In 2015 five friends and I conducted a motorcycle reconnaissance of the Sierra Gorda region of Mexico, looking for good roads and adventure. During that trip I kept seeing a very distinctive red/purple bushes in full bloom all around the area we were riding. It was so colorful and bright that it really stood out and not having seen such a plant before I marvelled at its beauty.
In 2016 we returned to the Sierra Gorda area at around the same time of year so I was expecting to see those wonderful red/purple bushes but that was not the case. Instead, I keep encountering purple trees. Big, majestic, purple trees, just like the one in the picture above. My buddy Tricepilot Bob says they are the magnificent Jacaranda tree. I don’t recall seeing them last year but they sure stood out during this year’s trip. Just another of the delightful surprises of adventuring in Mexico.
One of the more interesting contrasts we encounter while riding in Mexico is the relatively quick transition from forest to desert. The east side of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains gets lots of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and is, accordingly, full of plant life and trees. In fact, ride a few hundred miles south, to the state of San Luis Potosi, and you will be in a jungle. However, ride west over the mountains and in the space of a surprisingly short distance you will find yourself in a desert.
As you make your way through the mountains, you will often bounce back and forth between forest and desert, which really makes the contrast stand out. In this picture Jeff and I had just ridden through a section of desert and were now headed back into the trees. I marveled, as I often do, how fast the terrain changes while riding in these mountains.
My buddy Stuntman Jeff likes riding motorcycles but he doesn’t particularly like riding motorcycles long distances. Which is completely understandable – many riders prefer shorter rides. However, it’s a long way to Jalpan, Queretaro, Mexico. How long? Starting in McAllen,TX it is about 475 miles to Jalpan if you stick to the pavement or a bit longer, and much more time consuming, if you include some dirt. Which I always try to do. As the old saying goes, you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet, which, in this case, meant that for Jeff to ride the wilds of Mexico with me he had to ride further than he is used to doing.
I was happy when Jeff decided to accompany me on a trip to Jalpan since it had been almost 10 years since our last ride together in Mexico. Jeff burned the midnight oil, and his ran up his credit card bill, getting his Husqvarna TR650 Terra ready for the trip. As the dollars flowed out the door for various bike upgrades I kept reminding him that this was a one-time expense. Once complete, his bike would be ready for this and all future trips. (We all know that’s not true – there are always baubles, trinkets, and shiny things enticing us to spend money on our bikes, but it sounded good at the time.)
The end result of all the time and money spent, was a well-prepared bike that performed flawlessly and a fantastic trip.