Palenque

August 19, 2015

The Mayan ruins at Palenque are very impressive. I arrived early in the morning, just after they opened, and before the tour buses arrived. Once again, as I parked, I was approached by several people wanting to “watch” my bike for a fee. Once I put the cover on the bike, they lost all interest.

Here’s another tip: by arriving right at opening time, not only do you beat the crowds and the tour buses, but all of the vendors are still busy setting up, so they don’t have time to constantly approach you and try to sell you trinkets.

 

The Temple of the Inscriptions

The building above is known as the Temple of the Inscriptions due to the second longest known Mayan inscription being inside the building atop the pyramid. Reading the history of this place gives a real “Indiana Jones” feel to it: This temple was built as a funerary temple for K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, who ruled from 615 to 683BC (he was 12 when his mother resigned as Queen and he took over as King). Although the temple was studied for over 200 years, it wasn’t until 1952 when Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, a Mexican archaeologist, removed a stone slab from the floor of the temple and revealed a stairway filled with rubble. Two years later, when the rubble was cleared, it was discovered that it led to Pakal’s tomb.

Temple of Doom? Pathway to the tomb…

The Palace

Lloyd came with me to Palenque. It’s his kind of place.

This is another temple that hasn’t been excavated yet. You can see how much work it is to dig out and reconstruct this stuff. They say only about five percent of the ruins at Palenque have been excavated at this point.

 

Gratuitous selfie, again.

 

I wonder what language the serious inhabitants speak.

I didn’t see any howler monkeys while at the archaeological site, but I heard them.

On the way from Palenque to Tenosique, I crossed this bridge. All of the bridges in Mexico, no matter how small, have names.

I wonder if the guy who named this bridge was poking fun at the civil engineers or the construction crew that built the road. The bridge kind of sags in the middle. The name of the bridge: The Hammock Bridge.

On into Tenosique for my last night in Mexico.

 

I know you’re jealous….

 

As usual, I’m just a few days too late for the big Cheese Festival in town. Looks like a good one.

 

By the way, as a side note, I spent some time last night interpreting the note that was handed to me at the road block demonstration yesterday on the way from San Cristobal de las Casas to Palenque. It seems that the protesters are upset about the elections that were held in June, and feel that a corrupt government exists in their area now and are calling for changes. I can understand that. I’d start by taking away the fireworks from the guy at the church in San Cristobal. There’d be a lot fewer angry people if they could just get some sleep.

San Cristobomba de las Casas

August 16, 2015

San Cristobal is a Spanish colonial town in the Mexican state of Chiapas. There’s a lot of history here, from the church built in the 1720s to the Zapatista revolt in 1994. The town thrives on tourism, with a main zocalo and several open air markets. A couple of long streets are pedestrian-only, and are lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Avenida Insurgentes, one of the pedestrian only streets with shops and restaurants.

Ok, that’s my positive pitch for San Cristobal. Now here’s my take. If you’re a fan of San Cristobal de las Casas, you may likely be offended by this part. And you may want to stop reading here.

It’s no Guanjuato, or even San Miguel de Allende. This part of Mexico lagged far behind the rest in terms of economic development and the end of forced labor. Many if not most of the areas around here are still on a bare subsistence level. Unlike the other Spanish colonial towns further north, there is a notable lack of young, vibrant, well educated population, and a clear existence of street beggars. The city itself, with just over 200,000 people, is not the clean, attractive place that those other cities are. Except for perhaps the main tourist area, which is a couple of pedestrian-only streets filled with restaurants, bars and hotels.

I stayed at the famous Rossco Backpackers Hostel, as it always gets good reviews. It was comfortable despite the lumpy bed, convenient, and relatively quiet within the walls of the hostel (there was a huge festival when I arrived, so I can’t blame the hotel for the fireworks and music).

As I walked around town, the few gringo tourists I saw were not from the U.S. Lots of German, Australian, French and some Israeli. Again, it was clear that their media doesn’t hype the negatives about Mexico the way the U.S. media does. Of course the large majority of tourists here are Mexican nationals. In fact, aside from one guy that works at the hostel, I’m the only person staying here that speaks English. No other U.S. guests.

 

 

Cathedral

Templo de Santo Domingo. Built in the 16th century and the facade added in the 17th century. Now surrounded full time by the Santo Domingo Crafts Market.

Inside the Templo Santo Domingo. Impressive gilding thoughout.

 

And of course the tell-tale sign that tourism has taken over and once again this town is too touristy for me:

I have nothing against sushi. Actually, I love it. But the existence of a sushi restaurant, or the Burger King across the street from it, is my indicator that a town is too big, or too foreigner-centric for my hermit-based tastes.

Typical summer mountain weather: temps in the upper 60s and 70s. A rain shower each afternoon. I was able to make it to the fruteria before the afternoon shower and bought some fruit for dinner one night, and the Casa de Pan for empanadas — mole filled, queso filled, chocolate filled. All good. I won’t complain about the weather even with a little rain.

As I’ve traveled further south, I’ve noticed the local population has changed considerably. The indigenous groups here are very identifiable, not only from their visibly shorter stature, but from the brightly colored traditional clothing of the women. Many have what I can only call mohair dresses, and babies are carried wrapped in a bundle on the back.

About 5pm, the church bells started ringing and the loud fireworks blasting, and along with the loud music, continued until nearly 11pm.

UPDATE: Ok, this is ridiculous. The firework bombs (no visual effect, just bombs exploding) continued until nearly midnight last night. Then they started again at 3:30am and continued til 5am. Then the church bells started. Not a nice, rythmic tune, but just slamming and clanging for hours. Then it stopped for a few hours. It started again at noon — both the church bells slamming and the bombs exploding — hundreds of them nonstop. The church bells stopped after a half hour. The bombs are still going off. I’m beginning to think waterboarding would be more welcome. I don’t understand it. There is nothing calm, relaxing, peaceful, or otherwise welcoming about it. In fact, just when you think the bombs have stopped, one explodes right overhead. It is nothing but nerve shattering. It almost seems like some sort of brainwashing technique used to keep the locals in line. This must be what it feels like to live in a Middle East village in constant fear of being bombed. Okay, maybe not that bad, but it is totally annoying. I have to wonder if the guy at the church setting off the bombs every two to three seconds for hours ever asked anyone in town if they enjoy it. And why a town that in many ways struggles to survive spends so much money on gunpowder.

Here’s a 30 second video from my phone this morning at the breakfast table. Keep in mind that this is 30 seconds, and this went on for hours and hours AND HOURS, day and night, for the three days I was in San Cristobal.


I stepped out of the hostel just after noon to walk into town, and had to step over a guy passed out on the sidewalk. No worries. Everyone else was just stepping over him too. Drawbacks of narrow sidewalks.

I never had to step over drunks or walk around guys peeing in the street in the other colonial cities I visited.

I had the biggest hamburguesa I’ve ever seen for lunch. Well, half of it. I took the other half back for dinner.

Perhaps a bit hypocritical after my rant on tourist-induced businesses, but this hamburger was a full 10 inches across, loaded with grilled red onions, mushrooms, cheese, avocado, lettuce and more. And at tourist prices too.

Then on the way back from lunch, I had to walk across the street to avoid another guy peeing on a car tire from the sidewalk. Right next to the hostel. And it’s not like this is a rough(er) part of town.

This town isn’t really that nice anyway, especially compared to Guanajuato or San Miguel de Allende. Time to move on to something much more tranquil. Unfortunately it also means dropping from 7000 feet elevation to only 200 feet above sea level. Here comes the humidity.

 

Highway to the sky

August 15, 2015

I’m spoiled. For the last 30 plus years I’ve worked on motorcycles on lifts. I didn’t have to bend over, squat down, or sit on the ground. For the last several years I worked on my own bikes on a lift in an air conditioned shop that you could eat off the floor. Sure, at the race track I had to work from the ground. But roadracing, it was usually on clean concrete, with a work mat on the ground. This trip will definitely put me back in my place…on the ground, in the dirt, mud, whatever. I hope it is several months at least before I start muttering “I’m too old for this”. We’ll see. Between the humidity, the heat, and the rain where I’m headed, it might not take that long.

I left Juchitan with oil, oil filter and tools, but no place to drain my used oil. As I rode toward San Cristobal de las Casas, I started looking for just the right guy on the side of the road. I had passed a lot of “Vulkas” or vulcanizadores — the guys that fix flats — but they are fairly specialized, and I needed someone with a drain pan.

As I started climbing back into the mountains, I saw what I was looking for on the left. A small house, with a makeshift garage on the side, and a large floor jack in the dirt driveway. A man and his son were standing out in front of a pickup truck. I spun around and pulled up.

“Por favor, yo necesito cambio de aceite por mi moto. Yo hay aceite, filtro, y instrumentos. No tengo un lugar por mi aceite usado. Puedo cambio de aceite aqui?” (I need to change my oil in my motorcycle. I have the oil, filter, and tools. I don’t have a place for my used oil. Can I change it here?) I had been practicing this in my head. A bit garbled, not perfect, but it worked. The guy walked back into the garage and produced a two liter plastic bottle with the top cut off. He offered to let me change my oil there in his driveway, and even offered to help, although I intended to pay him for the privilege of leaving my old oil there. And when he broke out the rusty set of SAE sockets (no metric), I quickly declined help and pulled my tool roll out. I felt a little guilty when I pulled out the titanium 14mm wrench, but he didn’t say anything.

So there, in his dirt driveway, I laid down and pulled my blazing hot drain plug.

Twenty minutes later, I had fresh oil in the bike, his two kids had 2RideTheGlobe stickers, and I had paid him 100 pesos (about six bucks). It was a bargain for me, all things considered.

Continuing east, I took a detour at Ocozocoautla de Espinosa and up a 5 mile long dirt and gravel road that ended at Sima de las Cotorras, or Chasm of the Parrots. This is a large sinkhole, over 500 feet across and over 450 feet deep. The bottom is filled with beautiful green trees and parakeets (Parrots, parakeets, whatever. They’re parakeets, regardless of the name.) And loud.

Sima de las Cotarras. Big hole, lots of birds.

Looking down into the sima.

Like most of the attractions I’ve visited (think Hierve de Agua), Sima de las Cotorras had grand plans. They built a rappelling platform where you could drop down ropes into the bottom of the hole. Not sure how you got back out. The difficulty getting to this place (it’s not the paved entrance to Disneyland, with trams to take you to the gate), along with the bad U.S. press about Mexico, hasn’t helped their tourism industry.

The mountains rose up in front of me and the road began to get steeper. The clouds were rolling in, and the road disappeared into the clouds. With lush green everywhere, and a steep road ascending into the clouds, it truly looked like the highway to heaven.

 

The rain started just as I passed through a military checkpoint. I stopped to zip up the vents on my jacket and pants, and just in time: the downpour began, and lasted for close to an hour. It let up just as I pulled into San Cristobal de las Casas, but the cobblestone streets were wet and somewhat muddy, and with the knobbies on my bike it was like riding on ice. I gingerly crept up the streets toward my destination for the night: Rossco Backpackers Hostel. Due to the rain, I didn’t take many photos today.

 

Up, Down, Up, Down, Down, Down…

August 14, 2015

The climb out of Hierve de Agua the next morning was a good test of things to come for the fully loaded XT250. The road had dried overnight, and the steeper sections could be done in second gear, but first was required for a couple of the tighter switchbacks due to the lack of momentum. 

Down one mountain, across a short valley, and up and over the next. I did this several times, and the temperature differences were significant. Eventually I descended more than I gained, and it got much warmer. 

The area between Hierve de Agua and Juchitan, and a good portion of Oaxaca for that matter, is famous for Mezcal, that cousin of tequila, and you can see farms all along the highway growing maguey, a form of agave.

Maguey plants awaiting processing in the street in Santiago Matatlan, a town famous for Mezcal production. There’s a guy on the other side of this pile with a large axe. Seriously.

I stopped in the tiny pueblo of Las Majadas for lunch and met Willie and his family. Willie spent eight years in Salt Lake City working on a landscaping crew before returning home two years ago, getting married and having a son. He was keen to speak English to me, and insisted that I speak Spanish to him. It made for a great experience. He got to refresh his English skills, while I got to work on my Spanish. 

Willie and family

Willie’s wife cooked mojarra for me. Very tasty whitefish, of the tilapia family. This meal, with tortillas and two soft drinks, $4.

After lunch it was flat, windy highway to Juchitan and Ixtepec.For the first time since Galeana in Northern Mexico, I was completely out and away from the mountains. 

I needed to find oil and a headlight bulb in Juchitan, and once I did, I realized I was out of pesos. Being Friday afternoon, all of the banks had long lines and there was no place to park nearby, so I rode north to Ixtepec and found a Banamex that I could park right in front of the ATM and stand in line. 

Another night without wifi, but I’m okay with that. This trip isn’t about being online after all. 

Hierve el Agua

August 13, 2015

I was lucky to miss the weather today as it poured down rain in Oaxaca. Unfortunately, I had to backtrack through Oaxaca shortly after the rain stopped. I can now say that one thing worse than riding down a pothole-filled street is riding down a pothole filled street with 6 inches of water on it and not being able to see the potholes. Only once did I think I was going to disappear in traffic, when my front wheel went into a hole about ten inches deep and two feet long. Luckily the edges were smooth and I just rode back out of it. 

Oaxaca Waves

I hadn’t actually planned to go back through Oaxaca. My Garmin GPS decided to lead me that way. I had looked at Google Maps last night and noticed there was a cut across below Oaxaca. I figured if I took that road, I could save a night at Overland Oasis, and add another night in San Cristobal in order to get some bike service done. Apparently Garmin doesn’t agree. It lead me right back to Tule and past Overland Oasis, though it was early afternoon so I kept going. I need to spend some time learning how to put routes into the Garmin, and I also am going to have to re-learn to upload new maps to it very soon, as I think my current maps run out at the Guatemalan border.

Garmin also doesn’t like it when I take off up a mountain on a dirt road, because that’s where I had to go this afternoon and Garmin didn’t show a road there. Fortunately the locals had signs, and when they didn’t the locals were helpful with directions. 

Such as “Turn right and go straight”. Until I get to a horse pen that’s been constructed right in the middle of an intersection. Ask again. “Go south and the road bends around to the right and keep going up.” (This is my interpretation of the combination of Spanish and hand gestures.)

Eventually I found my way out of whatever little town I was in and onto a nicely maintained one-lane dirt road headed up the mountain. A bit muddy from all of this morning’s rain, but otherwise a nice road. About five miles later, I started back down the other side of the mountain into Hierve el Agua.

Pools at Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua translates to “boil the water”, but it’s not because of the pools here. I checked. They are not hot. However, there is a natural rock formation near the pools where water saturated with calcium carbonate trickles over the side, leaving a white “petrified waterfall” appearance on the rock cliff. 

Quinceanera photo shoot at the pools.

Due to the threatening weather I decided to rent a cabana. Probably should have saved the $10 and skipped that. The tent would have been more comfortable and aside from some wind, the skies cleared just before sunset. The cabanas at Hierve have become quite neglected. There’s also no food here, so I broke out my camp stove and heated up the Cup O Noodles I’d been saving, along with some hot chocolate (I’m back in the mountains and it’s rather chilly).

Back over the mountain in the morning and continue south….

Turn on the Heated Grips and Put on the Swim Trunks

August 11, 2015

I had originally planned to spend a few days in Zipolite, a surfer beach on the Pacific coast south of Oaxaca. After speaking with Jason and Lisa at Overlander Oasis, I decided that I could probably do with just “checking the square” as my buddy Tom would say. Having come from South America, Jason convinced me that the beaches of Costa Rica would be much nicer, and the heat this time of year would be pretty miserable.

Just the same, I had read that Highway 175 from Oaxaca to Puerto Angel is a “must do”. Since I’ve been camping more than half of my trip so far, I’ve been able to stay below my daily budget overall, so I decided to splurge and book an air-conditioned room in Puerto Angel.

The ride out of Oaxaca on Hwy 175 is nothing to write home about for the first 50 miles or so. However, once you start up the mountain, things improve dramatically. Although Oaxaca is at about 5,000 feet elevation, the road climbs to just over 8,000 feet before snaking its way down to the coast.

Near the top of the mountain is San Jose del Pacifico, a small town famous for its’ psilocybin mushrooms, which apparently provide a mildly hallucinogenic effect. I can’t imagine trying to get home from the top of that mountain while anything but completely sober. The road is nothing but twists and turns and 20 to 25mph average speeds.

This is the longest straight section of road I saw for around 80 miles. And I think there was one passing zone in that whole stretch. But lots of Topes!

 

On the way into San Jose del Pacifico, I passed Gringo Burger. Another indication of the Surfer Trail that leads this way.

I happened to reach the summit at just after noon, and for the first time this trip, felt the desire to try out my heated grips.

Yes, its August 11th, and I’m 16 degrees north of the equator. And it’s 58 degrees at 12:32 in the afternoon. Nice!

And I have to report that they work great. They have an adjustable thermostat, and I never went above 75% of full heat, but then again it wasn’t really that cold. The 50% setting worked fine.

Descending out of the mountains rapidly via the constantly snaking tarmac, I eventually leveled out and caught my first real downpour. The poor guy in front of me on the 125cc delivery bike with the large cooler strapped to the back (and no taillight, no license plate, and bald rear tire) had no helmet or protective gear on, but just kept riding into the huge raindrops. I have no idea how he was able to see anything.

The road ends at Puerto Angel. Not much of a reward for the long, tiring (but scenic) ride. The town is really a fishing village, kind of rough, with a number of hotels, and a small bay with a couple of beaches. During the tourist season, they offer whale watching, snorkeling with sea turtles, and offshore fishing from here.

Sorry for the blur. Not real thrilled with this camera so far…

Don’t order your chicken rare here. Yes, that’s a live chicken on the table in the restaurant.

A few miles up the coast is Zipolite. Totally different vibe. This place has a very clean, laid back, surfer town feel to it (town is kind of a big word for Zipolite. It’s not that big…a few blocks maybe.) Nice beach, nice waves, lots of nicer looking cabanas and hammocks for rent on the beach.

Downtown Zipolite

Magnetic bricks holding this roof in place.

Nice beach. The north end of the beach is a nude beach, with the people you would expect to find at a nude beach. The rest of the beach seems to be “topless permitted” based on what I saw.

Tasty waves, Dude.

I had a smoothie at a place on the main street (on the beach, basically), and asked the girl working there if there were a lot of gringos here.

“Si”

“All year or just in the winter?”

“Todo de año.” (All year).

I saw a few. Definitely the surf lifestyle types. The real deal. Not posers. I could see spending a good deal of time here if I were a surfer.

It’s definitely warm here this time of year. The high at Zipolite will be around 90F today. If you’re on the beach, with the ocean breeze, it’s not bad. If you’re a block off the beach, with the humidity and lack of breeze, it feels more like 100.

Time to head back to the mountains.

Having gone over-budget on lodging here, I decided to go cheap on lunch for a day or two: I stopped at a fruteria and bought 2 bananas, an avocado, 2 tunas (yep, I like them now that I know they aren’t fish), a carrot, a can of tuna, a jar of olives, and a large bottle of water, for $2. Stuffed them all in my tiny little backpack and headed back to the air conditioning for the afternoon, watching the surf and waiting for the temps to recede a bit before wandering out for dinner.

Eating healthier, and cheaper

Living on a motorcycle has a way of adjusting your diet for you.

James Made the Correct Choice

I heard from James today….he rode with me for the first ten or eleven days of my journey, and his plan was to make it to at least Guatemala and perhaps on to Panama. Unfortunately, he was having some problems with his 1992 Yamaha XT225 before he even crossed the Mexican border, and by Guanajuato he had decided that it would be best to turn back.

He definitely made the right decision. About 75 miles from Wimberley (home), he lost compression, and that was all she wrote. Fortunately he was able to get some “roadside assistance” and made it home, in a truck.

Upon further inspection, here’s the results:

Not pretty, but fixable. Easier at home than on the side of the road in Mexico. Hope to see you on the road again soon James!

 

Alive Again

August 10, 2015

I don’t think my stomach bug was that bad, compared to others’ I’ve heard about, but I will admit that being miserable in a tent far from home can make you quickly rethink your plans. I had a terrible headache all night, but my stomach started to calm down. For several hours, I kept thinking “I’m miserable. This wouldn’t be so bad if I were home on the couch, watching TV.” But I don’t have a home. Or a couch. This is it. Make the best of it.

By morning I was starting to feel human again. The thoughts of “What the hell was I thinking?” faded and things improved. I walked into town, found a restaurant and decided to try eating again.

Here’s a tip: if you don’t understand the menu, and you haven’t been feeling well, don’t guess at it. Use Google Translate first. I know “Huevos revueltos” is scrambled eggs. I didn’t know what “cecina” is, but it was listed as one of the choices of “carne” on the breakfast menu. Hmmm…doesn’t sound that far off from “tocino”, which is bacon. Okay, I’ll have that.

After it arrived and I took a bite of it, I googled it. “Cecina” translates to “dried meat”. Yeah, I got that part. Pretty obvious. What kind of meat was less obvious. And still is. But I’m pretty sure Tule is short one stray mutt today.

Ben and Emma left this morning after two months here. They are headed roughly the same direction I am, although at a slower pace, so I will probably catch them some time in the next week or two.

Amazingly my stomach survived breakfast, and I continued to slowly revive. Later Toby and Chloe brought bolsis. A bolsi is a frozen creamy fruit treat in a plastic bag. Seemed like a good test for the stomach. So far so good.

Bolsi Fresa

I wandered up towards the church to see the Arbol del Tule, the world’s widest tree. Truly spectacular.

The photo doesn’t do it justice. This tree is magnificent. Many of the branches are more than five feet wide, and the whole thing looks like something from a Hobbit movie.

Here’s the specs on the tree.

The trunk of this tree is over 47 feet in diameter, with a circumference of 137 feet. The next biggest tree is a giant Sequoia at 30 feet in diameter.

 

Continuing to heal and appetite returned, I walked back past a tienda looking for avocados. None. But next door was a seafood restaurant. So I sat down, pulled out my phone, fired up Google Translate (lesson learned) and took a look at the menu. Turns out the fried shrimp dinner was pretty good.

After speaking with Toby and Jason for a bit this afternoon, I’m ready to keep heading south.

After a side trip…

 

Tule, and the first “Bad Day”

August 9, 2015

It’s inevitable. If you spend enough time in Mexico, you’ll probably get some kind of stomach bug. It’s been two weeks, and I’ve been eating and drinking anything I want, so I guess it was my time.

I packed up and left San Martin early as there was no reason to hang around. The road from San Martin to Oaxaca is a twisty mountain road and reminded me a bit of the Ortega Highway in Southern California. Before long, it became apparent that the road is indeed the equivalent of the Ortega highway for Oaxacans. Fortunately I was headed in the opposite direction. Lots of bikes headed past; plenty of 125s but more 600s and 1000s than I’ve seen in Mexico so far.

 

Mountains north of Oaxaca

Oaxaca’s version of the Ortega Highway

Thought about stopping here for a drink.

I was starting to feel chills and a little stomach rumbling. I was hoping it was just the lack of proper meals the day before, but I had a feeling that things were going to get worse before they got better.

I pulled into the Overlanders Oasis in Santa Maria del Tule just south of Oaxaca around noon, and was glad my day was over early. Emma met me and let me in the gate. The rest of the crowd was out shopping but returned soon after. Emma and Ben are from New Zealand and are in a Toyota 4Runner. They started in Alaska and are headed south. Jason and Lisa are from England on BMWs and have been through South America and are headed north, having shipped into Uruguay on a freighter. Toby and Chloe are in a Ford F150 pickup with camper and are from California. They’re also headed north on their way home.

Calvin and Leanne have a great place, catering to overlanders. Their home here is similar to what I would like to end up building: their kitchen and living area are open to the outside, and the rest of the house is a beautifully converted 1957 Greyhound pulled inside alongside the kitchen and living area. Very comfortable.

Calvin and Leanne’s home in Tule.

Couch hog

I wish I felt better. No food in two days, no appetite, fever and aches. Everyone else here is enjoying a BBQ dinner together, while I crawl into my tent and try to sleep.

I’ll spend a couple of days here recuperating, then figure out the next destination.

 

Into the “Real” Mexico…the Good, and the Bad

August 8, 2015

It poured rain during the night, and the rain on the tent was extremely soothing. I probably had the best sleep of the trip so far.

In the morning, I visited the Teotihuacan Pyramids. The Pyramids of Teotihuacan are the third largest pyramids in the word, behind Cholula and Giza. This city was built between 100AD and 250BC, and includes the pyramids and many multiple-family complexes. It was a huge city, with a population of around 125,000 people in the first half of the first millenium AD.

Pyramid of the Moon with hot air balloons in the background

Pyramid of the Sun. Apparently the pre-Colombians have since discovered orange safety fencing.

Looking along the Avenue of the Dead towards the Pyramid of the Moon

Gratuitous Selfie from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun

 

Having walked the ruins, I returned to the Teotihuacan Trailer Park, packed up, and said goodbye to Ilka and Gunther.

Ilka and Gunther. Two and a half years into a ten year journey.

 

Before leaving, the owner of the campground, Mena, brought me a peeled Tuna to try. It was extremely good, seeds and all. Nice, cool fruit. I’ll definitely be looking for more down the road.

I headed south, planning to stop for the night around Puebla or Tehuacan. However, when I got to Tehuacan, the hotel I had hoped to stay at turned out to be in the downtown of a very large city, with no parking for the bike. So I continued south, on a small backroad (that is also the main “free” highway). By around 7pm I was beginning to get concerned that I wouldn’t find a place to stay before dark, and I had made myself a promise not to ride after dark. The road turned to dirt, and after nearly 10 miles of dirt, the pavement returned. Not long after hitting pavement again I rounded a corner and saw a small Hotel sign in a window. Just before dark. Not surprisingly I was the only resident that night. The hotel was fairly clean, but not much ventilation, and although it cooled off later in the night, the room was muggy for the first few hours.

Hotel San Martin.

 

The scorpion in the shower didn’t help my ability to sleep. It was a restless night.