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Monday, October 31, 2005
The Diary: Saturday 3 September 2005 to Friday 9 September 2005

Saturday - today was a 300 mile ride to Nuevo Casa Grandes in Mexico. It took us all about 3 ½ hours to deal with all the Mexican formalities for passports and getting our bike permits. This first Mexican road runs through the Central Highland area. It is so different here. There is a lot of poverty and shanty towns, but also many smiling faces and people who wave at us. The worse bit about Mexico though are the speed bumps called topes. They are everywhere at every village and it is a bloody nightmare! Today was also Michaels birthday and Kevin and Julia laid on a birthday meal, with presents and a lovely chocolate cake. There was also a big bottle of tequila with some tequila shot glasses and the whole group joined in to wish him happy birthday.

Sunday - a 270 mile ride to Creel, with lots of winding mountain roads through pine forests. We stopped in Guerrero for lunch and there was a huge flash flood, with deep water collecting in the Plaza and trucks having to plough through making huge waves!

Monday - we rode to Parral today, famous for its connection with the Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa who was assassinated there. Stunning views through mountain roads and through lots of small villages with the hated topes! There were also a few military checkpoints but they gave us no problems.

Tuesday - This was definitely one of the hardest riding days of the trip so far. About 450 miles on Mexican roads, firstly on busy motorway around a major city in blistering heat and then a mountain road which climbed so high we were riding in fog and torrential rain and 200 miles of tight mountain bends – very tricky with some of the big trucks that come into your lane and smaller vehicles drifting across the white line too. We arrived pretty tried in the bustling Mexican city of Zacatecas, but the journey was planned to give us a day off here to recover and explore.

Wednesday - wanted to have a lay in this morning, but we were woken at 6 am by canons, fireworks, church bells and marching bands. The town is practising for a visit by its governor tomorrow as well as having a local saints festival. You cannot expect Mexican cities to be quiet places! We took a trolley tour of the city, which has beautiful old colonial churches and gardens.

Thursday - group riding today for the 230 miles to San Miguele de Allende. We stopped in a beautiful hotel with a cobbled courtyard. Walked into the plaza and listened to the mariachi bands playing.

Friday - 300 miles today through deserts filled with cacti and tropical vegetation. Lots of sharp twisting mountain bends, with little traditional villages, but again the hated topes!