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Dos Naranjas en Catorce

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GSteve, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    Life does have it's interesting moments and surprises. For years I have frequented the AdvRider.com web community and have met several folks that have become friends. Recently I read a thread started by a gentleman about carburetor jetting of a 2006 KTM 640 Adventure for 7000 feet in elevation. The thread greatly interested me as I also have a 2006 KTM 640 Adventure that I ride at 7000 plus feet in elevation (Mexico City). I asked the originator of the thread a few questions and after a few replies we determined that we live within five blocks of each other in the Polanco district of Mexico City. Small world, eh!

    My new friend, Gustavo (dog'meat), was born in Italy and raised in Argentina moved to Mexico City four years ago due for a more central location to his business concerns in the USA and Argentina.

    After a couple of months of modifications to our bikes and the Christmas/New Years holidays, we finally synchronized our calenders and made a trip to the small mining town of Real de Catorce north of Mexico City in the state of San Luis Potosi. We were both eager to finally use our KTMs for what they were designed to do!
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  2. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    Our first stop of the trip for fuel found use parked next to a truck load of caskets. we both hoped that we wouldn't have need of any of them by the end of the trip!

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  3. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    Ahhh, the cobblestone roads of Mexico! Fortunately for both of us our bikes are equipped with sub-tanks on the front forks. The sub-tanks are from Infinity Machine & Design (Zerodog on AdvRider). Opening the vales to the sub-tanks took nearly all of the jarring of the cobblestone roads from being transferred to the riders. Excellent and worthwhile modification that worked as we hoped!

    NOTICE the herd of goats and cattle in the background! More Mexican speed bumps, different than the millions of topes that everyone encounters while traveling through Mexico.

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    This dog took a break from his goat/cattle herding chores to examine the excessive orange that we had just parked on "his" road!

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    dog'meat took a great deal of time and effort to come up with a route that would put us on the maximum amount back roads and trails as we made our way to Real de Catorce. Well, some of those tracks were a little difficult to find even with a GPS so we stopped and ask for directions. This gentleman was great about trying to help us sort out the route. I'm sure he thought we were crazy...and he may have been correct!

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    Well this attempt ended in a locked gate and stone wall (literally)!

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    Another swing and a miss that we had to abandon.

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    This is the GPS track of our efforts! Not pretty! Challenging, but not pretty!

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  4. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    We finally made it to San Miguel de Allende for our first night. After our day we both needed a cold cerveza or two! We found a little retaurant (Mama Mia) near the central plaza of San Miguel de Allende for our refreshments.

    San Miguel de Allende is the seat of the municipality of Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, a historic town founded in 1542 that has become an attractive tourist destination for wealthy Mexico City residents and has a large American and Canadian expatriate community composed primarily of retirees.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Miguel_de_Allende

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    Our hotel in San Miguel de Allende. A little pricey, but probably a bargain in an American tourist city!

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    Some of the hotel landscaping.

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    San Miguel de Allende.

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    La Parroquia, Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Of course, its located right on the central plaza of San Miguel de Allende.

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  5. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    :lurk I'm in....don't leave out any details!
    Caskets?....hope they were empty :D
    Looks like el perro negro was about to attack your bike....but the orange machine suppressed him. SMA is on my list....actually all of Mexico is on my list! Nice Report and colorful photos!
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  6. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    :super Nice pictures and report.
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  7. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    Gustavo's route took us to some more remote, yet beautiful areas.

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    Gustavo's route took us into the back door of San Ignacio. Of course, none of the routes into San Ignacio are paved...this is the real Mexico.

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    Yep, too much orange. By the way, once upon a time the BMW jacket was bright red but has faded into KTM orange over the years. The guy wearing the jacket has also faded over the years.

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    The west end of the nearly 1 mile long tunnel that ends at Real de Catorce. Inside the east end the road (cobblestones) was wet from springs. At one low point of the road inside the tunnel we had to ride through an 18 inch deep ten foot wide puddle. Yep, a water crossing on cobblestones inside a tunnel!

    Real de Catorce is located 157 miles from San Luis Potosi, the state capital.

    The village stands 9000 feet above sea level, and although it is now semi-abandoned, the extraordinary layout, dimensions and magnificent buildings of this former mining town never fail to surprise visitors. Originally named Real de Minas de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion de Guadalupe de Los Alamos de Catorce (what a name), the town soon became one of the most important mining centres in the state. Although it is hard to say when the first vein was discovered, by 1772, the town was already know as a real or mining town.

    The term "Los Catorce" or "The Fourteen" was first coined on 11 August 1777. The richest deposits were discovered in 1778, and from then on, the city could really be considered a royal mining centre. At this time, a large number of miners arrived in the region, seeking the treasures of the earth. Real the Catorce was one of the richest mines in New Spain. In 1803, the scale of its silver production placed it in second or third place in the world, making it easy to understand the reasons behind such intense mining activities.

    Life in town went its course amid the feverish activities of miners striving to wrench silver of the bowls of the earth. When the veins became exhausted and the miners ceased to produce the accustomed amounts of silver, it was generally believed that the city would die away, leaving only a ghost town. Nevertheless, those foreseeing the demise of the city failed to comprehend the strength of the faith keeping Real de Catorce alive. Central to this faith is the devotion to Saint Francis, who's statue stands in the sanctuary, where is frequently sought by many fervent pilgrimages.

    Another religious factor, the cult of Huichol peyote, a plant that abounds throughout the region, has also helped Real de Catorce maintain its presence in Potosoni daily life. Year after year, the Huichol Indians perform their ancestral rites here. After a long pilgrimage, participants enter a renovated, mysterious world. The Huichols believe that the scared Wirikuta Mountain, the source of purification, is located here.

    On a more worldly level, it should be pointed out that the city layout is similar to that of other mining towns, inasmuch as it follows the topography of the land with great skill and efficiency. The layout was drawn up by Silvestre Lopez Portillo. The buildings that have lasted to the present day bear testimony to the former greatness of Real de Catorce.

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    This type of stone construction with this unusual "chinking" between stones is common in town and in the structures related to the mine.

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  8. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks. "COLORFUL"...it would be hard not to be colorful with orange bikes in Mexico. :evil
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  9. Baja Ho

    Baja Ho Momentum is your friend

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    Mexico is good, more please. :lurk
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  10. Sandino

    Sandino Been here awhile

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    This is indeed a small world mates. Greeting from Paraguay:freaky
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  11. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Great ride!! Thanks for taking us along...:thumb glad you didn't need one of those containers on the red truck! :lol3
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  12. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    Dog'meat taking care of a few maintenance items while in front of our hotel.

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    Some more of the cobblestone streets of Real de Catorce. The lady was preparing to open her store for the day.

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    More of Real de Catorce.

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  13. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    We tried to take the horse trail that runs from the town to the abandoned mine, but it was a little too challenging for the amount of effort we were willing to expend. Much better suited to four legs than 400 pound motorcycles. We elected to go back through the tunnel and explore a route from there to the mine.

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    Real de Catorce in the background.

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    The west entrance to the tunnel out of town headed toward the east. There is only one way traffic in the tunnel so you need to wait for permission to proceed. The is no ventilation in the tunnel and the exhaust fumes build up and diminish visibility and breathing while traveling through the tunnel.

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    The area on the south side of the mountain opposite of the mine. The vegetation was somewhat different from the north side.

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  14. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    More of the abandoned mining complex.

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    We finally made it to the mine ruins. It had to of been quite a complex in it's time.

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    Do'meat...the king of the world!

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    The chapel near the mine complex in the background.

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    More of the ruins at the mining complex.

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    Notice the small rock "chinking" in the wall to the left.

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  15. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    :clap:clap:clap
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  16. dog'meat

    dog'meat Presidient

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    Will collaborate with some pics inside the tunnel... very low light but enough to illustrate the roughness of the interior...

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  17. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer Supporter

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    A view the Parish of Immaculate Conception. http://www.realdecatorce.net/homeng

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    La Casa de Moneda, the Mint, where coins were minted in the 1860's with machinery imported from Philadelphia, PA. Interesting that the decision was made to have the coins stamped in such close proximity to the source of the metal.

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    Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Real de Catorce.

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    Gustavo just couldn't stand having a dirty bike. So borrowed a bucket of water from our hotel in Real de Catorce and took care of the situation. His efforts earned us both a steady rain all night and a wet departure the next morning. Did I mention how slick wet, steep, cobblestone streets can be on a motorcycle...even a clean one!

    The next day we left Real de Catorce to the west via a wet, steep, rocky trail that lead to the abandoned railroad station that used to service the mine during it's prime.

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    Waiting for dinner on our last night in Real de Catorce.

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    Pizza and Michiladas for our farewell to Catorce meal. The Michelada or cerveza preparada is a term loosely defining a Mexican alcoholic beverage made with beer, lime juice and assorted sauces, spices, peppers, tomato juices or clamato. It is served in a chilled salt rimmed glass.

    The next day we had a cold wet ride back to San Miguel de Allende for the night, The day after we made our way back to the chaos that is Mexico City. I was glad to put the bike away after slugging our way through the Distrito Federal traffic.

    It was a great trip, full of challenges and interesting sights and food!

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    Green was the route from the Distrito Federal and the Blue was our return five days later. Great trip, interesting scenery and sights. MEMORABLE!

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