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The Adventures of LoneStar & The Iron Butterfly...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Road Hound

    Road Hound Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
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    205
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    Atlanta, Ga
    It's good to see the two of you having a great time. Thanks for the great photos.
    Which one of you is the dog going to ride with, on the rest of your adventure ?
    LoneStar likes this.
  2. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
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    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Pretty well actually lol, but it didn't make this trip. Defaulted back to my Sony A6000's since I have more lenses for them

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
  3. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
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    242
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    Burleson, Texas
    Epic!


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  4. McBike

    McBike Been here awhile

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    May 18, 2008
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    268
    Location:
    Durango
    Great Stuff! Thanks again for the photos and trip report.
  5. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    We both got the feeling it was time to leave Real, and as the sun arose in the cold the next morning, we knew it was time to go.

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    Lassie had finally gone home the previous day after hours of continuing to stay with us, and I asked Kim if she wanted to go see her again on the way out. She did of course. I must say I’ve never seen, felt, or experienced the presence of a dog like Lassie. It was as if an angel or guardian had come to be with us, and the dog had so much personality it seemed a bit surreal.

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    We paid our hotel bill, loaded the bikes and struggled them off the high sidewalk, riding down the steep street to a coffee shop for some warmth and breakfast. Two men were there from Prince George, Canada, having just driven in the night before. We had a great time talking with them before firing up the bikes again for the ride to see Lassie and then to head down the dangerous back road from Real to the peyote filled valley below.

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    Oh.Dios.Mio.!
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    As we rode back out to the edge of town, I saw Alejandro in the cemetery as I passed the gate, but continued on. We parked the bikes and shot a couple of pics before finding Lassie in the front yard of her owner’s home. She ran to Kim and loved on her a bit before running to me and jumping up. She assumed her position in the lead and guided us towards town, but we wandered to our bikes instead. I wondered how she would react to the motorcycles, having tried to attack other rider’s bikes a couple days before. Indeed, she barked at Kim when she started the bike and moved, though not with intensity. She ran to my bike as well but was subdued, almost as if she overcame her instinct. It was sweet to watch her run down the street behind Kim as we headed back. I saw Alejandro on the street and stopped to say goodbye for a moment. Lassie chased Kim again, finally giving up and letting us go. It was a bit difficult as we’d both gotten pretty attached.








    Last damn thing I ever expected was to meet a dog in Mexico that stole my heart - even more so for Kim.


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  6. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
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    7,033
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Thanks for continuing the incredible posts. Your pictures capture the depth and essence of humanity so well !! They speak volumes on their own. The narrative is a welcome bonus.
    LoneStar likes this.
  7. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
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    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Thanks man! Really appreciate it - going to try to get into places where we have more time to really get some good stuff - video too hopefully
    GAS GUY likes this.
  8. freewaystreak

    freewaystreak Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    125
    Location:
    El Paso, Texas
    Those dang dogs! Come and steal a piece of your heart...

    Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk
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  9. agplant

    agplant Ride Fast Travel Slo

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    364
    Location:
    High Level, Alberta
    Caught up on this epic ride report again, your photos are stunning and I'm looking forward to tagging along on the southern expedition. Safe travels.
    LoneStar likes this.
  10. asphaltsurfer1

    asphaltsurfer1 CatManDew

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    540
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    By the pool
    Great photos and story about Lassie. My wife is an the board of an animal shelter and spends all her free time there so she's brought home a few "special" ones over the years. A memorable one was shrunken Rottweiler (diseased as a puppy) that I named "Desmo"- think what I was riding at the time? The only dog I've ever seen that understood the concept of "humor".

    Safe travels
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  11. MGilman

    MGilman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2017
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    southern maine
    love your reports.
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  12. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
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    As we left Lassie behind, distracted by something behind an old red truck, we rolled over the rough cobblestones toward the old plaza and the steep downhill twists that led out to the old and somewhat dangerous road out the back side of Real.

    Kim wanted to ride it, though I wasn't too thrilled at the prospect of her on the narrow downhill with severe drops. I wanted to ride it, but was a bit wary since Kim doesn't have a lot of rough time on the 1200. In addition, a couple of locals said not to, as it wasn't in good shape. It's quite narrow, and the old Willys jeeps make the trek up and down in 4WD low. There would be no way to pass if we caught one coming up and that added to the concerns.

    But previous to reaching the road down, we had to stop here and there for blocked streets, jeeps, horses and citizens. It doesn't seem too difficult, as pictures never capture depth, however finding a spot that isn't severely off camber, covered with engine oil or easy to get a foot down is never easy. If you go, be prepared to ride around trying to find a place for your feet. It's easier for me with my long legs, but much more of a challenge for Kim despite her lowered suspension. We opted for a bit more height for clearance than flat footed.

    Because getting a bike stopped, or worse, turned around on one of the streets isn't fun, I went ahead and scouted the way, telling The Butterfly what lay ahead until we finally cleared the village and hit the road out.


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    Pausing at the top so that she could get a sense, we walked a ways down and then came back to the bike. When MotoHank and I had ridden it a couple years before, the stone road had been covered with caliché, which filled the spaces between the rocks. However heavy rains had occurred and there was no filler this time - only the rocks and holes.

    The first section isn't too bad, despite being rough with a steep drop, and Kim did well despite my hearing her voice stuttering from the bumps. We stopped at the bottom of the first section and found a spot to get off the bikes to scout the next section down. It was steeper and in worse shape than the previous.

    Kim was shaking both from nerves and effort, and after walking the next section a bit we started down. There were severe potholes and gaps in the rocks, and I was seriously concerned for her. We took it in 2 sections, trying to get stopped before sharp, blind turns and seeing what was ahead. At one point Kim had to lift my leg a bit to get back on my bike since the off camber was so steep I couldn't get back on the beast. Twas a bitch.

    Neither of us got video from the worst section, as we were so focused on getting through it. There was no stopping until we got near the bottom and into a smooth section in a tight curve, where we took a breather and began laughing from the rush.



    I was incredibly proud of Kim, as well as somewhat amazed that she had made the entire trip down and had not dropped the bike. A 5'5", 125 lb woman had manhandled a heavily loaded R1200GS down a road that is breathtaking in good shape and damn scary in bad.

    I told her never to complain about any other roads after that :D Seriously though, it was quite a feather in her cap and a major relief to me.

    The rest of the way down was still rough and tricky, though nothing at the level of the top sections, and when we finally stopped in the small village of Catorce for a breather, we were both ready.

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    The road from Real goes down into a large valley where the railway lies, Estacion Catorce and Wadley being the main communities there. Wadley is famous for the Bohemian tourists who seek the peyote and cheap lodging, hitching rides to Real De Catorce on the weekends to sell handmade jewelry and other items to Mexican tourists.



    Our plan had been to take the back road down, hitting Charcas on the way to Zacatecas, our next major destination. However, Luis, the young man we'd met in Real, had invited us to stay at his family home in Matehuala. He was renovating it and wanted us to see it, so we turned east instead. We'd bumped into him that morning in Real, and he confirmed to meet us that night.

    Reaching the blacktop, we raced east paralleling the railroad, skies blue and filled with puffy white clouds reminiscent of west Texas. To the left, we passed a monument marking the Tropic of Cancer and swung back around to take pics.

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    Shortly after, we hit a small, dusty village for a break and a snack, rolling along the dirt streets past huts made of tin and wood with cactus for fences, until circling back to the iglesia on the barren, concrete square. Doors would open as we rode past houses, only to quickly close, then to open again and watch us, not realizing we could see them in our rear view mirrors.



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    The square was vacant, and a tiny pinch of shade lay along the fence in front of the church where Kim made a snack of tortillas, boiled eggs and avocado, followed by a bite from a coconut candy roll.


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    The old church bell sported two bullet holes, reminiscent of some spaghetti western, though a reality. Satisfied enough, we headed out in the hot sun for Matehuala, a lone man waving to us as we rode away.


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    As the sun sank lower on our way east, I spotted an old dome and tower hidden amongst the trees off the main road. We took the next turn for a small village and rode in looking for the church. It was not to be found or seen, as the village lay behind a large dirt embankment. Finally giving up and heading back to main road, I went back to the place I'd spotted it. There was a road that was fenced off, so again we went back into the old village, finally turning onto a dusty street that seemed a bit more traveled which led over an ancient stone bridge. From there it followed a line of tall trees and stopped in front of some heavily built and militaristic stone buildings. In the midst was an old church with a beautiful courtyard. We bailed off the bikes and Kim wandered over to an old stone water tank, discovering a sleeping possum who took no notice of us.


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    The old place appeared to have been a heavily fortified hacienda, as there were gun ports on the roof lines of the derelict buildings, as well as remainders of walkways around the interior of the walls for sentries. What this place was I would love to know, but now it sat fenced and forlorn.

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    The heat drove us back onto the highway for Matehuala, as we were tiring and hot. We arrived at the main square, Plaza de Armas, around four to rest and wait for Luis, who'd said he'd meet us about seven.


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    As the clock ticked to eight, I finally got a text that he'd just arrived and would meet us for dinner on the square. By 8:30 he'd arrived and introduced us to his wife, who seemed a little tense. After speaking to Luis it became apparent why. Luis was working in Dallas and rarely home, this being his last night in Matehuala.

    We could tell it was a bit awkward and Kim suggested we go for a short walk to let them discuss the situation. We decided to stay in a hotel instead and when we returned to tell him, it was a relief. He was a bit embarrassed but did ask us to come tour his place. We walked the few blocks to the house and checked out his renovations, then headed for a motel and crashed hard.
  13. MaNDan

    MaNDan 'Old Japanese cycles & '26Chevy truck

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Wild midWest -USA
    Just an amazing report and photos.
    Thank both of you for taking us couch and office sitters along for the journey.
    LoneStar likes this.
  14. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    Feb 9, 2009
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    Location:
    Top Hat - Seattle Wa.
    :clap :thumb :lurk
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  15. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
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    2,861
    Location:
    San Diego
    I'm more than a little impressed at how your girl handles a loaded GS through the tricky stuff! Fantastic.
    LoneStar likes this.
  16. asphaltsurfer1

    asphaltsurfer1 CatManDew

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    540
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    By the pool
    Great photos and updates
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  17. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Thanks guys - we got some decent internet finally and last night I had time to add a couple of videos to the last posting...

    We are LOVING Mexico!!!
    MrKiwi likes this.
  18. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    From Matehuala, we headed westerly for Zacatecas, hoping to avoid the main highways. Easier said than done as there are few roads in general, but reversing back the way we'd come towards Charcas through the Altiplano was the best way. There was not a cloud in the sky as we flew along through the massive valley in crisp morning air, always watching the roadside for stray cattle, goats, mules or horses.

    The miles flew by, an endless stretch of barren landscape and rare but random, a man sitting under a scrub tree in shade. Likely shepherds, but a big smile erupting from a sun blackened face as we'd wave.

    The town of Charcas was a pleasant site, much larger than the tiny dust covered villages we'd pass through, their residents eyeing our passing with suspicious but veiled intensity.

    The main road into Charcas led to the church, through traffic in tight rough streets filled with Volkswagen Rabbits and other old vehicles.


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    At the turn to the plaza we were waved away by a slim policeman with a face mask, redirecting traffic for the tiny school that had just let out for lunch. We eventually found our way back to the plaza through the maze of tiny streets, riding the wrong way up one way streets to make our goal.

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    We found a spot on the crowded square next to a "papas" vendor and it wasn't long before the sight of fresh made potato chips sucked us in for a snack, washed down with a burning flush of Coca-Cola.

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    Across the street and in front of the church, lay a long line of people waiting to get into a business that looked like a Western Union type place.There must have been two hundred, each with a sheet of paper in their hands. Kim surmised it may be folks waiting to receive money from relatives in the U.S., but whatever it was, it was a long slow process.

    Google showed only a single gas station in the town, a Pemex we'd passed on the way in, so we reversed back to fill up. The attendant was afraid to look at me, until I tapped him and pointed to myself, saying "José". He broke into a big smile and tried to communicate, pointing to the stickers on Kim's bike.

    As we waited in the shade after filling up, he gingerly came over several feet away and shyly tried to take a picture of us with his cell phone. I waved him over and he handed his phone to another gas attendant, coming near the bike. I pulled him over and put my arm around him for the picture and he was all smiles, waving at us as we rode away.

    My GPS said Zacatecas was still hours away, which didn't make too much sense as we'd been riding a few hours already. The road led further into the desert, getting rougher and narrower as it went. I watched as the GPS showed us on a loop that I assumed was the best way to Zac. After another hour or so, I realized I hadn't switched the navigation preference from "shortest" to "fastest" and we were now on a ridiculously slow and painful out-of-the-way trip through village after village. by the time I'd realized the mistake and made the switch to "fastest", we'd passed the break point and it showed to continue.

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    In dusty village after dusty village, we crossed endless topes it seemed, until finally being stopped by a funeral procession to the graveyard in a larger town. The long stretches were barren, our traveling companions being sky high dust devils and parades of trash and the ever-present tattered shopping bags trapped in branches along the roadsides.





    The trip was long, slow and tedious until we finally reached the main highway for our last hour to Zacatecas. We finally arrived at our AirBNB host's home close to dark, peeled out of our smelly riding gear and chilled a little while.

    After a rest, we walked for the city center up steep streets, huffing and puffing until we got a vista of the golden city lights and cathedral, as well as the illuminated mountain bluff above the city, "La Bufa". It was a spectacular sight and Kim was thrilled to see such a beautiful, European style city after so many dusty villages.


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    We wandered the beautifully lit streets in the cold air, finally finding a little taco place on a pedestrian square across from an old church. The lady who ran the place showered us with great food and attention, speaking a tiny bit of English. As she attended to us, she began sharing her story. She'd worked in Arlington, Texas for many years, then Austin, but recently had been refused a renewed visa. The Omni Hotel in Austin was asking her to come work for them, but she was unable and asked us to pray that a way would be made. Her only alternative would be to pay the "coyotes" $8,000 U.S. to take her but she said she couldn't afford it, or the danger.


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    As we'd been eating, I'd noticed a man standing in the shadows a hundred feet away or so, whom I recognized from seeing him earlier on the streets. He watched us the entire time we ate, and I didn't tell Kim until we started walking away. He trailed us a ways until I stopped and looked directly at him, Kim doing the same. I dropped the camera into my messenger bag and took it off to carry by hand. Kim asked why and I explained that the bag could be used to bash someone in the head if need be.

    We walked a block or so, suspicious and heads on swivels until we ducked into a tourist shop that was closing. As soon as we got in, a dirt bike pulled up and stopped on the opposite side of the street, the rider in helmet looking directly at us through the doorway while the bike idled. I stared at him and he stared at me, the entire time my thoughts racing back to movies where the bad guys used motorcycles. He looked again then took off. We looked at each other, then bought a bottle of Mezcal and a Zacatecas decal for the bikes. Kim put the bottle in a plastic bag, prepared to use it. We gingerly approached the door and looked out, only to see a traffic light. We burst out laughing at our suspicious moment of intrigue when we realized it was just a random motorcyclist who had to stop for an unseen traffic light.

    We slowly walked back to our host's home in the dark, enjoying the city streets. The Mezcal was indeed used to knock out two people that evening.



    The next morning our host Graciela made us breakfast before we left, her pug Macarena entertaining us by getting drunk in the warm sun.


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    We rode through Zacatecas, an absolutely beautiful European style city with steep, flagstone streets, museums, churches, markets and plazas. The town sits below a huge bluff, "La Bufa", which features a church and plaza with statues of Francisco "Pancho" Villa and others from the revolution. Which Mexican revolution I'm never sure... We rode to the top and sat watching the city below for a while until the desire to ride the steep streets and explore neighborhoods overwhelmed us.


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    Kim had found a Couchsurfing couple who agreed to host us for a night, our first experience doing so. Our friends Fanda and Kaschka had insisted we try it back when we met them in Alaska, since they had had great experiences all across Russia and Mongolia, as well as the US. Anyway, we were to meet them around 4 and had the entire day free to wander.


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    Exploring, we rode the old center of town before heading for the higher hillside neighborhoods, the steep and narrow streets proving a lot more butt-clenching than expected. Several times we dead-ended on little streets so steep it was hairy getting turned back down.

    At one point on an easier street, I was accelerating uphill when this happened...


    Luckily he was unhurt, but it added to the crazy traffic and streets.










    Late that afternoon, we made our way to the address we'd been given, and rolled up to a small apartment home with gated parking. Our host "Ben" came out to greet us and open the gate. After clambering off and getting out of our sweat sack jackets, we got to know each other a bit better.

    Ben was actually "Benoit", a young French guy who'd traveled extensively and taught language classes through the French Alliance downtown. We met his beloved, Gaby, a native Zacatecan who owned a small boutique and spa nearby. She had prepared a late lunch for us.

    After resting a bit, that evening Kim took advantage of Gaby's spa for a massage - her shoulders were tight as a drum from the last day or two - while Ben took me to a small brew pub in the area that featured beer from almost every country in the world.

    That night after Gaby's place closed, her family met us for dinner at a small local taco place that had home brewed beer. We had much fun and stayed out too late. Despite our lack of Spanish, we communicated enough and Ben's translation helped.

    The next day, Ben had a class cancellation and decided to give us a tour of the town. We took the bus to the center and arrived to find a big celebration going on. Apparently it was a tilapia festival - MotoHank had warned us that Mexico used any event to celebrate and boy was he right.


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    After wandering through tilapia heaven we made our way down to an old market for lunch, then around the downtown area, visiting the amazing catedral(s) and several museums.



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    The most interesting was the Mask Museum, now incorporated into the ruins of an old cathedral that had its roof collapse sometime in the past.

    The museum featured masks of all sorts from Mexico and we were in there for hours. The grounds of the museum are beautiful as well and quite relaxing. Ben left us after a great lunch for a class and we wandered the streets until late, catching a bus back.



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    That evening about 9, Gaby and Ben wanted to take us out so we took a taxi back downtown to a rooftop bar overlooking the city. Bad disco music, good bebidas and outstanding views made the night great.


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    Next on the agenda was to take us to the oldest cantina in Zacatecas. Gaby explained in broken English that Cantinas had always been male only, usually filled with man stuff - naked pictures of women, vomit, urine and fights. Women were never allowed in but times had changed and the cantinas were dying out due to a lack of business, so they now allowed anyone and everyone. Sounded like it could be interesting...

    When we arrived, the little place was packed. Sticking out like sore thumbs, we stood and watched the proceedings, laughter and lousy singing, eyes upon us and sideways glances, musicians and beggars. I noticed the same man who'd been shadowing us our first evening and indeed he came over with a sly smile and welcomed us to Zacatecas. It was an odd moment but we faked our way through. The rest of the evening he watched us.

    One man at the bar kept his eyes on Kim for most of the time that we stood there, eventually getting up and coming over to look us in the face and then began speaking Spanish, the word "Trump" being the only word we understood. I glanced at Gaby, whose face clearly showed her disdain and upset at what was happening. He continued to speak, and though we knew where the conversation was going, Ben engaged him for a while to deflect his anger. After a while, Ben seemed to have calmed him and began explaining that the man was a lawyer who had been denied entry to the U.S. recently and was upset at Trump.

    I shook his hand, clasped his arm and looked him in the eyes, asking Ben to tell him we had come to Mexico because we loved her people and nation. His drunken tension eased slightly when he heard, but continued his verbal barrage.

    Ben was not interpreting, for our benefit of course, and when the guy finally stopped for a moment, Ben said he was drunk and also not quite right in the head. This tension continued for a while, then Ben said the man wanted to apologize to us personally, as he had nothing against us but was just angry at Trump.

    He showed us his laminated lawyer credentials and then asked for a pen, writing his address and name on the back of one of our cards, telling Ben that one of his uncles had been a Nobel Prize winner. Eventually he faded away, the anger gone and we went back to our conversation, Gaby obviously embarrassed at the situation.

    A moment or two later, I noticed two women at the table in front of us turning to stare, then speaking to the men at the table. They turned back with big smiles and Ben said they were inviting us to sit down. We all squeezed around and then began communicating, Ben working his butt off as a broken English translator. Ben only spoke a little English, having learned it from tourists while working in Playa Del Carmen.

    Our new friends were lively and fun, the two guys being a lawyer and an architect, respectively. They ordered rounds of Mezcal and cervezas, laughing and asking questions about us and our trip south. The night wore on until the bar closed and they invited us to go to another place for dancing, seeming genuinely disappointed that we could not go. They gave us all big hugs and kisses, laughing and waving goodbye as we wandered back down the streets in the early morning hours.

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    The friendliness of the people we've met here and there on this trip has been quite amazing. Over and over people have come up to us to welcome and offer help if needed, in big towns and small villages, at roadside stops and in stores.



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    It was with some real sadness that we packed up the next morning for Durango. Zacatecas was a city Kim and I both feel we could live in. Cultured, clean, beautiful and welcoming, as we discussed on our headsets heading north for our next destination.
  19. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
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    3,134
    Location:
    Steamboat Springs, COLORADO
    Great post Joseph and Kim!
    Safe travels and best wishes from Northwest Colorado! :wave :thumb
    LoneStar likes this.
  20. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
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    10,233
    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Just WOW!
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