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MEXICO, PAVED. A Week of Riding Bliss

SpiritAtBay

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Mexico, Paved. A Week of Riding Bliss

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For almost six months, JT and I talked about it.

Six months of talking, six months of planning, gathering necessary paperwork (passport, insurance, vehicle papers, etc), six months of squirreling away extra pesos, six months of building excitement and anticipation.

And then, BOOM, the big trip is suddenly upon us and I am not ready! I should have ordered new brake pads, the ones on there are fine, but I should carry spares. The chain looks fine but maybe I should have replaced it.

It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be cold.

We are going to ride, yes, but we also plan other activities, some short hikes, some cave exploring, some rafting, some waterfall gazing. And there might be an evening or two that I’d rather not wear dirty riding pants, boots and have “hair by Helmut”. What to pack? How to pack it?

There’s dealing with co-workers who think me insane. There’s the anxiety of causing my mother anxiety….

I am sleepless a week before departure.

Stay tuned!
 

garfey

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Yup, what they said. ^^
(and, Cleatus - here we are again, up in the middle of the night when the "kids" are safely in bed, like a certain speckled pup is.)
 
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I'm in the early planing phases of a paved week in Baja next spring, so I'm in!!
Thanks for the people pictures.. it's always odd to read through pages and pages of RR and never see an image of who is taking the ride.
We'll need bike pictures, of course!
 

SpiritAtBay

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IMG_0838-X2.jpg


As requested, here are the bikes on the morning of departure, 10oct15.

JT's is the red DL1000 and my DL650.

We would sleep in Anahuac, MX that night. Anahuac appeared to me to be a bit depressed and gritty, but this was a lovely hotel. (Hotel Alas Blancas).

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Just a bit of a teaser for tonight I'm afraid.

Thanks everyone for comments and for riding along. It is encouraging!
 
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Different people have different needs and problems with motorcycle seats... mine has always been the bony butt syndrome. After riding awhile, my butt just hurts.

After some research, I bought an Airhawk2 medium cruiser pad for under $90- largely influenced by their 6 MONTH money back guarantee- if you don't like it, return it.

I totally love it, and have actually used it on cross-country car trips- once to Florida, and then to Seattle and return, as well as extensive riding from Seattle to Portland and around that area for a week.
Seat time due to discomfort becomes a non-issue, and since it's a strap-on, it's quickly and easily moved to other bikes. </END PSA>

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SpiritAtBay

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Oct 11 on our way to Galeana, via Monterrey.

JT, ready to roll in the morning.
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City of Modern Sculpture

Monterrey surprised us with the number of outdoor art pieces we saw as we scooted in and around the city.

A traffic light stop afforded me a look a gorgeous fountain; a bearded Neptune, (au naturale, no less), triton raised high, in a chariot commanding racing seahorses. Unfortunately, no pic.

A little bit later, I was mesmerized by the glimpse of a statue of a horse with a native rider. It was made of rusted metal. The horse was powerful, the rider slumped forward in a pensive pose. Unfortunately, no pic.

Our goal for Monterrey was a large suspension bridge that has only one support. We found it. We rode across it and back again. Then left the city. Fortunately, here are pix.


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Doesn't the support appear to lean?

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M38A1

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Oct 11 on our way to Galeana, via Monterrey.

Doesn't the support appear to lean?
In your shot, yes. I'm thinking the camera was not level. Here's the shot with the bridge support vertical. JT is probably on his sidestand, thus the lean of the bike would be normal. Look at the buildings in the background. They too are vertical whereas in the original they are leaning. And with your camera phone there's a tad bit of lens distortion going on at the edges as Gary referenced. So yeah, the support is leaning. :photo:

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SpiritAtBay

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NP! :)

Story telling will hafta wait til Monday evening at the earliest --camping and riding with JT in west tx this weekend.
 

SpiritAtBay

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Is this ride SAB +1 or JT +1 :shrug:.....................................:lol2:


Your question reminds me of an old song...It's never easy and it's never clear, who's to navigate and who's to steer...


i guess since it was JT's idea and he made the call to the park and he worked the routing....it was JT +1.


We stayed at Seminole Canyon SP. Today had planned to ride Pandale Rd to Juno but I wussed out. The road hadn't been graded since the last rain and I just didn't want to feel like I was beating Suzi up for 45+ miles. We took 163 instead.

PS, I keep telling JT I don't want to do dirt on Suzi and somehow we keep ending up on dirt roads...

Signed,
wimpy
 

JMZ

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:mrgreen: To me,the Shinko 804/805 tires made a huge difference on gravel for my strom . It might be all in my head but I feel much better with them. I`m still not crazy about riding the rough stuff with my strom though.
 
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Good call on going out to west TX you guys! Yall are the only ones who got to ride this weekend. Everywhere else is soaked. I returned to TX for what I thought was going to be a riding & racing weekend around Ft Worth, only to find the whole state enjoying a monsoon. Now I'm down in Houston, and it is about to float away too. Dang the luck! I brought my MX bike, my dual sport bike, my BMW (mostly) road bike...I came ready to ride any & all terrains. Hah! Shoulda jest kept on riding up in Arkysaw. Hey I hope you all can come up and there for a visit before it gets too cold to wanna ride. We got some of the most spectacular scenic & twisty asphalt around. Incredible camping too. The fellas up here assure me that the winter months are when all the dirt riders come out to play. Appears they don't like all the heat, bugs, & brush in the summer, so they dress warm & ride / race when it's cold instead. This old skinny Texan is gonna have to get used to all THAT. Jan & Feb can be pretty harsh up there.
 

Vinny

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Yep. It's his Superpower.

We keep telling him we don't want to ride class 4 but the next thing we know he is dragging us down The Road to Certain Death.

I'm afraid you're just going to have to get used to it if you keep hanging around with him. :sun:
That was a fun read. I knew the story but it was nice to see the pics.
So true about JT. Before I use to fear it, now I kind of look forward to it.
 

SpiritAtBay

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good convo. :-)

sorry y'all, 12 hour work day today...too late for an installment tonight. prolly not tomorrow night either...
 

SpiritAtBay

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Day 3, Monday Oct 12

The previous evening we had come into Galeana via a not very twisty route. We checked into Hotel Magdalena and wandered about the town. JT gave me a tour of the place, pointing out highlights from previous trips. The pix below are apparently de rigueur for visiting gringos.

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The façade of the hotel already had some Halloween --err, I guess I should say Day of the Dead decorations up. We enjoyed dinner at The Colonial restaurant.
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Walking back to the hotel we noticed a stage with a large mural being erected in the square. We wondered what show was about to start. But other than the worker, it was pretty quiet so we turned in.

Day 4, Oct 13
The next morning the town square was the scene of a large school presentation in honor of Columbus Day. Little kids to high schoolers all had a part. There were pollitical speeches as well. The presentation took most of the morning.

Late departure out of Galeana (~11am). We rode expressways and twisty highway interspersed with dusty, chaotic towns, police/military checkpoints and lumbering trucks. Stops only for gas, water and snacks. It was a very hot day.

Valles City. We didn’t stop here but as we rode through, we both thought it was a city with character, worth more exploring another time.

We arrived Aquismon a little before 7pm. Both of us very tired. Walked the square. JT wasn’t hungry and I didn’t want anything hot. We got peaches with coconut and sweetened condensed milk from a vendor. It would have been a smoothie except we requested no ice. Which was a shame b/c they shaved the ice off a large block and it looked good after a long, hot day.




 
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SpiritAtBay

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Day 5, Oct 14
The night before we had discussed our options for the next few days.
Here are the options:
A: Have a non-riding day tomorrow. Take a taxi to see the Sotana de las Golindrinas (Cave of the Swallows), spend the remainder of the day relaxing in Aquismon.

B: Ride the bikes to see the cave and then continue on to Xilitla. Spend that afternoon visiting Las Pozas (The Pools).

We opted to ride the bikes to the cave. That meant getting up at 4:30 am in order to be at the cave at dawn, when the birds make their exit.

The ride to the sotana was a paved, steep climb. Negotiating switchbacks in predawn darkness was new to me. Was glad to have JT’s taillight to follow. We reached the parking area with the first gray light of dawn. While securing the bikes, a man dressed in tights, a fanny pack and goofy shoes informs us, “You are too late. The birds have already left.” I thought he seemed kind of happy about it and wondered why.

Dawn's early light at Sotana de las Golindrinas
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Despite the man’s proclamation, we hiked down the flagstone pathway
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and eventually reached this HUGE hole in the ground. It isn’t a cave in the usual sense of the word. It is a hole. A hole of grand proportions. A hole large enough to put a skyscraper in it.

To peer down into the black immensity of this hole, you first get a rope tied around your torso. Properly secured, I perched on the edge and looked down into blackness. A cool breeze came up carrying a high pitched sound with it. I looked across the chasm at the sheer walls with small trees and plants clinging to the sides. I noticed another viewing platform across the way. There were a few people there and they looked tiny.
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Now there was enough light to see the trees and a layer of clouds/fog over distant mountain tops. Then I saw them, hundreds of swift, silent, black streaks zipping around the top of the hole. ‘They’re just circling, they’re not leaving,’ I thought. It was impossible to follow an individual dot, they moved too fast. Then, suddenly a group shot out over the lip of the hole and streaked away, just above the treetops. The high pitched sound was the shrill calls of thousands of birds. It was an incredible sight to behold.

Only one person was allowed on the edge at a time, so I backed away to give JT his turn.

Here is a tethered JT, enjoying the view.
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Luckily, he was able to take some video in which the birds are just discernable.
(Umm, JT, can you post the vid?) In the meantime, here is a pic with the birds visible as streaks.
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We then continued on the walkway around the hole and came to the viewing platform I had spied from the previous vantage point. Here we met this friendly fellow. He was a happy dog, meeting new friends all day and ever hopeful for a handout.
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Walking back up, we paused to tip the guy who had trussed us up and held the end of the rope. The guy in goofy tights who had told us we were too late was there. He was with a group of climbers and were preparing to descend into the hole.

Suddenly I had a hunch about his glee at us being “too late”. I suppose one or both: one, the climbers must wait til there is enough natural light to begin their descent. And, I'm just guessing, but possibly they aren’t allowed to begin until the casual spectators have cleared out.

We huffed and puffed our way back up to the top and to the bikes. Once back in the parking area, we struck up a conversation with an elderly gent who was waiting while his wife hiked down to the hole. Turns out his son was one of the climbers. I really enjoyed talking to this gentleman. His English was very good and he had a philosopher’s sense of humor. Wish we had gotten a pic of us together.

 

JT

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Here's a link to the video of the swallows,

Las Golondrinas

The birds all fly around and around trying to maintain speed and gain altitude as they climb up and out of the hole, finally flying off the circle when they reach the top of the hole.
 

cdc

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Great trip, I had no idea JT knew how to ride on paved roads!!
 

SpiritAtBay

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Scott, it's deep enough to put a skyscraper in it. People base jump into it. Google: Sotana de las Golindrinas

Camillo, JT likes pavement...he just likes dirt more. Prolly safe to say his favorite pavement favorite is the stuff on the way to dirt.
 

M38A1

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Scott, it's deep enough to put a skyscraper in it. People base jump into it. Google: Sotana de las Golindrinas
When you said put a skyscraper in it, I thought you were just making an across the board statement "it's deep". wow.

From Wiki:
The Cave of Swallows , also called Cave of the Swallows (Spanish: Sótano de las Golondrinas), is an open air pit cave in the Municipality of Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The elliptical mouth, on a slope of karst, is 49 by 62 m wide (160 by 203 ft) and is undercut around all its perimeter, further widening to a room approximately 303 by 135 meters (994 by 442 ft) wide. The floor of the cave is a 333-meter (1092 ft) freefall drop from the lowest side of the opening, with a 370-meter (1,214 ft) drop from the highest side, making it the largest known cave shaft in the world, the second deepest pit in Mexico and perhaps the 11th deepest in the world. A skyscraper such as New York City's Chrysler Building could easily fit wholly within it.

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.
 

SpiritAtBay

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Note to readers:

We did so much each day while in Mexico…I may be getting some days jumbled up. I am pressing ahead though; JT will eventually post maps and tracks for those who have a pressing need to know exactly where and when we went and how we got there… My approach is going to be more in a storytelling vein and less a daily chronological report.

So, here we go…

This chapter doesn't have much in the way of pics and is titled:


JT Laid Low

The morning of the 14th, we left Aquismon with plans to take secondary roads to Tamosopo.

Here is the hotel in Aquismon.
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We stopped for an early lunch on the edge of Aquismon. JT had already complained of feeling a bit poorly. The restaurant was new and very clean. We met the owner’s son who had been schooled in Tennessee. Emilio was friendly and knowledgeable, giving us directions to some nearby waterfalls.

We decided we didn’t have the time for the waterfalls. (To see them, one rents a boat to travel upstream.) Since we weren’t sure of the condition of the roads, we decided we had better press on.

The weather was sunny, warm, with a cool breeze. The route was absolutely beautiful, taking us through fertile valleys of date palms, sugar cane, plenty of livestock and ‘fence trees’. The road was pristine, curvy two lane asphalt interspersed with short sections of almost total washout and deep potholes. We came upon a hairpin turn that was severely washed out. When I rounded a bend and saw this sharp, rutted, rocky switchback ahead of me, I came to a complete stop. JT radioed, offering to ride my bike thru. I was tempted, but decided to try. It looked worse than it was; Suzi handled it easily and we were on our way.

About 50 miles from Aquismon, we had just turned onto a highway when we stopped at a Pemex. Here is where I discovered my small travel pouch was missing. It contained no money, but did have my passport, tourist card and vehicle import permit. We moved to some nearby shade. I was conducting a futile search of all my bags when John suddenly felt much worse and began tossing cookies into the weeds.

I am not much help with this sort of thing. Someone puking can set me to launching my own lunch. Heartlessly, I vigorously ignored the sight and sounds coming from JT’s direction. Gingerly offering him a water bottle when it seemed things had quieted down.

We decided we could not press on, JT did not feel he could make it all the way to Tamosopo. And there was the matter of Ms. Numbskull’s missing pouch.

So, we backtracked. But now we were focused on saving JT’s waning energy and scanning the road sides in the vain hope of spotting the missing pouch. The day no longer seemed so carefree.

Then that awful switchback caught us both by surprise. JT of course, made it through. I got on the wrong side of it and became stranded on a narrow peninsula of asphalt that jutted out above a veritable sea of deep ruts and loose rocks. (Yes, a veritable sea!) Again, JT offered to ride Suzi out. I studied the situation. If I duck-walked Suzi backward far enough, I should be able to turn and ride across the ruts… I shook my head ’No’ to JT and did just what I planned and it was easier than I imagined. In fact, I was so busy congratulating myself that I drove off the edge of good road and into a pile of soft gravel, spun out the rear tire and fell over sideways. Unhurt, I jumped up and watched as Suzi continued crawling around my feet until her tires were pointing uphill.

JT was immediately there checking on me and attempted to pickup the fully loaded bike. Not gonna happen. We took all three cases off and together got the beast upright.

The effort absolutely drained JT. A swallow of Gatorade came right back up. While he rested, I realized he was too dehydrated and nauseated to be able to recover on his own. It had gone from just needing rest and recoup- to needing outside help. He needed IV fluids, it was plain as day. And here we were, miles between towns. I didn’t say anything about going to a doctor to JT, I feared he would protest. After a while, though, I gently suggested that we continue; he wasn’t going to get any stronger sitting by the side of the road.

Finally, we reached the restaurant we had lunched at earlier. JT waited outside. I went in and asked Emilio where we could find a doctor. He immediately offered to lead us on his own motorcycle. However, when we stepped back outside, we were confronted with the sight of JT passed out on the grass. Now Emilio offered to drive us in his pickup. JT woke up and insisted on riding back into town. “It would be too much hassle to have to come back for the bikes later.” He was too weak to argue about going to the hospital.

We went first to the hotel where we had stayed. We were barely in the courtyard when one of the girls came running out with my pouch in her hand. It had fallen off the bike as we pulled out that morning. (I slap hand to forehead and give a big Homer “DOH!”)

We left the bikes as they were, everything on them, keys in the ignition and climbed into Emilio’s truck. At the hospital, Emilio stayed the whole 4 plus hours and acted as translator. We are forever in his debt. It took an hour of IV drip for JT to perk up a little. Emilio and I spent a good bit of that time watching him sleep. (Being that ill did not impede JT’s snoring ability. Emilio asked, “Is this noise normal?”)

The doctor on call was, to mine aging eyes, incredibly young. She had a vivacious, mischievous, almost flirtatious way about her. When all was said and done, she told us (through Emilio) there was no charge for the visit. We were stunned. On our way out the door, she had a parting shot; she looked at JT and said in English, “No more Mexican food.”

By morning, JT was almost his normal self. By the end of the day, he had a lingering headache but his energy level was back to normal.
 
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Being that ill did not impede JT’s snoring ability. Emilio asked, “Is this noise normal?”
:rofl:

Regarding the doctor's apparent youthfulness: In Mexico, as in many countries, students are accepted in medical school directly out of High School and so they enter practice at a younger age. They do go through a longer post-med school training period than the typical residency in the US, however.
 

Tourmeister

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Wow... close call with JT. It was great of Emilio to help out. Dehydration is not a trivial thing. I got a bout of the full ejection syndrome a few years ago that caused me to lose 18 lbs in about 24 hours and it took me a few weeks before I fully recovered. It was two days after it ended before I could even stand up without immediately losing my balance. It was the weakest I have ever felt in my life.
 

cdc

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A true adventure, have thought John was immune to Mexican food by now!
Glad he recovered fast.
 

SpiritAtBay

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We Must Speak of Twisties

Day 7, 16oct fri

The extra day spent in Aquismon meant that Tamosopo was scratched from the intinerary. Time was getting short, if we wanted to see the MexTrek guys in Galeana, we had to head straight there. We left Aquismon for the second morning in a row.

315 miles later, we rolled into the town square of Galeana and parked our bikes with those in front of the Hotel Magdalena.


But wait, I must speak of the heavenly twisties going thru the mountains on the way in to Galeana.

The twisties going thru the mountains to Galeana are heavenly. If you haven’t, you must ride them someday. I would like to return, ride them again and stay in the little town of Iturbide.

Google Maps tells me that from the city of Linares, it takes a little over an hour to get to Galeana, going through the mountains . (I looked it up because even though we took the same route several times, I had no sense of how long it took.)

An hour of nonstop twists and turns, climbs and descents. An hour to find your rhythm. An hour to reach that place of not thinking. No extraneous thoughts. No thoughts about the curve you just took, or the one coming up. Just ride. Lean angle and speed. Ride.


A group of riders enjoying a sprint through the mountains.
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Tall, steep mountains = beautiful twisties!
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After the exhilarating ride into town, we parked in front of the Hotel Madelena.
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JT secured us a room while Andre (Shovel) and I chatted. Andre was repairing a broken hand guard with zip ties. He had already made a similar repair elsewhere on the Tiger and now was anxious for some liquid refreshment.

The Tiger gets whiskers? Or maybe those are ground feelers? Extreme lean angle detectors?
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Sunlight hits the mountains that overlook the square.

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Dao and Vinny enjoy camaraderie and dinner at The Colonial.
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randypower

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Gina, I finally came back to this thread and caught up. Glad JT made it through after what could have been much worse. And he finally stayed on road for a bit. Thanks for sharing the stories and pics of great people, places and twisties. Cheers
 

SpiritAtBay

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Thanks, Randy.
Here's some more.


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We really enjoyed the roadside eateries for the food and the chance to talk to fellow diners.

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She wasn't busy when we ate there so we had a nice conversation with this lady. When we passed back through town a few days later, she saw us and waved like we were long lost relatives.

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I like the altars you see everywhere and tried to snap pix of them when I could.

(have already purchased a better camera that also will be easier to access on the move. So y'all are hereby forewarned; you'll have lots more pix to suffer through next time; Big Bend next month and MX in April. Yippee!)
 

SpiritAtBay

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And here we are in the Huasteca region. Lots of fruit, plants, flowers, local pottery for sale. Very pretty area.
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Las Pozas, The Pools. The wildly indulgent creation of the eccentric English artist, Edward James.
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The above photos taken by JT

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TWTim

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Every once in a while, someone posts an awesome ZRX pic on this forum and I think to my self, "Man, I wish I had one of those." Then I realize that I do have one, and it makes me very happy about life.

:hail: :chug: :dude: :chug: :hail:
 
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Just come across this thread today and read it. Great area of Mexico to explore. I use to go in at McAllen years back. Loved the pics. I know it's late on a camera suggestion but, I went with a few different cams and took many pics in the last 10 years of travel. Settled on the Canon G series. Reason why, I take about 80% of my travel pics on the roll. So I wanted to be able to get the camera out with my left hand, gloves on, turn it on, shoot a pic or 2 or a dozen. and get it back in the tank bag fast if coming up on the need to. Had most of my success shooting in the P mode or Speed modes.
Thanks for sharing with us. Love it.
 
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