From Sahuayo, I continued east, past Laguna Chapala along the river feeding into it that separates the state"s of Jalisco and Michoacan. Nice riding along flat plains filled with lush farmlands dotted with small towns and cities filled my afternoon with pastoral views and smells.
Eventually, the valley reached its end and the hills to the east lay immediately ahead. I had planned to climb a bit before stopping to find a camp spot somewhere just before reaching La Piedad.
My plans would be thwarted though when a pinch flat caught me just before the hills started. I was pulling off into a gravel parking lot of an Oxxo convenience store when the hissing signified that I wouldn"t be going anywhere for a while. Maybe such skinny tires weren"t such a good idea for this much weight. With 3 hours of daylight left, there would be plenty of time to change the tube and keep moving.
Too bad the spare tube I had picked up in Guadalajara was rife with small slashes. I tried one patch on my existing tube only to find two more places needing to be fixed. Eventually though, I was able to pump it up successfully. In the time it took to clean my hands and load my gear back onto the bike, the hissing returned. Only a kilometer from Yurécuaro, I decided I would push it on foot to look for a wider tire and bigger tube.
As I walked into town, a man came out of his house on a bicycle. He told me that just over the railroad tracks visible ahead, I would be able to find a shop with the bike parts I need.
Not even a hundred meters further, a man saw me pushing my bicycle and called out asking what the problem was. Since there was no sign, I was very lucky that the bike shop found me. I explained that the patches were not working and that I was hoping to buy a wider tire and tube in order to prevent pinch flats from happening again. Michael didn"t have replacements on hand but he instructed me to take a seat while he would ride into town on his scooter and pick them up.
While waiting for Michael to return, his father brought out bottles of Coca-Cola and showed me his collection of bicycles. Hanging on the walls in the hallway beyond the garage was a pristine full suspension mountain bike, a beautiful road bike, and a hardtail mountain bike that he had toured with along with about five more bikes of various types and sizes. He told me that Yurécuaro had many cyclists and based on,the rate that people showed up to have fixes performed on their bikes, it"s definitely true.
Very shortly after, Michael returned with two choices of tires and within three minutes had it mounted on the rim, aired up and back on the bike.
With the sun now low in the sky, I inquire about a good place to camp nearby. Without hesitation, I am offered an extra room and a shower for the night but first, they present me with a bowl of chicken soup and a stack of tortillas.
After the soup and shower, I washed and hung my clothes up. I realized the hospitality couldn"t have come at a better time when after the shower, I was out of clean shirts and underwear. At this point, I relaxed in my room for a bit before Michael came to find me for another meal.
He directed me through the house and back into the garage but at this time, it now contained a long table, a griddle covered with meats and at least ten people from the neighborhood enjoying dinner.
Michael held a very well-dressed baby boy at the table. When I asked how many months old, I learned that he was one year old today. The little boy and I exchanged goofy looks and he seemed entertained by the presence of a long haired gringo.
Michael"s mother brought me a plate of sopes and a quesadilla, garnished with hot dogs. After the first plate, I was refilled with three chicken tacos then once more with chicken tacos and more hot dogs. Needless to say, I was stuffed. The food was delicious and aside from the hot dogs, as well presented as anything from a restaurant with toppings of lettuce, tomato and crumbled cheese.
In the next room over, I was introduced to Michael"s grandfather. He was in a wheelchair due to a recent fall injuring his leg but was very amazed at my desire to ride the bicycle so far. They were both familiar with California. He had previously worked up in California in Stockton and Michael"s father had worked in Colusa on a pistachio farm five years ago.
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