Riding into twilight. How many more miles to Mazatlán?

Out of the mountains and into the flats

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My gear is so dirty and smelly, I leave it outside overnight. Boots, jacket, pants, socks, underwear — all of it — outside and hanging from the bike to hopefully absorb some of this fresh mountain air. You know? Like on the labels of those good-smelling laundry soaps.

Well, I can speak from experience that the “mountain fresh” smell doesn’t come from the mountains. That stuff is fake. I’m in the dang mountains and my gear still smells like the ripe end of a hardworking… farmer.

Putting these things on will be the last thing I do this morning. Until then, coffee and some morning chores while I wait for the sun to bless the valley and my bare body.

Dust. Everywhere.

Dust. Everywhere.

What a camp!

What a camp!

2014-03-28 at 13-54-13 - IMG_1258

The adobe house isn't abandoned after all; this critter calls it home. I can't tell you what it is or if it's alive even after poking it with a stick.

The adobe house isn’t abandoned after all; this critter calls it home. I can’t tell you what it is or if it’s alive even after poking it with a stick.

The sun slowly creeps into the valley while I brew the coffee.

The sun slowly creeps into the valley while I brew the coffee.

Here comes the sun, and I say it's alright.

Here comes the sun, and I say it’s alright.

Holding out to the last minute to get dressed.

Holding out to the last minute to get dressed.

I give up waiting for my shoes to dry and put them on wet.

I give up waiting for my shoes to dry and put them on wet.

Today, I ride. The miles come easily because the roads are flat and straight. I go tens of miles without a single lean or turn of the bars. This kind of riding bores me out of my mind usually. Today I eat it up and put city after city behind me. Mazatlán is in the distance, and I just might make it before dark. I put the needle on 75 and cruise.

I'm careful not to expect the bodacious dirt riding skills I killed at yesterday to have survived the night. Fortunately, the road on this side of the range is dry and solid.

I’m careful not to expect the bodacious dirt riding skills I killed at yesterday to have survived the night. Fortunately, the road on this side of the range is dry and solid.

At least the deep sand is in a straight line and I have the whole width of the road to myself.

At least the deep sand is in a straight line and I have the whole width of the road to myself.

Oh praise be! Pavement!

Oh praise be! Pavement!

Beautiful pavement!

Beautiful pavement!

No pumping my own gas in Mexico. I was cautious at first, but these men and women know how to fill motorbikes without spilling fuel all over the place.

No pumping my own gas in Mexico. I was cautious at first, but these men and women know how to fill motorbikes without spilling fuel all over the place.

It looks like I found a toll road. Highway 15 south costs 84 pesos before I find the libre (free) road.

It looks like I found a toll road. Highway 15 south costs 84 pesos before I find the libre (free) road.

This side of Mexico is agriculture from mountain to ocean. If your produce is a product of Mexico, it probably comes from here.

This side of Mexico is agriculture from mountain to ocean. If your produce is a product of Mexico, it probably comes from here.

People use the speed bumps (topes) as opportunities to sell food; they know you have to stop.

People use the speed bumps (topes) as opportunities to sell food; they know you have to stop.

More gas! Even at 70 miles per hour, the bike is getting 46 miles per gallon on Mexican gasoline.

More gas! Even at 70 miles per hour, the bike is getting 46 miles per gallon on Mexican gasoline.

Mazatlán does come, but it doesn’t do so before dark. I’m an hour out of town when the sun sets. Riding these roads at night won’t be a problem, so I press on and focus on a hot shower and bed for motivation. I message Eric for help when the cell phone starts beeping in my ear.

Me: Made it to Mazatlán. This is a big city do you think you could help me find a cheap hotel?

Eric: Yay! Had an adventure today? Taff and I are out for dinner. Muah!

This is no good. Maybe Siri failed to understand me. I stop the bike to check. No, my message went through exactly as I said it.

And then Eric sends me a photo entirely unrelated to the task at hand. Face palm.

It’s dark. I’m stressed out from riding 450 miles at highway speed. I’m in a strange city on a Friday night. Every hotel I’ve checked is booked solid. And my Boo doesn’t know I need some help!

I take this opportunity to appreciate the extra time I’m getting to sit in the street wearing my smelly gear and wet boots. Minutes pass and still no word on a hotel. The Internet is too slow on my phone for me to find anything useful.

I call this time. He rereads the message after some urging, and I can feel the blush in his voice. He comes through like a champ after that, even suggesting to use the tracking map on my website to see where I am in relation to available hotels. He calls ahead to confirm availability, and I’m on my way to budget accommodations in Mazatlán. That boy is a keeper.

I rasp on the window at the hotel and motion for the desk attendant to open the door. Driving into hotel lobbies has become a non-event for me since Mexico. I just expect to park my filthy motorcycle inside anymore. They don’t mind.

When I make it to my room, every piece of clothing hits the floor and stays there. I leap from the shower to the bed and don’t touch a thing until the next day.

Riding into twilight. How many more miles to Mazatlán?

Riding into twilight. How many more miles to Mazatlán?

Mazatlán is a bigger city than I expected. I message Eric and ask his help finding a cheap hotel. It's Friday night, and everything I find is full.

Mazatlán is a bigger city than I expected. I message Eric and ask his help finding a cheap hotel. It’s Friday night, and everything I find is full.

Brian

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