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Crashing Our Way Through Mexico - The Furious Five Draw First Blood

texaspatrick

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Oh man, I can't wait to get back down there. I've been staring at Mexico maps for the last couple of days.... Keep posting up!
 
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Back in Galeana on Saturday evening, we successfully linked up with Doug and Zeke. They had ridden from the border to Galeana, via Rayones, while we were exploring the road over the mountains to Camarones.

As the town of Galeana slowly awakened on Sunday morning, we suited up and headed out on a new adventure. All I really knew about today's route was the ominous text message JT had sent to Milton the evening prior telling him we were riding the route where "the arroyo is the road". Sounded to me like we were in store for a classic JT special (If you've ridden with JT before, you know what I mean. If you haven't, well, you should make a point of riding with JT sometime.)
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Doug giving me a mid-five (not a high five, not a low five).
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Our plan was to ride south on Hwy 2 to the village of Pablillo, turn east, and ride dirt south until we caught the paved road running north out of Aramberri.
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The El Alamar route east from Pablillo is beautiful. If you haven't ridden it yet, make plans to do so the next time you are in this area. It's a "don't miss" route, IMHO.

The trees in this area are covered in more moss than I've ever seen anywhere else. It makes for an interesting picture, I think.
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The mountain views along this roads are nice too.
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Like I said, I really like this road. A lot.
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The El Alamar route passes within a few hundred yards of the Around the Mountain route (see the MexTrek ride guide for more info on these two routes). Luckily there are two connector roads between these two routes, allowing you to go from one to the other. We took the easier western connector to the Around the Mountain route and then headed south/southwest toward Agua Blanca. The western connector is marked by this large brick igloo (purpose unknown).
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The Around the Mountain route is equally beautiful and fun as the El Alamar route.
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That is the settlement of Agua Blanca (White Water) in the distance. Perhaps those two pools of white water are where this place gets its name?
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Shortly after leaving Agua Blanca we made a left turn into a field. There used to be a road here, navigating through a narrow valley for several miles, merrily crossing the accompanying stream multiple times along the way.

That sounds great, except for the "used to be here" part. The road is no longer here. It washed out a few years ago and has been abandoned rather than repaired. The steams is still there. :) And we were going to ride it. It didn't take long before we all understood in intimate detail what the term "the arroyo is the road" meant.
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With the road washed out, we searched out a bypass. JT assured us that it was only a 1/2 mile, or 1 mile at the most, before we would be out of the arroyo and back on a road. With the trust of little children we followed JT, the Piped Piper of Adventure Riding, into the depths of the arroyo.
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You already know what happens, don't you?

A mile came and went and yet we were still in the arroyo, picking our way through the boulders, baby heads, and creek.
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Progress was slow. Bikes were dropped. Help was extended. We pushed relentlessly on, with no end in sight.
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Then..a glimmer of hope. Was this the end of the arroyo?
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Nope. The arroyo continued on. And on. And on. Every now and then it would tease us with a short section of road but all too quickly we were back in the rocks. And our struggles continued.
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Finally, after several miles of riding we reached the end of the arroyo and were back on a road. :)
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Once in the town of Milpillas we took a break at a small store. It was time for a cold drink and a snack (lunch). Several men and children were hanging out in front of the store and we soon made fast friends with them.
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Zeke won hearts and minds by buying all the kids the snack of their choice from the store. The cost was 1 photo of the kids. The boys were very willing to pose but the little girl was too shy to do so. With encouragement from her dad she finally joined the boys for a pic.
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These horses were calmly parked outside the store, waiting on their owners to ride them to the next destination.
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The Furious Five, in all our splendor!
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Our new friends. :)
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I so missed out on this ride. That arroyo looks fantastic!
I've taken some creative liberties with this part of my ride report to dramatize it a bit. But, truly, the arroyo was a lot of fun. I wouldn't ride it on a big adventure bike, but anything 350 lbs or less with a rider of average skills should be fine.

As long as it hasn't rained a lot lately...
 
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I wanted to ride from Linares to Mainero and then west over the mountains to Camerones. JT wanted to find a track/trail/road that would allow us to go from Milton's Secret Route to La Florida. So we decided to do both...if possible.
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Riding east on Hwy 58 to Linares never disappoints. Wonderfully twisty and oh so scenic.

Once out of the mountains, we headed south to Mainero on some fun dirt roads.
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Sometimes you see some funny things in Mexico. Like a no-passing sign on a one car wide dirt road. Is passing such a big issue that this stretch of dirt really needed a no passing sign? Really?
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Those are the mountains we will be crossing later today. Yes!!!
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"So then Ken say, 'You've got to lean right, turn the handlebars to the left, feather the brake with one finger, kick your leg out, and go for it.'" And, sure enough, an hour later as I was attempting to cross the washed out creek without crashing, turns out he was right.
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As we took a short break at Abarrotes Don Beto, this older gentleman asked me if I would buy him a Coke. So I did.
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Left or right?
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JT says right. And don't fail to notice that this road is two way traffic.
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A short time later we reached the edge of the mountains. Time to start climbing.
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That pic could have been the result of too many frijoles for breakfast

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SpiritAtBay

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You definitely should stop and hike down to the bottom under the natural bridge. Ive done it 4 times and in exchange for your strenuous physical efforts, you're rewarded with a great scenic view, calm river sounds below and some good cardio to make up for sitting in the saddle. It gets the blood pumping good. Now its all cement steps with metal rails but not even 8 yrs ago, it was a regular hiking trail with some spots with a few ropes for rails. Fang told us that there might be a hiking trail on the north side of bridge that you can follow down to a cave ?? Take JT with you down there but make sure he doesn't walk under any spiraling stair cases, ochh!
Good advice! Definitely worth some exploration
 
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I've taken some creative liberties with this part of my ride report to dramatize it a bit. But, truly, the arroyo was a lot of fun. I wouldn't ride it on a big adventure bike, but anything 350 lbs or less with a rider of average skills should be fine.

As long as it hasn't rained a lot lately...
I think you take great pictures and have an entertaining ability to tell a story. Just as you have the ability to capture the admiration of those children with magic and jokes. It is a loss that we failed to record that.
I expected more pics of us lying on the ground next to our bikes as the title describes. You have been too kind.

And JT sits by smoking, grinning, and I truly wonder what he is thinking. Makes me dread following him, but he knows the way out. Epic it was
 
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"So then Ken say, 'You've got to lean right, turn the handlebars to the left, feather the brake with one finger, kick your leg out, and go for it.'" And, sure enough, an hour later as I was attempting to cross the washed out creek without crashing, turns out he was right.


Ken does dance with his bike well. ??
 
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Or a charcoal kiln?


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cool, we were wondering what this was for and your answer seems the most appropriate. someone said that maybe for thunderstorm refuge but it was too far away from any village. maybe someone lived there nearby long time before but we didn't see anything from the trail and thou we didn't explore much off trail. my mother in law is from mexico near the border area with texas but she had no idea. Ive seen charcoal making on her ranch but its quite different where the mesquite is placed slightly underground.
 

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cool, we were wondering what this was for and your answer seems the most appropriate. someone said that maybe for thunderstorm refuge but it was too far away from any village. maybe someone lived there nearby long time before but we didn't see anything from the trail and thou we didn't explore much off trail. my mother in law is from mexico near the border area with texas but she had no idea. Ive seen charcoal making on her ranch but its quite different where the mesquite is placed slightly underground.
Reminds me of the Florence Coke Ovens in the Gila Desert East of Phoenix, Az.
 
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Reminds me of the Florence Coke Ovens in the Gila Desert East of Phoenix, Az.
Your pics are the first I've seen of a coke oven. Had to read up on that and now its on the list.... I dont know if this structure could withstand the intense heat given the unsupported masonry. Can't believe I missed it...time to get back and take a more leisurely ride to look.
 
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Your pics are the first I've seen of a coke oven. Had to read up on that and now its on the list.... I dont know if this structure could withstand the intense heat given the unsupported masonry. Can't believe I missed it...time to get back and take a more leisurely ride to look.
This can be done on the way to next years el salado run, we can just skip the riverbed section. And we already have pictures of it, so we can ask locals in pablillo too.

Rich, that mountain view pic with what looks like a cave was taken about where on the route, since doug and i might be heading back there, i would like to ck it out, i missed it last time?

I have a good idea where the charcoal cooker is at cuz its in the only time we were heading west on the route.
 
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Rich, that mountain view pic with what looks like a cave was taken about where on the route, since doug and i might be heading back there, i would like to ck it out, i missed it last time?
Zeke,

The cave is on the El Alamar route east of Pablillo and before the connector to the Around the Moutain route.

After we left Pablillo, we rode through the trees with all the moss. Beyond that, we spent some time riding a shelf road - it was in the earlier sections of the shelf road that I took the picture of the cave.
 

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If anyone took pics of the oven with a cell phone, cant you get the coordinates from the exif data? Or, Rich, we can probably find it from looking at the point log of your gps track and finding the stops.
 
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Thanks guys, im pretty sure we will find both the cave now and the oven. Hey its sad to say but the KLX is gone, she provided me with alot of great memories: once to junction and cloudcroft and 4 Mexico rides and even to a local MX track where I finally learned to make some jumps etc. and hrs of fun riding with my boy on the tank. Farewell Kawi...
 
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Time to update the signature then. ;)
yup i meant to do it earlier but my wife left to denver today for work until wednesday, and my 10 yr old boy and 9 month baby girl required my attention. I enjoyed visiting ur blog briefly. Read up on ur new drz and on visiting mt helens. Ive been there twice and hiked the summit last time.
 
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Rich, we can probably find it from looking at the point log of your gps track and finding the stops.
Here's what I copied from the GPS: N24 31.162 W99 53.539

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Wow did not know it was that close to Pablillo. I bet someone in that town could shed light on the structure.
You know.....wishful thinking here.....but Nuevo Leon is supposed to be the capitol of roasted goat, cabrito, however you want to call it....but the only place I've been where roasted goat is a specialty is El Mason Principal on the east side of Saltillo. I could live on this stuff alone with a cold Guyamas. Seriously ! Just hoping that brick pit is for roasting meat !

I'd be willing to bet, and I'll have crisp Pesos ready, if one of these ranchers would prepare us a couple of traditional roasted goats. If we could find a few Gentes will to do this I would regularly visit them and bring them useful gifts from Estados Unidos. Just throwin that out there......

Carry on with your story Richard, I've been hangin on all weekend ✌?
 
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In our last episode, the Furious Five, having conquered the Arroyo of Despair and arrived mostly intact at the village of Milpillas for refreshments and merriment, are now ready for the 2nd half of the day's adventure. We saddled our steel horses and set out south for Aramberri.

Way back in 2007, 25 riders gathered in Galeana to conduct the initial recon for the first MexTrek. Our goal was to split into small groups and ride the different routes that would ultimately make it into the ride guide and form the basis for the MexTrek rally.

During that recon, Uncle and two other riders explored the route we were riding today. Upon returning to Galeana Uncle cursed at me for sending him on that route. He said stuff like, "if we crossed that dang (except he didn't say dang) river once, we crossed it 30 times", "I am never riding that again", and "You owe me beer. Lots of beer."

I've always wondered about this route. And today was the day I was going to find out exactly what was what.

Off we went.
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"Hmmm...this seems okay."
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Then we reached the river. And, sure enough, if we crossed it once, we crossed it 30 times.

But, truthfully, it wasn't a big deal. Maybe the water level was lower than when Uncle went through here 10 years ago. Or maybe it seemed easier because I was riding a bike that weighted less than half the one he was riding back then. Whatever the reason, the route was fine. I would do it again. Even on a big bike. As long as the water wasn't unreasonably high.

A few miles later we popped out on pavement and rode the remaining distance to Aramberri at a bit more than legal speeds.

Once in town we tried to check into the hotel but there was a short delay. Somebody bought some cold beer that we enjoyed while waiting for the room situation to be sorted out. Finally, after getting the rooms squared away, JT decided to go for a dip in the pool. However, a spiral staircase got in the way, resulting in a gash to his head. He still got in the pool, except now his reason for doing so was to wash the blood out of his eyes.
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Luckily, in the immortal words of Monte Python, "It was only a flesh wound". Once Doug had stemmed the flow of blood and it we were sure JT was going to live, we set out in search of supper.

Aramberri is a sleepy little town that gets even quieter on Sunday evening. Just when it seemed like every eating place in town was closed, we located Pollo Asado Ortiz - i.e. Ortiz's Grilled Chicken.
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We asked Pat (refer to Saturday Night Live for more info on Pat) if we could eat, but Pat said there was no food cooked.

"Well, can you cook some food for us? We don't mind waiting."
"Okay, but it will take an hour."
"That's fine. We will watch English tv dubbed in Spanish and drink beer while we wait."

Pat got busy grilling chicken and sausage for us.
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Pat on (your) right, Zeke in the middle, and helper guy (sorry, I didn't get his name) on the left.
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The beer was cold, the chicken was good, and we were happy to have a hot meal.
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With our bellies full, we wandered back to the hotel for a bit more beer (and tequila). Tired from the day's struggles, I called it an early night.
 
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Pat got busy grilling chicken and sausage for us.
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Pat on (your) right, Zeke in the middle, and helper guy (sorry, I didn't get his name) on the left.
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The beer was cold, the chicken was good, and we were happy to have a hot meal.
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With our bellies full, we wandered back to the hotel for a bit more beer (and tequila). Tired from the day's struggles, I called it an early night.
DANG IT!!
 
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The helper's name must have been Chris (just like Pat-not sure whats goin on there) BUT DANG they both can grill some orange chican and are mighty handy with their sausages. And the truth is there was no other eatery open, they were our last option but Ken and Doug winked their way into their kind hearts to reopen the grill for some 1 HR chican while the cervezas kept on coming while Rocky 2 was on the tube.

Following JT down that riverbed is top on my bucketlist memories that I really cant wait for a repeat one day soon in the near future.

Trailboss lead from behind taking great photos, documenting every angle, and making sure no one was left behind. Its a pleasure riding with Rich. The feeling I got of being enveloped in extraordinary scenery, fear of bottomless cliffsides, experiencing a true adventure and apart of a crack team of explorers, I would see the same in Rich's smile and thumbs up at every turn.

Cowboy Ken and his six shooter was always there to help out, make fun of your fall and put you back on the saddle of your mule. Thanks Ken, I will ride with you again every chance I get.

Doug and his mid fives (not a low, not a high five) made this Mex Adv a reality for me. Gracias mi hermano. Nor change of plans, nor flat tires, nor JT specials, nor thunderstorms, nor chican coops, nor slick switchbacks, nor muddy falls, nor oily pavement falls, nor missing turns, nor unsavory roach motels, kept Doug from delivering Zeke back to his wife and kids.

Those are some real Furious Four riders !!
 
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Yes Sir, a Sincere thanks to all of you guys. One of the best trips in my memory. I learned alot...again...from everyone.

Seems like I always bring home some new gear changes, adjustments, buy a few new tools, change up my load, Consider getting a different bike....You learn from emulating other successful people.

These guys promised Epic and failed me not.

Nice people scare me. I love riding with adventurers that will never miss an opportunity to rib you, laugh at you, make fun of you, impose drinking penalties for screwing up....but promptly and willingly help you out of a jam and share tried and true experience to help you out. You can't buy that stuff at any price.

Thank you Richard for the very cool pictures and expert travel blog.

Estoy muy agradacido !
 
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It's Monday - Labor Day back in the states but just another day in Mexico. Today, three of us (JT, Ken, and I) began heading back towards Texas. Doug and Zeke don't have to be back home until Tuesday.

But we weren't going to just ride pavement to the border - no, that would be too boring. We had time for some fun riding through the mountains first before making the trek east across the coastal plains to Mission.

With high spirits we headed north by northeast on a route that I had never ridden before. JT has ridden it and I've heard about it but before today hadn't had the opportunity. Here is our planned route from Aramberri to Linares via Mainero.
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We had managed to avoid rain during this trip, however it had rained overnight and while it was not currently raining the trail was quite muddy. Not good. Within a few hundred yards our knobby tires were slicks and traction mostly vanished, with the expected bike drops and slow progress.
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Things got sticky enough (pun intended) that we had to make a decision early on - keep riding or turn back. We were making painfully slow progress and more rain was threatening. If it rained on us, the mud would get 1000x worse. On the other hand, JT assured us that up ahead the dirt gave way to rock. While wet rocks can be quite slick, that is infinitely better than mud.

We all eyed each other - nobody wanted to be the one to say "let's turn back". I spoke up, "We can do. Let's keep going." So we did.

And it turned out that the mud we had already been through was the worst of it. The dirt soon turned to rock and the rain held off until we were out of the mountains.

Still, we dropped our bikes in the mud a few more times to appease the Rain Gods.
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One more centimeter and that bikes is going over...

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Yah, rocks.
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An hour beyond the mud the road began to improve, a sure sign we were approaching civilization. The fun riding was nearly over.
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In Mainero, we stopped at Aborrotes Don Beto again (we stopped here on Saturday on our way west to Camarones) for some refreshments and to admire Doug's hard won coat of mud.
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From here we said goodbye to Doug and Zeke and JT, Ken and I rode pavement to Linares and on to Texas. On the freeway to Linares it rained on us harder than I've ever been rained on while on the bike. Our speeds dropped as visibility nearly disappeared. Sorry, no pics - my camera isn't that waterproof.

Luckily, after 30 minutes of rain, we found dry weather that persisted all the way back to Texas.

Final thoughts: It was a fine trip with good friends and fun riding. I was happy to fill in some significant holes in my personal Galeana area riding resume. If you have ever wanted to ride some of the abandoned roads we took during this trip, I recommend doing so as soon as you can. They will soon be overgrown and likely impassable.

Thanks for reading. :)
 
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Awesome job Rich, and as soon as I get myself to a computer that will allow me to post my pics to this ride report, I will finish off me and Doug's final 2 days from Maniero back to Galeana then to Cadereyta via Arteaga, Los Lirios, Laguna de Sanchez, Cola de Caballo. Please be patient since this will be my first rodeo filling in a ride report. Thanks for watching: same twt station, same twt channel.
 
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Thanks for pictures.Riding with You vicariously


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http://www.richgibbens.com/Adventure/Motorcycle-Adventure/Mexico-Sep-2017/i-dsn7J4T/A

Back to our first day on Saturday, Doug and I rode from the border to Galeana via Montemorelos and Rayones. We found this palapa up on a hill looking over the riverbed that is just past the long bridge near Rayones. So we detoured off the main paved road and up the side of the hill, riding past a small house below thinking they are probably the caretakers which they did turn out to be because within 5 mins, we were being asked what we doing. In the end after a nice chat, we could hangout there as long as we liked and with a future invite to camp under the palapa whenever we were back that way. The only requirement was that we bring the gentleman some cold beer.
 
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Well guys ive confirmed with my mexican buddy that the mystery igloo is officially for making charcoal like the coke ovens. We should create our own scooby doo adv gang cuz we good at solvin mysteries.
 
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Well guys ive confirmed with my mexican buddy that the mystery igloo is officially for making charcoal like the coke ovens. We should create our own scooby doo adv gang cuz we good at solvin mysteries.





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Pat on (your) right, Zeke in the middle, and helper guy (sorry, I didn't get his name) on the left.
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The beer was cold, the chicken was good, and we were happy to have a hot meal.

Nice ride report and great pictures as usual. I'm disappointed I won't be making it down there this year, but I'm pleased to say that I've already had the pleasure of a good chicken meal prepared by those folks. Maybe I can get together with a smaller crew and get some seconds next year.
 
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Nice ride report and great pictures as usual. I'm disappointed I won't be making it down there this year, but I'm pleased to say that I've already had the pleasure of a good chicken meal prepared by those folks. Maybe I can get together with a smaller crew and get some seconds next year.
you still have 2 weeks to get there!
 
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Sugar Land, TX
It is the amazing writing and photography skills highlighted in this thread that made me venture outside my bubble and head into Mexico for Mextrek #2. Thanks again for making me recall my father's German lullaby, probably the only song he ever sang to me...

I want to go a wandering,
along the mountain track.
And as I go I love to sing,
my knapsack on my back!
Val-deri,Val-dera,
Val-deri,
Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Val-deri,Val-dera.
My knapsack on my back.
 
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