Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
21. Getting Dirty In Hidalgo (Part 1)
Itís Saturday morning around 6am and Iím heading out of the hostel Iím staying at to meet up with Jose and Dano for a weekend ride. Theyíve planned out a route and I really know nothing about it, Iím always down to ride though, so donít need much convincing. They say itíll be a two day ride and told me to pack light for dirt. Sounds good to me.
I meet up with Jose at his place and we hit the road. We stop at a circus tent for some breakfast and to meet up with Dano. These tents are all over the freeway as you head out of DF (Mexico City, District Federal) and are accompanied by people waving flags to try and lure in customers. Each sells a slightly different variation of each others items.
This places specialty is biria, similar to beef flank thatís been pot-roasted. It may look like a lot of meat but each of those plates only has two tacos on them. They just come with a metric shit-ton of meat. I added the extra to the soup for the added flavor-flave. And yes, it was very cheap.
Dano showed up on his KLR as well. Check out this KLR bro-down.
We hit the freeway and headed north towards the state of Hidalgo.
After a while of heading north we turned off onto the more favorable secondary roads as we wound our way towards the mountains. Dano, the route planner for the weekend, said that weíll be riding up in the Sierra Mountain range for the next two days. We are currently on the west side of them (the dryer side), and weíll be crossing over onto the east side (the wetter side).
The first turn onto dirt. Mmmmm, I like dirt.
The road dipped and curved as we hunted around the Sierra ranges doorstep, looking for a place to enter her marvelous abode.
The roads were scenic and small communities dotted the area. I like the small single lane roads with stacked rock fences. Riding them is very relaxing, I could meander down them for days and days.
The cattle are less amused by the roads than we are.
In a river valley we stopped for a break alongside a creek. Dano and Jose road this trip several months ago in the dry season. They said it was incredibly hot and dry. Nothing was green and the route was absolutely covered in dust. I think I much prefer the current state of things.
Farming is the name of the life-game here and the communities that exist in the area flourish or flounder depending on itís success..
The communities are all nestled into the base of the Sierraís. They farm right up to the edge. I see solid walls like this and all I think is ďclimbing can be had hereĒ.
In this small town we found our entrance to the Sierraís that we had been searching for. We had been knocking at her doorstep for a while as we wound around through the foothills, now it was time to come inside. The road is just rural dirt route cut through the mountains but I feel like Bilbo Baggins from lord of the rings starting a journey into the mountains with his mates.
Hereís a shot looking down into town.
We dropped down a couple gears and began grinding our way through the twisty roads.
We got pretty high then started coming back down to drop into a valley.
When Dano and Jose were here several months ago this bridge didnít exist. They chose to ride through the river instead. Sounds like fun, might have been a bit more difficult this time of year though.
This bridge, although less fun for us, makes it much easier for the two communities on either side of this valley to travel, trade, and communicate with one another. .
We headed out of the second town and climbed again in elevation.
The road was pretty wide with plenty of room for other traffic. Although we saw none while we were on it.
Lots of good vantage spots to look down on where we had been earlier.
Here is the river that we had crossed and the ridgeline behind it was what we had come up and over earlier.
Three happy bikes.
Here we got to the top of the second ridgeline. The weather was a bit chilly but no need for thermal gear.
After the second ridgeline we started descending again towards a small community. This place is centered around tourism of some pretty wild caves they have in the area. There are several large hotels to accommodate the influx of people. Not sure what way they come into the town but Iím pretty sure itís not the way that we came in.
We went past the touristy section and out towards the back exit of town where we would pick up the road again. First we stopped for some mexican corn on the cob.
Boiled corn on a wood fire, rolled in cheese and chilli powder. ~.50cents.
The town is socked in by views like this. Really feels like the area is a very small pocket of human existence that mother nature is reluctantly allowing to exist right on her front step. The forest and hills seem to encroach on every part that humans stake a claim to.
Hereís the exit out of town and back up into the mountains.
With every gain in elevation the road got foggier and wetter. This road looked like it had recently been re-graded, maybe after a large rainfall had wrecked it. This meant that everything was nice and slick. Good fun.
The road doesnít actually look that bad, but itís like riding on top of a birthday cake. You ride on it for a couple hundred yards and it collects in just the best places (tires, suspension, chain, swingarm, etc).
Again we found ourselves in a small little village.
Wonder if the Shire is around here?
The bikes looked good here.
We took a left and headed back into the woods.
Joseís bike had accumulated some water in his carb and was running a bit dodgy. We stopped to drain it. Itís handy having everything easy to access and simple on these bikes. Think a T-mod re-route for the carb is next on Joseís mod list.
The sound and sight of big (for latin america) dirty bikes is not a normal occurrence around these parts. Anywhere you stop for more than a couple minutes people seem to come out to see whatís up. This guy was pretty funny, his kid was stone cold serious though.
The area here is super lush, supposedly they have had a lot of rain recently.
It was the late afternoon now and we were nearing our destination for the night. A small pueblo called Nicholas Flores up in the mountains.
It wasnít quite sunset, but with all the fog and cloud cover things were starting to get darker.
We found pavement, must be getting close now.
As we came around another switchback we could see on the other side of the ravine there had been a massive mudslide. A wall of mud a couple hundred yards long had just slid right off the hill side and taken out the road. We came around the ravine to the start of the slide. There were several busses stopped here but none had people in them. This must have happened a while ago. There were tire tracks through the slide though, so we knew we could at least get further than the busses did.
There was some skid plate scraping and I tipped over at the start pretty close to the edge but we made it through. A guy on the other side seemed pretty surprised that we had made it through, even more surprised when I pulled my helmet off and he saw I was a gringo. We had some GoPros going so Thereíll be a video of the entire weekend at some point, itíll probably include a clip or two of this spot. There was one section that looking back on the video wasnít exactly as safe as we thought it was, as two feet from where our tires rolled was a completely vertical drop. I believe it is denoted in the video with a ďHoly shit?!Ē (7:50). Had we have tipped over there to the left we would have been dropped right off the edge, expecting to find ground to plant a foot but only finding open air. With a solid cliff face this wouldnít have been that bad, but we were on a mudslide and the edge only existed because it had simply broken off and slid down the hill-side. It had been raining for as long as we had been on the road, whoís to say it was done with itís crumbling? Glad it didnít go while we were on it though. Hereís the uncut clip from my GoPro for this section.
Hereís a shot from Joseís GoPro of the tight section.
Jose and Dano got their two bikes across, again with some skid plate scraping but no real trouble.
After this section it was another 10 minutes and we were into town with the bikes up on their kickstands. Proud of ourselves, and with a fun day of riding under our belts.
As with any small town, an outsider is easy to spot, and soon there are people from around the town talking with us, asking us where we are staying, and inviting us to partys. Apparently tonight is a special night for the town as there is a joint wedding and sweet 16 party. Sweet, Iíll take the food, tequila, and dance package please. In any order will do just fine.
SeanPNW screwed with this post 11-02-2013 at 02:24 PM