Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Day 79: Morelia to Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico

Hello all
What an extraordinary day today. Some fantastic riding, some crap riding and some stuff to make you laugh along the way!
We were up quite early this morning in Morelia. After breakfast which involved a lot of talking past each other re what was included and what was not, Dick and I wandered down the street four blocks to collect the girls. All good. Back to the pub and packed and we were away. A big day today!
The plan was to go to Cuernavaca with a waypoint at Istapan de la Sal. When we asked a chauffeur at the hotel about the best way out of town he got quite animated when he heard where we were going and used lots of words like "curvosos bonito" and "canimo bien para motos" which I think mean a lovely windy road which is great for motorbikes. And he was so right. The road was stunning with beautiful native bush down to the sides and lots and lots of curves. I got on with it for a while but then slowed down to enjoy the scenery; which was just lovely.

We were up high to at over 2800 metres asl for much of the time.

This was a patient chap.

After a few hours of this D&D took the lead and then decided to stop for a break. It was a late decision I think and Dick got Mella crossed over on some potholed tarseal and tipped her over onto her right hand side. All three went sprawling on the ground. Bugger! I pulled in being very careful not to do the same and went to help. We stripped off an Ortleib bag and a pannier, got the side stand down and lifted her back to an upright position. No harm seemed to have been done to Dick, Diana or Mella. And then a terrible realisation set in. Oh no, I couldn't believe it .... I had forgotten to get my camera out to take a photo. Double bugger. Never mind.
We then carried on past Hidalgo and into Tuxpan where we stopped for lunch. A good lunch, upstairs in a restaurant with parking for the girls in underneath. I had a club sandwich which was quite unlike any club sandwich I have ever had before. The restaurant manager gave us lots of complicated instructions for getting out of town which we politely ignored. Fortunately.
We got back on Mex-55 and all seemed good until we came to a huge traffic jam with lots of cars and trucks doing u-turns in disgust and heading back. We thought at first that it was an accident. But no! It was a student demonstration with students and teachers together picketing and blocking off the road. Why? I have no idea.

There was a heavy but relaxed police presence. While Dick chatted up one group,of police for detour directions, I chatted up the motorbike cop and told him we were all teachers too. And from New Zealand. "Hmmmm" he said. "If they know that, they might let you through."

So he went up to talk with the demonstrators while we waited and then he waved us up. I was all set to do my "I am a teacher (maestro!) from Nueva Zelanda" but I didn't get a chance. We slid up the side, then two lovely young girls got up off the plank they were sitting on across the road and we were through. The first time I have ever breached a picket line in my life! And I'm sure the first time Dick Hubbard has passed as a teacher!
The wonderful thing was that the freeway that followed was totally empty of traffic going our way. We got on with it!
Then a crap section of the day. A moment's inattention saw me follow Karen off onto a side road instead of staying on Mex 55. Triple bugger. D&D scrambled to follow but they really shouldn't have. The route took us right into the middle of Toluga which was absolutely what we did not want. But we were stuck.

It took many many stressful minutes to get out of the centre of town and back onto Mex55. My temper took a distinct dive and my opinion of male Mexican drivers went way down. What is it with these chaps? So friendly and chatty when you meet them and such aggressive behaviour on the road? Taking huge risks for themselves (and us) for the sake of a few metres further ahead on the road. Fortunately I resisted my NZ urge to kick their mirrors off. Probably just as well.
Eventually we cracked out of town and back on the mainroad. Because by now it was getting late we decided to check out Ixtaplan de la Sal for the night. First we checked out the spa hotel: 1300 pesos per night. Hmmm. Then we checked out a smaller hotel in town. 400 pesos per night - a bit rumpity but clean and friendly so here we are.
Dick and I went for a beer while Diana worked (successfully? ) to get Liz sorted and get her Mexico maps successfully installed. And then we went out for ribs. What else? :-)
I have been interested in the petrol,stations here in Mexico. There is only one brand: Pemex. I assume government owned. They are amazingly clean and well set out. Petrol attendants - both men and women - are responsible for serving at each station, selecting your grade, dispensing and taking your money. It is all very well done. Do we have competition at the pump in NZ?

Even their own little gardens.

And that folks is about it. no wifi here so I will have to post tomorrow.
Today's ride: 327km but seemed more?
Cumulative: 22,059kms
Tipovers: 3

Location:Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico

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