Over breakfast with Don and Bob we traded great stories of the previous day. All of us shaking our heads in amazement that we were somehow all in the same spot after the previous day.
Don and Bob had allotted much more time for this trip than I could escape from work for. We we all knew that I’d be breaking off at some point. I had expected that this would be at Campeche as I wanted to get into the Yuchatan and see those sites. But the last few days had shown us all that what we thought were going to be easy days to knock out distance …were anything but.
I was concerned that I would end up chasing miles and time when the time came to head back north. Hence, forcing myself into long days. Big mile days in Mexico are not as easy as here in the states. I also wanted to be somewhat fresh when hitting the border as my plan was to do a "border to border" run in under 24hours. (Across the Mexican and Canadian border in under 24hours).
So, I made the very tough decision to let these two old guys go southeast without my supervision. I will never know if that was the right choice, but I do know that this day and the day following would be an experience that I will cherrish forever.
Don and Bob headed south …they needed to make up time and elected toll roads. I would head southwest over to the Pacific Ocean. The map showed road #175 that ran west, and went through Oaxaca. Hmmm, we had put a big red circle around Oaxaca on our maps as a place to avoid because of the turmoil, political unrest, violence etc …but hey, only a few hundred miles away, ..I can just pass through Oaxaca and then a few hundred more miles and I’m at the other coast. No big deal ……or so I thought.
I started west and just as
I was gaining some elevation I came into this town and noticed internet
....so I made a quick stop to send an email update.
When I came out, this young fellow was looking over my bike:
We talked for a bit in broken
enlish/spanish and while we didn't make a lot of progress, we both understood
the universal love of motorcycles. He knew where I was headed from
looking at the highlights on my map. He knew what what I was
about to experience on that route ...but little did I know
what that was.
In hindsight, now I know why he gave me the double-look of admirartion and "area you crazy?".
Before long my sea-level elevation soon turned into high elevation and the most wonderful road I have ever been on, -period. Let me say it twice more. The most amazing road I have ever ridden. The tightest, craziest, bumpy road with incredible scenery, wonderful tiny villages and great people. Averaged around 8,000feet elevation with many spots over 10,000feet.
This road was very desolate of people, but full of amazing topography and scenery. Occassionally a tiny village. Here is a tiny village and a couple of nice girls made me an early lunch of tortillas
Coming around a bend at about 9000feet I saw another little village that sat well beneath the road. I stopped, and when I cut my engine I heard the sound of children singing. Beautiful as the young voices carried through the canyons in the thin air.
I looked down and saw a church/school and some nuns teaching choir to a small group of young girls.
This was trully a site to
see and will leave a life-long impression. You must realize how remote,
primitive and HIGH this little place is.
At this spot I was just under 10,000feet, ...some of this road was over 10,000 feet elevation.
came across a little building (well building is an exageration) on the
side of the road. It belonged to a family. Dad, mom, two daughters
and grandpa. The father was a woodworker who built simple furniture
that he (attempted) to sell. I stopped to look and chat.
Keep in mind that this is at about 8,000feet elevation, and very remote. These folks live here. No real roof over their head. Most of the space was taken up by the father's woodworking things and the stuff he built. The kitchen (see in picture) is an open pit fire with some very worn pots and pans. Clothes were scrubbed by hand and obviously air dryed. No real protection from any of the elements ..weather or other.
Two young daughters who melted my heart with their innocence and beauty. It was hard communicating but with effort we were able to share a bit. I gave them many glowsticks that I had brought with me.
I was amazed at the spirit of this family, yet I could not help but to feel some pity for the tough life they lived. Harsh mountains, ....with no real protection and without all of the creature comforts that we all take for granted.
youngest daughter, noticing my obvious lack of spanish, ......
She proceeded to bring out her school book. ..and she was determined to teach me spanish ...as if it would happen at the snap of a finger.
away, thinking how fortunate I am, to have all the domestic comforts
in my life, freedom and my favorite: The abilitly to get on
motorcycles and ride.
never forget this special girl who felt pitty on me and selflessy wanted
to help by sharing her wonderful world with me.