Morelia, MICH

[MICH stands for Michoacan, the 5th state so far in Mexico on bicycle]

Well I’ve not gone too far since last updating 3 weeks ago (but I have done my best to keep my location on the map updated).  After stopping by in Patzcuaro on my way back from Mexico City, I returned to Guadalajara, where my bike was patiently waiting for me (and with a nice layer of dust).  I thought I’d be eager to get back on the road, but found myself in Guadalajara for another week and a half.  My host Prisca, who’s had over 50 couchsurfing visitors from around the world in the past years, hosts a potluck dinner every Wednesday.  Out of town visitors and other Guadalajara couchsurfing hosts come around, and if you are her guest, you’ll probably be asked by Prisca to cook something (WORST HOST EVER!*).  A French couple, JC and Gaelle, backpacking around the Americas had shown up that morning, so we made a meal together.  A lot of fun people!

*Inside joke, but I’m sure you understood the sarcasm.

Then there was a few days of rain, so I was in no mood to leave.  Then Sunday came around and I wanted to witness in person what is called the Via RecreActiva, which is a system of main roads in Guadalajara and surrounding suburbs that are closed off to non-vehicular traffic from 8am to 2pm every week.  Several cities in Colombia are credited for starting initiatives like this, and the idea has spread around the world.  It is encouraging that the 2nd largest city in Mexico can pull something off like this.

I had a blast!  The main street that goes through downtown was packed with all sorts of folks of all ages, shapes and sizes, mostly on bike, but roller skates and foot as well.  There were stations in parks where you could take dance lessons, jump rope, chess, and free bike repairs.  Businesses had piles of bikes parked outside.  It seems to me one could only conclude cities really need more permanent bike infrastructure, citizens are happy to use them, and area businesses seem to do well from it.

I spent the next week not doing much.  The longer I waited, the more I worried that getting back on the bike was going to be rather difficult.  I did finally take off the following Sunday, crossing the majority of the city on the Via RecreActiva.  It may have added a mile or two to get to the highway, but was worth not battling the cars.

I pushed myself (and the bike I guess) 60 miles, which probably was a bad idea considering it had been almost 5 weeks off the bike. That evening I found a hotel right off the highway turnoff for La Barca, which was rather expensive, but after inquiring about cheaper hotels further in town, the owner took pity on me and slashed the price for me.  It was still more expensive that I have usually paid in Mexico, but as I sat there I could feel my fried brain fading very fast (I hadn’t gotten back into the routine of eating enough yet), so I accepted his offer and spent the night there.  It was the first hotel I’ve stayed in that didn’t give me the ubiquitous Venus Rosa soap, rather, it had its own logo on it.

The next few days into Morelia were uneventful, if not hilly.  This brought the total mileage for January was to 200 miles.  In comparison, I averaged 1,200 miles a month the first four months of my trip.  But I’m in no hurry, so I don’t worry about that too much.

I showed up in Morelia and was welcomed by Juan Carlos, a friend of my sister she had put me in touch with.  I figured I’d stay one, maybe two days at most to see this beautiful historic city.  That all changed the 2nd night when I was hit with some sort of food poisoning.  Not Fun.  I spent the next two days in bed, rather weak from having eaten barely anything for lack of an appetite.

I finally regained enough strength where I felt I could get back on the bike the next day, when an incredible hail storm hit Morelia that evening.  This was a prelude to 4 days of rain that barely took a break, so I decided to stay put.  Not only is biking in the rain not fun, I had my eyes set on riding up into the mountains to visit the monarch butterfly sanctuaries.  The butterflies migrate here to spend the winter.  Braving the rain would have meant showing up and not being able to enjoy the butterflies, as they only fly around when it is warm out.

So finally today the clouds lightened up and blue sky made an appearance.  One forecast for tomorrow morning says “Abundant sun”.  But this is a little too late, as the region has seen record breaking rain for this time of year.  The town of Angangueo where I was headed to, near one of the butterfly reserves, had landslides and just this evening it and several other areas were declared emergency states.

I’ve been here in Morelia for over a week now, and I’m not exactly sure where I’ll go next, it seems like the butterflies are not realistic option in the near future (whether they can even survive such an onslaught of constant rain is another concern).  I’ll probably leave tomorrow and see how far I can get, as several roads in this area are being closed.  I may see myself back on the toll highway sooner than I expected, which I was hoping to avoid by taking the more rural routes up into the mountains.  My dilemma and uncertain plans are all quite minor though, as there have been several deaths and hundreds of folks evacuated to safer areas less prone to flooding.

3 comments to Morelia, MICH

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>