Big city, big lakes, big hills

Sunset over Lago de Chapala

Crossing Guadalajara by bike was a high-energy activity. One has to be aware of everything around and ride a bit more aggressive to assert oneself in the lane so as to not be squeezed into impossibly small corners. After 2 hours of this I needed to seek refuge in the “sanctuary” of an A/C and quiet hotel lobby. This is not for the timid rider… The biggest city, Mexico City, I won’t try to cross by bike. Instead I plan to ride into and out of it by bus; I think this will be a safer proposition.

Guadalajara city traffic - not for the timid rider

After Guadalajara I reached the first big lake, Lago de Chapala. I stayed at the town of Ocotlan, where I was able to camp right on the lake shore. The folks in a hotel / restaurant took me in for free one night and even invited me for dinner, very generous of them (I donated in their name to my cause).

Camping right next to Lago de Chapala on the hotel premises

Then I continued on the cuota for another 125km or nearly 7h until the sun set. It’s not always easy to fidn a good spot, as sometimes there isn’t an exit for some 40km or so. Yesterday I got to a toll booth and exit, so I rolled into the little town of Panindicuaro. There I found Internet access, some food and a small, quiet and clean hotel room.

Evening mood riding on the Cuota near Panindicuaro

Today I continued on the cuota for another 75km or so – this was one of the toughest head-wind stretches of my entire trip. Also ongoing big hills – I reached 1900m altitude for the first time. The first 40km took 3 hours! That’s tough on your mind. One nice aspect was that I crossed the 10.000km mark here. Ten million meters under pedal power from Alaska to Mexico. Beautiful scenery, though, with clear air at higher elevations and cultivated farmland.

Bike at Lago Cuitzeo

Then I got to the second big lake (Lago Cuitzeo) which was scenic to look at. From there it was another 20 hilly km to Morelia. This town is very attractive, with a large historic center, cathedral, museums, cafes, and just lots of people everywhere. A very immersive, Mexican experience.

Cathedral in the center of Morelia

Only 250km to go to Mexico City, where I will catch a plane next Tuesday back home for 1 week vacation in FL…

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