|10-19-2009, 12:54 AM||#1|
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Pedro Norte and Mex Trek 2009
This is my first ride report I got involved in this ride through Two Wheeled Texans, www.TWTEX.com and got a lot of inspiration reading reports of the likes of Fishfund's 3 months on a Husky 610.
I live in Houston, TX, about 5 hours from the border of Mexico. I'm a certified bike nut, 15 in the garage, one for any occasion. Our destination, Galeana, Mexico, Nuevo Leon, Hotel Magdelena, is approx 150 slow miles from the border. This was my first dual sport ride longer than 10 miles down a dirt road, but I have tons of dirt and street experience, some track days and a little racing, mostly in brief spurts when time allows. Other than a few weekend trips to Hot Springs Arkansas or Austin Texas I've never really taken a motorcycle specific vacation. Better late than never! I had an amazing time in an amazing place.
|10-19-2009, 12:55 AM||#2|
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Pedro Norte: Day 0. Monday
First, let me say thanks to Richard and all involved in planning this event. I had the time of my life. We all did. Incredible. Awesome. Amazing. WOW.
Back up a year…..I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a year. Driving back from my brother’s wedding in Guanajuato I spied the mountains east and south of our return route from Saltillo to Monterrey and wondered how nice it must be to ride up there. When I got back I read up on Mex Trek, which I had totally missed until after it went down. I told my wife that I was going in 2009. Period end.
Incredibly everything lined up in the months and weeks leading up to the ride. In spite a nagging piston knock that got progressively worse leading up to the departure date, I managed to get most of my work commitments knocked out and the bike more or less ready to go. Preparations included tax title and license for my race only DRZ 400 SM. I bought an XR400 within 2 hours of reading the 2008 ride report. Procrastination and title issues forced me to leave the perfectly set up and over farkled XR in the garage. There’s always next year. I took my DRZ400SM instead. It proved a worthy steed.
For those unfamiliar, the DRZ SM is a street bike. 5 speeds, 15/41 gearing, 100 MPH top end, with 17 inch excel wheels front and rear. Here is a stock photo.
So I hoped to get some meatier tires mounted up and have something more like this:
But time pressures led me to Monday morning, street tires still in place, 24 hours before departure. Ya see, my wife was the lucky winner of a contest to represent Gallery Furniture as a Customer Buyer at the largest national furniture show. Wednesday to Tuesday….just while I was to be in Mexico. She found out just before the weekend when Mack called her up, so my time was spent rearranging kid’s schedules, arguing, pleading, arranging childcare, listening, interjecting, negotiating, pleading, hugging….all the necessary support tasks so Nancy would be able to take her all expense paid trip while I took mine. So come Monday morning 9am…and the bike was still rolling on the same 17’s I used at Texas World Speedway at the last trackday, resigned to riding class 1’s and concrete. I figured I’d spend the week exploring class 1’s and doing some canyon carving. Luckily Wayland was kind enough to offer a ride to Galeana from McAllen so my gun case turned top case would suffice for the ride and I could just pack a suitcase, or two.
9 AM Monday my friend Miranda came to the rescue, following up on my PM with a set of tires she had just removed from her daily commuter WR250SM. Used only once for a day of mudding, the tires would mount up on the 17’s and give me some serious grip offroad. Pirelli MT 21’s, both rear tires, 120 / 17 in front and a 140 / 17 in the rear gave the bike a look of a TW200 on steroids. It also made the front end handle really goofy, but somehow you compensate. I picked the tires up late Monday and gave the bike and tires to a friend who is a mechanic at Katy Yamaha. I slept very little, worrying about all the untied details, and packing until 2 in the morning.
|10-19-2009, 12:56 AM||#3|
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Pedro Norte Day 1:
Jeremy got in to work early Tuesday and had the bike ready to go at 11 AM, tuned up, lubed up, and ready to clatter. The resulting monster truck meets tractor meets motorcycle raised a few eyebrows and if there were 47 guys on the trip, I happily explained it 47 times. Supermotards weren’t meant for dirt, so we improvise.
Texted Solorider at noon, “on my to pick up bike, should be ready to depart Sugar Land at 1:00”. He made his way over with his Alaskan proven KLR and we loaded up the DRZ, did a few last minute bike repairs, hit the Buccees on Crabb River Road for gas and drinks and hit the road.
The trip down was without incident. Saw some random guy on a loaded down Buell on 59 then again closer to McAllen. He gave us the thumbs up, and passed us at 80. Yelled at him out the window at the gas station, “Mex Trek?”. He gave me the thumbs up again. When you are as cool as Ed, words aren’t really necessary. Checked in the 6 and had dinner with some of the guys at Shoneys. Did the border and paperwork deal with only a few snafus. My credit card didn’t process so I was $300 lighter in the wallet. Hit the exchange bank for some Peros. Unloaded the bikes, met a bunch more of the guys, and kept my new friend and roommate for the trip Tom (Centextom) up late. I could tell this was going to be a fun trip. 50 like minded friends riding in the mountains. Sounds perfect.
|10-19-2009, 12:59 AM||#4|
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Pedro Norte: Day 2
8AM riders meeting, slept thru breakfast. Loaded up the DRZ with Wayland and we were off like a herd of turtles. Some paperwork didn’t get done the night before so we held tight in Reynosa, generally circling the block, blocking taxi stand, driving the wrong way down one way streets, and looking like gringos. In a McAllen vs Reynosa fistfight, Reynosa would win. It’s dirty, dusty, more experienced, and doesn’t fight by the rules. Typical border town. McAllen seems like a really nice town once you experience 30 seconds of Reynosa. But it has it’s charms too.
We followed in the truck, barely keeping up with the bikes thru the busy city streets. Slabbed it out the free road to a couple of roadside stops.
Our amazing ride organizer, trail blazer, and all around good guy
Terry before his bike tipped.
Across the rising plains towards the mountains, keeping a 65 mph pace. Lots of Mexico to see. Small towns with tidy plazas, PEMEX stations, and pickup truck blaring ranchero music. In Montemorelos, on the edge of the mountains, I unloaded and joined the procession on two wheels. In a matter of minutes the scenery went from dirty, flat, and dusty to something remarkable. 20 miles up the twisty windy road I knew it was going to be a memorable trip. Pace went from slow and calm to “Safety 3rd” Many pictures taken this way up.
Ed on the Buell
Starting the climb. It’s warm.
A few small peaks
MotoPrimo on the worlds best ridden KLR.
10 miles up the climb
And into the clouds
So here was are, roughly 8 hours from home, climbing into mountains on roads built by, arguably, the worlds best concrete technicians. Smooth turns, well thought out, chiseled into solid rock, each foot of concrete a testament to the tenacity of the Mexican people. Building with rock and concrete is as natural as left foot right foot for the mixed culture of Mexico. Caliche runs in their viens.
I'm not a road builder, thank God. But I sure like to ride em fast. For those, like me, who are bad with names and faces, this is me with the beginnings of a smile on my face that lasted all week.
Peter, aka Pedro Norte in Mexico, Shadman on TWTEX.
And here is what I am smiling at:
And valleys with streams
And mountains with fresh air
And millions of acres of completely accessible land
The first of many pictures of people stopping to take pictures, or people taking pictures of other people taking pictures, while someone takes a picture while someone else gets ready then has to stop to take a picture of the guy getting ready.......to take a picture. It's just that pretty down there.
Everywhere you turn you see the handiwork and hard labor of the people of Mexico.
And yes, it has rained a bit the last few weeks.
Just wow. Why is there not a resort here?
After a gas stop in Rayones there were three options:
1. Concreto a Galeano…dos horas
2. 28 KM of easy dirt
3. 4 hours of moderate.
I chose option 3. Best decision of the trip. I saw the whole of the vastness and solitude and beauty and simple life. And with Jeff, Richard, and Primo running a fairly hot pace has one of the best days of riding of my life.
Winding our way northwest from Rayones to an intersection that would take us south to Mimbres. OMG.
A remote village, 30 miles from anywhere, that used a floor of an old school bus for the bridge from one side of town to the other "suburb" across the stream. Thank goodness for the schoolbus, the kids use it to get to school.
Even Richard, who has been here many times before, stops to ponder how he can be so small and Mexico be so big. It's really big. Really really big. When you ride each inch of it, knob by knob, grabbing onto each little rock so you don't go off a 500 foot drop, you kind of start to realize it is big and you are small. No matter how big a boy you might be.
Or maybe he was stopping to pee. I can't remember.
No, wait, Richard was in contemplation. Motoprimo had to go.
And wherever you do go, a cactus grows by the following year.
The view got better at each turn.
A tranquil setting for a nice family ranch
Then it got strange. We popped up from the 10 mile climb onto a vast field. No fences, no civilization. Just wild mustangs and prairie dogs yelping to run away run away.
It’s hard to describe how, in a dry dusty rocky country you can pop onto a field of green, smooth enough to run 50 MPH across (yes, we chased a horse or two), and completely pristine.
We did what I’ve always wanted to do….rode up until we got to the top, where the trees started. Then rode back down.
Then South towards Mimbres and into some small forested areas. It was hard to stop for photos cause the riding was just so great.
Dual Sport Double Dragon. Primo and I spent a half hour on the descent playing cat and mouse…backing it in to corners….drifting out of turns…avoiding the one or two trucks we passed each hour.
I think I see a smile peeking out of that helmet
And finally after 10 miles of concrete into Galeana and ride HQ.
Dinner that night was amazing. We ate at the General. First meal of many great ones there. Chicken fried mexican chicken with queso blanco, an appetizer, 3 beers. Grand total $135 Pesos, or $10. Back to the square for a few beers and stories and tire kicking and we nodded off sometime around midnight. What an amazing day.
How could Thursday be any better? More updates to come.
|10-19-2009, 01:00 AM||#5|
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Pedro Norte Day 3:
Same route as posted above, simultaneously, LOL. Two perspectives, same ride. Love it.
Day 3 started about 4 AM when I awoke to the sound of snoring. Unintentional revenge for my snoring the night before. 6:30 the alarm goes off and Tom is mustering around. I'm in my favorite Mexican sleeping position; freezing cold, window open, fan on, hands cramping from holding the covers, roosters risin, and adventure riders already making a ruckus in the hall. Richard, in his too cool last minute style, has arranged breakfast at 6:30 at the reception hall next to the hotel and a riders meeting at ocho on the square. I make it out for the rider's meeting, barely. I am not a morning person. Here's a secret for ya guys going next year: Room 10 at the Magdelena has unlimited, reasonably pressured hot water. This is the Mexican equivalent of an in room masseuse in the states. It's usually reserved for the privileged and upper class. Consider I spent a grand total of $126 in Pesos for room, board, first class food, 5 tanks of gas, beer and tequila, I would say the Magdelena is a diamond in the rough. $440 pesos for 3 nights, clean sheets, furniture delivery into the square for late night conversation, and unlimited luchador wrestling on the wide screen in the lobby. Not too shabby! Here's the typical morning scene. Dolores' voice, the only female vocal chords on the trip, carry a certain swagger in the square. Ya, I found out Friday, she's backs it up. She's baaaad to the bone.
We split into groups and following Primate's choice of ride group I hooked up with my new friends from (late) last night following TerraExpeditions on what looked to be a varied and exiting ride. We were a lean and mean crew. XR400 in race trim, XR650 ridden by an ex-mountain bike racer, DRZ400, (both those guys just back from 900 miles offroad to Real de 14 and back), KLR 650, Husky 610 (sweet ride), XR650, and my DRZ SM. Everyone on this ride, I would discover thru the day, would pull a rabbit out of the proverbial hat and prove to me I have a brethren I never knew. Brothers from other mothers, TWTEX style. Confident, in control (mostly), technically savvy, eager, curious, and just cautious enough. Any of these guys could take the long way round, solo, and make Ewan and Charlie look like chumps in half the time.
We headed southwest, continuing the direction I came in the night before. Away from Cerro Potosi and the DS Dungeons and Dragons. This was the road the road riders took in the day before. About 40 kms of pure roadrace heaven. All downhill, half blind turns, smooth to medium smooth asphalt, breathtaking vistas, very little traffic, and the often encountered but little understood laughing Mexican in an inappropriate vehicle going double the limit over the solid yellow line (think double white lines in de Estado Unitas (SP?)). It's probably an old 60 chevy or an overloaded Sanchez on the front window gravel truck. Here is a taste of the canyon, this taken a few KM's down the road.
We took a right in Itubide, headed south, up a freshly paved one and a half lane racetrack headed towards the dead end in Santa Rosa. At the sign indicating a Y we went right. Enter 10 kms of tree covered canopied dual sport heaven. Alternating between canopy and climbs and descent and launch and dip and clench your butt downhill loose gravely u-turns this road was fast, fun, and a challenge. Our group was flying. If I went ahead for 5 minutes, charging as hard as I could, then slamming on the brakes I might just be able to pull my camera out and take a pic of the last 2-3 guys flying by in the dust cloud.
When the road opened up a bit was came across a river. TerraX's GPS showed a track. We headed up river, half in and out, playing around trying out our submarine abilities. Came to a gate, then another.
The locals had rickety outhouses, one for boys, one for girls, and natural stone houses. In addition to power wires as an indication of being on the right track to a larger town (aka Gasolina), cinder block homes are an indication that bigger trucks can make the drive. Natural stone is so much prettier, I can only imagine the beauty of the area prior to CEMEX becoming the largest company in Mexico. This particular A frame had ranchero music and men's voices. The woman and child exiting the outhouse gave a clear view of life in the mountains. Sorry, I didn't take that photo.
Through a couple more gates and down into the river. Yee ha!
3 or 4 gates later we stop for a break. This place is amazing. Clay and stone cliffs. All of the water comes from a spring in a narrow valley too small for a bike, but perfect for a camping trip. Volumes of spring water. So we go up the dry river and take a little break.
I had to rethink my camping idea when I saw that the Chupacabra is still on the loose and doing unmentionable things to local goats and sheep
The beauty of this part of the ride was that, for the TWTEX group, we were the first recon group to try this route. At one intersection we went left. Right was the clear easy route, but left looked more fun. 30 foot drop with a cow path hugging a cliff. Not knowing my compadres that well I flipped a U and looked back to see TerraX bomb on down the cow path. We followed suit. 3 ugly loose rocks and a slow speed stall almost put my back end off the path. 3 ugly loose rocks and a washed out put one of our crew on his head. Amazing he and the bike were mainly unscathed.
5 or 10 kms up river and we came to a large modern bridge and small community. The dead end road looped east up towards Santa Rosa where we first went off pavement. Why not! In 30 years of riding I've never seen a steeper curvier road. Almost 90% concrete, 12 feet wide, back and forth, with a 7%+ grade. Wheelies out of corners? Check. Breathtaking views of the river we just ran? Check. Complete absence of police presence in what Milton calls the, "Land of personal responsibility". Check. Ride like madmen boys, you deserved it.
Up and out of the canyon, over the mountain, and across a field of sunflowers back exactly to the Y where we exited the pavement, just 100 feet shy thru a metal gate. Nice loop!
Off for some refreshments. No restaurant in Santa Rosa. Tienda doors open but the store is completely empty. No problem, back down the road, past the river turn off, thru the town of Cuevas, and down to "lunch in Camarones. It's early afternoon and we've covered about 1/3 of the planned dirt distance. I'm starving. But no worries, the riding is so intense I could have had a fork in my leg and not noticed.
TerraX posing on the kick start only XR4.
Random turn, maybe 1000 feet back and 200 feet down.
And on and on and on and on
And on and on and on. Thru forests, down steep descents, up rocky hills, over creeks.
We use the dual sports to cross water, the locals use this log
And Joseph uses his backside to negotiate a slippery crossing. Too bad we were splayed out on the cool grass talking about campsites and I missed the drama. It sounded cool.
In Camerones there is a tienda. Drinks cold, pork rinds packages, mixed nuts in lime juice and a coca perfect for a combined breakfast / lunch. Proprietor is kind, his helper nice and simple. For the photo he agrees, with hesitation, and then proceeds to button up his shirt, tuck it in, and fix his hair. No smile needed, he is a proper man with proper attire in his store. Or maybe he realized just how bad we smelled. I am gonna pull a Tricepilot and give him this one next year. I probably won't get a smile, but it may be his first photo of himself too.
A few more rugged small towns, hot and dusty. Time for a change of pace. Mexico delivers. How about a cool, quiet, tree covered valley?
Lush ferns to soften the falls. Hmmm, while we're at it, dear Mexico, can you throw in a babbling brook with miniature waterfalls and a soft dirt road? Really, that'd be great. Thanks Mexico, I love you too!
So here is where I go all fuzzy. I rode the whole trip without a map, and my GPS was off for 100% of the trip...safely tucked in my top case just in case. 5 towns, each equally remote and secluded, each with a charming pastoral home, each with a dirty nasty neighbor. I didn't take dirty neighbor pics.
New meets old. A closed down tienda near a falling down farmhouse. Having remodeled a handful of houses and saved a few from the dozer it pains me to see solid craftsmanship, hard work, and sound building technique eroding in the sun. If I were a thousand men in one, I'd save each and every one.
Down and up. Up and down
And following a Milton route we come into a field of sunflowers. 20 billion strong, whipping our hands as we rise and fall. Motors blatting out that steady rythm. 2nd gear....blattt.....3rd gear.....blatt......4th...blatt.....downshift, downshift, downshift, slip and slide, repeat process. 7 bikes strong like a thunderstorm rolling into town. No kidding, women take their children inside, just in case.
Local livestock is awestruck too. One little guy comes along for the ride, almost a KM of running ahead to scout out the path. Burrito knows the way.
Milton will tell you where this is. After 1 km of fence made from the outer 1" of pine trees I see where they come from. Sawmill, loads of lumber, no one home.
1 click later we pass the logger and their logging truck. A mid 70's Chevy, 5 huge trees in back. 5 little mexicans on the trees. We start to debate issues like daylight, fuel, GPS versus dead reckoning. 2/3 of the dirt under our tires, 1/3 to go 1/10th of the daylight left. Keep on moving. Pics are not a priority until Mexico delivers the best Halloween decorations in North America. Thanks again my friend, Mexico
Now it's point and shoot time. Night is upon us, and I hit reserve. We miss the turn to Aqua Blanca and go another 5 kms. A friendly local tells us no problem. Aqua Blanca has no fuel, and it's 25km to the south. He recommends the smaller less travelled road to San Felipe. 25 kms he says. 1.5 hours in a car, 1 hour on a moto. I press him knowing we are 45 minutes from sunset, "Can a really fast moto do it in 30 minutes?". "No senor, it's 2 hours by horse". "How about a really really rapido moto?" "No senor, it's no possible.
The man knows his business. 36 minutes later we clear the woods. We see the dozer that maintains these roads just as we exit the trail. probably 1950's, 10 tons, and creeping aling at, no kidding, 1.2 KPH. There are two chase vehicles. We stop to ask where the fuel in town is. Conversation is like, "Senor, donde es is gasolina?" (my spanglish is terrible). He says, "There's no gas in town." Darn. "Are you sure? The guy at the last house told us there is". Reply, "Oh yes there is. 3 kms down on the right". First guy I encountered in 3 days who spoke more than 5 words of english. We talk. He spent 8 years in Spring Branch, back home and employed by the state.
A few wrong turns and confusion and we find the gas. Long shadows are fine...we are on the highway, only 20 kms to town and another fab meal.
But first, gas. Mexican style. 8.6 Pesos pora litro.
And the sun sets over Cerro Potosi. We are all tired, and happy, and ready to do it again. What a memorable day.
Friday is a whole nother chapter. Teaser pics.
|10-19-2009, 01:00 AM||#6|
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Pedro Norte Day 4: Friday
Yesterday's long ride meant a relatively early bedtime. But I promised myself a night ride. Galeana on a Thursday night is a strange sight. A few kids in the square, but mas cerveza around town. No clubs or bars to speak of, but lots of folks hanging on the front porch yelling things at the gringo riding by. Headed up the road to where it became dirt. Went another 2 miles killed the headlight. Stars, unbelievable. My 20/40 vision seemed like 20/10 they were so clear and bright.
Woke up at the usual post breakfast time. Grabbed a coke and french bread at the panaderia and suited up 8:30 or so. My plan was 3 - 4 hour ride, 75% pavement, no getting lost, maybe head west. Caught Richard and a group of 9 heading out for exactly that. The only unknown was the quality of the class 2/3 we were going to go explore.
Richard giving the 3 golden rules
Nadin on the KLR
Dolores with a much too clean looking KLR. Time to get it muddy.
I was late getting suited up, adjusting my ipod, and had to run hot for 20kms on the concrete to catch up. Perfect! I caught the group just as they peeled off the main road in Iturbide, to the southwest. Ten seconds later and I would have had a perfectly relaxed day of exploration on my own. We asked in town and found gas in a barrell. 9 pesos a liter. I took on 3. Ten bikes, 7 needed gas, it took a while. The tienda across the street had to break bills. I did get my first look at a map, and figured if I wanted to explore later, I might need a copy.
Headed down valley out of Iturbide towards Linares on the eastern plain on the edge of the mountains. Towards the plains, if you think about it, means lower. Lower means below higher ground. Below higher ground means run off is more likely to converge. Convergence of run off equals stream leading to creeks, leading to rivers.
The virgin made of rock. We stopped to make sure al 10 were accounted for and continued on.
Thru the valley like a line of ducklings behind the chosen ones. Richard and Milton and Bob leading the pack. I was on an all stars ride, lol.
Despite being a 11 person group, we hustled. Principle Cooksey may need to see the vice principle of transportation for a couple of pops for his bending the single yellow line rule. But hey, T.I.M.
Here's Isri on the amazingly capable 1989 TransLap.
And Milton leading the pack
We took a right off the highway, headed south, toward Rancho Viejo de Something la Something....where's that map? We dropped one rider early after the road got super steep and Montezuma kicked in. The rest of us soldiered on until we got to the river. Water runs downhill towards Linares. This was the biggest crossing I'd seen yet. Just the sight of it caused a KLR to tip over.
Cokacola'd up at the tienda in Rancho. Suited up we headed towards the unknown. Actually, we knew what was to come. 24 water crossings in less kms. Fun fun fun!
Crossing #2 got us. Wayland got a bad line, tipped over. We jumped in cool knee high water and dragged him out. But the damage was done. Water in the carb. Water in the engine. Water in the oil. Water in the headlight. Water in the gauges. Basically, water water everywhere but not a drop to drink. And after an hour tearing it down, draining, drying, wrenching, reassembling it was back to good. We 5 jumped on to continue, having a group of 5 press ahead.
But Milton's bike was dead. Just a hard to diagnose wet plug and clogged plug drain hole.
TricePilot Bob with a complement of tools made the repair quick and easy.
And I took the chance, being already soaked to the core, to go swimming, in this nice little swimmin hole.
It's hard to describe and the pictures don't do this section of creek justice. but if you've been to Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin you have some sort of an idea where we were riding. Tall mountains at 45 degree towering overhead. River trees with canopy. Round white rocks worn by the years. Clear blue water. Amazingly clear. And not one hint of civilization.
12 or 14 crossings down the line Richard went ahead one crossing and caught the faster group. They were porting their bikes thru thigh high water. We were all tired, heat exhausted from the strenuous riding. When we got to the next crossing I think we all had thoughts of turning back. But adventure calls. And if there are 5 fully loaded KLR's pressing on ahead of us, why quit? Here's what I'll call the cursed crossing 13.
It's a great swimming hole. I jumped around like a kid at camp, making a fool of myself. Eventually we all took some form of a soak to cool off and enjoy the cool crisp water. Heaven!
So we pressed on. The lead group had a drowned KLR, and had just managed to get it firing when we crossed over. Our group of 5 forged ahead. It was beginning to rain, turning the already difficult non-water sections to slick rock and mud. So downstream we pressed on.
Clouds set in. Fear of dark, cold, lost. Headlights actually lighted something.
Milton took a spill. We were overtaken by a well maintained mexican dual sport, four wheel drive.
It's driver a nice fellow who was porting hardwood for fence poles from 5 Km up river. He used machetes to fell the trees. And women's sandels to protect him from the stones.
His travelling companion had more traditional footwear. Bare feet. And a home made embroidered custom pillow to protect his shoulder. He commented that Milton's last spill 1/4 mile upriver had caused an, "Problematica Electrico".
After the exrutiating 24 crossings seemed complete we came to a small house by the river. Cinder block construction! Success, we had to be near. I circled back to the KLR crew and showed them how to get thru the last 2 crossings. Another 2 crossings awaited, both relatively uneventful. And by uneventful I mean to say no one got hurt and no bikes required a tear down. Tip overs, wildly spinning tires, hurled rocks, and laughter were the norm this day. We followed Richard's crew's tires track back to civilization. Hoorah, bridges!
We hightailed it to the nearest tienda where the fast group was regrouping. Plastic wrap and cheap ponchos on, we remounted and headed back for 45 miles of the coldest, wettest, dreariest riding imaginable. I decided to high tail it and shorten the agony. Isri was waving something at me as I passed him. As we headed uphill on the canyon road I came round a tight sharp corner, running 20 over. There was half a dead tree in the road, brought down by the rain, with the usual Mexican road antics of you go, we go, I'm bigger so I go, we go, you go, 18 wheeler go, near accident, near accident. All this on a tight corner with zero line of sight. So I waited for the rest of the crew. All safely past I got in back. A slow ride through the rain meant our group of 3 was far behind the other 7 by the time we hit Iturbide. I decided to have a little fun on the slick, but drying road...plus I was freezing. So I decided to charge ahead. Little did I realize I was going it alone, and my low beam was out. Then middle of a corner, 5 minutes after sunset my high beam goes out. I hightailed it to the front group, using a blink to let cars know I was there. Got an escort into town and all 11 of the original 11 cruised in to the Plaza. It's hard to put into words the kind of day we had. I've never been in the armed forces, but I'd say it felt like I was a footsoldier in a World War I campaign in the trenches. Wet, shivering uncontrollably, tired, sore. Basically, ready for dinner, 2 beers, 1 margarita no sal, 2 tequila shots, 3 more beers. But first a hot shower.
We did dinner family style, trying and sharing a bunch of dishes, recounting the war stories. All in, 8 people at our table, 28 beers, 8 dishes, 4 apps...total bill $1074 pesos. That's about $85 I'd guess. After the shots and beers and ridiculous sombrero pics I tried to talk the owner out of a logo shirt. Not for sale he says, staff only. Not for sale, but I traded him a super sweet trendy t-shirt for his "La Casona de General, Restaurant and Bar" work shirt. Both happy, we shook hands, swapped shirts, and said our see ya next years. The best souvenir! I tried to give him an extra 200 pesos to say thanks to him, the jefe, on behalf of our group and all the great service. He flat declined it, saying our thanks is to return to his place next year. What a guy!
Someone insert a sombrero pic here!
Back to the plaza for more beer in plastic cup. Beers come courtesy of a late night delivery boy. Maybe 19 years old, on a 16 inch kids bike with monkey bars, green wheels, and a green seat. If I ever trailer to Galeana, I'm bringing old bikes for these kids. His only had a 4 six pack capacity (2 + 2 hanging from the ape hangers), 60 pesos a sixxer.
Later, Ed and I took a late night walk to survey riding the 6 story "Stairway to Heaven", a 100+ stair staircase, 20 feet wide, 40 degree slope with a smooth cobblestone landing and 3 block long braking zone. Good thing it was still slightly raining, otherwise I might be in a Mexican jail for throwing a perfectly good DRZ through the roof of someone's house. And then I'd get a second case for landing on the annoying 24/7 barking dog that was so purposefully pooping on said roof when I, definitely winded and a bit tipsy, walked back down. Those little mutts can give you heck when operating in defend / alert mode and you come up weaving, laughing, and breathing high altitude air at a rate like you just won the Boston Marathon. FYI, if you are ever in need of a stealthy security gaurd bypass, that note that little Mexican yippy-dogs can't poop on a roof and bark at the same time, even if they really want to. It's bedtime. Better get some sleep before the roosters start their thing, before the Galena Hills Chihuahua starts the infernal yippin, and Tom's celly alarm starts calling me back to the real world.
Saturday will be another Wednesday with the DJ spinning it backwards, Galeana to McAllen. : I remember it getting better and better, so in reverse it will get worse and worse as we get more and more tired.
|10-19-2009, 10:24 AM||#9|
You can call me "Mike"
Joined: Aug 2008
This is Mike in Clear Lake. I see you made it out there with Milton, trice, etc. Looks like y'all had a great time. Nice photos
|10-19-2009, 12:24 PM||#11|
El Gran Payaso
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Antonio
You are a great friend, superb rider, ace mechanic, and true leader all rolled into one!
|10-19-2009, 01:25 PM||#12|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Just East of Weird, TX
Pedro...it was great meeting you and even more fun riding with you. Im sure there will be more in the future, maybe Big Bend or Cloudcroft ? Just for clarity, here and on TWT I am Primate, although MotoPrimo sounds much better, wish I would have thought that one up. Cheers buddy, until the next time!
|10-19-2009, 01:50 PM||#13|
Joined: May 2004
Location: Wills Point, Texas
great ride report--wish I'd been there
oh wait, I was there. Nice report and great pictures. I'm stealing a few of them if you don't mind.
|10-19-2009, 03:19 PM||#14|
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Pedro Norte Day 5: Saturday / Sunday
It's always a sad day, the last day of vacation. Work and family and responsibility start to rattle around in your brain, going from an occasional rain drop to a pitter patter to a full on rain storm by the time you get home. That kind of describes the ride out of the mountains.
Up at the usual after breakfast, after showers, after packing is done by most others, Tom prods me with some loud clanking to get me moving. Packed and ready in 20 minutes, bags in Wayland's truck, street gear on, clouds thick overhead. Said my goodbye to our ever resourceful hotel clerk, tipped 20 pesos under each pillow for the cleaning crew, gave the night manager a signed Houston Dynamo soccer ball, and went to find a group to ride back with.
The sky looked like rain so we all donned warm gear and rain proofing to some degree. Pink Lloyd had a shirt that made me laugh, having not shaved in almost a week
And some folks were having their bikes and boot polished up by the town handyman just prior to departure.
He didn't mind the camera and even posed with the ADV salute. Funny he had no idea what it meant.
A big group headed off to the PEMEX as Ed and I packed up, checked email, warmed the bikes. When we arrived at the PEMEX everyone was gone. And it was starting to rain. Down the canyon to Linares we had a nice, but chilly ride.
Headed into Linares the sky opened. We hid under a grocery store walkway for the worst of it and then suited up for the superslab back to Reynosa. We had a nice big lunch at a great restaurant on the square in China of super soft fajita meat. Saw no other bikes until we hit the border and regrouped. Did paperwork and crossed the border in about an hour, not bad.
From there it was straight to Motel 6, arriving just at sunset...good thing cause my headlight was still not functioning. The rest of the trip is the part we all hate. But driving up through Texas everything looked clean, maintained, proportional, well groomed, and downright, well, boring.
Next year for sure all my new friends. I can't imagine missing it. I'll have a couple of more friends in tow and a few more days cleared on the calendar to spread out the fun.
Again, thanks to all who helped, formally and informally, make this ride happen. Scott Friday, thanks for the wonderful website that lets us all connect. Richard, Milton, Bob and all the others who mapped trails and named names and waypointed trails to make us all secure in our ability to get home to Galeana each night. And thanks to everyone who trailered a friend, bought a beer, picked up after a crash, told a good story, or laughed a good laugh. See ya next year amigos.
|10-19-2009, 04:43 PM||#15|
You can call me "Mike"
Joined: Aug 2008
Very nice write-up. Congratulations.
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