[ Zitácuaro, Michoacán ]
[Mis queridos amigos mexicanos: Gracias por su interés en mis fotos y mi viaje por su maravilloso país. Lamento que mi español no sea adecuado para publicar completamente en su idioma—¡pero estoy aprendiendo! Si disfrutan de mis fotos, dale “me gusta” y “sigue” mi página, y sigue compartiéndola con sus amigos. Si ven a sus amigos en una foto, ¡etiquétalos! Gracias de nuevo y hasta luego.]
Forgive the blow-by-blow nature of this dispatch, but there weren’t many interesting stories to arise from this segment. It was business as usual: lots of climbing, punctuated by many, many breaks; gorgeous scenery with limited human contact; route-finding; hydration and fuel; daydreaming about various timing scenarios that would get me back to Texas before Christmas. And so on. The isolation did feel heavier than usual after spending nearly two weeks with a daily riding companion, but that’s the nature of solo travel.
The road from Santiago de Querétaro to Zitácuaro took four days: just under 200km with roughly 3,000m of climbing. As you’ve grown to expect, there was lots of “pavement” and sections of me dragging the bike up dirt trails. In one notable location, a vaquero offered to tow my bike uphill with his horse. As usual, the most memorable parts of my routine are where I manage to pass the nights.
The first day I made it as far as a sketchy, mostly abandoned hotel in Jerécuaro. (Like many places I ride through, Jerécuaro hides its rich history—stretching back nearly five hundred years—behind a nondescript facade. This was an interesting town where I could have spent much more time.)
The second day had the most altitude gain of my entire journey—1,243 meters—and me and my shredded legs pitched camp in front of a small village church. They held mass, I fell asleep. [Insert joke about falling asleep during church here]. I was camped atop the backbone of the Sierra de Puruagua, just across the Guanajuato-Michoacán state line, and the next day was spent in a long, rough, unpaved descent. I ended that day, my third, near Aporo, Michoacán stealth-camping near the highway near a small brook, surrounded by ants and cow patties. I was now officially in monarch butterfly territory (and to this day have seen precisely zero monarchs).
Yes, I know: unremarkable! Boring! The only thing out of the ordinary was the weather, which was getting markedly colder. I awakened the fourth morning to a frost-covered meadow, with wheels of white. (The ants and cow patties were still there, though.)
So let’s wrap this up: day four took me through a succession of mid-sized towns onto nicer roads with worsening traffic, over a small pass, and down a long switchback descent into San Felipe de los Alzati. From there I rode to the outskirts of Zitácuaro, where my legs once again announced themselves and their needs and I decided to take a detour.
Two months later, I’m still here. But that’s a story for another post.