Having entered Mexico, my next goal was to make it over the pacific coast. This would mean a few days of crossing the arid desert states of Coahuila and Durango.
Most of this region is sparsely populated and the roads were clear, so I made good time.
I’m still getting used to a lot more attention than when I rode through the States. Down here most motorbikes are much smaller than my 650, so along with my riding gear I look completely outlandish and stand out like a sore thumb. The attention is positive though. Anytime I stopped for food or gas, people would invariably come up and talk to me about the bike and my trip. So much was the curiosity that I printed up the blog address and hand them out to people so the can come on here and have a look.
Where possible I stuck to the toll roads. While the are very expensive (around 40c per mile!), the toll roads are much less congested and safer to travel on. they are also much faster. In most cases I kept up with the flow of traffic but at one point an Audi A4 passed me at warp speed. I was going at around 70 mph and he shot past me like I was in going in reverse.
Other thank that the ride was mostly uneventful except for some strong winds on the second day. I’m getting more used to it but for me it is one of the most tiring things to have to deal with on a motorbike. The constant side gusts are literally a pain in the neck. So much so that at the end of a day riding in the wind I have to take a painkiller for the aches and pains I get from constantly leaning the bike into the gusts. With its high center of gravity and all the luggage the bike has all the aerodynamics of a barn, and sometimes I feel like I’m in a small sailing boat getting tossed around by the winds. It’s not really dangerous though, and I’m never in danger of losing control. Probably the scariest moment was a freakishly strong gust that hit me as I crossed a bridge at around 60 mph. The bike violently wobbled for a few seconds but once I was over the bridge everything was back to normal.
I finished up this stretch in the city of Durango. It’s a relatively large place with a population of half a million , and that made getting into the city center a bit of an ordeal. On the open road out in the countryside drivers mostly observe the laws, but the cities are a whole other story. The driving is much more, errm, freestyle to say the least. If there is a space on the road that’s a lane, regardless if its marked as one or not. Someone ahead of you going too slow? just overtake on the shoulder or wherever. Need to merge with traffic? why not just roll on into the road without signaling or acknowledging the oncoming vehicles! They’ll probably stop anyway! I’m getting more used to this mayhem but its going to take a lot of adjusting on my part. That and plenty of horn honking.
Anyway I made it through the chaos and found a very expensive hotel in the city center. By coincidence there as a BMW motorbike convention going on that day so I met a lot of Mexican bikers who gave me some good tips on the next leg of my journey. Update on that to follow.