to Hidalgo de Parral
-- Story by Erin --
Mon, April 14th: To Cuernavaca, where we met Juan
and his wonderful family, Isabela his wife and Claudia his daughter. Juan is a man of many
talents and also a motorcycle enthusiast. In his garage he has a BMW K100LT, an R100RT, a
homemade airplane, rocket motorbike, and rocket go-cart. The rocket bike and go-cart can
each surpass speeds of 250 miles an hour in 5 seconds. This man loves speed! He is
currently designing and producing a back-mounted rocket pack like the one used in the
James Bond movie. And oh yeah, hes also in the family jewelry business.
Isabela hosts foreign students in their home who are in town taking intensive Spanish
courses. She also plays classical guitar. Claudia, their daughter, studies music and plays
guitar in a Christian band. Our first night there Juan took us to meet his brother and
other motorcyclists at a café in town.
Tuesday, Juan and Claudia took us on a ride to an old, nearby town to see the town
center with its beautiful church and huge arched mural made out of beans and seeds from
the area. We also tried tequila-flavored snow cones where Claudia works. Very interesting
Later that morning after dropping Claudia off at home we headed out in another
direction to the town of Taxco, about 100 kms away. Taxco is a very unique town, built
right up the side of a steep mountain. Juan told us the Spanish built the town styled
after a town in Spain. Its narrow cobble-stoned streets, colonial architecture and
beautiful churches all add to its charm. Taxco is most well known for its high quality
silver jewelry and low prices. After exploring the beautiful cathedral with its huge, real
gold leaf altar and having some lunch, we set off to shop til we dropped. We finally
settled on a few choice pieces and called it a day.
On the way home we had to make a break from the high heat to have a drink and an
afternoon snack. Juan knew a roadside restaurant, which was obviously well known
throughout the area. It was packed! Later that night Juan and Isabela took us out for a
late dinner of Pozole, a wonderful soup made from corn (the type with huge kernels), a
mixture of vegetables, herbs and your choice of meat or shrimp.
The next day we said goodbye to our wonderful hosts and headed west towards the coast.
Weds, April 16th: 550kms to La Barca. That was a
very long day of riding, lots of winding roads and traffic. Because the toll roads are so
expensive we tried to take the free roads that went in the same direction. The problem is
that these free roads usually run right through the towns and villages, there are many
"topes" (speed bumps) you have to slow down for, and they are just one curve
after another. Yes, there is such a thing as too many curves!
The riding day ended at 8:30pm when we finally found a
hotel, make that a love-motel, to stay for the night. It was the only hotel we could find
for a reasonable price, and it was quite nice and new too.
Thurs, April 17th: Tequila, and seńor Jose Cuervo (the factory) was closed
540kms. Not being good Catholics, we didnt know that the Thursday before
Easter is a holy day. Nearly everything in town was closed, except the internet café. We
planned the last week just so that we would arrive in the town of Tequila on this day! Oh
well, we did get to see the interesting and beautiful views of fields of agave plants,
which are what tequila is made from. The blue/greet plant looks like a bunch of swords
sticking out of the ground.
Fri, April 18th: After Guadalajara the road goes straight to the coast and
then up in the direction of Mazatlan. Everyone and their uncle is on the road today for
the Easter weekend to visit family. Just before Mazatlan the road turn in-land again in a
north-easterly direction up over a spectacular mountain range. The views from the
Devils Backbone are breathtaking.
We arrive in Durango, late in the afternoon. Durango is
famous for being the home of the Mexican western film industry. Hollywood also favors the
landscapes here for western films, the most recent being the Mask of Zorro. When we arrive
we meet another local motorcyclist named Pepe who takes around town to try to locate a
battery for Chris bike. At this point Chris is losing fluid from his battery at an
alarming rate. No luck though as this is Good Friday, and most things are closed. Pepe
does help us find a decent hotel right on the main plaza and we get out and enjoy the
festivities in the plaza.
Sat, April 19th: Chris finds that his rear wheel has a bit of movement in it
from side to side ---- an indicator that his wheel bearings are going bad. We ride to the
Suzuki shop down the road to find it still closed for the holiday weekend. Two other local
riders in their black leathers pull up and ask us if we need help. We tell them what we
are after and they take us to the shop of a motorcycle mechanic friend of theirs. The
mechanic is a really nice guy and actually has the right size bearing we need for the
bike! He helps us replace it and off we go further north to the town of Hidalgo de Parral.
This is another long day of riding but with mostly straight roads through desert
landscape. All very boring scenery and lucking it was overcast and cloudy most of the day.
Otherwise it would have been bloody hot too.
Parral is another interesting colonial style town with what looks like a mine on the
hill in the center of town. It reminded me of Mt. Isa in Australia. This is a tidy and
friendly town, with hardworking people.
Hanging with the Lozano Clan
Chris, Isabela, Claudia, Juan, and Erin
Mural made of seeds
Close as you can get!
Shopping for silver
Traffic in Taxco
Steep cobblestone streets
Looking down at one of the beautiful churches
Agave plants, use to make Tequila
This is as close as we got
Delicious cream soda!