The road to Guadalajara was long but, for two-thirds of the traveling party, also quite enjoyable as we rode through rolling hills on two-lane rural roads. Passing communities consisted of small farming villages, appearing tranquil and peaceful in their setting.
The ride for Ehren, on the other hand, was only filled with stomach pain and thousands of topes (speed bumps), each one more jarring than the last.
After a few stops for gas and baños (the more dire requirement being the baños), we stopped at a little roadside tienda for a butt break and something cold to drink. There we met a man who lived in Texas but was from the area, visiting often. He was very chatty and even helped Ehren with his stomach problems, giving him a concoction of powdered substance very similar to Alka-Seltzer with electrolytes and water. The mixture allowed us to roll into Guadalajara with minimal stops and issues.
Upon entering the city, we needed to find the Kawasaki shop in town for Gary (our travel companion) and his ailing motorcycle. The traffic was pretty bad but we finally reached the shop and Gary made a plan for getting his bike worked on. We then found a quiet hotel where we could spend the next two days, allowing both Gary’s bike and Ehren to feel better.
Once everyone was road-ready, we left for Guanajuato with a stopover in Tepatitlán—Gary had headed south to Lake Chapala with plans to meet up with us later that afternoon. We stopped in Tepatitlán because we wanted to see where some of our Nevada friends had grown up. After Tepa we continued on, meeting up with Gary once again as we arrived at our hotel in Guanajuato. We then explored the city, which was in the last week of the festival Cervantino.
The next day we were off to Querétaro to visit a friend, Carlos. We had met him on the ferry from Baja to mainland Mexico and he had invited us to stay with him and his family for a night if we were headed his way. Once we arrived, Carlos took us on a tour of his body shop. Most of his work consisted of semi-truck repairs, but among the rows of large trucks in varying stages of disassembly were some very fun and exotic projects. There were a few Porsches and some old American muscle cars of various makes and models along with a few eclectic domestic vehicles. Ehren was in heaven. We were then treated to a fantastic dinner at an Argentinian steakhouse with Carlos, his wife and three children.
The day we left, Carlos and his family led us to the nearby village of Bernal, where a large granite monolith towers over the population. Buzzing with domestic tourism, we spent a good portion of the afternoon there before realizing we would be riding after dark to make our next overnight destination in Pachuca. We thanked Carlos for showing us a great time, said our goodbyes and hit the highway.
As a result we had little time to spend in Pachuca, but a couple of locals we met at a restaurant down the street from our hotel had us convinced there was much more to see in the area. We vowed we would return to visit after the festivities in Oaxaca.
Arriving in Oaxaca, we were able to meet up with a group of other travelers—including our friends, David and Raquel (with whom we traveled for much of Baja). We participated in Día de Muertos festivities over the next couple of nights: visiting a large graveyard in Xoxocotlán, getting swept up in costumed street parades led by boisterous brass bands, and having an opportunity to enjoy a traditional oaxaqueño dinner with people from all over the world.
Afterwards, we said a final goodbye to our travel companions—Gary and his KLR ‘Shrek’, David and Raquel and their Land Cruiser ‘Whistle’—as they were headed for Guatemala in the following week while we had decided to round back north and west to explore more of Mexico.