The A team separated earlier, on account of Todd’s an exploded rear KTM 1290 shock. The Alaskan Dragon is still running so Todd is nursing it back to Mexico City with Joey and Chris as wingmen. More details to follow in Day 5 ride story. If you haven’t yet figured it out; we can’t blame ourselves, when bad things happen here, because all things are in the hands of the Mexican unseen, and uncontrollable spirits.
Right now I’m sitting on a bench with some very loud pueblo music jamming while my BMW 1250 GSA gets a thorough cleaning. The proprietor came by early and said they apologize but, will have to charge me a higher price than the small Tsuru’s 65 pesos or about three US bucks. I felt like a rich gringo and splurged for the 100 pesos details.
Our room for the night in Veracruz, Mexico is in a 300 year old modernized hotel building that once housed an educated and wealthy family according to the current proprietor. I highly recommend Hotel Dona Juana for a stay. Our combined group of riders was so large we needed three separate locations.
For dinner we walked several blocks to the Zocolo and found a locals mariscos restaurant and sat under a large awning on plastic chairs while warm raindrops fell; nearby was a big guy providing the singing and music while a Covid masked senorita pounded out her tap shoes on a box she carried and now stood on. Nearby fresh caught fish that looked like a Florida keys tarpon was being cleaned with a machete. How he manages to do that is like a barber giving you a haircut with garden shears or a push lawnmower.
After dinner we walked the gumbo style meal off and soon found an old home, converted to a museum that once belonged to a Mexican movie star named Lara.
We met his son who all he wanted to do was talk about my BMW GSA 1250; on account of my rain jacket that said BMW. I offered up a trade for the motel. HE THOUGHT ABOUT IT SOME; but, he said he better decline on account of sentimental reasons.
The gumbo like mariscos earlier was served up in a watery rice broth typical of Spanish cuisine. Dinner for six, drinks, appetizers and a fried banana, cream cheese and cheese desert came out to about 1200 pesos.
Thank you Todd, Chris and Ed for taking care of the bill. Roberto, Chris and I appreciated it. These guys in the A team are all salt of the earth; real stand up guys who you can count-on in any situation.
Today’s ride was at times, wet and cold a two hundred mile day full of countless twisties. The weather varied and the surroundings were drop dead gorgeous scenery. At times I could’ve sworn we were not in Mexico anymore.
The road took us up and over the top of a mountain twisties road from Oaxaca city to Veracruz. The pines soon gave way to a rain forest typical of the Pacific Northwest Olympic peninsula.
And yes, we got some rain and 51 degrees weather. Once we made it safely down we pulled into a parking lot that soon turned into a bakery cafe. This town of 1,000 residents has exactly fifteen bakeries. Yea, you read right. I interviewed a baker who told me of the special qualities of this place. The secret is in the wood fired special ovens.
If you can read Spanish the sign above says that the wood fired bakery bread baked here ; every two weeks is delivered fresh to Los Angeles, California.
Earlier for breakfast two groups stopped at a parador for the breakfast special, that contained melted cheese covering a variety of mushrooms, peppers and other fresh vegetables. The specialty drink was a chocolate made with either water or fresh milk. Since it was already 51 degrees by then the hot chocolate tasted great.
When you wake up in the morning like a kid waiting on Christmas Day, you know there’s something special going on in your life.
This ride so far has been amazing with everyday different from the other. Most everyday now; feels like I’ve gotten a gift of riding; and it just doesn’t get any better than riding with the A team. Once again, the A team has pushed my boundaries considerably.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to pass Todd on his KTM 1290, aka Alaska white dragon on account that he now has no brakes and today blew out his rear shock after one tope jump too many. Sorry Todd that was written before today when you had to bail back to Mexico City on account of the exploded rear shock.
The A team if you don’t yet know or just joined this includes Joey, Chris,Todd and I. Yoda Roberto spreads himself from group to group as this is his stomping or rather riding ground.
Before arriving in Veracruz there’s a considerable stretch of road made up of sugarcane fields, a Corona distillery, pineapples, and tractors heavily burdened with freshly loaded sugar cane stalks. Each tractor carries about ten oversized trailers on the road. We had our work cut out for us with the topes and the tractors today.
Try saying Tlacotalpan three times. This is where we are tonight. Today was a 200 mile ride towards the Caribbean ocean; before here, it was Oaxaca and before; the Pacific Ocean in the gringo city of Puerto Escondido; a known surfing town.
Sometime yesterday while climbing higher and higher up the twisties jungle mountains road it all started changing from Mexico to Thailand with parts of Cuba and Costa Rica mixed in. It wasn’t just me feeling this way. This little area is famous for its tut tuts form of transportation. The tut tuts here have been adapted for everything use from your people mover types, to a pickup, a water delivery type and even a stock (goat, pigs and poultry) mover. I told you Mexicans were ingenious.
Yesterday we sped up, up, and finally over a mountain top; twisties roads all along the way with some huge drop offs, pot holes and broken pavement so deep; that at one time I thought I ran over the top of a tut tut that had fallen into a pothole.
Two close calls whereby my line coming out of a curve served me up broken pavement that I drastically tried avoiding; as I sped my way around corners shadowing most of Chris’ every move.
Chris is on an Africa Twin playing a game of no brakes; while I try to keep up with him. He weaves himself into slowing down before taking the next twisty; then speeds back up and repeats. I on the other hand use everything at my disposal, front/rear brakes and lots of gearing and downshifting with my English leaning this way and that. Today I woke up craving for more!
We sped through little towns the size of only a few pole or brick buildings with their very own special topes; and as we got braver and braver in the land of topes; we started taking topes at near 45 mph. Everything here is to be pushed to the limit. 45 mph across a tope is possible. Topes work! Don’t ever let anyone tell you they don’t. They get your attention real fast and make you watch your speed.
And if we blew out a tire or damaged a rim or flattened a dog or even caused an accident we can’t blame ourselves, because when bad things happen here, there could be no culpa or “fault” because all things are in the hands of the Mexican unseen, and uncontrollable spirits.
And when there is no culpa, there is no guilt like in our America. Culpa in Mexico means blaming the spirits.
Yesterday Chris and I got an earful from both Todd and Joey like one would get from a caring and thoughtful parent. It’s not our “culpa” we said, the spirits willed us to stop at this special paradora.
Perhaps we all need a little time to reflect; we’ve all been together for nearly 24/7 this past week. Joey and Todd like to blast by on these awesome roads with only stopping for fuel as a necessity. Chris and I cheated today by stopping for food and drinks.
Perhaps you are reading this and are thinking that we should be punished for “speeding” or sent straight to hell.
In some people the sense of guilt is so strong that they suffer terribly. Here in the land of topes there are no speed limits; except the limit that you want to impose on your shocks and suspension and no, there are no tope police around waiting to catch you.
For Todd and Joey it’s all about the roads if their bellies are content. For Chris and I today we found this perfect little parador worth stopping at, so we did, and we ate and drank one very chilled Corona amongst a backdrop of gorgeous scenic mountains.
The air coming from the mountain was like a blast of 60 degree air conditioning, while the temperatures on the roads was perhaps 80. Directly across our view was a clothesline and to our left small goats climbing a tree; turkeys running around as three skinny mongrels stared us down for taco scraps.
Twenty year old Jessica served us from her families wood kitchen hut without a chimney. Grandma made the tortillas fresh while mom cooked and Grandpa watched the tethered kid.
Smoke poured out from every crevice. Two separate wooden fires burned below a steel well used grate they used as a stove top. You read right. The small child about the age of two was tethered.
Now in the US this might be cause for concern but, not in the land of No culpa. They simply did not want him going off a cliff or running down the road to get flattened by motorcycles or trucks.
As motorcycle riders we need the thrill of the chase; it’s now part of our DNA of what constitutes our A team of riders Joey, Todd, Chris and tours truly.
But today stopping but once to smell, taste and drink in the scenery and Corona, caused just a little heartburn for the two that missed the stop for the continual thrill of the chase.
Unbeknownst to Chris and I they finally figured out we weren’t behind them so they waited for quite a while, worried as a mother might be for her kids to show up from school.
We encountered nothing but tanned and barefoot bodies walking around, Puerto Escondido, waiting on the next big surf set to roll in but, higher up in the tail of the dragon jungle, we did our own version of surfing; leaning while riding the twisties.
Journeys are mostly enhanced by the people you meet along the way. That is where most of my interesting stories come from. Fortunately for you and for me I am an outgoing person and meeting people comes easy to me.
Did you know that Mexican bulls used in the bull fighting are bred and trained for the ring, and are much larger, stronger and fiercer than ordinary bulls. They are never allowed to mate with cows but, are deliberately teased by having cows near them, and go into the ring as frustrated as adolescent virgins. Several days ago we passed a bull ring and I made a point of adding it to one of these stories so there you are.
The first bullfight in Mexico was staged in Mexico City on August 13, 1529, only eight years after Hernan Cortes and his Indian allies destroyed the great capital city of Tenochtitlan and the Aztec empire.
Tomorrow we ride 221 miles to Tehuacan. I know this story doesn’t flow as well as my other ones but, that’s because I need more time to do a proper job and the day is just not long enough.
Perhaps Ill edit the story in the future or perhaps “the spirits willed it to turn out the way it now did. Like life things are unpredictable that way.
Anyway, no es mi culpa!