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The Wild Bunch In The Remote Backcountry of Mexico's Sierra Gorda

Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
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Austin
Wonderful attention to details
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The Hostal del Cafe

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Forgive me for the watermarks. They are leftover from the Roxy Roca uploads.
 
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philipbarrett

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Alejandro's father was a Spainard, I forget what part, who came to Mexico after the Spanish Civil war.
A forgotten and tragic war where Hitler got to test out all his military might and strategies while the west stood by and watched.

I visited Spain under Franco's rule many times and the wounds were still very visible. I would imagine Alejandro's father was a Republican sadly forced to flee his homeland. More good reading would be George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia."
 
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Cibolo, Texas
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Days into a moto trip on great bikes with great guys you know down deep you're going to cherish that experience for a long, long time.

This trip after that ride from Agua Zarca to Tilaco and then overnight in Las Lagunitas on Mx 120 cemented that reality.

Motorbikes are the equivalent of horses of the day. They may throw a shoe from time to time and they need their care and feeding, but when you and your iron steed go through something together, there is a bond.

If you the casual reader are going to try a route from this report, I highly, highly recommend you get a hold of the .gpx file on the route between Agua Zarca and Tilaco. It will as good a ride as you will ever do in Mexico.

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Side Note: Check out the buildings in the background and note all the political banners. They were everywhere we went.

And remember: Vote Juliana! :deal :freaky[/QUOTE]
 
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Messages
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Austin
If you the casual reader are going to try a route from this report, I highly, highly recommend you get a hold of the .gpx file on the route between Agua Zarca and Tilaco. It will as good a ride as you will ever do in Mexico.
And I say just go. You don't need those stinkin' tracks. Just go and be open to the experience.
:trust:
 
Joined
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Messages
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Austin
I would imagine Alejandro's father was a Republican sadly forced to flee his homeland. More good reading would be George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia."
When Alejandro told me the story of his dad's immigration, I mentioned Hemingway, and Alejandro replied Orwell.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Austin
Day 6 - Putting an exclamation point on it

So far on this ride of discovery the roads and adventure had been everything I hoped they would be. If that was all, if we didn't discover any other great roads as we slowly worked our way back to Texas I would have been completely happy with the way things had gone. But luckily Mexico wasn't done with us and had one last bit of great riding in store for us today.

JT and I had been discussing our planned route for the day with the owner of La Posada. There was a major river in our way and the owner believed the road did not actually cross it. If he was correct, it meant a very long, time-eating backtrack.

Further, I had been studying the terrain northwest of Jalpan and lusting over the density of the dirt roads in that area. We had not included that area in our original plan because it was pretty far out of the way. But since our plans had changed so dramatically, it was now very feasible to ride that area. JT and I discussed it and decided to go for it. Sweet!




Breakfast today was courtesy of the hotel restaurant and consisted of the standard staples of eggs and beans.






We hadd riddend the section of Hwy 120 west to Jalpan earlier in the trip but once past Jalpan it was all new to us. And as good as Hwy 120 is to Jalpan it, unbelievably, is even better west of Jalpan. What a fantastic section of pavement! Highly recommended.


In addition to being exhilaratingly twisty, the road also climbs to serious altitude. I kept checking my GPS and the highest I saw was 8300 feet. At about 6500 in height we reached the clouds and spent an hour or so riding in the fog.

Passing through the beautiful town of Pinal de Amoles we had to stop and take a picture. And add an insulating layer. Pinal de Amoles is about 7000 feet and was about 55 degrees or so when we arrived.



West of Pinal the road started to drop in elevation. A few miles outside of town we dropped below the cloud ceiling, meaning better visibility and a dry road.





In the town of Camargo we turned north to explore the dirt roads that had lured us here. And they didn't disappoint. For the next several hours we were treated to superb riding and beautiful panoramic landscapes.


This picture of Stingray Scott pretty much sums up our emotional reaction to today's riding.






We passed through a few little villages as we rode. This one welcomed all who travelled this way.



This section of road appears to be abandoned. It leads into a small village so there must be another, newer road that the locals are now using to get into town. In any case, this section was particularly fun.




Here is what that abandoned section of road looks like from a distance. I took this picture as we climbed out of the valley where the town is located.



The views continued to impress.



Time for a break. I believe this was the village of Alpujarras.






We rode another hour and a half or so of dirt and then arrived at Hwy 69. That was the last dirt I rode on this trip. We were headed for the town of Tamasopo and even though the map showed some dirt roads between here and there, they all turned out to be paved. Fun riding, but not to the same level as we had enjoyed earlier. But at least there were cows on the road. :lol2:



The Hollywood of Mexico.


Okay, not really. But the sign is nice.


Our hotel accommodations in Tamasopo.






What did we do when we found a rare wi-fi hot spot? Catch up on email, text messages, and other such things.



Hey, look at that! A sighting as rare as a clear photo of Bigfoot. Yep, that's Milton, finally rejoining the group. His bike fixed and his elbow working.
 
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The Last Day - for me

Morning in Tamasopo.



The building codes appear to be vastly different than those in Texas.



What are these plants?



How do they make orange juice in Mexico? By freshly squeezing it. Most places that serve orange juice seemed to serve it fresh. And it was delicious.




At breakfast, Milton showed off his elbow. Black and blue from wrist to bicep.



Roof dog. Barking at everyone who passes by. I don't know why there are roof dogs in Mexico but there are. And barking at you as you walk by is what they do.



There was considerable debate amongst the group about what to do next. JT, Chuck, and Milton wanted to take the next two days and ride a circuitous route north to Galeana and then slab it to Texas from there. In contrast, I was done and advocated that we take a more direct route to the border. Eventually, we decided the best solution was to split the group. Milton headed off to explore the area around Bustamante. JT and Chuck peeled off once we arrived in Ciudad Victoria so they could ride the road from Santa Engracia to General Zaragoza. Bob, Scott, and I made a beeline for the border.







This is sugar cane territory. There were miles and miles of fields of sugar cane. Workers manually cut the cane in the fields.


It is then loaded in large trailers.



And hauled to the sugar cane factory.




Not much story to tell after this for my group of three. We rode back to Reynosa, processed ourselves and our bikes out of the country, and overnighted in McAllen. The other guys will have to fill you in on their continuing adventures.

In summary, I would have to say this is one of my three best motorcycling trips ever, rivalling my trip to Copper Canyon and the first ride to Galeana. It's a long ride so I don't expect lots of adventure riders to venture to the areas we went. But for those that do, I expect they will discover it was well worth the effort.
 

philipbarrett

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Well that was awesome, thanks guys for reconnaissance work, beautiful photographs & great ride report. Next question is; when will MexTrek II be available for purchase?

:thumb:
 
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Jul 2, 2007
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Location
Austin
Re: The Last Day - for me

There was considerable debate amongst the group about what to do next. JT, Chuck, and Milton wanted to take the next two days and ride a circuitous route north to Galeana and then slab it to Texas from there. In contrast, I was done and advocated that we take a more direct route to the border. Eventually, we decided the best solution was to split the group. Milton headed off to explore the area around Bustamante. JT and Chuck peeled off once we arrived in Ciudad Victoria so they could ride the road from Santa Engracia to General Zaragoza. Bob, Scott, and I made a beeline for the border.
All sugar coated. Hee hee. Even among the best of friends there can be differences of opinion. And this was one of those times. I can remember being so upset with Richard I snapped. Yup. That's what I done.
I said I'll just go back on my own. Kinda felt like a mutiny. Or desertion.
Feeling there were too many cooks in the kitchen, or too many Indian chiefs, as my mom used to say, I muttered under my breath, "There are too many brains in this outfit."
TricePilot, ever the gran payaso, overheard and snapped "That's why they invited me, to kinda even things out."
 
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Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Messages
373
Location
Jalisco, Mexico
Falling is easy offroad, it´s the "getting up" part that hurts. I was in a large group of riders 5 or 6 years ago chasing the tail lamps of some quads and slid into some muddy ruts and bam I slammed down into the mud on my left arm. My arm looked like Milton´s.

Some younger riders behind me stopped and was kidding me about being too old to ride like that. An older respected rider in the group turned to the young guys and said something like this: "El piloto que se levanta es aún más grande que el piloto que no ha caido."

...The rider who gets up is bigger than the one who never falls. I´ll never forget that.
 
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...Milton!!! :sun: Wish things worked out different, I enjoy your company
I was fortunate to have filmed Chuck and Milton's reunion. Here it is
[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwXanLZfvrQ"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwXanLZfvrQ[/ame]
 
Joined
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
That's some handsome country right there. Great read and pictures. Thanks guys! :thumb:




"El piloto que se levanta es aún más grande que el piloto que no ha caido."

...The rider who gets up is bigger than the one who never falls.

Truth, like wisdom, is where you find it.
 
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Day 6
Richard and the guys were headed to Pinal de Amores today. I’ve been that way several times so I was in no hurry to catch up.
On the other hand I have been interested in Agua Zarca for years and that’s where I was headed.
It is always dryer in the state of Queretaro. However I passed numerous landslides that stood testament to the torrential rains the night before.
I had made the right choice to stop when I did.

The outskirts of Ahuacatlan, from Hwy 120 just a few miles west of Xilitla
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Agua Zarca cut off at the community of El Lobo
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Approaching Agua Zarca
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Outside of Agua Zarca, on the road to Tilaco
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Road to Tilaco, Ricon de Piedra Blanca
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It was different not having someone with a GPS riding with me.
This is how I used to do it. By maps, guesses and questioning anybody around.
 
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Joined
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Austin
I totally missed this detour sign. Do you see it?
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Approaching Tilaco and its church
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Break time outside the Mission in Tilaco.
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Crazy detail on the mission's facade
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My lunch, zacahuil, a local Huasteca Potosina dish, kinda like a giant tamale
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The rest of Day 6's ride for me was beating it to Tamasopo to meet up with the crew.
The bike was running great. Starting instantly without even a choke. Every time.
I thought of Victor and his relentlessness each and every start.
Back on Hwy 120. Thru the nexus of Jalpan, North on Hwy 69 to Arroyo Seco, then back country roads to Rayon and finally the older hwy to Tamasopo.
Reunited with the guys it was time for a little tequila.
 
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JT

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I totally missed this detour sign. Do you see it?
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Sure, I saw it. And we took the detour. But maybe because I had a gps with a map of Tilaco, I could see the detour just took a different road into town. Even if you don't use routes or tracks, the gps will show you exactly where you are on the local road grid and allow on the fly changes like that.
Sorry Bro. Milton, but I think you'd like it if you tried it. :mrgreen:
 
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Day 7
Friday, June 29, 2015

I probably overreacted. (Who, me??) :eek2:
I had just lost 3 days of riding and hadn't been back with the group for more than 12 hours.
So when Richard told me we “didn’t have time” to see the Puente de Dios waterfalls nearby, the very reason Tamasopo is a tourist destination, and at least one of the reasons (for me anyway) we were in Tamasopo in the first place.
Well, I just lost it.
Mad, upset, the next thing I knew I was saying things like "well you just go on, I'll find my own way back". Mutinous words.
What would you want to do, that we aren't already doing, Rich asked.
Just take it easy, Rich, tranquilo!

So feeling the outcast, I split from the group.

Two days left, (three?), I still had to get back to the border too.
I headed out unfettered by..... What I wasn't sure. But I was unfettered.
As it turned out I didn't see the Puete de Dios falls either.

I took a back way up to El Naranjo. One that lead on dirt roads thru up close and personal cane fields and then a neat Class 1 thru a low range of mountains.

I took a break at Minas Viejas falls.
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JT

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Doggone, that the one we meant to see on the way down, but missed it. :suicide:
 

CeeBee

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Jul 24, 2006
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Magnolia, TX
Been fighting with my computer trying to put pics up for a week, just gave up and am using my wife's.

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Can you believe they still plow by horse drawn plow?
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Getting the skinny
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Hey Bob and Scott - Maybe we should go on a double date!
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OOOOHH Lord Please give me the strength!!!
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Ok I'm ready
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Rich checking it out
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This is after J.T. and I split from the group - and attempted to go over the mountain heading west.

Rich said it was embedded rock and took Milton and himself 6 hours to cross, with break downs, going about 10mph. WELLLL Jt and I thought we could do it in 4hrs with no breakdowns.
DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!! :dunno

I crashed 3 times coming out of mud holes only to start another endless hill climb.
:p3rry

Took a wrong turn on a spur and we got separated. Went to hang a U-turn, up on a berm I made the mistake of looking over the 3000 foot ledge, lost momentum and stopped. Guess what? My feet would NOT touch the ground - dropped the bike. :muutt

If you yell for help in the woods, did it really happen? - NO is the answer. Where is Stingray when you need him? I know Scott would have loved it up here. Could not pick the bike up and thought; ooh well, looks like it will be a nice night. Took the thousand lb bags off and the bike almost righted itself. Hallelujah!!
:clap:

Back on the trail losing light by myself. I was OK with that, the bike was up and running. After about a 5,000 ft hill climb with serious switchbacks, my headlight brackets - all four of them, broke off the forks and started bouncing all over. Kept riding. Up the trail I ran into JT again, said he had a few issues, which enabled me to catch up and we're back together again.:freaky

He gave me a bungee cord to secure my headlight so I looped it around the light and hooked them to the handlebars. Sounds good right? Wrong, what was I thinking?! The arm for the Scotts damper was ripping my wiring apart every time I turned the handlebars. Great!!! Lost my headlight and my radiator fan. :eek1

Temp. got up to 270 and never boiled over. Matter of fact the bike loved it, started 1st kick ever since.

Took my sunglasses off and put my yellow trail "brightening" glasses on and it helped me see the trail, UNTIL it got as black as the oil in Milton's motorcycle.
:rofl
I was blind with no headlight on class 4 trails and had to tailgate JT to use his light. After a while came upon single lane cement, on a steep downhill with switchbacks and deep grooves for traction. Coming out of the mountains we passed two pickup trucks, new ones with oil or natural gas logos on the side. We were home free:rilla

Well JT got ahead of me on the pass and there I was blind again! Came around a switchback and hit some large sharp rocks that a truck spilled on the turn and left a two track.
High sided at about 25 or 30 I'd guess. All I thought was: "when will I stop sliding down this steep hill?" Finally did. :norton

The Mexicans in the pickups were out of their seats and offering assistance before I stopped sliding.
I got up and dusted myself off, I only had a strawberry on one knee (planned on wearing knee pad but forgot those along with my gloves - bought new gloves but no pads) all in all came out unscathed.

That armored jacket was a real pain but I am soooo glad I wore it!:D

JT and I got the last room in Arenberri (sp) near 10 pm. Restaurants were closed, so on an empty stomach we split a bottle of tequila I had in my saddle bags - that didn't break. All was well in Mexico! :freaky

I would definitely do it again, with less in the saddle bags and trail gearing. I was planning on class 1 and 2 with pavement. Our forearms got a workout with all the clutch slipping and throttle work for 6 hrs. straight. JT- a man among men probably didn't even feel it. And no we did not beat Rich and Milton's time! :deal

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There was a nice spot next to this guy I thought: hmmmmm

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Joined
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Austin
That is one heck of a road.
I got a text from Rich saying that JT & Chuck had split off, and I would meet them in Galeana.
About 10pm I got a text from JT, declaring they had just come over the Sta Engracia to Zaragoza route.
My reply: Holy C--p !!
 
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At Minas Viejas falls I met some Mexicans who mentioned they had seen a group with bikes like mine at the Pemex station in El Naranjo.
Well that would be Rich and the boys. I wasn't far behind.

I had promised Rich I would pick up his camera charger in Tula, where I had accidentally left it in my room. Hwy 66, running between Ocampo and Tula crosses a range of rugged mini-mountains, for a fun ride with cool temps and lots of twisties.
Déjà vu back at the hotel we’d stayed at on our 1st night. I’m back where we started.
Ate lunch at the hotel, picked up the chargers checked messages.

Word from Rich that he and Scott and Bob were high-tailing it to the border. Well I wasn't surprised. And that Chuck and JT had split off and were going to stay another day and meet me in Galeana. Well, surprise, surprise.

At the Pemex station on Hwy 101 outside of Tula, my old nemesis, rain clouds brewed up north.
It was late afternoon 5 or 6. I really wasn’t sure where I was headed. Had seen a motel in Palmiras on the 101, or go to Miquihuana, or Santa Engracia? I really wasn’t sure, but it was getting later and the fat rain drops were coming down. It was time to move.

Dang I hate riding on Mexican highways in the rain. Riding cautiously, perhaps too cautiously, being passed by 34-wheeled semi doble-remolques with all the attendant spray and vortex.
I wasn’t gonna make it to Palmiras. Saw a paved road that led off 101 and took it.
Immediate relief. Calm, silent, refreshing. No traffic. No double tractor trailers. Even the rain let up. Cold, but no rain.

Cool paved road lead to a pueblito named Bustamante, Tamaulipas
Bustamante is down in the valley, somewhere off to the right.

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Looking north toward Miquihuana and Zaragoza
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Joined
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720
Location
Austin
Not mad, Richard.
I failed to mention that I realized you were the one who had organized this shindig in the first place. First class ride, Bro.
Who else does this? :bow:
 
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I was excited about what I found in Bustamante, Tamaulipas. It was just the kind of tiny pueblo that I could to disappear into for days. TRANQUILO!
Just have to introduce them to toilet seats.
I had to ask around for a place to sleep and was finally directed to a motel of sorts.

It was currently serving as State Police HQ.
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So yeah, that Friday night I slept with the police.
I figured my bike was pretty safe in the parking lot and thot it disrespectful to move it into my room
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Friday night, downtown Bustamante
 
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Joined
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Austin
I was unprepared for the nighttime photo opportunities, and had to settle for my iPhone to do the captures
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The kind of tiny pueblo that I could to disappear into for days
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