Woke up early and went outside early to load bike, the town still asleep in the cool morning air. The day before, Mexico had their time change, but I was still on previous time. A few other riders were up and loading for the trip home.
Cullen got his bike loaded and took off a little before us, to meet Mark and head home, while we readied for Taxco.
We'd all been impressed with the number of women riders in the group. This lady rode a 1200GS or GSA - can't remember which. Later it was pointed out to me she had been featured in a BMW documentary
Hank had to get back to Dilley by midweek, but Jimmy and Rob had more time and wanted to stay longer in Mexico. Hank agreed to get them to Taxco before heading north. I was torn as to stay with Hank or continue on with R & J.
At any rate, our route out of Uruapan entailed going through Morelia, and the thought made me shudder after the hot fiasco we'd been involved in on the last trip through. Jimmy was quick to say he had no desire to go through that again. No choice, however, but this time we went through the city center and it was no problemo. Traffic was light and the old city was beautiful.
We rode past a huge aqueduct and stopped for pics. Very pretty town indeed. From Morelia we headed on a high speed run towards Toluca, at some point getting onto Hwy 15.
Highway 15 quickly climbed high into the mountains, with fog, mist, huge pines and spectacular views. However, the twisting and turning road turned out to be an outstanding motorcycle road. Rob and I stayed together for what must have been 60 miles of intense twisties that would make a passenger hurl. This went on for so long, in 2nd and 3rd gear only, that both hands went numb and forearms began to cramp. That was the longest sustained twisties I've ever done and eventually I almost, almost, almost wished for it to straighten out LOL. Add to it the occasional cars and trucks to pass, cows and sheep standing on the edge and big, fresh cow patties in the middle of blind curves and it was quite fun.
A section of 15 to give you an idea - per Hank
I was sweating, scraping pegs and boots, watching sparks coming off Rob's Happy Trails panniers, and feeling like a badass when suddenly I was passed by a guy on a BMW 650 scooter. He went past me and Rob like we were sitting still, and didn't even spill his Latte'. Now I hate to admit this, but both of the days we did road rides, I was passed by a BMW 650 scooter. It was not only me, but Rob, Jimmy, Cullen and Hank were all humbled by the scooter guy. Both days. All I can say is that if it had been the BMW "City" scooter with the goofy bubble roof, I'd just have to kill myself. Thankfully it wasn't.
After what seemed hours - and it was - I saw a group of riders ahead at a lookout point and pulled in to find Hank and Jimmy, having just pulled in. There were a large number of the BMW riders from Mexcio City there - the president of the club and other elites. We'd been running with the big boys and rubbing elbows with swank. As usual.
They were just ahead of us all the way up. And there sat that damn scooter.
Hank said the scooter had blown past him as well and he had to set a blistering pace to keep it in sight at times. I found the rider and it turned out he was the guy who was sponsored by BMW to teach the riding clinics. We all felt better realizing he was a world class rider and that's our story and we're sticking to it.
El Diablo Del Scootero
Super nice guy - the BMW riding instructor who spanked us mightily
Jimmy had just finished cleaning about an 1/8 inch deep layer of brake dust off his rear rim. Apparently he'd used a new brand of brake pads that wore quickly
Bad pic but shows a little of the elevation
From the top down, the ride was a little easier, though still fast and furious. Eventually we ended up in Valle de Bravo, a beautiful town on a lake. It's called the "Little Switzerland" of Mexico. We came in on rough cobblestone streets through droves of locals, eventually winding down a very, very steep cobblestone street that led into the main area by the lake. All I can say is if that cobblestone street had been wet we'd all have come out of it with brakes locked going 70 mph. Of course the pic doesn't capture the angle...
We were all liking the looks of this place and Hank checked with the cops and others about a hotel. There was a huge arts festival going on and much of the place was booked. Hank eventually returned with a teenage kid and told him to hop on back of my bike and lead us to the hotel. We rode out of the town and around to the other side of the lake before finding the place. A quaint, screaming yellow place that overlooked a boat yard that overlooked the lake. But it was home.
We washed and caught a cab back to town, having dinner and then wandering. There was an arts festival in town, a large stage had been set up and a woman violinist was playing to the crowd. Her music was beautiful, though she seemed a bit over-dramatic, and the stage show was excellent. We watched for a while, then wandered off in the dark to find an old church we'd seen in the daylight. Up and down the cobblestone streets in the darkness, the sounds of beautiful violin music echoing about.
Oh the suffering…
Looking at routes to Taxco on the Garmin software
We found the church, then wandered further up into the little town, passing sights and sounds, disappearing in time. It was surreal in many ways.
We ended up in yet another plaza, in front of the largest church there, the place filled with people listening to a flamenco singer and guitarists on a smaller stage of the festival. The plaza was packed and we wandered around, eventually the flamenco dance beginning on stage. The crowd was enraptured.
The air was cold and crisp, the streets ancient and filled with interesting light, patterns, voices and people. In the darkness we walked, to the echoes of The Who's "Teenage Wasteland" being played on violin.