No-Moto-Boundaries-Latin America n' back n' da' TAT, un-planned, un-hinged, and solo

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by SeanPNW, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Bear Creek - You are lucky, 10 days in this area would be awesome. I haven't seen much else yet but you are making a good decision.

    Burninator - I have given up on understanding the navigation and am convinced that all the cabbies also work as pre-runners for the World Rally Championship.
    #61
  2. buzzardair

    buzzardair terraqueous Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Utah
    Great thread. I am going to get a pair of those custom boots soon.:clap
    #62
  3. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

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    I saw a few of the models at their house. The craftsmanship and leather-work was really well done. They are also real motorcycle enthusiasts, anyone with a classic bike collection like they have and a vintage Gilera (that they even ride on occasion) sitting in their living room is OK in my book.
    #63
  4. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
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    Time to hit the road again, I figure I’ll head east right now (for the most part) towards Mexico city. This is about 5 hours away though and I’ve heard there is plenty to see in between. One of those places I heard I should check out is called Queretaro. So this is where I pointed my bike.

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    Catch you later Guanajuato.

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    The roadwork here can be fairly elaborate sometimes.

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    Key word is sometimes. Other times it’s just good ol’ el natural.

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    I think I made a wrong turn though somewhere. This doesn’t look like a major road.

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    Yep, made a wrong turn. Here we go, this is more populated.

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    I stopped off at a restaurant up in the hills for a road-sammy. $1.50 for fresh delicious bread and fresh ingredients, hard to beat.

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    Heading up into the mountains the weather was chilly. Still no need for another layer yet though.

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    The road was twisty and scenic.

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    I stopped off in a small town called Atotonilco, about 20 miles before Queretaro.

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    I’m told that it’s a cool old town and there is a church here with a cool painted ceiling. Psshhhh, I’m in no rush, sure why not.

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    The outside had a patio that must have taken quite a while to make.

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    Honestly, I don’t know much about this place, or the paintings, but as an opinionated person, I can tell you that they appear to be old.

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    And elaborate.

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    I’m told that the entire ceiling, and all of the paintings on the walls in here, were hand done by a single person.

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    Place also had some pretty old word-work on the floor.

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    Outside, there were several families milling about. They appeared to be here touristing the location as well.

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    As I’m mounting my bike I feel something gently tug on my pant leg. I turn around and find two little boys and their grandmother. The boys were too shy but grandma told me they wanted to come see the bike and say hey. She said that they loved motorcycles. Little kids are the shit. I picked both of them up and plopped them on the bike.

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    I chatted with grandma for a bit and then turned around again to see a bunch more people. This is exactly why I want to know more spanish, knowing even just a little allows you to interact so much more with people.

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    Again more people showed up, so we got another photo with everyone. Not sure if they all knew each other or were just friendly? Fun group though.

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    Leaving Atotonilco there’s some cool stonework.

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    The town seemed pretty historically rooted in catholicism.

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    A little while later after being back on the road I came into San Miguel. I had been taking my time and it looked like weather was going to start rolling in so I didn’t really do much besides blow through it. I’m told though that it’s another interesting place to spend some time in.

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    Much bigger than Guanajuato.

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    As I head further east and inland the weather seems to be on average cooler and rain a bit more. The greenery and lakes are good giveaways.

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    Coming in to Queretaro it seems smaller than San Miguel and has a small feel too.

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    I found a hostel where I could pull my bike inside and unloaded my stuff.

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    Queretaro, like many of the cities in this region, is a very old place. Back in the day people didn’t have facebook or the internet. So instead people would gather in plazas and squares to chat, eat, socialize, and get up to speed on the recent going-ons around town. The plazas still exist today, but now there is free wifi in them, so people seem to gather to use that instead.

    Here’s one of the plazas, pretty empty at night.

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    There are still people that use the plazas for socializing though, especially the younger people. I took this photo on a Sunday night. These kids were practicing a form of Brazilian martial art called Capoeira. Capoeira was developed by slaves in Brazil back in the 16th century. Slaves were not allowed to practice self defence or develop fighting skills so instead they developed a martial art whose techniques are masked as dance moves. It’s very acrobatic and is practiced to traditional Brazilian berimbau music. As the two boys practice-fought with each other the others (on the left) sang and played traditional string instruments to set the speed/tone of the fight/dance. Very rhythmic and easy to get lost in watching.

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    There seems to be lots of respect in latin culture for scholars and revolutionaries who helped move the country forward. This is a statue of a poet that was near the hostel.

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    Over the next couple days I explored the city more and got a feel for what the place is all about. The historical district is where it’s at and as expected, there is lots of history here.

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    Some of the buildings are private residences though. The homes usually have a central open air courtyard in the middle, like their own little oasis in the heavily built historic district. This old lady was greeted by her rottweiler as she came back from the market.

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    The vast majority of the buildings are public or retail though. There are many small gardens and they usually are surrounding a central square or plaza.

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    The sound of church bells tolling and pigeons flapping away as kids chase them is a common sound here.

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    There is a strong shopping community here as well and the area is apparently a purveyor of fine leathers and shoes. Many housewives in heels roam the streets in this part of town, hands toting freshly purchased bags of clothes.

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    Food can be had everywhere, and because of the clientele there are plenty of more expensive sit down restaurants whose outdoor dining spots encircle the prime locations around plazas.

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    I’m on a budget though and prefer to eat what the locals eat anyways. I like street food and usually will order whatever I see that I haven’t seen before. This time, my taste buds tell me that this is some sort of fried chicken with potatoes and a chile relleno. Of course one never really knows though, but it tasted good. I sat and gorged myself on two more types of tacos after this and people watched in one of the plazas for a bit.

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    A brazilian girl who's living in the hostel while teaching portuguese in town found out that I was into climbing. She was kind enough to show me the one and only climbing gym in town. It was tiny, but had a rad underground vibe. The people here are definitely into the scene and really do a lot with the little space that they have. I’ve now been here in Queretaro for 3 days and I’ll be leaving tomorrow to head towards Mexico city. Should only be a couple hour drive. I wonder what the largest metropolitan area in the entire western hemisphere will look like?


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    #64
  5. DyrWolf

    DyrWolf Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    It is customary to have a photo to go with the words " A Brazilian Girl"
    #65
  6. Burninator

    Burninator Zed's dead

    Joined:
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    Eugene, OR
    You are going to love Mexico City. Don't miss Teotihaucan (25 miles Northeast DF), Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica, Chapultapec Castle, Zocalo and Palacio Nacional. And make sure to eat some Tacos Al Pastor while there. The best I've ever eaten where near the Zocalo.
    #66
  7. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
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    DyrWolf - You trying to get me booted? I know we can't post photos like that here.

    Burninator - thanks for the info, any other recommendations are welcome as well. I got started on the list yesterday with tacos. Don't know if this was pastor though, the guy called it something that I hadn't heard before (I have heard of tripe though :deal).

    Nom nom nom nom


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    #67
  8. BigShooter

    BigShooter Head Flunky

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    republic of Texas
    awesome RR man! Figure me in
    #68
  9. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

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    I got into Mexico city yesterday after a pretty chilly day on the road. I finally put my other layers on and even put my winter gloves on.

    The road into Mexico City (everyone calls it DF which stands for Districto Federal) was uneventful as I opted to take Mex 57 which is a major thoroughfare. See what you get when you are prioritizing getting somewhere quickly rather than enjoying it? I took Mex 57 in to cut some time as I wasn’t feeling so hot though, picked up a cold in Queretaro I think.

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    Coming into DF and the buildings start to become tighter together and the amount of large billboard advertising picks up.

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    Not sure if I hit traffic or if the city is just always packed, but it took a bit to a while to actually reach my hostel. I booked a place in advance and found one that had some sort of street parking available (the nicer hostels that are in a very popular area don’t really have any parking available). When booking though I should have taken notice of the quality of their website (probably not updated in over a decade). Like an exploding star that once probably burned so bright, this place was now but a flicker of it’s former self and was on the tail end of it’s existence. When I arrived the owner checked me in and showed me the digs. It was straight out of the 70’s, but not in a cool funky way. There were walls with hand written notes from many years ago, and bunk beds stacked 3 tall to the ceiling that appeared not to have held a single sole for many years. It’s as if there was a time that this was a thriving destination, yet I was the only guest here and it looked like that had been the case for a while. There was a family living somewhere on the top floor with a couple babies, I felt like I was staying in their home. The place seemed not to have been updated in several decades and the only thing it was missing as a shag rug. I stayed the night since I was already there but it was just as expensive (if not more) than most of the other places so today I left and found a new place.

    This place is much better and also cheaper.

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    People must hate when I show up with all my dirty kit.

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    Because I’ve been a bit under the weather I’ve mainly been resting and eating an obscene amount of food (the latter probably doesn’t help the cold, I just like doing it). As Burninator mentioned, the pastor tacos are very good. *Shout out to Matty-boom-batty, these are my favorite tacos right now.

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    My new friends Jose and Dano (who I met in Guanajuato) just so happen to live in DF. Looks like they have planned some riding this weekend for us. Not sure what the details are, but I’m told we’ll be gone two days and that I should pack light for dirt. I’m stoked.

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    #69
  10. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte

    Joined:
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    Excelsior, MN via San Antonio, TX
    Subscribed and just caught up. Thanks for the great RR. I miss DF so much. Tacos al Pastor are used as a gauge to measure taco stands. There are great rivalries in DF over whose tacos al pastor are the best.
    So try them everywhere. Also know that they should on be dressed with only cilantro and onions and be cut from a spit not fried on a griddle. FYi they are from the Lebanese influence in Mexico
    #70
  11. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

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    Vato Jinette, you are correct, there seems to be strong opinions as to who's tacos al pastor are best. I'm enjoying myself as I quest to vet people's personal favorites. Now that I've eaten at so many I feel like I can actually form an opinion of my own. Sort of like seeing 30 different shades of yellow, there are many that are very good (shit even a run of the mill stand makes pretty damn good tacos) but now can actually tell the subtle differences.

    Got back from a great ride this weekend with Jose and Dano out in the boonies through the state of Hidalgo. We got 2 great days of riding in with the majority of the time being in the dirt. We shot some video and got pictures so post will be coming.
    #71
  12. Burninator

    Burninator Zed's dead

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    Eugene, OR
    Like I've said before, awesome RR Sean. So much so that I'm packing my bags and heading to mexico in January. The taco countdown has begun! Can't wait for the next update.
    #72
  13. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

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    You lucky dog, continue the quest for the best el pastor when you arrive:1drink
    #73
  14. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

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    It’s Saturday morning around 6am and I’m heading out of the hostel I’m staying at to meet up with Jose and Dano for a weekend ride. They’ve planned out a route and I really know nothing about it, I’m always down to ride though, so don’t need much convincing. They say it’ll be a two day ride and told me to pack light for dirt. Sounds good to me.

    I meet up with Jose at his place and we hit the road. We stop at a circus tent for some breakfast and to meet up with Dano. These tents are all over the freeway as you head out of DF (Mexico City, District Federal) and are accompanied by people waving flags to try and lure in customers. Each sells a slightly different variation of each others items.

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    This places specialty is biria, similar to beef flank that’s been pot-roasted. It may look like a lot of meat but each of those plates only has two tacos on them. They just come with a metric shit-ton of meat. I added the extra to the soup for the added flavor-flave. And yes, it was very cheap.

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    Dano showed up on his KLR as well. Check out this KLR bro-down.

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    We hit the freeway and headed north towards the state of Hidalgo.

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    After a while of heading north we turned off onto the more favorable secondary roads as we wound our way towards the mountains. Dano, the route planner for the weekend, said that we’ll be riding up in the Sierra Mountain range for the next two days. We are currently on the west side of them (the dryer side), and we’ll be crossing over onto the east side (the wetter side).

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    The first turn onto dirt. Mmmmm, I like dirt.

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    The road dipped and curved as we hunted around the Sierra ranges doorstep, looking for a place to enter her marvelous abode.

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    The roads were scenic and small communities dotted the area. I like the small single lane roads with stacked rock fences. Riding them is very relaxing, I could meander down them for days and days.

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    The cattle are less amused by the roads than we are.

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    In a river valley we stopped for a break alongside a creek. Dano and Jose road this trip several months ago in the dry season. They said it was incredibly hot and dry. Nothing was green and the route was absolutely covered in dust. I think I much prefer the current state of things.

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    Farming is the name of the life-game here and the communities that exist in the area flourish or flounder depending on it’s success..

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    The communities are all nestled into the base of the Sierra’s. They farm right up to the edge. I see solid walls like this and all I think is “climbing can be had here”.

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    In this small town we found our entrance to the Sierra’s that we had been searching for. We had been knocking at her doorstep for a while as we wound around through the foothills, now it was time to come inside. The road is just rural dirt route cut through the mountains but I feel like Bilbo Baggins from lord of the rings starting a journey into the mountains with his mates.

    Here’s a shot looking down into town.

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    We dropped down a couple gears and began grinding our way through the twisty roads.

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    We got pretty high then started coming back down to drop into a valley.

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    When Dano and Jose were here several months ago this bridge didn’t exist. They chose to ride through the river instead. Sounds like fun, might have been a bit more difficult this time of year though.

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    This bridge, although less fun for us, makes it much easier for the two communities on either side of this valley to travel, trade, and communicate with one another. .

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    We headed out of the second town and climbed again in elevation.

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    The road was pretty wide with plenty of room for other traffic. Although we saw none while we were on it.

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    Lots of good vantage spots to look down on where we had been earlier.

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    Here is the river that we had crossed and the ridgeline behind it was what we had come up and over earlier.

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    Three happy bikes.

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    Here we got to the top of the second ridgeline. The weather was a bit chilly but no need for thermal gear.

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    After the second ridgeline we started descending again towards a small community. This place is centered around tourism of some pretty wild caves they have in the area. There are several large hotels to accommodate the influx of people. Not sure what way they come into the town but I’m pretty sure it’s not the way that we came in.

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    We went past the touristy section and out towards the back exit of town where we would pick up the road again. First we stopped for some mexican corn on the cob.

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    Boiled corn on a wood fire, rolled in cheese and chilli powder. ~.50cents.

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    The town is socked in by views like this. Really feels like the area is a very small pocket of human existence that mother nature is reluctantly allowing to exist right on her front step. The forest and hills seem to encroach on every part that humans stake a claim to.

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    Here’s the exit out of town and back up into the mountains.

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    With every gain in elevation the road got foggier and wetter. This road looked like it had recently been re-graded, maybe after a large rainfall had wrecked it. This meant that everything was nice and slick. Good fun.

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    The road doesn’t actually look that bad, but it’s like riding on top of a birthday cake. You ride on it for a couple hundred yards and it collects in just the best places (tires, suspension, chain, swingarm, etc).

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    Again we found ourselves in a small little village.

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    Wonder if the Shire is around here?

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    The bikes looked good here.

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    We took a left and headed back into the woods.

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    Jose’s bike had accumulated some water in his carb and was running a bit dodgy. We stopped to drain it. It’s handy having everything easy to access and simple on these bikes. Think a T-mod re-route for the carb is next on Jose’s mod list.

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    The sound and sight of big (for latin america) dirty bikes is not a normal occurrence around these parts. Anywhere you stop for more than a couple minutes people seem to come out to see what’s up. This guy was pretty funny, his kid was stone cold serious though.

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    The area here is super lush, supposedly they have had a lot of rain recently.

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    It was the late afternoon now and we were nearing our destination for the night. A small pueblo called Nicholas Flores up in the mountains.

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    It wasn’t quite sunset, but with all the fog and cloud cover things were starting to get darker.

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    We found pavement, must be getting close now.

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    As we came around another switchback we could see on the other side of the ravine there had been a massive mudslide. A wall of mud a couple hundred yards long had just slid right off the hill side and taken out the road. We came around the ravine to the start of the slide. There were several busses stopped here but none had people in them. This must have happened a while ago. There were tire tracks through the slide though, so we knew we could at least get further than the busses did.

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    There was some skid plate scraping and I tipped over at the start pretty close to the edge but we made it through. A guy on the other side seemed pretty surprised that we had made it through, even more surprised when I pulled my helmet off and he saw I was a gringo. We had some GoPros going so There’ll be a video of the entire weekend at some point, it’ll probably include a clip or two of this spot. There was one section that looking back on the video wasn’t exactly as safe as we thought it was, as two feet from where our tires rolled was a completely vertical drop. I believe it is denoted in the video with a “Holy shit?!” (7:50). Had we have tipped over there to the left we would have been dropped right off the edge, expecting to find ground to plant a foot but only finding open air. With a solid cliff face this wouldn’t have been that bad, but we were on a mudslide and the edge only existed because it had simply broken off and slid down the hill-side. It had been raining for as long as we had been on the road, who’s to say it was done with it’s crumbling? Glad it didn’t go while we were on it though. Here’s the uncut clip from my GoPro for this section.

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    Here’s a shot from Jose’s GoPro of the tight section.

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    Jose and Dano got their two bikes across, again with some skid plate scraping but no real trouble.

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    After this section it was another 10 minutes and we were into town with the bikes up on their kickstands. Proud of ourselves, and with a fun day of riding under our belts.

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    As with any small town, an outsider is easy to spot, and soon there are people from around the town talking with us, asking us where we are staying, and inviting us to partys. Apparently tonight is a special night for the town as there is a joint wedding and sweet 16 party. Sweet, I’ll take the food, tequila, and dance package please. In any order will do just fine.





    #74
  15. yellowknife

    yellowknife Is In Canada

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    711
    Location:
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    minute 3:58 "I think it's good"
    minute 4:00 "just joking"
    minute 4:09 - dump the bike
    :lol3

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face today with your video. (any excuse to avoid the paper work waiting for me on my desk). This looked like an awesome section to ride.

    Keep posting this enjoyable RR. :clap:clap:clap

    YK
    #75
  16. buzzardair

    buzzardair terraqueous Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Utah
    I am enjoying the journey. What an adventure. Thanks for sharing. :clap
    #76
  17. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

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    I'm much better at dumping the bike than I am spanish, I'll do my best to keep you from working.

    Part 2 coming soon, maybe tomorrow? (I get to be on Mexico time too right?)
    #77
  18. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
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    After a night of free drinks and dance we awoke and rubbed the sleep out of our eyes. I&#8217;m glad it was dark last night, as my choice of clothing was pretty terrible. Jose said to pack light for the weekend, I took it literally and brought no normal clothes to wear while not riding. So I improvised and wore my motorcycle liners to the wedding and sweet 16 party last night. I used a GPS cable as a belt to keep my silky smooth pants up. Jose and Dano decided it was easier to just tell people I was from Germany so that other people wouldn&#8217;t question my clothing style.

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    We then went searching for some food. The climate and elevation here does cool stuff with the sky.

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    We walked to the town square where we were told there would be good street food for breakfast.

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    We found this lovely lady, and of course, she knew exactly what the fuck was up with good tamales.

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    She had several different kinds, I tried one of them all.

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    She also had a magical green beverage. Can&#8217;t remember the name, it tastes like some sort of hot and thick juice drank, but apparently it is not juice at all but rather it is made with maize? Either way, it&#8217;s my new favorite hot beverage and I felt like a newborn champion after imbibing it.

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    Topped it off with one of these fancy things. Again, some sort of tamale.

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    Full and content we said thanks and walked around the town center. Didn&#8217;t take long as this is it.

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    There is a nice little garden though.

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    And here&#8217;s the big man himself, Nicholas Flores, the hombre the town is named after.

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    This is some sort of church I believe.

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    And here&#8217;s a statue of an important guy doing something important.

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    After walking and chatting for a bit we came back to the bikes and our rooms.

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    I apologize to the cleaning person, all my stuff was pretty darn muddy.

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    We packed up the bikes, and topped up on gas bought from the the place we stayed at.

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    We headed out of town and back onto the dirt.

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    The roads looked like they would be good.

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    And of course, they were.

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    The good roads looked like they would continue for longer still.

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    And again, they did.

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    Dropping down into the valleys we found small creeks.

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    And seemingly randomly placed churches.

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    There were bridges as well.

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    And kids going about their business down below in the river.

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    We also found a river without a bridge.

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    It needed to be crossed so we checked it for any big rocks that would dump us into the wet.

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    Here&#8217;s a little video of us crossing (0:41 sec).

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    After the bikes were across we stopped for a wee snack.

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    &#8220;Hey look, it&#8217;s a cow-asaki&#8221; - Jose

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    The roads got bigger now and more open.

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    Still nice and scenic though.

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    We would come in and out of towns, some bigger than others. But none larger than a handful of buildings and maybe a small town square like this one.

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    We stopped here for a minute as Jose had spotted something unique.

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    In the town square there was a wall that was full of phrases and cool saigns. The wall says &#8220;Typical phrases and words that identify us&#8221;. Little places like this are exactly why traveling by motorcycle is so special. When you aren&#8217;t reliant on public transportation or tourist buses, you are able to slow down, make an effort to experience stuff outside the box and maybe even get out into some remote places. When you can do that, you will often find a unique experience and a cool view into the unadulterated culture of an area. Pretty cool.

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    A little while later and we found pavement again.

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    We were hungry and this guy seemed inviting, so we stopped at his restaurant.

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    They whipped us up some food pretty quick.

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    And we also tried some of their home brew apple wine. It was more rocket fuel than wine.

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    After eating we hopped back on the tarmac of what used to be the main highway through Mexico to Texas. Now that there are much better options this one happens to be pretty empty. It also happens to be absolutely fucking radical. The number of perfectly cambered turns flowing into opposing and equally perfectly cambered turns is uncountable. In my opinion this is the best scenic curvy road that I have ever been on. The great part is that it&#8217;s not just a couple miles long, it&#8217;s at least a solid 1hr+ of exactly this.

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    In addition to the turns, the road sliced right along the side of some pretty drastic scenery.

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    After the turns subsided we began exiting the mountain range and coming back down towards the flatter plains.

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    On our final exit off the mountain we crossed a bridge and stopped for a view.

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    From here on we would be heading back towards the immense urban sprawl that is DF (mexico city) and away from the rural simplicity of where we had been throughout this lovely weekend. There are pros and cons to both, but I have very much enjoyed my little backroads trip through the state of Hidalgo. I&#8217;ve had a pretty damn good weekend in the dirt, thanks Jose and Dano for a great time. On the way back into DF I picked up a flat on the freeway. There wasn&#8217;t much of a shoulder and not much light to patch a tire with, but I didn&#8217;t really care. It&#8217;s hard to have a little ol&#8217; flat sour such a fantastic weekend.

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    #78
  19. jocejas

    jocejas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Central Mexico.
    Incredibly fun weekend.
    I need that T-mod on my bike soon.
    So glad you took care of Bernal, reckless drunken kid. You missed the dancing at the wedding thanks to Bernal.
    A video should be edited pretty soon, will share.
    More riding to come Chon!:wink:
    #79
  20. kosh

    kosh Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    "There was a paper sign back there that said go the other way...but that doesn't mean we can't go through here"..

    Haha, I nearly lost it when I heard you say that. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard you say that... Glad you are alive :freaky
    #80