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Old 10-19-2016, 10:30 PM   #1
Trail Boss
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And so the adventure continues...

Mexico, here we come!

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Old 10-20-2016, 01:42 AM   #2
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Looks like you guys forgot to pack your meds...
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:52 AM   #3
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Yup, yup....loking forward to this!
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

I think they may have over medicated!
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:58 PM   #5
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

For those who don't know him, Milton Otto, aka Trailblazer, is the original Renaissance Man of adventure riding in Mexico. Years ago, during my early days of dual sport adventure riding, I was searching the internet for information about the mountains south of Monterrey, Mexico. Despite my widespread efforts I could only find one person who had ever posted anything about riding that area - Milton.

Lucky for me Milton lives in Austin so I reached out to him and arranged to make his acquaintance. During our first meeting I discovered that the ride reports and pictures he had posted online were all from riding the Galeana area solo, many times on his Harley cruiser (aka the Green Hornet). Yes, you read that right - Milton was so intent on exploring the dirt roads in the mountains around Galeana that he initially rode them on a cruiser. It boggles the mind.

Milton very generously shared his advice and knowledge about the Galeana area and was instrumental in the establishment of the MexTrek rally. He warmly and graciously welcomed the dual sport adventure riding community to his little bit of Shangri-La in the mountains of Mexico.

Since those first days, I've ridden a lot of miles with my friend Milton. I tell people that if you don't have an adventure while riding with Milton that you aren't capable of having an adventure. Even the most simple of rides seem to somehow magically turn into an adventure when Milton is around.

Well, as luck would have it, I managed to schedule a few days off in mid-October and asked Milton, Tricepilot Bob, and Stingray Scott if they wanted to explore some new roads in Mexico. They all agreed and, so, our riding adventures with Milton continue and now we have a new chapter to share. And while it was only a few days long, I think it's a doozie. Epic Milton stuff. I hope you enjoy it.

Milton Otto, aka Trailblazer
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Last edited by Trail Boss; 12-07-2016 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:55 PM   #6
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Waiting for you to tell off on Milton is killing me. I'm sure it will be worth the wait.
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:21 PM   #7
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

We converged at the Clarion Inn in Mission, TX on Wednesday evening with our game faces on. Okay, not really - we were goofy with excitement, ready for an adventure. Our plan was to cross the border early Thursday morning, make the two hundred mile freeway jaunt to the mountains near Santa Engracia, spend the afternoon exploring a dirt road loop in the area, and then overnight in Ciudad Victoria. Here's the dirt part of the route I had loaded in my GPS for Day 1.



I need to point out that all of our proposed routes were just general guidelines, not hard-and-fast, we-gotta-get-this-done, plans. Our intent was 1) to have fun, 2) have an adventure with Milton, and 3) find some new roads. In that order.

So, with that in mind, we rolled west on Thursday morning, looking forward to future dirt. The pavement was boring, but necessary to get to the good stuff.

Tricepilot Bob and Stingray Scott ready for some dirt
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:57 PM   #8
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

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Old 10-21-2016, 05:43 PM   #9
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Astute readers might recognize this place.


Several years ago, during another adventure with Milton, we stopped at Pollo Asado Charly's (Charly's Chicken) place for a bit of lunch and found the food to be quite good. I knew we would be passing Charly's place around lunch time on this trip too so I suggested to the group that it would be a logical stop. Sure enough, the food was just as good as we remembered.

Our next stop was also at a place that some readers may be familiar with - the Hotel in Santa Engracia. Milton first showed this place to me in 2010 when we took a dirt road across the mountains from General Zaragoza to Santa Engracia. During that trip, after a long and somewhat mechanically challenging ride across the mountains, I was quite happy to have arrived back in civilization prior to nightfall. However, on this trip it was still early so we merely stopped for a visit.



As I understand it, this place is about 300 years old. It started life as a hacienda and in recent years has been converted to a hotel.

Check out the ceiling of vines. How long does it take to grow something like this?


While exploring the facility we entered this fascinating old room. There was a coat of arms on the wall and a mural of a warrior being knighted. Very cool.




Our visit to the hotel complete, it was time for some dirt. We headed west toward the waiting mountains.
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Old 10-22-2016, 08:46 AM   #10
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
Astute readers might recognize this place.


Several years ago, during another adventure with Milton, we stopped at Pollo Asado Charly's (Charly's Chicken) place for a bit of lunch and found the food to be quite good. I knew we would be passing Charly's place around lunch time on this trip too so I suggested to the group that it would be a logical stop. Sure enough, the food was just as good as we remembered.

Our next stop was also at a place that some readers may be familiar with - the Hotel in Santa Engracia. Milton first showed this place to me in 2010 when we took a dirt road across the mountains from General Zaragoza to Santa Engracia. During that trip, after a long and somewhat mechanically challenging ride across the mountains, I was quite happy to have arrived back in civilization prior to nightfall. However, on this trip it was still early so we merely stopped for a visit.



As I understand it, this place is about 300 years old. It started life as a hacienda and in recent years has been converted to a hotel.

Check out the ceiling of vines. How long does it take to grow something like this?


While exploring the facility we entered this fascinating old room. There was a coat of arms on the wall and a mural of a warrior being knighted. Very cool.




Our visit to the hotel complete, it was time for some dirt. We headed west toward the waiting mountains.
That bottom photograph with the sun rays(they're called crepuscular or God rays) is beautiful.

Last edited by kojack06; 10-22-2016 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 10-22-2016, 12:15 PM   #11
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

☕️


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Old 10-22-2016, 02:50 PM   #12
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Looking forward to more
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Old 10-22-2016, 06:30 PM   #13
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Finally, it was time to ride some dirt.

I had mapped out a dirt loop through the mountains based on a map recon using the E32 map, Bici Maps, and Google Earth. I was fairly confident the first part of the loop was actually there and rideable but was much less confident about the second half of the loop.

That's the way it goes in Mexico - you never know if a road actually exists, what kind of shape it will be in, or if it's even rideable, until you actually see it for yourself. Some of the finest riding that we marvel at during MexTrek - routes like The Gold Standard, Potrero Redondo, and Agua Blanca- were, until very recently, not shown on any map. Milton, intrepid explorer that he is, found most of them while riding this area solo. It was my hope that we would discover a gem or two during this ride.

As luck would have it, we found part of one today.

As we rode west into the mountains the dirt road we were on got better and better. At the beginning it was a typical dirt road, used by the locals to get to and from. But as we rode west, the road climbed, and was clearly used by fewer and fewer people. The road travelled through a beautiful valley, next to a flowing river, and then began to climb toward the top of the mountains. We alternated between riding next to the river and riding through a forest as thick as a jungle.




One section of the river was particularly beautiful. After crossing a small bridge...


...we rode around a corner and found this stunning view.


What a wonderful discovery this area was. It was enchanting.



Beyond this point, the road turned up and we began a steep ascent. The road got much, much tougher the further we went, with bigger rocks and steeper inclines.

Look closely at the electric poles marching up the mountain in the next picture. The power lines parallel the road and give an indication of both where the road ahead lies and just how steep it truly is. Not for the faint of heart.


You can also see a logging truck in the above picture. We spoke with the driver, who told us that the road went to a village at the top of the mountains but, beyond that, went no further. The problem is that we've been told many times in the past that a road doesn't go through when, in fact, it does go through. Or we've been told the road is there and passable but it's not. In other words, while we always talk to the locals about the roads in the area we don't always take their word. Sometime they really don't know much about the road ahead. The driver said the road didn't go through. What should we do?

We also had another problem - time was ticking away. We didn't want to get caught in the mountains after dark and we weren't making good time. While the road was difficult for all of us, it was particularly tough on Milton. Life happens to all of us, but the last year had been unusually challenging for Milton and he had not ridden his bike in over a year. Milton is a fine rider but even the best of riders struggle with tough riding if they are out of practice.





Milton is tough guy and despite several drops of his bike, he remained positive and motivated to continue. But, eventually, time caught up with us, and we had a difficult decision to make. We all wanted to complete the route but eventually came to the realization that it wasn't going to happen. We just didn't have enough daylight remaining. With reluctance, we made a U-turn and abandoned our attempt.





One day I'm coming back and am going to try this route again from the other end.
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Dirt, sweat & gears - adventure is calling

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Last edited by Trail Boss; 10-23-2016 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 10-23-2016, 08:18 AM   #14
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Once out of the mountains, we headed south via pavement to Ciudad Victoria intent on finding a place to stay for the evening. Victoria is a major city with all the stuff that comes with it - traffic, people, and urban sprawl. Since we didn't know our way around the city, Bob paid a taxi driver to lead us to the downtown plaza where we booked rooms in the Ramada Inn.





The downtown plaza wasn't much to brag about - certainly not as attractive as the one in Galeana, for example. But, it was late and we needed a place to stay so instead of searching for a non-chain place, we elected to just stay at the Ramada. Rooms were about $50 a night and included a breakfast buffet. I would also note that despite being an American chain hotel, it still had the very distinctive flavor of Mexico, which was just fine by me.

The next morning I had a particularly good omelet.




After breakfast, I wandered the plaza (which didn't take long), snapping a picture here and there.

Young folks are the same the world over - any chance to canoodle shall not be wasted. These two were following that maxim and were intertwined and oblivious to everyone else. Young love...


Most plazas are anchored by a church and Victoria was no exception.


One thing that was different about this plaza was the number of shoe shine stands. There had to be at least 15 of these guys scattered around the plaza. Normally you will see one or, maybe, two shoe shine guys working a plaza so seeing 15 or so was quite different.


After I had walked past about 10 shoe shine stands I realized my boots could use some attention so I asked one of them if he could help me out.


The man charged me a little extra but he did a great job and, to be fair, my boots were really dirty and needed lots more work than a typical pair of dress shoes.



Bob decided to join in as his Sidi's also needed a little loving care.


Once the normal morning ritual of eating, packing, getting your boots shined, and waiting on Milton () were complete, it was time to ride.
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Old 10-28-2016, 09:29 AM   #15
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

A few picts from the ride.

The adventure actually began the night before the ride started:


Charly's Chicken is always a great place for lunch:




Milton keeping up with his social media demands:


Hotel in Santa Engracia, you can check out any time you like....






Bob and Milton checking out the music selection:


Some pretty large trees at the hotel:


A lot of effort put into this wall:


Richard and Bob cooling off:


The Famous Milton Otto video:

Delivery Ciudad Victoria style:


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Old 10-28-2016, 09:48 AM   #16
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Oh my Gosh, what an awesome looking trip.Thanks for posting all the pics.

Hopefully y'all will have another trip in the Spring that my schedule will let me attend. I'm dying to get down there for another attempt.
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Old 10-28-2016, 03:28 PM   #17
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Quote:
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Richard and Bob cooling off:
Just like my son, Daniel. Give him clean clothes and shoes and he'll have them filthy in no time at all... So much for clean boots
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The number one rule for this forum!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29 (NIV)
Think before you post. Leave out the vulgarity, personal attacks and foul language!

Quote:
"However lofty the goals, if the means be depraved, the result must reflect that depravity." - Leonard E. Read

Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly. - Brandon Smith

If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist. — Joe Sobran

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. – Murray N. Rothbard

When one possessed of the Truth suffers from a heavy heart he is susceptible to a more dangerous affliction — the craving for power to eradicate error, to cause Truth to triumph by force. - Frank Chodorov

Where politicians flourish, long history has harshly taught us, people and their liberty wither. Where the state is god and the "public interest" worshipped, individual man will be found bleeding upon the altar. - Karl Hess

The accepted wisdom is that without the state, society would collapse into lawlessness and crime. In fact, lawlessness and crime define the very nature of the state and the society organized by it. - Bionic Mosquito

But the myth of the rule of law does more than render the people submissive to state authority; it also turns them into the state's accomplices in the exercise of its power. For people who would ordinarily consider it a great evil to deprive individuals of their rights or oppress politically powerless minority groups will respond with patriotic fervor when these same actions are described as upholding the rule of law. - John Hasnas
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Old 10-29-2016, 10:35 AM   #18
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Wow looks like an awesome ride. Love the photos.
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:46 PM   #19
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Well done, Rich. Your photos are fabulous.
Well, I guess you don't need me anymore.




This was truly a 'find'


The road was the service road for the power line. Stopping to admire the view I saw the powerline zig-zag marching up the hills before me.
Oh,.. fudge.

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Old 10-31-2016, 07:15 PM   #20
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Re: And so the adventure continues...

Milton, when are you and I gunna ride together in ol Mexico?
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