Towards Zacatecas on an Airhead

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ricard, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Booger1,

    Your ride report from last year is impressive, wish I'd seen it sooner. Did you notice that we both photographed the arch over the alley on the way down from the Teleferico? Unfortunately I'm not at the hostal where you stayed. Looks like a good place, maybe next time I come to town.
    #41
  2. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Tripletreat,
    Riding in Mexico is addictive, it gets in your blood. And makes you feel young. Road trips in the USA aren't quite the same.
    I'm lucky that my wife is very understanding.
    #42
  3. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Friday July 18th

    I left Zacatecas after a lost day spent in the hotel while the bacteria in my stomach were battling, and presumably loosing to, some new arrivals.

    The road to Real de Catorce is mostly straight and well paved untill the cobble stone stretch which leads to the town. Thanks to RW66's advice I ignored my GPS and didn't turn on the road marked, I think, Est Real de Catorce. This has led many riders along the rutted dirt back road into town. Fun on an appropriate bike, I'm sure. I waited untill after crossing the train tracks to turn on the cobble stone road. Lots of shaking and rattling but the stones are set tightly together so no problem. The views are good as the road winds over the mountain and finallly through a long, damp, mine tunnel into the narrow valley where Real de Catorce sits.

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    The streets of Real de Catorce

    The town is tiny. Half of the buildings are still in ruins, some have been renovated, like the Hotel Real where I am staying. There is a large church, of course. I'm still trying to work out the code of the bell ringing. Beginning at 7am and ending around 10pm, often on the quarter hour, and two different tones. Sheep graze the hillsides and aspiring shamans, one wearing a top hat, sit on the street corners. Seems to be a thriving peyote culture here driven by Mexican and European hippies. A lot of middle class Mexican tourists are here, and a few Europeans. The streets in town are steep and nerve wracking on the big ol' BMW.

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    The view from my room in the Hotel Real
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    The church
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    #43
  4. Suqsuda

    Suqsuda Secret Sharer

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    Really nice photos, interesting trip, thanks.
    #44
  5. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Saturday July 19th

    An interesting german guy who interprets the I Ching.
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    The low point in Real de Catorce traps the tourists. On the right girls traveling together, on the left the middle age moto group, "The Snails" (great name actuallly), riding quads. These guys were friendly enough, but pretty loud and drunk. In the middle, behind the KLR, the german interested in shamanism, who is kind of angry about the music blasting from the mega watt sound system on one of The Snails quads.

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    This guy was working really hard to get into town.

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    The hills outside of town are sublime. And four legs is the best way to travel through this landscape.

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    Graves crowding and jostling in front of the chuch at the old cemetary.

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    The graveyard behind the church seems to be a botanists paradise. Maybe it's the horseshit or the humanshit or the decomposing bodies. The flora is beautiful, the air is filled with rich smells and the sound of buzzing bees.

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    A Huichole girl explaining the traditional iconography.

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    #45
  6. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Great post. Keep them coming.
    #46
  7. sophijo

    sophijo Been here awhile

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    Nice job! Love the airhead and the paper maps with route are a really great idea!
    I'm in!
    #47
  8. patiodadio

    patiodadio Motorcyclist

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    :lurk Subscribed !
    #48
  9. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

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    Good work Richard.
    I am a bit surprised to see all the people. Maybe it is the weekend. The last time I was there it was Mon and the place was like a ghost town. I think the town is much better to visit when there are people around.
    I really enjoy your thread, keep up the good work.
    Ride safe.
    #49
  10. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Sunday July 20th

    I'm laying on the bed in the Hostal El Farol, staring at the fan and the ceiling fifteen feet above me, as the rain buckets down into the courtyard outside my window.

    I left Real de Catorce yesterday after an equally rain filled night. Seeing the lightning flash light my room behind closed eyelids and hearing the distant thunder in my half-sleep . Vaguely aware of the steady convergence of thunder and light until a loud crack and flash fill the air, then the gradual divergence as I drift back to sleep.

    The morning was bright and crisply cool. The steep cobble streets were wet and I went slipping and sliding down the hill out of town, barely holding it all together.

    The high plain below the Real de Catorce gorge is filled exclusively with Joshua trees and low scrub as far as the eye can see. Miles and hours later the temperature begins to rise and the landscape is a forest of ten foot tall cholla cacti. As I near Parras it is warm and the land is flat and farmed.

    A few photos of Real before last nights rain storm
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    Going home alone after a hard day's work
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    The courtyard at Hostal El Farol
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    In green
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    #50
  11. TallRob

    TallRob Long timer

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  12. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

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    #52
  13. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    #53
  14. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the encouragement and advice. I am heading back north, although I've decided to skip the road to Linares and hwy 20 south of Monterey. Lingered to long in Zacatecas and Real de Catorce. The world is small, our paths will cross again.
    #54
  15. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Monday July 21st

    A day on the Autopista. The steady humm of the motor at 120kph. The cuota toll booths, watch for oil, one foot down, gloves off fishing for cash in pockets, drivers behind getting impatient, gloves on and away. Getting off at the Pemex, pulling it up on the center stand, "rojo lleno", get back on and away.

    Back to Parral and back to the Hostal Acosta.

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    View from room 22, just after the rain
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    The bright yellow line
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    #55
  16. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

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    Richard
    How are you doing. I have not see a post in a couple of days.
    #56
  17. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Tuesday July 22nd

    The road north from Parral passes through hills and rich farmland. The outskirts of Cuahtemoc feel like a mid west farm town. Modern farming equipment and big organized farms. At the Pemex, fair skinned red haired teens speak perfect english. There is a large Mennonite community here. North of Chuauhtemoc the road twists back into the mountains. I was watching black clouds and lightning over the mountains to the east, and I was racing them due north to Col. Alvaro Obregon where I would turn west and, hopefully, leave them behind. It was a tie. I huddled under the cover of a pemex station as the rain poured down and the wind blew trash and leaves down the street. I pulled on my waterproof layer and headed west, eventually leaving the rain behind. I stopped at Gomez Farias, a tiny one street town, for the night. A town where all the cross streets turn to dirt about a block either side of the main street. The police followed me, as I walked up and down main street looking for a meal, but never stopped or adressed me.

    The restaurant in Gomez Farias, where I ate diner and breakfast.
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    #57
  18. Red Beer'd

    Red Beer'd Tourist

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    I met this man! He and the gentleman second from the right presented us with Mexican flags when we were in Zacatecas! Members of a local club called Druidas. Seeing this makes me miss Mexico very much! Good report, keep riding safe!

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    #58
  19. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    Wednesday July 23rd

    More twisty high desert mountain roads with sparse traffic until I reached Hwy 2. Hwy 2 runs east west, more or less along the border, and is a much more scenic and interesting ride than the freeway alternatives in the US. I got completly lost in Cananea. And, yet again, Garmin decided the best route to the highway was a dirt farm road that ended at an embankment ten feet below the highway. I stopped for the night at Magdalena. A town with a perfect little town square, surrounded by arched collanades containing little restaurants. The kind of place I'd been dreaming of as I became tired and thirsty at the end of the day. But it was bitter sweet. I had diner and a beer sitting in one of these restaurants and I was the only one there, excepting a scourge of flies. It was hot, but a nice place, and no one around except the workers and a few locals passing by. In small towns this has become a common experience for me.

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    La Curva Hotel
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    View from my door
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    Bright yellow line was my day
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    #59
  20. ricard

    ricard Been here awhile

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    #60