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Cuatro Viejos and Hooliah too...

Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
366
Location
Austin, Tx
Will someone get us to Aramberi ?
Ok, I will.
.

John and RG explained their 2 hr disappearance with an unlikely story about the KLR falling off the road and down the hill.
I think RG needs to do a little splanin' here.... :trust:

I visited the house I spent the night in back some 5 years ago. Here's the Link to that story
Here's a video of Milton reconnecting with the family that helped him out some five years back. The neighbors were having a heck of a good time:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scH1BTvBZiY&list=UUhsiAJH_rMQJf4SXPWoyYpA&index=6"]Mexico 2012 Milton Visiting Friends - YouTube[/ame]
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,302
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
El Dia Quatro (you know…4)

Day four: A hefty snort and jolly good chuckle with ancient spirits of the Sierra Madre.

Galeana... It’s just right.” Kinda sounds like something the local chamber could have printed on milk cartons. Folks there take pride in their community. Some older blokes were out pretty early sweeping the square. I asked one gentleman if this was their job. “Oh yes! Every morning at 7:30 we come to clean.” Seemed like more than just a job to him.


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Ommar…cool little kid and a great story by StingRay. Just when you think it’s all about the riding… :mrgreen:

I went over to their church to get a picture. They were holding services and the place was packed. A small family waited just outside open doors…so I joined them. Sounded like the priest was up there saying something about how he could beat anybody in a game of dominoes. :rofl:After a quick word of thanks to the Almighty it was time to hit the trail.


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Still a wee bit cool out there knocking holes in the wind that morning, but not for long. Now, you’ll notice I don’t have many pictures to share for this day and there’s a good reason. This was a rip running kick *** motorcycle riding day…and that’s hard to mix with stopping for picts. Especially for the weak and undisciplined. :oops: Much thanks to the crew for helping out with their awesome picts and vids to bring it all together. :thumb:


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See, we got to this canyon…and it was a little rough…high walls…loose gravel…:drool: lots of big rocks…stream running down the middle :drool: over-hanging moss covered trees, jumps and ledges :drool: with nothing more than an occasional faint cattle trail suggesting where to lay down some tracks. :drool: Are you feeling me here folks? This thing bordered on wildly erotic fantasy and we just won’t slaughter any more innocent pixels trying to describe it. :-D


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OK…we stopped at the entrance…like for a freakin eternity. :loco: Moments ticking away…irretrievably wasted into the dark blackness of the cosmos. :headbang: I could take no more…it would be a harsh slap against nature and all benevolent aspects of the universe to arrogantly ignore this any longer. :storm: There’s this telepathy thing that sometimes happens. I look at JT and he nods his head…hardly noticeable...really subtly. :dude: I’m gone Bubba! Me and this bike gotta dance. Adios! :dude:


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I won’t even try to describe it. Let’s just say when I finally stopped it should have been to lay back and smoke a cigarette. :trust:

:rider: :rider: :rider: :rider: :rider: :rider: :rider: :rider: :rider: :rider:

Cool little shrine out here in the belly button of nowhere.


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StingRay playing a 690 like a fine instrument...while keeping his toes dry, of course.


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Meeltone cruising along grinning from ear to ear…


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Have you ever just wanted to turn around, run it from the other direction and then do it all over again? :rider:

Yep…me too.

We made it on down the trail…into some remoteness again.


Eventually seeing signs of humanity...or some remarkably talented livestock.


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Looks like some folks are gathering up building materials…pretty sure you don’t just call up the local lumber yard for this adobe stuff in this part of the world.


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We made it into a little pueblo…Sunday afternoon…Life’s moving slow and timid like the green stained waters of an east Texas bayou…and just as colorful.


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We may as well have dropped out of the sky among these folks. Guarded curiosity works in both directions.


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Later, the road to Arambari.


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Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
Past Milpillas, past Caballada, on the way to Aramberi, the back way
The big mountain in back, I figure is Pena Nevada


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CeeBee

Inactive Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
308
Location
Magnolia, TX
Well of course he did, Chuck.
He didn't have any cokes at his house though, but he led us to the coolest little beer garden you can imagine.
I was trying to convince the guys to let him put us up in one of his cabanas.

Do you remember this?
Milpillas%20arroyo-L.jpg
Sure do -- ALOT of fun!!! Wish I got a pic of your face when you asked that guy for directions for the forth time and he kept saying arroyo-- then you turned to me and asked "what is an arroyo" like I could change the meaning. :rofl: It was an excellent ride :rider:
 

CeeBee

Inactive Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
308
Location
Magnolia, TX
Chuck, that's what it was!
Sangria, Lime and Tequila. Sounds like a good title for a country song eh? We did eat dinner at the General while in Galeana but didn't have any of the tripple shots although I did tell the story :mrgreen:

They have since taken down the sombrereos so there will never be another one of these: (pict from 2009 Mextrek)

Good times that I'll never forget
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
We made it into a little pueblo…Sunday afternoon…Life’s moving slow and timid like the green stained waters of an east Texas bayou…and just as colorful.

PC290315.jpg



We may as well have dropped out of the sky among these folks. Guarded curiosity works in both directions.

PC290313.jpg
Very kool, Gregory
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
Wish I got a pic of your face when you asked that guy for directions for the forth time and he kept saying arroyo-- then you turned to me and asked "what is an arroyo" like I could change the meaning. :rofl:
:lol2: He would never use the word "road". He always called it arroyo. I just didn't get it. .: :rider: :lol2:
I kept asking, the road is IN the arroyo?
And he'd answer, the road IS the arroyo.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
Mayo has been a source of local information for years.
His father (the dentist) smiles from the bench.
I'm guessing the girl must be Mayo's daughter. I think he introduced me.
Aramberi, NL
Scott's photo

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Work truck
Aramberi, NL

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Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
7,032
Location
T'orndale!
John and RG explained their 2 hr disappearance with an unlikely story about the KLR falling off the road and down the hill.

Hey, what happened here, anyway?
Lucy; jus' gimme me 5 minutes to 'splain!! :lol2:
I bet he was hunting hogs......near a bridge or something...;-)
 

JT

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
1,575
Location
Elgin
John and RG explained their 2 hr disappearance with an unlikely story about the KLR falling off the road and down the hill.

Hey, what happened here, anyway?
Well, since Greg's not here to answer, I will. He pulled up to the clearing where the 3 main roads came together along with all the side trails of the little community and stopped. I came up behind him and after we sat a few minutes he asked if we were going straight ahead. I said I think so and he took off. He was gone by the time I realized I was wrong, but he didn't have his radio on. I tried to chase him down, but he had a few minutes head start. He had stopped about 3 miles up the road and parked on the shoulder. The bike was leaning a little too upright and I don't know if the wind got it or what, but it fell over to the right into the ditch right before I pulled up. I helped him pick it up and get it moving out of the ditch, we geared up and started back to the
corner. About halfway back, Scott and I talked on the radios and he said he and Milton would continue down the road. Greg and I had gone all of 3 miles the wrong way, it took a total of 29 minutes, not 2 hours, 8 minutes of which was getting the bike up and turned around.

detour-XL.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
1,017
Location
Austin, TX
El Dia Quatro (you know…4)

Day four: A hefty snort and jolly good chuckle with ancient spirits of the Sierra Madre.

Galeana... It’s just right.” Kinda sounds like something the local chamber could have printed on milk cartons. Folks there take pride in their community. Some older blokes were out pretty early sweeping the square. I asked one gentleman if this was their job. “Oh yes! Every morning at 7:30 we come to clean.” Seemed like more than just a job to him.
I agree. I was always impressed at how much pride they took ensuring the square was spotless.

2010-MexTrek241.jpg


Always good eatin' here!!

2010-MexTrek119.jpg
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,302
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
El Dia Cuatro - Mas (you know…4 +)


Day four: A hefty snort and jolly good chuckle with ancient spirits of the Sierra Madre.


Let’s see…ahh yes, the canyon run. Good stuff by any measure.

Truth in advertising clause
: Loaded KLR, a looong way from any kind of medical help ( not counting the local curandero with his/her leaches, chants, snakes and potions ), no reasonable means of extraction and maps that are mostly an approximation...

Kinda gives further consideration for that minor little insurance clause dealing with eventual “repatriation of mortal remains.”

So, just how enthusiastically do we want to romp and stomp through this thing? :deal:



spirits.jpg




We made it past the super cool canyon ( arroyo ) and back onto a dirt road. They use some type of rock for roads and the dust from this stuff hangs in the air like a mist. It’ll infiltrate the slightest opening in your equipment. I was missing a ¼” vent screw on one saddlebag and the thing was loaded with dust after the day. :rant:



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All of us are dust phobic so when terrain allows we stretch out from each other and hope a breeze or earth’s rotation will move some of it out of the way. This road was bad and the hills and trees just weren’t letting any breeze move around.

I pulled up to JT at an intersection and checked the track on my GPS. I told him that I’d buzz on up the road and put some distance between us. And buzz I did. :pirate:

After what seemed like a pretty good run, I came around a curve in the road to find an old Ford truck parked in the middle. :shock: OK…just another day in Mexico. Then, I saw an older lady on the far side of an arroyo tending to a little shrine – the things are all over. Looked like a good place to stop and let the others catch up. And besides, I wanted to respectfully ask the lady about all these silly shrines.



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On seeing me, the lady quickly finished her prayers and made a beeline for the truck. Guess the Darth Vader on a bike look hasn’t caught on around there yet. Go figure... :shrug: Anyway, I went over to check out the shrine after they’d left.



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Seemed like it was taking an awful long time for the crew to come along so I went over to a shady ledge beside the road and set down to enjoy a few crackers ( *lunch* ) while waiting. It was such a tranquil spot. I took a quick snap of the noble steed and that shrine in the background just to commemorate the occasion.



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As per proper TWT training, I’d parked the KLR as far to side of the road as possible. :patriot:

Just after I took this pict and finished another yummy cracker, I finally heard a bike far in the distance…faint at first but slowly growing louder. Friends on the way…all was well. :zen:

Just sitting there on that ledge, chomping away on those crackers, admiring the image of my bike and the background…when suddenly and ever so slowly, the bike starts to lean toward the arroyo. :eek2: The visual was all in ultraslow motion. It leans farther…I’m 20 yards away sitting on my…it gradually gains momentum and finally crashes with a loud crunch and an impressive cloud of dust…into the arroyo. :brainsnap

I’m still sitting there slowly processing what my eyes are sending. This makes no sense! I’ve been here a good five minutes plus, there is no breeze…we'll assume gravity is still being its usual persistent menace…and I can’t see my bike anymore!!! :shock: System overload…ctrl + alt + del. :twitch:

I’m still rebooting when I hear faint snickering and chuckles coming from the direction of that silly shrine. Hmmm... About the time I’m ready to hit the reset switch, JT comes zipping around the curve and sees my bike…or what’s left of it. :eek:

See, we’d been getting a lot of radio noise coming through the canyon and I’d turned mine off to see if it was the one causing the commotion. He’d been calling, I’d been missing - and now – here’s my bike lying in a ditch with its tires pointed skyward…and I’m nowhere to be seen…sobbing in the shadows. :tears:

You can appreciate his concern... :haha: :hack:

Which, in this instance, was for a bottle of Cabrito tequila I was carrying in the saddlebag that hit the ground. :argh:

OK…ok…to be fair, we were both deeply concerned as to its safety and well being. :pray:

We managed to right the bike and get her back up on the road. This would NEVER have happened without JT’s help. :hail: My helmet - on the handlebar -took most of the abuse and the bike had earned a few more battle scars but was good to go. Hey, it’s a KLR...what can you break that would really show?

Oh, and the Cabrito? :cool2: :bigokay:


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And that’s…the rest of the story! :dude:


:) Doncha just love a happy ending? :)


Next, step back in time along the trail to Dr Arroyo.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,700
Location
Huntsville
:tab RG, I think your camera slightly over exposes the images. I don't know which camera you are using, but most have a setting where you can set an exposure compensation (higher or lower) that will then apply to all shots. I would suggest setting yours 1/3 stop down, maybe 2/3 at most. This is what I have to do for my little Canon SD00. The images won't be as washed out and the colors will be more saturated. You just have to experiment with the setting in the camera to get what you like. Once set, forget it and shoot away.

:tab Awesome report and pics (even RG's :-P). It sure makes me want to get down their and explore!
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
We settle on staying in Aramberi.
Check into the Maria Luisa Hotel.
We ride our bikes around the back into the inner courtyard, with motel style rooms alongside a defunct swimming pool.
This must have been a sweet spot some years ago. Now it is only marginally functional. A ghost of itself. A big new hotel right next door.

Aramberi is a fairly swell place, but nothing quite beats the ambience of Galeana.
We explore the plaza and eventually take up the search for food.

Feria time in Aramberi.
Aramberi%20feria%2C%20Scott%27s-L.jpg
Yep, Scott's photo.

I know there are some acceptable restaurants in town, but for the moment I can’t find them. Scott and I are hankering for a good burger and try a joint advertizing such. RG and John opt for more Mexican traditional tacos.

The burger joint is more or less an expanded private home on the street corner. Its living room serving as something like a fast food restaurant. The teenage daughters had to run out and find buns, but in the end the burgers were surprisingly delicious. Scott ate two.

Now that's a good burger
Aramberi%20burger%2C%20Scott%27s-L.jpg
Another Scott photo.

That night I had a craving for fruit juice or something or the other and set out in search, but the town was locked down tight. Upon arriving JT had had a legitimate concern about the booming noise/music emanating from some of the street vendors’ stereo systems. When I expressed our concern to the hotel owner, a local dentist, he assured me that when night fell, and the cold set in, all the vendors would close up and there would be no more noise. I had to chuckle because here it was 10:30 pm and there is a full fledged teenage party just getting cranked up right in the restaurant of our very hotel. Complete with booming music and occasional squeals.

No complaints from our crew however. I think everyone slept well.

Hotel Maria Luisa, Aramberi
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This is the wood burning boiler, our hot water heater, in Aramberi.
Actually this set-up is fairly common for this area.

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Our hosts in Aramberi. The good doctor and his wife, Maria Luisa.
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Joined
Feb 9, 2004
Messages
14
Location
San Angelo, Tx
Hey Meeltone,
I remember when I accompanied you on the route scouting ride around El Viejo and we went through Aramberri on the way there. Remember the lightning storm? About 11:00 P.M. when we make it back to Galeana. It was a good day.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
Hey Jimmy. Yes thought about that night. Went by the same baseball dugout where I weathered a part of that storm. Or maybe that was a bull ring. Anyway.... saw where I waited out the storm. What a day that was.
(Couldn't locate the pizza joint, however. Maybe the feds caught up with him.)
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
Hey Meeltone,
I remember when I accompanied you on the route scouting ride around El Viejo and we went through Aramberri on the way there. Remember the lightning storm? About 11:00 P.M. when we make it back to Galeana. It was a good day.
Hey Jimmy. Yes thought about that night. Went by the same baseball dugout where I weathered a part of that storm. Or maybe that was a bull ring. Anyway.... saw where I waited out the storm. What a day that was.
(Couldn't locate the pizza joint, however. Maybe the feds caught up with him.)
Here is a link to that adventure.
The Hail Storm
or, that day from the beginning
Exploring El Viejo, Mextrek 2010
 

JT

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
1,575
Location
Elgin
The start of the aroyyo to Milpillas,
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The hotel in Aramberri,
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I bet you didn't know Firestone made flower pots?
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Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
Here's a little background
This is the road to Rufugio, leading out of Zaragoza. No MexTrekers have been up this road either. Does it lead to Miquihuana???
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June 2010
According to Mapsource/Bicimaps, Yes.
That, would be interesting.
Jared and Scott were all jazzed to head that way but got side tracked somehow.
Yeah we were planning to do that on Sunday but Jarrett tweaked his knee the day before so thought we'd better hold off until next time.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,302
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
El Dia Cinco (yep…5)


A ride into the sky.


Aramberri was a cool place to be. They had a fun holiday festival going on and plenty of young folks running around having a hoot. When the hotel guy said he’d have to go start the water heater, I had no idea we were talking about chopping some kindling and stoking up a good fire. Hey, the thing works right well…eventually. Takes some careful communication and coordination for a hot shower.



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Next morning JT and I went for an early walk around town when things were just starting to stir. We met an older chap out for his morning walk and asked him about all the trees that looked kinda like avocado plants. Yep, avocado trees. The things are everywhere. He said they harvest from June to August. We also happened onto another hotel down by the river that looks ideal for hosting larger groups. ;-)


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The church in Aramberri. All quite traditional.



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This tree (pine ?) was growing in the church yard. Looks almost prehistoric.



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This would be a long day of some great riding.

The road out of Aramberri runs along the river. It’s a good road with avocado and pecan orchards dotting the landscape along the way. We were headed south toward Zaragoza and quickly back into remote mountains.



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Zaragoza is not a large place and finding gas can be a matter of knowing the right spot to stop. This is the first full service gas station I’ve been to in many years where I didn't have pump my own gas.



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Think the place must double as the local auto repair company too...drive up curb service.



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Finding our way out of town took some creative interpretation with street signs. Can someone kindly help with just what the heck you're supposed to do here?



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Once out of town, the mountains start pretty quick on this trail and the climb goes up for a long while and many miles. The KLR is jetted for sea level and this is about when I first noticed the ole pig starting to wheeze on some thin mountain air.



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We’d first climb into beautiful high mountain terrain and stay at elevation for a big part of the day. Toward evening, we'd finally drop down into the desert making our way to Dr Arroyo. It would be a full day and we’d later see a long stretch of the desert in our headlights.



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Lots of very cool country along the way with several good switchbacks and some rugged climbs to deal with thrown in. The crew was working with loaded top heavy bikes by now like it was no problem at all and we moved along.

The air was getting noticeably cooler as we climbed. Down right chilly as we went over the top.

Near the highest point, we began seeing this type of tree. Most were just growing scattered along the road and in the valleys. Others were lined up in rows as an orchard. No idea what they are but the leaves are white and the bark is dark gray to black. Really stand out in the landscape.



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Next, an end to a trail and a redemption of the human spirit.


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Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
This is the first full service gas station I’ve been to in many years where I didn't have pump my own gas.
PC300335.jpg


Think the place must double as the local auto repair company too...drive up curb service.
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What a riot. They really were doing some engine repair on this fully loaded pickup.



Can someone kindly help with just what the heck you're supposed to do here?
PC300365.jpg
That's easy. Monterrey straight ahead. No parking or turning. It's ok to go straight or back the way you came.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Messages
2,311
Location
West of Waco.
Jeez. These pics really have me thinking about a little detour. Specifically, down everything but the arroyo sections. How many of these roads south of Galeana are "big bike friendly"?
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,302
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
:tab RG, I think your camera slightly over exposes the images. I don't know which camera you are using, but most have a setting where you can set an exposure compensation (higher or lower) that will then apply to all shots. I would suggest setting yours 1/3 stop down, maybe 2/3 at most. This is what I have to do for my little Canon SD00. The images won't be as washed out and the colors will be more saturated. You just have to experiment with the setting in the camera to get what you like. Once set, forget it and shoot away.

:tab Awesome report and pics (even RG's :-P). It sure makes me want to get down their and explore!
Thanks Scott. Mudclod put me onto this camera. That oughta explain plenty :)

Cameras just never have lasted long enough for me to worry about tinkering with them...until I got this one. It's an Olympus Stylus Tough...and it must be pretty durable. It's made a good many trips and still works like new. I've heard the things will actually take good picts if you tinker with them a little. I've just been so traumatized by the short lived camera syndrome that getting overly attached to one hasn't been a problem. Guess me and this thing better spend a little quality time together in tinker mode.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,302
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
Jeez. These pics really have me thinking about a little detour. Specifically, down everything but the arroyo sections. How many of these roads south of Galeana are "big bike friendly"?
That's always a tough question for me to feel good about answering. We've all probably heard folks who'll tell someone "Sure...no problem. Easy stuff." When the trail is actually small bike challenging and that's with a skilled rider at the helm. I won't do that.

The roads we traveled are mostly good dirt/gravel roads that would be fun on an r1200gs. Doable stuff if you can handle tight switchbacks in loose gravel, steep climbs that require uphill stops and starts and avoiding suicidal livestock. Some of them will work you pretty good on a heavier bike. Richard's Mextrek book has some info on difficulty. *I've been astonished at how a trail can change from one year to the next, too.* Meeltone, Stingray and JT are all very capable riders and have spent more time there...this was my first trip to the area. I should probably sit quietly to the side and let them speak from their experience.

All of this has to be put into a context of bad things possibly happening where no reasonable expectation of rescue or medical help is available. You are on your own out there...don't screw up.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Messages
2,311
Location
West of Waco.
Yeah. I understand. I have had my own experience with a "Class 2" Mexican road. Dang near killed me. On a KLR. A 22 inch rain can change a road. lol. Or maybe we were just lost. It was impassable with giant rock ledges.



But sure am enjoying this report. Getting me pumped for our slightly further south adventure.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,302
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
El Dia Cinco - Mas (yep…5 +)


Over the Top and into the desert




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Our goal was traveling over the high country and ending up in Dr Arroyo for the night. Easy enough - by a number of well-known paths. BUT…. JT had spotted a faint little line on the satellite image. There just might be an unexplored trail through the mountains… and that’ll put our antennas in high gain mode every time. It looked like something we surely needed to investigate. (Repeat the mantra – “We can always turn around”). It wouldn’t be the first time. :nono:



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The satellite image showed a trail might be accessible from the south end of El Refugio, a medium size pueblo at the end of a road, high in the mountains.

El Refugio is not large and we’d noticed in our journeys that having enough folks living together in one area to call a pueblo didn’t necessarily mean they lived with any greater appreciable affluence than those solitary families living in the remotest escondidoes.



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Not sure if the poster on this house is of the guy in charge of urban renewal programs or just some random minor local politico wannabe. Seems that every aspiring politico poster we saw had three essential elements – a widely grinning chap, a handsome mustache and a white straw hat. Message: No hat, no stach…don’t even bother filing. :deal:



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This fellow had just dropped a load of fire wood he carried in on his back to his house. Guess that’s part of the daily ritual here for cooking and staying warm.



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StingRay’s heart is even bigger than his shoe size and people, like Omar in Galeana, are just naturally drawn to him. I sneaked a picture of him sharing with this family. :clap:



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Dad, lad and pup came out to visit while we rested in the shade of a friendly tree.



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The El Refugio independent school district…a little shy of being 5 A but no less proud.



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These are some very special pigs. Now please understand, I’ve hung around :bow: a certain agricultural college in Brazos county :bow: long enough to know these things. They are the butt UGLIEST pigs that mankind has ever contrived to domesticate in the entire history of pigdom. :eek:

I mean, there has to have been generation upon generations of careful genetic selection to refine the ugliness gene to such profound expression. There is simply no possible way that this degree of pig ugliness could ever be achieved through random happenstance nor the process of natural selection. :miffed:

I suggest - that without swift, determined and continuous human intervention the lineage would have been terminated immediately by the first mama pig that lovingly gazed down on her brood and saw progeny looking this way. She’d eat them…they do that sort of thing. :eek2:



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You’ll notice a wooden yoke secured to each of the pig’s neck. Just think about it…the poor creature has to look at its own reflection in the water dish first thing each morning. This simple yoke prevents them from immediately charging headlong through the stockman’s fence and violently throwing themselves off the nearest cliff…mercifully ending their ravaged lives of horror and shame.



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Alright, let’s get back on the trail. :wave:

See, just past these poor unfortunate and menacingly ugly creatures was the end of the road we were looking for. It just ended and became a dirt “road” running out between some small corn fields.

We had stopped several times along the way to ask folks where the elusive trail might be found. :confused:

First person: “What trail?”

Second person: “Umm…well, it ain’t really a trail.”

Third person: “OK, go down this road till you see the world’s most butt ugliest pigs and hang a right.”

Forth through sixth persons
: “Are y’all out of your minds? You ain’t going down that trail on those crazy machines! A foolish donkey can't make it on a good day. Even my neighbor’s stupid horse has better sense than to try that.” :wary:

Hmm…sounds like fun eh? OK, now we surely have to find this thing. :thumb:

And so...Off we go…past the tragically malformed ugliest piggies, out between the corn fields. The road narrows and becomes washed out ruts between two fences. We picked up the pace. :rider:

We come to a fork in the trail…one side leading to a big shady oak tree, the other going off toward the mountains. Here we choose up teams to see who gets to go sit under the shade tree and eat crackers and who wants to charge off hoping to go find the edge of the known world.

*The adventurers plan on summoning the troops on our radios if we find something.*

JT and I ride up the trail...maybe a mile, to a small narrow wooden gate. It's just wide enough for us to wiggle our bikes through.

We start climbing on an off camber hillside trail…oh it’s getting good now. :trust:

The trail narrows and becomes a seldom used cattle trail with twists and humps and lots of loose fun stuff. There's a blue mountainous view over the horizon that’s spectacular.

We keep going UNTIL…



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The narrative continues...


OK…can everyone make it past this?


Sure. Heck, we can ride up the hill a little and get around it if need be.

Hmmm…let’s park the bikes here and take a little stroll over this ridge... Just to see how this trail develops.



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Looks like the right side gets kinda rough and then fizzles out. Left side looks pretty good though.




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Kinda narrow along here but we can make it.



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Don’t wanna get too close to that edge or off balance through this spot but we can do it.



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Wow! This thing gets really narrow and falls off the side of this mountain down into that valley.

Aw heck! Look at those switchbacks…man, you’ll have to stuff the front wheel into the apex and throttle the back tire around to even change direction.

Shoot! These things are made of loose kitty litter. I can’t even walk down here without grabbing onto something. It would take a gopher in four wheel drive to make it down these things.



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Hey, don't those things have some really sharp pointy ends on them down there?


Well if we had our little bikes we could do it.


Yeah…maybe those and cell service…and someone on the other end of 911…and EMS folks sitting around playing dominoes just waiting for some bozo to get in over his head…and maps that actually have this place on them…oh, and anyone who understands GPS coordinates…in English!

OK…ok…let’s call the guys and tell them we’re on our way back.


Radio transmissions begins…

Oy! Meeltone, StingRay. The trail fizzles out. We’re headed back. Over…

OK…Hey, there’s some guys with guns coming towards us. Over…

Guns??? Over…

Yeah! Stand by. Over…

Hey, can you leave your mike keyed so we’ll know if we should head back that way or take our chances with this hill? Over…

Silence…more silence…Then we hear a gunshot come from their
direction
.


JT and I look at each other and then back down at the switchbacks.

You good with this?

Sure…looks like fun. Want me to lead?


Radio breaks…

Wow! These guys just shot a squirrel right through the eyes with one shot! Awsome! Over…

Uhhh…y’all OK down there? Over…


Yeah sure we are! Come on down. Over…

Well…OK…but first, who won the World Series last year? Over…


WHAT? Oh…no, really we’re good. These guys are cool. Hey, we’re going to ride on into town and wait for y’all there. Over…

Silence…more silence…

Radio breaks again…


OK…hey this is really cool. The lady here just asked us if we want some fresh cheecherones. Over…

No kiddin? Where y’all at? Over…

You know, the place with the menacingly butt ugliest pigs. Over…

Oooo…don’t eat those cheecherones! We’re on our way down. Over and out!



Next, the ancient ritual of sharing bread.




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Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
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Austin
Chicerones en El Refugio
(Yet another shamless raid into Stingray's photo cache)

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Actually more like tacos and tamales as I remember.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
The 5th day marked the high point of the trip for me in both a literal and reflective sense.

When we left that morning our goal was to ride up to the infamous El Refugio, or the Refuge. Now every few years or so I hear talk of a connection between El Refugio and the land on the other side of the pass, El Aserradero (the Sawmill), Marcela, Valle Hermoso (Beautiful Valley) (hey, that sounds nice) and Miquihuana (say: Mickey WHA nah). Only trouble is, that talk is always from map-cursed Gringos. Ain’t never heard once, even one time in 8 years of asking, a Mexican tell me there was a connection. That being said if there were ever a man to lead us thru such uncharted territory, it were John (“Tracker”) (JT) Thompson. He led me thru the Sierra del Carmen back in 2011;
he is a GPS maestro with a true sense of adventure and a good measure of perseverance. :hail:

Map check, Aramberi
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So El Refugio has always been this mystery spot on the map of the Sierras south of Monterrey. ‘Cept now we're getting closer to Ciudad Victoria and Matehuala than Monterrey. So this is my reason for being here. A way to make up for my indecision in flying to Peru. If there is a way thru El Refugio, I want to be one of the first.

El mapa
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Looking at this map you can see how optimistic we were.

Dang, no wonder John was always trying to move us on.
It appears that even though we’d made it over the immediate pass (end of purple route line), we still had another, steeper range to climb. (Dotted red line.)
My suggestion is that next time we explore this route from the Aserradero/Miquihuana side. With several days to kill. Plenty of riding.

We didn’t leave Aramberi as early as we promised ourselves.
Nice ride on asphalt to Zaragoza. Fill up at pail & funnel gasoline joint. Brassy clueless gringos cut straight to the front of the line, then act impatient. Score citrus products at associated store. Tried to figure out what kind of animal they had stuffed in the window.

Beeeauutifulll ride out of Zaragoza, full of excitement, very neat steady climb up to El Refugio.

Approaching Refugio
New territory for all of us


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Close encounters near Refugio

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Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
366
Location
Austin, Tx
Here's a stretch of road between Zaragoza and Refugio:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_n-pMQA6Lw"]Mexico 2012 Leaving Refugio - YouTube[/ame]

A typical home in Refugio:


Ever wonder what kids around here do to keep busy? Why they play video games of course:


Doing the daily chores:


Asking one last time about the trail past Refugio:


Where does a fella' get a bite to eat in this town?
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
El Refugio
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The end of the road for Scott & I. RG and JT went down the road where the white pickup is in the distance to the left, and reported back by radio.
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Joined
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El Dia Cinco – Mas + (yep…5 ++)


Sharing life and into the desert


Well, JT and I made it down the mountain and back to the edge of El Refugio. Those butt ugly pigs were still right where we left them and seemed delighted to see us once again.

StingRay and Meeltone had gone further up the road, no doubt, to rid themselves of the sight of those ghastly things.

I pulled the bike up by the place offering fresh cheecherones ( I know – spelled wrong but that’s how the word sounds ) and asked JT if he’d like to join me for a quick sampling of freshly dead pig. Of course he would. *Folks, if you’ve never had fresh pork – and this means cooked while it’s still warm – trust me…try it if you ever have the chance. :thumb:

I walked around a tall pole fence where a few guys stood next to a small fire just inside an austere courtyard. I asked them where the folks with the cheecherones were. They hollered at a small shack off to the side and out pops a young lady motioning for us to follow her back inside the shack with smoke oozing out of its every pore.

Once our eyes adjusted, this was the view…


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The place looked like it had been used as a cooking shed for generations. Adobe walls, low grass ceiling laid over wooden poles and a small cooking area just under a perpetually open window in the back.

The ceiling was coal black, coated with thick layers of creosote and whatever else wood smoke has in that clogs up your chimney each year. Two ladies were busy patting out corn tortillas from a huge bowl of masa, laying them onto a round piece of heavy sheet steel suspended over a small wood fire, flipping those that needed flipping and flinging the finished flappers like frisbees onto an enormous stack of the things.

One lady grabbed up a metal bucket with a lid and motioned for me to sample whatever was inside. Fresh cheecherones! Still warm. Oh yeah!

We’d had a light breakfast that morning and it was by then around three in the afternoon. These gals were looking at two hungry dudes and they knew it. Fresh tortillas appeared in front of us. Then plates full of gorditas. Then plates of freshly sliced tomatoes and lettuce along with so much more stuff that I won’t torture you with details.

They asked where our two friends were and told me to invite them over. Between bites, I got on the radio and called our mates to come get in on some of this…ASAP. :eat:

The more we ate, the more they put in front of us. Here’s the part where I slowed down and looked at these people…more closely. They were having a ball feeding these two hungry guys. They were smiling, laughing, chattering back and forth and cranking out food faster than a half dozen grown men could have consumed it - and truly delighted to do it.

What we ate was by their own hands. They grew the corn, raised and slaughtered the livestock and gathered the wood to cook it all.

Tamales to finish the meal… reheated as nature intended.


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Then it hit me…and not too subtly…I’m sitting here eating with both hands like it was my last meal and this food is what these people have.

I don’t mean until they can make it back to HEB next week. I mean this food is their life…as in their survival. Melodramatic? Think about the pictures we’ve shared and where and how these folks live. Maybe it’s one of those “had to be there” things but I’ll bet there’s a bunch of you who know exactly what I’m trying to say – despite me doing it so poorly.

This was a moment. Something was there - in their eyes - that I’d not sensed ever before. I’ll leave it at that.


Back to the bikes…stuffed to the gills and a long ride ahead of us and the shadows growing long.

We dropped down the mountains for a long dang time. I used a trick Rydah showed us coming down Black Bear pass one time…kill the engine and coast. It’s a hoot and does wonders for your gas mileage.

These things are huge and everywhere at certain elevations.


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Made it down to a little pueblo on the flat lands where dogs have bladder problems and really poor manners. Interesting way to make a stock fence but that’s how folks do it here.


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Shadows growing longer…by the minute. Very pretty light on the desert.


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Where we came from…


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Down in the desert…


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Riding across the desert in Mexico at night is interesting. There are lots of animals – domestic and otherwise – that come out to the road to lie on the warm pavement. A few of them don’t live till morning. Rough country.

The lights of Dr Arroyo looked like the Promised Land as we came over a ridge and looked down into the valley where it sits. Once again, we showed up at the hotel wearing every stitch we had with us. Gets doggone cold out there after the sun goes down.



Next, New Year’s Eve in Real de Catorce. :chug:
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
nice and very eloquent
I find myself looking forward to these installments
He doesn’t take Friday’s off, does he ? There’ll be one today, right?
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
Lunch was the finishing touch to a monumental day. My 1st visit to El Refugio. I have a feeling I’ll be back, and I’ll lick this little issue of route to Aserradero and Miquihuana, even if I have to walk it. As it were, in retrospect, more than one person tried to steer us down another road out of Refugio, a new road to “some ranchos”. I heard Puerto Aire mentioned more than once and a look at my maps suggests it connects with the Santa Engracia – Zaragoza road, and looks to be a fun day-trip loop out of Zaragoza.

So if Refugio is not really a dead-end………

Another Scott's photo (why stop now)
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I’m going to guess it was about 3pm when we got back to Zaragoza. We had just enough time to make it to Dr Arroyo. If we hustled. And it would be a long hustle. By now I’m starting to feel like the least proficient rider of our group. Maybe my bike was too overloaded. Maybe my body.... Normally a ride up out of Zaragoza to La Encontada and Siberia would be a hoot and a holler. But today we didn’t have time to gawk at the scenery.

Quick peak thru the trees near Encontada. I believe the pyramidal peak to the left is Cerro Potosi near Galeana.

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For some reason I was feeling pecularly vulnerable as I raced as best I could up to Encontada, in the clouds. Tree harvesting country here. My DRZ started to choke at the hills. It seemed to be misfiring or not firing and I had this delicate thing going with my key & ignition switch that could just cut off at any ole time and sometimes not want to restart. The guys told me my loss of power was surely the altitude but I was skeptical and worried the bike might give out altogether up here in some hard to trace electrical malfunction - and I’d become a liability to the group.

I made it to the horse town of Siberia, where we got tangled up in a goat drive through town.
Onward to the edge of the highlands, Puerto Pina Nevada, and over the edge down we go to the desert.
Good bye Sierra Madres. At least it’s downhill from here.
And we’ll be in Dr Arroyo before you know it.

I may be old and a little slow.
I may fall down more than I want to.
But I do know the back roads of Mexico.

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Shortly after this shot I made a wrong turn onto what I thought was Hwy 2 and ended up half-way to Miquihuana INSTEAD of Dr Arroyo.
It was dark when I suspected my error. The Km post numbers were going the wrong way.
And Carmen ? I don't remember a Carmen on the way to Dr Arroyo. Where the heck is Carmen?
And RG is following me. We're lost in the desert.
Dang this is what I get for not following along with a map.
So much for knowin' the back roads of Mexico. Least I knew when to stop.

We double back in the blackness and now it is screaming cold.
On a dark desert highway
Freezing wind thru my clothes

JT and Stingray are waiting for us at the crossroads. Wow...., I didn’t expect to see you guys until Dr Arroyo.
(We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty-nine)
Well, We didn't know what happened to ya.
And It’s really c-c-c-c-cold.

Dr Arroyo didn't come a minute too soon.

Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night

There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
"This could be Heaven, this could be He**"
She lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Llivin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise
Bring your alibis

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Yeah, Some dance to remember, some dance to forget
The above pic comes from Stingray Scott's stash. It captures the essense of our Hotel Palacio in Dr Arroyo.
 
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