Since we last left Parral (elevation 1620 m), we rode 4 whole days to Durango (elevation 1895 m). I was thankful to have my new crank to climb some huge mountains. Some climbs were steep, others were very long and windy.
On New Years Day we left Parral. On our way out we met cyclist, Miguel, who took us on detour route to avoid road construction. He gave us his contact, and offered contact in Durango and throughout Mexico.
We entered into Durango State New Years Day. We rode between 90-100 kilometers each day passing through few, desolate pueblos. Some of the ride was through desert and other days were rolling hills and big climbs into the mountains. One day was a long road stretch of a long boring road.
The 3rd day were long climbs up winding mountains on a warm day. We reached to the top during the late afternoon and was cooled down by a 40 km per hour downhill joy ride.
We crossed regions from desert into a cooler climate where colorful trees grew and apple orchards thrived, by day 4. In a small town where they had limited produce to buy, Chris discovered he needed a new tire. From the pueblo, the highway flattened. We peddled full power with a tailwind into the next town less than 50 kms to Durango.
Our interactions with people were quite amusing. A few men wondered if I was available to be a wife, and New Near after party drunks tried to talk with us. When looking for a place to camp, a truck load of boys made an effort to advertize the pueblo they were driving into. One of the guys said the pueblo would be great to camp in because it had “BURGERS, BEER, and BIT%^#!” all the while his buddy was puking off the passenger side. We opted out of the Triple B pueblo special, and instead, camped off the highways, away from villages or pueblos. There is only small space between the highway and fenced of properties. Yet, every night, the boys found entries though the barbed wire fencing. Yes, we were definitely breaking into private property to camp, but, they were large properties where no one would have notice our presence.
Our camp sites were on farms. The cows moo’ed thoughout the night and roosters cawed before sunrise. Every night we heard cyotes howling in the distance. The animal ocrastra did not disturbed our sleep after long day rides. After setting up camp, eating dinner, we go to bed before 8 am and get about 10 hours of sleep until the sun rises. Thankfully, the nights have not been as cold since Creel- the temperatures have lowered slightly above freezing point.
On the 5th day, we only has a 25 km morning ride to Durango, city. We passed the famous western movie scene sets going into the city. Riding toward the center of the city there are high-end shopping districts, old impressive churches, and many restaurants. We bargained a good deal on a room at the Buenos Aries Hotel on a street that a pedestrian walkway only, filled with clubs, shopping and great eateries. We contacted Walter, who was refered by both Miguel in Parral and the Lonely Planet guide. Walter owns an adventure guide touring company. Turns out he has done a lot of cycling though out Durango. He gave us advice about the best routes to Guadalajara and Guanajuato, and recommended a Facebook network page to locate people about cycling around Mexico city. Sometimes arrangements are made so that local Mexico city cyclist will guide touring cyclist into the city through the webpage.
After meeting Walter and cleaning up at the hotel, we rode into the city to get some new bike gear. Luna Bikes was one of the few bike shops we checked out. They had an impressive selection of high end bike gears. A couple of the guys at the shop got on their bikes to show us other bike shops in the city for our needs. They came with us to grocery shop, and eventually, became our guides of the city, bustling with traffic on narrow streets. They showed us the markets for cheap produce; inventory bike supply shops where I found a great $5 buy on 2 pairs of break pads. The guys took me to a shop where their friends sell homemade preserves. I was given many samples of nut/fruit candies and homemade spirits of orange liquor and walnut rum. It was a gastronomic treat!
Birch, Chris and I ended our Durango day making burritos for dinner and drinking Walnut rum for desert on the rooftop of the hotel, watching the sunset over the city lights.
After dinner, Chris shared pictures of his 3 year tour through the Americas. I saw amazing photos of his touring Ecuador, Peru, Alaska, Montana, New Mexico. I am even more inspired to continue touring heading for South America. It is amazing to meet people like Chris and having the experience to hear their stories of adventure.
Looking back at an incident that I thought would leave me stranded in the mountains, it’s amazing where the roads will take you and who you will meet- if you keep going, open to a infinite universe of oppertunity.
Adventure cycling 2012!