(January 17 – written by Nancy)
Big day today – one more year older and none the wiser…
We decided to splash out this morning and have breakfast in the restaurant at the hotel. When we got down there about 7:30 it was clear that they were short of staff as one fellow was running around trying to serve all of the guests that were waiting for their meals. Eventually we did get our eggs and pancakes and they were pretty tasty even with the wait. The coffee seemed to be the big problem – not quite sure what was going on but our waiter kept coming back and apologising saying it would be a bit longer. The other guests were asking about coffee too, so it wasn’t just us. We did finally get some coffee and set off about 8:45 to wind our way out of town.
Our route today continued on Highway 45 most of the day. Unfortunately the shoulder wasn’t as nice as we have had in the last couple of days but traffic generally was polite and gave us enough room. We did get to take a couple diversions off the main road to go through some small towns, which gave us a breather from the main road. At one point I looked behind me and Dave was nowhere to be seen. I waited for a minute and he finally came riding up and told me he had taken a spill trying to take a picture while riding (of a big tractor, of all things)! No damage to him or the bike but he landed on the camera and thought it was broken as the lens would not retract. That is the new camera we had my mom bring down when she visited us in La Paz. Okay, so no more trying to take pictures while riding… (Junior Editor’s note: Crash is really a stretch, it would be better saying something like “tip over”. I was going about 3 MPH. But yes, the new rule on no moving photos is a good one)
We made a pit stop at the next Oxxo station we came across to take a break from the wind and have another cup of coffee. Dave checked the camera again, pulled the battery out and put it back in and what do you know, it seemed to work fine. Phew, one more thing we didn’t need to worry about once we got to Zacatecas.
The last 20k into Zacatecas was uphill, with the last 10 being pretty steep in spots. Not surprisingly, given that this is a town of 1.6 million people, there was quite a bit of traffic as we made our way into the historic centre. We had planned to stay with a Warmshowers host but Dave surprised me with a nice hotel for my birthday using some birthday money from my mother-in-law Alice so thanks Alice for my nice birthday gift!
The old center is pretty amazing, unlike anything we have seen so far in Mexico. Cobblestone streets, lots of churches and buildings that look like you would see in an old European town. We have only seen a bit of it and are planning to take a day off here tomorrow to explore some more. We managed to get our laundry done after we got checked into the hotel and then made our way to a great restaurant, Lucky Luciano’s, for dinner. When Dave told them it was my birthday they gave us a complimentary dessert so I had a lovely piece of carrot cake for my birthday cake.
Thanks for all of the birthday wishes – let’s hope the next year is as interesting as this one has been… but maybe not too much more interesting!