Route for the day was into the "Lagos" region on blacktop only. En masse, several hundred riders left downtown Uruapan at 9 sharp, escorted initially by the police through downtown. I ended up separated from our crew and somehow managed to be in the front 10 riders or so, until I had to pull in for fuel, watching the stream of riders racing past. While in the station, Cullen pulled in on his KTM, both of us low from yesterday's ride. We exited together and stayed in sight for a while.
Observing the controlled chaos
Quickly we headed up high into the mountains, the air quite cold. We were shrouded in low clouds, sunglasses and shield covered thickly with moisture. The rides here are extremely fast, and on the narrow roads with fog and multiple bikes, it was somewhat intense for a bit. The moisture stayed heavy and shielded the sun for much of the early portion of the ride, also obscuring the scenery high in the mountains.
Eventually it burned away, revealing great views and beautiful countryside. We rode fast and passed through small towns, jumping the ever present topes on the GS's, the street bikes having to slow almost to a stop. It was very interesting seeing the native Indian population watch as we passed through town, the smell of wood smoke in the air. Scenes of fields of corn, an old man with a machete, men riding burros along the road.
One thing I need to say about the BMW clubs here is that the riders take their ownership of the bikes very seriously. They are first class riders, riding very fast and aggressive, solo or two-up. The bikes are new, in great condition and the riding gear is very high quality. I have been so impressed with the level of quality, skill, professionalism and friendliness of the riders and club organizers here. Absolutely first rate.
Having said that, it's hard to explain to someone, myself included, how fast and aggressively they ride. Not hooliganism, just skilled and fast.
As Jimmy said, in the U. S. we'd be put under the jail for riding this way. Here it's just normal. I don't know how well I'll be able to adjust to riding back home again LOL. My only frustration is that the riding and time schedule is so aggressive I have no time for photos, instead just roadracing and concentrating intensely.
As we rode higher and higher, the roads became tight and twisty, with one section several miles long that is one of the best roads I've ridden. The sharp turns were banked as if built for bikes and it was like a dream riding through forests with views of volcanos and mountains.
We came into a larger town, don't know the name, which led us up very high on a very narrow road. I looked to my right to see a sheer drop off and a fantastic lake below, with volcanic mountains surrounding. The view took my breath away, but I had to stay focused on riding.
We finally ended up in the town of Santa Clara, bikes parking all around the central plaza. There was a little market, loaded with sugar skulls and candies in preparation for the upcoming holiday, where Rob and I got an excellent cappucino. We made friends with an Italian rider named Tommas, whom in later conversation I found out was a nephrologist in Mexico. Cullen came in a bit later and we all mixed with the other several hundred riders. The town was busy preparing for the upcoming "Day of the Dead", and there were beautiful candies made of sugar and other ritual offerings.
Making the skull
You can imagine seeing this stream of bikes passing through small towns created quite a stir - it probably took 45 minutes to an hour for all to pass through, as we were spread out very far
A government official from the town gave a welcoming speech, standing on the pegs of Rob's 650, after which we moved into the huge plaza for a giant group photo. There was a native music and dance demonstration while we cooled off, and then the announcement was made that we would be leaving in a few minutes.
I began readying my gear and GoPro's at the bike, my long hair loose from having lost the rubber band for my ponytail in the wind, when I felt a tap and turned around to see a cute little girl and her brother dressed in their school clothes. She asked in very good English if I was the rider from Texas. I said "Yes ma'am I am" and smiled. She beamed and said excitedly "I was born in Texas!" I laughed and asked her where, to which she responded "Dallas!". When I told her I had lived there many years she just giggled. I leaned over and shook her hand and told her my name, and her brother excitedly told me his. I asked their mother if it was OK if they sat on my bike, and they got very excited, but she said they needed to run home and get their camera. They were afraid we would be gone by the time they got back, so I took a pic of them. It was very sweet, and sure enough, I had to leave before they got back.
As an aside, I guess seeing a big Texan with a ponytail in this neck of the woods is rare. People stare at me like I'm an alien and I've been asked several times to take a picture with them. Really funny.
Taking the group picture
One of the best things aside from the riding is the groups of kids and children screaming and yelling and waving as we passed through. Seeing a stream of 600 motorcycles passing through the little villages is a once in a lifetime event.
A vivid memory from today was seeing a very old Indian woman dressed in traditional garb literally jumping up and down with joy like a little kid and laughing out loud, throwing her arms in the air as we passed.
From Santa Clara we rode to Zirahuen, on the lake, where another event was set up and waiting. The area is famous for copper mining and copper crafts. They had a furnace set up and were smelting copper, heating the disc in a furnace, pullling it out and 4 guys hammering with sledges in perfect rythm. We were served several varied courses of local food and were serenaded by musicians and dance. This lasted through the afternoon until the raffles for prizes and a 1200 GSA was given away. From there Rob and I headed for Uruapan and arrived late in the day.
Copper queens greeting us
Deep fried minnows - delicioso
Rob holding one for the camera lol
Possibly the best tasting chicken I've ever had
The lake and a wonderful breeze which kept us cool all afternoon while we ate and watched the dancing and listened to music.
With this region being the copper rich area, we saw demonstrations of copper forming and such. Mark, being a chef, snagged an entire set of copper pots at what he described as ridiculously low prices and I chuckled at the thought of him carrying them all on his 1200 GS back to Colorado.
Hammering the copper
Liar, liar pants on fire
The pattern of the event here is to ride very hard for a long time, then have a leisurely time relaxing and enjoying friendship, food and music. Today I was able to get some GoPro footage squeezed out, but not of some of the best riding or tight streets.
The roads today were absolutely superb, as was the food and friendship
A little GoPro - unfortunately I didn't get footage of the fast and beautiful roads, but here's a bit from the start and the entrance into the event just to show something. The riders are bunched up in these, but in fact we were spread far apart in the long and fast 3 hour ride to Zirahuen
VIDEO COMING SOON
Rob and I in easy traffic after getting back to Uruapan
VIDEO COMING SOON