Sierra Madre Occidental…back to Pacific

The accent to this pass would start early in Zacatecas but it was more gently and landscape was more interesting. The valleys were lively with life, the memory of Chile. The breeze blow from rolling hills come with aroma smell of peppers, there were long stretches of pepper farming varying from red hot chill, green, red etc. Actual in the valley I stopped for lunch it called ‘Rio Colorado’ which supposed to mean ‘Red pepper’.  Mexicans are good consumer of pepper, the mail come with three different of pepper from low to high mixed into nice salad like avocado ‘the waca mole’. I have bad experience with pepper from Indians friends who are good into spice just like Mexicans, so I maintain a good distance with pepper till when I’ll feel into trap in Durango. It was sweet but pretty 0hot food so I wasn’t sure about the amount of pepper I was consuming, my friend Omar who is quite used to said to me if I’m not used to I shouldn’t eat but I with sweet I eat more than I anticipate.  The shit-show start after finishing, it takes good amount of cold milk cream to calm the mouth down, the tongue remain like it have been shocked with electrical but that was the begin the next morning was almost crying in the toilet. It was the longest toilet time I had so far, on the way I’ll lose all energy of cycling as I had to run to the bush every after 2hrs or so.

The plains of Zacatecas gives last good climbs to the planted forest of Durango, the center of Durango is in the highlands valleys which make it hot and humid I this time of the year.

From here the climb start to intensely, I find out no matter how I’m used with climbs the same mental preparation and take on will required.  First person tell me the climb is 100km, second says the new high way it pretty much flat. I left Durango in the Sunday morning, I come across a good number of weekend cyclists, some follow me for the will just to study the loaded bike, some cheer up conversation while some shout ‘Bravo’ as the race by.  The one make me remember him was the one said ‘approx 300km to Mazatlan it pure climb’, it was fun the time he said that but in the midday alone and climbs get into my nervous I course as he was the one create them! The worst thing about asking topographic from ‘Not cyclist’ they are more likely to tell you their luxury bus ride experience.

Thanks to the rain at the evening, temperature dropped but with rain in the narrow road without shoulder with heavy trucks that was another challenge. I stopped at El Salto (2800m), the town was in the good mood of Sunday; business most of business closed, bars full of people vehicle with loud music throwing out Corona and Modelo beer cans.  I spot for coke, chart with folks who has same Mexicans questions ‘Are you alone?’ ‘Have you been robbed?’ after clearing their worries they worn me about ‘El Salto drugs crews’ and encouraged me that it ‘Pure downhill to the ocean’; I’m not sure if word ‘Pure’ means something else to them but definitely it wasn’t even half way down hill.   They also offered me ‘Michelada’ half a litter beer mixed with chill source (salsa picante), lemon and what no; all make it test like stomach cleaning African herb drink.

The road become slippery, passed one accident; clouds and curved corner make it worse also temperature was already too low, 10km out of town I thought I was wise to find camp. It pine forest, wet and green but all fenced, I pull in the farm house to ask for camping space but instead I was offered worm house. Rodrigo; the host, quite a fun man drink a bottle of dry tequila which so far I can’t handle, telling the story of losing his 24 yrs son, the only child, worked as policemen killed by drug cartel. He has his picture in the wall lighten with candle 24hrs and protected by saints. The woman cooked for us that evening 30yrs with 3 children with husband in jail for drug and arm trafficking, what a crises!. Rogrigo’s understand of Africa is hot so he was concern with black fella being in the cold, he offered me mattress and couple of blanket in the next to fire place which was hard to leave in the next morning as it was cold outside.

The road was rolling steep hills, I cycle expecting to find long downhill to the ocean but till lunch there was nothing like that so I just forget about it. At 4pm it when the ruin start to be more heavy and there were long downhill which took me from woodlands to bush land. In the highland the cold was irritating in the low land the hot and humid take a while to get accustomed to. I made it at small town of Concordia at 5pm, here I find out Osmara a friend from Couch Surfing in Mazatlan has invited me to spend a night in her sofa. I take on last 43km arrived in Mazatlan in the dark made the total distance 244km.

Mazatlan, Sinaloa is a town in the California gulf not quite historical as the other interior city I have been but not fell apart at all. The town seems to be busy any ways in Mexican seem to be hard worker but Mazatlan has atmosphere of more western culture and less Mexican which is quite relaxed. In the morning I left the city, alongside long stretch of beach was quite crowded with folks running, walking, cycling and what not all seem to do the best to remain feet, it was an impressive scene. Most of the main road here are two high ways one for free and one which vehicles ha to pay. The one you has to pay it two ways and has wide should it also safe for me though always begging with sigh claim no bikes but since no one has stopped me I make the most of it. The high ways goes alongside the ocean though not such close; two first days were clouds all the way to Cualacan.  Culiacan, Guasave and Los Mochils are valleys cities quite fertile to bust Maize, Tomato and other several farm products. The farms are worked with machinery this kind of scene remand me home picturing myself with hoe taking couple of weeks to cover several miters square to have enough maize and beans  for season.

Novajoa welcome me to the dry of Sonora, seem like temperature increase every single day as time keep push back to make days long. Ciudad Obregon was too luxury to remind me my exhaustion but with expense and time table to catch up I had to keep on.

In Guaymas now is from the coast to the desert about 410km to Nogales the border to United State of Amrica. Now my dreams are becoming more clearly; the land of Mc Donald’s is so close, I’m going to eat the biggest bugger? I’m about to entire the country which it popularity and influence has going beyond the earth. Is every one live as I have seen in the Hollywood?

Latin America lie behind with it dramas, positive experiences, amazing support from individual to the media with their enthusiasm of finding out there is country cold Tanzania. North America (popular as America like it only America!), seem to be quite complex with their mode of life, wonder what kind of seen I’ll make with my missions; Environment, Education, Development. So far I have great support from this part but looking forward for more practical experience.  

Having Howard Fredric, my adviser who in Tanzania see my madness to be potential and eventual become one of those who make me do what I do, I’m very excited to have him along. It will be almost 7 month since I have meet with close tie, I’m sure he will be happy to drop the blog post regard the coming cycling and up to date of fund raiser since he is a man behind huge work of directing the project.                                           

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm by Nicholas | Permalink

    Good luck in the US, my friend!
    Nicholas

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