The long and not winding road
I spent the night in Hidalgo del Parral but other than walk a few blocks to grab a bite to eat, I didn’t do much. I was pretty wiped out and crashed early. I’m traveling on a budget so I try to eat for under $10 a day. Luckily there’s plenty of great and cheap food available in Mexico.
Elote is corn on the cob prepared with chili powder, butter, sour cream, and cheese. It’s sold by street vendors and in established shops all over Mexico.(and in many cities in the US if you’re looking for it)
Another early start today and I was surprised with a delicious continental breakfast. Most hotels I’ve been staying at are basic and don’t have many amenities Americans would normally expect. It’s an amazing surprise when the showers actually have hot water. Though I’m not really paying too much for them so I can’t expect much.
Hidalgo del Parral is a small city and within 5 minutes I was out on the country road to Durango.
I hit the road just after sunrise and enjoyed seeing the countryside slowly revealed.
Here’s a quick backstory to the above photos of the horse and the beautiful road shot. I saw the gate and the mountains off to my right and so I quickly pulled over the grab a photo. I must have been more focused on the cool view than where my feet where I before I realized I parked on uneven ground and my right foot couldn’t reach, over went the motorcycle. What a way to start the day. I was probably only riding for 20 minutes. I’ll just say my bike must have been tired. So here I am on the side of the country road with my bike on its side. It’s not just on it’s side, it’s on it’s side on a hill sloping down.
To make it easier I pulled out my one saddlebag and my Giant Loop dry bag to lessen the weight. I grabbed the handle bars and got the bike just about upright when I lost my footing and slid down the slope. I sat there for a minute and ate a banana. While I was sitting there I saw a cowboy on a horse in the distance. I gave it a second shot and got the bike upright just as the cowboy approached. He didn’t say anything but rode to the gate, hitched his horse and went to the farm. Had I not let the bike fall over, I would have missed the cowboy and this great scene. Things do work out, even if going through it is a pain (like picking up a loaded bike on a slope)
Apart from a couple miles of twists at the beginning and end, the road from Parral to Durango is straight. I didn’t track the milage but I bet there was one straightaway that went 50+ miles.
I had my first minor roadside repair to do today. After stopping at a gas station to fill up I noticed some smoke coming from the left side by the muffler. My saddle bags had shifted and the muffler had started to melt the bag! I thought I took care of it at the gas station but 30 miles later I stopped to check and it had shifted back to touching the muffler.
I realized I had forgotten to tighten the rear strap that keeps the bags from shifting forward. That should do the trick. I repositioned the heat shield on the muffler as a extra precaution and was off to blazing down the straight road.
Along the side of the road most of the way the fields were covered in these yellow flowers.
About 90km outside of Durango my low fuel light came on. I should have about 20 miles till I’m completely out. Though I’m not entirely sure so I slowed my speed to a nice cruise.
20 miles had passed and there wasn’t a town in sight. But I did find a roadside fruit stand. I pulled over cause I figured if I was going to run out of gas, I should at least have something to eat. I walked up to the simple makeshift stand where wooden crates were filled with apples. I asked the man how much and he said they were free. Wow, free?! This guy was awesome. What an amazing example of kindness. I can’t imagine life is easy as a farmer and here he was giving away his crop.
I said thank you and he helped me pick out two good looking apples.
I left a couple pesos on the stand. I hope he didn’t mind that. I appreciated his generosity and I wanted to give him something, pesos were all I had. The rest of the night I kept thinking of ways I can surprise people with kindness.
I asked him how many kilometers it was to the next gas station and he said 55km (which is how far away Durango city is) Well, I’ll definitely run out of gas if he’s right. I keep a small spare fuel bottle that could probably get me another 10 miles so I poured that in. Honestly I wasn’t all that stressed about running out of gas. I was hoping I wouldn’t, but I had mentally accepted that it would probably happen and I was ok with it. I don’t know if it was the kindness just shown to me or what, but I think if I ran out of fuel that everything would be alright. Less than 3 miles later I pulled up to a Pemex and filled up. Either my basic Spanish is really bad or he could use a hearing aid.
One thing I’ve learned so far is that people don’t really know how far away places are and that they don’t always know how to get somewhere, but they’ll tell you something. My advice: ask two people. 30 minutes after filling up I had no clue where I was as I found myself in the city of Durango. More of getting lost and about the great sights in Durango in my next post.
Have you been surprised by kindness or generosity recently? Or what’s a unique idea to show someone else kindness. I want to hear from you.