t feel like going through the process of acquiring said means of phone usage. We use skype or ask random people if we can use their cell phone for a small fee. We’ve never been in a situation bad enough to make us change our ways.

Eventually we got a hold of Bill and soon after I received my food. We decided we could ride the rest of the way and figured we’d have just enough sunlight to not ride at night.

Instead we rode around the town a couple times trying to find the right road and got only a very small distance before dark. The roads wound through a jungle and the temperature finally dropped to an acceptable coolness that made riding enjoyable.

It took longer than we anticipated, but we did finally reach Las Penitas and it didn’t take long to find the restaurant/bar we were told to meet up with Bill and Dorothy.

They weren’t there, but lots of other people were. There was karaoke and dancing and within minutes we were introduced to half a dozen people, told that the Bells had just left, and offered a place to stay if they didn’t return. We were literally fought over. We had a really great time just hanging out and talking with the expat community at Las Penitas that night.

The Bells, who had attended and already retired from this venue that night, returned to meet up with us. They treated us to some great shrimp tacos, of which Aaron did not partake, as he had not eaten anything since the pork on the ferry, and we caught up.

They offered us their extra room back at their place and we gladly accepted. In the morning, Dorothy made us an amazing breakfast and Bill led us to the mechanics in the area in hopes of finding someone who could fix my rear shock absorber.

We didn’t want to go too far without getting it looked at. We went to a couple places in town and then went back to Las Varas before deciding the answer wasn’t there. We were also looking constantly on the internet for an answer, but again, found little useful information. We decided I would just move on, as the shock absorber us just one piece of the suspension and that, if driven carefully, I could go quite a while without fixing it. The internet also told us that it is incredibly hard to take the whole thing apart and fix it ourselves.

sarulitaThis all happened on Saturday. This meant that the next day was Sunday. In Mexico, just about nothing can be done, at least mechanically speaking, on Sunday. So we resolved to not move on to the next city until Monday. The Bells told us we should check out Sarulita. Sarulita is a touristy surfer town. It’s close to Las Penitas, so we made a day trip of it.

We found a great board rental place called Surf and Roll and quickly made friends with Gee. Then we surfed for a couple hours and hung out at the beach. After that we went to a bar and grill and had some good conversations with other travelers. Two new friends were Manda and Mikka, an Australian and Fin who’d met at Burning Man and decided they’d travel South together.

Bells2By the time we ate and were thinking of leaving, we thought better of it and decided we’d stick around a bit longer, found a hotel, and stayed the night there.

In the morning, we went back to Las Penitas, had Dorothy’s amazing breakfast again and headed off to Guadalajara. We never thought we’d head that way, as I figured it’d be best to ride down the coast on route 200 the whole way to Guatemala. After talking with the Bells, who are definitely authorities on such matters, we agreed that with the time lost in La Paz and the need for a city with resources to fix the bike, we would change course and ride to Guadalajara, then Mexico City, and then to Pelenque. This cut something like 15 hours or riding out of the Mexican leg of the journey and almost guaranteed help for the KLR.

We parted ways with the Bells and I bounced all the way to Guadalajara with Aaron slowing down periodically to watch. jungle road

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