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If yesterday was disappointing, today beat it. We agreed that we were all disappointed with cactus & succulent flora and scenery, that the solution lay inland in the hills and so we agreed to go and look for Ferocactus schwarzii in Bacurito. The distance did not seem too great and, as we speeded down Mex15, decreased as planned. Then we turned off, and although the surface was still good hard top, it seems that in Mexico the ‘hard top kit’ comes with ‘topes’ (sleeping policemen – speed bumps – suspension breakers, call them what you want), often unmarked, at all too frequent intervals. They are of course justified as the road passes through little villages and it is better to have lumps of concrete in the road than the corpses of its inhabitants. The scenery remained flat and uninteresting as we drove along wide canals (had we lost our way and were travelling through Holland?) with the hills apparently afraid of us, because,  like yesterday, as we approached, they retreated.

Just after midday, we pulled away from a crossroad, on tarmac, and heard the familiar thud-thud-thud noise: a puncture. Our first since leaving England on 31 October, so we can’t complain! Of course, we did! In true team spirit we watched and took pictures and video as Cliff changed the tyre. We were of course willing to help at any and every stage of the process, but the road was fairly busy and too many people crowding around would have made the task more stressful and dangerous. Well done, Cliff!

Having learned a lesson in Baja last year, getting the tyre fixed became #1 priority, so we returned towards Mex15 and within minutes had found a llantera where for 50 pesos (just over GBP 3.50) a friendly Mexican had repaired the tyre and checked the pressures all round. By 1 p.m. we were back at the crossroads where we had broken down. Not bad for a habitat pit stop.

Soon afterwards tarmac was replaced by dirt of variable quality.

Today’s stops were just two:

 S1321Pachycereus pecten-arboriginum, Stenocereus alomosensis (?), C. thurberi, Opuntia sp. and one single, battered but old plant of Ferocactus wislizeni. It was so hidden in the scrub that Alain had difficulty finding it again to show me, even though it just grew a meter or so from the track.

S1322 – near Sinaloa de Leyva. This was just a leg stretch & toilet stop, but Alain found an interesting Opuntia. It is not often that you’ll find me using the word ‘interesting’ for an Opuntia, but these plants were growing along the ground with a distinct growth habit, had distinct pads and spination and yellow flowers.

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