The 263 mile ride on smooth fast toll roads was another day of relief from the speed humps and double speed humps (doble topes) that frequent the main street of every small town on the libre, or “free” road. Traffic is typically light on the toll roads, since most residents cannot afford to use them every day, and commercial traffic also tries to avoid the higher costs of transport. Our speed average stayed fairly high, as everyone was interested in getting to the next stop as quickly as possible, in order to properly see the unique destination. As we once again climbed a bit in elevation, we pulled away from the miles and miles of well managed farms and rode into the high desert country of central Mexico, where pretty much everything that grows will stick you.
The entire morning was spent looking at the fabulously huge ruin site of Teotihuacan. We were very fortunate to have Mr. Fox as our personal guide, and he made the visit extraordinary. His good friend, Saburo Sugiyama, the Japanese archaeologist who has been working steadily with the Mexican government to excavate parts of the very very old remains underneath the two large pyramids here, happened to be on site, and was gracious enough to give us a visit into the concrete lined tunnel he has been working in squarely under the center of the Pyramid of the Sun. Even though we really saw nothing important, since the best dig sites have already been closed back up, it was still a kind of thrill to just be underneath it all and hear the main man talk about the things they found there. Once again, we were told the President of Mexico was due to come in the next day to get the same treatment. We were beginning to wonder if he was somehow following us around the country.
Thus far into this fantastic adventure, we had seen no evidence at all of hostilities or even a wayward frown in our direction. When we first pulled into Mexico, I think there was a small portion of natural anxiety for everyone, as we each remembered the warnings our family and friends had sent along. We all came prepared with cables, locks, bike covers, etc., like we were expecting to have to post an armed guard by the motorcycles every night. Most of the hotels we stayed in, however, had secure fenced parking, and, some even guards on duty. This concern for security was all but forgotten pretty quickly, however, as we soon learned that no-one seemed even tempted to bother our equipment, at least as we traveled further from the border. We never became careless, but everyone was visibly more relaxed within a couple of days of entering the country.
After one of the quietest and most peaceful sleeps of the trip, we awoke to a beautiful warm morning, with coffee on the porch of the small cabins we stayed in. The grounds of the Rancho Cayetano are so lovely and well cared for, it is an island of beautiful solitude in a high desert, forested landscape. These people have carefully developed a very special destination, one of the neatest places on the trip. The wood burning stove only heating system only added to the charm.
We spent the morning walking around Morelia looking into the stores and churches along the central area. There were parades and fireworks all night and into the morning, and we were so close to the action that we couldn't even drive out the street we were on, in front of the hotel. One parade went right by us out front, with the captains riding Harleys, leading long rows of music and dance talent. We had to back around and maneuver the trailer by hand to get going down a completely different circuit to get around the festivities and out of town. A volunteer and local enthusiast jumped in the truck with Kenny to guide the way.
The trip from Colima to Morelia is one of the prettiest of the journey. Undulating through hillside villages and around tight, newly paved, even banked, corners was a real treat and pleasure. The Canadian gentlemen commented that they had not ridden around that many corners in their entire life before. I found myself getting into that perfect zone of speed where you are not braking or shifting or modulating the throttle at all, just adjusting lean angle through curve after curve. Only the light touch of a peg feeler or turned out toe indicates when the lean is a little extreme.
January 30, 2011
After having our pictures taken with a bigger than life Pancho Villa, we rode mostly toll roads to the small logging town of El Salto, climbing back up to substantial elevation on the ridge top of the Sierras. It was a nice, though fleeting, change of pace to keep the throttle pinned in high gear, and cover some miles, looking down on the world from high above in places. The cost is substantial however, with our tolls coming t o $340 pesos each for the day, or about $27 US dollars. Nice pavement costs money in this rough country. This was a fairly long day of 312 miles, and we averaged 34.5 mph.
January 28, 2011
What a day. Once again at the local kitchen for breakfast of bacon and eggs, beans and tortillas. Then, in an already warm morning, we sweated up the dusty road to Satevo Mission, through the sleepy town of Batopilas. The mission is a dateless artifact of the local history that is worth the slow hot trip.