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Old 10-23-2013, 11:30 AM   #61
SeanPNW OP
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Bear Creek - You are lucky, 10 days in this area would be awesome. I haven't seen much else yet but you are making a good decision.

Burninator - I have given up on understanding the navigation and am convinced that all the cabbies also work as pre-runners for the World Rally Championship.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:29 PM   #62
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Great thread. I am going to get a pair of those custom boots soon.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:51 PM   #63
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Great thread. I am going to get a pair of those custom boots soon.
I saw a few of the models at their house. The craftsmanship and leather-work was really well done. They are also real motorcycle enthusiasts, anyone with a classic bike collection like they have and a vintage Gilera (that they even ride on occasion) sitting in their living room is OK in my book.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:44 PM   #64
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19. Queretaro

Time to hit the road again, I figure Iíll head east right now (for the most part) towards Mexico city. This is about 5 hours away though and Iíve heard there is plenty to see in between. One of those places I heard I should check out is called Queretaro. So this is where I pointed my bike.



Catch you later Guanajuato.



The roadwork here can be fairly elaborate sometimes.



Key word is sometimes. Other times itís just good olí el natural.



I think I made a wrong turn though somewhere. This doesnít look like a major road.



Yep, made a wrong turn. Here we go, this is more populated.



I stopped off at a restaurant up in the hills for a road-sammy. $1.50 for fresh delicious bread and fresh ingredients, hard to beat.



Heading up into the mountains the weather was chilly. Still no need for another layer yet though.



The road was twisty and scenic.



I stopped off in a small town called Atotonilco, about 20 miles before Queretaro.



Iím told that itís a cool old town and there is a church here with a cool painted ceiling. Psshhhh, Iím in no rush, sure why not.



The outside had a patio that must have taken quite a while to make.



Honestly, I donít know much about this place, or the paintings, but as an opinionated person, I can tell you that they appear to be old.



And elaborate.



Iím told that the entire ceiling, and all of the paintings on the walls in here, were hand done by a single person.



Place also had some pretty old word-work on the floor.



Outside, there were several families milling about. They appeared to be here touristing the location as well.



As Iím mounting my bike I feel something gently tug on my pant leg. I turn around and find two little boys and their grandmother. The boys were too shy but grandma told me they wanted to come see the bike and say hey. She said that they loved motorcycles. Little kids are the shit. I picked both of them up and plopped them on the bike.



I chatted with grandma for a bit and then turned around again to see a bunch more people. This is exactly why I want to know more spanish, knowing even just a little allows you to interact so much more with people.



Again more people showed up, so we got another photo with everyone. Not sure if they all knew each other or were just friendly? Fun group though.



Leaving Atotonilco thereís some cool stonework.



The town seemed pretty historically rooted in catholicism.



A little while later after being back on the road I came into San Miguel. I had been taking my time and it looked like weather was going to start rolling in so I didnít really do much besides blow through it. Iím told though that itís another interesting place to spend some time in.





Much bigger than Guanajuato.



As I head further east and inland the weather seems to be on average cooler and rain a bit more. The greenery and lakes are good giveaways.



Coming in to Queretaro it seems smaller than San Miguel and has a small feel too.



I found a hostel where I could pull my bike inside and unloaded my stuff.



Queretaro, like many of the cities in this region, is a very old place. Back in the day people didnít have facebook or the internet. So instead people would gather in plazas and squares to chat, eat, socialize, and get up to speed on the recent going-ons around town. The plazas still exist today, but now there is free wifi in them, so people seem to gather to use that instead.

Hereís one of the plazas, pretty empty at night.



There are still people that use the plazas for socializing though, especially the younger people. I took this photo on a Sunday night. These kids were practicing a form of Brazilian martial art called Capoeira. Capoeira was developed by slaves in Brazil back in the 16th century. Slaves were not allowed to practice self defence or develop fighting skills so instead they developed a martial art whose techniques are masked as dance moves. Itís very acrobatic and is practiced to traditional Brazilian berimbau music. As the two boys practice-fought with each other the others (on the left) sang and played traditional string instruments to set the speed/tone of the fight/dance. Very rhythmic and easy to get lost in watching.



There seems to be lots of respect in latin culture for scholars and revolutionaries who helped move the country forward. This is a statue of a poet that was near the hostel.



Over the next couple days I explored the city more and got a feel for what the place is all about. The historical district is where itís at and as expected, there is lots of history here.



Some of the buildings are private residences though. The homes usually have a central open air courtyard in the middle, like their own little oasis in the heavily built historic district. This old lady was greeted by her rottweiler as she came back from the market.



The vast majority of the buildings are public or retail though. There are many small gardens and they usually are surrounding a central square or plaza.







The sound of church bells tolling and pigeons flapping away as kids chase them is a common sound here.



There is a strong shopping community here as well and the area is apparently a purveyor of fine leathers and shoes. Many housewives in heels roam the streets in this part of town, hands toting freshly purchased bags of clothes.



Food can be had everywhere, and because of the clientele there are plenty of more expensive sit down restaurants whose outdoor dining spots encircle the prime locations around plazas.



Iím on a budget though and prefer to eat what the locals eat anyways. I like street food and usually will order whatever I see that I havenít seen before. This time, my taste buds tell me that this is some sort of fried chicken with potatoes and a chile relleno. Of course one never really knows though, but it tasted good. I sat and gorged myself on two more types of tacos after this and people watched in one of the plazas for a bit.



A brazilian girl who's living in the hostel while teaching portuguese in town found out that I was into climbing. She was kind enough to show me the one and only climbing gym in town. It was tiny, but had a rad underground vibe. The people here are definitely into the scene and really do a lot with the little space that they have. Iíve now been here in Queretaro for 3 days and Iíll be leaving tomorrow to head towards Mexico city. Should only be a couple hour drive. I wonder what the largest metropolitan area in the entire western hemisphere will look like?






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Old 10-24-2013, 05:27 PM   #65
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It is customary to have a photo to go with the words " A Brazilian Girl"
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:22 PM   #66
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You are going to love Mexico City. Don't miss Teotihaucan (25 miles Northeast DF), Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica, Chapultapec Castle, Zocalo and Palacio Nacional. And make sure to eat some Tacos Al Pastor while there. The best I've ever eaten where near the Zocalo.

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Old 10-25-2013, 08:57 AM   #67
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DyrWolf - You trying to get me booted? I know we can't post photos like that here.

Burninator - thanks for the info, any other recommendations are welcome as well. I got started on the list yesterday with tacos. Don't know if this was pastor though, the guy called it something that I hadn't heard before (I have heard of tripe though ).

Nom nom nom nom


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Old 10-25-2013, 03:29 PM   #68
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awesome RR man! Figure me in
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:55 PM   #69
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20. Mexico, The City

I got into Mexico city yesterday after a pretty chilly day on the road. I finally put my other layers on and even put my winter gloves on.

The road into Mexico City (everyone calls it DF which stands for Districto Federal) was uneventful as I opted to take Mex 57 which is a major thoroughfare. See what you get when you are prioritizing getting somewhere quickly rather than enjoying it? I took Mex 57 in to cut some time as I wasnít feeling so hot though, picked up a cold in Queretaro I think.



Coming into DF and the buildings start to become tighter together and the amount of large billboard advertising picks up.



Not sure if I hit traffic or if the city is just always packed, but it took a bit to a while to actually reach my hostel. I booked a place in advance and found one that had some sort of street parking available (the nicer hostels that are in a very popular area donít really have any parking available). When booking though I should have taken notice of the quality of their website (probably not updated in over a decade). Like an exploding star that once probably burned so bright, this place was now but a flicker of itís former self and was on the tail end of itís existence. When I arrived the owner checked me in and showed me the digs. It was straight out of the 70ís, but not in a cool funky way. There were walls with hand written notes from many years ago, and bunk beds stacked 3 tall to the ceiling that appeared not to have held a single sole for many years. Itís as if there was a time that this was a thriving destination, yet I was the only guest here and it looked like that had been the case for a while. There was a family living somewhere on the top floor with a couple babies, I felt like I was staying in their home. The place seemed not to have been updated in several decades and the only thing it was missing as a shag rug. I stayed the night since I was already there but it was just as expensive (if not more) than most of the other places so today I left and found a new place.

This place is much better and also cheaper.



People must hate when I show up with all my dirty kit.



Because Iíve been a bit under the weather Iíve mainly been resting and eating an obscene amount of food (the latter probably doesnít help the cold, I just like doing it). As Burninator mentioned, the pastor tacos are very good. *Shout out to Matty-boom-batty, these are my favorite tacos right now.



My new friends Jose and Dano (who I met in Guanajuato) just so happen to live in DF. Looks like they have planned some riding this weekend for us. Not sure what the details are, but Iím told weíll be gone two days and that I should pack light for dirt. Iím stoked.






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Old 10-25-2013, 10:27 PM   #70
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Subscribed and just caught up. Thanks for the great RR. I miss DF so much. Tacos al Pastor are used as a gauge to measure taco stands. There are great rivalries in DF over whose tacos al pastor are the best.
So try them everywhere. Also know that they should on be dressed with only cilantro and onions and be cut from a spit not fried on a griddle. FYi they are from the Lebanese influence in Mexico
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:07 PM   #71
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Vato Jinette, you are correct, there seems to be strong opinions as to who's tacos al pastor are best. I'm enjoying myself as I quest to vet people's personal favorites. Now that I've eaten at so many I feel like I can actually form an opinion of my own. Sort of like seeing 30 different shades of yellow, there are many that are very good (shit even a run of the mill stand makes pretty damn good tacos) but now can actually tell the subtle differences.

Got back from a great ride this weekend with Jose and Dano out in the boonies through the state of Hidalgo. We got 2 great days of riding in with the majority of the time being in the dirt. We shot some video and got pictures so post will be coming.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:47 PM   #72
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Like I've said before, awesome RR Sean. So much so that I'm packing my bags and heading to mexico in January. The taco countdown has begun! Can't wait for the next update.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:53 AM   #73
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Like I've said before, awesome RR Sean. So much so that I'm packing my bags and heading to mexico in January. The taco countdown has begun! Can't wait for the next update.
You lucky dog, continue the quest for the best el pastor when you arrive
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:01 PM   #74
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21. Getting Dirty In Hidalgo (Part 1)

Itís Saturday morning around 6am and Iím heading out of the hostel Iím staying at to meet up with Jose and Dano for a weekend ride. Theyíve planned out a route and I really know nothing about it, Iím always down to ride though, so donít need much convincing. They say itíll be a two day ride and told me to pack light for dirt. Sounds good to me.

I meet up with Jose at his place and we hit the road. We stop at a circus tent for some breakfast and to meet up with Dano. These tents are all over the freeway as you head out of DF (Mexico City, District Federal) and are accompanied by people waving flags to try and lure in customers. Each sells a slightly different variation of each others items.



This places specialty is biria, similar to beef flank thatís been pot-roasted. It may look like a lot of meat but each of those plates only has two tacos on them. They just come with a metric shit-ton of meat. I added the extra to the soup for the added flavor-flave. And yes, it was very cheap.



Dano showed up on his KLR as well. Check out this KLR bro-down.



We hit the freeway and headed north towards the state of Hidalgo.



After a while of heading north we turned off onto the more favorable secondary roads as we wound our way towards the mountains. Dano, the route planner for the weekend, said that weíll be riding up in the Sierra Mountain range for the next two days. We are currently on the west side of them (the dryer side), and weíll be crossing over onto the east side (the wetter side).



The first turn onto dirt. Mmmmm, I like dirt.



The road dipped and curved as we hunted around the Sierra ranges doorstep, looking for a place to enter her marvelous abode.



The roads were scenic and small communities dotted the area. I like the small single lane roads with stacked rock fences. Riding them is very relaxing, I could meander down them for days and days.



The cattle are less amused by the roads than we are.



In a river valley we stopped for a break alongside a creek. Dano and Jose road this trip several months ago in the dry season. They said it was incredibly hot and dry. Nothing was green and the route was absolutely covered in dust. I think I much prefer the current state of things.



Farming is the name of the life-game here and the communities that exist in the area flourish or flounder depending on itís success..



The communities are all nestled into the base of the Sierraís. They farm right up to the edge. I see solid walls like this and all I think is ďclimbing can be had hereĒ.



In this small town we found our entrance to the Sierraís that we had been searching for. We had been knocking at her doorstep for a while as we wound around through the foothills, now it was time to come inside. The road is just rural dirt route cut through the mountains but I feel like Bilbo Baggins from lord of the rings starting a journey into the mountains with his mates.

Hereís a shot looking down into town.



We dropped down a couple gears and began grinding our way through the twisty roads.





We got pretty high then started coming back down to drop into a valley.



When Dano and Jose were here several months ago this bridge didnít exist. They chose to ride through the river instead. Sounds like fun, might have been a bit more difficult this time of year though.





This bridge, although less fun for us, makes it much easier for the two communities on either side of this valley to travel, trade, and communicate with one another. .



We headed out of the second town and climbed again in elevation.



The road was pretty wide with plenty of room for other traffic. Although we saw none while we were on it.



Lots of good vantage spots to look down on where we had been earlier.



Here is the river that we had crossed and the ridgeline behind it was what we had come up and over earlier.



Three happy bikes.



Here we got to the top of the second ridgeline. The weather was a bit chilly but no need for thermal gear.



After the second ridgeline we started descending again towards a small community. This place is centered around tourism of some pretty wild caves they have in the area. There are several large hotels to accommodate the influx of people. Not sure what way they come into the town but Iím pretty sure itís not the way that we came in.



We went past the touristy section and out towards the back exit of town where we would pick up the road again. First we stopped for some mexican corn on the cob.



Boiled corn on a wood fire, rolled in cheese and chilli powder. ~.50cents.



The town is socked in by views like this. Really feels like the area is a very small pocket of human existence that mother nature is reluctantly allowing to exist right on her front step. The forest and hills seem to encroach on every part that humans stake a claim to.



Hereís the exit out of town and back up into the mountains.



With every gain in elevation the road got foggier and wetter. This road looked like it had recently been re-graded, maybe after a large rainfall had wrecked it. This meant that everything was nice and slick. Good fun.



The road doesnít actually look that bad, but itís like riding on top of a birthday cake. You ride on it for a couple hundred yards and it collects in just the best places (tires, suspension, chain, swingarm, etc).





Again we found ourselves in a small little village.



Wonder if the Shire is around here?





The bikes looked good here.







We took a left and headed back into the woods.





Joseís bike had accumulated some water in his carb and was running a bit dodgy. We stopped to drain it. Itís handy having everything easy to access and simple on these bikes. Think a T-mod re-route for the carb is next on Joseís mod list.



The sound and sight of big (for latin america) dirty bikes is not a normal occurrence around these parts. Anywhere you stop for more than a couple minutes people seem to come out to see whatís up. This guy was pretty funny, his kid was stone cold serious though.



The area here is super lush, supposedly they have had a lot of rain recently.



It was the late afternoon now and we were nearing our destination for the night. A small pueblo called Nicholas Flores up in the mountains.



It wasnít quite sunset, but with all the fog and cloud cover things were starting to get darker.



We found pavement, must be getting close now.



As we came around another switchback we could see on the other side of the ravine there had been a massive mudslide. A wall of mud a couple hundred yards long had just slid right off the hill side and taken out the road. We came around the ravine to the start of the slide. There were several busses stopped here but none had people in them. This must have happened a while ago. There were tire tracks through the slide though, so we knew we could at least get further than the busses did.



There was some skid plate scraping and I tipped over at the start pretty close to the edge but we made it through. A guy on the other side seemed pretty surprised that we had made it through, even more surprised when I pulled my helmet off and he saw I was a gringo. We had some GoPros going so Thereíll be a video of the entire weekend at some point, itíll probably include a clip or two of this spot. There was one section that looking back on the video wasnít exactly as safe as we thought it was, as two feet from where our tires rolled was a completely vertical drop. I believe it is denoted in the video with a ďHoly shit?!Ē (7:50). Had we have tipped over there to the left we would have been dropped right off the edge, expecting to find ground to plant a foot but only finding open air. With a solid cliff face this wouldnít have been that bad, but we were on a mudslide and the edge only existed because it had simply broken off and slid down the hill-side. It had been raining for as long as we had been on the road, whoís to say it was done with itís crumbling? Glad it didnít go while we were on it though. Hereís the uncut clip from my GoPro for this section.



Hereís a shot from Joseís GoPro of the tight section.



Jose and Dano got their two bikes across, again with some skid plate scraping but no real trouble.





After this section it was another 10 minutes and we were into town with the bikes up on their kickstands. Proud of ourselves, and with a fun day of riding under our belts.



As with any small town, an outsider is easy to spot, and soon there are people from around the town talking with us, asking us where we are staying, and inviting us to partys. Apparently tonight is a special night for the town as there is a joint wedding and sweet 16 party. Sweet, Iíll take the food, tequila, and dance package please. In any order will do just fine.





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SeanPNW screwed with this post 11-02-2013 at 02:24 PM
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:17 AM   #75
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Recapping the narrative on the video

minute 3:58 "I think it's good"
minute 4:00 "just joking"
minute 4:09 - dump the bike


Thanks for putting a smile on my face today with your video. (any excuse to avoid the paper work waiting for me on my desk). This looked like an awesome section to ride.

Keep posting this enjoyable RR.

YK
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