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  1. #1
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    It´s a jungle out here!

    We left La Paz on an 18 hour ferry to Mazatlan, crossing the Sea of Cortes and entering our third Mexican state, Sinaloa. There were plenty of differences from Baja to notice upon our arrival, like the clouds, the heat, and the large tropically forested mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental to the east. We took to a treacherous stretch of road from Mazatlan to Tepic, a four day initiation to cycling in the tropics with lots of speeding truck and bus traffic to make things interesting. The scenery however was beautiful, mountainous, and it seemed there was never a mango tree out of sight. We actually couldn’t pay for a mango. They were so plentiful that fruit vendors would give them to us free. The day we reached Tepic, the capitol city of the state of Nayarit, we had withstood harsh sun and “pura subidas” (all inclines). Now that we were out of Baja, we had only a map of the whole country of Mexico to help us plan our route. There wasn’t much detail. We had to rely on asking locals about the road ahead more than ever. I enjoy this aspect of unpreparedness to a certain extent. It encourages more interaction with the locals and also keeps things more unplanned. The new tropical climate hosted many cool trees, birds and parrots, iguanas, frogs, spiders and unfortunately mosquitoes. Roadside fruit stands sell mangos, bananas, pineapples, refreshing coco helados (cold coconut water), and other locally grown goodies. In general, mainland Mexico is about 40% cheaper than Baja California. Our first impression of the fifth Mexican state, Jalisco, was Puerto Vallarta. Touristy hotels and shops took up a large part of this coastal city. The Sierra Madre was very pronounced to the east and its tropical forests seem to grab the clouds and hold onto them in a mist. We only spent a few hours in Puerto Vallarta before moving on to camp on a secluded beach. We found a perfect spot near the ocean and right near a small river that emptied into a lagoon. We never imagined a freak storm in the middle of the night that would force us to scramble around outside to put on the rain fly and try to keep the tent from becoming an unteathered kite in the fierce wind while getting soaking wet. If that weren’t enough, 5 hours later we realized the lagoon had taken on quite a bit more water and surrounded us while we slept. What an introduction to rain in Mexico! Well, we dried out the following day and pushed on through the ups and downs of Jalisco, passing many cattle ranches and agave farms. The agave plant has a beautiful blue-green color, kind of looks like a thinner version of aloe, and is Mexico’s pride and joy, the most important ingredient in Tequila. We made it to a beautiful coastal town called Melaque for a bit of needed rest with a friend of Alex’s. We rested our sore legs and minds and played on the nice sandy beach and ate fresh seafood from the plentiful coast.
    After almost a month and a half of cycling in Mexico, I feel strong and lean, and confident in my grasp of the local language. The people of Mexico continue to be welcoming, proud, and encouraging of our mode of travel. The road ahead seems to be more coastal and flat (or so I hear), which should be a welcomed change from the mountains. It seems we’re likely to be encountering more rain as we continue south, but as long as we can avoid camping on the riverbeds, I think we can benefit from the life the added precipitation will bring out of the landscape without too much inconvenience.

    Dave

    Highlights: Trees, iguanas, cheap food, beautiful people, thumbs up and encouraging honks, and warm Pacific Ocean!
    Downers: Slashed and burned rainforest, and Diarrhea strikes hard!
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  2. #2
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Checking out a Brazilian jam on the beach of La Paz
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  3. #3
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Some nice people at a mango stand on the side of the highway gave us free mangos
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  4. #4
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Sinaloa sunset
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
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  5. #5
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Some kids ask us questions about our trip in this small town in Sinaloa.
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  6. #6
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Great mountain view in Nayarit
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
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  7. #7
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    An awesome view from high up
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  8. #8
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Fruit stands along the roadside in Nayarit
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  9. #9
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Farmland hugs the Sierra Madre Occidental
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    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
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  10. #10
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    A rancher loads up his horses
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
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  11. #11
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Funky Forest Tree
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
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  12. #12
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Puerto Vallarta
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
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  13. #13
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Cool coastline south of Puerto Vallarta
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  14. #14
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    A harsh night of rain puts a lagoon closer to our tent than we wanted.
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  15. #15
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    More coast south of Puerto Vallarta before cutting in to the east
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
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  16. #16
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Boca de Tomatlan, where the ocean meets the river
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
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  17. #17
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    A green tree frog sits on my water bottle in Tuito
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
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  18. #18
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Agave fields a plenty in Jalisco. Agave is tequilas important ingredient.
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  19. #19
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    An iguana chills on some roadside rock
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
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  20. #20
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    The beach at Melaque
    www.cyclingtheamericas.org
    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
    Support Organic Farming
    Whirrled Peas - No War!

  21. #21
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Yulma and Alex
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    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
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  22. #22
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Some kids play on a small street corner in Melaque
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  23. #23
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    is it possible we were there at the same time? we visited san blas, sayulita, la cruz, etc. beautuiful places!!!!!!!!!!!! lesley

  24. #24
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    Awesome pics!

  25. #25
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    Dave--Well I finally had time to catch up with you! I haven't read every word, but I read over an hour's worth this evening!!! Great to hear that your trip is going so well. We were in Baja near Loreto about 10 years ago and had a great time sea kayaking. We also learned how to make tortillas at a local ranch with cows that ate cactus. Wonder if it was the same one? It had a wonderful sitting area covered with palm leaves.

    We just got back from our own exploration in a Spanish speaking country. We went to Cuba. Wow. Such a complex society. Pluses: sensual open people, tropical fruit (like your mango experience) warm water beaches music everywhere Oxen plowing the fields, organic agriculture, our friend who is studying medicine intrducing us to so many earnest ideaslistic young people, getting better at Espanol. Minuses: Constant pressure from street people wanting to sell you something or just sleaze their way into your day and then get something from you, the difficulties that educated people face in terms of earning a decent living, the embargo and how it poisons everything, police everywhere, crumbling buildings that you want to save, very limited food choices, and a good case of Turista on our return.

    Hope you keep writing in your journal. I'll show some of the entries to my class when we get back to school. They asked after you from time to time, and we kept track of where you must be!
    love
    Amy Valens

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