The stay in Nuevas Casas is quite uneventful, I have a few phone calls, write for my blog, eat a lot of tacos, visit the archeological site called Paquimé, that was recommended to me by the border officer... That's about it.
I am sticking to the safety recommendations and ask at the reception for a route to Creel - the starting point of my first proper off-road adventure in Mexico. The receptionist is very helpful, even calls a few people to get second opinions [very important] and off I am on the road. It will probably take me about 4 days to get to Creel.
Just as I leave the town I get a puncture in my front tire. Fortunately it seals itself fairly quickly. 10 minutes later a puncture in the rear tire. Phew, what a great start into Mexico. Since I don't have the self sealing tube in the back anymore, it's time to patch. I find two punctures patch them and am back on the road. Still, the tire looses air moderately but I manage another 90km until it gets dark and I find a hotel in El Valle. While the wide, empty landscapes is generally quite inviting for camping everything is fenced. No chance to enter.
As I arrive at the hotel I am confronted with probably one of the most awkward situations of the trip. As I walk into the office I see a calender at the wall written in German. In this part of Mexico there is a huge Mennonite community that came from Europe in the 18 hundreds, I think. They speak a German dialect called plautdietsch. However, the woman at the reception barely speaks enough Englisch, German and Spanish to get the booking process done. The situation gets even weirder when 5 kids, all blond and blue eyed, jump out of a car of the size of a Smart to say hello. Quickly after they get back in the car and head off again. I ask the woman if it is normal that kids drive cars here. "Oh the oldest one is already 11, so they are able to drive!" she answers. Interesting! I hope they know how to deal with cyclists on the road.
After all this is sorted out I properly patch the rear tire. In the water bath I found tiny puncture after tiny puncture making me waste 10 patches [small plant thorns are apperently not handled well by my tires]. I should have used a new tube right away instead of patching but as I discover puncture after puncture, I kind of reach the point of: "Well, now I have used already so many patches, that replacing the tube would be a waste, too.."