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pdedse 04-29-2008 04:50 PM

Mexico: Tzibanza and Bernal: Day 1
I first contacted Alberto Claves of “Motos y Mas” back in Oregon. When I told him I wanted to do several 2-3 day trips using San Miguel de Allende as my base, he said he didn't have much that would do the job on the hiway. Later he told me about a friend who was willing to rent his KLR650 (with about 16.5K on it for around 200 to 250, depending on kilometers traveled. I met up with Alberto at his shop on the outskirts of town, and we had a good chat about what I wanted to do. Mariano, owner of the KLR650, and I had been in contact via email and everything was set up. I'd pick up the bike on Friday (April 25) at noon and return Sunday late afternoon. My plan was simple: head for the Sierra Gorda, a mountainous area that starts about 50 some kilometers N or Tequisquiapan, near Queretaro. I would spend Friday and Saturday night somewhere, then head back home. By chance I met Julio at Motos y Mas Friday morning and once he found out the general direction I was headed, he told me about several places I could visit, including Tzibanza and Burnel. Alberto gave me some good directions to head towards Tequisquiapan without passing through Queretaro (wanted to avoid larger cities on my first mc trip in Mexico). I took off on the bike, gassed up, went to the family home I'm staying at, put on mc gear and small backpack and I was off by 1:30pm.

pdedse 04-29-2008 05:01 PM


Originally Posted by pdedse
Still getting used to smugmug and doing RR so just one teaser photo to see if everything is working.

I see I've got the link here to the photo, but I want the photo itself to show like so many do in their RR reports. I've been through tutorial this and that, but can't seem to figure out how to make several photos, or my gallery from smugmug to show here. Any help? Thanks.

GB 04-29-2008 06:10 PM

Smugmug is great for hotlinking your pics here. :thumb I fixed your link in the first post.

Right click on the image
Select Properties

Now, highlight the Image location, which ends in .jpg, and copy it.

Then here, in the text editor box, click on the Insert Image icon, (yellow box with mountains) and paste it into that box, and the image should appear :thumb

Check the Ask Baldy forum for a tutorial on how to post images, it's a sticky at the top.

tricepilot 04-30-2008 03:32 AM

I hope you get the picture thing figured out because I can't wait to see photos of the Sierra Gorda! One of the most beautiful areas in Mexico.


Bob :jose

joenuclear 04-30-2008 07:35 AM


pdedse 04-30-2008 11:45 AM


Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Smugmug is great for hotlinking your pics here. :thumb I fixed your link in the first post.

Cool! Thanks for doing that!! And for the suggestions, I'll play with this a bit to see if I can't get the photos showing.

In the meantime, here's the link to Day 1 (friday, april 25) of my three day trip...

Hopefully, the link will take you to my smugmug journal where I have the report written up with photos...more coming soon.

BikePilot 04-30-2008 12:08 PM

Looks like a great ride! I'm not a smugmug expert (or user for that matter), but you should be able to get it to spit out the link to the pic with img tags on either end of it. Alternatively you can past the url of a pic in where yout type and put bb or html img code around it like this [*img][/img*] only without the * (I just put them in there so you could see the tags rather than a red x).

pdedse 04-30-2008 12:13 PM

DAY 1 Continued...

Quite a bit of nondescript landscape east of San Miguel de Allende, but once I headed N on HI 120 out of Tequisquiapan, the scenery began to improve. Since I've never been in this neck of the woods, the Laguna de Tzibanza sounded as good a bet as any. After Cadereyta I asked about the Laguna and sure enough, I needed to head N another 5 kilometers and then turn off for Palmar, after which I'd have a cobblestone road for “a while”.
Above, the church at Palmar. I stopped to ask directions again and was told the same thing as before, rocky road, can't get lost. 15, 20 minutes? I ask. A little longer than that, I was told.

This was the first of about 100 burros that I would see over the next three days. They are some crazy rascals that when spooked do funky things—impossible to determine if they're going to run away or run right into you. I gave them very wide clearance.

Rocky road continued and so did I. I was looking for a “lagoon” but no sight of any water yet.

Another few kilometers and I spy the 'laguna' or lake...

And I arrive after 4 hours and only 115 miles! First close view of the Laguna
Isla de Tzibanza.
These steps lead up to the second floor of the hostal (023). The bottom floor is the restaurante and the top floor there's 18 beds.

The cost is 100 pesos, a little less than $10 for the night. Nancy and Anabel, two 18 year olds are running the place and they tell me no one else is there and they aren't expecting anyone else until tomorrow Saturday when I group of 10 is coming. Seeing as the only other alternative is for $85 a night for a cabin on the island, I think I'll take the hostal. I have a dinner of quesadillas and sopes. It's an absolutely perfect evening. The gals sit with me after cleaning up the restaurant kitchen and their uncle Pablo joins us and he fills me in on the making of the laguna, or lake: early 1980 the government decides they to build a dam, or cortina (curtain). They had to displace several communities who used to enjoy the river which had avocado, fig, mango and a number of fruit trees. They were paid handsomely, but weren't able to manage the money well. According to Pablo, the communities were relocated beyond the dam and now they have no money and no fruit trees—now they have to buy what they used to take for free. I asked him what he thought of the man made lake and said for their town (Tzibanza) it's been good because the lake is well stocked with fish and now their community fishes and provides boating services for those who want to fish or explore. They said I was the first American they had seen in some time—most visitors are Mexican nationals with money. Nancy and Anabel were very pleasant. I'm in San Miguel de Allende until the end of May as the leader of a group of students studying Spanish, and so I told the gals that I would try to convince the guys to come and visit. Nancy was the less shy of the two and asked what they're like—I told them lots of the guys have blond hair and blue eyes, and so they said, yes that would do, but to leave the girls in San Miguel! They left about 9:00 pm and the hostal was left to myself! No locked doors, nobody around. Beautiful lightning show over the lake and a wonderful breeze to cool off the hot day. I thought what a perfect day...then I didn't sleep until after 4:00am because all night I was attached by moscas, or mosquitos that kept buzzing my ears. I awoke at 9:00am the next morning with the sun shining in my face and over 200 tiny mosquito bites all over my neck, arms and legs! But not one of them itch!

BikePilot 04-30-2008 01:56 PM

Great report:clap

I've never heard of a mosquito bite that didn't itch, you lucked out on that one!

pdedse 05-01-2008 10:36 AM

Tzibanza and Bernal: Day 2, Sat, Aril 26
Day 2 of my three day weedend...

Saturday: since I wasn't trying to see how many miles I could ride in a day, I took my time getting going. About 11:00 I left the helmet, mc jacket and pants behind and went exploring. There really is only one way in and out to Tzibanza, but I did see another cobblestone road that veered off yesterday and wanted to see where it lead. On the way found some nice overlooks.

It was hot and black wasn't probably the best of colors to be wearing, but I used what I had to ward off the the sun...besides my wife liked the photo:evil

I decided to hire one of the motorboats to go for a mini cruise, and they wanted 10 dollars for about 45 minutes. Once we agreed the guy asks his son Fernando if he wants to take me and he agrees. Fernando is all of 12 years old. Cool, same age as my son. Fernando tells me the lake actually rises to the top of the white line every time it rains a bit.

They wanted $85 per night for these; $10 was better.

By 3:00 it was time to head out and see where the road would take me. A couple of parting shots of Tzibanza. The hostal and the island cabins are the only lodging options here, but you can also camp by the lakeside.

Nancy (on left) and her friend (not Anabel from the day before) finally let me take their picture—a shyness thing more than anything. They were fun, wanted to learn some English so we practiced greetings and very basic English. They didn't know one single word! They asked where I was from. Oregon didn't register so I tried California—nope! But they said they wanted to go someday. They kept saying they wanted a ride on the bike and I offered to take them up the hill so they wouldn't have to walk but they chickened out. Next time they told me.

Nice stone house in “downtown” Tzibanza

The main street as you leave Tzibanza. The entrance to the hostal and lake is at the corner to the left. If I had to guess, I'd say about 200 people live here. I've not found a map yet that has Tzibanza on it!

Of course, even the tiniest of towns have them...

More of Day 2 to come shortly...

pdedse 05-01-2008 11:56 AM

Day 2 continued...
I found a roadside cemetary, in the middle of somewhere. Don't know why but I've always been fascinated by them both at home and abroad.

Lots of trash strewn about, but it looks to be leftover stuff from Day of the Dead visitations. Tin cans were used to keep candles lit. Below, a tomb more recently visited...

Soon I left the cobblestone roads and was back on HI 120 heading north I had agreed with Mariano that I would limit the first trip to around 400 kilometers, so once I approached 200 I started thinking about returning. I was just entering the Sierra Gorda area (my original plan) but thought best to honor what was agreed and so turned back south towards Higuerillas. Right before the town I saw this sign...

I liked the implied threat to the sign: “Avoid the hassle of more speedbumps, slow down” (litterally, 'avoid the bother of putting speedbumps, reduce speed').
Just past Higuerillas (no stop sign town) the desert starting becoming a bit more verdant and to me pretty. I love the desert!

Took a snack break and turned off the motor to simply listen to the wind, the dersert birds shrieking every so often in the distance. Met very few cars out here, nice and quiet.

It was a smoky, hot day. Felt like taking the jacket off, but it does have protection and good ventilation.

Getting close to Bernal with the La PeNa beginning to show (the monolith).

Bernal is just around the corner. I spot the top of the cathedral from the hiway and it looks charming. At first I think about skipping the town, as I'm only 75 miles away from San Miguel de Allende and it's only 5:00pm. In two hours I could be home. But then I think 'what's the rush to get back?' and as I begin to enter the downtown area, I realize that bypassing this town would have been an enormous mistake. For the life of me I can't figure out why this town doesn't show up in my guide book. But in a way I'm glad it doesn't.

La Pena de Bernal. Lots of turists as it was the weekend, but none look to be from the States or Europe. Rather, nationals come from Mexico City for the day to get away. Tomorrow (Sunday) I would leave plenty of time to explore La PeNa at leisure. For now, I was looking for a hotel where I could recover from the somewhat sleepless night at Tzibanza (gracias a las moscas!)...

I find a decent hotel for $27 and at first the lady wants me to go to another hotel she runs with parking, but I like the room she showed me and ask if she wouldn't mind if I simply brought it inside. Sure, no problem—it barely fit through the door. Lots of fireworks going off in the night and music comes floating in to my room, but I'm tired from the night before when the mosquitos and I played tag all night. Plenty of time to explore the rock tomorrow (Sunday) before I have to get back to SMA.

Coming soon: Day 3 (Sunday, April 27)...

pdedse 05-02-2008 10:30 AM

Day 3, Sunday April 27
Day 3 of my weekend trip to Tzibanza and Bernal and on my way back to San Miguel de Allende...

Woke up at 7:30 hoping to find a restaurant open this early Sunday morning. Nice central restaurant was just opening up with several sleepy eyed employees getting the kitchen ready. View from where I was sitting, looking at the main Bernal church. Nice garbage truck to add to the ambiance.

Interior of the restaurant. Waiter told me that yesterday was their first day open as a restaurant and that I was the first ever customer for breakfast!

In honor of me being first, the waiter brought me a nice pan dulce, freshly squeezed OJ, at no charge. Soon he brought out the Chilaquiles and they looked like a work of an art.

After finishing breakfast, I headed out for la Pena, one of the largest monoliths in the world. Spent a good four hours hiking up, around and down. Nice views and good to stretch the legs after riding / sitting most of the weekend. Loved the desert smells and sounds.

More shots of my hike...

Scaling the rock...

City of Bernal below...

Sometimes its hard to beat a post card...

Left Bernal after lunch at about 3:00 and made one short stop by a lonely tree in the middle of somewhere, on my way back to San Miguel de Allende

Final shots are of SMA as I arrrive by 5:00 pm. My total mileage was only 270 for the three days, but the idea wasn't really to see how far I could go, but to take in some areas that I normally wouldn't go to if not for the moto. So thanks, Alberto at Motos y Mas and Mariano, owner of the KLR650. The bike ran like a top, and next weekend (May 9-11) I planning on going much deeper into the Sierra Gorda, and hope to do at least one more 3 day trip after next weekend, so stay tuned...

Gracias por acompanarme!

Vic-klr 05-05-2008 12:44 PM

Amigo me gusto que te gusto tu visita a mexico y que la disfrutaste. :clap

pdedse 05-05-2008 03:40 PM


Originally Posted by Vic-klr
Amigo me gusto que te gusto tu visita a mexico y que la disfrutaste. :clap

Me gusto y me sigue gustando! Voy a estar por un mes mas y por lo menos una vuelta mas extensa por la sierra gorda...


Vic-klr 05-05-2008 03:48 PM

que bueno y esperemos ver mas fotos.

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