andres' life

Living the Dream

La Paz, BCS to Guadalajara, Jalisco

“Prepare yourself Andy, things will be very different when you get to mainland Mexico. It’s like a different country.”

As we were finishing up our Baja California section, I was looking ahead to our travels in mainland Mexico. I was trying to gather as much beta as possible from Lu, part of the 4 cyclist team from Guadalajara, who I met last summer on their ride from Anchorage, AK to their homes in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

In a sense, we were ready for it. Baja was amazing and the experience will always stay with me. However I was itching for the more colorful and culturally intoxicating experiences of the mainland.

Moreover, we were planning on riding to Guadalajara for a reunion with the cyclists. This is truly amazing because as a cyclist you often meet amazing people. However you only get to know for a few moments, then they are gone, just like shooting stars. They fill your life with a bright shiny moment of joy, then they are gone. You always know there will always be another shooting star in the future, but it is always a little different. Rarely do you get the chance to reunite with those people and share life again. This would be one of those moments. Stars colliding….

But first we had to get to Guadalajara…..

La Paz to Mazatlan

After some much needed rest and sightseeing in La Paz, Josh and I said our goodbyes to our wonderful host. We also had to part ways with Remo, our Swiss cycling buddy for the past few days. Remo, if you are reading this, thank you for joining us. We had a great time. However, the tour is the tour and the tour must go on. Off we were to the ferries! As any touring cyclist knows, long tours demand frugality. As such, we resorted to taking the “cargo” ferry versus the “tourist” ferry. The savings in $$$ were substantial and the great company and unforgettable sunset and moonrise more than made up for the utilitarian amenities. All in all, it was a grade A choice. The ferry set off around 5 and got us into Mazatlan around 9 the next morning. Just in time…..

Jacques Cousteau and I chilling out in La Paz.

Jacques Cousteau approves of Tam Bikes!

La Paz harbor.

La Paz Boardwalk at night.

Quite possibly the prettiest night of the trip.

Mazatlan to El Roasario

Feliz Dios de los Muertos! We decided that as much fun as it might be to stay in town for another day and celebrate in Mazatlan, the road was calling. For good luck we prepared ourselves with Looney Bean Coffee then headed off to the embarcadero. Before we knew it we were on a “plancha” (small boat) headed for Isla De La Piedra. We figured that a 10 km dirt road lined with coconut groves was a much better escape from Mazatlan than the uber-busy/dangerous highway. We were right. Aside from a few flats we made it out of the city and into the mainland of Mexico. We ended up in El Rosario for the evening and got to spend the afternoon in the town center watching families honor Los Dios de Los Muertos. It was a more somber event in the small town and it felt nice being a part of it. I also got to pay my respects to my own Lita, the person for whom I hope to one day see Machu Pichu. I also drank in her honor, mainly by drinking a beer straight from the can, “como un barbaro”. A nice free campsite on the hotel grounds outside town was wonderful, though we were curious about paying the “hourly rate” for the use of a shower.

A little bit of the Eastern Sierra here in Mazatlan.

Bikes on a boat!

Coconut lined dirt road leading out of Mazatlan. Glory.

El Rosario to Acaponeta

Another wonderful day riding on the cuota (toll road) putting in lots of miles early in the day. Upon entering town we were invited over to drink beer with a bunch of older gentlemen (including 3 generations of one family). So we sat in the shade of a tree as they plied us with beer and cacahuates (peanuts) and insisted upon showing us around town. It wasn’t until we were all on bikes that we realized they had been drinking all afternoon and were quite drunk. It was quite an adventure negotiating the backroads of Acoponeta with a surly crew of buzzed cyclists. We eventually had to “ditch” them as I was in need of a hotel room to relax in for a few hours and was not up for a wild night out. Maybe next time guys!

Always plotting, scheming, planning.

Acaponeta to Tepic

Damn. Double Damn. In an effort to meet the guys on time we were going to have to out in some mega miles in a couple days, including today’s ride from damn near sea level to 900 meters above sea level. Needless to say, we were wiped after pulling into Tepic just as the sun was setting after suffering through the humidity and hills all day long. As Lu warned us, “It was the hardest 30 km’s of the ENTIRE trip from Alaska to Guadalajara.” We promptly checked into the first hotel we saw, paying more than I wanted to but needing some good rest.

Welcome to the jungle… Ready to climb?

Welcome to Nayarit.

Tepic to Ixtlan Del Rio

Another tougher than expected day now that we are in volcano country. The deserts and coastline are a rapidly fading memory as we are now surrounded by a lush and refreshingly crisp landscape. We were excited to explore the ruins outside the town, apparently the only mesoamerican ruins in this part of Mexico. It was nice walking amidst centuries old structures trying to recreate life back then. It also got us excited about the vast archeological treasures that await us further into Mexico. All in all, a well rounded day.

Los Toriles ruins outside Ixtlan del Rio

Los Toriles ruins outside Ixtlan del Rio

Los Toriles ruins outside Ixtlan del Rio

Ixtlan Del Rio to Tequila!!!!

We awoke with a plan. Ride to Tequila, take a Jose Cuervo tour, explore town then meet the Guadalajata crew the following morning. However, if you ever want to make God laugh, just make a plan. Instead the day was a blur of mishaps, mechanical failures and unexpected successes. The day went like this: climbing, heat, flat tire (Josh), climbing, flat tire (Josh), heat, lunch, climbing, flat tire (Josh), joking about a broken trailer, broken trailer, ghetto wheel fix, hitchhiking, Josh’s baggage on my bike (double load), Josh’s trailer held on with electric tape and ending with a Tequila tasting in the hostel. Luckily we managed to find the humor in it all and made it through ok. While it would have been nice to have done our “planned” itinerary in Tequila, reality as always remains far more memorable and exciting.

Yup. Broken skewer problem fixed with brake cabling and electric tape. Josh is truly a mad scientist/genius.

What do you do when your friend need a hand? You load their shit on your bike of course!

Tequila to Guadalajara

It is truly amazing how drastically different your day can be from Sunrise to Sunset. We woke with the plan of meeting Lu and the crew in the AM, fixing/replacing Josh’s skewer issue when a shop opened, then riding to Guadalajara. After a wonderful reunion with Lu and Mario, we were off to find a shop to fix Josh’s bike. After a bit of running around we had the issue fixed and were off! It was great riding with a group again and nothing could get us down. Nothing except flats…. It only made sense that we would get flats. All in all, over the 60 km’s it took to get to Guadalajara our group of 4 riders had 6 flats! If only we could somehow turn flats into a drinking game. Eventually we made it into Guadalajara and headed straight to Lu’s family restaurant and were treated to the most truly amazing meal of our trip. Argentenian beef, lasagna, pizza and local beer were just what we needed and we wasted no time stuffing ourselves as we tried to remain polite for Lu’s wonderful family. Finally around sunset we joined Lu at a philosophical discussion he was hosting entitled, “What is man?”. Though I only caught bits and pieces of it, it was nice to watch the sun set over this great city surrounded by bright minds discussing life. Never a dull moment. I also had a chance to reflect on that question of what man is and this tour seems to answer that for me. Man is a sentient being with the capacity to create new experiences for himself that help  further his understanding of mankind. This tour is just that. Fixing flats in the sweltering sun, dodging city traffic on bikes, learning a new language, waking up in a cactus garden in the desert, watching the sun set on the “wrong” side of the water, meeting old friends (and making new ones!), exploring new places and constantly absorbing. We are man!


Best lasagna. Ever.

Lu’s family at their restaurant in Guadalajara. Not only did they treat us to am AMAZING dinner, bur we will be staying with them for a few days. Funny thing about this picture is that the darkest looking dude (me) spoke the second worst Spanish. These people are amazing!

At this point, Josh and I are unsure how long we will be here in Guadalajara. Regardless, I feel the winds of change and have a few ideas in my head. This country is simply to grand to fly through, I owe it more respect that that. Only time will tell.

For now, I have a city to explore!

p.s. If you read my blog do me 2 favors please.

1. Leave a comment with your name so I can see who all is reading this. I can see the numbers of viewers but don’t know who you all are!

2. Tell your friends/cycling buddies about this.

peace, love and tailwinds,


The numbers:

Mazatlan to El Rosario     52 miles

El Rosario to Acaponeta     60 miles

Acaponeta to Tepic     69 miles

Tepic to Ixtlan Del Rio     59 miles

Ixtlan Del Rio to Tequila     42 miles

Tequila to Guadalajara     44 miles

The “colectivos” (cheap buses) are always the best way to travel.

Our cargo ferry/bike transport across the Sea of Cortez. can you find our bikes?

Donny is motorbiking from Santa Barbara to some undermined point south. Rad dude, great company too.

Our majestic ship in all her glory. Only $850 pesos.

We like hotel rooms.

Sometimes this is exactly what bike touring feels like.

Every town, no matter how small, always has a beautiful church and a plaza. I love this culture so much.

Mazatlan Jesus

Bikes on a boat!


El Rosario graveyard.

El Rosario church.

Volcano country

Los Toriles ruins outside Ixtlan del Rio

Los Toriles ruins outside Ixtlan del Rio

Los Toriles ruins outside Ixtlan del Rio. Howdy Josh.

so good.


26 comments on “La Paz, BCS to Guadalajara, Jalisco

  1. Angelica Villalpando
    November 8, 2012

    Lovely to hear you’re doing well, ad enjoying guadalajara. I was thinking of ms. Emma during the day of the dead celebrations. I’m glad you are defining your “manhood” through humanity.

    • Angelica Villalpando
      November 8, 2012

      P.s. much love, happy thoughts and many more posts please

  2. Adrian
    November 8, 2012

    Just another highlight on your magnificent adventure. enjoy each new place you bike through, and hopefully all these experiences and images stay imprinted in your mind, they will make great campfire stories at J-Tree this New Years. love, dad

  3. Lisa
    November 8, 2012

    and again – much fun to read your blog. thanks for sharing and hopefully less flats in the future! 🙂

  4. cheryl
    November 8, 2012

    Andres, of course I am reading your blog and sharing your adventures. I do think Mexico is so rich and diverse in climate, peoples, food that your idea of not “flying” through makes sense to me.. Maybe it is another trip or maybe it is a longer one this time.

  5. Todd Sulzinger
    November 8, 2012

    Andy, I am loving your blogs!! Thanks for taking us on the journey with you. Your photography is excellent too! The La Paz Harbor photo is fantastic. Safe travels and looking forward to seeing more.
    -Todd Sulzinger (NatureBridge parent-May 2012-St. Albans Country Day School)

    • Andres
      November 8, 2012

      Glad to hear from you. I hope all is well and that you are headed back for yet another Yosemite trip soon.

  6. James Byrum
    November 8, 2012

    Your posts are so inspiring and the pictures are amazing. Their is nothing better than travel and experiencing new cultures.

  7. Mom
    November 8, 2012

    It is said that Mexico’s geography is so diverse and all that you need can be found there. I really enjoy reading your posts Love Mom

  8. Diane
    November 8, 2012

    We met you and fed you in Chelan WA Labor Day weekend and have been following your adventure ever since. I so enjoy your writing! We are in the process of planning our Sierra Cascades trip for late summer 2013.
    Fellow bikers Michael & Diane, Joe & Cindy

    • Andres
      November 8, 2012

      I am so glad to have met you. The hospitality of others is probably the most meaningful thing I will be taking from this trip.

  9. Xavier
    November 8, 2012

    I always look forward to your posts. Looks like a wonderful trip. Oh and with every post it’s obvious you are really learning what your new camera can do.


    • Andres
      November 8, 2012

      Thanks man. I look forward to seeing you when I get back home.

  10. jonathan
    November 8, 2012

    I Always look forward to hearing more about ur adventure! Thanks for the updates

  11. Ramon
    November 8, 2012

    hey andres! thanks for the pics, especially of the sunset and the ruins. keep on absorbing the awe of the journey!!

  12. Sarah Bly
    November 9, 2012

    You know I always read your stuff. I am sad I did not hear wind of you visiting the infamous Parrot Bar of La Paz. I miss the delicious feeling I got every time our boat pulled into the Porto de Illusion. First place I ever ate cactus (before I met you) 🙂

  13. Caroline
    November 9, 2012

    Hey Andy! Love reading your adventure writings:)
    Makes me itch to get out there again!
    All the luck and love to you guys, from Belgium!

  14. lhurteau
    November 11, 2012

    This is Leslie, one of Josh’s many friends back in Vancouver. I’ve been enjoying the posts, sounds like you guys are having a blast.

  15. Marya
    November 11, 2012

    Great stories and pics Andy! Why so many flats???

    • Andres
      November 12, 2012

      I´m glad you´re following it! The flats are my buddy´s, not mine.

  16. Amber
    November 21, 2012

    I’m enjoying being “along for the ride”. Thanks for all the stories and pictures, what an awesome adventure! Can’t wait to hear about it in person!

  17. Emily Schaller
    November 21, 2012

    Keeping track of you is even an adventure! Thanks for writing and sharing.
    Hugs and apple pie,

  18. Laura Manczewski
    November 24, 2012

    You are truly “Gulping Life” and it is inspiring. Be well. 🙂

  19. Jen Metes
    November 26, 2012

    I have been living vicariously through all of your blog posts since you started your ride through Alaska…keep up the adventuring!

  20. Casey and Matt
    January 30, 2013

    So I got a little behind on your blogs…but I am on track to catch up. Out of all the comments, I can’t believe no one mentioned the ridiculousness of your double-loaded bike! How much weight do you think you were you hauling? And please tell me you have to gain elevation with that set up!

  21. Marcia Robin
    September 11, 2013

    I very much enjoyed your blog….Interestingly, we were on the road from Las Mochis to almost Tepic during the same time last year! I am looking forward to returning to Mexico in about 6 weeks!
    The part about the flats and having to load Josh’s stuff onto your bike- I blew a head gasket in my old truck and we had to load MY stuff into a friends car!!! I KNOW the feeling!! thanks for sharing and I saw some things I will be stopping to see when on the road…….Tia Marcia (lol)

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