This has been an emotional day for me, I will do my best to describe how it came to be. I sat this morning at breakfast, enjoying huevos rancheros (my favorite) with fellow riders. Teo, one of our group members, was celebrating his 39th birthday. The group secretly planned a small celebration and, without warning, the entire restaurant staff, our group, and even some patrons broke out in song to honor Teo’s special day. I did not understand the words, the normal “happy-birthday-to-you” cadence replaced with a far more elaborate Mexican equivalent. As I looked on, I saw the raw passion that everyone put in to this kind gesture. Even the wait staff—who, in the US, would sing with all the feeling of bored children—poured its heart and soul into celebrating Teo. It was impossible to not be moved by the effort.
Revelry complete, we headed to our bikes. I stopped and haggled with a street vendor for sunglasses, choosing the most ostentatious pair he had (in my experience, the sillier the sunglasses the longer they last). We headed into the mountains, finding what was as close to off-road as we have encountered on the trip. The roads were very poorly maintained, potholes scattered with such frequency there were more of them than tarmac. Some were empty and gaping, others filled with sand and gravel. I switched my BMW R1200GS to the Enduro Pro riding mode and stood, taking the twisties using off-road riding techniques.