Day 85: The Mountains of Michoacan

Day 85: The Mountains of Michoacan

After celebrating New Years 2017 in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, I cycled to the bus station to find out the names of the cities connected to Patzcuaro.  I figured I could cycle to a town on the bus route nearby to Patzcuaro and if there were issues at least I’d be able to continue on with relatively minimal interruption.

I spent the first half of the day climbing out of the valley in which Patzcuaro was located.

Less than 10 miles in four hours.  Since I was riding solo, I was carrying some of the weight for our gear that Esme had been carrying.

After an hour and one Sunday afternoon encounter with police on a remote section of road, I’d pushed through rocky dirt roads that paralleled the “autopista” (freeway) and reached the main road I’d need to take the rest of the way.

Today was going to be the descent from around 7000 feet to nearly 2500 feet.   A mile of downhill … somewhere…  After almost four hours of pedaling uphill, I hadn’t found the downhill that Google and my GPS had assured me exixted…

At approximately 3:45pm I was flagged over by a family enjoying their Sunday lunch on the shoulder of the road.  They offered me food and drink and we chatted for a bit.  None of the family spoke any English, but the kids were very curious about the crazy gringo that was cycling up the side of the mountain.

The father let me know that I had just reached the last peak before a long descent into the next city… which he assured me had nowhere I could stay for the night.  So I had planned to do 35-40 miles this day and found myself with 25 miles to go and only 2 hours of daylight left.    I was mentally and physically exhausted.

The rest and conversation with the family helped recharge me and keep pedaling.  It turned out that the next 30-40 minutes was almost completely downhill at an average speeds of between 45 and 60kph (30 – 45mph) according the GPS!

Here’s 12 minutes of raw footage that I captured on one of the descents.  I figured since I was passing a loaded down truck around blind corners, I’d better record the encounter in case I didn’t survive the line of cars coming up behind me.



So in less than an hour I ended up reaching the final hill and chatted with the owner of the trucking facility who’d flagged me over when he saw me rolling by.

It was so very difficult to judge distance with so much of the day’s journey either being exceedingly slow going uphill or incredibly fast downhill.

As the sun began to set, I reached Uruapan and made my way to the bus station to see what my next options would be.


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