Blockades, Rivers, and a Crash on the way to Oaxaca Mexico

The day started off fine on my way to Oaxaca. However, as it wore on I encountered road blockades, rivers, GPS problems and finally my first real crash 🙁

Changing Roads on the Way to Oaxaca

I started my journey to Oaxaca from Puebla along the free road. Eventually though I was getting tired of village after village and speed bump after speed bump. The scenery wasn’t even nice. Just dusty villages. When I checked my time of arrival in Oaxaca it said 3:30 pm. I wanted to be there by 2. So I made the decision to switch to the toll road which would get me into Oaxaca at 1:30!

The toll road was amazing, a great road with beautiful scenery and no traffic. I just cruised along enjoying the ride.

At the last toll booth the attendant said something to me in Spanish. I only understood something about taking the free road up ahead. I carried on blissfully ignorant.

Road Blockades

As I carried on I came across a long line of trucks. After a few minutes I rode along miles of trucks to where I encountered a mass of people across the highway. I was told to turn around. So that is what the toll booth guy was talking about.

I hit “detour” on my GPS. It took me into a nearby town and down a road to where there were burned out semi trucks and buses across the road. Again I was told to turn around. I should have taken pictures. I get so engrossed in the predicament that I forget.

Teachers Strike

I don’t know much about it, but apparently teachers from a dissident union in the state of Oaxaca have been on strike since May over government reforms and have blockaded the roads.

The police have been clamping down on these. A few days after I came across the roadblocks, the police went in on the roadblocks I faced and people were killed. You can read about it here.

Finding an Alternate Route

I then began the search for an alternate route around these roadblocks. My GPS took me down dirt roads until I met a couple of rivers. I really didn’t feel like crossing the rivers for an unknown result at the end.

I tried my own intuition and I didn’t fair much better.

For 2 hours I tried to find a way around the roadblocks. Finally I gave up.

Waved Through the Roadblock

I went back into the town where I saw the burnt out buses and semis. Rode my way up to the front of the line and sat there for a few minutes looking at the situation. I saw that they were letting cars from the opposite direction through for a few moments. I thought just maybe they would do the same with us. Nope. Didn’t happen.

Then all of a sudden a guy waved at me to come up to the roadblock. He let me through! And only me! The only problem was that 50 yards up the road was another road block. I rode up and asked the people there if anyone spoke English. They just ignored me. I sat there and then this time asked in English if anyone spoke English. Finally a man came up to me and asked where I was going. I said Oaxaca. He escorted me to the chain across the road and instructed the men to let me through.

I was through but on a road I didn’t know and wasn’t on my map. I was trusting my GPS.

GPS Issues

My GPS started taking me down dirt roads that eventually led to rivers! I wasn’t going to cross them as it just didn’t seem right. I was getting pretty frustrated with it. I doubled back and saw a sign that said Oaxaca straight ahead. I should have followed it. But I stupidly decided to follow my GPS again as it led me down another road. This time at least it wasn’t dirt.


As I road along a curvy mountain road I started to question my GPS. I remember looking down at it. When I looked up I was heading towards an embankment with a small cement drainage ditch at it’s base. It was too late to avoid it. Down I went. I remember sliding across the road with my bike. The next thing I remember is coming to a stop with my horn blaring. My tank bag had lodged itself again my horn button.

I was saw I was in the oncoming lane not far from a curve. I wanted to get out of there quick before some car came around and it me.

So I took off my tank bag and dry bag, and lifted my bike upright. While doing that I was looking to see if there was any damage to my bike. Alaska came to mind where my windshield had broke when I dropped the bike. I consider that just a drop. This was a real crash and I was afraid of the damage it may have caused. And would the bike even start again.

The bike did start. Phew! I put on my bags and moved my bike out of the way. Slowly I rode down the rode thinking about what had just happened. As the adrenaline subsided I noticed the palm of my left hand was hurting. It didn’t feel like anything was broken though.

I also noticed rips and holes in my riding suit.



That was discouraging. However, knowing that my riding suit had done its job of protecting me was consoling. The holes looked repairable. Thanks Klim for protecting me!

Sorry for the lack of photos 🙁 It is like someone else takes over my body to resolve the situation. He doesn’t think about taking pictures ha ha.

The Road to Oaxaca

After the crash I decided to turn back and go to where I saw the Oaxaca sign. My GPS showed it as a major road. When I got to the road I saw 2 buses with “Oaxaca” on the front of them. I made the decision to follow this road no matter what my GPS said. Of course my GPS was still directing me to turn off along dirt roads. I ignored it.

Eventually my GPS kicked in and pointed the way to my Airbnb. The street anyways.


I found my Airbnb. Almost finished this day. I parked my bike on an undulating cobble stone roadway outside and rang to buzzer to the compound.


The housekeeper came out, warmly greeted me, and directed me to ride my bike up the ramp into a beautiful garden.

As I got on my bike I couldn’t get it upright enough to kick out the kickstand! It was leaning over too far and I just didn’t have the strength to get the heavy bike upright. Fortunately, a lady from the restaurant next door came out and gave me a nudge. Quite the day.

I rode up the ramp and unpacked. As I unpacked I noticed a metal shank in my tire. Crap.


Eventually I was just able to relax in what is the nicest Airbnb I’ve had to date. And by a long way the cheapest place I’ve stayed at. Time to recoup all the money I expended traveling the US and Canada that put me way over budget.








My sort of Route for November 30, 2016


To Greenville – the Heart of the Mississippi Delta

It was finally time to leave Memphis for Greenville, Mississippi, the heart of the Mississippi Delta.


Before I left though I visited Graceland. I had been there once before, but it is a place you just have to go to. Last time the guard allowed me to go visit Elvis Presley’s grave. This time no such luck without paying for a tour. So just a few pictures before heading on.



There was one noticeable difference from the last time I was there. Next to Graceland was not a massive building still under construction. I asked around and a person told me it was the new Heartbreak Hotel.



It didn’t take long for the weather to heat up. For most of my ride today it hovered around 36 degrees C. My Klim riding suit is cooler than I expected. It has lots of vents. But at 36 it is still very hot. It doesn’t take long before you feel weak from the heat.

Great River Road

Of course I was following the Great River Road into Mississippi. I wasn’t seeing the river though. I even went up onto the levee to see if I could see a glimpse.


Finally I got to see her 🙂





I made it to Greenville and I was exhausted. In fact I felt a bit disorientated. I am sure the heat had something to do with it. However, I also felt like I was in a different land. There was the obvious that basically everyone in Greenville is black. But there was also a distinct language barrier too!

When I was checking into the Warfield Campground, a prison inmate worker was trying to ask me something and I had no idea what he was saying. We finally got together and he was asking me if I had a tent. Then the Ranger came and I was sure he was asking me for my “land line.” Nope, he was asking me for my last name! A really nice guy. I just couldn’t understand him. Then people are saying my bike is a lot of “grip.” I am guessing that means money. I haven’t seen a Rosetta Stone course for southern English!

Doe’s Eat Place

One of the main reasons I chose to do the Great River Road and to go to Greenville was because of Anthony Bourdain’s show on eating in the Mississippi Delta. When I watched it I thought there is something so different and unique about the Delta. One of the places featured on the show was Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville.

To be truthful I almost didn’t go. I was hot and disorientated. I just wanted to go to a place I knew. I am glad I didn’t.

Doe’s Eat Place is very unique. To start with, the entrance is through the kitchen! The building itself is very old and held together by knives – literally. Where I sat there was a knife holding the door closed.



The other unique thing? After I sat down the server came up to me and asked what I’ll have. I said, “what about a menu.” “We don’t have menus here,” was the response. No menus!?!

Luckily, from the Anthony Bourdain show I knew tamales, salad and steak were the specialties. So that is what I had. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, this is going to cost me ha ha. But with no menu I had no idea.

The steak was awesome. Yes, I know it is well done. I like it that way.


Warfield Park Campground

The Warfiled Park Campground is really nice. Very spacious. Green grass. And a great view of the Mississippi River.



At night as the sun set it was magical. They had a tower there you could climb up on. At the top I felt the cool breeze from the river, and watched the sun as it set. SOOOOOO nice.





After the sun set I had a shower to wash off the day’s grime so I could get to sleep. Minutes after crawling into my tent I was sweating again.

I pulled back my rain cover hoping that would help. It did a bit. I couldn’t open the entrance to let more air in due to the bugs. As it was these little creatures were making it into the tent and biting me or something.

I finally just took a sleeping pill and called it a night.

My Route for August 31, 2016


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Great River Road Wisconsin

I woke up to cloud and threatening rain to make my way through Minneapolis and onto the Great River Road Wisconsin.


The forecast today was for rain. I was bracing for the worst. I thought about staying for another day but rain was in the mix for the next few days. So off I went to see how far I could get today.


In my previous 6 month motorcycle trip through the US I really liked Wisconsin. Something about the rolling hills of farmland that appealed to me. I was looking forward to riding in the state again.

When I entered Wisconsin, they had a Great River Road information Center. They had the map of the whole Great River Road that I was looking for. There was also great views of the Mississippi River from the Center. It keeps getting bigger! I have to say that before embarking on this trip I didn’t really realize the Mississippi River was significant above the state of Mississippi.



One thing I found out from the map is that the Great River Road really isn’t one road. It is more of a generic turn for basically 2 roads, one on each side of the river. So on this leg I could have taken the Minnesota road or the Wisconsin road. The numerous bridges across the Mississippi means you can switch back and forth.

I don’t know about the Minnesota side, but the Wisconsin Great River Road was awesome as it meandered beside the river. I loved the little historic towns I passed. If the weather had been better I would have loved to stop at a patio for a bite to eat.

By 1 pm the weather looked like it was deteriorating. A severe weather warning was in the forecast. I decided to stop at the Motel 6 in La Crosse.

Helmet Itch

Throughout the day I had suffered from helmet itch. A year ago I had a bad case of it and went to a dermatologist. She wasn’t able to solve it and it sort of went away. I made a few changes like getting a new helmet, wearing a skull cap, and using a different shampoo. Today it was back. Not as bad as before though.

I was early for the Motel 6 and decided get a haircut at Greatcuts. It was kind of nice to have a prolonged conversation with someone. Thanks Ashley! We’ll see if this helps. It will definitely make me look less unkempt.

Motel 6

I enjoyed another night of a hotel. And look Carllee … I even had a salad 🙂


Route for August 19, 2016


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