Thursday, December 18, 2008
The Backroad Home
I am so happy for Mexican toll roads.
The creation of toll roads absorbs many of the self important drivers and leaves the beautiful rambling backroads for us! And there are few examples of this that are finer than the ride that eschews the straighter, flatter, less scenic, and more highly transited "autopista" to Oaxaca City in favour of a twisty ridge.
Leaving Nochixtlan I look back and marvel at the wide open eroded landscape that the ridge I'm climbing up seems to yawn into existence. As Nochixtlan grows smaller in my mirror, and the dry, pastel landscape continues to broaden, I can't help but wonder if the first Spanish Conquistadors felt at home when they layed their eyes on this land.
Reaching the top of the ridge we are rewarded with what I consider the ultimate in bike touring: a ride that offers two views for the work of one. Riding this ridge for over 50 kilometers, through forgotten villages, and past shepherds tending to their flocks, it seems impossible that we are so close to the state capital. Traffic is minimal and hand painted signs lecture us about the damaging effects of carelessly disposing our trash. We are not looking forward to the crazy rush of the city.