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Old 02-21-2008, 07:12 PM   #1
Throttlemeister OP
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Okie near Muskogee
Oddometer: 3,892
A Mute and His Trusty Mule Travel Mexico in Winter RR'08

Background: We'll I must say I seem to always ride alone, not always by choice, but I seem to never have plans laid out far enough in the future to gain a riding buddy for a adventure so it leaves me alone to make my own ways through my trips. In the end it seems that it always turns out to be more fun and CRAZY than an adventure I might have if I had buddy(s) along with me on the trip, all my big adventures so far have been solo except a brother ride to Key West. Since that said brother does not have the time to ride with me on these adventrures I have commandeered his ride from what I normally ride since it is in a teardown phase for my super adventures yet to acheive fruition. This bike that I refer to as my Mule is the silver beasts of burden '04GSA which I believe has saved my life many times over.

The Adventure Begins: Unlike previous trips this one was supposed to be with other adventures from AR, OK, TX, and other well known states. As it would have it Tulsa World publishes one small article about increasing violent attacks in Baja that strikes fear in the heart of men and most everyone back out with in weeks of departure. You can never critize someone for their choice, to each his own. There again I am without, solo bound for lands to the south.

Orginally the plan was Mexicali cross in and out top to bottom in a week or something, which I would take along since I was a mute virgin in moto travel in Mexico only tourist air travel to Cozy and Cabo precedes this trip.

My plan, after countless hours of pouring over trip reports and numerous PMs to some of the inmates here over the first weeks of jan, I decided to head south by southwest across the deep canyons and across the sea to the tip and back north by northeast to home.

I made my other el grande solo adventure on said silver mule at the end of August and through September 2007 to the top of the rideable non-iceroad world of North America and have wanted to post it as my first RR but had trouble keeping up with some of my poor photos from my trip and since this trip is the latest and freshest and shortest I will attempt it first. I got a smugmug account setup with same advride handle today and loading my digitized disposable 35mm camera pics up as we speak. I will attempt to load these as I go. I have to figure how to adjust the size of the photo so it will not exceed size limits here.

PS-My spelling sucks and I spell phoenitically!
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:12 PM   #2
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This gonna be a good one!

"In life, if you don't risk anything, you risk everything." Greg Tracy
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Throttlemeister
solo bound for lands to the south.
Bring it.

Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:26 PM   #4
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The Attempt to Leave and The Departure

As I previously mentioned; I do not plan my adventures long in advance and pack much less in advance. These two traits have me leaving for this foray ~6 hours after my perferred departure time.

So I wanting to leave sometime Sunday 1/20 mid morning to make it to Dallas to visit with my new found fellow adventurer Psyclops in Dallas to discuss some of the routes in the lands to the south was delayed by non else than premature tire failure Aka a nice long skinny finish nail. I had just gassed up the mule, while still even in my home town, when friendly stranger pointed out my mule's back end looked "a little low". So being the adventurer that I thought I was I decided to just plug it then and there and be off instead of airing it up a bit and returing the few blocks back to the heated shop of warmth and comfort and most modern tools known to man.

So here I am in the local gas station going to give a schooling on fast tire repair in cold weather, no problem right. 28 feet away .25$ air so it ought to be a breeze since I was bundled for near artic conditions anyway. I put her up on the center stand and check it over and found and pulled the culprit from its nice spot right in the middle of the rear tourance between the meats. So I used the mushroom plugger for the first time and promptly widened the hole 4x its starting size to plug it with a nice schroom and be on my way to Tx. Well it seemed the hole was too closely associated with the nearby wires of the radial and made for a difficult seal that finally after 1.25hrs I gave up on getting a permanent fixed and aired it up and headed back to the barn in defeat to go the next day. In retrospect it was better for me and the mule since we would not be pulling into big D around 1 in the am anyhow.
Side Note:For this trip I planned on TKCs but ran a left over met. tour. on back till Dogtown, Mexico
Mulely back in her warm stall.

Men yana 1/21: After waking up early past mid morn I drugged myself away from the warm bed to start a more permanent fix on my tire predickament. My good friend Eldon Rixx has a shop outside town and has a t-machine so I went to have him put in a $15 super duper inner patch-plug-boot that fixed er good. Back to put the shoe back on the mule and its time for lunch with the girl before I'm off. Sure enough even at Charlie's I run into old family friend who warns me of the dangers the lands to the south hold for me and mulely and the universally known horrid conditions of the famous Mexican Prison System that everyone warns so much of. I enjoy the last meal and head out into less than ideal conditions for my ride to Big D.
I blast down well known S.S. 69 to my destination for the night, meeting with Psyclops at a yet to be determined location and a hot/cot at 1st cousins home in Richardson. After the duration of a trip in the rain I met philip aka crazy man Psyclops, the man that rides heavy KLRs through big canyons, at the border-ha, I mean On the Border that is right off south 69/hw75 and poured over maps and picked his brain about his recent adv in the lands of the south. Then found my cousin's place for the first time for chili and beer and conversation before a warm bed.
Cousin's place morning after.

1/22 Day of Mexican Insurance Activation set for 8 in the am:
Got up and checked the web for directions to the Mex consulate in Big D to get import and t-visa before heading to the border at Presidio per Psyclops recommendation who also said "arrive early to get papers done". But as I am alone and not on a tight timeframe I lolly gagged around made a million copies of everything I had plus fake drivers license at kinkos before I made it to the small consulate around 11am and found the most densely populated mexican land I have ever stepped foot on, needless to say I will take my chances at Presidio border crossing. So I was off once again in less than ideal conditions for lands to the south.

I blasted away from Big D and headed 20 west by westsouth with a purpose. I was already into my mexican insurance and was not wanting to screw off another day in the states. I was wholly unaware of how cold it could be traveling West Tx with no working heated clothing. I had always michelin manned it before, even in late season Prudoe and NW Terr. I had made it with just heated grips but this slap riding was really starting to get to me outside of Abilene where it was well below frezzing at my warp speeds. I took a nice special plate lunch w/desert and played the peg game, never got below 2-musta been too cold, while I warmed at the smokestack. Evidence

The guy in the jeep even ask me if I lived there and wanted directions from me?
**Disclaimer at this point: I am Garmin Groupie and at this point in time I do not have in my presence my beloved unit with its precious waypoints so my precision in this RR at this said time is from scarred memory only. Will have my unit back before the conclusion of this saga.**

The waitress asked of my intended course and upon my answer she warned of the deteriorating condtions ahead that included huge amounts of snow to Abilene and points further on my track. Oh well it is and shall be an adventure!
I continued on and, with full belly, beat on down the slap.
As night was approaching fast my drive to continue was severly tested by the cold temps I was pushing. I decided I must have more heat to survive. My closest choice was the DC of the west, otherwise known as M/O, the first providing salvation through the form of no other than the orange and black letters of Legacy(?) HD of Midland. I stopped at a slapside Walmart and talked to the locals who would help and phoned my support group for heated jacket outlets in the greater Midland metroplex and found one rack straggler custom HD, aka Gerbing?? heated jacket ( with on/off red lighted switch for my convience at only 230ish and it was mine. This proved to be the single greatest purchase, momentary as well as personal pleasure, that I made the whole trip; (that is depending the outcome of that speeding ticket from west tx!)
I was pratically born again with all the new found heat and hit the ground running as mulely pulled hard into the night. I lavished the fact that under my marmot wet gear outside I could become hot, and I laughed as I headed on listening to the apple and its songs that I know so well. We pushed along so well and into the new darkness that a fine young Tx federali cut us down and took us for 80 in a dark 65 that broke us for awhile. I didn't put up much fuss because I was so warm in my own new world that I just unplugged from mulely and laid down on the side off the road in the grass while the boy, taking his time, wrote me up. When he finished he questioned me why I was laying down and I replied "I'm headed to Mexico and I'm tired", he then advised me I should not go the distance in this type of weather and then promptly left me where I was before I could even get back upon my ride. I continued on to Pecos where I turned left into more darkness headed to cross the great 10 under a perfect moonlight. I could tell by how the curves felt that the route around the old fort Davis area was a special place that should have derserved more attention than mulely and I had time for. We pulled in later than late to the north edge of a lit up Presidio and found a nice free spot in a gravel pit just to the north of the first hotel I saw on the edge of town. Attached grainy disposable fuji 35mm converted to Disc taken prerise 1/22Tu-

Min yana, viva Mexico + a mute......
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:07 AM   #5
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Excellent intro

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Old 02-23-2008, 06:35 AM   #6
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Sounds like FUN!!

My sister won't go ANYWHERE with me, he says "SOMETHING always happens with Shawn!"

And I say "How do you know unless you go?"

John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:06 AM   #7
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Old 02-23-2008, 07:33 PM   #8
Throttlemeister OP
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Location: Okie near Muskogee
Oddometer: 3,892
Viva Mexico!! & On with Tuesday (look Mary, Hehe)

Rule # 1 Never type long RR posts without backup because you lose!

1/22 2nd day of activated Mexican moto insurance not going to be wasted on American soil much longer. First things first, as a mute traveling solo in Mexico-alright I’ll admit not a total mute since I know most of the menu @tacobell and can interpret most of the Mexican Department of Transportation signs as ‘watch out you fool’-a person must be able to count and since my limited understanding of the Spanish numeral system ends at X I made the second greatest purchase of the trip (not momentary value but personal safety to keep me out of the dreaded Mexican Prison System[MPS] because underpayment of goods and/or services rendered). The town of Presidio did not have much to offer but they had a radio shack and I bought my $9.33 special solar/battery powered jewel of a pocket calculator that fit perfectly inside my riding jacket and jean pockets. Only other business needing attending to was full tank for mulely, some rubbercement for all the flats I would encouter, and a Spanish phrase book I wanted but couldn’t find. *author’s note-I was in Dogtown and my good friend Tury was able to assist me in finding this said book but it was never used throughout the rest of the trip, Go figure?? More adventure without it? Surely. Downtown Presidio:

I was a bit concerned about what to expect at the border since I was unable to procure the required documents at consulate in Big D. I found the road and heading across the El Grande Rio, the wild and scenic, yeah not exactly here and straight past the American side where they had some autos lined up for a cavity search with x-ray or something.

So I was into another foreign country on a moto, a good mule at that. I knew that I must import mulely and get my papers so I circled around to the right and parked next to the official looking buildings on the right to get the papers done up. I have heard before about the senior with the ancient 1930ish looking typewriting who advances the ribbon with his thick calloused finger and I can now testify. I then went right around the corner where I met with the vehicle importers??(they gave me the sticker) to where there were some nice Mexican girls ~ 5% English speaking who needed all those precious copies to prove that mulely was in fact mine- technically not mine but prior to this adventure titles were changed to reflect myself as the rightful owner. I had almost all the copies that I needed less one that I missed somehow, lack of preparation I guess. Stepped to the side and another cute Mexican assisted me with the aid of a greenback to get me some more copies and go back to the second window and presto they issue me and mulely our papers and off I go legal and eager to be in the great lands of the south. A friendly borderguard comes over to question me about my mule and how many horses she can out pull which I quickly produced my most helpful communication #tool to show off some figures and then I get his suggestions of the proper place to brand mulely and were off to sweeter 16 things and our first military checkpoint to the south on the way to Dogtown.
*Author's note-This was a simple crossing and it has been a long time since I have experienced such a pleasant encounter with government officials, let alone foreign officials.

The rest of the day to Dogtown (Mute's translation Chihuahua, CH, MX.)
As I slowly dissolve my noob status, NOT. More to come soon....
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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Tuesday to Dogtown and Meet Tury

With the border crossing behind us mulely and I stayed cheap and took the narrow road towards the vast capital city of Chihuahua aka Dogtown. I had read of the road being referred to as Sweet 16 and I concur, was a nice road to begin on for the first miles in Mexico. Not many pictures from here on, think I lost one of my disposables, I know I took pictures in Dogtown?

The next new experiences were the military checkpoints ever so often along the route. These were always a little bit interesting depending on the moods of the soldiers stationed at the checkpoints but I found that they were almost always the most interested in mulely’s Garmin unit that seemed completely fascinate them and after a few quick keystrokes of the zoom buttons I was usually on my way within a few minutes, gotta love technology! No pictues, they didn't go for that!
*RR Technical Note-Still at this time without Garmin and my beloved waypoints=times and distances unknown and only loosely calculated from memory.

The main destination for the day is never really known until I arrive where I stop, simple the beauty of the solo experience. Well the rest of Tuesday was intended to make Dogtown, located Tury, change mulely’s rear shoe, and soak in the city. This is some city, not sure the population but it is a big-un! It was kind of hard to get around and I kept wondering how many of the same streets were called Calles (sp?) stupid gringo. First I located a bank ATM to get my hands on some pesos and find one of those little mexican tele cards so I could call Tury’s cell phone and find out where to get my knobs put on the easy way. Money- check, call Tury- check, directions to Honda shop- no check. Conversation with Tury went like: Tury-“Where are you” Me-“By a bank at Calle street” Truy-“Can you find the Honda shop” Me-“Well…yeah maybe” Tury-“Flag a cab and tell em lead you to Honda shop by canal” Me-“Okay meet you there” Yeah right! Let the fun begin. I flagged a cab and tried to explain and thought I got it through but he freaked and took off, now what? Read somewhere that guys on motos in Mexico like helping foreigners riding bike- check most do I’m proof. I pulled up to one of those tiny Honda bikes and made gesture at his tank with the HONDA sticker and made gestures about wrenches and what not and he started pointing and talking-I could see the lips a flapping but couldn’t figure it out, nothing from the tacobell menu stood out. I went off in his indicated directions and got close but had no luck, well that dude musta felt sorry for that stupid bastard riding that big bike because he somehow managed to follow me and lead us to the Honda shop right as I was trying to pull over a moto cop on a big Kawasaki. You have to love these Mexican moto guys, Trace Cheers!!! I made it to the shop and saw Tury patiently waiting for me out front. Well the tire machine only partly works, can break it down but have to spoon it off, oh well its always something.
The Boys at the shop, they wanted to line up mulely and one of the little Honda bikes and run em, my mind thought it would be fun but Lone Rider or somebody said "they are proud people so let em win" so I wasn't going let mulely get spanked right off the bat in front of an audience.

Them Boys, then the Mute (not in best form), and Mulely (in fine backside form) from Oklahoma:

Tury took mulely's three boxes, dry bag, and kermy in his trunk and put me over at some nice hotel ~250p. I secured mulely and gear and then I took my map and we loaded up in his car and took me to a nice place to eat where I could buy him some dinner. We went over maps before the food was served and had a nice visit afterward he took me to find a phrase book that I never ended up even using. We then went to his home and checked out his bikes and more of his maps, I will say that if you are needing routes around Copper Canyon area Tury is a wealth of information and a great guy who speaks excellent English as well. I used his computer and ended up checking my Advrider and kicked his login out and come to find out he had forgotten his password. Luckily he still had an old email with the pw. We tried emailing the change password option but never got a quick reply. He had to respond to a few forums under my login till we got him figured out.I want to take time to personally thank Tury for his time and information . I hope one day soon I get a chance to get schooled by you in the big canyons. He called a cab for me late in the eveing and when I returned I check on the mule and crashed hard, and slept great dreaming about whats to come.

Who can spot Mulely in the pic below Hint: Where'd you park at Margarita's?

Wet day min yana and even snow in the Dog State's highest pueblo...
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:31 PM   #10
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Great start, keep it coming.
A Quick Trip to Big Sur

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Old 02-23-2008, 10:49 PM   #11
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Oh,this is going to be interesting
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:48 AM   #12
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New Day, New Mexico (actually still old Mexico)

Wednesday 1/23 first full day of Mexico fun for mulely and me. Well sadly the trip’s photo documentation from Dogtown to Creel is limited to non-existent depending on how well I can paint the picture for you and how you can/could imagine. Here goes; Upon leaving Dogtown in the morning it was fun try to dead reckon the west route from the city and sure enough I find the end of a west road once before I got on the right west route to run into Ciudad Cuauhtemoc (Mute’s translation ‘Coat to Moc’- and yeah you need a big freakin coat or one nice HD heated high $ jacket). Needless to say the lack of pictures is a direct result of deteriorating weather conditions the more west and higher (duh!) I went. I again took the narrow rode because, just because and how a nice ride west through ole Mex. I made good time in the rain from Coat to Moc to La Junta (or Adolfo Lopez Mateos depending on your map and translation abilities) and then south to San Jaunito. A little learned information about San Jaunito, while in Creel I meet a crazy old Americano defecto named Bob?, he told me it’s the highest pueblo in the state and also the coldest. I don’t know the validity of this information but it would have to be in the top 5 because it was cold and it was snowing hard as I got into the snow band around 6500’on the East side and topped around 8000’/change and then let up around 7000’ on the far side (again estimations b/c no GPS info yet). And here I am thinking I ride down to Mexico in the winter with mulely looking for sun and fun, total opposite, felt like I was back on the Canol Rd in that first season Mid September snow storm praying that I’d make Ross River before dying-Thankyou again Mulely. It was coming down hard but by staying behind the chicken buses and going 5-10mph Mulely stayed sure footed and pulled through once again for me. She was even able to make pass on some of the pokey ones, needless to say I saw no other motos and felt honored to be alone, I always wonder what others think when you pass them in a snowstorm while they are in there autos. Below that 7K it was all better again in the cold rain and we plowed on down to a cold wet Creel. One of the few pictures from the cold day located somewhere by/in Creel:

We made it to Creel and found something to eat at good ole Best Western, kind of pricey but English speaking waiter who was very nice and helped with finding about the future terrible weather reports. While there I saw a younger guy and girl and could tell he at least was GB so I inquired about there accommodations and promptly check myself into a private room at Margarita’s at the end of town by the station. I cranked the old wall heater to near meltdown and unloaded the mule and dried my gear before looking around town. My room, horrible lighting conditions for my inept disposable fujis:

And some cold town square:

And one of my favorites, Mexican Humor gotta love it:

I spent the night and prayed the forcast was wrong, and wished for sunshine. Tomorrow is a new day in Ole Mexico, we'll see, but look here:

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Old 02-24-2008, 08:40 AM   #13
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Holy cow dude, this rocks!

"In life, if you don't risk anything, you risk everything." Greg Tracy
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:13 AM   #14
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keep it coming

Hey John, great ride report.

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:51 PM   #15
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The Ride to the Bottom

1/24 Thursday: Woke up early this morning after drying out and warming up with the little heater that could in my small room. I was up and about well before the start of breakfast and wondered around the cloudy, damp, and dreary town killing time and trying to find out about the weather but nobody but the railroad workers were up by then. Got back in time to be the first one to eat and then got all my gear loaded onto mulely. I stopped and hit up the local ATM and went down to the Three Amigo’s office for some top notch up to the minute information and maps(Autographed my-1-Salvador, 2-Roberto, and 3-Enrique I think). I highly recommend this stop in Creel for anyone traveling going in or around CC area. Two of the amigos spoke excellent English and I picked their brains about trying to get down and over to Tubares via El Rodeo and the river, they just laughed at me and mulely. Not really but they said with the recent rains that the river would be almost over a truck tire at this time and the road over the canyon to El Rodeo is barely used and would be a challenge for me, oh well mulely and I would go have a look see. The amigos also mentioned of the project of widening the road down from the dirt turnoff to around Basigochi (sp?) (still don’t have my Garmin yet or I could tell you everything I know, almost). They said the road is really torn up and a soupy mess. Sounds like fun to me! Off we go to wet and muddy big canyons, but first some more interesting M. humor:

Pin the tail on the donkey is not always fun:

I really enjoyed the ride down to Napuchis Junction was great fun even in less than ideal conditions. It was forecasted to rain most of the day and then clear tomorrow but I refused to lose a day riding so mulely and I would push on and try to make it to Batopilas and stay at Martin's Hotel Real de Minas per Truy's recommendation. I made it to the turnoff for dirt roads down to a canyon, there were nice signs with pics:

And then there was de Construction, a nice place to air down, only went to 32, I bend those rims, and never adjusted till home!

From this point on it was a muddy SOB because the rains had only recently decided to stop for our approach but to mulely's credit she only stumbled once. That first hill down from picture above was like riding down a water filled ditch in the middle of the road to maintain some kind of traction. Then there were 4 small water crossings to plow through. The first one was the funniest, deepest, and longest. We had a small crowd that cheered us when mule and I made it, standing ovation. Fortunately a Jeep coming up showed the true depth without me having to test the waters. After the rain it was impressive little crossing that demanded attention. Here's the el grande one, but taken on the way back up and around, hence low flow:


We continued on through the mud and water and even snuck through a recent avalanche on busted through path of a 4X4, this is where mulely got hung up. Turned out to be a great time to show conditions fore and aft:

And previously seen teaser aft:

We plowed on through the mud and was just as amazed at seeing small families walking through the muck going who knows where as I sure they were at seeing some loco gringo riding through the crap on a big bike. Friendly waves were always met with smiles. Once I got to Basigochi I made it through the muddy construction area and got back into up and around and behind and down through the valley riding. It was even worse fun playing pin the tail on the boar, she was kinda pissy acting towards mulely:

Was a very nice ride on through the forest and past a few small rancheros and I even passed the road grader wandering through the forest coming up to fix the landslide area for the chicken buses. And THEN I broke out into the area all of us have seen pictures of so many times before, although the canyon was socked in for a little time made it look like we were driving up to heaven through the clouds:

Now where did that canyon go, hello, hello, hello...

It was amazing to finally witness this for the first time, it is a very special place that should not be missed and an amazingly fun ride down or up with plenty of great views. This is the Tail of the Dragon Hanging Off Steep Cliffs in the Gravel variety. Its hard to focus with such amazing scenery but the road forces one or kills one.

There was one small cafe that is on the winding part the road to La Bufa that I passed on the way down and stopped at on my way back up. There was a beautiful woman helping an older woman milk goats on my way down, so I stopped on the way back up and out for a drink and she informed me the cafe was closed, tried to get a shot but didn't want to look too obvious:

We loafed on down to the bottom and took the obligatory fotos of the two bridges and said ours prayers for a safe decent and took off through the bottom. The second bridge was the neat one:

More to come, too long a thread,need new one, high oh mulely away from the edge!
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