Guadalajara was the first city we had seen in several weeks. All of my photos came out badly due to traffic, smog, and general distraction in my first true Mexican city - and a good one at that! The city sits on hillsides and is teeming with traffic. The gasoline is red, the construction zones are "pass-if-you-can" and the spirit of the place is survival of the fittest. Our bikes are well suited for bad roads, speed bumps, traffic weaving, and accelerating through tunnels - even loaded with a hundred and fifty pounds of gear.
Leaving the City you find new worlds in any direction - we went a bit to the West and up in elevation - climbing through the remote mountains until we found the cold, racing the sunset, and came upon the edge of the Jaliscan world - or at least an incredible view of the valley.
For $50 pesos each, we found an amazing campsite high up in the mountains, near the Magic Puebla of Tapalpa. One thing - hot showers. Pretty nice ones at that, though I only took one in the three nights we stayed there. The small resort also had a bread and pizza oven, a great little kitchen, cabins for rent for those wanting to spend a bit more than $3 per day, great people, and an incredible view of farmlands, the valley, and volcanos.
Our host at the campsite shared a drink with us - his grandmother's recipe, made of chili pepper, local sour pomegranate grenadine, sugar, and tequila. The perfect cure for chills, weary bones, motorcycle-shaken and buzzy heads, and just about any other ailment you can think of. It was delicious. Perfection. The folks in the Mountains of Jalisco know how to heal your soul.
Tapalpa is one of Mexico's first "Magic Pueblas" a designation given to historically or culturally significant villages in an effort to promote tourism in places other than the coastal towns. It's a smart concept as there is so much to see and experience away from the tourism-heavy coasts. We wandered Tapalpa for a few days finding blue-corn street food for a few cents, Brooklyn worthy pastries for $20 pesos, fruity mountain mystery mezcal, $5 peso avacodos, $30 peso rounds of fresh home made cheese, and original 16th century cobbled streets and avenues.
One of my favorite Jalisco experiences was the Pajarates. An ex-pat, ex-pilot friend that we met told us about this tradition. He told us which road to drive up in the morning - to look for a cow on the side of the road with people surrounding it. Take one part sugar, one part cinnamon, one part instant coffee, five parts cane liquor, and five parts fresh cow's milk. Mix together in a big redware mug and put a good buzz on. 10am Sunday morning pleasures.