Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 13 - Coatzacoalcos to Uxmal, Yucatán

RobT:  WHAT A DAY!!  We left at 8am this morning headed for highway 180 along the Gulf of Mexico.  We played around with the Garmin mapping last night to figure out how long it would take us to get to Uxmal, Yucatán.  600km but it looked like 700km.  Most of it along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  Funny thing though, we will be riding north, so, kind of back tracking.  LOL.

RobC:  One thinks of Mexico of being north to south, but when you drive toward the state of Yucatán (where Merida and the Riviera Maya are), you are in the "tail" of a horn of plenty, and you curl back north toward Cuba or Key West, USA. This a strange feeling when you are trying to head for South America.

RobT:  The secondary roads were lined with banana and papaya stands.  As you got closer to a town, mechanic shops, restaurants and stands selling local merchandise would appear.  Most were restaurants or refreshment stands nestled between the road and the water with the waves lapping at the rusted propane tanks and fishing boats.  Speed bumps or "topes" seemed to appear out of nowhere but, really, we expected them as we were in town.  These "topes" presented the perfect opportunity to pass any and all slower moving vehicles, as they would slow to a crawl to pass over them.  Naturally, we blasted around them.  This worked most of the time.  I say this because some of the "topes" were a little more than a speed bump and potholes seem to be hidden on the other side.  Another good passing opportunity is construction sites, which usually have "topes" as well.  Either you pass all the rigs by riding the lane under construction or riding in between the oncoming traffic and the lane you are in.  Sounds dangerous?  Surprisingly, it isn't.  The mentality here is very different from back home.  The oncoming traffic will move to the shoulder to allow room for you.  It's almost expected.  Even if you pass on a double yellow line, around a bend the traffic, whether car, rig or bike, they WILL move to the shoulder to allow room for you.  Even approaching a slow moving vehicle in your own lane, they would move to the shoulder.  No-one gets angry.   No horns, no fingers, nothing.  No road rage. Wow.  It's no wonder traffic flows nicely! 

Lunch, on the beach with a couple of cervezas overlooking the Gulf of Mexico under clear blue skies and a temp of 33 Celsius (96 F).  My new favourite beer .... Modelo Especial.

Once we were past the towns, the road led us along the coast where the beaches were pristine, with white sand, variously coloured blue-green/emerald water, darkening the further out you look toward the horizon and the palm trees spotting the shoreline.  Stunning!  Couple of days ago we were at 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in the arid desert, then across the mountains to the lush green valleys, into the swamp lands and onto the Caribbean-style beaches.  What a change of scenery in a mere two days of riding!

We were running short on fuel along the long coastal road and there wasn't much in the way of PEMEX (Mexican government run gas stations), so we had to make use of our reserve gas tanks.

In Mexico, the shoulder is used as another lane when traffic is trying to get around you.  The oncoming traffic will also move over.  Talk about efficiency!!!

One of the many, many, many toll booths...and they are not cheap.

Local kids trying to earn some money by selling food to people as they wait their turn to pay the toll.

One of the many roadside refreshment stands.

Just a shot on the road. (RobC edit: RobT is incredible, taking pictures with his big bazooka while riding.)

During our ride today we figured something out that has plagued us since the start.  RobC gets A LOT of noise over his headset from my Q2 Scala helmet intercom, to the point where above 90 kph he cannot understand my speech.  We thought it was my boom mike, then maybe a bad connection on the wiring of my Q2, then positioning of the mike, vents being open, we tried everything.  I told Rob that the noise level in my helmet was high and at times my ears hurt but if I put in ear plugs I can't hear a thing.  Mental note: I need to get a proper set of ear plugs.  It turns out I need a taller windscreen.  As soon as I put my hand out in front of me and above the windscreen, all the aggravation disappears!  Now we need to stop at one of these roadside shops and see what they can do to add some height to my windscreen.

We are now sitting at an amazing outdoor bar at Uxmal, with a "palapa (palm thatch)" roof overhead, having Corona on tap, typing away on the blog, writing e-mails and listening to The Animals and some Irish tunes RobC cooked up on the netbook. 11:30 pm ... no-one around, even the wait staff has gone home for the night.  They even left the lights on for us.  RobC turns to me and asks, "You think the beer tap is still working?" I walk around the bar with his glass, pull on the lever and ... presto .... beer!!!  LOL  We may not make it to the ruins tomorrow morning.

What a day!!

RobC:  My tocayo forgot to mention that we roared into Uxmal tonight at 7 pm, bartered on  a nice hotel, took a quick shower and took in a spectacular light show in the Uxmal ruins. Different colored lights illuminated the ornately sculpted ruins, while an excellent sound system narrated poetry of the history of the site and the gods who seem to permeate everything Mayan. Tomorrow we will see the ruins by daylight, and if I remember to take the SD card out of my computer and stick it into the camera I should be able to take some nice pictures.

We took in the light show at Uxmal.

Leave you with one last image .......

Little video on how to ride in Mexico ... :)  How you get past all the slow trucks in a construction zone.

1 comment:

  1. I want a beer. Sucks without the beach though....