Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Day Trippin'
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-22-2013, 09:35 AM   #1
LoneStar OP
LoneStar's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Texas Hill Country, Zip Code EIEIO
Oddometer: 1,211
LoneStar: The Run to Real de Catorce

The Run to Real de Catorce

Recently, I got a call from my friend Hank asking if I'd be interested in a quick trip into Mexico down to Real de Catorce, S. L. P. We'd blown through there last October on a trip to the Michoacan region and 'twas a magical place. Hank's shop in Dilley, Texas, "MotoHank", puts him on a route from Mexico and South America into the U. S. and he gets a lot of riders coming through. He's spent years exploring Mexico and regions further south, racking up half a million miles on his 95 GS.

Being the trip junkie I am, I told him "YES" and that I'd kill, or even spank, anyone who tried to stop me. Hank had been tasked with testing a product for a large aftermarket company and wanted to run it through everything possible - hours of high speed freeway, heavy off-road usage, slow maneuvering and anything else that came along. Real and the surrounding area would be a good place, including many miles of heavy duty cobblestone.

Anyway it was a great excuse to go.

In my usual way, I waited until the day before leaving to frantically prep the bike and pack. I did a fair job of packing light, but I too have been testing and refining some camera gear for travel and took a variety, so I had a bunch of "crapolaaa extraaa"…

Leaving at about dark-thirty Saturday night, I reached Dilley and Hank's shop late. We grabbed a bite and then I crashed on his couch. Got up early and hit the road for Laredo, the International Bridge, and the potential hours of waiting to get the appropriate forms for Immigration and Vehicle permits. Unfortunately the 6 month window of my previous permits had expired a couple of weeks before this trip and we'd both had to run down to the border to turn them in.

If anyone has read recent ride reports or posts of mine, my 98 GS is having a butt-fest of bad mileage and so far have not found the answer. Again, on my run from home to Dilley I got 25 freakin' mpg. That night I pulled fuse 5 and left it out overnight, doing a Motronic reset once again in the hopes it might make a difference. To Laredo I managed to get an amazing 32 mpg. Blech. To some this may seem a non-issue, but where I ride, 150 miles or more to gas can be common. When your tank warning light pops on at 110 miles, it gets a little old...

We were lucky and managed to get simultaneous green lights at the border entry, "inmigración" went reasonably quickly as well, and we were cruising out of Nuevo Laredo and south by about 10:30 am. This time, NL lacked the sandbagged machine gun nests and heavy military presence we'd seen in October. It still feels good to get away from the town and south as fast as possible however. Though we had to make serious time since we needed to cover about 500 miles, we took a few "free" roads on the way rather than the "cuota" to see a bit more and get some photos of general random coolness.

We stopped at an old store for a Coca Cola break and shot a few pics.

Inside, an old man with rutted face and cowboy hat, made the perfect model, but he began getting "wigged out" when Hank asked about taking his pic.

I was afraid to take a pic in the store, having visions of the old man "snapping" and coming at me with a machete - albeit very slowly - but I did get a pic of the family quarters in the back

We scooted out and later Hank shared that folks get nervous that they're being photographed, as it can be common for the Mexican mafia to come in and photograph the possessions of owners, then return for a shakedown.

All that and a bag of chips

"Adios Señor Tejas Yeti!!!"

Anyway we eventually passed the hazy mountains surrounding Monterrey and squeezed past Saltillo, catching the tollway southwest towards Matehuala. My mileage came back up as the elevation increased and the air was cool, roaring, rumbling and popping through my earplugs as we raced past abandoned roadside cafe's, the crumbling facades painted brightly in super saturated colors of Corona, Carta Blanca or any paint available.

Past endless roadside "Vulka" tire shacks, horses and herds of goats grazing in the medians, ropes of garlic and bags of onions stacked along the highway, each vendor hoping to sell something in the desolate desert landscape. Thoughts of the difficulty of life for the locals, their hopes and needs pinned on sacks of onions and ropes of garlic
along a blistering highway, their companions identical each half-mile down the road.

The tollways are in great condition, very fast and high with sweeping curves as they intertwine the edge of the mountains, that incredible sense of flying on the ground in beautiful sweeping motions flooding your senses.

After a couple of gas stops and cold Coca Cola belts, we eventually reached the cut off for Cedral and sped along the narrow blacktop road, rounding a curve at speed and sudden panic braking as a slew of goats spewed from the creosote bushes onto the road in our midst.

Passing through the edge of Cedral, we eventually reached the road to Real de Catorce. The road from the valley up to the old town sitting above 9,000 feet is entirely of rough cobblestone, approximately 18 miles long, straight as an arrow for long sections before rising slowly and winding through the narrowing valley and climbing high up the mountain.

A brief stop in La Luz at the base of the mountains

The cobblestone road skirts the edge of the mountain as it climbs towards Real, with beautiful views of the valley below

Mi amor... "El Puerco Rojo"

At the top, we waited at the entrance to the two mile long tunnel leading through the mountain and into the town.

All the charm in the world, including but not limited to, four silver front teeth and she still couldn't make the sale...

The 20 peso toll is paid to the guardian, and then the progression into darkness and the damp, cold humidity of the 2 mile long tunnel. As you burst into the blinding sunlight of a setting sun, the eyes adjust and it seems you've taken a time tunnel into the past. Steep and narrow cobble streets, stone buildings from the 17 and 1800's, street vendors in colorful stalls, a mesmerizing mixture of light, shadow, stone and people.

We'd stayed at a nice place previously, due mainly to the availability of a semi-level section of sidewalk upon which to park. The streets are so steep and narrow, it can be almost impossible to find a parking spot for a bike, and simply negotiating the streets can be a challenge on a big bike. One has to use momentum when climbing, and rounding a tight corner to find pedestrians or a stopped vehicle can literally leave you with no place to get a foot down. The stones are highly polished from wear, and if wet I can't imagine trying to ride there.

Excuse or not, the hotel is an amazing little place, beautifully built within and upon the ruins of an old stone building and the rooms are very nice. It felt great to get off the bike and stretch, and even better to breath in the cool mountain air of another world, the setting sun raking ancient stone walls and polishing the cobble streets.

Dinner that evening was well appreciated, "pollo a la parilla" in my case, and mixed with nice conversation with a couple of other travelers at a nearby table, a girl from Belgium and another from Holland. Politics, travel and the beauty of Real were discussed, stopping just shy of religion however...

More tomorrow mi amigos...

LoneStar screwed with this post 09-06-2013 at 03:25 PM
LoneStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 09:51 AM   #2
lakota's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Annapolis MD
Oddometer: 3,198
very well written and photgraphed
looking forward to tomorrow's installment
IBA #42016

my ride reports

follow my ride

lakota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 12:09 PM   #3
LoneStar OP
LoneStar's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Texas Hill Country, Zip Code EIEIO
Oddometer: 1,211
Originally Posted by lakota View Post
very well written and photgraphed
looking forward to tomorrow's installment
Thanks Lakota!
LoneStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 03:13 PM   #4
LoneStar OP
LoneStar's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Texas Hill Country, Zip Code EIEIO
Oddometer: 1,211
Sleep was fitful, the temp being somewhat cold with the wooden doors to the room being open to the street below, and the sounds of horse hooves, braying donkeys and roosters throughout the night echoing in the narrow hardened streets. I got up early and headed to the roof deck before dawn, observing the sleeping town in the cool blue of the early morning. Before breakfast I wandered the streets briefly to breathe in the fresh air and take a few pics.

Nice architecture in the hotel

I think we were the only patrons in the place

At breakfast our new-found friends invited us to sit with them, and were somewhat amused when I ordered "hotcakes" for breakfast, muttering nicely how "American" to do so - little did they know I'd had them here before and they were great. In fact, they ended up ordering them as well and I got my winking revenge.

Katlijn and Ariana - both had spent much time in Mexico, India and many other countries

The riding plan was to do a high mountain road, descending down into the valley followed by a long loop back, stopping for photos and deserted pueblos.

As we all wandered outside and onto the street, the caballeros who offered horseback rides up to the sacred "quemado" kindly and persistently pursued with fervent sales pitches. A vendor selling handmade leather pouches offered too good of a deal, and I managed to snag some native swag - a couple of small handmade leather pouches.

We geared up in the brightening sunshine, cranking the cold engines in the R1100GS's weak and wheezing way. I followed Hank down the street and to a stop while he spoke to a local for directions, then we headed on through narrow, dust covered streets and alleys towards a rift in the mountains.

A lone worker with a shovel sat at the edge a high bend in the narrow road, and I waved to him as we passed, the curve opening up to a fantastic vista of a very steep valley, the drop being measured in thousands. The road itself very narrow, rough and dusty, cut like a scar on the side of the mountain.

As Hank motored ahead, I made a quick momentary stop to turn off my ABS brake system (having only made the mistake of leaving the system on once on a high mountain pass in Colorado), as with ABS engaged, loose rock and dirt can wig out the system and you're unable to stop.

Hank disappeared around the corner ahead, and as I rounded the narrow curve, the view was stunning. The road was very narrow and steep, cut into the side of the mountain and covered in powder dust and loose rock. Ahead, I could see Hank's bike fishtailing in the rubble of a small landslide at the narrowest part of the road, a cloud of dust floating around him.

I'm no hero when it comes to heights, but the drop off the edge was breathtaking, and I kept it in my peripheral vision, feeling that inexorable magnetic pull extreme heights seem to exert. I kept focus on every piece of rock and rubble, every divot and pool of dust ahead, knowing how easily the front wheel of a GS is deflected. I slowed briefly to a short stop at the rubble patch I'd seen Hank in, wheeling through it slowly but with enough momentum for stability. The section of road was absolutely breath-taking and beautiful, and deadly as hell with the slightest mistake. The little white crosses along the way served as silent witnesses.

High Road

Ahead, Hank had pulled to a stop at a wide spot waiting for me to catch up. For those who know Hank, he is a man of few words. When he bothers to speak it means something. When I rumbled up next to him, over the idling engines I heard him say "I almost went over the edge" in his calm and matter of fact way. Later and further down the mountain, he told me his front wheel had bounced off a rock and he'd shot over to the edge at the highest spot, barely getting it turned in time and missing the drop by less than a foot. As you GS riders know, when a 600 lb GS changes direction, there's really not much you can do about it...

Apparently the small cloud of dust I'd seen was the after effects of his momentary duel. Later review of Hank's GoPro footage revealed just how quick and close he came, and it's amazing that he was able to dab and change direction of the pig just in time. GS riders will get the feel…

Hank's "almost" moment

I commented that I was glad he hadn't taken the plunge, as it would have messed up my trip on the very first day ;D, but I would have made a little wooden cross for him.

The narrow road continued it's breath-taking way down the canyon, absolutely beautiful in the clear and cool sunlight of the morning. The ride down required constant attention as it was rough and rocky with no room for error, some areas better maintained and some very poor indeed.

Down the mountain, leap frogging each other at photo stops. I eventually got a good distance ahead, having stopped numerous times for pics, and turned off the bike in the middle of the road. The battery wheezed a few turns and went dead. Great... Anyway I got it pointed downhill and slipped it into 3rd gear, allowing the speed to build a little before slipping the clutch and bump starting the bike.

We continued down for quite some time, eventually entering small sand washes and open areas nearing the valley floor. The road wound into shaded, cool, tightly twisting turns, where small dwellings began to appear nestled into the trees and hillside. Old Willys 4wd trucks were ubiquitous, as were old Ford pickups.

Rounding a corner and stopping suddenly at the sight of the narrow road blocked, men pouring fresh mortar and large rocks by hand onto the roadway. We sat and watched as they worked quickly, however the concrete and rock combination was fresh and under intense work and completely across the roadway. I couldn't see a way we'd get past, but eventually a man waved us down towards them, and they threw some small rocks into a rut, creating a tire-width bridge leading onto a narrow strip of loose dirt. Hank went ahead, but the problem was that the stone was very narrow and there was no place to put a foot down. He talked them into holding his bike up while he tried to cross the strip, eventually succeeding. I followed and got across easily and slipped down the narrow path into the road.

Road crew

From there we eventually made blacktop, opening up the revs and pegging the speedos heading west. Word was that there was an old train graveyard in a certain village and the hunt began. We found villages, the locals happy to point various directions but we were never able to locate the site. Eventually we turned back and returned to Real by late afternoon.

After a late lunch, I wandered the town with my camera, huffing and puffing like a beached whale on the steep streets at 9000' feet, trying to steal images of locals in the beautiful light of the afternoon sun.

Leaning against a wall and getting my breath - cleverly disguised as a photographer simply waiting for a photo op I might add - an old blue VW beetle containing a local, the two Euro chicks and Hank puttered past. They were being taken on an excursion by the local guy to a lake in area. I had been invited, but declined preferring to spend the time in town. Besides, ain't no way we'd ever all fit in a Beetle LOL

I explored the steep streets and the large church downtown, eventually working my way up the hill towards the cemetery and the old original church on the edge of town.

I passed an obvious looking American guy who didn't speak to me, then another suddenly appeared from a dusty alley next to a small store. I was about to say "Hola" but he froze in his tracks, eyes wide and staring at me very suspiciously. Spotting the few Euro or Norté Americano folks in town certainly isn't a challenge, and despite his wearing the white pants and serape of the locals, his blonde hair, bushy beard and blue eyes gave him away. In fact, he looked like a Viking wearing a peasant outfit in hopes of not being noticed.

At any rate, he fastened his eyes on me intensely and froze until I passed. Maybe he thought I was the fuzz, or maybe his peyote and oatmeal breakfast hadn't settled well, or possibly he thought he was seeing the first abominable snowman to enter the village. Who knows but I decided speaking to him would be pushing it and wandered on, past small houses, an open air bar replete with semi-drunken locals and eventually the old bull fighting ring. Reaching the cemetery behind high stone walls, I walked the graveyard and stepped onto the stone entry of the old church.

As I neared the church door, a diminutive, weathered, older man in the local garb of cowboy hat and dirty jeans began speaking to me. I said "No habla espanol!" with a smile, feeling the usual flush of ignorance. He smiled with a big smile of large, unsightly yellow teeth, and shadowed me into the church. I couldn't tell if he was just curious, or a guardian, but when I saw the partially restored ceilings and the ancient colorful decay, it was quite beautiful. I said "muy linda!" to which he corrected me with "es bonita" with a big smile. I could tell he was very proud of the church and could feel his beaming pride. I said "Como se llama?" and he replied "Alejandro". I said "me llama es Jose" and felt quite chuffed at my 5th grade Spanish skills.

The little church - Templo de Guadalupe as I discovered later - really was amazing to me in it's state of partial decay and partial restoration. Old, original frescoes remained in pieces, and one could telll this truly was a beautiful church in it's time. I couldn't help but wonder what the reaction of the locals would have been seeing it's beauty long ago.

I told Alejandro gracias and shook his hand, working my way back out and tiptoeing around the graves that literally were lining the path from the front step to the road.

Back on the dusty road, I wandered into the old bull ring before managing to time my stroll to fall exactly in stride with the three drunken locals I'd passed at the bar earlier. Of course, one began slurringly speaking to me in Spanish to which I replied "No nabla espanol!" with a big smile. It mattered not, as he began speaking quite intensely as drunks do, speaking of what and waving his arms I have no idea, but I kept smiling and saying "Si". He grabbed my arm and led me over to a fence overlooking the valley, saying "le tigre" and other things, of which I certainly understood "tiger". I momentarily tried to imagine how a tiger could possibly come up in any conversation on a dusty road in Mexico, but his animation and drunken excitement made me wonder for just a slight second if by some chance a tiger had escaped a circus and was living in a field - much like the Viking. Peyote was another factor I considered, and looked back at the other two drunks for sympathy, but upon eye contact both began saying "le tigre" vehemently as well.

I decided I wasn't going to fall for the joke of locals convincing a tourist that there were tigers in Mexico, but I did default into my stupid tourist routine - amazingly similar to Jethro Clampitt - and just acted goofy. They weren't buying it and were quite intense that I understand. Eventually, one began pantomiming a large predatory cat with a paw curled and then one said "puma" and I looked out across the valley to a distant mountain cliff. It was then I saw that indeed a cliff face somewhat resembled a cougar lying in wait. Sheesh what a relief. "SI!" I shouted, realizing they had been trying to show me that all along and suddenly we were all happy. They insisted I take a pic, which I did, and we then wandered on. You know, I really don't know why these things come my way, but I have to wonder what it looked like to someone else to see a giant guy with long grey hair, half dressed in motorcycle gear, on a dusty street near a cemetery and a small drunken Mexican man in cowboy hat pantomiming a vicious tiger before him. If anyone saw us, it was most likely the paranoid Viking...

"le tigre"

(I know, just act like you see it)

I wandered as the day grew late, climbing up the highest streets and to a place with three crosses overlooking the valley

From the three crosses I wandered down to the town plaza and sat a while, watching the locals until the increasing urge for a café de olla overwhelmed me

Dinner again was wonderful, pollo somethinga pechuga, again sharing the table with our traveling friends and hearing stories of the quemado, peyote, curanderos and other aspects of "energy". I got the impression they were on the Holistic and Hallucinatory Jalapeño Highway tour of Mexico.

Hank shared that we were heading to the villages of La Luz and Potrero the next day to explore, and the Belgian girl, Kat, said she knew an artist in Potrero and would like a ride to see him if possible.

Plans were made, hotels retired to, images downloaded and GoPro footage perused until well after midnight.

More tomorrow amigos!

LoneStar screwed with this post 06-02-2013 at 08:09 AM
LoneStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
roberts's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Texas
Oddometer: 448
Absolutely fantastic story and photos! Your reports are always such a pleasure to read that I forward them to my non-riding friends and they enjoy them also.
roberts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 06:37 PM   #6
Joined: Feb 2005
Oddometer: 4
Wish I was with you guys looks like you are having a blast. Remember if it's not dangerous it's just a trip. Adventure men rule!
jwpeek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
LoneStar OP
LoneStar's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Texas Hill Country, Zip Code EIEIO
Oddometer: 1,211
Heyyyyyyyy Jimmy!

Wish you were as well! We be havin' fun
LoneStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
LoneStar OP
LoneStar's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Texas Hill Country, Zip Code EIEIO
Oddometer: 1,211
Originally Posted by roberts View Post
Absolutely fantastic story and photos! Your reports are always such a pleasure to read that I forward them to my non-riding friends and they enjoy them also.
Hey Roberto thx! You need to come south with us sometime man
LoneStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 08:26 PM   #9
turnin gas to noise
UpST8's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: californication
Oddometer: 7,284
WOW!! This report has it all, great pics, great story, beautiful!! Thanks for sharing it

UpST8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 03:41 AM   #10
Learning Contentment
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Sumter SC
Oddometer: 46
Thanks for sharing!!! Great report and some of the best pics on ADVRIDER. I love that cobble stone road.
evanqueen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 05:05 AM   #11
lakota's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Annapolis MD
Oddometer: 3,198
so i get to this picture and say to myself "I'm not seeing it"
Then I scroll down to your comment

"le tigre"

(I know, just act like you see it)

this report does not disappoint(at least through 2 days )
IBA #42016

my ride reports

follow my ride

lakota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 07:04 PM   #12
Mojo Moto
Mudclod's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Killeen, TX.
Oddometer: 1,572
Outstanding report. Thanks man!
74 TY250 89 GB500 97 XR650L 03 KDX220 06 DRZ400 08 DL1000 09 XR1200
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

Down Texas Way
Mudclod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 09:38 PM   #13
Butler Maps
eakins's Avatar
Joined: May 2002
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Oddometer: 19,403
plenty of peyote in the hills as that is sacred peyote land for the Huichol Indians.
Butler Maps - motorcycle maps for riders by riders -
NM map COBDR AZBDR IDBDR South East map
Butler Maps website:
eakins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 10:47 PM   #14
Suerte O Muerte
Halen's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Houston .:. TX
Oddometer: 30
Outstanding report and images!
Halen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2013, 08:06 PM   #15
LoneStar OP
LoneStar's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Texas Hill Country, Zip Code EIEIO
Oddometer: 1,211
Again, sleep was fitful and I was up early though a bit draggy. I got out with the camera and found a streetside cafe open, sipping a cappuccino while waiting for our breakfast rendezvous, a dusty dog my only companion. She was a sweetheart however, though a quite insistent that I continue rubbing her neck and ears. No problem señorita, but I bet she'd learned not to take no for an answer from watching the caballeros and street vendors for many years.

Old Willys are pretty prevalent in the area - not just in Real but a lot of the surrounding villages

Eventually I saw Kathlijn cross the street into the restaurant and Hank a couple moments later. At breakfast, Kat said she definitely wanted to ride down with us, despite having made a promise to her departed father at an early age she would never ride a motorcycle. There was small discussion as to whether technically the promise covered actually riding one herself or if it was overarching enough to include being a passenger. Whether the story was true or not, it added some drama and she was excited to go. We said we'd swing by her hostel on the way out.

Nothing like a little pressure. I was getting to carry a passenger who was breaking, or at least skirting, a life promise. Add to the fact I rarely ride with a passenger, the streets of Real are quite a challenge on an overladen GS, and, if I dropped the bike I could, in fact, be haunted by her father's ghost for the rest of my life. Better drink another cup of coffee.

Kat headed north to collect her doodads, we geared up and fired up the bikes. Motoring off the sidewalk and down the steep street to work uphill to her hotel, she suddenly came running around the corner much to my chagrin. Damb! Now I have to ride with her all the way up and out of town. Hank's smirk said "Good Luck Captain Kirk" and he motored away. Kat climbed on board, got settled and we headed off and into the cobble streets up the steep hills. Ensuring that I stay upright in the steep turns I kept the speed up a bit and went wide in a couple turns, spooking a couple locals. Injury of innocent bystanders mattered little, as I had a potential ghost to worry about.

Two up thru Real to the Tunnel

As we reached the tunnel, the guard waved us past and when we hit the cool humidity of the tunnel and the pulsating lights, I heard Kat yell out "Wow this is great!!!" and I finally relaxed a bit. When we exited 2 miles later into the sun to an incredible valley vista she again shouted out. The ride down was slow and controlled for her benefit, but it was fun to enjoy another's enthusiasm.

We stopped in the small village of Potrero, which is located in the valley beneath Real, and shot some pics, Kat having brought her camera as well. Hank had been asked by the manufacturer to write a review of the product, and also requested pics of him along with his own photography, so I've been shooting images of him along the way in various locales and situations.

We slowly motored along in the village until Kat spotted her artist friend Manuel. He waved and greeted her, then we were invited to his house and shop. He had quite an amazing little house, his artistry displayed in many forms.

Entrance to la casa


After tour and conversation, Hank asked about some ruins near the town and he directed us which way to go. Kat had planned to stay but I suspect enjoyed the ride so much she asked if she could come along to the ruins. We headed out on a dirt street which immediately disappeared into single track then into nothing but rock and cactus. Nothing like baby head rocks and off road terrain with a fully loaded GS and passenger. She was oblivious to the difficulty and enjoyed the experience.

After a while of scattering horses and burros we spotted the ruins ahead. The old building had been a train station for the mines at some point, the rails having disappeared long ago. Luckily the temp was a little cool, the sunlight filtered by very high clouds, which in a way made the entire place feel very surreal, the light being very different than normal.

Two up to the ruins


Exploring and shooting around the place for a while, comida became the order of the day. After a bit of doing to get the bikes turned around, the ride back out was a bit hairy, almost dumping it in the loose gravel of a water crossing.

When we got back to Potrero for a Coke to cool off, Manuel had sent word through a local that he had been cooking frijoles and wanted us to stay.

We ended up spending the afternoon eating spicy frijoles with cabrito (which looked suspiciously like sliced up Oscar Meyer weiners) talking about art, photography, music, energy, his 4 foot long dreadlocks and the custom work he does on most anything. He produced several large knives he'd made for customers, using very old antique blades with new exotic wood handles and inlays.

Actually there was cabrito in the soup, and the fresh off the stove burner tortillas were great

I located a leather sheathed macheté on his mantle, the blade making the most amazingly movie-like "shingggg!" sound as it came out of the scabbard. The whinging blade became a source of entertainment for the afternoon. I noticed the blade was very old and worn, with a U. S. manufacturer's name. Manuel explained that it was very old, and the old blades were highly prized by owners. Manuel said that for locals, he would make them a knife in exchange for 10 old knife blades. It was a fair way for them to get a knife and he to cull a couple of good blades for his business.

Manuel was an interesting guy, having worked in the movie industry in Monterrey and also his father's business, alternating a few months work with much time spent in Potrero in his art workshop, isolated from all distractions of the modern world. A wonderful host, opening his home, sharing his food and making killer strong coffee - a true gentleman.

Manuel insisted we stop at the "store" to have our picture taken by him, as he had a series of photos of interesting people he'd photographed at the "store".

Hank in front of the store

Had a laugh taking pics of him taking pics of us

(Much discussion ensued later as to whether he had the legs to pull off a Maori tribesman style skirt)

As the shadows lengthened, we knew it was time to go searching before the light was gone. I handed my camera to Kat and tasked her with shooting images from the back of the bike.

Leaving Portrero by Kathlijn



Heading to La Luz, and up a dirt road to reach a church perched high on the mountainside, we climbed higher and higher on the road cut into the mountain. We continued, not finding the road to the church despite passing just beneath it.


At one switchback, an old, white mini-bus was parked and I was informed by Kat that it belonged to "Miguel", a friend of theirs from the hotel.


We decided to forge ahead to see if we could find the crest, eventually ending up in high valleys, looking down on stone fenced corrals and ruins below. Hank said it reminded him of high plains in Bolivia. The sun was getting low, the wind was blowing and remote beauty was engaging. Not a soul in sight but the three of us.

Seeing the remote solitude of the place, my passenger excused herself for a potty break along the road as Hank and I looked away. Shortly after turning away, I heard the distinct sound of a motorcycle and heard a shout, turning to see Kat leaping up as a local farmer on a motorcycle passed her on his little motorcycle. It was very funny indeed.

Hank asked the guy what lay ahead, and he said there was a village at the end of the road a few miles ahead.

Probably handles as good as a GS

We continued on a ways along the ridge tops but as the sun got low we turned back, not wanting to be caught after dark.



Mountain Road Montage

Eventually we got back to the switchback where Miguel's bus was parked and Kat left a note for him. Shortly after we found the road up to the church, which was very steep and deeply rutted, realizing it had appeared merely as a rain rut when we initially passed. It was in trials bike shape, and we were all too tired to climb up by foot so we headed back to Real.


At dinner on the street, a white dusty minivan came around the corner, Dos EuroChix waving the driver to park and dine with the group on cheap gorditas. Turns out it was "Miguel', whose van we'd passed on the mountain road, and it also turns out "Miguel" is actually "Mikhail", a painter from Latvia, who has been spending a long time in Real, going out into the mountains to paint. Miguel was quiet natured but friendly and laughed a lot - very nice guy to be around.

Turned out to be a great day of riding, exploring and relaxing.

More tomorrow amigos

LoneStar screwed with this post 09-26-2013 at 08:48 AM Reason: Updated links
LoneStar is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 12:42 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015