Reaching Guadalajala was not just the turning point where I headed north but also a big chunk of Mexico had been completed. It had been tough going but the last couple weeks had been so much fun and I had really enjoyed Mexico. Not only had I finally learnt how to say Guadalajala I had made friends in the process of which I hoped I would stay in contact. It was however time to head north stopping off in Zacatecas to see what the place had to offer. Hearing only good things and having a bit extra time I was looking forward to a relaxing ride and a few days to explore.
Monday 22nd February
After another incredible nights sleep I got up and sorted my things ready to go. I was still bleary eyed when I joined everyone for breakfast. Looking at all the preparation I wasn’t going to leave hungry. I had been here for a day and a half and in that time I had been treated like royalty. I started bringing my bags through but really I wanted to take them back to my room. I was made to feel so at home and I’d had the best time. I couldn’t believe how much we had done and what with staying for a few days with Omar and Itzel I had the most amazing week.
As I guessed there was an amazing breakfast set out along with amazing company and so sat and enjoyed my last moments with them before it was time to leave.
It was however time to go and being 10.30am I needed to get my head down and cover a few miles before lunch. I felt sad waving goodbye but hoped we would meet again I slowly made my way through the city and out on to the open road to the north.
The Jose Cuervo train passes on the way out of the city
Deciding on the direct route all be it through the mountains first I had to drop into a deep gorge that I would have to cross. As I approached it the ground dropped away right down to a river about 600 metres below.
The descent was amazing along with the view which I couldn’t help but stop and take the odd picture. Once at the bottom I crossed the river and started the 1000 metre climb out the other side. Feeling good after a good sleep and good food I climbed at a nice pace but as the sun got hotter it started to zap my energy. The climb went on for around 30 miles, steep at first then eased to a nice gradient.
I stopped for a cool drink but knew I needed to eat. I rode on getting closer to the summit when I passed through a town stopping at a restaurant. Asking for pork with veg I was brought pork and the closest they could get to veg. With the time getting on I pushed on wanting to get to a large enough village that might have a fire station. I was stopped just short of the top by a guy called Hector who was very nice and told me I had to ride about 40 km. judging by the time I thought I could make it just after dark so set off once we had finished chatting. Once at the top I had another great down hill with the sun giving off some amazing light.
With tall yellow grass and cows grazing in the late afternoon sun it all looked so beautiful.
Being told the village was at 106km I pushed on but once at the bottom the short climbs started. It looked like I may have some down hill but didn’t want to build my hopes up. Sure enough with 5 km to go I started to drop and arrived in the village of Moyahue.
I had managed to cover 70 miles with a fare bit of climbing but I was so hungry. Ordering chicken burritos with cheese and veg was what I needed and hit the spot. Asking if I could camp at first the guy was apprehensive but then showed me a piece of ground that was perfect. I set up camp and once I had washed I headed in to the restaurant to check my emails. Once I was done I was just about to head to bed when Cesil came and told me I couldn’t camp where I was because he would get into trouble. I was a little annoyed but most of all I was tired. He was great and showed me the park which I wasn’t so keen on then told me of the manisupal building. Offering also to pay for a hotel I politely refused and said all I needed was a small space to sleep. Once we had reached the place I was met by a kind man who pointed to a good place that was nice and dark but also very quiet. It was perfect and once my tent was up I could finally sleep ready for another days ride north.
Tuesday 23rd February
Although I’d had to move where I’d ended up was perfect and fell into the deepest of sleeps. Waking with the sun lighting the courtyard I woke but was so comfy I wanted a little longer. Getting up around 8am I packed my things when a guy that worked there brought me a coffee. I chatted to them for a while and once a few of the office workers had taken pictures it was time to go.
I left the town on the highway and after covering 10 miles I was starting to feel hungry. Why I didn’t eat in the town I don’t know but having water, milk powder and cereals I could at least stop and eat under the shade of a tree. It was getting hotter as the day went on and although the road was good the heat was taking its toll.
Reaching Jalpa by 2pm was great as I could stop and have lunch when I was meant to. Spotting a place to eat I stopped and looked to see what there was to order. Seeing the lady in the next table had prawns in a sauce with onion, tomato and guacamole I opted for that one. It tasted amazing and after I left I wish I’d had another.
Spotted this very old John Deere
This was the perfect environment for the blue Agave plant
I would often pass these beautiful plants that brightened up any road side
From here the road rose and fell although not steep it was tiring. I wanted to cover 60 miles but after asking at a fuel station how far it was to the next village I got a confident 60km. With it now being 5pm I knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy so headed in to Tabasco to look for a place to stay.
Spotted this cool old car on the way into town
After some directions I reached the police station only to be told to go to the fire station. Being directed to the edge of town right up in the hill I started to wonder whether I should go back. I continued to climb and was stopped on the way by a guy who said he wanted to film me. It all felt weird as he told me to go to the other side of the road and just held up his phone to video me. He then indicated with his fingers to talk. I was speechless. He had hardly said anything and wanted a full dislodge. I said a few words and thanked him politely then rode on and finally found the station where I walked up stairs to meet the fire grew called Hector, Rocky ,Carmen and Tony.
I asked if I could stay and at first they were concerned as they had no room. They offered the place where they sleep which was perfect and was made to feel at home. We chatted for a while then I was brought food for a sandwich which was amazing then I was taken to meet the lady who lived next door. Having been to the Baja peninsula she showed me some nice places then took me to meet her family who were lovely and from there she took me in the car for tacos and a tour around the town. Once back I joined what seemed like the whole street on the corner and chatted. They were all so lovely and spent time playing with the kids and chatting.
The fire crew returned from a fire and showed me the shower. It was so good to feel clean and relax. As I was about to settle I was told the town reporter was outside and wanted an interview. I went down to meet Paul who was a really nice guy and so we chatted. It was nice to chat but I still find it hard to think I’m doing something special. The last few weeks I have been stopped by so many people, had photos, videos and interviews but still I feel a little awkward. What I’m doing is easy compared to so many people’s lives and yet I’m getting help. The people of Mexico are the most amazing and will always have a fondness for this country.
Wednesday 24th February
With my eye mask on I was oblivious to the day fast approaching but the sound of the crew getting up I couldn’t get away from. With the celebration of the Mexican flag in the square with the fire crew leading meant I needed to get up. I wondered around like a zombie until I was handed a coffee realising this journey could feel so different if I was forced to get up and cover a certain amount of miles each day.
Being ready physically but still half asleep I followed the crew down into town and found where the parade was starting from. I popped to a cafe to have some tacos and returned to the fire crew as the action started. As I stood I was asked by a guy behind me for money which really annoyed me as it was the first time in Mexico other then beggars on the streets. I moved out of his way and stood to watch first the lady’s then the children march in time to the drums.
They were brilliant and the bit I loved most was the tiny kids beating their tiny drums as they marched which was just how I would play.
Once they had all passed I headed out of town making my way through the narrow streets when I was stopped as a passed a building which happened to be the news channel for the town. I couldn’t believe I had been caught again. I stood chatting to a very nice reporter who asked me many questions but all I could think about was this was the towns day and I so wanted the focus to be on them as they had worked so hard and looked so great. Once he was done I headed on out of town and was stopped once again at the junction. It was getting silly now but everyone was so friendly so was happy to make them happy. So once he’d taken a couple pictures I set off once more and hit the highway.
By this time the sun was up and I knew it. Although the sweat was pouring off my head as I slowly got higher the temperature cooled. The road was good and so was the scenery. I would climb 50 metres drop 20, climb 50 and so it went on getting up to 2000 metres. Reaching a town on the map around 3pm I saw a Chinese restaurant and stopped to eat. Ordering sweet and sour chicken with rice and veg was great as it filled me up for the next bit. Still having 40 miles to the city I was in cross minds whether to just go for it or ease off and take the next bit easy. I set off feeling better for eating and although the head wind picked up I was making ok progress. Deciding to message my host I would use his answer or lack of a reply for my decision whether to push on.
After many more short climbs I reached my turn off with 20 miles still to go, a headwind, a big climb and an hour of light. I checked my email to see if I’d had news to see I was more then welcome to arrive early and so it was decided. I spotted three cyclist on the road and stopped to say hi. They were all really nice and telling me the city would be safe to arrive at night so I thanked them and pushed on.
From here I was motivated and feeling strong. There was something in me that got me into a zone that I felt strong and fast. Averaging 15 miles an hour I was flying and soon was joined by Edwardardo who was one of the cyclists.
We rode together helping each other over the short climbs until we reached the edge of the city where it ramped up. Although I was low on energy after already riding 120 km I felt strong and felt great on the climbs. I reached the top of one that brought us to the built up area where I needed a little push. Picking up a drink and a chocolate bar we were off again until Edwardardo had to leave to collect his car. By this time his friend Barco arrived and said he would sit behind me for the last big climb before the centre. I said goodbye and thanked Edwardardo for his company then set off up the long steep climb to the city. With a car behind me I could push on and was determined to reach the top keeping my speed up. It felt great feeling so strong and then dropping into a new city. As I reached the historical centre I was met by some of the must beautiful buildings.
The whole place was stunning and had no idea it was so beautiful. With my host living right in the centre I navigated the streets and found the point I had been told to go. I was met by a lovely lady who asked if I needed help when Francisco arrived and greeted me. I was then shown across the stunning square to his house. It was beautiful and had two very lovely dogs and a mad cat. From here I dropped my bike off and went with him to collect his wife who had just retired. It was so great to meet them all and finally be in the city.
Sandra’s mum and Sandra with her husband Francisco
I was very kindly fed then returned home to be shown where I would sleep. By this point it was so late and after 140km I was exhausted but I was happy, very happy.
Thursday 25th February
Having gone to bed late I woke up to join the others for breakfast only to be horrified at the time. It was just gone 11am and couldn’t believe how long I had slept. Heading downstairs to see if anyone was home I walked bleary eyed into the kitchen to find Francisco along with Patrick and his girlfriend Ratna. I was then treated to an amazing breakfast curtsy of Francisco and talked about our day ahead. Being recommended the silver mine which was just a few minutes walk away then the cable car we set out looking around the town on our way to the mine.
After passing silver shop after silver shop and incredible buildings we reached the mine entrance and waited 20 minutes for the tour.
Silver mine and the green substance is kryptonite glowing in the dark
The mine being 300 years old was mined not only by hand but also by slaves which lived in horrendous conditions many of which died either by accidents, water poisoning due to the toxins and mercury poisoning, dust or through shear hardship. Seeing how huge the mine was and being just a fraction of what was there it was hard to imagine the hardship they had gone through. Then to see the tiny wooden ladders they would have to climb carrying up to 100kg with tiny steps to stop them from resting was just mind blowing.
It was impossible to imagine people were put through such hardship and for nothing.
once we had seen the mines we were then taken to the museum where there were different rocks and crystal formations on show. Again it was breathtaking to see what nature can produce and in such different ways.
With the tour almost over we waited for a small train which took us back out and on to the streets of Zacatecas. From here we headed to the cable car where we would head to the view point. We climbed above the city to the entrance to find we had missed it by 15 minutes.
Patrick and Ratna decided to catch a taxi to the top but I was happy to sit on the steps and see the colours change over the city from where I was. I was amazed by its beauty and could have sat there for hours but feeling hungry I headed back into town to eat and drink. It had been such an amazing day and yet I had seen only a fraction and was so pleased I had the time to see more tomorrow.
Friday 26th February
With a day planned to visit the pyramids to the south I got up and joined everyone for breakfast. As always there was a huge choice for breakfast and were spoilt for what there was. After a relaxed and very filling breakfast we were soon ready to go and set off out of the city heading for the pyramid and ancient site. It was about a 40 minute drive back down the road I came in on and turned off for the site.
I was amazed at how big the place was and yet we were the only ones there. I headed out to explore the site while Ratna and Patrick took photos. After a few hours we met up again and sat under a tree next to the main pyramid watching as the clouds changed the light. While I sat with Sandra I knocked a rock when a lizard came out. I started to play with it using a small stick and it just sat there while I stroked it under the chin. We sat laughing when suddenly it shot off towards Sandra sending her leaping into the air.
It was so funny but the thing we didn’t realise was that it was a chameleon and was poisonous. Feeling relieved that we hadn’t been attacked we set off and were taken to a famous fish restaurant which we were once again treated to. We were so spoilt and felt so lucky to be staying with them. Once we’d had lunch we were driven back to the city via Franciscos microlight. He told us that it can be learnt with just 6 hours of flying which got me thinking.
Thinking of a new toy I wanted we headed back to the city where there was a concert on in the square and headed to their kitchen for coffee. We chatted the night away with the music playing outside and enjoying the time being in the city.
Looking down at the fun form the roof top
With Francisco and Sandra planning another trip tomorrow I decided to stay in the city and just enjoy the sites. It was such a beautiful place I just wanted to take it in and relax and tomorrow was the perfect day to do it.
Saturday 27th February
Hearing Francisco bring the dogs up and wanting to get some work done I sat in bed with the dogs and worked away. They were such great company and a nice distraction form the blog. Once my eyes were going square I packed away my things and headed out to see the city. I stopped in a place that Rafael had recommended and with the rain now falling hard I would run between the arches while dodging the rain.
A couple enjoying the downpour
The happy occasion
A lovely cat sits out the rain while a guy shapes glass in the market
With a few churches I hadn’t yet seen I first went to see the old aqueduct then on to the Fatima church which was made from a yellow stripy sandstone that with the rain was all different colours. I saw a wedding going on with more pouting then smiling which seemed strange and continued to walk the town to see the markets and drink coffee. Once I had seen enough for the day I headed back to do some more work and then were taken out once again for dinner.
We had tried so many different foods and yet we weren’t allowed to pay for anything. They were so laid back and so kind making me feel like I was at home and allowed to relax before I headed off. With my room on the roof I took myself away to do some more work before calling it a day and getting a good nights sleep.
Sunday 28th February
Today was the first day I’d had a lay in for a long time. I let the dogs out and they sat with me while I worked and after a few hours I decided to head out around 12.
Someone was looking a little to comfy
I picked up a snack and looked around the centre and headed to restaurant to eat. The food here was really good and I was now trying something new again.
The locals checking out whats going on
Still with parts of the city I hadn’t seen I continued to wonder the streets and having already started the day late time was already getting on. I made my way up to the cable car and headed up to cerro de la bufe which is a hill that looks over the city.
I wondered around looking at the church and view points then climbed the rock to watch the sun set.
Watching as the train weaved its way through the city
I was sat for about two hours watching the sky change and the long trains weave through the town. It was a beautiful place and I was so pleased I’d had the time to stop and enjoy it. With the sun now set and the cable car closed I made my way down the zigzag road back to the centre. It was beautiful walking the streets under the amber lighting and so before I headed to my room I found a nice cafe that was a few doors down from the house and sat enjoying a coffee watching the world go by before it was time for bed and a day back on the bike tomorrow.
Monday 29th February
Waking up and wanting to head off I got up and packed my things into my panniers. As I cleared the room I couldn’t see my camera anywhere. A rush of realisation came over me that I had left it under the table at the cafe the night before. Not wanting to have it on show I wedged it under the table out of sight. I couldn’t believe it and rushed down to see if they were open. With the place locked up I headed back upstairs when Fransisco came up to put the dogs in their pen. I told him what happened and he said we would just have to wait. I joined him and Sandra for breakfast and sat feeling sorry for myself. I would pop out to see if it was open from time to time but nothing. Finally after some time the cafe next door opened and asked what time the other one opened. Being told its closed on Monday I couldn’t believe it. I went up to tell them what was happening when Fransisco said he might know someone who knows the owner. After what felt like a long wait there was a phone call and confirmation that they had the camera. They said they would be over around 3pm. With the relief of knowing it was safe I relaxed and went to do some work. Being still behind on the blog it gave me the chance to catch up a little. Although I had planned to leave I still had time and was nice to stop and work. While Patrick and Ratna worked on their bikes I sat typing and slowly catching up with myself. 3pm soon came when I was told they had arrived. I was so pleased and Leonor who had held on to it was so lovely.
Leo was such a lovely lady and I was so grateful to her
This place does some amazing food it was just a shame it wasn’t open
Not only did they make amazing coffee but they were good honest people and very lovely. Feeling so relieved I headed in to finish my work and relax. Although the day had started in a panic today had been a good day and I was pleased I’d had this time. Planning on heading out for dinner we all got changed and went into town. Heading back to Acopolyse restaurant where I had eaten some great food before we sat down and enjoyed a great meal together. It was good that we’d had this last night together and we were all ready for a day on the bikes tomorrow. The town had been amazing and I was so grateful to Francisco and Sandra for having me and being so kind and generous. It was a place I wouldn’t forget easily.
After having a much needed break and having the time to stop and look around it was now time to head on and get to Durango. With Sara coming in just a few days I had time to get there and relax before she arrived. Not really knowing what lay ahead it was as much of an adventure for me as it would be for Sara but what I had got as a surprise as a bit of an expedition treat was going to be fun to see her face. For now though it was time to leave and head north once more and await the arrival of a good friend ready for the next adventure.
Thanks for reading xx