I spent the morning wondering through the tianguis (open markets), had a few rolls and coffee and kept hoping for the clouds to lift. The main church in Xilitla is from the 1600s!
Edward James, or is it James Edwards, an Englishman built a series of surrealist cement structures in the middle of the jungle outside of Xilitla during the 60s and 70s. Pablo Picasso called him one of the few true surrealistas. I thought they were interesting, but also think they take away from the natural setting. I don't know, I never been a fan of cement and jungle, although it does last.
There's 30 something structures altogether and they have the feel of mayan ruins, only they were built 40-50 years ago instead of centuries. There was a beautiful river running through the area and it was diverted at various spots to create pools where you could swim.
At noon I headed back to the hotel in Xilitla and thought the clouds were starting to break so I decided to head on so that I could make it back to San Miguel de Allende before nightfall. The streets were dry and I never did have to ride through the heavy fog as I practically had to do the day prior. The line that bisects the forest in the pic below is the hiway that I've just passed along...
It continually looked as if I would head back into the fog / clouds, but I always stayed below it--one less thing.
Forest and cleared patches side by side:
I had been in the state of San Luis de Potosi, and as soon as I crossed into the state of Queretaro, the scenery began to take on a less jungle look:
Finally, I felt that I was drying out and curves were getting better and better.
The topography flattened out before the town of Jalpan (still on hi 120):
The other side of Jalpan as I begin to climb the moutains of the Sierra Gorda:
It was 3:00pm and I was beginning to wonder if I could make it back to SMA before dark. Guidebook said there were 860 turns between Jalpan and where the Sierra Gorda begins. I didn't count them.
One of hundreds of roadside memorials, lots of opportunities to run out of road around here.
I just passed that section below.
I kept going up and up, once again into the clouds. Stopped at Pinal de Amoles for lunch. All the help was in the kitchen with the lady who prepares the food. They stopped what they were doing, asked if I wanted to eat ('sure'), asked if I like cheese enchiladas which they were making right then (por que no?) and so she rips one in half with her hand, says 'try it' so I got a free taste and it was good!
More climbing after lunch and a bit more rain would get me before the day was done. But within a half hour the climb ended and the descent began. Absolutely LOVED this section coming up:
Wonderful curvy desert roads. I picked up the speed to make sure I wouldn't have to ride in the dark of the evening. Too many burros and cows along the side of the roads.
The sun was beginning to go down and I had 2 hours to go.
15 minutes before San Miguel and I had to stop for another one.
Well, that's it. I made it back to SMA with the last of the light. I had left Xilitla a little after noon and made it to SMA just before 9:00, travelling less than 180 miles for the day. Did I mention there were 860 curves just in one 50 mile section?
I still had a week in SMA, taking care of the students:
Walking about town:
Watching the celebrations.
I've got an extended time off from work until next April, and will be traveling again in Mexico. Will be back in SMA in 2011 for another two months. Naturally, I'll have to do some more three day trips.
Thanks again Alberto at Motos y Mas and to Mariano who rented me his KLR650 for my two 3 day weekend trips to the Sierra Gorda area. I leave next week for Oregon, but it's been a great two months highlighted by the MC travel!!