The goal for Day 2 was to reach the town of Aquismon, about 160 miles south of Tula, but our route included a generous portion of dirt roads running through the mountains that we weren’t sure actually existed or that went all the way through. In other words, exactly the type of riding and exploring we were here to do.
But before we could venture into the unknown, we had to get out of town. That proved to be a bit of challenge.
As was to become our habit, each of us woke up about 6am, got dressed, and then wandered out of our rooms about 7am in search of coffee and breakfast (in that order). I carried my camera with me in search of photographic opportunities.
Tula is in the process of building a walking / amphitheater area for use by the citizens. It looks like it will be quite nice, once complete. The clerk at the hotel told me about it after he saw my camera so I had to go have a look.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has been at work in Mexico and told the workers they could no longer jump the gap – the potential to injury from the 10 foot was too great. So, this ladder was pressed into duty as a bridge. Looks okay to me.
There are shrines all over Mexico. This is one of the more elaborate ones I’ve seen.
After a bit of wandering around, it was time for breakfast. The restaurant at the hotel proved to be a good choice.
After breakfast we began packing our bikes, ready to ride.
Unfortunately, Milton’s bike was hydro-locked. His petcock and carb float had both failed, allowing his cylinder to fill with gasoline. Chuck and JT set about solving the issue…
…while Bob worked to win the hearts and minds of the locals.
After the mechanics finally fixed Milton’s bike (for the day) it was time to go exploring. But, first, we needed gas. Where the heck is the Pemex? It took a bit of exploring before we finally located it. Once we were all tanked up, off we went in search of some dirt.
JT and I had spent a lot of time looking at various maps before this trip (JT more-so than me). We were reasonably confident that most of the roads we planned to ride during this trip were actually there because not only were they on at least one of our maps but we could see them on Google Earth.
However, there were a few roads that were on Google Earth, sort of, but weren’t on our maps. The first dirt road out of Tula was one of those we weren’t sure about. We hoped it went through but knew it very well might dead-end. There was only one way to find out – go and ride it. That’s what we were here to do.
Several miles down the road, at an intersection, we decided to take a short break, have a drink of water, check the maps, and say hello to the young man hanging out at the intersection. He was patiently waiting for any vehicle to pass by so he could catch a ride to town. There doesn’t seem to be much of traffic on this road – I don’t recall passing any vehicles – so I don’t know how long he ultimately had to wait.
Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em. (That’s what they used to say at break time when I was in the Army back in the 80s.) I didn’t smoke so I just hung out and shot the breeze. Which is exactly what is going on here.
The further south we rode the better the road got. It wasn’t just a matter of this being a new road to us, it really was a fun, scenic road. I was glad we had chosen to explore this particular road as part of our route to Aquismon.
The first spot where we expected to find a dead end was at a (very obvious on Google Earth) laguna. We could maybe see a whisper of a track on Google Earth bypassing the laguna to the west but couldn’t really tell for sure. As we examined the area on Google Earth we could see a road south of the laguna but was there any way to get to it?
Some guys were working the fields at the laguna and told us we could get through and gave us permission to continue on our way. As we rode on the route deteriorated into a fine class 3. Very fun. There aren’t many locals travelling this way.
This cowboy was tending to his cattle, who slowly yielded the road to the motorcycles.
Just great riding.
Eventually we crossed a small bridge and decided it was time for another break. I took the opportunity to grab my camera and explore the creek…
…and found this pretty little waterfall.
But, alas, all good things must come to an end. Eventually the road dead-ended – as we expected – and we were forced to backtrack to our planned bypass, which had us heading west through the mountains, out to the desert beyond. But not before we stopped at a tienda (store) along the way for a cold soda.
We exited the mountains onto a road that Milton and I had ridden 5 years earlier. I knew this desert road to be fast and fun.
La Memela, here we come.
The late start and the backtracking conspired to eat up our time. Once we arrived at pavement a few miles west of El Naranjo, we had a decision to make. Either stay on pavement so that we could make it to Aquismon before dark, or keep exploring and likely getting caught riding after dark (one of our rules is to minimize riding in the dark in Mexico). We elected to split into 2 groups – one would take the pavement to Aquismon and the other would do a little more dirt before jumping on the pavement to Aquismon.
Unfortunately, rain caught us before we arrived in Aquismon. Milton hit a slick patch while riding the last bit of pavement and went down at speed. The bike was okay but he had a huge hematoma on his left elbow. Ultimately, no bones were broke, but it did put a restriction on Milton for the next few days.