Slowing Down, Enjoying the Sights

And why not? We’ve been having some really great days riding but on this trip are punctuating our fun rides with some longer city stays. I do have to say that we enjoy exploring new places on foot, riding motorcycles in and around Mexico is really one of our favorite things to do.

So where are we now? Here is our route so far:

Yep, pretty much one big circle around the southern section of Mexico. From Villahermosa we rode to the small city of Orizaba. Why? Because we had never been there and it looked interesting. And, we had one of the only rain days on the trip so we stayed an extra day to walk around the city with our rain coats on. We learned that it’s not exactly on the tourist route for norteamericanos but somewhat popular with Mexican tourists. They have a river that runs through the city with a zoo of sorts at various places along a river walk. It was actually pretty interesting to explore.

There were various bridges to get to either side including this very wobbly foot bridge.

One of the riverside cages had huge Ostriches, this one was really hoping I was dumb enough to stick my finger through the fence.

In the center of town is a place called the Iron Palace. It is so called because it is a kit building made of steel that they brought in parts from Belgium.

At another part of town we came to a car show of sorts featuring VW Busses, one of the guys spoke good English and explained that the club travels all over Mexico with their display of vintage vans.

It was a blast checking them out and talking with the owners.

Deby really liked this statue of someone who I’m sure was important to the history of the city smoking a big stoogie.

We even found a really good Al Pastor taco place near our hotel. We’ve learned when you see one of these at a restaurant full of people it’s bound to be good.

So yea, Orizaba….. an interesting place to spend an rainy day.

Ok, where next. Somewhere we saw an advertisement for somewhere called Prismas Basalticos. What is that? Basalticos =basalt. Prismas = prisms. Basalt Prisms? You know we had to go there. We checked the map and they were just outside the small town of Huasca de Ocampo. I went on and couldn’t find many lodging choices, I finally found one and booked two nights. We were off to see the prisms!

Here is a picture of our loaded down and dirty bikes at a gas stop on our way to the Prisms. I don’t want to forget this is a motorcycle blog!

We arrived in the town of Huasca de Ocampo with Google maps directing us to our hotel and ….. nothing! There was no hotel at the address, nothing that looked like a hotel, no hotel sign just an old wall. Hmmm, maybe there was a hotel there at some point? Well, that happens. We rode around some more and saw a bunch of signs for Cabanas so we picked one that looked nice and pulled in. Sure they had one available! As a matter of fact they all seemed to be available. $1000 pesos cash in advance and we were in. Ha, about $50USD.

We followed the guy on his quad who took us offroad to the furthest back cabin with no driveway. We bumped the loaded bikes over the very uneven grass to our lodging for two nights.

It wasn’t really that bad. It was Superbowl Sunday and with the time change the game was about to get started. There was a tiny TV that somehow got the game with announcers in Spanish. But wait, I have the XM radio app on my phone and was able to listen to their announcers in English. It was pretty much out of sync but I was glad to catch the game.

There was no heat but for $150 pesos the guy would come over with a load of wood and light a fire in the fireplace. Perfect, we setup on the floor in front of the fire and had our own Superbowl of card games – Crazy Eights. Or, Loco Ocho as we call it here.

The next day was the big adventure, the Prismas Basaltios! We had to ride about 5 miles to the entrance which was gated and looked like a theme park. For some reason I expected a more “natural” experience. After we paid to get in we parked and looked for the Prismas. After walking through vendor stalls and a children’s play area we came to a big crevasse in the ground and saw the basalt columns.

It was actually pretty cool.

I mean, what’s not to like about basalt columns? So, anyone who has been to our house knows we have basalt columns planted in our front yard along the walkway. We felt sort of at home!

We ended up spending more time than I expected walking around before back to our cozy cabin and another fire.

The next day we were off to San Miguel de Allende for two nights. Our good friends and motorcycle riders Art and Carol, graciously invited us to stay at their house. It was a nice break, I rolled Deby’s motorcycle into Art’s well appointed workshop for some chain maintenance while Deby took advantage of their laundry facilities to wash a huge pile of really dirty clothes. Sink washing never really gets things all that clean so it was a real treat.

We timed the trip to attend a meeting of Motoclasico, a motorcycle club in San Miguel founded by Art many years ago. Here is there Facebook page:

It’s a great club, no actual membership, no dues, no rules, nothing. Just a bunch of guys who get together once a week and talk about motorcycles and sometimes organize rides. I suppose I’m a member because I’m on their e-mail list which is good enough for me. About 20 people were at the meeting and we had a great time hanging out with them.

One of Art’s friends took this picture of us.

Thanks Art and Carol – we look forward to hosting you at our house in conjunction with the Norton Rally this summer.

I did take one picture in the city, I loved this picture of a little kid sitting on a pile of children’s books glued to his phone.

Art gave me a gps file that gave us a great route to the city of Guanajuato one of our favorite cities to visit. Guanajuato has an elaborate tunnel system under the city that we always get lost in. This was no exception. The GPS and Google Maps was mostly useless underground.

When we were there in 2015 I made a short video about riding through the tunnels, here it is again – it hasn’t really changed much and is sort of fun.

Guanajuato is a college town and much younger crowd than in San Miguel de Allende, it’s a fun city to explore at night with lots of activity and great food.

We had to visit the Alley of the Kiss, Guanajuato (El Callejon del Beso) a famous landmark, you can read about it HERE. Yes, we kissed.

Our hotel was at the top of this cable car, no wonder we had a hard time finding it or a place to park. Fortunately, they gave us free cable car passes to get up and down during out stay.

As a bass player I couldn’t say no when this guy came right up to the restaurant window with his band and offered to play a song for $200 pesos, a deal!

Once again, a fun stay in Guanajuato, always something interesting.

Looking at the map and the calendar we needed to start planning our route to Mazatlán where we would be catching the ferry to the Baja peninsula for the big wedding in March.

On a map when you look at distances and cities you pretty much have to go Zacatecas to Durango and then ride down one of our favorite roads, Espinazo del Diablo (click HERE to read about it). The Devil’s Backbone is one of those roads every motorcycle rider to experience at least once. Deby and I are lucky to have ridden it a few times but it’s always fun. This time we started out in cold temperatures at almost 9,000 feet and by the time we were within 20 miles of Mazatlán at sea level it was 80 degrees and we were on the side of the road pealing off layers of clothing.

We timed it to have a couple of days on the beach in Mazatlán and to make sure we were close to the ferry. So, tomorrow we head to the state of Baja Sur and will be busy with the wedding. It might be a few weeks before the next post but I’ll get one more in before we head back across the border, maybe two!

Thanks for following once again and love the comments and e-mails.

Donn and Deby

9 thoughts on “Slowing Down, Enjoying the Sights

  1. Wonderful Post … Great to see you both relaxing a bit “in between rides”

    Thankful for blazing a trail, and sooo thankful you have a video of Guanajuato, which I’ll visit on this trip (tunnels and all).

    My Super Bowl Sunday was spent in San Sebastian de Oeste, in the Mountains 1.5 hrs east of Puerto Vallarta … and I struggled to get the Super Bowl on the room tv at a delightful hotel. I was so afraid to change the channel, away from the Spanish speaking announcers, because it took the maintenance man 1 hour to get my TV to pull in the super bowl game (think rabbit ears, foil, tin cans with wires everywhere. So i labored through the entire broadcast in Spanish … hours later, before i shut down the tv, i (just for fun) clicked the TV channel one channel to the “right” … and POOF … English Speaking … YIKES !!! first world problems …

    Hope you enjoy your Baja Wedding … a Year to Remember for you and your Family for sure !!

  2. Always fun to read about your adventures. I bet no one knows Mexico like you two. Thanks for these great stories!

  3. I so enjoy reading about your wild adventures. Now you must be so excited for the wedding. I am thrilled for you

  4. Great photos, and good writing, Donn. I get such vicarious pleasure, joining you on your trip with these great blogs. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Our traveling days are over, so you have no idea how we look forward to following you both on your trips. We love to see the country, the towns, as well as the beautiful and sometimes quant places you find to stay. We travel with you, stay with you and eat and drink with you. We even worry through the scary adventures you have. It is 29 degrees here now, so we are even loving your weather.

  6. So much fun to read about all your adventures. Not for me even in my younger days but good for you two. Love the video and pictures but being in Mexico I think I would be scared to death. I guess you feel it is safe so enjoy. Now onto the wedding and the first one in your family to do so. Pretty soon you will be two old grandparents traveling through Mexico with a little bambino on your backs. LOL Stay safe.

  7. Love it all but especially that cozy little “cottage”. That sure added fun to your adventure. Be safe and enjoy the wedding. Pretty soon you will be traveling with a little “bambino” on your back because you will be anxious to show the baby the sights. LOL

  8. Mickey and I just returned from the Yucatan Peninsula and met many incredible Maya Indians in small jungle villages. What pioneers did to the American Indians, the Spanish did to the Maya Indians.
    We swam in a Cenote that was literally out of this World.

    Thanks for blogging Donn. We are all richer because of it.

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