The road from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca is damn near The Perfect Motorcycle Road, at least for an adrenaline junkie like me. Almost immediately it starts climbing into mountains and throwing the bike into an endless series of back-to-back twists that just beg for speed and high lean angles. Speaking of which, I finally found what part of my bike scrapes the ground first (unlike all the other bikes I've owned, it's not the footpegs!):
Bay Area riders may understand when I say that MEX 131 is like the mountainous stretch of highway 175 west of Clear Lake, only without the shoulder or guardrails or close proximity to hospitals, oh, and with countless potholes and farm animals sprawled across the road:
Lest you think your humble narrator has a death wish or a deep-seated loathing for livestock and pedestrians, I must point out that visibility through most of the turns was fair-to-excellent and there was no loose gravel on the road whatsoever. I approached the blind turns with caution but everything else was fair game. The bike spent very little time upright. It was heaven.
Daylight came to an end near the town of Sola de Vega, so my ride did too. It's a ranch town about 100km south of Oaxaca known mainly for... actually, nothing. I'm pretty certain that this post will be the top Google hit for "sola de vega" as soon as it gets indexed (a picture I uploaded to flickr yesterday is already at #4). Sola de Vega has two dingy hotels catering to people passing through. Here's my lackluster 125 peso lodging:
However, the water was scalding hot and seemed endless. I took a shower and a quick nap; the ~4 hour ride was fun but exhausting. Some undetermined amount of time later I was awakened by the distant sounds of poorly-tuned band music and some guy on a PA that sounded like a monster truck rally announcer ("Domingo! Domingo! Domingo!"). I asked around and discovered that the town's big annual festival was in progress and there is a rodeo about 10 minutes walk away.
I'll confess that despite all my travel in the southwest, I've never seen a rodeo. However, I've seen a bullfight in Mexico City so I'm familiar with the hispanic penchant for bovine torture. What I found was... actually kind of disappointing. Most of the bulls were uninspired and several just gave up after a few kicks. Only a couple managed to throw the riders, although I did notice that all the riders seemed to limp away (go toros!). Oh well, what do I want from small-town entertainment? At least the flautas were good.
At the end of the rodeo a guy came out with a little paper-maché toro and some fireworks and chased a couple kids around the ring. They need to see how it's done properly in Tultepec
Sola de Vega:
Tultepec (from 2003):
BTW, anyone interested in crazy adventure should PM me about Tultepec. The festival is on March 8th about 30 miles north of Mexico City. It's officially the Most Dangerous Thing I Have Ever Done and this year I'm meeting over a dozen friends there.