There’s no better start to a cyclist’s day than a visit to the panaderia, perfect pedalling fuel.
The inner workings of Panaderia Trigal, where a bag of pastries can be had for a dollar. It's a simple, traditional place; I particularly liked the old fashioned wooden cabinet at the front of the shop.
Cowboy hats and pointy boots are a popular style in Northern Mexico. The question is: do these come with SPDs?
A giant cauldron of simmering pork crackling. Think I'll pass on that for breakfast.
In the absense of kickstands, political roadside murals make good bike-leaning spots.
A novel doorstop.
The square at Temosachic was a perfect spot for a lunchbreak.
Which, these days, is generally themed around fresh avocados, which provide great sustenance when wrapped in a tortilla with salsa, tomatoes and a pinch of salt. They’re cheap too – not much more than 50c a kilo.
The backroads in Mexico can be narrow and without a shoulder. On the whole, the traffic seems pretty respectful towards cyclists, aside from the odd long distance bus that razors past. Riding in a bunch is a little dull, but helps in headwind and in being seen.
Unfortunately our end of the day camping-timing was a bit off, and by the time it was dark, we had to settle for a field by the side of the road. The next morning, a thick mist hung in the air, encasing our tents in an icy crust.
It was frozen-water-bottles cold, and my boots were like blocks of ice. Brrrrr.
And as the mist seemed retiscent to burn off even with a rising sun, it was hard to warm up.
So we emerged from our various cocoons and took to the road. With my new steamlined setup, I’ve sent back my warm Endura lobster-style gloves, and within a few moments of packing away the tent, my hands had turned, somewhat ironically, to numb claws.
Thankfully Guerrero wasn’t too far away, with its picturesque main square to thaw out and a characterful, ramshackle grocery store to plunder.
Various subtly flavoured bundles of tortillas were on offer, each wrapped in a different colour paper, as well as fresh vegetables, local cheese and pastries.
Old Ford and Chevy pickups abound, in classic 70s colours – burnt orange, chocolate brown, sun-faded cobalt blue…
…and lime green. Very cool. For a truck, that is.
Roadside views beyond the harvested corn fields.
Soon, the road turned off towards Creel, 90kms away. It climbed out of the low plains and rolled its way ever upwards through the mountains, encircling deep canyons and passing wind eroded rockfaces.
Small, quiet village punctuated the ride.
Dusk was falling as we rode past the ugly, ramshackle town of San Juanito, its saw mills filling the air with the smell of pine, mixing with diesel fumes spluttering out of logging trucks. A few kilometres beyond, we clambered over the rail line that leads all the way to Las Mochis, on the coast, and found a camp spot for the night.
So cold! Luckily there was plenty of wood to hand to build a fire. I’m sleeping in every layer I have… Camping as a group definitely feels very safe, especially when we're set away from the road, not that Mexico has given me any reasons to worry at all so far.
The early morning cargo train south proved an efficient alarm clock.
Creel is the first backpacker hangout I’ve come across in close to 6 months of travel. It didn’t take long to suss out a nice little cafe off the main square, the Cafe de Mi Corazon, where a generous plate of eggs, chorizo and tortillas can be had for just a couple of dollars. Homebase for the next few days, I should think.
And this segment of the journey also marks my 10 000th kilometre pedalled. Woohoo! With Christmas coming up, it’s time for a little break…
The Need to Know Section
Distance – 240km
Road conditions – good quality pavement, pretty light on traffic until near Creel
F00d – plenty of little shops abundant with fresh avocados and nachos
Cheap digs – not so much camping between the farming communities, but plenty on the way to Creel once back in the forest line. Cheap digs in Creel if you can track down Mario, who has some apartments to rent for 350-400 pesos, that can sleep up to 8.
Internet – great hangout and wifi at the Cafe de mi Corazon, or 10-15 pesos per hour at the internet cafes.