I din’t realize that the day I left Guanajuato was Friday the 13th until I started typing this up. It makes more sense now. I slept in a little bit, which I was glad to do. I found a place around the corner to grab a latte, and the sun was shining. One thing I was going to do, but didn’t manage to was find a cash machine without a line around the block. My assumption is that people get paid on Friday,and since this appears to be a cash based economy, they need to get to the ATM to do whatever it is they do. I hit the road almost exactly at noon, which was a little late given the miles I wanted to do, but usually once I start riding, I’m pretty good at muscling through. In other words I don’t stop for food – usually.
The ride out of town ended up working pretty well, which suprised me a bit given how crazy the streets are in that town. I got on a toll road heading out of town, and aimed for Morelia, which I had to pass through to get to Highway 51, which I would take to the coast. About the time I hit the main road to Morelia, I passed a TON of guys (and only guys – I didn’t see a woman) on bicycles. Each team (or whatever) was riding in a pack, wearing matching jerseys, and seemed to be following a truck with some sort of Virgin Mary shrine in it. Initially I thought it was hundreds of people, but after watching for a few minutes as I stopped to take a picture, and then driving on for many miles, I’m content to say it was tens of thousands. I passed these guys for a long time, and I was going 80 most of the time. I have a few pictures of it I’ll link to when I get the time and internet.
Looking back I relish this simple time -things were about to get very interesting. I stopped to eat, since it looked like it was flooding about 2KM ahead. I figured I’d have a bite and miss the rain. I found a lovely looking place with a good crowd, and parked my bike. As I put it on the sidestand, I didn’t think it would hold since the ground seemed to be wet and soft. I figured my centerstand would be a better option. Nope. As soon as I got it on the sidedstand, over it went – away from me. It looked like a beached whale sitting there. I tried a couple of times, but I couldn’t get the bike up. It’s a heavy damned bike when it’s on it’s side. I’ve dropped my bike quite a few times and always been able to pick it up, so I wasn’t worried I couldn’t. Before I could get too far along in my plan, some nice gentleman came running to my aid. I thanked him profusely, and tried to have the waitress send him a beer or soda, but she had questions I couldn’t answer, so I don’t think he ever got it.
I had carne asada at this open air restaurant as it rained. And I had avocado on the carne asada tacos I made. Yes, an Avacado. So I got the bug.
I still had hope of making it to the coast before dark, which was going to be hard, but not impossible. I got through (rather around) Morelia without getting stuck in traffic, and started looking for HWY 51. I found it without issue, but it was going the wrong way. It was going north, and I wanted to go south. Of course, roads in Mexico aren’t named that way. Nope – that would be too easy. This one said Cd. Hidalgo. I could find it on my map, and I knew it was the wrong way to go. So I asked a truck driver how to find 51, and pointed out I wanted to go to the ocean. He pointed me to Cd. Hidalgo again. So I figured, may that was the way I should go. I did see other signs, but I didn’t recognize, and couldn’t find these towns on the map.
It was the third big mistake of the day. I honestly don’t know where I was going. The road I was on was desolate, in bad repair, and full of turns. I spent 90 percent of the drive in third gear. It wasn’t very late in the day – 4 or 5 p.m, but the road I was on was very high, cold and isolated. I didn’t know where I was, or where I was going, or if I had enough gas to get there. Eventually I found a gas station and filled up. There was a sign pointing to Morelia two different ways, 180 degress from each other. Great – I was about an hour outside of Morelia, and by the time I got there it was getting dark. I’d just wasted 3+ hours only to get back to where I started. Once in Morelia, again, I pulled over, got out my rough guide and tried to find a hotel. On the way to the hotels in my book, I passed exactly one hotel. I started heading towards the Zocalo, where most hotels are in these towns. Rush hour on a Friday night is not the place to be looking for a hotel, or even a street. Before I even got close to the Zocalo, it got dark. My bike doesn’t have a dome light. So I headed back towards the hotel I had seen earlier. Hotel Fiesta. Sounds pleasant, but not too expensive, doesn’t it. When I parked, I was tired, slightly naseous for the last couple of hours, had no idea where I was or where I was going, and it was 9 p.m. The hotel was GOD awful expensive, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get back on my bike with nowhere to go. So now add extravagant to my list of feeling I was having.
It was a nice enough hotel, as is should have been. There was some sort of convention going on having to do with the recording industry. I saw several girls/young women asking guys for their autographs. By the time I’d gotten my stuff in the room, and a shower, it was 10 o’clock. I hadn’t eaten since my painful meal so many hours ago. I found a shopping center nearby, and there was a upscale coffee shop selling cake, so I got two slices. It was hard to choke it down since I was pretty naseous but I managed.
This is the same bug I think I got when Angela and I were in Puerto Escondido, and on our way to Oaxaca. It’s all the same symptoms. I didn’t sleep very well, since I thought I was going to upchuck. I woke up several times feeling bad. I then remembered I had some medicine in my backpack. Once a day for three days, and it should cure it. Unless you take one and leave the rest in your overpriced hotel room, which I did. Along with syringes and malaria medication.
When I woke up in the morning, almost 9 a.m., I felt better. Not good, but better. Needing to get to Oaxaca by Sunday, I knew I needed to put some miles on. The shortest way, and what I thought best was to go through Mexico City since my map shows a road going around the city.
Mexico City (or Mexico D.F./Distrio Federal, or Mexico, as most of the signs pointing to it just say Mexico.) is the largest city in the world. I don’t think anybody really knows if Toyko or Mexico City is really larger, but regardless, it’s a big damed city. With a lot of cars. I drove around looking for a sign, any sign, but couldn’t find anything. Eventually I found a BMW motorcycle dealer, and figured they could help. Turns out I was on the right road, and was going the right way. That was a huge stroke up luck, which I needed. I’d spent a little more than 90 minutes in Mexico City, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to get to Oaxaca today. The next large city on my map was Cuernavaca, which was recommened to me. Since I was still feeling under the weather, wasn’t going to be able to make my goal, and hadn’t eaten yet, I was ready to call it a day. I stopped at the first hotel I found, and it even had parking and a pool. I went out and got gatorade, v8, water and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The thought of food generally makes me sick to my stomach, so being able to eat this made me happy. Frankly, I’m pretty disappointed with the way a few things have gone. I didn’t think I’d get sick this quick, spend this much money, or get as lost as I did yesterday. I need a good day to get back on track with my wanderlust. Right now, no lust.