|San Miguel de Allende|
Our trip in 2006 to San Miguel de Allende was one of the best riding trips we ever took into Mexico.
We met in Pharr, Texas on Hwy 281 just north of the international bridge from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
It was almost exactly a year since our last trip into Mexico when we
rode down to Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Mexico on a short four day ride. Real de Catorce was at one point in
time the richest silver mining town in the western hemisphere and now is a
quaint tourist village whose only entrance is a one lane mile long tunnel.
Word spread about the good time we
had the year before and our original group of 15 was now 28 with 18 bikes (with an
additional couple joining us in Cd. Valles). It was the second week in March, coinciding with Texas
schools’ spring break.
|Lou, Bruce, Bob|
My wife and I awoke about 3am to finish packing and to make sure we were in Pharr, about 20 miles from our
house in Mission, on time. I had plenty of
time to pack the bike, check everything, and recheck. We made Pharr right at 6am. There were already about six riders there, mostly the group
that came down from Corpus Christi, but within twenty minutes everyone
showed up. Seems we weren’t the
only ones who couldn’t sleep!
we all topped-off our tanks, said a group prayer, and had our last cup of
coffee we headed out at about 6:45am, still dark, across the international
bridge into Mexico. The weather
was a very nice 72 degrees or so.
We rode through Reynosa’s eastside and out of town headed towards the
coast then south on toward San Fernando and then Cd. Victoria. Eighteen motorcycles meandering
through small Mexican villages and twisty mountain roads made the going slow, but we were able to
coordinate all our stops on a pretty orderly basis and after the first few times it didn’t take long for
us to line up for gas at all the available pumps at the nationalized PeMex
stations and move through the refueling process fairly quickly.
As we got close to Cd. Victoria we
shot off the main road to a small local restaurant for some good carne guisada
(braised beef tips). It was good
home food cooking because it was both a restaurant and residence. After lunch we rode through the
outskirts of Cd. Victoria and on to Cd. Mantes.
|Hotel Taninul in Cd. Valles|
|Ready To Ride|
the terrain began to change from the typical south Texas semi-arid desert to
green semi-tropical surroundings.
It got hot towards the end of that first day, well into the 90’s as we
entered Cd. Valles. We stopped in Valles for the first night and stayed at a resort hotel named Hotel Taninul http://www.taninulhotel.com
on the outskirts of town which
is famous for its springs. The
hotel staff was very accommodating, asking us to park our bikes under their
entry veranda. For most of us,
this was our first experience of traveling together in such a large group, but
by natural instinct everyone went about their way, some straight to the bar,
others to check in, and still others to eat. We couldn’t help notice that the hotel had a weird type of
smell, not offensive, but not typical of anything. Well, we soon found out that the smell was caused by the
high concentration of sulfur in the spring waters that ran right through the hotel. Cd. Valles gets many visitors who come to dip in the
sulfur springs, long known as a therapeutic cure for body ailments. A few also discovered the metallurgic
properties of sulfur on silver. It
turns silver black, but as we later discovered on our trip it can be
the next morning we all had breakfast and were joined by a couple from Tampico who
would lead us on our next leg, across the mountains toward San Miguel de
Allende. We left the hotel at 9am
and it wasn’t very long before our semi-tropical surroundings really switched
to a much more tropical look.
Everything was a beautiful green and plants and trees were already
blooming into beautiful colors. It
also was sugar cane harvest time and we would come up on slow moving trucks
loaded to several times their height with sugar cane. Needless to say, we ran over a lot of sugar cane which fell
from these trucks.
|Tropical Highway as we head up mountains|
first we traveled on mostly beautiful rolling hills and through
green pastures. As we rode, you
could see off in the distance the silhouette of low hanging clouds which slowly
transformed into a mountain range.
It didn’t look like there was any great passage through those mountains
and we soon discovered that there isn’t any.
|Mountains As We Head Toward San Miguel de Allende|
All of us knew that the road ahead was going to be both
beautiful, but challenging. There
was no disappointment. The road
twisted right, left, down, up, and again though some beautiful scenery. We all felt good about the ride and making it through,
looking forward to moving on to our lunch stop when our guide said the road
ahead is not too far from our planned lunch stop, but that it was really a twisty
road, much worse than what we had just been through! He was right. I
don’t know the exact mileage, either 45 to 100 miles, but it took about two and
We finally got through the mountains and had a late lunch and we knew that we would have to
really make some time to get to San Miguel before sunset. At one point we were within a hundred miles of
Mexico City and then headed north toward San Luis Potosi. We made the outskirts of San Miguel right after sunset and entered
the city at night with traffic bumper to bumper moving very
slowly or not at all on steep cobble stone roads, not the best thing to be on after a very long day through
the mountains and riding two up, but we made it through town to our hotel, Real
de las Minas http://www.realdeminas.com
Miguel de Allende is a beautiful town with plenty to see and do. Over the years it has become quite an
attraction for settled-out tourists from the United States that make it
their year-round home. A cab
driver told us that San Miguel was at least 45% anglo. It certainly seems to be that way. With that migration the town has
adapted to a higher standard of living with very good restaurants, hotels,
homes, and art galleries so you won’t find great deals for a few pesos.
|Yesneia & Irma |
|Sonia at Harley Bar|
stayed in San Miguel two nights so we could take our time seeing all of the
attractions in the quaint town. My wife and I spend most the time walking through the historic churches, and the great
market square. We ate lunch at a great
Italian restaurant situated at the street end of an intersecting “Y” that gave
us a wonderful view of daily life in San Miguel. We saw a local police officer writing a citation for a
vehicle parked right in front of the restaurant on the sidewalk in what was an obvious “no parking”
zone. He left the citation and
removed the license plates and went on his way. We asked our waiter why they do that and he explained that
you can’t drive around without plates and the only way to get them back is to
go to the police station to pick them up where you’ll have to pay the
fine. That makes sense. We watched as six of our bike group roared by on
rented ATVs, and just people reading and going about their business in San
Miguel de Allende.
|The Girls at the Harley Bar in San Miguel|
night there was good number of us at the Harley Bar. The proprietor, a young man who looked
like he could have belonged to the WWC federation, served up drinks to all as
he traded Harley stories with anyone wanting to listen. He had his “black beauty” parked right
outside his bar and he would start it up and tell us how he crossed the United
States at least twice on that bike, one of three he owned. Before the night was over one of our
group had commandeered the mike and was singing well into the night.
|Slow Going on Way to Cd. Victoria|
Mary & Jaime Pena
left San Miguel at seven in the morning and headed back up north and eventually
northeast toward Cd. Victoria. We
went through quite a bit of highway under construction and it slowed us down,
but we made Cd. Victoria by day’s end.
We stayed right down town on the plaza square at a Hampton Inn and had a
great view of the plaza. Our bikes
were parked in the basement garage and we had a great evening relaxing and
talking about the trip.
fifth and last day we left Cd. Victoria at 9am and headed north on the same
highway we first took Saturday morning.
We made it back to the United States by 3pm and we all headed straight
to the closest What-A-Burger in Alamo for our favorite staple, hamburger and
traveled 1,300 miles in five days.
View San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in a larger map
|Irma and Ricardo |
|Joe Cantu |
|Slow Going Behind Sugar Cane Trucks|
|At the Harley Bar|
|Happy Trails To You!|