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Published: November 3rd 2009
Getting out of Copper Canyon was meant to be easier than getting in but somehow we managed to topple off 3 times on the way out. First we came round a corner and had to negotiate a bulldozer than had just laid 6 inches of fresh soil on the road surface. We got past the bulldozer ok but then we came to a standstill in the thick, fresh, soil and just toppled over gracefully. Next we had just finished negotiating the really tricky, steep, smooth rock part and were on the easy flat straight section when the back wheel just caught the tiniest bit of mud and before we knew it we were back on the ground with a dented pannier (the panniers are quite handy as they support the bike so it doesn't actually fall on top of you). Finally there was an long section of deep muddy ruts, which we negotiated ok, but at the end was a very deep muddy puddle which we managed to go swimming in.
Not only did we fall of the bike but somehow I had just surfaced from the puddle when Edwin came flying through the air and landed on top of me.
This meant I was totally covered in mud form head to toe - this caused the rest of the group much amusement when we caught up with them at the end of the canyon. My bottom was probably the most photographed thing that day.
Once we were back on lovely, smooth, tarmac we continued heading south through more green fields and hills. Occasionally got a glimpse a more cactus type plants but not the real thing. All the locals are wandering round in enormous cowboy hats, some of them are even riding horses or herding their cattle along the roads. Pass through Parral (Pancho Villas teritory but we arrive to l ate to go to the museum) and onto Zacatecs a lovely old colonial town. A historic centre means cobblestones and it started raining heavily just before we arrived plus its rush hour and lots of the roads are block off for a fiesta tonight. All this made for an interesting journey into the centre on wet cobbles in heavy traffic. A couple of slight hiccups in the navigation meant we had the extra excitement of some U-turns right in the middle of all the traffic - however, we
on our way out
have got the hang of it now, you just start your strange manoeuvre and all the traffic stops to watch what the strange gringo on the big motorbike is up to. They even get out of their cars and start holding up the other traffic and generally waving their arms around, in a friendly manner, until you have completed your manoeuvre and are back on your way. Quite handy really. And we get a nice firework display later courtesy of the fiesta. They have a fantastic museum with superb 1940s photographs of the Huichol people and their yearly ceremonial pilgrimage to collect the hallucinogenic peyote cactus. The costumes are wonderful as are the examples of their multicoloured embroideries.
Continue heading south to another colonial town - San Miguel de Allende. Today is a day of diversions and nearly even town we go through has the main road dug up. There is always a big yellow diversion sign to start with but pretty soon they disappear and you are abandoned down some back street. Luckily the locals are all friendly and happy to point you in the right direction. En-route we pass-by Dolores famous for it ceramics so we make
a little detour to by some tiles for the kitchen at the vast expense of 3p per tile - it costs considerably more to post them home!!!
San Miguel is a really laid back little places with the usual impressive churches and old colonial buildings. The centre is very neat & tidy with lots of small, leafy plazas and brightly coloured houses on steep cobbled streets. Unfortunately Edwin manages to eat something that violently disagrees with him and spends the whole night in the bathroom. Not good when you have to ride 278 miles tomorrow, especially when the first part is out of town on the cobblestones and the next part is up and over the mountains. To make it easier for Edwin I am unfaithful and spend the day riding pillion on Aaron's bike. We are heading up into the mountains so there are lots of twists and turns. We actually get to go through a real desert with proper cacti on the way up but as we climb higher its into rainforest. Well probably more accurately cloud forest as we spend most of the day up in the clouds not being able to see anything on twisty
turny roads. End up in the tiny non-touristy town of Huejutla. Its very local and a Sunday so no flashy restaurants. We end up eating delicious tacos on a street corner for about 50p.
Tomorrow we head off down towards the Caribbean coast then into pre-Colombian ruins territory.
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