It was time to bid Puebla farewell and head north again (Panama will have to wait) to cross the saddle and see Teotihuacan. Also, there are a couple of towns (Zacatlan and Cuetzalan [Spoiler: the area between them is perhaps the most beautiful place on earth?]) slightly northeast of there that have some impressive waterfalls (I heard) that I might as well see while I'm in the area. (Sorry that was a very convoluted sentence made over several edits)
We retraced our steps to Cholula and headed west via some small, local roads. Eventually we reached San Nicolas de Los Ranchos and shortly after that the road turned to dirt. The entire time after leaving Cholula we had one of the two volcanoes in our view and I was quite excited to climb to higher elevations and have a better look.
Aiming in between.
San Nicolas de Los Ranchos.
Daily bike shot (1).
Daily bike shot (2 on dirt). Had to do it...
The dirt road was in good repair and very fun to ride. I actually got to air down the tires (it's was rather rocky with areas of soft sand) which made it seem all the more like a real adventure. As the road climbed higher, the climate changed from high desert, to my favorite: conifer forest! It was a beautiful ride through pine, fir and even spruce (I think) and the smells were amazing. Perhaps my favorite area of Mexico so far. The saddle between the mountains is at 12,000 ft. and the bikes were definitely feeling it.
I look to my left:
I look to my right:
The dirt road ended at a visitor center, and was replaced by a paved road going down the other side, by which most guests arrive. I met a Swedish guy there who was trying to summit the smaller of the two peaks (17,160 ft., the taller [17,802 ft] is off limits due to volcanic activity). He was staying at a cabin there as the weather did not permit him to make the ascent that day.
Okay, one more
A nice spot to re-inflate tires and do some chain maintenance.
After re-inflating the tires once on pavement, we rode down the fun, curvy, paved road to a highway heading towards Mexico City. Once again I though that this is perhaps the most fun road I've ridden to date. There are so many of those here, it's really quite amazing. This area is breathtakingly beautiful!
I love mountains and forest!!
Towards Mexico City.
The rest of the ride was via larger roads that were not as much fun except in their complexity of navigation. Construction, lack of signs and roads that looked like they headed towards our destination, only to curve towards a completely different direction made for some wrong turns and turn-arounds. Luckily I laid out a series of waypoints on the GPS to keep me on the right track. I think it's more fun that way then to let the GPS route me to where (it thinks) I'm going, especially since whenever I try, it takes me via some illogical (and rather inconvenient, not to mention indirect) way.
Upon arrival at San Martin de las Perámides and going through the usual tour of hotels looking for a cheap one (a tradition I am particularly not fond of) we found a hotel (Hotel San Martin) for the night. As it wasn't too late yet, we sauntered down to the town center for some street food. While trying to order tacos I met a Mexican man who spoke a little English that tried to help us out. He later left and came back with his sons so that they could practice speaking English with us. I could tell the sons were embarrassed (and fully empathized with them) as it brought back memories of having to translate for my dad when we first moved to the USA. Why is it that parents expect you to speak good English (and immediately forget that they speak some too) if you just happen to know a few more words?
Hotel San Martin.