Today was a fine day. Nothing really to gripe about. And I crossed the Tropic of Cancer. I started my day as early as possible at Ciber Ciber in Sombrerete with a little internetting and chat. Luckily the lady came by early. I hadn’t realized that I was in GMT-5 again. Luckily, as well, that the lady spoke reasonably good English. I explained to her that I would like to find a motorcycle mechanic. Soon after her brother showed up with the details, en Espaniol, where to find Italica, a local motorcycle shop. Italica is a brand of motorcycle that is apparently common in Mexico — Hecho in China, ensemblar en Mexico.
I explained the problem — luckily one of the guys spoke reasonably good English. They agreed to help with the work and in no time I had the plastic, seat and tank off. Each of us took turns trying to get the valve cover off. I know it is tight. It turned out that the fellow who didn’t speak English got it off and on real easily — don’t worry Sham, it takes me forever to get it off too — this guy just had a magic touch.
The object was to investigate and repair several oil leaks. It seems that one of the valve cover bolts was a little loose which should have been fixed by way of a good tightening during reassembly. This, however, isn’t a big deal as the valve cover is basically a “lid” for the engine and not much pressure is associated with this area. The problem was that the main part of the engine — which is directly around the piston and cylinder was leaking at the gasket. This could have the potential to be a major problem requiring hard to get parts (for this model of bike in this region) so I wanted to nip in the bud as soon as possible. If you have been following my postings since the beginning, you will know that I had a 685cc big bore kit installed. One of the notes in the install kit was that the engine head bolts may need to be tightened after some time. The fact that I was weep a little oil pretty much indicated that it was time to do this. We took the path of least resistance and only tight one half of the motor as it was the side that was leaking. The left the other side untouched as it would involve undoing some other things and then tightening them back to specification which introduces another area of failure. The work was quite quick and the bike was reassembled. I was charged M$150 for the work — that is less than $15. Wow. While I haven’t had the opportunity to beat the engine up on any mountains since the work was performed, I did have that bike at a reasonable RPM for a reasonable time and all looks good right now.
So after this I took a spin around Sombrerete and took some photos and then stopped at Nora’s Gordita’s for lunch. From what I have read, there are multiple ways to prepare gorditas. These ones were two corn tortillas filled with cheese and frijole (beans) and cooked in a press of two hot flat irons. Quite tasty. I believe the common way to prepare gorditas is in what we generally know as a taco, although the tortilla shell of a gordita is supposed to be thicker corn. My meal came to about US$3.00. Sweet.
I few more photos from a different vantage point and it was time to disappear.
I visited the cities of Fresnillo and Zacatecas. I know. I know. As of yesterday I swore off big Mexican cities. What took place here is that I entered with caution — noting that I was going back where I came from if I found things disagreeable. Fresnillo was actually quite nice. It didn’t have quite the same colonial feel as Sombrerete, but it did have quite a bit. It also seemed a little “hip”. There were some reasonable nice stores and it did not strike me as hostile.
Zacatecas is much larger than Fresnillo and is the capital for the state of the same name. It basically was traveling through Zacatecas to get out of it — deliberately see what I could see going through it rather than trying to by-pass it. It was a fairly modern city, no doubt built on a colonial past. In boasted a large hotel/spa with an indoor pool, major car dealerships and so forth. It was interesting traveling through it in terms of seeing how things are sold. Beside stores like we know them, it had a vast array of the common open face stores (I’m not really sure what they are called). Riding buy I could see anything from running shoes and cowboy boots being sold, to rope, chain and other hardware, building supplies, stoves and pretty much anything else it seemed. BTW — the flavour of much of the Mexico I have been traveling through is cowboy. Western boots, jeans and Stetsons are quite popular. I’m not surprised — this is the Mexican version of cowboy country — by this I mean vast areas of many of the states I have been through is ranches and farms. I know someone is going to ask — the answer is I have seen a total of *one* sombrero as we know them. Quite frankly, I think the guy looked a little off his rocker. Most people who work in the sun wear a standard or straw Stetson, or just a baseball cap.
I am presently in Villanueva. It is a mid-sized town that definitely smacks of olde town. There isn’t too much “modern” here but I didn’t want to stay in a city. I think that the tone of people is getting milder as I move south. Drivers are still all over the place but people seem a little more friendly and less agitated — this, of course, is a generalism.
All things said and done I have been pleased to see road signs for Guadalajara. It means it isn’t long before I am on the coast. I am pretty much ready for a change of scenery by now. If I haul ass tomorrow, I might just sea ocean.