(January 14 – written by Dave)
Today’s ride was just one of those days to ride through. Not a lot happened and the scenery was fairly ordinary. That’s not to say we had a bad day. In fact what Highway 45 out of Durango lacked in terms of scenery, it more than made up for with a great shoulder and some surprising company.
But before we get there, a quick morning update. We had to wake up the hotel staff to get brekkie this morning at 7:30. They don’t get up very early here on the weekends. We didn’t roll out until 8:30 and it was cold again so we were rugged up. We didn’t love all the stop lights getting out of Durango, but mostly because the buildings blocked the sun and we had to wait and get colder. There was very little traffic on a Sunday AM proving once again our strategy of leaving big cities on weekend mornings is a good one if we can manage it.
Back to the ride – for the first time in as long as we can remember, and certainly the first time in Mexico, we spotted a number of recreational riders out for their weekend spin. It was mostly ones and twos until we pulled up at an overpass for a comfort spot and a group of four guys from the Centauros Bike Club in Durango made an extra loop off the exit to come over and say hello. They were super nice guys, giving us hearty handshakes and insisting on a number of photos. Not long after they took off to return to Durango, we saw a large peloton of similarly dressed Centauros riders also heading back to Durango.
While it wasn’t flat, it was much flatter than our previous week in the mountains. This meant that we made good time just rolling along. Other than stops for photos with riders, we didn’t stop again until a lunch break near the biblically named town of Nombre de Dios (direct translation is Name of God). We had snacks and chatted with a local who had moved back from the US two years ago. In turth, he had some sort of criminal conviction in the US and had been “deported for life” so he wasn’t really here by choice. His entire family, including parents, now live in the US and he’s sort of stuck here. He was circumspect but more than certainly willing to take ownership of his situation and what caused it. Anyway, it made for an interesting conversation given the politics in the USA right now – we used our Australian passports/identities naturally so that we could be “neutral”.
It was only another 30k from lunch, with a slight uphill the entire way. But it was very steady and we again made good time. We are starting to find our pre-study break legs, which helps. Not having to climb mountains helps as well.
We rolled into Vicente Guerrero about 1:30 and in spite of lunch not being that long ago, we decided to stop for gorditas before the motel search started. We even took the brave step of trying the egg version – instead of just cheese and beans – and the eggs were very tasty (and a bit spicy). They were making the gorditas fresh on the spot which was fun to watch. The folks working at the shop were happy that we liked their work – most locals probably don’t give the whole process a second thought. We were fascinated, though still curious how they can so efficiently and accurately cut the slot in the middle of a flattened gordita – more study is required.
Our targeted hotel was only a half block from the gordita shop. There was so much traffic in town, we feared that maybe that there was some sort of event and the hotel would be full. We needn’t have worried. We think that there is only one other guest staying in the 18 rooms. Check-in seemed to take forever but mostly because the owner wanted to show Nancy every room – sometimes too many choices is worse. The hotel is very clean – better than most we’ve stay at in Mexico. And it’s a real value at about $22 per night.
Eagle eyed readers will have noted that Nancy has a new “roll” on her bike. She bought a yoga mat in La Paz and is now carrying it on her bike. She was going to leave it but thinks she’ll use it so she’s strapped it on. Today when we got here, she unwrapped it and used it so that’s a good start. It also meant that I got first shower and was able to go out into the town and get fixings for dinner. We are cooking at the hotel tonight just because we can and we ate out a lot in Durango. Sometimes you get tired of going out when travelling and it’s nice to eat in. We are having sausage, tomatoes, avacados and couscous. I’m off now to get it started…
Tomorrow we have about the same distance to ride to reach a much smaller town called Sain Alto. We’ll also cross another state border. We think that the town only has one hotel so hopefully it will also have space for us.