20 April 2011

a veritable smorgasbord of climates and terrains...

Location: Còrdoba, Veracruz, Mexico
Puncture count: 5 (3 in one day)
Tortilla count:  getting hazy, but around 635
Colloquialism: Lo bailado, nadie no me quitan.  English: That I have danced, nobody can take that from me.

So much happens so fast sometimes.  The days are packed with ups and downs, leaving me exhausted each night, barely able to process all the stimulus.  But, that's what an adventure is--  life comes faster than you can handle.  Pick your line on the fly. As such, I have arrived in Còrdoba with ripped panniers, covered in bugbites, with a large caffeine buzz, excited for upcoming Oaxaca.  I am ready to punt it southward for some hard riding.  Enjoy the chronologically disorganized photos.  Blogger uploads as it pleases apparently.

Cargo Tricycle trash-truck in Xico, Veracruz.  I liked the color scheme in this pic.

Leaving the summit of Tolantongo, 50km from Ixmiquilpan.  A beautiful morning for a canyon crossing!

Quite a few switchbacks to negotiate!

Some dear friends from the Pastelerìa Diana, in Ixmiquilpan.  Beautiful people, beautiful cake.

More switchbacks as we transfer from high desert to a verdant valley.

Cooking breakfast in the valley outside San Pablo.

out the other side of the canyon and back into the desert.

Then down into another verdant valley...

Full of corn and shady trees.  It was like the midwest in the spring, except for the huge desert peaks jutting out of the earth.

bike and tree.

sun pokes around the corner after another big day in the saddle.

who arrives on motorcycles?  with tacos?  and barbecue?  The men of Pastelerìa Diana!An awesome end to the day.

Camping by the cornfields...

And off they go, into the night!  What an adventure!  They rode that same switchback road into and out of the canyon to find me.  Two up!

There's always a back way through farm country...

But not always a bridge...

River crossings abound.

Looking towards Ixmiquilpan and my new friends from Tolantongo summit.

Some days you find Zuko on the side of the road!

Some days you consider an offer of a burro for your bicycle after drinking pulque under a shade tree with some workers.

Talachas = desponchadora = llantas = vulkanizadora = tire buster

back into a deciduous forest of oak trees at 9000 feet.

Mole Rojo Paste (like an English Pastie) in Mineral del Monte.  Chicken, delicious sauce, baked in dough.

Cobbled streets of San Miguel Real de Monte...

The back way drops you into Pachuca from above 9000 feet.

Mail some letters.  Yet to arrive, of course.

Another dirt back road...  high desert.

Elephants ahead!?!?  Whatever.

bike and tree makes for a nice campsite near Santiago. 
In Santiago, south of Tulancingo, there was a carnival happening.  I decided to camp in the park and wander around.  I ordered a Michelada, which is where they put a 40 oz. beer in a paper cup and add Clamato, chili powder, limes, some other spicy stuff, and if you're really lucky, shrimp and shrimp juice.  Prepare for some digestive issues.  Anyways, I imbibed alongside Geraldo, who insisted I take his Old Navy vest for Argentina's cold nights.  He also insisted I take his newly won Powerpuff Girls poster and sticker, which regrettably bounced off my rack before I had a chance to add them to Tatanka's frame.  As we watched the dancing in the plaza, he made me promise over and over again to never forget him or his town.  He asked me if he was my friend.  When I said yes, he began to cry.  He told me he had been in the army his whole life and didn't have anyone.  He said he was just an alcoholic with no friends.  He slapped his face a handful of times and excused himself, no doubt embarassed by his crying.  I don't think I will forget that anytime soon.

Filling up with stove fuel at Pemex in Zàcatlan.

Yeah, we are going left here, fo sho...

A Jeep WTFJ-6

Yes, that is llama topiary.  among other creatures.

Yes, mom, I know you can say that on your first attempt.

I like downhills.  Bajadas!

Which lead to jungly rivers like this.

Where did my oak trees go?  This looks like Oregon.


Into a jungle canyon...

For some exquisite camping and bathing.

As usual, churches dominate the scene, exceeded in height only by cell phone towers.

What a beautiful spot.  How about removing some nails, wire, and thorns from your tires for the next 3 hours.  Sunburn = free.

Followed by 2 days of climbing.  In the jungle.  Seriously hot.

A new mascot.  Formally, he is El Hijo del Santo, with the silver mask.  Informally, I named him Felipe Madera.  This is a joke for people that speak Spanish, English, and Bicycle fluently.

Oh look, another insane downhill!

Through coffee country and torrential downpours.

The sticker reads: ''gift from god''.  God gave you this truck, and you wrecked it.  Well done.

I spotted the occasional Koosh-ball tree.

The graveyards here are especially colorfula and contrast with the green.  Yes, those are cornfields in the background.

roadside spring water with bamboo spout refreshes on a hot day.

Outside Zacapoaxtla, I found a guy that liked classic american trucks.

All the climbing pays off with some flat ground!  Altiplano!

Cool-looking bike shop, with cooler name.

yeah flat ground with a tailwind.  winding it out in top gear for a little while was fun.

the good ol' boys of CFE, always have time to chat.

oh yeah, it was flat for a whole day!

To the ruins of Cantona, one of the rare pre-hispanic cities built without mortar.  I think it was because they were in a volcanic area devoid of lime and clay.

Shortcuts: if they were easy, they'd be called ''the way''

Cantona has 24 ball courts.  Literally, the game was sudden death.  The losers were decapitated and their heads put in a compartment beneath the playing field.  There were at least 27 ball courts and over 8000 residences.

I climbed the big pyramid and had a look at the desert, full of yucca.  I am not smart enough to make snow-covered Orizaba show up in the background with my camera.  But it was there, I promise.

Cantona's creaters incorporated the natural landscape into their buildings with curves and large boulders remaining as parts of walls or corners. 

Graffiti on a Maguey plant.

Without mortar, it was neat to see how few of the surrounding stones were displaced by the encroaching pine forest.

I did not stick around to find out if this was an ergonomic seat for its owner!

old school bike with twin top tube and rod brakes.

rod brakes.  no cables.  all mechanical linkage.  i love it.

a rare riding self-portrait on the llano.

getting directions for ''the back way'' from locals is like pulling teeth.  they don't know or won't say.  so sometimes i just launch off down a dirt road, and sooner or later somebody comes along to guide me.

end of another day in the saddle.

some back ways involve pushing your bike through deep sand.  it sucks.

Outside of the town La Gloria.   
Normally, towns named La Gloria have a huge waterfall nearby or something.  This town got its name when a visiting General (at the baptism of a wealthy hacienda owner friend) tried Pulque for the first time.  After getting well-sauced, he proclaimed that the hacienda should change its name to La Gloria.  It stuck.

yes! another truck self-portrait.

descending from high desert down into the jungle once more, with a big forest fire in the background.

I like this sign.  And this town.

4x4 lawnmowers on the soccer field

when the town has parallel streets, I always choose the one with the most colorful decorations.

these guys were finishing contruction of a new house.

they offered a beer, and there went the day.  note: cases of beer on left.  Fernando invited me to stay at his house with his family. We had both been in Poughkeepsie, NY in 2008.

hanging out on the new roof.

The trucks here always entertain me with their decorations.

El Chepe offers up his VW bug in exchange for Tatanka and all my stuff.

Every year they decorate the chapel with plant matter.  Intricate and interesting.

What I look like under a VW Bug.

What I look like in Chepe's Bug

In case you did not spot this accessory or Tweety in the larger picture above.

Made in Mexico.  Dear Lord, forgive them of their welding.

Almost looks like Carolina but the wrong sahde of green, maybe?

Hot pink church with a 100m suspension bridge?  Awesome!

Total rain out in Teocelo.  View from center field.

Oh yes.  The ''mango incident.''  I know that I am definitely allergic to mangos.  I am also quite grateful that I carry a FULL roll of TP, and Loratadine.  Never again.

downhill on concrete double track is so much fun!

Buffalo sighting.

I did not know that Xico was the gateway to the mountains of America.

At a waterfall, I spotted the biggest Sycamore tree ever.  Look closely-- I'm in the picture.

Cascada outside Xico, Veracruz.

Nostalgia for Sycamore School...

El luchador (wrestler) Felipe Mader del Santo agrees.  What a ride!


shawn and chris said...

Your blog cracks me up, keep it up! And get your palate ready to enjoy the multiple flavors of mezcal in Oaxaca!

Gracie Cole said...

your pictures do a great job of showing the vast diversity in terrain and climates. and the humor in your observations gets me chuckling across the world. :-)

Anonymous said...

a few things - like the truck self portrait and koosh ball trees!!! we had one outside of one of the many places i have lived here...
That is one amazing tree!
Aaaaaand it looks like you have not quite hit chiapas yet! :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

super photo

Post a Comment