Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 7 – January 11

The ferry arrived in Mazatlán where we gassed up the bikes.

Pulling out of the gas station, I narrowly missed being clipped by a car. I was assuming that it was a one-way street – bad guess. This was the first close call of the trip and a good reminder that there is never a reason to rush and of the key safety points of motorcycling:
1)Always know what’s behind you – don’t do anything if you can’t see clearly
2)Look far ahead – even on tight corners
3)Don’t look at obstacles such as trees on the side of the road or cars coming at you – look at the space in between
4)Allow significant distance – more than 20 feet per 10 mph
5)When passing, look at the front tire of the car to determine quickly if the car is changing direction

We set out on Route 40 heading east over the mountains. Following the GPS on a beautiful super highway we came to a place where the road just stopped in front of a hillside – no warnings, the road just ended.

Turns out there are several Route 40s – but more on this later.
We headed over the mountains toward Durango and experienced the most exciting and extraordinary paved mountain riding I have ever had. The roads had steep switchbacks with sharp hairpin corners – a true roller coaster ride. Tractor-trailers coming at us required their entire lane and half of ours to make the corners (not much of a problem for a motorcycle but if driving a car, it would be a real challenge).

We traversed several ranges which appeared to be just under 9,000 feet - - I can’t imagine what it will be like later in the trip when we’re in the Bolivian Andes at nearly 16,000 feet.

A dead cow and dead horse road kill were reminders that livestock is always a problem on the road.

Approaching Durango without a functioning GPS and not obediently following the crowd (which has been my custom) I got onto the wrong Route 40 and got totally lost. Thanks to e-mail I found the crowd 2 hours later and we headed south towards Zacatecas. The delay required us to drive after dark – not what anyone likes to do in Mexico.

By this time, Vincent and Roger had gotten lost but we met up at a predetermined gas station. We found a simple hotel and ordered a ghastly vegetarian pizza before turning in for the night.

In addition to being a challenging day of riding, it also once again demonstrated the flexibility of a global economy.
-I met a man with three small girls at a restaurant who was both a US and Mexican citizen. He established a cleaning company (maids cleaning houses and offices) in Arizona and Texas. He prefers living in Durango and raising his children as Mexicans - - so the Texas and Arizona phones ring in Durango and he runs the entire business from Mexico.
-Later in the evening the President of our CNG car company called me from China via Skype to show me (from half way around the world) some new compressor components that we’re having manufactured there and we discussed several quality and business issues.

Tomorrow we drive to San Miguel de Allende to see my sister, her friend Derek and Marge and have yet another birthday party for me and Helge.

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