Friday, 21 September 2012

Day 76: Durango to Zacatecas

Buenos noches mi amigos

It will be a short blog tonight because it's late and I'm tired.

I discovered last night that when we left the hotel in Mazatlan without breakfast I left behind my toothbrush gear and toilet bag. Bother. Nothing that can't be replaced but I had my only supply of anti-flams in my bag so i have had to muck around today to replace them.

We were up early today and out the front door of the hotel and on the road just as it was lightening up at 730. What a stunning dawn. The whole sky lit with pink and azure. It was fabulous. I'm afraid it didn't last though. We were heading in quite an easterly direction and as the sun rose it bored straight into our eyeballs. It was hard work, mostly riding one-handed with the other up shielding the eyes. My Nolan sun visor helped a bit but it was not great. In retrospect we should have stopped and waited for 30minutes; or better still, not have left so early.

It was cool too. At one stage the temperature dropped to 7.5C and settled on about 17. Altitude well above 2000 metres.

It was an ok road, reasonably fast and with a good surface. Mostly. The sections through towns were a bit tricky. We stopped at an old town called Sombrerete for lunch. That was an experience! It involved driving down narrow oneway cobbled streets into the centre of town.

The first restaurant we stopped at was still swabbing the floor with Jeyes Fluid so we gave that a miss. We then went to the town square where we parked on the footpath and ordered hamburgers. They were pretty ordinary to be honest but they also served mugs of hot milk that you could add coffee to and that was nice. The girls looked quite perky perched on the sidewalk.

As we sat there a police truck arrived and I wondered if we were going to be ticked off for parking on the footpath, but no one was interested.

Then the marines arrived, leapt off their truck carrying their firearms and disappeared into the supermarket. A bizarre sight as these heavily armed marines emerged from the shop with plastic bags of goods. One stopped to chat with us, and maybe to practice his English. He had trained with the US Marines in Virginia. He was carrying an M4 sub-machine gun, a pistol and a marine dagger in his belt. Just everyday attire really. I asked him if he could tell me what it was that the soldiers were looking for when they stopped you at the checkpoints but he said he was not able to say. Ditto to photographs.
To be honest it all made me a little nervous so I was happy enough to pootle on out of there. Back on the main road which became a toll road and we stopped briefly for a Mrs Macs.

Then we were riding into Zacatecas. Karen had a bit of a hiccup, partly my fault because I had entered an incorrect address and partly hers cos no one told her which streets were oneway streets. Very narrow cobble stone streets. Not made for R1200GSs! Eventually we found the Sta Lucia Hotel for 650 pesos overnight. The girls are parked on the street but in a sort of roped off section reserved for the hotel.

This is an amazing town and tonight my friends is Fiesta Night. Which is probably why it's late and I'm tired.

Here are some quick snaps:
The town was settled by the Spanish in the 1600s.

You can also read about it here:,_Zacatecas

The churches are simply amazing.

Here's the front.

And some detail.

Care for a quick dram?

There are still some indigenous people here, seemingly leading a precarious lifestyle.

I sat at a street cafe and had a beer and watched the sights while being accosted by young boys wanting pesos. While I sat there, my brother Neil walked by. I fell off my stool! I then realised it couldn't be him. Not wearing those cowboy boots.

That's it. Po Marie. Did I say it is fiesta night?

Well done Iain, Frances and Lachie scoring an internship in New York. CHUR!!!

Today's run: 328kms
Cumulative: 21,241kms
Tip overs. 2

Location:Zacatecas, Mexico

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