December 10, 2009 GMT

Spent four days in San Miguel de Allende, was good to regrow some skin on contact points. Had wanted to stop for a few days as there was a bid coming up back home that I needed to work on. Bid was delayed but I had signed up for four days of Spanish classes so I stayed for that. San Miguel is an interesting town with many expats living there and many tourists. That drove up the cost of hotels but was able to find one for 485 pesos (13 to 1) with a good parking area.

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Hotel in San Miguel de Allende

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They do know how to make doors here

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1935 moto owned by fellow in shipping place.

Spent time wandering around the shops to see if there was anything I needed to buy for Christmas presents. The last afternoon I walked down to "artists alley" and took another item off bucket list. This one has been on there for a long time, when I was 12 or 13 I made comment of tatoos a hired hand of Uncle Harry's had. At which time Dad informed me that if I came home with a tatoo he would remove it with sandpaper, so that shot that idea till I was out of the house. But by then I need my money for more important things like motorcycles, cars, and college. Then I got that stabilizing effect of marriage as I finished college and money went elsewhere. When I did have the money I came to the realization that by the time I got old my tastes may change and I probable would not like what I put on. Well here I was, hate to admit it but I am may be old now, have the money in my pocket, and no stabilizing effect here to steer me elsewhere as I pass a tatoo place. So 800 pesos, two hours and I now can take tattoo off the list.

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Tattoo

I left San Miguel and headed to Jalpan de Serra in the Serra Gorda (mountains). It is also the area where five Missions were started about 1800 with all of them well maintained. The road to Jalpan has 700 corners in the last 100 K. I also had lots of time to get there so ran up several side roads and side roads off of side roads. Reached 2850 meters in the little village of El Doctor. Kind of neat pulling into these little villages that are off the beaten path, I do not think they see too many motorcycle travelers up here. Then up to see some ruins and a small cavern. Went to San Joaquin to see the mission there. Great roads and perfect weather, was cool to the point that I had my coat liner in for the first time since the mountains of Columbia. Much easier to solve cold than hot.

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My guide to cavern(far right) and helpers.

The next day I went up side roads off of Mex 120 to missions at Tilaco and Tancoyol. Both off the main hwy so don't get too many tourists. They do not seem to have grown much over the years so thing have not changed much although there are many cars, pickups and other signs that the economy is doing ok. Went back down Mex 120 then headed north stopping at the last of the Missions in Conca.

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Road in Sierra Gorda

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Countryside in Sierra Gorda

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Sierra Gorda

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I followed a large truck with a load of green peppers for quite awhile. It was trapped but so full that one would fall off every so often. Finally stopped and picked one up, only a little damaged. Eat about half which was quite good but I must say their green peppers have much more bite than the ones back home.

Headed toward San Luis Potosi and made it there by 5:00. Don't really like big cities so took the truck route around, then west on Mex 49. Stopped at a town about 20 k out but they said there was no hotel there and with not much showing further down the road so I turned back to San Luis Potosi. Before I got there I saw a restaurant with cabins. Stopped got a cabin for $200 and unloaded and cleaned up. Then went over to restaurant, it had closed for the night, so dinner was a banana with water. Not much on TV (well a some but all in Spanish) and no wifi so went to bed about 8.

Up, loaded and out by 6:00, on my way to Durango. Something mythical about heading off into the dark morning with the sun rising in your mirrors. One of the changes I had made to the bike before I left was to change to HID lights ( the amps, twice the light) and they sure cut a hole in the dark. Sunup was about 7:00 at which time I found a truck stop and got a bite to eat. Much of the way was on four lane hwys where cruising speed was 130 to 140K, even though my rear shock has blown a seal and is non functional. Score one for the topes, the rear shock has spit out most of it's oil. Won't be able to find one till I get to California, then would only work if they had one in stock as I won't have the time to wait for it. That makes two things for warranty coverage, also want them to fix the kickstand right. To do that means re-machining the mount (part of left engine case) or replace it. I think the bracket is also bent.

125 K before Durango I stopped for fuel in Sombrerete and was handed a flyer for a farmer demonstration / protest planned for tomorrow. Had to stay and support fellow farmers, primary grip is rapidly escalating electric power rates. Have passed many circle irrigation systems and all work on electric power for pumps and movement. The way I see it if I study protests I can call this trip a business expense.

At the Hotel in Sombrerete the desk clerk/maid/cook's husband had worked in the US (New Hampshire, and North Dakota) on farms and a big dairy. With his English and my Spanish we talked for a long time. There was a film crew at the hotel (making a movie of some type) and the hotel had been cooking them meals, got myself invited up for dinner which was very good.
The road from Durango to Mazatlan was on the "bucket" list as a must do ride. Have been told that this is one of the best roads in North America. "El Spinazo del Diablo", (The Devils Spine) runs from the Alto Plano (2000 to 3000 meters) down to the sea. The first section was nothing special making me wonder what all the hullabaloo was about, then I came to the twisties. Corner after corner cut into almost vertical mountains and winding through beautiful pine forests. The weather was perfect, a little cool on top but I prefer it that way. If you ever ride the El Spinazo be ready for four hours of an exhilarating roller coaster ride. What really puts this road in the top five I have ever run is the well banked corners, as the road twisted back and forth the banking would follow. If the shock had not blown on my moto I could have done a little knee dragging around these corners.

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Start of El Spinazo del Diablo

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El Spinazo del Diablo

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El Spinazo del Diablo

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El Spinazo de Diablo road on far mountain

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This is a straight stretch of the Spinazo

As I got closer to Mazatlan I could see construction taking place. The DOT (Destroyers of Twisties) has arrived in Mexico. This road will be an engineering marvel, the 48 K section they are working on will have 42 tunnels and 34 bridges (see picture). I do love how Mexico works their roads though, the new road will be toll and they will keep the old road for local traffic and crazies on motos.

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Supports for new bridge

Will be in Mazatlan for a couple of days then take ferry to the Baja.


El Spinazo del Diablo

Posted by Robert Thode at December 10, 2009 02:04 AM GMT
 



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