Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 4: Queretaro to Morelia

Right 2 Long

This was a special day because we would be have two velocity sections in the famed "Mil Cumbres" (Thousand Peaks). We had been warned that it is a dangerous section, full of crazy turns, steep cliffs, and banked roads. Every year, cars go off cliffs or crash into the mountain.

This year, Mil Cumbres would be especially trecherous because it had just been repaved and so the road was covered with loose tarry gravel. I had been warning Emil about this for days.

When we arrived at the first Mil Cumbres section, I had to run up to the control to hand in our time card because there was a huge lineup of cars. They were delaying the start. I asked the control officer what was going on - he said that there had been a storm the night before so there was some debris on the road. Great. Gravel and debris.

Soon, the control officers put up a sign that said "Caution! Page 150, ref. 22-23. Tree." Fantastic.

The delay was so that they could remove the tree. Once we got to the starting line - the officer told us that the section would be cut short by 9 kms because it was too dangerous.

If gravel and a tree weren't enough to be "dangerous" - what were we in for?

Let's see...

The road surface was as slippery as ice. Emil had a very hard time gaining traction, so we really had to take it slow. (This was due to our tires being too wide and too soft. Other people had an easier time with the gravel.) Tree? There were several trees actually. And piles of rocks that had come down from the mountain. And a dead horse. Oh and we passed what I thought were two dead cows on opposite sides of the road - then I realized it was one cow on two sides of the road. A support vehicle had plowed through earlier and hit the cow so hard it had been cut in half. I had to ignore the cow and the horse until later when it really sunk in. Poor guys. What an awful way to die.

The second section was just as bad as the first. But this time all of the animals were alive. There was a herd of cows next to the road and a horse walked by us.

The worst part was - after we were all done with both sections and trying to regain our nerves at a beautiful waterfall, another co-pilot told me that we would be repeating those sections in reverse tomorrow. Great.

Waterfall near Mil Cumbres (Day 4 - Morelia)

The arrival into Morelia was beautiful as usual. That town square had a really beautiful cathedral and the surrounding buildings were awesome.

Two White 911s (Day 4 - Morelia)

Church at Arrival Arch (Day 4 - Morelia)

Applebee's was next to our hotel and we were starving and desperate. Every waiter/waitress attended to us at some point in the meal. They had sort of gathered near the bar, whispering and smiling and looking at us. Then more whispering and one would walk over to see if we needed anything. It was cute. Both of us felt sick the next day - I blame my 1 sip of iced tea that was probably made with tap water. Emil blamed his taco-stand lunch.

That night, the ceremony was held at at the Holiday Inn, which was 500 meters from our hotel - so we were pretty happy not to have to jump in a cab, like we usually had to do. There was a very enthusiastic mariachi band and a female singer who had found a spandex "race suit" for the occasion. Somehow, even with the Mil Cumbres fiasco, we managed to come in 3rd in our class.

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