A favorite eatery in Montemorelos.
Day 1. First we have to get to Galeana. Richard, Dirt Bike Dave, and I had trailered our bikes to McAllen the night before, done our paper work at about 11 pm, and slept at the Motel 6 in McAllen. The next Day (I'll call that Day 1) we left McAllen at 9 and arrived Rayones about 4pm. On the way to Galeana, I couldn't help but to guide my group to a little joint I knew in Montemorelos for lunch.
The Pilon valley, looking towards Rayones from the paved road
Pink Lloyd in Santa Rosa
Lloyd risked everything, threw caution to the wind and said yes, he'd ride with me on a portion of the Little Dragon, that is Rayones - Santa Rosa - Cienega del Toro - 18 de Marzo - Galeana. We left Rayones at 4pm, headed for Galeana the long way.
Between Santa Rosa and Cienega del Toro
I think this is called lens flare. Pink Lloyd, between Santa Rosa and Cienega del Toro.
High plateau near Cienega del Toro
La Lagunita, en route to Galeana, between Cienega del Toro and the curvas under Cerro Potosi. We stopped to put on warmer gear.
We took over a portion of the plaza in Galeana. Final count: some 50 bikes.
Fearless Leader, Richard, the organizer. Me just a guide.
Astor, Dirtbike Dave, Richard, at the Plaza in Galeana. Day2.
2008MxTk Day2. Thursday, for our first full day of riding in Mexico. Galeana is off the map to the north; Dr. Arroyo and Matehuala is to the south. Chuck, Joe, Anja
and I did a little exploratory work in the southern sector, scouting out a new route. Basically we paralleled the asphalt Hwy 2 that runs south towards Aramberi and Dr Arroyo, leaving the hwy at Pablillo and returned via the Milpillas route.
The map looks like this
Rest break, near Pablillo
After a couple of false starts in and around Pablillo, we found the right road
Rest break, near Pablillo
Soon we were in the rough stuff
The photos just don't convey just how rough it was.
Joe & Chuck. Nothing like replacing a wheel bearing in the dirt.
Joe’s rear wheel bearing went out. Luckily he happened to have a new one in his pocket. (Oh, he was always changing wheel bearings.) You'll have to get the details from Joe, I haven't a clue.
Nothing like replacing a wheel bearing in the field. Chuck's presence and expertise made everyone's day easier.
We couldn't have picked a more pleasant spot for trailside repairs
Joe was pretty resourceful. Photo courtesy of Anja
Another photo I didn't take. Photo courtesy of Anja
Hugging the wall. Image courtesy of Anja
Alamar de Solis. This is it. One house. Another photo I didn't take. Photo courtesy of Anja
Asking directions near Alamar.
GPS technology threatens to do away with one of my favorite parts of adventure riding. Asking directions.
Another photo I didn't take. Photo courtesy of Anja
Then there was the tree crossing. Actually...., 3 trees. OK..., 3 small trees.
Out of the woods. We've found the route between Pablillo and Agua Blanca.
1st leg complete. 3:30 pm Anja takes the short-cut home at Agua Blanca.
Blazing thru the ranching community of El Jilguero (lots of closed gates)
The map showed a trail to the Milpillas route. My Spanish isn't great, and I couldn't quite understand the directions. People kept saying the road was an arroyo. "The road is an arroyo, I repeated? Answer: yes. I still didn't get it. Well, soon enough, we discovered the road was indeed an arroyo. A dried river bed thru a tight canyon. It was after 4pm and I wasn't sure I was having fun anymore. At La Angostura the arroyo widened out into a bog.
And that was Day 2. At the Milpillas route we went flying down a Class 1 to Hwy 2, then slabbed it back to Galeana as the day ended and the cold set in. Hwy 2, by the way, is beautiful.
Adventure riding 101 Day 3. Topping off in Aramberi. (Chuck insisted he didn't need to top off.)
For Friday, my Day 3 in Mexico, we had more exploration in mind. A bit of unfinished business, if you will. That being to find a way across the mountains from Aramberi to the great Hwy 85 running north and south from Monterrey to Ciudad Victoria (and onto Tampico) on the eastside of the Sierra Madre Orientales. I've always heard conflicting reports about such a passage, mostly that it doesn't exist, but occasionally I'll find a map or something that suggests a way. So, my plan was to go to Aramberi and head east as far as the road went, and just ask the locals there for any information. Two of my riding companions from the day before were game, so we were three. Chuck, Joe and I.
60 miles south of Galeana via Hwy 2 is the paved cutoff to Aramberi.
Another 8 miles, Aramberi itself, where we topped off our gas for the great unknown. It was great having Chuck along as his fuel capacity is 5.5 gallons, making him our de facto "tanker". Good 'ole Chuck.
Heading east out of Aramberi, some pavement, for a little while
We asked directions of local truck drivers, with dubious results. One actually didn't know anything about the area! One was making his rounds selling vegetables. The first driver I asked stated there was no outlet. No way thru the mountains. I was ready to accept that. Then we came to a river.
"Well, heck," I said, "let's just go back to Aramberi, I know another route." We stopped there long enough to shed our cold weather gear, and here come two Mexican motorcyclists flying down the road from the mountains we faced, crossing the river without missing a beat, making us feel silly for hesitating. I flagged one down.
"Yes, there is a way, you come out in Mainero".
I had no idea where Mainero was but was assured it was in the state of Tamalipas and it connected to 85. Another driver, another answer: yes. Now we had 2 yes's to one "no". Simple decision: proceed with original plan.
Milpillas River at Lampasitos
A few miles past Lampasitos, looking towards Rodeo (?)
The community of Rodeo (pronounced like the Rodeo Drive in L.A.)
Shortly the road deteriorated to a two track across cow pastures.
Then single track across pastures.
Then cow trails.
Soon, there were no more gates or fences to close, and our cow trail gave way to a steep gnarly uphill scramble. Finally we crested a pass of some sort. By now we realized that if one of our bikes were to break down out here, the only way we were getting it out was in pieces, on horseback.
And now we had the formidable task of descending the other side of the pass on an equally gnarly wash. No one took pictures up there, as far as I know. We were all too busy trying not to worry.
Well, at least we were over the pass, I reasoned. It was all down hill from here........
Well, nooooot exactly.
More gentle territory, on the farside of our little pass
All downhill from here.
Jose's father, Alamos. Notice the solar panel in the background.
Feeling pretty good now. The fields were ablaze with yellow flowers.
We were amongst communities again, even saw a pickup truck.
All good signs.
I believe the road in the distance here is the road to Ibarilla
Lunch at the San Antonio River.
Gearing up on the bridge after lunch Joe says, "San Antonio River."
His GPS (which up 'till now had been essentially blank) put us on the San Antonio River. Hummmmm. I looked at my map.
No wait, San Antonio River, and there's Alamos.
We were no where near where I thought we'd be, exiting the mountains, headed towards Hwy 85 and the long slab back to Galeana.
We were headed north, not east...... Not a problem!
San Manuel. This lady set me straight.
She knew every community and every crossroad and explained it so I could understand.
And this old gent wisely let the woman do all the talking.
"Down the road 1.5 miles you come to a "Y". Right leads you to Mainero. Don't go left, that takes you to Camarones."
"Chuck, do you think that's the same Camarones we know?"
It was 5:30 and getting late.
Such a decision, one way led to Mainero and slab, accomplishing our goal, but a long way from home. The other more dubious was a "short cut" home but one part of the connection was unknown.
As in, NOMM. Not On My Map.
Joe began to squirm, but he was with us to the end.
The lady assured us we would get thru. "No se queda," she repeated. (You won't stay.)
We left our steadily improving road for a tight class III thru the woods and a fold in the hills, then a pass, and finally......
Me: "Yeah, this is the right road, allright."
Joe: "The right road to where?"
Headed home, north towards Cuevas. Inturbide and the highway that leads to Galeana after that.
We still had two river crossings at Cuevas, one fairly substantial. We had come a long way from hesitating at that comparitively "little" stream this morning. We made it to asphalt by dark.
A perfect day.
But to answer the question, is there a way thru the mountains from Aramberi to Hwy 85?
The answer, I'm afraid, is the same as it was before we started: maybe.
But I have more ideas.
Saturday, Day 4 of MexTrek 2008, Chuck, Jeff and I decide on an "easy" route, one that is actually in the book, the Potrero Redondo route.
There was no buffet today, breakfast was on your own
Day 4. Last day. Jim (seated) suckin' it in for this photo. He was a hurtin dog with 4 broken ribs and collarbone. Near Rayones on the road to Galeana.
The paved road to Rayones
Between Allende and Trinidad
We did the route backwards, entering the back roads at Allende and heading towards Trinidad
Looking back towards Allende and our road. I hate the steep exposed switchbacks. Just hate 'em. (Means do more, right?)
Between Trinidad and Allende, closer to Trinidad
Jeff, between Allende and Trinidad
at our tamale break at the seasonal falls
Narciso ("Cizo") Hernandez, Portrero Redondo
His house is at the trailhead to Chipitin falls 45 min hike away
Chuck & Jeff, outside Portrero Redondo
(Hey Jeff, Do you fall down alot?)
Some Mexican dudes out riding Saturday afternoon, Potrero Redondo road
This is my heaven.
Note: If you look at the "original" size image (single click this image, then click "O"), you'll see El Cercado is misplaced north of Santiago.
Don't know why Mexican maps misplace El Cercado so often.