After leaving Zacatecas, we head east towards Real de Catorce, spending the night along the way in the desert amidst some northern Mexican Joshua Trees.
Believe it or not, these trees actually grow in all sorts of weird directions, making for an eerie site.
Turns out, we were camping not too far from the border of Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi states, awesome.
Following our map of Mexican roads, we make a pull off the town of Real de Catorce, which is the base for the journey to the former mining town of the same name.
Not long after we leave the paved road, and after avoiding some rather large potholes, we’re stopped by a few Mexicans who tell us we won’t make it in our car, and that they can take us in their jeep, or on horseback. Haha, nice try cheeky Mexicans, we’re on to you, no thanks.
We continue on our way, the road gets bumpier, and we barely miss getting stuck a few times. After twenty minutes or so, we arrive… at the start of the hill, and a steep bad quality road that our car can’t handle. Turns out the Mexicans weren’t kidding. Oh well, with barely a second thought, we pull over and decide to hitch hike our way up.
Barely two minutes pass, and a couple of cars stops. They tell us they have one spot and that they can take Andrea. We stand around wondering what to do, and as we’re about to make up our minds, they say that Marc and I can hold on to the outside of their car.
Without so much as a hesitation, we agree and begin the climb up the mountain, and as the road progresses, we laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the road that we attempted to climb, we played a game pointing out spots where our car would have been stuck and unable to continue.
Half and hour later, and haven forgotten the count, we arrive at the ruins of a small village, where some of the mine workers lived, bathed and received their wages.
Marc and I aboard El Tigre, that’s the name of the car, although the term beast more adequately describes El Tigre.
The cars we had stopped were full of avid off-road enthusiasts, who were coming out here for a weekend fun trip.
We stop and have lunch together in the town, we have so much fun together, that they decide to invite us along for the trip back down the bottom.
Walking through the town, as it’s heritage listed in Mexico, it’s main income source is through the tourist trade.
Outside and inside shots of the cathedral, its grandeur highlighting just how rich this town was in its mining hey day.
After finishing our walking trip through the town, we begin the journey back down the bottom, via a slightly more adventurous route. As we’re exiting the town, and passing through a tunnel, we see a whole lot of cars smaller than ours, on their way into the town, turns out, we had taken a wrong turn, and that had we gone the right way, we would have made it to the town, but not had the fun of the trip.
This is a big part of why I don’t like GPS, or having a set destination, you get to turn a small sightseeeing trip into an amazing adventure.
Soon we depart the easy road, and head off up the mountain along a barely used mountain road, Miguel, the youngest brother, who speaks amazing English, tells us that there was another road up the mountain, and its in FAR worse condition than the one we ascended by, and that they’re going to take it down the mountain to enjoy their off-roading hobby.
Along the dirt road, we pass mountain folk with their burros.
We pass a small house, and stop for a photo, Marc, and the second car.
We also pick up a hitch hiker, that’s him getting into a spot behind the seats, in front of the cooler.
Some local miners, or mine looking folk.
Every time we stop for directions to the “other road”, the locals tell us its impassable, but I think these guys are used to it by now, and are in fact encouraged by the hesitation, it means the road will be a lot of fun.
El Tigre’s tires are 38 inches, rather than the 14-17 found on most cars. Here are some photos and videos of the trip, it really is a lot of fun.
It starts getting dark as we finish getting through the most difficult parts of the trip, mama Rosie even comes out to have a go riding along the side as Marc and I had previously. She’s so awesome.
Just after sunset, we reach the peak of the mountains, having passed the impassable, with such ease, a really awesome trip.
We proceed down the mountain along a reasonable quality road, something our car would barely manage, and arrive at our car in the dark of night. Turning it around and driving it out in darkness is a bit of challenge, and our convoy makes for an incredible sight, two Jeeps kitted out for off-roading, and a soccer mum van with surfboards and tourists
We arrive at the family’s hotel hoping to get a room, unfortunately it’s full, however that’s not a problem for our friends, who manage to convince the owner to let us put our tent up on the lawn.
Dinner that night is a lot of fun, and we share a lot of stories with Miguel and Pepe (the brothers) and their parents and friends.