Yesterday evening I reached the little town of Guanajuato after a day with a lot of suffering, pain and some new wounds. But let’s start chronologically.
After I had stayed five nights in Durango it was time to ride my bike again. My next target was the old silver mining town of Zacatecas. I took the MEX45 Highway to get there. It is also called “the Panamericana”. The first time I’m riding on the road which has been my main motivation to start this whole trip and I absolutely didn’t like it. The countryside was very monotonous and especially when I got closer to Zacatecas the road got narrower and on the winding uphill sections it actually became pretty dangerous. I had a couple of occasions where trucks were passing me with only a few inches of space. I was happy and relieved when I finally reached the house of my warmshowers host Rafael. He has been a great host – he studies guitar in Salzburg and he really liked talking in German/Austrian to me. He took me to his motorbike club, climbed the Bufa with me and drove me around with his BMW motorbike. I felt like a member of the family and a longtime friend and I was also treated like this from his friends we met on several occasions in the city.
I spent three nights in Zacatecas before I headed further south. My next town I wanted to visit was Aguascalientes. Rafael suggested me to take a detour via highway MEX54 to Jalpa and then take highway MEX70 to Aguascalientes. This enabled me to stop at the ruins of La Quemada which was very impressive although I already know that there are even more spectacular ones to come on my journey.
On my second day I reached the little town of Huanusco. I stopped at little kiosk for a beer since I promised a good friend in Germany to cheer on her birthday. There were two men sitting outside and they gave me a very warm welcome. After I had organized the obligatory beer we started chatting about my trip and why I’m here. At the end I had three beers and the group grew to six people. It was already dark but luckily I didn’t had to cycle far anymore that day since David offered me to stay at his place which was currently under construction and was just at the across the road. There was no electricity and no windows installed yet, but I had a roof and didn’t need to pitch my tent. David left me the keys since and left to his brother’s place where he was living while his site was not yet ready. The next day at 8am he came back and took me to breakfast in town. He introduced me to his friends as “Manolo el Aventurero”. Since I entered Mexico I mainly use my actual first first name Emanuel. This is more common in Mexico and after one of the Mexican cyclists started calling me Manolo this somehow became my new name on the road.
David was an awesome host. He paid everything for me. The beers in the evening, breakfast and coffee. I promised to send him postcard ones I’ve reached my final destination and maybe I would come back to this town and visit him in his new home when the giant Christ statue they plan to erect in Huanusco is also completed.
From David’s place it was still a long ride to Aguascalientes. After the extensive breakfast we had it was already 11am when I took of. It was a quick ride till Jalpa but from there to Aguascalientes I had to climb quite a bit. Hence it became a day of concentrated riding with only little breaks. The weather was kind of chilled which made it actually quite pleasant on the uphills. I reached Aguascalientes by 6pm and got picked up by a friend of a friend of Rafael who drove me the final miles to the hostel where I was staying for three nights.
In the hostel I met Carmen again who had already arrived the day before. The next morning we went to the museo de la muerte and the Posada museum. Especially the first one was pretty impressive. I’m the evening I joined the hostel owners on an organized bike ride through the city. Since it was raining a little bit only about hundred persons showed up, but still it was a lot of fun cruising through city accompanied by police cars.
When I left the hostel towards Guanajuato Elvira who runs the hostel with her husband gave me three burritos as a lunch pack and wished me buen viaje.
Even though I left late I almost did 100km that day until I was finally stopped by a fence on the road and unfortunately also another flat. Since it was already getting dark I decided to pitch my tent exactly at that spot and take care of the tire in the morning.
The attempt to fix the tire turned out to be the bad start into an overall bad day. Since I had lost my good tire levers somewhere on the Baja California I was struggling to get the tire of the rim and actually ended up breaking one and had some bloody fingers when I finally succeeded. Luckily I was pretty alone out there so nobody was hearing me swearing and cursing. After I finally packed everything and got back on my bike i decided to ride back till the last crossing and take an alternative route. I could have crossed the fence as well, but when I expected the road from there I spotted three cadavers within very short distance and opted against it.
Back on the real road things remained stressful. Most of the time it was a three lane highway with high speed traffic. The shoulder was mostly very dirty and I was afraid of collecting another flat when I had to ride through it but I had no other option. The situation even got worse when I approached the outskirts of Leon. A 1.6 Million City. Even though I didn’t even cycle through the center it took more than 30 km to maneuver through the traffic with a lot of crossings and traffic lights. When I finally reached the MEX110 and I had only 25 km to ride till Guanajuato the traffic got less but also the shoulder on the road. Actually there was no shoulder anymore which created some sketchy situations with trucks coming from both directions. Luckily I have a mirror and could somehow anticipate those situations and navigate of the road into the grass when needed. At one of these occasions I must have ridden into another thorn or other sharp piece. 15km before my final destination of the day I felt that my rear tire was loosing air again. Luckily it didn’t took me as much time as in the morning to fix it. After 30 minutes and without any loss of additional blood I pedaled the final miles.
The town of Guanajuato is very hilly and it was already dark when I entered the town. From there it took me more than half an hour to find a hostel for the night. It’s directly in the center. Since I arrived on a Friday the nightlife was pretty active and I went out for a little evening stroll before I finally decided to go to bed. Now I’m sitting in a Café and finally want to go for a proper excursion through this town. After this horrible day yesterday my mood is improving again.