26 January 2011

Another way back

Thumbing back to the southwest, then catching a bus back to Creel.  Not the best time of year to be standing on the side of the road, but maybe I'll get more sympathy rides.  I'll re-activate SPOT when I return to Creel.

21 January 2011

Huevos de Becerros and North Korea's Best Pizza Joint

Current Location in real life: Cleveland, Ohio
Elevation here: about 700 feet ASL
Current Location of my bike: Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico
Elevation there: about 7000 feet ASL
(All numbers are since start of trip)
Tortilla count so far: 276
Showers: 8
Nights above freezing: 0
Nights indoors: 10
Flat tires: 0
New "meats" eaten: 3 (tripe in menudo, horse in salchicha, testicle tacos-- good name for a band)
Laundry: twice
Height of Mexico's 2nd highest waterfall: 246 meters
Colloquialism:  The word for lawyer in spanish is abogado.  However, they are also called platanos.  Platano means banana.  So, lawyers are called bananas because none of them are straight.

Ok, I am in Cleveland because my grandfather, Thomas Burney died.  May he rest in peace.  He was a great grandpa who always wanted to hear more about my adventures.  So these stories are for him-- especially if they involve amusing cats.  In a few days, I will head back down to Mexico to continue my journey.

As you know, there is lots of advice in musical lyrics.  But remember, most celebs aren't role models, and sometimes they just need something that rhymes.  Anyways I went against at least 2 songs this round-- I chased a waterfall and drank the water in Mexico (without treating it).  At least I followed some of the other advice in the second song and drove to see my grandpa one last time before it was too late.

I met Riguito while searching for a cowboy hat to protect my burnt gringo face.  His mom has a second-hand clothing store in Ciudad Guerrero and his dad has a cattle ranch.  We went hiking up to a lake to go fishing.  The creek was frozen so we shot it up with a .22.  It was fun to watch the bubbles zoom around under the ice.

We helped David, the ranchhand, feed the cows.  They did not know what to think of me.

This gatito was fearless and was usually somewhere around the corral getting sniffed or nearly stepped on by the cows.

David holds the leg of the becerro, while Manuel (the vet) makes swift work with his scalpel-- 1 more steer in the world.

All the becerros get branded to identify them as Mexican, as they are exported to the USA at about $1.40/lb on the hoof.  As we worked the cattle, it reminded me of my job on the buffalo farm only they don't have big horns.

M for Mateo!

After a long day in the chutes, we cooked the huevos de becerros (rocky mountain oysters) on the fire with chiles and onions and had tacos and beers.

Fire it up!

Eduardo, Riguito, and me with their 2001 Dodge 2500 w/ "Coomins".  These guys were a lot of fun to get to know.  We cruised town in the evenings, joked around, and stumbled through conversations in my improving spanish.

Chihuahua has wide open country full of ranches and apple orchards.  It also has the Sierra Madre-- mountains full of pine forests.

There are several big gold mines here, but they truck the concentrated ore somewhere else to process it.  Seeing an 18-wheeler squeal it's tires on every turn is wild.  They lay the hammer down-- luckily I was going towards the mines and the trucks were a bit more courteous when empty.

There's lots of good campsites, but sometimes you just leave the bike up top.  Canyon country begins...

road convexity and sharp curves always adds to the excitement of the start of a monster downhill.  I found myself using my brakes in some of the curves, as sometimes there are large potholes or gravel waiting for you.  Normally, I like to go as fast as possible.

Here begins the trek to the waterfall of Basaseachi.  They told me it was the 2nd biggest in Mexico, but due to preconceived notions of Mexico's geography, my mind compared "2nd biggest waterfall in Mexico" to saying "best pizza in North Korea."  Check your expectations at the door.

The water passes under an arch before leaping into the wild yonder.  I took this shot through my sunglasses so you can see how I see.

It really was impressive.  North Korea could make the world's best pizza.  You don't know til you go.  For scale, there are people standing at the top that you can't see (even if you blow the picture up) due to the resolution of the site(1600 pixels).  It is 807 feet tall.

I camped about 4 miles upstream in some kind folks' yard.  They scrap cars for a living, so most of their property was scorched earth from burning batteries for the lead and car wiring for the copper.  Gotta love the respect for the environment down here.

frost on the pumpkin

fresh blacktop on highway 23 was 70 miles of cycletouring heaven.  wide road, low traffic, infinite campsites.

...and 3 hour long climbs in first gear

this is so Mexican-- do a nice job concreting in the young trees.

Chilling out in the Sierra with my new sombrero.

Fat tires are handy when you come around a corner and that blacktop turns to gravel.

I love that they live in log cabins but paint them in bright colors.

The truck murals are second to none.

complete with epic hood ornaments.


i want to be a mexican mailman!

Pancho Villa's 1922 Dodge, complete with bullet holes.  I stopped in at the Museum of Pancho Villa in Chihuahua on my way back to Indiana.  It has heaps of really interesting artifacts and lots of midwestern antique furniture.  

Making friends with the Centaur of the North.

The translations into English are downright hilarious.  I can only assume that they used a translation program and misspelled "tenia" as "tinea"  which is latin for worm or something.

cast aluminum street signs with beer advertisements!  very neat!

the taxi driver informed me that the airport closes at night so i couldn't sleep there.  i told him i wasn't getting a 350 peso hotel.  he offered to let me sleep in his empty rental house, which was skank-tastic.  the coincidence of the week is that the skank-blanket read "Indianapolis Colts"-- my home town team!

Chihuahua city from the air, with the Sierra in the background.

I absolutely love gawking at the SkyMall catalogue.  It is so full of the crappiest products that remind me of  the kids who lost at Invention Convention in 6th grade.
At Grandma's house in Springfield, Ohio with my bro and sis.

At Dad's old elementary school in Parma Heights, Ohio.

Cleveland squirrels know how to fuel up for winter with those deep-fried acorns.

Poppo and his grandsons, Matt, Thomas, and Thomas.

Back in Creel on Wednesday...

11 January 2011

¡Ay Chihuahua!

Location: Ciudad Guerrero, Chihuahua, Mexico
Tortilla count so far: 100 (60 pack, 30 pack, 10 pack)
Days on the road: 15
Nights above freezing so far: 0
Typical elevation: 5000 ft
Miles so far (estimated): no idea, but guessing around 500?
Offroad miles (estimated): 50
Shower count: 5

All's rolling well down here in Chihuahua state.  Some days have a lot of up, some a lot of down, some with horrible headwind, some with mild tailwind.  No strong tailwinds yet :(.  The border crossing went smoothly-- I skipped a few miles down to Buenaventura (a great place to start riding anyways).  The weather gets into the 50s during the day and into the 20s or maybe teens at night.  I'm in search of a cheap sombrero to shield my face from the perpetual southern sun I will be riding into for the next few months.  I{m hoping to check out a few national parks in the area before working my way south along the continental divide (la sierra madre).  I find it fascinating to see all the late model american pickups down here.  The Dodge 2500 and 3500s are really popular.  The difference is that here, everything is paid for.  Everybody knows the word "CASHONLY." 
the end of my allen wrench will permanently remain there...  i just bought a new bolt instead, with a more vise-grip friendly head.

hell yeah!

the ol' Separ road on the ol' Continental Divide

Look closely at the driver.

hachita sunset


Last day in America til...?

¡caballos!  ¡montaƱas!

winding into the mountains on just another 4 hour climb.  ho hum.


mexican rollercoaster on la sierra madre

so chic! i was proclaimed the only white guy to visit temosachic in 20 years.


morning on the high plains.

they could pave chihuahua with empty tecate cans.