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Patzcuaro to Taxco, Mexico 2-11-08 thru 2-28-08

February 29, 2008

p2250972-small.jpgp2220899-small.jpgp2210896-small.jpgp2200867-small.jpgp2130669-small.jpgA Few Pictures of the last 2 weeks travelsWe left Patzcuaro and rolled on to Morelia (mostly downhill!) a city with a beautiful central core full of 3 story colonial buildings.  It had a somewhat European feel.  We found a fabulous restaurant-bakery near the cathedral and central plaza, which we visited a few times, mainly because they had brewed coffee with free refills (most places charge $1 per cup and $1 for refills – of instant NESCAFE´coffee!!)  and were open by 8:00 AM (another shock, almost unheard of by Mexican standards).  We wandered the city for several days, taking in the beautiful architecture and eating at restaurants that served international cuisine (have we mentioned that we´re sick of beans and tortillas?)  We also took in an art exhibit of French impressionist artists!! 

From Morelia we rode the Mil Cumbres road ( means 1000 hills!) to the east.   What an incredible road –narrow lightly travelled, winding thru Ponderosa forests, ever upward until we topped out at Mil Cumbres Pass.  What an incredible view!!!  After camping the night, we dropped down into the valley farmland and lo and behold, ran into Oscar, our Columbian friend whom we met at Lake Louise, Canada in mid-August!  He is bicycling his way to Columbia.  It was quite magical and pretty much unbelievable to cross paths with him after 6 months (and we hadn´t even been keeping in touch! )

After talking with Oscar at the side of the road, catching up on his trip and he ours, we pedaled to Angangueo, the home of the Monarch Mariposa (butterflies!) sanctuaries, where zillions of monarchs migrate each year.  They were so thick on the trees that at first glance we thought the trees were dead and brown from beetle kill – but the brown was all butterflies with their wings closed waiting for the sun to warm them up!  So we tiptoed thru the forest and flowers with Mariposa´s fluttering all around us, (what a site!).  They will start their migration North to the Great Lakes Region by the end of March!

The next day we once again headed east on beautiful, quiet back-roads winding first thru Ponderosa and fir forests, then dropping into farmland where people raised corn, cattle, trout (yes – trout farms abound in Mexico!)  There are tons of small farms of 2 to 10 acres – people plowing with horses and hand-harvesting corn.  They then pile the corn on their flat concrete house roofs to dry.  The area also had many small creeks running thru it, with more women doing laundry at their banks than we have ever seen!  It was very colorful!!  At the end of the day we were able to stay at a brand new hotel – big, super clean rooms for only $19 (a nice switch from the ghetto-type hotel we had to stay in Angangueo for $30.)

We pedalled to the ruins at Calixtaluaca the next day, then on to Tuluca, where we stopped to ask a Policeman directions.   He asked where we were from, and it turns out he lived in Carbondale, Colorado for 5 years and we were neighbors with his best friend (SMALL WORLD, ISN´T IT ¿¡?¿). 

  The highlight of Toluca was the botanical gardens – an enclosed area about the size of a football field with fantastically brilliantly colored stained glass artwork all around the perimeter in a continuous flowing mural 15 feet tall!  Another mural 25´X 75 ´encloses both entrances and a 20´X 300´mural along the ceiling!  It is by far the most beautiful stained glass work we have ever seen!

From Toluca we climbed up our first Volcano, up to 14,000´(yes – 14,000 – a new record for us) to the Nevado de Toluca Volcano.  What a spectacular panorama!  It was there we met a couple, Julie and John, who have been travelling in their van all over Mexico and mountain biking the trails in each area!  They appear to be about as crazy as us, so hopefully our paths will cross again (and run parallel for a while).  We also met a group of mountain bikers from Mexico City that do bike trips every weekend.  They were a wealth of info and inspiration!   

After camping there a couple of nights (pretty chilly – water bottles froze – but luckily we didn´t!)  we skirted the volcano (60 miles to get to the other side!) thru beautiful forests on quiet, winding roads.  We eventually ended up at Malinalco, a nice, quiet little town beneath towering cliffs – one of which has the ruins of an Aztec temple carved out of it´s side!  We met a couple of young ladies there who had biked from Vancouver and now are working with two other ladies on an organic farm nearby.  We also met a couple that are living in Malinalco while he completes a book he is writing about his travels.  He has travelled extensively in Asia, India, the Mideast and Europe!  That´s one of the great things about this trip – there is always somebody that you run into that you can envy! 

From there we rode another very windy, steeply climbing road into Cuernavaca, a city of about 2 million people (not our favorite place!)  The road to Cuernavaca was amazingly vacant of vehicles and upon arriving, we stopped at a very busy corner to find our directions and ended up helping a blind man around the corner and away from all the traffic!  We found a great bike shop  and left Ralph´s front wheel to be repaired, so we took the opportunity to hop on a bus and go to Taxco (home of silver jewelry) SHOPPING ! 

We plan to leave Taxco today and get to Cuernavaca, then head east and north to see some steaming volcanoes!

Hope this finds you all inspired to keep on riding your bikes whenever you can!  Until next time, we keep on a bikin´!  Ralph & Pat

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3 comments

  1. You found the bakery with the coffee in Morelia!..and stayed in that grungy hotel in Angangueo. The butterflies..trillions! I’m homesick for Mexico. Some of the mountain pictures look like Colorado. Will you go to San Miguel de Allende? Its a really special place..very international..many, many great restaurants..and la Paroquia..one of the most impressive cathedrals carved of sandstone in the new world. Lots of fresh food grown there..a lot like ‘bonedale about 6200 ft.

    Good stories..your last..Mark


  2. I just got back from a yoga retreat in Tulum. the retreat was amazing, quite the healing center!
    Keep on following your dream!
    Thanks for the updates
    Deb


  3. It’s always entertaining to check your blog update on your epic 20,000 miler. What a journey!



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