South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. shadman

    shadman Been here awhile

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    I have an embroidered General's shirt from our waiter in my closet. He has my only "Affliction" shirt in his. Fair trade for some great memories in Galeana.

    Heading south from Galeana the village of san francisco in the middle of no-where is the most peaceful place I've ever been on earth. Try to follow the mountains south, between the coastal plains and the cities on the high plains. There is water and mountains and valleys for miles and miles and miles.

    Peter
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Shadman,

    I'll have to check out San Francisco just to see how it stacks up to the middle of the Sandhills in Nebraska for most peaceful place on earth. Thanks for the idea.

    I'm with you on the stay in the mountains south idea. I haven't ever explored the Sierra Gorda area either further south. Used to live in Oregon so visited Baja and the western Sierras and Copper canyon area plenty. But usually headed down the coastal route the few times I headed south from Texas.

    It's nice up here. I wonder if your waiter from Galeana wore your tee shirt yesterday for the festivities. Affliction is way Dia de los Muertos :

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, thanks for the idea. Although I may have to cut over to Real de Catorce for a side trip. Never been there either.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  3. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

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    +1
    And near the top, about 500 ft down should be a large patch of hydraulic oil on the 'road' ! The oil seal on my rear shock let go. I pogo stick bounced all the way down and back into Texas as a result!
  4. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

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    Glad to read you're considering Real de Catorce. Not cheap but worth blowing the budget for a day or two.

    I expect you'll surprise me with how cheaply you can do it. :clap
  5. farrell caesar

    farrell caesar Seezer

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    I am sitting here....sunday afternoon enjoying your report. Thanks ! This will do till I see my next trip baja unfold. Steed...KLR......DR650.....1150gs
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Headed out from Galeana this morning. Took the road out of town west and soon saw Cerro Potosi off in the distance. It's hard to miss:

    [​IMG]

    Saw a nice 5 window Chevy truck posing in the cactus. Looks to be a 49-51 model by the look of the door handles. I restored a '51 long ago one winter:

    [​IMG]

    Soon arrived at the village of Diesyocho de Marzo where this sign pointed the way up the mountain that is looming in the background:

    [​IMG]

    As was said it is cobblestoney and teeth jarring 20 mile ride to the top. Loose hands, eyes forward to pick the best line to avoid the chunkier spots:

    [​IMG]

    Vacas!!!!

    [​IMG]

    Eight foot tall asparagus with the back road to Rayones off in the distance in the background calling:

    [​IMG]

    Taking a break to let the shock fluid cool down and take in the panoramic view. Very peaceful and quiet up here. Didn't see a soul on the 40 mile roundtrip to the top:

    [​IMG]

    Up near the top you break out of the pine forest and scrub and can see for miles:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When you hit the radar towers you're at the top. It was nippy up there with clouds swirling around. Sort of other worldly in a cool sort of way. Really nice views that show tantalizing zig-zagging roads off in the distance. I could spend a lot of time exploring around here, but really I am heading to South America so instead its time to point the bike south:

    [​IMG]

    and then its back down the mountain:

    [​IMG]

    Lots of nice places to camp up towards the top. But its early so I'm heading off to Real de Catorce. Just stopped to upload some pics and eat some Loncha. My thanks to slowoldguy for pointing me to this ride. Well worth it. Nothing like climbing mountains with two wheels. Although I don't envy Tsotsie having to pound down that road bottoming out with no rear shock. Yikes!

    But really a street bike could probably make it up there without taking out the oil pan if you were careful and not riding two up sightseeing with a sumo wrestler. Probably not a good idea to ride that road right after getting first place in a pancake eating contest though. But hey, some people pay big bucks for deep tissue massage. Pounding up that road was free Sherpa Shiatsu.

    More later…

    Kindest regards
  7. slowoldguy

    slowoldguy Tire Tester

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    Cool, John. Glad you enjoyed it. The rocks look just the same. ;)
  8. sandalscout

    sandalscout blah blah blah

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    :rofl
  9. Chip Seal

    Chip Seal Long timer

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    John, you just named your bike!

    Sherpa Shiatsu!
  10. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    Sweet ride Juanito! I've alway wanted to ride up there but wasn't sure of the route. You'll enjoy Real de 14 and the cobblestones.
  11. vdlcinc

    vdlcinc Adventurer

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    Hi JD... just came across your RR tonight... read all 24 pages in one sitting.

    I'm in... for the duration... thanks for sharing.
  12. tomski74

    tomski74 Silesian American

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    I'm glad we finally made it to Mexico :D

    Thank you for letting me tag along.

    Great trip, great pictures!

    Cheers!
  13. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    Stayin' with you for the whole trip John.

    I did not realize PayPal was so easy to use now, back in the day you had to register with a small deposit(iirc), not so now.

    I had forgotten this but for the other oldsters that want easier reading...
    Hold down the CTRL key and use the scroll wheel to enlarge text. MUCH better than the magnifier on forums.

    A 250 is my next ride.

    Best Regards,

    OldPete aka John Peter
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    So I rode back to Galeana yesterday after pounding up and down Cerro el Potosi. It was warmer down in the valley after being up over 12,000 feet. The Sherpa has a diaphragm carb and seemed to handle the elevation change fine although I had to turn up the idle up at the top with the thumb screw that dangles off the carb. This is good since 12,000 ft is nothing if I make it to the Andes and the Bolivian altiplano.

    Anyway, I went back to the Juana Maria Hotel and asked if I could use their wifi and the new desk clerk Julietta (who-lee-eta) said sure no problema. I asked about a good place for lunch and Julietta called her friend who cooked up some fried chicken and brought it over. Nice. 40 pesos for a bag of home made fried chicken and bread. It took quite a while before the lady showed up with a grocery bag of food. But I was in no hurry. Julietta asked if I wanted a coke for 8 pesos and I said sure. I figured she had a fridge somewhere. But no, she ran down to the tienda and bought me one and brought it back. Great service. I couldn't eat all the chicken so left the rest for Julietta and her friend Maria. Those old girls look like they enjoy eating.

    Maria had come up from Matehuala with a handbag full of bootleg CDs and DVDs to sell for the equivalent of 3 for 5 dollars.

    Julietta asked me if I needed her to find me a girlfriend and I believe she probably could have found anything I wanted. I told her I needed a girlfriend like I needed a hole in the head. ( agujero en la cabeza) Here is a pic of the jolly Julietta and Maria flipping through bootleg DVDs:

    [​IMG]

    So I headed down to the Pemex station and gassed up and headed out. There is no better thing in my book than a full tank of gas, a couple liters of water, some snacks and a vague idea of where you are going.

    Was looking for a road south named 161 but never found it. Just lots of yucca and high desert scrub:

    [​IMG]

    Finally hit hwy 57 south which turned out to be a freeway almost like a cuota without tolls. 65 mph meant I made it to the turnoff to Real de Catorce by sunset. Got some more gas in a small town and asked directions and headed west into the desert. Came to the turnoff and a poor fellow had his car jacked up with both rear wheels off. Apparently his friend had taken the two flats to town to see about getting them fixed. I asked him how far to Real and he didn't know. It was dusk by now so I headed up the long lonely cobblestone highway into the mountains:

    [​IMG]

    It was getting late but this cobblestone road was way better than the one up Cerro Potosi. High speed let her rip type. But it was getting late and I didn't know if there were potholes or missing bits or donkeys around the bend so I cooled it and let the knobbies hunt around the cobbles at 40-50 mph and tootled up to the tunnel through the mountain.

    It was dark by now and there was a guard at the entrance with a walkie talkie collecting a 20 peso toll. Since the tunnel is a mile and a half long and quite narrow he calls the other side to see when it is safe to jet through. In this case it was a few minutes before these folks came through:

    [[​IMG]


    and I could head on in. It was surreal. The echos off the narrow stone walls made my Sherpa sound like a Harley with straight pipes. Really loud in there. And really narrow in places. I see why they do the one-way thing. After about 3/4 mile there is a dogleg to the right and then another 3/4 mile to the other end. It goes on seemingly forever. There are dim lightbulbs strung along the roof to give an eerie glow to the place along with no ventilation shafts which leaves a haze of car exhaust to complete the otherworldly ambiance.

    On the other side is an old mining town perched on a very steep hillside with narrow cobblestone streets. Sort of feels like Jerome, Arizona or Silver City, Nevada meets Pancho Villa spagetti western vibe. The main street is blocked off for pedestrians so you have to dive down what seemed like a 45º hill although it is likely only 30 or so. But very steep.

    Arte had told me there is free camping on the far side of town, but how to get there? So I wandered around steep narrow cobblestone streets until I popped out the other side. There was a man grilling corn, onions and spuds outside a tienda, so I stopped and bought a grilled potato and a coke and asked him if there was a free camping spot nearby. And sure enough he pointed down the road and said 150 meters on the left.

    So I wandered down what felt like one and a half football fields and found the wide flat area across from the cathedral where I am typing this in my tent. GPS waypoint is:

    N 23º 41.873'
    W 100º 53,361'

    It was dark and I hadn't set up Sam's tent before since I stayed with people and a couple nights in the hotel in Galeana for the last week since I left the roll the bones rally. At over 8000 feet it was brisk and windy. Not a great recipe for mystery tent assembly. But I got it up and threw my stuff in keep it from blowing over the side of the cliff I was parked next to since no way tent pegs are going in this rock. On further review in the light of day it appears to be mine tailings along with a huge pile across the ravine. This is a pic of the camping spot in dawn's early light:

    [​IMG]

    And across the tailing pile to the cathedral:

    [​IMG]

    There was another tailing pile down lower that looked fine for camping:

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to wander around and check out the place after everyone wakes up. Yesterday I spent 322 pesos or $25.76 on gas and food.

    This internet connection is sketchy at best so who knows if this will go through.

    More later….

    Best,
    John Downs
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi OldPete,

    Thanks so much for your generous donation. Your name gets outlined in red on the gas tank. I am appointing you Chief Executive in Charge of Corporate Services. I assured HR that your appointment had absolutely nothing to do with backroom kickbacks.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  16. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Headed out into the hills this morning exploring mining roads around Real de 14:

    [​IMG]

    These wild burros were the ones making all the racket last night. Braying up a storm well into the night even after the dogs stopped barking. Hee-Haws echoing off the canyon walls in the quiet of night:

    [​IMG]

    This tunnel led down as far as the headlight would shine. Thought about riding down to see where it goes until the not so dumb side of my brain realized it would be hard to turn around down there:

    [​IMG]

    That's one of the roads I went on off in the distance heading around the mountain:

    [​IMG]

    Beautiful views out in the distance. Very peaceful out here around the point as the mountains catch the morning sun:

    [​IMG]

    Heard churchbells off in the distance from back in Real de 14 so headed back since I could use something to eat and people might be up now. The streets aren't actually 45º steep as this pic shows:

    [​IMG]

    But when you turn the corner and head up it sure looks like it:

    [​IMG]

    I took a wrong turn and headed up a blind alley at one point and I put my right foot down and literally couldn't keep the front tire from skidding backwards with a handful of front brake. Had to hit the killswitch to get stopped and slowly pull in the clutch and slide the bike sideways to get turned around. I would have dumped a bigger bike for sure. I think a trials bike would be fun in this city.

    Lots of cool old stone buildings in town:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a nice central park with gazebo/bandstand:

    [​IMG]

    I can't decide if I want to camp here another night and listen to the burro orgy or head down to Xilitla further south in the state and check out Mr. James fantasy garden.

    You'll be the second to know.

    Best,
    John Downs
  17. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Muy Macho Ride Report!

  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Tomski,

    I'm still wearing my Zombie Tee shirt with good memories of my time in Oklahoma.

    Best,
    John Downs
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I'm not a bike namer but I have to admit it has a nice ring to it.

    Best,
    John
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Come on Roberto,

    Get on that hoss and ride down here and join me. I have a fitness training program all mapped out for you. Deep tissue massage -the works. You know you want to. Recumbents are so 2011.


    Suerte,
    Juanito
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