Awoke very tired from the long day, activities and an apparent gang war in my stomach from two food items that had differences.
Sorry for the lack of better pics and better wit, but we've been pressed hard each day with so much to do and riding so hard.
The plan was to be in front of the main hotel at 8:30 am for the "adventure" route ride, and we were told to strip off all cases and be ready to ride. I wasn't sure if I'd make it since the gangland gut war was still occurring but I pressed on.
Two groups had assembled, one group for a road trip and the other for the dirt ride. I must admit I was feeling a bit like a little poor boy, as my 1100 was solo amongst an ocean of 1200's and GSA's. In fact aside from Hank's 1100 I've only seen 2 others out of hundreds. But I digress.
While waiting in the line of bikes, I was approached by a big guy - Mark from Colorado - who said he recognized my bike from ADV ride reports. He'd ridden from near Aspen and over ice on Independence Pass on his way south to get to the rally.
Attending a Mexican rider's meeting with no Spanish language skills was an interesting affair. I understood absolutely nothing in the 15-20 minute information discourse, EXCEPT when the leader pantomimed a front wheel stoppie. I was glad to understand something, however would stoppies be required or banned? Que sera sera.
As with all group events, it turned into a mass exodus MotoGP through the tiny streets at high speed, until we finally met at a Pemex. Once again I regretted not having the GoPro going to capture this event. One thing about this type of group stuff is you never really know when things will happen and typically have no time to even get gloves on before the race takes off. Add in no understanding of spanish and you can imagine.
We roadraced up into beautiful twisty blacktop roads going into pine forests and cold air in the mountains, until we reached a village and roared through, the citizens somewhat stunned. Twisting through the little streets we exited the village and began climbing a narrow winding road passing old lumber trucks, riders on horseback and workers in fields. In short order the road became dirt, twisting though pines and mountain vistas. Of course with 90 bikes on the ride it became somewhat of a dusty trail ride, as you can imagine. I held back my temptation to blow past slower folks and be content to ride in a group. Other than the dust it was a great forest road, nothing difficult but definitely fun.
Eventually we came down into a valley where we were stopped the leaders and they pointed out the Parcutin volcano. We chatted, took pics, looked at GS's that had tumbled and had parts hanging off, etc. After a bit we were given the signal to go, and I was about 5th in line. Where we had stopped was the beginning of about 50 yards of black volcanic sand, and almost immediately the lead bike went down, followed by a second and third. I got past and in my rear view mirror I saw GS's dropping like flies. I chuckled and then hit a random patch of sand and almost lost it myself
Shortly thereafter, we entered a huge lava field, the tiny dirt and rock road undulating up, down and around the flows. It was really a great place to ride and it was quite a sensation riding solo up and down amidst huge black lava. Here and there you'd pass memorials to the dead. It was somewhat surreal. In the distance an old stone church tower stood. After a while in the fields we reached a sharp turn with an arrow, and followed it into a 50 yard stretch of black sand that led to a tiny village. There were some bikes and reps there with water, beer and energy drinks.
Local Indian residents were prepared for us and had fires burning, hand made blue corn tortillas and wares to sell. The group continued to grow and filled the parking area. Just behind the shelters you could see the old colonial church tower rising from the black lava. I scrambled up and into the field to an amazing site. The remains of an old colonial church buried in lava. The volcano had erupted in 1948 and buried the area including the town and church.
After an hour or so, we left and headed in a stream into Zacan, where we grouped and then rode to Anguahan. Riding through the old town was a lot of fun. The residents watched from windows and doors - a parade they'd probably never seen before. A huge stream of bikes and riders in their dusty town. When we arrived there were already a couple hundred bikes, and huge tents set up. We were to spend the afternoon there, and it was quite an event. Rob, Cullen and myself were finally invited to sit with a group of riders from Guadalajara, the "Elite" club, after finding all the tables reserved.
We were fed a constant stream of local food, prepared by the local Indians in the traditional method. I eventually realized that we were to sit and they brought course after course after course of different foods. While we lounged and ate, we were shown local customs, dance and songs. Around 5 the prizes had been given away and we all fired up and headed back for Uruapan. The blacktop roads were tight, twisty and I swear one curve had to have been almost 360º as we wound down at high speed. And I mean high speed.
One thing I can say is that the riders who come here can really ride. It was surprising to see 1200 GSA's tossed around and driven so fast on both dirt and pavement. I've been really impressed with the rider skill and seriousness overall.
Some sample pics of the passing game:
All you GoPro users recognize this shot LOL - I must have an hour of these 2 second clips checking the camera
I've coined a new term for riding this way - I call it MexiCross
Got back to the hotel, shook out some dust and after a shower we wandered and ate some local food
This area is beautiful, the blacktop roads are in excellent condition and are very twisty, and the people have been very friendly. Loving it.