I returned from my bike trip two years ago. Still, the only time I hear about Mexico in the news is in reference to the violence surrounding the drug cartels. People I talk to perceive it as a country where you would be lucky to come away alive. This was so different from what I saw. There was poverty everywhere but the people were universally friendly. I often thought of how much the people there really did have "family values" as opposed to the stuff that we are sold here. I often saw three generations of family together in public and even the teens seemed to be enjoying the company of the other family members. Another thing that has occurred to me often is what the experience of a Mexican cyclist with little English skills would have on a tour of the U.S.. I think his experience would have been quite different.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I crossed the US/Mexico border on Saturday and hung around Brownsville until Monday morning. A new rear tire and oil change and headed north. Texas is big. A night in Victoria and Palestine before finally crossing into Oklahoma and spending the night in Poteau. The picture above was right on the TX/OK border. Nevada and Independence, MO before the weather forced me to hole up. Mike and Sandy came up on Friday evening and treated me to delicious Kansas City barbecued ribs. On Saturday, my father and sister arrived with a pickup and by Sunday, I was home. I will write some observations when I've had time to digest a bit.
Convenience store lunch. Mmmm.
I got to shovel my driveway for the 1st time this winter.
Monday, February 28, 2011
I spent two days at this aging resort in the Costa Esmeralds, north of Veracruz. There may have been one other room occupied so it had a bit of a "Shining" feel to it. I am now in Texas having spent several days cruising northward, including stops in Tampico, Ciudad Victoria, crossing the border, Brownsviille, Harlingen, a new rear tire and oil change and now in Victoria, TX. The wind has been a consistent issue in the past few travel days and I'm feeling the pull of home.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
After two long days of riding, including a night in a mosquito-filled room in Frontera, I arrived in Catemaco, on the shores of the lake that shares it's name. Any town that has a statue of a man holding a paddle is ok with me.
I took a tour boat (lancha) around the lake. Lots of fishermen and islands.
One of the islands contained these monkeys (baboons?), which are not actually native to the area but were brought here by a nearby university. They didn't know what to do with them after the study so they put them on this island. Odd.
When I returned to my room, this was on my bed. Not sure if these are native to the area either.
I took a quick ride to Salto de Eyipantla, a nearby waterfall that is nearly 200 ft. high.
Very impressive. Mr. Lanik pointed out in a recent e-mail that I seem to find destinations near water. Good observation. I feel at my best when I am around water.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I rode into the sleepy fishing village of Celestun and was craving a cup of coffee. A man was sitting in the window of this place and said that I should have one there. When they brought my personal french press with delicious java, I knew I had the right place. They have two rooms here and one was available so I relaxed for 3 days.
Not much happening in Celestun.
The other tenants.
Sunset on the beach each night.
I took a boat ride to the river and we came across an amazing number of flamingos. Beautiful.
They took us back into the mangroves.
This was called the "ojo de agua"
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
It's been quite a haul since I left Flores, Guatemala. I got up at sunrise and hit the road, crossing the Belize border early with a spitting rain falling (the first I have encountered since Oklahoma during the first week of the trip). I ended up riding all the way to within 6 miles of the Mexico border and stayed in Corozal, on a bay of the Caribbean Sea. The next morning, I was up early again and crossed the border, arriving in Tulum in the middle of the morning. The roads here are straight and flat so the miles go quickly. The picture above was taken on the beach at Tulum. After two nights there, I put in a 300 mile day through the backroads of the Yucatan Peninsula. I stopped in Las Coloradas, where salt is "produced". Rode through countless fishing villages.
I ended up In Puerto Progreso, a busy shipping port. This morning was a much shorter journey to Celestun, a picturesque fishing village where I intend to rest up before another stretch of riding.
I have been looking at maps and planning my possible route back. I must say that I have mixed feelings. Part of me is excited about being home with family, friends and familiar surroundings. Another part of me laments that the end of the journey is in sight. I love being on the road.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I woke up Saturday and felt the need to hit the road despite having my room in paradise booked for 2 more nights. The party had arrived and there didn't seem to be an end in sight. The next few days of riding were the toughest on the whole trip (with the possible exception of one section in the Baja). I rode on more dirt than pavement, with landslides from the previous rainy season completely washing out the road in places. At the same time, it was very beautiful and nice to be in rural areas. I stayed a night in Upsantan in the mountains and rode to Coban so I could watch the Super Bowl in a 400 year-old convent (congratulations Packers). I rode to a organic foodie spot called Finca Ixobel and, of course, found the first food that disagreed with my stomach on the whole trip.
This frog also visited me in the shower.
After a day of recovery, I headed for Flores and a 4:30am van ride to Tikal, a Mayan community from about 800 B.C. to 870 A.D.. The van ride itself was an adventure but Tikal was amazing. We climbed up many of the temples to the sounds of howler monkeys and a myriad of birds.