Cliff visits Mexico
After more than 30 years living in Mexico City my brother finally came to visit. He was here less than 2 weeks but we enjoyed every minute.
I had invited him several times over the years but he decided to come when I only had one big bike, my wonderful V-Strom 1000. This meant I would need to find him a bike. I thought this would be a simple task but proved to be a bit of a challenge. I had 3 choices- borrow one from someone, buy one and then sell it or rent one.
After a lot of searching I finally rented a Suzuki Boulevard from a friend. It's the 800cc version which I thought he would like. It had 2 serious problems an almost bald rear tyre and unmuffled pipes. A prayer solved the first problem and Cliff riding behind my wife and I on the V-strom solved the second problem, at least for us! The ride began on December 3rd and we visited places that are nt normal for the tourist crowd.
I'll post more tomorrow once I remember how to post pics.
Cliff arrived on Saturday Dec 1st at night. I picked up the Boulevard on Saturday afternoon and rode it all the way across the city to meet Ivonne, my wife and Andy. Andy is a fellow motorcyclist who had contacted me through Hu to find him a dual sport bike to ride in The End of the World Rally. This rally started in Guanajuato and ends in Laguna de Bacala when the world ends
Hers Andy at our place ready to start his adventure. I was worried that he would be a nutcase as letīs face it participating in the end of the world sounds pretty strange. It turned out he was a really nice guy.
The tree of us went to pick up cliff at the airport.
Sunday we sat around outside talking about bikes and getting stuff ready. We went into town for lunch and got ready for the the trip.
Andy and Cliff got along really well as they are both real Englishmen unlike me as I am mostly Mexican now.
Hereīs Ivonne trying out Andyīs bike. She normally sits on bikes for pics but this time it was way too tall for her to get on.
Cliff after packing the Boulevard.
The four of us ready for the trip. Andy only went a few miles with us as he was headed north and we were off to see the volcanoes.
We left Mexico City and after a stop for quesadillas got to El Paso de Cortes. This has a spectacular view of both the Popo and Ixtla. The Popo was puffing out a little bit of smoke. Seeing an active volcanoe was on my brotherīs bucket list so one check mark was made.
We went from there around the volcanoe and ended up and The Centro Vacacional del IMSS in Metepec, Puebla. We got a little lost on the way and got directions from a guy in a cowboy hat holding a beer in one hand. He explained he had a Harley and loved to ride and would show us thw way. He went off to get his Harley which took him about 15 mins. He arrived on a Kawasaki cruiser still wearing his hat and the pointed to the direction we need to go! All very strange but better than riding with a drunk cowboy and having to stop every couple of mintues to pick up his hat.
We stooped for lunch of cecina tacos near Cuatla and then went on to Metepec
The facilities at the IMSS were outstanding a great place to camp 2 outdoor swimmimg pools and one indoors. Restaurants, hotels but the bathrooms were a long way away and only open until 8pm. We peeped on the grass. We seemed to be the only people stasying there. It was a walled complex with security guards. There was a Fiesta going on outside for the patron saint of the town with dancing and stalls selling food and drinks. Cliff was now convinced that mexico partied all the time. A great first day even if we got lost a couple of times. My GPS stopped working and wouldnīt work again until we got home.
For those of you interested the IMSS has 4 places you can camp in Metepec in Puebla, Oaxtepec in Morelos, La trinidad and Malintzi both in Tlaxcala. Hereīs a link to their site http://centrosvacacionales.imss.gob.mx/Index.html We paid $100 per person to camp. I have stayed in the one in Oaxtepec and it is big and in a beautiful setting. The will be noisy and possibly crowded on the weekends.
Looks like a fun trip!
I imagine some people reading this will not know that $100 is how 100 pesos is written in Mexico, or about 8 dollars U.S., and will assume you are filthy rich eccentric Englishmen spending money like drunken sailors.
The next day I was up early and both eggs, bread and what I thought was bacon for breakfast. The woman in the store didnīt have real bacon but had something called tocineta. it looked strange and when I cooked it tasted something like bacon but with a strange chemical aftertaste.
After breakfast we rode the the pyramids. We took one of our few tolls roads and had to pay in full because it was not a federal toll.
We then rode to Huasca where we camped at barranca honda. http://www.barrancahonda.com/campamento.php This was also a secure campground with a restaurant and swimming pools. They also rent cabins. It was very cold when we arrived at about 7pm. They rent blankets and Cliff rented 2. Ivonne and Cliff sat aound the fire in the restaurant wrapped in blankets. Ivonne and I slept well that night in our large 4 man tent. Cliff slept diagonally in his very small 1 man tent. I think his tent was made for a small Chinaman.
The next day we spent a day riding around the area and visited Peņa del Aire To get there you need to go down some dirt/gravel roads and then ride around the edge of the canyon. The Boulevard handled all of this well. Cliff will say it was his great riding abilty but there is little ability involveed as you are stuck in a sitting position with your feet miles in front of yo. You just twist the throttle and go.
There were only a couple of people at Peņa del Aire We met 2 old guys who had hiked down to the bottom and back. One of them had a plastic bag full of trash that he had picked up on his hike. It is amazing that people will throw trash in such an amazing natural place.
After that we went to Real del Monte where we ate original Cornish pastes. Paste shops are verywhere in Huasca. They were brought over by the British miners who ate them when working down the mines. They held the crust at he edge and ate the pastry and filling and threw away the edge as it was filthy from their dirty hands. The British mined the area but made little or no money out of it. They were taken over by the Americans who exploited the mines and then by Mexico. Mexico like the British made little to nothing out of the venture.
There is a British cemetery in the town with head stones in English. It was also the place that football was first played in Mexico.
We walked around the town a little but as soon as the sun went down it becamne bitterly cold.
We are not filthy rich and you are right it was 100 pesos not dollars. We never paid more that 100 pesos to camp per night and always stayed in very safe places.
The IMSS place was outstanding with beautiful gardens and lots of people keeping it clean. We never stayed in a place with anybody else camping.
Great to see a ride report from you and your brother! Thanks for the link to the 4 campsites.
We probably would have met but my friend Bill Atchison and I never got to meet up after he left your place:(:
It was a great 10 days of riding with my brother.
There are no words to express what I felt when I heard about Bill's tragic accident.
Hopefully you will come back to Mexico one day and we will have the pleasure of putting you up and showing you around.
The next day we rode to Ixmiquilpan. It was a short ride but I wanted to take my brother to a swimming pool with thermal water. We checked out a few places as there were many options. Some of the water parks had pools that were working but a lot had them with empty poold. One we went to was really nice but they were going to have a wedding reception that night that would finish around 4am.
We ended up at Pueblo Nuevo that charged $70 pesos for use of the pools and $60 pesos for camping.
We went out for a quick lunch of pollo a la barbacoa which is chicken cooked wrapped in cactus leaves and cooked in a pit. Then it was time to relax.
Only a couple of pools had water but there were only another 5 guys there so ! pool was enough.
Nice green grass and blue skies. Although Cliff complained about the cold at night this has to be better than a typical day in England in December.
Cliff's little tent. He managed to pitch it under a big street lamp and had enough light in it to read a newspaper all night.
Once the sun went down it got cold again quckly. WE had gone into town for dinner in a dingy looking place but with good food. The square was decorated for Christmas but for some reason I didn't take any pictures. Cliff the wanted to buy a blanket which he finally did along with a very large pillow what a siissy, I had always thought he was a tough biker.
Again the campsite was secure and justl for the three of us.
great to see how well your ride with your brother worked out :clap:clap:clap
Looking forward to the rest of your RR
The next day was stunning. My brother just sent me a mail to describe it.
He says, "The riding in the mountains was brilliant. I will remember looking down on mountains which looked down on other mountains forever. It's difficult to imagine another place where half an hours riding takes you from desert to tropical forest and back to English countryside. Amazing."
We rode from Ixmiquilpan to Tamazunchale. Itīs not far on the map but is a very technical road with lots of tight curves. I had wanted to get to Xilitla to camp but it was getting late and didn't want to get caught in the mountains after dark. Cliffīs bike didnīt have a high beam!
The boulevard was now really loaded with its pillow and blanket.
Cliff barely keeping up.
Lots of turns to try to catch you out.
Somewhere in the hills Cliff looked at the scenery for a fraction too long I braked for a tope and he had to slam on the brakes. He "kissed" my rear wheel and I thought there had been some oil on the road just on the tope. It wasn't until the afternnon I found out what had happened. Perhaps the Boulevard and V-strom wanted to mate what a terrible child that would produce.
Not a straight bit of road for hours. Ivonne get dizzy on this road I think from taking the pics as I wasn't riding very fast.
We stayed at THe Hotel Tamazunchale just at the end of town before the bridge a nice place in a shit hole of a town. There was a procession for Guadalupe and a small fiesta downtown which just confirmed by brothers belief that all we do is party.
Thanks Julio. It was a really really great trip. Although at times I think we pushed him too hard he loved every minute of it. It was like being kids again and playing in the park only more fun because now we are old and not suppossed to have any fun.
Tamazunchale was the furthest we would get from Mexico City. The next morning from there we headed to Xilitla. We visited Sir Edward James place full of weird and wonderful sculptures.
Ivonne climbed to the top but didnīt cross to the other side. Vertigo and sheer fear got the better of the 2 bike brothers.
Sir Edward wanted to be laid to rest here and made an imprint of his body in the wet cement. He died in Europe and nobody went to the bother of shipping his body back.
He was a skinny guy as my short fat frame didnīt fit .
We spent the rest of the day riding La Sierra Gorda de Queretaro. Nice curves that were not to techinical and Cliff kept his distance so the Ļkissing! incident didnīt happen again.
We rode all the way to Nopala, Hidalgo where we stayed with my sonīs godmother.
Cliff was exhausted when we arrived. He was so tired he went to the room where we all stayed and fell on the bed in all his gear and was asleep when his head hit the pillow. It was only 6pm. During the evening several people came to see us especially to see my brother. They all got a view of a fully clad biker fast asleep.
The next day Cliff was horrified that half the family plus a few others had stopped by to see him sleeping.
Hereīs a pic of the next morning after the big sleep.
Cliff was happy to meet the 2 real cowboys. There were eleven horses, nine pickup trucks, sheep and horses box on the half destroyed property. Everybody made us feel very welcome. Just normal Mexican hospitality. Cliff was embarressed when introduced to people for the first time and got the reply"Oh I saw you in bed last night"
Sunday was a very low mileage day.
We got a picture of 2 of the little great nieces who were also visiting. They obviously appreciate the finer things in life as the wanted a pictiure on the V-strom not the Boulevard.
We then rode off to Ixmiquilpan to see a Charreada which is a Mexican rodeo.
It was a small event with 3 towns competing against each other. Good family fun with a little bit of tequila involved.
We looked a little out of place in our bike gear and helmets as everyone else had Mexican Cowboy gear on. Despite this we were made very welcome and Cliff was invited to drink Tequila which he declined.
We then rode off to Atlacomulco to stay with my brother-in-law.
We got chicken on the way which we had when we arrived.
At night we visited my sister-in-lawīs house where she puts up an enormous nativity scene which takes uo half her living room. I didnīt get any pictures of it but it was amazing. The family has been doing it for 57 years.
From Atlacomulco we went to Morelia where we would meet some Canadian friends who had stayed with us. They had come back from Belize to see the Monarch butterflies.
We decided to take the toll road from Atlacomulco to Morelia. When we crossed into the State of Michoacan we were stopped at an army checkpoint. One of the soldiers searched Cliffīs saddlebag and found his pipie tobacco. After a good sniffing he let us go. We stopped at a gas station a few minutes later. Cliff was excited that he had been stopped by a group of soldiers with machine guns.
You can see how tough he now looks in the picture a real adventure biker.
Cliff smoking some of the famous tobacco.
One the road to Morelia we saw a group of serious armed State police with an enormous Mechine gun mounted on a turrett. Michoacan is a dangerous State an the army and police make their presence known.
We then met up with Daniel and Sara.
We had lunch at a torta place which sold enormous tortas which severed as lunch that day and the next.
Sara and Ivonne were happy to see each other. They are very similar in many ways (all good) and decided they are soul sisters.
We took the little tourist bus around town. The only thing I remember about it is that some of the streets had a metal lining on the kerb to protect the stone from the wheels of the horse drwn carriages.
We then sat in front of the cathedral and had a beer. Whist sitting there 2 pickups full of police with machine guns stopped in front of us. A few mintites later a procession came back headed for the church just down the road.
We returned to the luxury of our hotel where I spent my first cold night. In the middle of the night I realized I was feezing and got out my sleeping bag. When I looked over at Ivonne she had done the same thing hours before.
It was really nice to meet up with Sara and Daniel again and gave Cliff someone else to talk to.
In morelia we stayed at a Hotel called Qualitel it is very near El Mercado de los Dulces and an easy walk to the Cathedral and main square. A double cost $410 and a single was $300 pesos including breakfast and secure parking. If you stay ask for extra blankets or use your sleeping bags. .
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