The Hilly Ride to Puerto Vallarta
The day I rode into Puerto Vallarta I started coughing and felt pain in my chest. Great, I thought. Not again. I was just sick last Christmas. Well hopefully it won’t be that bad. Well it was bad. Over the next several days things got worse and worse, to the point where I could hardly get out of bed. During one stretch of about 48 hours I was out of bed maybe 2 hours just to go the drug store and eat. I was coughing so much the muscles in my abdomen started aching. My zpack of Azithromycin was no help, leading me to believe I had a viral infection in my chest. Could it be pneumonia? I wasn’t just coughing either. My whole body felt weak. I had a pounding headache, stuffed up nose, and sore throat. I debated going to see a doctor but in the end just gobbled up every drug I could get my hands on. But nothing seemed to help. So I just laid up in my cheap hotel where at least they had good TV with some English channels and good wifi so I was able to keep occupied.
But let me rewind a bit. I believe I left off last time on the beach in Maruata. From there I continued northwest through the towns of Tecoman, Cuyutlan, Manzanillo, Melaque, Emiliano Zapata, Perula and El Tuito. More of the same. Nice beach towns, great seafood, some hills, hot and humid. The hills were a little steeper though, and I have to admit I had to catch a ride a couple times. Here is my current location in Puerto Vallarta:
I spent one night in the big surf village of La Ticla. Surfers from all over the world come here to ride the big waves. It’s a laid back place with great food and accommodations for all kinds. Here is a surfer heading out at sunset.
The next day was tough. It was hot and humid as usual and for some reason I had no energy. But I had to climb a steep, 1200 foot hill. It took me about two hours. Here is a view of the coast from the summit.
Then I had brake problems on the way down and had to stop to make several adjustments. By the time I got to the next small town I felt like mierda. Just then a guy walks over and says he used to be a cyclist and asks me all sorts of questions. Really a nice guy. I needed cash so I asked if there was an atm in town. He said no, not until Tecoman, the next big city about 60 km away. He then said he was going there and would I like a ride? I thought about it for a second then accepted. So I loaded my bike and gear in his pickup truck and off we went. It was great. The road was very difficult, winding up and down with no shoulder, so it was a safer way to go. Here is the guy (on the right) with his son I think. As I’ve said before the Mexican people have been so friendly.
Leaving Tecoman I rode to the beach town of Cuyutlan. This place is popular with Mexican families, especially on weekends. Here are some people playing football on the beach.
On the way to Manzanillo I had to ride on a cuota, a superhighway toll road. The cuota isn’t too bad. There is a nice wide shoulder. But of course tons of traffic so not too peaceful. The cuotas also bypass most of the small towns so there are fewer places to get water.
The guards let me go through the toll booth but shortly thereafter I saw this sign.
But I have learned that no one pays any attention to the signs in Mexico so I continued without a second thought. Oh my God, am I becoming Mexican? I already put lime in everything, including beer.
I started thinking, what do you call a bunch of papaya trees? We have apple orchards, but orange groves. We have strawberry patches, but grape vines and bunches of bananas. Is it a papaya grove? Orchard? Bunch?
Then, with nothing else to occupy my mind, I started thinking about what we call groups of animals. So there is a herd of elephants, but a pride of lions and a pack of wolves. We call them a flock of birds, a school of fish, a gaggle of geese, and a murder of crows (really). There are even stranger ones out there, such as a cauldron of bats, a pace of donkeys and a conspiracy of lemurs. It’s true, look it up. Who makes up this stuff?
Anyway, I have noticed a lot more foreigners in the beach towns lately. This seems to be a popular destination for retired Canadian snowbirds. When I inquired about getting a room once, the woman answered me in French! The water is a lot colder here too. The days are still hot and humid but the temp cools off quickly after the sun sets. Nights get down into the low 60s now.
On to some photos. Here is an oyster vendor on the beach in Perula. Six oysters cost $4.50.
Some kids playing football on the beach in Melaque at dusk.
The beach at sunset.
I bought a couple coconut waters from this roadside vendor.
Bus stops are often good places to get out of the sun and catch a small break.
One day my map showed a steep hill about 2000 feet elevation gain over 50 km. That’s steep for me. I started up but when I was taking a rest break a taxi driver stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. It did not take much convincing because again the heat and hills sapped my energy. I accepted the ride for $17, which saved me another day and a lot of grief. Plus the road was under construction so it was gravel for a while, no shoulder, and lots of trucks.
Eventually I made my way to Puerto Vallarta. The popular tourist area is called the Zona Romantica which is filled with tourists, restaurants, massage therapists, bars and clubs, shops, etc. There are expensive hotels but I was able to get a basic one for only $20, and five tacos for dinner cost only $3, so it is possible to stay there cheaply.
Of course, the beach is extremely popular. Tons of tourists, high rise hotels, and restaurants. Very different from the beach bungalows and palapas I have been to previously. Not better or worse, just a totally different experience. Here is a photo of the beach.
PV is the LGBT capital of Mexico I guess so there are several gay bars and such. I saw this poster for a drag show featuring Hedda Lettuce. HA! Love it. I didn’t go though.
Here’s another one called…well, see for yourself.
Selling sombreros on the malecon, the beachfront sidewalk.
The plaque under this sculpture read, This sculpture is dedicated to all the donkeys that helped construct and develop Puerto Vallarta.
The rio Cuales flows through PV into the ocean.
A couple of amantes in the river.
Well after four days laying in bed I think the worst has passed. I am starting to feel a little better and hope to get back on the road in the next day or two. Having lost a week I think I will take a bus at some point to get back on track. The plan is to continue northwest until I reach the last big tourist destination on la costa grande: Mazatlan. Stay tuned and always remember to get your flu shot.