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Old 01-06-2013, 08:11 AM   #31
cwc OP
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Originally Posted by selzbytes View Post
Great RR - very much enjoying it. When you're all done with this little adventure - set your sights on Asia. My wife and I are also from Minnesota and are on company assignment in Shanghai for 2 years. We miss riding here in China as the government makes it very difficult for foreigners to ride here. Planning our first trip to Northern Thailand in a couple months. It would be great to do a group effort on an agreeable Asia route - give it some thought.....
I was intrigued by this http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=818258 but there would have to be some serious saving done first.

Mexico is really cheap. I think I spent about as much in the five days of stateside travel to get to and from Texas as I did for the two weeks in Mexico.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:08 AM   #32
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Cool ride!
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:17 AM   #33
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Charlie,
Are you just getting around to posting this or are you still in Mexico? Could have sworn I met you and the group in San Miguel in Dec.

Art
Art!
How wonderful to see your name pop up. Please see the PM I have sent you
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:02 PM   #34
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:57 PM   #35
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We finally make Xilitla!

Yesterday, we learn of the United States Presidential election results via an email from a friend. Jubilation runs through the democrats on the trip. It makes the international page in Cuidad Valles. The paper was saved for later attempts to read it.





I’m sure Peter wishes Charlie’s last ride report was accurate. Maybe the coffee spilled on their notes. We had a different start to our day.






Note the cable locks between the bikes. Craig’s bike was taken on a copper canyon trip, and he very luckily found it stashed across a river hiding in a thicket by following the tire tracks in the dirt. He’ll never make that mistake again. They are locked every night no matter where we are.


Dean begins the day by playing us a tune. With his Bellflower spoke tool that is. As he patiently waited for his group to be loaded, spoke checking was his pastime of choice tapping on each spoke and listening for the produced tone. I was curious as I had never seen it done, and more riders gathered, like he was the pied piper of spokes. Craig’s bike had a few “flat” spots and Dean was right on it, bringing him back into tune. Peter wasn’t so lucky. His flat spot turned out to be a flat front tire on his tubeless GS. Hmmmm…. Where? Why? How lucky to discover it before we were all loaded and heading down the busy streets.






I love how these guys sort out the problem and choose the best solution. Dean has brought along a little air pump that connects to the battery and brings the tire up to pressure. It will be rechecked when we return from breakfast in the hotel that was included in our room costs. Not your average US continental breakfast. It was a sit down breakfast served hot, with real coffee and a clean space.


They calculate how much air has been lost during the time we have eaten. It’s determined it is probably a slow leak. Soapy water located the tiny air passage. A thorn from the bushes from Peter’s adventures at the mural? Who knows? Plugging it seems extreme and a potential for further problems. The Beasty group waves goodbye to Charlie, Dean, Susan and Bob. The old father hen will have a reduced stress day.


We set out to find some tire “fix a flat” and there is success at this well stocked Kawasaki shop. A small can is all we need. Betty, Craig and I all have tubed tires, and extra tubes along. And most importantly Craig, our expert tire changer. The product is successful and Peter never adds air again.










I pop into the bank to change $200 into Pesos. They take a copy of my passport for exchanging that small of an amount of cash. Really? The cash machines will be the choice in the future.


Wells Fargo encouraged us to open a “travel account”, free for 90 days. Fraud is high in Mexico they warn me, and card readers pick up the card info, even on bank ATM machines. They suggest putting some money into the new travel account, for which they give me an ATM card right away. I can transfer money via the internet into that account whenever I need more funding in it. My regular accounts couldn’t be compromised and my risks limited. Something to think about if you are headed to Mexico. We used no credit cards on this trip. Credit cards and debit cards just aren’t used where we are traveling.

Here are a few local bikes:

Pic






The Postal carrier






Used Microwave anyone?



Streets of Valles



Craig, Peter, Betty and I head towards Xilita. Charlie planned our trip, and we did very little research on what he had planned. Each day was a surprise. Today would be an extra special one. On 85, we dropped into a stunning valley. The vegetation turned lush and large and the mountains erupt in front of us. This roadside stand sucked us right in. Where did all this beauty come from” we all asked. Peter discovered one stand selling coconut water. They started with a whole coconut and as Peter described how after a bit of machetti styled work, the carver still had all his fingers. The juice was served in a plastic bag with a straw sticking out of it.







The remainder of the road into Xilitla was a great ride. Winding high, we could see a long way over the mountain tops. A very tight uphill right handed u-turn was the entrance to Xilitla. I’m an interior house painter by trade, so I notice everything that needs paint. I can’t imagine how they paint the very tall buildings as you approach Xilitla. Look up to the right, you will see what I mean. And they are seldom boring beige. Dark Blues, yellows and golds…
.

I will admit to being an A+ personality type. Pulling into Xilitla was sensory overload for me. The strong police force seen everywhere in Xilitla directed traffic towards the square. The kids were just leaving school, and we were heading right through a sea of people, street vendors, colors and textures. Wow. I can already see why the boys stayed here two nights.






It takes a bit of searching, and finally a discussion with an English speaking townsman that we find San Ignacia hotel and our traveling buddies. This is definitely the place to stay! Gated parking below the rooms and a fabulous private rooftop. The proprietor prohibits alcohol consumption, there are signs everywhere reminding you. But the rooftop became our second home. The views were spectacular. Just watch your step around the rebar for the “future expansion” you see everywhere in Mexico.












We all head out to a late lunch to a restaurant recommended our motel. The patio overlooking their backyard was delightful and the food delicious. Peter is starting to catch on that Susan has a nack for ordering exceptionally good looking and tasty meals. Susan and Bob have traveled Mexico many times before.






$697.00 for 8 of us for delicious food in a great spot or $7.25 each.




The local pizza delivery



Craig and I wander off the check out the church in town for its architecture. We are in Mexico just after the day of the dead. Memorials can be seen everywhere, staying up for most of the month of November. The bright orange marigolds have a very strong smell. A young man sweeping in the church offers to take us up to the roof top. It’s quite the adventure. Craig was getting a little to close to the edge for my comfort. The wooden roof long ago stopped keeping the interior of the church dry. The arched cement roof was very old, but in great shape. We tipped him for his tour "for the church"


The dead's favorite things. These stay up for the month of November, and can be seen outside peoples homes, in restaurants etc.






Craig and I don’t score the rooms with the best views of the mountains. Peter and Betty do but are in for a long night combining very poor mattresses, chickens and dogs and cold showers. Bring earplugs.

Linda

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:51 AM   #36
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I'm glad Linda mentioned the Day of the Dead decorations - every cemetery that we passed was a riot of flowers and decoration!

While there group was headed to Xilitla, we were leaving. Our route for the day took us up to Jalpan, then onto Rioverde for lunch (note to self - there is no need to order camarones diablo in Mexico) where the waitress chased the cop away while we finished our meal - turned out we did not have a permit to park where we did. Then over to Valles and north to Mante where we spent the night.






The climb of over 3000 meters up to Jalpan was impressive. It took us up through the clouds and required a deployment of the heated gear. I had a footpeg come off along the way, but fortunately all the parts were still there and it was a quick repair.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:56 PM   #37
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Noviembre 9 - Exploring Xilitla

Dog of the day. Is this the one that got a piece of Paul?


Dean Sez:

A pleasant walk around day in Xilitla, hiked the road out to the Edward James Sculpture gardens. Very scenic and imaginative on the mountainside in the rainforest. Beautiful waterfalls and pools that some people were swimming in. Temps have been very pleasant, and the tropical birds and butterfly's are a treat to the eyes and ears.

Bob & Sue rode the 5 zip lines through the forest.


[Bob, Sue and I took a taxi from downtown to Las Pozas. As the others headed to lunch, Bob and Sue decided to ride the zip lines, so we went over there where a busload of students from a Zacatecas teachers college were also preparing to ride.

Bob gave me his phone so I could record the event, but I got lost in the menus and one of the students had to save me. It didn’t do any good, because all my pics were bad.

I did get some entertainment out of it though. I was able to convince the students that Bob and Sue were my parents. They were really impressed that someone THAT old would be zip lining. – cwc]

We had a nice meal on the way back to town at the restaurant run by the mother of the fella who gave us a tour through the gardens.

We had a moto meeting late in the afternoon and planned out our remaining days in Mex. Charlie did some great map work and has some prime moto roads lined up for us.

We got together on the roof and came up with a rough plan for the rest of the trip.


The group went out for supper, but the later lunch will hold me well through the night.

Earlier today we spoke with the man who owns the restaurant where the group is eating now. He told us his business is off 70% in the last half year because of all the drug publicity, there have been no problems at all here in Xilitla, but with the US state department saying not to travel in Mexico, no one is coming to visit. This fella worked for twenty years in New York City, and now has returned to run his restaurant here, and raise his family. Hope we have safe travels the remainder of our trip.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:42 PM   #38
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Badges? We don't need no steenkin' badges!

We stayed in a different hotel on this stop in Mante. It was just past the one we stayed at on the way in, and right next to the nursing school . I think it was called M Gomez. What we didn't realize when we checked in was that it was serving as a barracks for Marines and Policia. The Marines were two doors down from us. Very professional bunch, they maintained an armed and uniformed sentry outside the door at all times. Their sargeant told us they would keep an eye on our motos and that they would be very safe. The Policia? They were up all night partying with the sparkle girls and left a big pile of beer cans by the pool. But hey, they were kind enough to let us take a picture in front of their truck.



We ate well in Mante! Dinner was at the restaurant that was closed when we were in town with the larger group. Then the next morning for breakfast we discovered bocoles - small gorditas with various stuffings which are local to the huasteca region. Good stuff!

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:04 PM   #39
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The next day we did a bit of backtracking, back south a bit and west toward Cd Maiz (watch the slick spot!) and on the the ruins and mural at Tepayac. From there it was a jaunt north to Victoria where we would stage for our jump to the border.



For the most part the drive north through Tula toward Victoria was a bit of a drone through the high desert, but just after yet another military checkpoint the road split. All of the other traffic took the new and improved road (Hwy 126), but Paul and I took the road less traveled by and that made all the difference! Our path proved to be 20 miles of moto-nirvana up and over the Sierra Grande and we didn't have to share it with anyone else - we saw one pick up and a bicycle, both going in the other direction, all we encountered in our path were a few goats, which I shoed away so that Paul wouldn't be bothered .

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Old 01-15-2013, 07:18 AM   #40
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The next day we did a bit of backtracking, back south a bit and west toward Cd Maiz (watch the slick spot!) and on the the ruins and mural at Tepayac. From there it was a jaunt north to Victoria where we would stage for our jump to the border.



For the most part the drive north through Tula toward Victoria was a bit of a drone through the high desert, but just after yet another military checkpoint the road split. All of the other traffic took the new and improved road (Hwy 126), but Paul and I took the road less traveled by and that made all the difference! Our path proved to be 20 miles of moto-nirvana up and over the Sierra Grande and we didn't have to share it with anyone else - we saw one pick up and a bicycle, both going in the other direction, all we encountered in our path were a few goats, which I shoed away so that Paul wouldn't be bothered .

You're right, one of the best motorcycle roads ever. It's not nearly as much fun in an overloaded pickup with an overloaded trailer behind.

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Old 01-16-2013, 07:40 PM   #41
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our second day in Xilitla

Real life has gotten in the way of posting our second day in Xilitla. Charlie is impatiently tapping his foot. It's coming soon.......

Linda
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:59 PM   #42
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Our second day in Xilitla

Susan is one tough cookie. Through her protective gear she sustains burns on her shoulder and elbow. She hasn’t complained once. You know every muscle in her body has to ache. She’s given up on the bandages and gone for the “air is better” for healing method.

Another picture for your enjoyment off the top of the church




I’m starting to pick up on the ability to order great food. This becomes my favorite breakfast I try to order every morning. Huevos Mexiana con jamon. Nummy!




Today we will head to La Pozas sculpture gardens. But a walk through town first.

















Check out the rock work in the steps above!

Mexico's strict wiring codes











A beautiful rock wall. Think of all the hours fitting the rock





Our room is color coordinated with Craig!






Dog of the day






A construction site. A new cement pour and the supports while it cures





It is nice to be off the bikes for a day. Paul and Kevin had suggested the back road in might not be the best choice for street bikes. Five of us set of to walk the distance and enjoy the beauty of the area. Betty, the dog whisperer calms the Doberman we assume nibbled on Paul as we pass him on our way to the gardens.

The sculpture gardens had been high on the list of “to do”. We arrive to find Susan shopping at the street vendors outside. Shopping is her passion, but we can’t figure out where she puts it. Their bags don’t seem to explode. You’ll notice Susan is only traveling with a tank bag, and Bob is carrying the minimal gear the two bring along.


The tour we are offered is a “pay at the end” $200 delight, or about $2.00 each. Our guide grew up in the gardens under the watchful eye of his father, an employee. None of us can remember his name. The choice was a grand one. He had great passion for the gardens in his heart. A bus load of noisy youth so irritated him he went off to scold them to ask for peace for all enjoying the gardens. He came back and suggested we return here in July and August for the beautiful orchid blooms. The climate is perfect for them. Our guide, and some garden shots. We tip him well. It was worth it.
















Ah. The textures of Mexico How long did it take to lay this path?




Peter, Betty, Craig and I head off back up the gravel road. Our lunch spot is half way back to town, a lonely restaurant along the way. It is owned by our guides Mother, who used to cook at the sculpture gardens. I order the special, a fish steamed in a banana leaf. We watch the cook as she exits the resturant and returns with a banana leaf for my meal. The moist fish was delicious!





It is a long way back up the hill to town. A house along the way reminds me of the “luxury” I live in at home.





We had tried to stop into El Museo earlier in the day but it wasn’t open yet, so we try again. It is discovered that it is a restaurant, with a surprise museum inside. The walls contain the handmade forms used to create the sculpture gardens. Dean notes they are very intriquite and maybe even more beautiful than the cement. We meet the owner. He is from New York, married to the grand daughter of the property manager for La Pozas. They returned to Xilitla to run an Italian restaurant. He is begging the tourists to return. Since the state department issued its travel warnings to Mexico, they hang by a thread. He is seen here in the photo holding his young child. With lunch still heavy in our stomachs, we offer to return later for dinner.






It is nap time for many. Charlie retreats to his room and begins to plan formulate the plan for the towns we can make. He arrives on our private rooftop for the riders meeting with Plan A and Plan B for consideration. We are heading towards Guanajuanto tomorrow.

Betty has noted that there appears to be coffee beans growing on the steep slopes very high up in the mountains.




Dark of night surrounds us as we head back to El Museo for dinner. We are really stretching Charlies budget on this one, but he doesn’t seem to flinch much. We choose many different Italian dishes, and each one is as scrumptious as the next. Susan and Bob order Pizza. Check out the spagatti in the background. Keep El Museo on your list of restaurants when you visit Xilitla, you won’t be disappointed.




Good night Xilitla. We will be back and bring friends!

Linda

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Old 01-18-2013, 08:22 AM   #43
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Back on the road - Day 6

Dog of the Day



Dean Sez:

We left Xilitla before 10am and headed south west on hwy 120.The mountain road was a very pleasant ride through lush green trees of hard woods, pines and tropical trees depending on the elevation of the road. It is quite amazing to see the mountain sides that are under cultivation, whether it be coffee plantations or corn fields. We saw several logging yards where the logs were being loaded by hand onto trucks. With two logs ramping from the ground to the rear of the truck bed, two men would use lever pikes to walk the logs up in the truck and then up the pile already on the truck. As we climbed in elevation we saw more indigenous people going about their daily lives, herding livestock, gathering fire wood, or attending to road side stands of food or handicrafts for sale. Some long hair and long tail hogs tethered near the road were interesting to see.

[As we were heading toward Jalpan I spotted an interesting church in Landa de Matamoros so I drove in to look at it. A couple from Mexico were touring missions and shared their map of missions with us, That’s how we found our lunch stop – cwc]


This nice señorita ended up giving us a map of mission locations.


Our lunch stop occurred in the mission town of Conca, we ate across from the mission at an open air metal roof restaurant where the señora would pat out and cook up your tortillas when you ordered a gordita or a taco. I had one refried bean filled, one pepper & potato filled, and one cactus filled soft tortilla. The chairs and table we ate at we're all hand hewn, sturdy and older than Fido. Really hit the spot for lunch. An ice cream sandwich for dessert was a cool treat.



We left Jalpan on hwy 120 west bound, 65 miles up and over the most beautiful mountain terrain on a well maintained road. Charlie said some of the forested areas were part of a biosphere reserve. The overall riding experience on hwy 120, is far superior to the "Dragon" in North Carolina. As on hwy 120 there were the most amazing vistas across ranges of mountains and vast spreading valleys.
The hotel Las Vegas here in Cadereyta is homey and clean, with a price of $22.50 for two beds and two people.
We split up for supper to suit tastes. I had a hamburger and delicious fries for $2.40.
Today we did about 160 miles.The DR 650 delivered 61.6 mpg for the last 333 miles.


Today was probably the most scenic and enjoyable ride of the trip. Hoping for more days like today in the ones that follow.

Track info



Our last night in Xilitla I spent some time plotting a route that would take us to San Miguel Allende and Guanajuato without going through Queretaro. The GPS and Guia Roji indicated that there might be a paved road that ran 15-20 miles above Queretaro and Google Maps more or less confirmed it. This was of some importance as some of the group was not comfortable on dirt roads. Tomorrow we’ll test my work.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:30 AM   #44
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There is a paved road from Tequisquiapan that runs north of Queretaro and skirts past the airport on the way to 57 and then over to SMA.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:57 AM   #45
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There is a paved road from Tequisquiapan that runs north of Queretaro and skirts past the airport on the way to 57 and then over to SMA.
We used the western part of that road, but took some smaller roads to get to it. All will be revealed.
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