Hailing from Spain, adventurer Miquel Silvestre recently culminated a portion of his impressive worldwide motorcycle journey – one that was for the books and by the books. (Que?) Silvestre’s excursion retraced conquistador Juan de Oñate’s historical route, which took place in 1598, along New Mexico and Mexico.
Silvestre told Efe, a Spanish international news agency, in an interview that he has so far traveled “along historic roads or (followed) historical itineraries opened by Spanish explorers of all times,” creating documentaries about his conquests along the way.
Recently, Silvestre covered the old Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Inland Road) from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Mexico City. The famous road is featured on the on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and as mentioned, the itinerary follows the 1598 trek of De Oñate who was born in Zacatecas, then part of the colony of New Spain.
“Oñate is considered the last conquistador because the land he explored, now New Mexico, was the last territory Spain grabbed, the empire’s northern border, the region most distant from the metropolis,” Silvestre said, according to Fox News Latino.
The feat “of such an arid, vast and hostile territory, far from any supply base, was a complicated endeavor,” he sad, adding “one of history’s epic undertakings across 2,500 kilometers (1,555 miles), most of it very difficult and more so in those times.”
De Oñate’s trail survived as an important trade route for centuries after and is considered the oldest in North America, as well as “the true mother of all highways,” Silvestre is quoted as saying.
Silvestre, who is also a writer, said he started retracing De Oñate’s road in November from the journey’s final point, departing from Santa Fe, a city founded in 1610 that still has a colonial look and seemingly, is the oldest state capital in the United States.
After Santa Fe, he headed to the city of Las Cruces and then to El Paso, Texas, where an 11-meter (36-foot) statue weighing 16 tons in memory of De Oñate is the biggest equestrian monument in the United States – not to mention, one of the largest in the world.
“Crossing the border, we were in Ciudad Juarez, where the ride across Mexico begins,” Silvestre said. “The problem is that the historic road disappears and then you have to continue over new highways heading south.”
From Juarez, the route leads to the city of Chihuahua and from there to Durango where some of the most uninviting terrain in the Chihuahuan desert is settled.