Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish you a happy, healthy and bountiful 2011. We are really thrilled that you have been able to share in our travels so far and have enjoyed so much receiving your emails and comments. For those bikers we have met and shared good times with along the way, stay safe and keep the rubber side down. We had a very special Christmas (though I had a cold and laryngitis) in Durango, Mexico (north of Mexico City). We are currently in Zacatecas. Not sure where we will be for the New Year celebrations, watch this space. Lots of lovexx

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Had the name of a hotel called the Reforma which had secure parking so after asking people on the street where it was (Gertie the GPS,a Garmin Zumo 550 touch screen has stopped working so can't be programmed any more) Jill booked in while I went off to the secure parking which was far from secure and about 2 blocks away. Retrieving our money from reception we headed towards the Cathedral and ended up in Hotel Plaza Catedral, which I remembered Chris had stayed in and posted a picture on his blog. We got a back room with no outside window for 250 pesos a night. The hotel is a very old building with lots of character right next to the Cathedral and main square where it seem everything was happening. We had planned to have Christmas in Zacatecas but decided that it would be good to stay here for Christmas and move onto Zacatecas for the new year if we could get a better room as the one at the back of the hotel was very dingy. We had to wait a few hours for things to sort themselves out but ended up in a very nice room with twin double beds and balcony overlooking the Cathedral where Nancy had pride of place in the hall. Durango is a very vibrant city with lots of pleasant colonial architecture, a very crowded and colourful market all dressed up with more Christmas lights than I have every seen before. It has a teleférico that takes you to the top of a hill for views of the city a great park and a vegetarian restaurant that does great burgers. But for the last 2 days Jill has been sick with a cold and spent Christmas eve in bed sounding and looking terrible. I think her fear has taken on a physical manifestation, but she is getting better slowly with the help of some horse pills got from the chemist.

Towards Durango

Jill and I usually have similar views on things and if we don't we try to convince the other, but on the ride to Durango up the Mx 40 our views are very different. To me it is a 10 out of 10 road, to Jill it was like living on a knife edge: beauty at a cost, you had to pay the devil who comes in the form of vehicles travelling on the wrong side of the road to get around the 3000 curves that the road is sometime called, a definate 0 out of 10
The first part down the Mx 15 was uneventful in a Mexican way; just the usual topes, cut ups, check points etc, but once you turn right onto the Mx 40 things start to change quite fast as the road climbs up into the Sierra Madre. What didn't help Jill was as we started to climb we took a left hand bend that led into a right hander where we met a pick up truck on our side of the road overtaking 3 cars. Managed to just squeeze by on the very edge of the black stuff, having shouted through the drivers window at a rather freaked out looking Mexican. Can't remember what ,if anything, was following us as he still had 2 cars to overtake and a sharp right hand bend coming his way. If we had been in a car it would have been very nasty. The road climbs hugging onto the side of the mountains through very beautiful scenery, Passed live stock, some in control, others wandering freely Criss-crossing the path of the new road they are building with 38 bridges and 42 tunnels. It will probably be rather boring road once completed. You can see the line of the road on the far mountain side. At the 'puerto el espinzo del diablo' or devil's spine either side of the road drops off into deep valleys and there is a plaque commemorating the road. A true engineering feat. At El Salto, looking like a true shanty town, the road, having reached the high sierra, flattens out into a more rolling countryside before finally after 200 miles reaching Durango.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


We loaded the bike up ready for an early start towards Mazatlan. As I leaned forward to place my phrasebook on my seat whilst I put my jacket on, Nancy keeled over (to the accompaniment of my yelp!) into the newly undercoated white wall in reception. Slumped against the wall, she looked as careworn as I had a couple of days ago. She seemed to be saying, not another day on the road. As reception staff looked on we struggled to bring her upright as the tiled floor made our feet slide away from us. Finally a young guy came over and helped and Nancy recovered her posture. Sadly her windscreen is broken and the right indicator split. And the reception wall is also scarred but nobody seemed to mind. David set about fixing the damage and dressed in gaffa tape, Nancy was soon wheeled outside Delayed by about an hour, we were ready for off, but not before a lady from across the road at Mariscos Charly (who had been looking at the bike) ran over and placed a card of the Virgen de Guadeloupe into my hand.
And so off we set towards Mazatlan. We stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant where we ate what was on offer: carné asada with beans, lettuce and flour tortillas freshly made. We crossed the Tropic of Cancer again and soon arrived at Hotel Lerma in Mazatlan with secure parking We had approached Mazatlan from the North, the road slightly inland, so it was not until we approached the road of our Hotel that we saw the beach-and it is lovely: 16kms of Malacon. At one end the old town where we stayed and around the bay the posh end As soon as we had unloaded we put on our best bib and tucker and went for a stroll along the promenade, past the street vendors selling jewellery homes decorated for Christmas a Mexican band serenading in a nearby restaurant and sculptures most of them on bronze, to watch the sun set The following day we set of in the sunshine to explore Mazatlan and the harbour. We passed two crazy Mexicans diving for donations with not a lot to spare stopped for some fresh coconut saw some more sculptures (many of naked women) and a motorcycle. We stopped for cerviche for lunch then strolled past the port noticing a rather well laden truck and made our way back into town to visit the Teatro Angela Peralta and just catching the end of a performance. Old Mazatlan is very pretty with narrow streets, restaurants, parks old colonial architecture interesting object d'art and unusual taxis The catedral is striking and the market is a blaze of colour. We hadn't found a supermarket in Mazatlan and realised why when we visited the indoor market On the way back to the hotel David was heartened to see that Mexico is leading the world in managing neuroses: Back at the ranch I prepared soup for supper.