December 01, 2005 GMT
Around Mexico City

On Eduardo's suggestion we headed up Nevado de Toluca. This is a dormant volcano that stands 4,500 meters above sea level. The dirt road from the highway winds 27kms through lovely forrested areas to the exposed alpine crater cone. Then decends into the crater to two lakes at 4,300 meters.

The Road to the Top

Once again Miss Piggy shows her virtues as we were fully loaded two up on a very rutted dusty road, with some very loose patches and others quite rocky. During the first 15 kms you often had to dodge fallen tree trunks laying across the road, and sometimes halfway around a bend. This is one time where we found ourselves both standing on the foot pegs too keep the bike stable.

Once we cleared the forrest, the view was outstanding and seemed to go on forever, and we just continued climbing with the road becoming narrow in parts and at times we crossed lava beds that had been 'cleared' for the road but were extremely rough and very narrow with steep sudden drop offs on one side.

Over the Lava Field

It was very exciting and most worth while as we decended into the crater to view the blue lakes of the Sun and the Moon.

Crater Lake

We stayed at the crater for, perhaps, an hour. Before commencing our journey out, which was not without incident, we had to make a detour around a vehicle, that could go no further, when we dropped the bike in some badly rutted section. There was little damage to the bike and us zero, we both struggled to pick the bike up fully loaded at that altitude. Sweating and out of breath we climbed back on to the bike feeling a little shaken about the mishap.

Getting going after the fall

The ride down was uneventful, though tiring and at the intersection to the main road we stopped and enjoyed cheese, apples and dried fruit from our stores for lunch.

We circled the base of the vocano, heading for Ixtapan del Sal where we based ourselves for a few days, catching up on email, doing a day trip to Taxco and organising to meet our friends Garry and Ivonne, from Mexico City. We orignially met them at the HU meeting in Creel.

Garry, Ivonne and Jules

On Sunday the 20th November (Mexican Revolution Day) we were to meet Garry and Ivonne (on thier BMW) at the Zocalo, 10am. Grant could not get the bike out the hotel foyer due to a parked car so Julie walked to the Zocalo to meet them. In the mean time Grant managed to get the bike out only to find that the road was completely blocked off at both ends and a parade was ensuing.

Jules caught up with Garry and Ivonne as planned and returned to the Hotel to get Grant who was no longer there but had rode up the street to find a place to park, and was then enveloped in the crowd. He was replaced by school girls and boys twirling battons, waving pom poms and dancing for the whole extent of the street. After about an hour of much searching and being caught up in the festivities we all found each other and headed off to the archelogical ruins at Minalco.

The road was 'Topes-landia' (topes are speed bumps to the extreme) .... it seemed like every few meters there was another one, and the town itself was defintilely not user friendly and was a chore to manouver the fully loaded bike through, however we perservered and had a lovely lunch and a tour of the archeological site which involved a hike up a steep pathway, not too hard though.

Jules & Ivonne

Garry and Ivonne invited us to stay at thier house in Mexico City as it was probably an easier option than our original destination of Cuernavaca. Grant did not feel 'ready' for Mexico City but we decided to give it a whirl.... despite the horror stories of traffic conditions, pollution, population etc.

Mexico City

Garry did a marvellous job of guiding us to his home and it was not as terrifying as we imagined. Garry was to take us to Cuernevaca after work the following day.... as we had no idea how to get out of Mexico City... apparently it is quite easy when you have lived there for 20 odd years!

We spent the day with Ivonne who took us to San Angel (suburb) and we had a nice walk around the markets, streets and visited the Convento de Carmen. It was a very beautiful church and had a lovely walled garden. We did not realise it at the time but there is a museum next door that houses some mummified bodies.

Convento de Carmen

The ride out of Mexico City that afternoon was in mild traffic (according to some people) but was quite hard work. It seemed to take an age to get out of suburbs and hit the open road to Cuernevaca where we were greeted with an amazing sunset.

We arrived at Alan and Theresa's (Garry's in-laws) and stayed in their lovely house enjoying icecream, pizza and good conversation, leaving the following day for Cholula near Puebla.

Alan and Theresa with Grant and Miss Piggy

Posted by Julie Rose at December 01, 2005 05:28 PM GMT

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