[I screwed up the order - this should have been posted just before "Puerto Vallarta"]
One of the nice things about riding a pretty, somewhat-exotic motorcycle is that it makes friends for me. I rode into Puerto Vallarta and pulled over under a tree to flip through my Lonely Planet, looking for my home for the evening. Within five minutes a guy about my age with a helmet under his arm walked up to me and started a conversation. It turns out that Eduardo is a long-time enduro rider, currently saving his pesos for - you guessed it - a KTM 640 Adventure. In the mean time he's riding a Yammie 125.
The conversation turned from motorcycles to rides in the area and the next thing I knew we're speeding into the hills to an old mining town called San Sebastián de Oeste
San Sebastián is the cutest town I have ever seen. It's nestled in a valley with perfectly preserved 400-year-old buildings and twisty narrow cobblestone streets. The tourists haven't discovered it yet, but they will.
We arrived on the afternoon of their biggest festival of the year, celebrating "the virgin". Eduardo explained the history to me: The spaniards were very clever, taking the name of the local pagan goddess and changing the meaning of her name to "virgin". So the festival procession starts with dancers in native garb, followed by the catholics, followed by the people:
We rode a mixed dirt-and-cobblestone road up to a place called La Bufa, at 7500ft. This is a view of San Sebastián below: