Based on some excellent advice from the well-traveled folk on advrider.com, I decided not to proceed any further South, even though I really wanted to see Oaxaca. If I had, the ride back North and eventually home, would have been way too fast to be enjoyable.
I left Puerto Vallarta in the morning, intending to take route 90 (aka Donkey Road), but missed the turn, and ended up taking the same route out, that I'd taken in :(
Then, was the turnoff for Guadalajara.
The road (libre option) was amazing. It started rising off the coast into the highlands, on twisting, winding, smooth, non-congested roads with wonderful scenery. The temperature and humidity both dropped 30%, thankfully.
I rode straight through the city, not sure where I was going to stop for the day. I must say, Guadalajara is a very modern, beautiful city; while riding through, I kept thinking "this is nicer than many American cities." And the surrounding area - wow - so beautiful:
I kept riding through, because I'd only gone 200 miles, and didn't really want to stay in such a large city. I'd head for Zacatecas, not sure if I'd go the entire distance this day.
About this time, I started feeling a bit sick. Perhaps brushing your teeth with tap water isn't a great idea.
To give a preview: it lasted the entire rest of the trip, but wasn't too bad. Montezuma's Revenge most commonly takes the form of e.coli, norwalk virus, or dysentery. More on that later :)
I arrived in*Zacatecas, toured through the town looking for a hotel or hostel, and discovered they have a real live aquaduct!
And if you *look at the cars in that image, you get a sense of the income level disparity in Mexico.
I found a hotel on the edge of town with secure parking, got a room, and stayed on the toilet for a while. In the morning, I headed out toward Durango, and by the time I arrived, I truly felt like crap, so I grabbed a hotel at noon. Started getting a fever and severely sore muscles, so I went to the pharmacy to get some drugs.
Rubbing my stomach, I asked the staff for some medecine. One guy sought clarification, and made the universal "stuff shooting out your ass?" gesture, which I affirmed. He gave me a box of 10 pills for $1, instructed me not to take more than 4, and said I'd be good by tomorrow. He was right! In the morning, I headed up North.