Mexico - Thanksgiving 2010
Belle and I were planning a quiet Thanksgiving at our house. We were going to cook some food and chill out. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving break a friend stopped by and asked if we were packed yet. He and his wife invited us to go with them to Zacatecas, Mexico. They would pay for gas if we took our truck. We made a decision that evening to go. Despite the dangers, we figured this was a great opportunity to drive into the interior of Mexico. His wife had family in Zacatecas and had a family event to go to. It was Mexico’s 100 year celebration of the revolution. Her grandfather was a famous historian and was to receive an award at the event for his contribution to Mexico’s history.
We left Friday morning before thanksgiving break. We crossed the border and got our permits and insurance in Ojinaga. After about 12 hours we pulled into Zacatecas. I quickly learned that driving in Mexico is crazy. The streets in Zacatecas were made for horse and buggy and my truck barely fit with the mirrors pulled in. We stayed in Zacatecas for 3 days at a hostel. It was a pretty city with beautiful cathedrals.
After Zacatecas we took off to Guanajuato and spent a night there. Guanajuato was a very active city with great markets, stores, and restaurants. The people seemed to be more colorful in Guanajuato than Zacatecas.
From Guanajuato we stopped in San Miguel De Allende for about an hour and took some pictures of the gothic cathedral. From there we made our way to Patzcuaro.
We stayed in Patzcuaro for two days. Our hotel was nestled within a courtyard and outside was the cities plaza. Everyday people were selling food and other goods. The next day in Patzcuaro we took a boat out to the islands in the lake to hang out and see the local Indians. On the main island we climbed to the top of the statue on top the island. You could see all around the country side from there. That evening while Belle and I were walking around we noticed some of the locals playing what seemed to be hockey in the street except instead of a puck they had an almost soccer size ball lit with fire. After watching for a while I got to join in on the fun. It was a crazy game. Sometimes the ball would get hit into the crowd. You would just see a fire ball flying through the air into the crowd of people. Everyone would scatter to get out of the way. I got burnt three times from the ball hitting me. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
From Patzcuaro we went to Tequala about 2 hours south of Mazatlan. We spent our last night there. The couple we went with decided to stay longer so we parted ways there. Belle and I got up early the next morning and headed on our way. We had about 5 hours of driving ahead of us down the most dangerous road in Mexico through the Sierra Madre’s. It was crazy and beautiful at the same time. Semi trucks were passing other trucks on windy mountain roads. There were crosses all along the way where people had died. After the mountains we began to get into the lower desert lands and were able to drive 95 to 100 mph. That is one cool thing about Mexico, you pretty much drive as fast as you feel comfortable driving. Belle and I made it back to Alpine from south of Mazatlan in 16 hours. Throughout our trip we only got pulled over about 4 times by the militia and didn’t have much trouble from them.
We had quite an adventurous Thanksgiving!
Destination Candelaria 7/25/2010
I decided to do it! It was about 5:00pm Sunday, July 25th. Destination, Candelaria by means of Pinto Canyon Road. I grabbed my gear and hopped on the bike. I had about 230 miles of desert mountain roads ahead of me so I stopped in Marfa, TX for some gas and food. As I headed towards Pinto Canyon Rd. down FM2810 out of Marfa I could see a large storm system closing in to my left from about 40 miles away. I was able to bypass the storm by about 15 minutes and then another storm closing in from the right about 30 miles up the road. Luckily I was able to skim by that one as well. By this time I was gradually coming up on the Chinati Mountains and the beginning of Pinto Canyon Road, were the pavement ends and the desert mountain roads begin. The mountains appeared majestic as I got closer and closer and the views were breathtaking. After about 2 hours of riding through the mountains I was starting to enter the lower lands of the desert close to the US-Mexico border. The temperature had risen by about 10 to 15 degrees from the mountains down to the low lands. I was almost to Ruidoso, TX. Nothing there but a few residents, old buildings, and an old adobe church with half the walls still standing. I was almost at my final destination. I turned right and headed towards Candelaria. Within about five miles I came up on low area in the road and I realized I didn’t dodge the storm after all. I had to cross around 50 ft. of flash flood waters to continue my journey. I had to do this about 8 other times and some of the floods were worse than others but I finally made to Candelaria. It was almost dark by the time I got there. The paved FM road I was on just stopped at the end of town and turned into a rough dirt road. There wasn’t much in Candelaria but some old adobe homes and a few trailers near the old church were some US Border Patrol agents were stationed. I guess it was time to head back. As I left Candelaria towards Presido, bats were flying everywhere. Of course, I had to cross the flooded areas again as well as about 40 more washed out area by the time I got to Presido. After dodging bats, rattlesnakes, toads all over the road, rocks, floods, sand piles in the road, cattle, and horses, I finally made it to Presido and Hwy 67 about 10:30. I filled up with gas, took a break, and cleaned the bugs off my windshield before I made the last 80 mile stretch back to Marfa and Alpine. And of course I had one last stop before I could get home. The US Border Patrol Check Station. Fortunately, there was only one question asked, (Are you a US citizen). I was almost home free! I pulled into my driveway about 12:00am. I was muddy, tired, and sore but most of all, TOTALLY FULFILLED. What a great Sunday evening.
Burro Ride 12/25/09
As I was leaving DMR two wild donkeys were standing at the cattle guard. They saw me, jumped the cattle guard and began running down the road. I traveled behind them for some time hoping there was a way for them to get off the road but there were fences on both sides with no exits off the road. Finally there was an open stretch in the road and I decided to attempt passing them. It was a little scary because the road was narrow and wild donkeys can be very dangerous. I started speeding up and at 40 mph I was side by side with the two burro's. I eventually got passed them and went on my way only to notice that the donkeys kept going and would eventually be at hwy 166. I figured the right thing to do was turn around and run them back to DMR (their home). 15 minutes later they were back inside the resort with no interruptions. I headed home with a clear conscience.