Tiffani's Yamaha FZ-07 Tour: Tough Situations and Stunning Ambiance

Chapter 3, Part 9.

Well, things have really gotten really real since we left our awesome, albeit morally questionable and not black-light-friendly love hotel in Colima. But we’re still surviving, so I think it’s about time for another update.

After a couple days relaxing in Colima, we finally started our sprint to Acapulco where we had some tires waiting and I was planning to get a leaking fork seal replaced. We had found the part already but had not yet found a good spot to get it installed. Fortunately, while my Yamaha's handling may have been slowly deteriorating, I've ridden around enough imperfect bike problems (cough crashed racebikes cough) to push through the last 400 miles or so.

Tiffani Mexico
One thing I do really love about the Mexican coast of Michoacan is definitely all of the palm tree farms. I don’t think the coconuts and bananas can possibly get any fresher!Photo: Tiffani Burkett

The plan had always been to ride along the coast, but what I didn't realize was that this route wasn't a particularly savory one. As we entered the state of Michoacan along Highway 200, we got searched by the military for the first time. They waved through most the cars but for some reason we must have attracted more attention. They let us go when they found nothing of interest and lightened up when Hollywood revved his bike telling them it was mas rapido.

No more than a couple hundred meters into the state we picked up our first Federale tail that overtly pulled out to follow us for no apparent reason (we actually weren’t speeding for once!). We turned off the road toward a place to get breakfast and then made a last minute U-turn back to the main drag to find a different spot, consequently losing our tail on the narrow turn off. Clearly, we had a target on our backs.

We stopped not far down the road for our actual breakfast, where a local informed us that Michoacan was actually very safe. Well, just so long as you don't get in the middle of the turf war on either side of this bridge over here. Or buy drugs. Or have money in your wallet. Or look like you might. Or leave anything unguarded for more than a minute or two. Or look like a foreigner. So, cool—no problem.

Tiffani Mexico
Even having gone up the entire Pacific coast and much of the Atlantic coast in the States, I’ve never seen such long, uninterrupted beaches as we did going through the twisty mountains of Highway 200. It’s a shame this break to enjoy the scenery had to be marred by some guys trying to sell us drugs. Beauty marred by drug trafficking might be a little too symbolic for the adventures of late.Photo: Tiffani Burkett

After getting obviously overcharged for our meal, we hopped back on our bikes and continued heading down the 200 anyway. The long beaches and extremely tight twisty mountain road made for probably one of the best motorcycle roads imaginable, but some of the unsavory-looking small towns and the heckling from an excess of Federales at random checkpoints started to make it feel like the Mexico everyone warned us about. We rolled up to one checkpoint where about 15 Federales with machine guns and shotguns all sat on the side of the road, staring and grinning at us as their buddy rattled off something in Spanish. As they asked for our IDs by trying out hand signals to communicate, we made it clear their Spanish was lost on us. They eventually got so frustrated they just waved us through. Playing the dumb foreigner was definitely helping, but it didn’t remove the discomfort of each encounter.

Tiffani Mexico
Here we’re a little off the beaten path, but all of the best places usually are.Photo: Tiffani Burkett

After a long, uneasy and exhausting ride, clocking in around 6 hours for the 200-mile stretch, we eventually made it to Lazaro Cardenas, where I made sure to get a hotel with safe parking. This was the most insecure I've felt since getting to Mexico and I started to feel a little in over our heads. Which was, of course, compounded by making the mistake of reading that we were on a route that was prohibited to Americans by the American government due to the high danger risk. Turns out this was the state where that motorcyclist on his way to the World Cup had been chopped up by cartel members disguised as fake military personnel a few years back.

We left the next morning feeling a little scared and in low spirits. Maybe it would have been better to have just continued on, blissfully unaware. But, despite the added sense of fear, we were already theoretically past the worst of it, so there was nothing to do but keep moving. We rode through Zihuantanejo and turned off back onto the 200 toward Acapulco, crossing the Michoacan border into Guerrero, an equally notorious state. As we rode through the interchange some random dudes with cowboy hats tried to block us with cones, obviously looking to collect a toll of their own. They clearly didn’t realize how quick and nimble the FZ can be.

We whizzed between their road block and continued south since they had neither machine guns nor a way to give chase. A few miles down the road, we stopped to stretch and take in the view and get back in a better mindset. No sooner had we dismounted our bikes than a pair of riders on little 125s rode up to us and started bugging us, trying very persistently to sell us drugs. Seriously? Way to be a stereotype, Guerrero.

Tiffani Mexico
The waves would enter the narrow channel and explode back and forth against the canyon walls. I probably spent a good half hour just watching it. The ocean has always done a good job of calming me down and clearing my head.Photo: Tiffani Burkett

We cut our break short to avoid any further dealings. A bit more than halfway to Acapulco, Hollywood found a little hotel on iOverlander called Bogavante Hotel in the community of Bahias de Papanoa. It sounded like a nice break from the otherwise unsafe ambiance, so we pulled off to check that out, hoping for something to turn around all these problems.

And we stumbled into something magical. Absolutely. Magical.

Tiffani Mexico
Lounging equipment, Mexico style. They really love their hammocks around here, and I’m starting to understand why!Photo: Tiffani Burkett

For just over $20 we had an adorable hammock on a balcony and a huge luxurious bed overlooking epic sea cliffs. The hotel was embedded into a community that felt surprisingly safe, and my whole attitude turned around as we watched waves crashing through narrow canyon walls. We lounged on a beautiful beach eating locally caught oysters and drinking water from freshly cut coconuts.

Tiffani Mexico
At the end of the day, no matter how bad it gets, there’s always something to remind me how good life really is. Somedays that’s something as simple as a perfect sunset.Photo: Tiffani Burkett

Tomorrow we’ll be back on our way to Acapulco which, not shockingly given the current state of affairs, is supposed to be one of the most violently dangerous cities in the world. I really picked some winners lately. We’ll jump back into uncertainty and lawlessness but today I’m just going to focus on the good and try not to think about it. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but this is getting to be a bit much!

Tiffani Mexico
The road down the coast toward Acapulco was laced with bright, shining moments punctuated by genuinely scary situations.Photo: Tiffani Burkett