After arriving in Durango, Ben and I track down Brian and meet his Couchsurfing host, Jake. He offers us a place to stay, which we gladly accept, as the accommodations provided to Jake by his school are top notch. His apartment complex is affectionately known as “Gringolandia”, where the foreign teachers who work for the American school in town live. Jake starts to show us around town, and some of his fellow teachers decide to join us for a night out. It’s Friday, so everyone is prepped to go out and have a good time.
Brian, Ben and I try a new drink called a Michelada. It consists of beer, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, tabasco sauce, and lime. The rim of the glass is coated with salt. It’s an interesting drink, but not one of my favorites. The Michelada doesn’t sit well with Ben, as he heads home to recover from some stomach issues. It’s too bad, as we had a great night out with our new friends.
Ben, Jen, myself (say hello to Armando), Vicki, and our couchsurfing host, Jake
Next up – drinks at a local pub.
Then, more drinks and a live U2 cover band. The singer didn’t know English, but the band still killed it.
While watching the show, Brian and I notice a mean looking guy in a Harley Davidson jacket. We start to chat him up in our broken Spanish, basically saying “tu moto? si! mi moto tambien!” and trying to explain that we’re riding our motorcycles around the world. He seems to understand after looking at some pictures on our cameras and showing us some of his pictures.
The man is a bit intimidating at first, but he loves bikes just as much as we do.
His girl. We sneak pictures with her while he takes a bathroom break 🙂 Jake’s friends think we’re crazy and are worried that we’re going to get jumped, but we know it’s all in good fun (and holy jeez she’s hot).
A quick photo outside the bar on our new friends bike.
Brian and I are still going strong, and decide to head to a late-night dance club. We make some new friends and are continually handed free drinks, so we stay until closing at 4am.
I was invited to hang out with my new friends the next day, and decide to meet up with them. I have no idea what we’re doing, but I figure there’s no better way to see a city than with the locals who were born and raised here. While I’m waiting for my friends to show up, guess who I see ride by?
Appropriate riding gear be damned.
Luis and his boyfriend, Marco, pick me up from downtown and give me a quick tour of the city. We head up to their favorite spot, then to Maria’s house.
After picking up Maria, we head to an area away from the city called Little Country. From the little Spanish I could understand from Luis, Marco, and Maria, the Little Country used to be populated by a poor group of people until Durango decided to damn up the river running through it and create a reservoir. The entire Little Country was flooded, and the inhabitants were forced to move to new locations. We do some light hiking around Little country and take a boat ride on the reservoir.
Maria, Marco, and our boat captain, who’s been doing tours on the reservoir for 25 years.
It’s beautiful here, and has been the site of lots of Hollywood “Wild West” movies.
Dinner consists of fresh-caught fish from the reservoir. Delicious!
Beautiful sky as the sun starts to go down.
I meet back up with my Gringolandia friends and we head to the Plaza de Armas (the central plaza in town). There’s a rock band playing a free show to kick off a month-long festival in Durango. We all enjoy the music while people watching and grabbing some street food.
Armando is pleased with my selection – beef, 2 cheeses, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, jalapenos, a little chili, and a toasted bun. 25 pesos… or about $2!
After the concert, we head back out to the bars and clubs, finishing the night at a posh place where we play pool with some locals. Everyone is so friendly and inviting, asking us to join them and swapping contact information and photos at the end of the night.
Ok – now this is a ride report, so I guess I should talk about riding at some point (instead of food, drinks, and girls). Ben, Brian and I pack up and leave Durango, heading to Zacatecas. The ride is about 300km, and on some of the nicest roads I’ve seen in Mexico. I’m reminded of being back in the US riding on freeways. They are smooth, straight, and pretty boring, but it feels nice to be back in the saddle and getting some miles under my belt. I’ve realized that this trip is less about the bike and riding, and more about the people you meet and the places you get to experience.
Here’s a video of the most interesting part of the ride. We hit traffic in a small town and start passing trucks and cars until we see the source of the traffic – the locals are having a parade with their horses!
We arrive in Zacatecas, excited to spend some time in a beautiful colonial town.