Mostly just road time today from Queretaro to Orizaba. About a 300 mile jaunt. The main thing I am encountering that I wasn't prepared for is the altitude we have maintained. We were at about 6,000 feet above sea level level in Saltillo on Sunday. Since then we have traveled about 500 miles with the altitude ranging between 6,000-8,900 feet. Today we went through a lot of green farmland and it was all around 7,500 feet.
Well, that is enough geography. We came to Orizaba to meet with more missionary friends that were sent out from High Street Baptist Church in Springfield, MO. 4 of our ride team are from there. What wonderful people! I would slay all of their names if I tried to put them on this post. Maybe Gary Wilson could add them if he chooses.
They put us up in the hotel shown below. Rustic and clean. Just the way I prefer it!
They then took us to the restaurant pictured. Look at that platter of food! That is all to make tacos with. We all ate until we were stuffed and I think there was still more stuff left on the platter then what we ate.
I sat at dinner with Paul Leamon, a fellow rider, along with Rosybet and Joel Perez Varela. They are brother and sister. During our discussion I discovered that Orizaba grows some of the best coffee in Mexico. More on that in a minute.
After dinner Rosybet, Joel, their friend and mother took me on a (late) quest to buy some coffee to bring home. They speak some English, enough to communicate, but were quick to translate on their phones when there was a hang up. I asked for the translation of "a pound" and was shown that it was a libra. When we got to the coffee place I ordered 2 libras of regular and one of decaf. Well, it turns out that a libra is 1000 grams which is more like 2 pounds. I don't have enough space for all of that so I will try to give some away to my fellow riders in the morning.
We spent the night in San Luis Potosi in this Comfort Inn. It was a nice place to crash. First stop of the as we left was to the local Harley dealer where I bought my most expensive ever Harley T-shirt:-)
Getting gas was always an adventure and opportunity to experience "where I was".
The goal today was to get to Queretaro. There we were going to meet Jim and Becky Lee. Jim and Becky were "sent" to the mission field more that 40 years ago out of High Street Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri. 4 of our riders, as well as Brian Weed, our Ride Extreme missionary, all come from the Springfield area.
What a beautiful couple. It is so humbling to talk to people who have literally committed their lives in the service of God. On top of that, they make an awesome tamale dinner!
Somebody else posted more on this woman but I have to mention her also. Georgia Webb is 89 and came to Mexico as a single woman missionary 68 years ago. The first picture is of her as a young woman along with her mother. The locals call her Luisa. She had recently fallen and is in need of healing. Brian Weed led us in prayer over her as we rejoiced in her impact on so many souls for all of eternity and for her health.
Queretaro is breathtaking in scenery and Mexican history. This aqueduct was built in the 1500's to deliver spring water to the original city. The water flowed along the top of it. This city is a major tourist attraction for the Mexican people. I would love to go back some day and spend three days walking around. This history and buildings were amazing and at night it comes alive as an urban center.
Today was unforgettable. We left the Starling's camp and headed toward San Luis Potosi. It was going to be a relatively short day so one of our riders, Gary Wilson, suggested a side destination. 7 of us took a detour to the town where the movie "The Mexican" was filmed. It starred Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. It is called Real De Catorce.
This was some real adventure riding. 15 miles uphill on cobblestone roads, through a 2 mile tunnel that can barely fit one car in many places, before arriving. The town is 8800 feet above sea level. I don't know how many of you have been to San Francisco but the streets here are all at about a 45 degree angle too. The difference is they are narrow, made of cobblestone (and potholes) and surrounded by buildings that all seem to be 100 years old. It was awesome and challenging riding.
These pictures are from an old mint in Real De Catorce. It is now a history museum.
This is one of the local churches in Real De Catorce. I'll give the Catholics this - they really know how to build beautiful churches. You will see me post many more pictures of them throughout the trip.
This is where I left off if you were originally following my blog. I apologize for being unable to keep you posted real time. I am now filling in everything "after the fact"!
Our Day 3 destination was near Saltillo, Mexico. Today was my first great surprise of the trip. It may sound stupid to you as you read this, much of what I say and do might for that matter, but I had not done any research into the geography of where we were going. I had this expectation of driving a 1000 miles across the desert floor through Mexico. That misconception was put to rest on Day 3!
My memory tells me that about 100 miles into Mexico we started climbing in altitude. By the time we reached Saltillo we were at about 6,000 feet above sea level. I'm not sure of how many miles it really was but I'm pretty sure for the next 1,000-1,500 miles we stayed between 5,500-9,500 feet above sea level. What a beautiful gift from God to me. This literally proved to be the best motorcycle riding of my life. It is going to be very difficult to top!
Our "true" destination for the day was Rancho La Paloma (Dove Ranch) in Huachichil, Mexico. I am certain I will screw up some of the following "facts" but will do my best from memory. Rancho La Paloma is run by Mike and Christie Starling. The ranch was started by Mike's parents more than 40 years ago. They were missionaries to Mexico. The ranch is utilized mainly (I think) by church groups throughout Mexico. They come to camp and stay in the cabins for about a week at a time.
Mike actually grew up at the camp. This is where he and Christie met as teenagers. Well, the camp had fallen into disrepair in recent times. Mike and Christie felt called to come back and to revitalize it for Christian outreach. They have already made some nice upgrades but it has a long way to go. They are working right now to raise funds for many basic things - like roofs that don't leak. They are missionaries too so money is always a challenge. You can contact me if you would like to reach Mike and Christie and help their cause.
(Hover over or click on the pictures to see captions. I didn't caption all but many.)
We had heard it was about a 2-4 hour process to cross from Texas into Mexico. The lady at the motel said it would only take 10 minutes. We were all more than a little surprised when it turned out that she was right. Thankfully Brian Weed pulled over shortly after we entered Nuevo Laredo because he knew we would need paperwork to get all the way through Mexico and into Guatamala. It took us a thrilling 20 minute ride through the narrow streets of Nuevo Laredo to get back to this building - where we spent 3 hours jumping through hoops to get all of the correct paperwork: -)
What an awesome day! Drove through the hill country of Texas today making our way down to the Mexican border at Laredo, Texas. This is a very popular area for motorcycle riding which also makes it a great place for a motorcycle museum. Kind of small compared to many I've been to but high quality bikes. Probably 100 of them. I took many pics but I would be back from the whole trip before 25 of them uploaded from here :-)
This was a great place for lunch. it is near the bottom of the twistiest portion of the 3 twisted sisters highways. We all made it down without incident. It was a blast to ride. We weren't able to ride 75% of all 3 of the twisted sisters. I really hope to come back with my Harley (and my wife Debby) to the hill country of Texas someday. It was beautiful!
I credit these two guys for asking me to join them in paving the way for Ride Extreme for Youth Extreme. The guy on the right is Brian Weed - our missionary friend in Nicaragua. The guy on the left is Bruce Walker from Pilot Point, Texas. Bruce is an adventure rider and has a heart the size of Texas for the youth of Nicaragua!
Let's see if this text actually stay's when I publish. these pictures are from the final day of travel to where the ride teams all joined up on Thursday afternoon/evening. I am not going to type much more until I'm sure it will publish.