Nick on 18 Day Schedule
Location: Carmargo to San Juan del Rio
Distance: 730 miles
Left Camargo at sunrise. Here it is a sudden change from dark to light in minutes. In the country the pace starts slow but in the cities it seems super charged at all times. Mexico’s economy is growing at 5% year on year, a remarkably steady rate and especially in view of its present security issues and it shows; Mexico has gone mad. The traffic at night is fast and oblivious to anyone not in a car or a truck. If you fell in the middle lane it would be difficult to estimate how many cars would drive over you until perhaps a small car with a small engine might get jammed with an arm or a leg and so cause a larger obstacle.
During the day it is just as fast but I ride hard with the rate of flow. The police have enough to deal with at trigger points so tend not to cruise looking to hand out tickets. For 14 hours I bob about between trucks and buses and quite a few cars and I only stop to fuel. Often today the autoroute discontinues so I ride on the untolled road. How the view changes. The autopista takes you away from habitations and such areas of congestion whilst the rural free highway hits every town and village and bit of junk that lies around and you start to see a life that belongs to shanty dirty buildings from where the tyre men wait for trucks to pull up with a puncture. The chicken men cook their animals skewered like a crucifixion, all stacked up and the rare daytime prostitute beckons from a doorway. I only catch a sideways glance but it is not beautiful this barrel shaped body squeezed into a lilac tube skirt.
Up the road the autopista starts once again and it is an excellently built highway. At the toll booths you have to look behind as well as in front in case someone rear-ends you. Maybe it is an old man who cannot see so well or a youth on coke. The traffic behaviour here is distinctly different to the relaxed American way. Here it is overtake, speed up, move over, turn off with nil benefit gain in distance traveled in the shortest time. In Mexico getting there fast is more important than how long it takes to arrive.
130 kilometres north of Fresnillo and I stop for a cold drink. Through the window I see people pick berries off what to me appears unforgiving scrub. Much is languid. Everyone friendly. The bike in it's re-worked costume looks more muscular, bulking up the bike at the shoulders. It is less top heavy with the two spare rear tyres fastened along the side fairings. I stop again at 500 miles for an energy drink and some chocolate. It doesn't take much to keep me going. Feel in great form. Nothing hurts. Worked through my tiredness, carefully earlier. The land starts to become more productive than in Duragno province, the poverty of which is noticeable, but Mexico overall is getting richer. At the superficial level I am travelling, I see only antipodal points of reference; very big cars and men who work in garbage, businessmen in fine suits and men who walk along the road many miles from habitation, carrying nothing only their own strange purpose. My own way of being here lies somewhere between the two.