I headed towards the Mexican border. When I arrived, you drive straight out of the US and straight into Mexico.
I parked my bike went to Mexican customs, got stamped in and then went to get my permit for the bike. They take $59 processing fee and a $400 deposit. When I exit Mexico, I will need to show my permit at a bank and get my deposit refunded.
It was then into Tijuana. What a big difference to the US and Canada. I was back into a country where buildings are half finished; beaten up old vehicles and piles of dirt and debris line the streets and any spare land.
I got on to Highway 1D which is the scenic road but also tolled. The tolls were only a couple of dollars and the road was in good condition. It skirted along the coast and there were plenty of scenic views. The air was cooler by the sea. I was heading for Ensenada which is a large town. The plan was to see if I could find somewhere to camp ore a cheap hotel.
The day was getting on and I was getting hot. I pulled into a restaurant to buy a bottle of water. I went to the bar, the bar maid and the three people on my side of the bar were Americans. The barmaid asked if I would like a beer and as I was parched, I partook.
I asked the barmaid if she knew a place to camp or a cheap hotel. She said her boyfriend owned a pub that had rooms, she said it was basic, no TV but only US$30. That sounded like the place for me. She rang her boyfriend and the room was mine.
When I got there the room looked out to the beach and had a deck. My neighbours were out on their deck drinking one of my favourite beers, Newcastle Brown Ale. They are Americans down here for the weekend. They offered me a beer and we chatted the night away.
There was a bit of variety today going from twisting hill, coastal roads and finally open plains.
I pulled into an RV park with no RV’s and no campers. For NZ$10 I got to pitch my tent where I wanted.
I headed out of town and spotted a sign that said no petrol for 315 km. I turned around headed back to town and found a petrol station, filled up and then calculated I had to do 323kmto get to the next fuel stop. This I thought is right on Winston’s limit. I thought if I take it easy, I’ll find out how far he will go on a full tank. I sat on 95 to 105km/h most of the way. The speed limit is 80 but no one does that.
As I left town I headed into the hills with smooth roads, great sweepers it was a great motorcycling road. I stopped at a couple of pull offs on the side of the road to take in the vastness of it all. It was like being in the middle of nowhere as there was a hardly a vehicle to be seen. The only way you can tell man is here is the rubbish dumped in these pull offs.
After admiring the view, I carried on and went through section of giant cacti. There were that many that it almost resembled a forest. I’ve not seen anything like this before and I marvelled at this new scenery. If you were a cowboy film buff you would love the next place as it was still full of cacti but this time dusty, rocky hills I thought any minute I would see some Mexican bandits with huge sombreros chasing the cowboys or vice versa depending on your perspective.
I ended up staying in a pretty clean hotel in Guerrero Negro. Guerrero Negro is renowned for Whale watching. It’s out of season so I had no chance of spotting a whale.
The hotel I stayed in was the same cost as a Californian campsite. It had a clean shower with hot water, Fan above the king size bed and good Wi-Fi. It also had a few added extras like small cockroaches. That kept me occupied for the first couple of hours. Steve 5, cockroaches nil Haaa!!!
Day 376 Monday 14th September 2015
Stayed at the hotel and had a rest day. Updated the blog and watched a couple of movies. Man, it’s nice to just chill out some times.
Day 377 Tuesday 15th September 2015
I headed off down Mex 1 highway along a very straight very flat and a very baron road. This continued for a while. On the way I saw wild horses eating dead grass. I spotted some vultures in the distance, when I got near, I could see they were eating the carcass of a dead horse.
I continued along until I approached some hills and what looked like a volcano. It looked like the hills helped form clouds by guiding the warm air from the plains up into the cold air. All around was an abundance of green, green grasses, green bushes a stark contrast to only minutes before.
I went through the town of Santa Rosalia and then carried on around the coast to Mulge.
I looked for a hotel; I checked one out it was too expensive so I carried on around the coast to an inlet. I went to another hotel and it seemed as if no one was there. I left there and directly across was a spare bit of land with a view of the inlet. I thought this would do but didn’t know if I would be moved on later so I decided to carry on. Five minutes later I found an RV park with pool, Wi-Fi and a shaded area to pitch my tent. It also had a hammock, all this for NZ$10 or US$6. I was the only one here.
I pitched my tent and headed to the pool to cool off. The water was actually warm but it was still a nice way to spend the later part of the day.
I left the pool and cooked dinner. The wind had dropped and the sun was out making things hot. The mosquitoes also came out to play so I was forced into my tent. They didn’t take much notice of the repellent I’d put on.
I was lying on my Exped inflatable mattress to find it floating on an ocean of salty water drifting in the vastness of time. I awoke and stared through the fly screen of the tent, squinting as the sun shone through. I realised it was just a dream. The salt water would have been my sweat. It was so hot last night, there was no wind and the temperature hadn’t dropped overnight at all.
To make it worse the mosquitoes were lined up outside the fly screen of my tent like a lot of drunken youths outside a nightclub wanting to come in to get some action. They were out of look; the club was closed.
I got up, packed up, and headed off. I continued on Mex 1. I hit the hills again and then along the coast. The sea was as reflective as a mirror and the vegetation was as green as a Martian about to be sick.
I pulled over numerous times to check out the views. From one of the hills, I could see schools of fish jumping out the water. It looked like they may have been chased into the shallows. I passed through Loreto which was a nice town and then finally got a hotel in Ciudad Constitucion.
I continued south with the purpose to go to La Paz to reserve my ferry tickets for the trip to the mainland. The Baja Ferries website had been down so I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out the port and make sure I have the paperwork sorted. It costs MX$1770 for me and Winston. They also need to see the limited import permit before I can get the bike and all the gear weighed. Only then will they issue the tickets.
On the way out of Ciudad Constitucion I got pulled over by the police for failing to stop at a stop sign. The main street has stop signs at all the intersections. Most of the locals never stop so I just checked to make sure there was no traffic and away I went. The officer was ahead of me and he was pulling all sorts of people up. He told me “I no stop” I said” sorry, there was no traffic” he then spoke a lot of Spanish and gestured writing out a ticket. I responded by saying “none Espanola I do not understand” at this point he looked despondent and I think he thought it would be too much hassle so he waved me.
La Paz is by the coast and the water is so blue against the white sand. I’s the most modern, clean place I’ve visited in the Baja.
I continued south from La Paz through San Antonio and up into the hills. Just as I rounded one of the corners on the way down the hill, I could see a massive thunderstorm right in the direction I needed to go. The thunder was deafening and the rain was immense. I decided to make a run for it in the opposite direction and finally ended up in La Ventana. The town was dead, no one around. I rode through the sandy streets until I saw a guy outside a restaurant, I asked if he knew of a cheap hotel or a place to camp. He said it was off season and the season starts in October. He said this area was the best Kite surfing area in the world. He said he owned the restaurant. He pointed me to a campsite on the beach.
When I rode off, I noticed a sign behind his restaurant for kite surfing lessons. I also noticed his sign for the best Margaritas in the world. What a lucky guy having all the world's best right at his restaurant?
I pitched my tent on the beach under a tree and cooked myself a well needed dinner.
What a great view to wake up to. I cooked breakfast cleaned up and packed up. By this time, it was really hot so before I left, I had a cold shower.
I continued further south past the marker for the Tropic of Cancer through San Jose Del Cabo and then Cabo San Lucas. Carbo San Lucas is a really beautiful coastal town. It definitely is a tourist town. The ocean is vibrant blue against the white sand and the port is full of luxury launches. I had a real difficulty finding a reasonably priced place to stay. In the end I couldn’t and had to stay at an overpriced hotel that was being renovated.
While I was in my room, I noticed I had an added extra at no additional cost, it was an ivory-coloured scorpion. It was lying on the floor by the door and looked dead. I gave it a kick and it ran off under the crack of the door. I hope it doesn’t want a sleeping companion tonight.
Last night I adjusted and cleaned my chain at the hotel as it was making a not too pleasant graunching noise when riding Winston.
This morning saw heavy rain. Heavy enough to flood the streets and keep them flooded all day. I rode through the flooded streets with the water well over my rims. A couple of car drivers thought it must be entertaining trying to splash the wet guy on the motorbike. As queen Victoria once said “I am not amused” With that I was in search of a Yamaha shop the guy at the hotel said might have a 525 chain. These chains are very uncommon here as there aren’t too many big motorcycles.
On the way to the Yamaha shop I passed another motorcycle shop. I stopped, went in and started trying to communicate to them what I wanted. They couldn’t speak English and I can’t speak Spanish so they rang a guy who could speak English and he kindly came to the shop and translated what I needed. The bottom line is they didn’t have one and it would take two weeks to get one in. I said do they know if there any in La Paz telling the translator that I would try and get one there. Miraculously the shop could now get one in 15 minutes. It would be $2630 pesos which is around NZ $263. They said there was no mark up, that was the cost from the shop they would get the chain from. They would charge me $200 pesos to fit it and they would be able to do it in an hour. Well, hour turned into two and a half before he got on with the job. I watched as the “mechanic” got the large adjustable spanner on the rear axle nut. I wrote in the dirt on the floor 27mm for the size of the spanner or socket but he just carried on. I watched as the adjustable spanner rubbed on the swing arm. When I was an apprentice, I worked with a guy who was an engineer in the ship yards of Newcastle. I remember him telling me that if anyone in that shipyard was seen using an adjustable spanner then it was instant dismissal. I never use them; they are a great way to round a nut.
Watching the mechanic was really frustrating as he had no attention to detail. In the end I took over as he was going to grind a few links off the new chain just because he couldn’t be bothered checking the number of links on the old chain. I counted the links, told him the chain needed no links taking out, he put the master link in and I adjusted the chain.
I paid the money and headed off with a smooth ride to Cabo San Lucas where I camped.
Day 382 Sunday 20th September 2015
It was hot in the night and it looked like it would rain. While there was no rain in the morning, I took the tent down. As the material dropped to the floor so did the heavy rain. Yes, the tent and I were drenched. No point putting a sopping wet tent in the dry bag so it was strapped to the top. Just as I did that the rain stopped.
On the way out of town heading to La Paz I stopped at a famous place, Wait, I feel a song coming, here it is
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway, I heard the mission bell
Then I was thinking to myself this could be Heaven or this could be Hell
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor I thought I heard them say
Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
(Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year
(Any time of year)
You can find it here"
Yes, it was the famous Hotel California by the Eagles.
I thought of my wife Alana because we had only known each other a short time when I brought her this album for her birthday. So, every time I hear that song, I think of her.
A guy called Will on an Adventure motorcycle website had contacted me and offered me a place to stay for the night. Will is riding down to Argentina and was lucky enough to house sit in La Paz for a month.
While Will went for his Spanish lessons I went for a stroll through La Paz checking out the scenery and eyeing up a few birds.
The ferry ticket for the bike and me cost $1970 pesos (NZ$197). I had to get Winston weighed with all the gear on. I was shocked at the weight, 330kg.
I strapped Winston down on the deck and went inside the passenger area to see if I could find somewhere where I might be able to sleep. I found a little hideaway around the corner of the seating area and in it was a foam seat that was long enough for me to lie on. That was my sleeping quarters for the night. The lady that sold me the ticket couldn’t speak English but she made out the journey was 8 hours which meant we would arrive at 5am. Well, the 8 was right but it was 8 in the morning.
Day 384 Tuesday 22nd September 2015
I rode off the ferry with blue skies overhead. The destination for today, Copper Canyon. It’s a small version of the Grand Canyon in the States but this canyon is 5000 feet at its deepest, two thousand more than the Grand Canyon. All was going well, the traffic was really light, in fact there was less and less until there was none. The roads were in pretty good condition and they were nice and twisty. There had been some rock falls but nothing too bad. My GPS told me to go down a road that didn’t exist so I carried on the paved highway and thought I will take the next turn right. Good in theory until the road finishes at a dead end
When I was at the other side, I continued up the track. There were plenty of big rocks and it was a real work out. I thought to myself as I was puffing away, I hope I don’t have to come back this way. No sooner had I thought this then the road finished into a river. I slammed on the brakes and in shear frustration I yelled” @@#%#@$$!!” at the top of my voice. There was no way through. The thought of having to ride the same way back was not good.
So, after a rest and a protein bar it was time to ride back. When I arrived at the river crossing the sand seemed even softer. As the bike entered the back wheel started to sink. I really had to get this bike through quickly or risk getting it stuck. So, lots of revs lots of pushing and finally I was through. I was totally lathered when I got to the other side. It was so hot in my gear that I had to get it off. I rested and felt a bit light headed. I was going to sit down but there were big red ants everywhere. There was no shade so I thought I’d go by the river and sit on a rock. As I sat on a rock then some big spiders appeared almost telling me this was their patch. I thought to myself I haven’t been this worn out since I went looking for the Orang-utans in Indonesia. I thought at least then it was to see something special. This was not going to get the better of me so I got my gear on, jumped on Winston, my trusty stead and battled our way back to the sealed road.
We ended up in Choix for the night.
Day 385 Wednesday 23rd September 2015
Had a rest day and stayed at the hotel. I got the tent out and dried it in the air-conditioned room. Later in the day I re planned my route to Copper Canyon.
Day 386 Thursday 24th September 2015
I left Choix and headed west on a 70 km dirt road. This road was tricky in places but much better than the one I had been on a couple of days ago. It had it all, rocks soft sand, mud, ruts and near the end smooth sections. I rode over a dam and through what looked like ranch land. There were cows, wild horses, road runner birds, hawks, a myriad of butterflies and one 4-foot red snake wriggling across the road at an incredible speed. It was just as well because I missed him by inches.
I ended up at Guaymas after what was a really enjoyable days riding.
Day 387 Friday 25th September 2015
The objective today was to get to Creel which is a 680 km ride. That’s a reasonable day's ride but if you add in the tight twisting roads with sandy potholed corners a couple of hours of rain, landslides, trees strewn across the roads, riding in the dark with vague outlines of horses and cows around the corners and then the glow of a deer’s eye heading out of the trees towards the road, then that all adds up to a pretty interesting ride.
I finally arrived in Creel at 8:30pm. It was another great day’s ride with plenty of things to keep you interested. To add to this, I was able to have a good chat to my daughter Emma on facetime. Life is good!!
I went for a look around Creel, checked out stones, then off to Copper Canyon.
The roads up to the Lookout were in pretty good shape and they snaked their way through the pines. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see pine forest in Mexico.
The view over the Canyon was spoilt slightly by the haze. There were very few tourists around. The few that were, were shooting down the Canyon on Zip Lines. I left the Canyon behind and headed to Chihuahua. You know what I’m going to say now?…….. I didn’t see any, that’s the small furry, yappy creature. I passed from the mountains to the agricultural plains.
I ended up staying at a hotel that you pay by the hour. The guy charged me $250 Pesos (NZ$25) for 12 hours but I could stay until 8am. It had a garage underneath the room for Winston. I thought this is probably one of those loooove hotels. My assumption was correct As I closed the door, written in Spanish it said if you need Viagra or Cealis see the receptionist. All I wanted was a good night’s kip. Oh and the towels are the softest I’ve used. There are perks to staying is this type of place.
I was away at 7:30am heading south east towards Torrean. The roads must have been designed by the guy who designed the American cars in the 70’s. A man who surely had a passion for clicky pencils, T Bars and set squares. The roads were as straight as a die.
Mexico has lots of toll roads they can be identified by a D after the highway number e.g., 40D is the toll road and 40 isn’t. I spent a lot of the day avoiding the toll roads which of course my GPS didn’t recognise as a toll road so it kept trying to send me on it.
I kept heading south east towards Durango. Again, it was another straight road. I tried to keep off the toll roads again. The non toll roads are pretty good and for a reasonable distance they run alongside the none toll roads. I ended up on the toll road and watched with sadness and a feeling of loss (mainly from my wallet) the people on the free road. I just hate paying tolls.
I arrived in Durango and found a hotel. I know now where all the Durango’s live.
Day 391 Tuesday 29th September 2015
From Durango it was still south east to Zacatecas. On the way I passed many Cacti with bright coloured seeds, they were mainly red but a number were yellow.
I had a mad dash to pull over a bit further on as something had gotten down my t shirt and was stinging its way around my chest and stomach. I never did find out what it was. It did take my mind off my ear infection. My left ear is totally blocked and its torture taking my helmet off.
I think it’s caused by the hot weather and wearing earplugs all day.
It was a frustrating day today with none toll roads turning into tolled roads. Not being able to get off the toll roads and them not being on my GPS. It was like being trapped in a maze. The only trouble was I was running low on fuel and each time I went through a toll gate it sucked the life out of my wallet. It ended up costing me over NZ$20 US$ 14.
To get back on track I got onto Google maps and followed its directions which took me off the highway to a gravel road that had a chain across it and a guy guarding it. The guy let me through and I travelled the gravel roads for about 5km. I was then back on to Highway 40 on my way to San Miguel Allande.
I stayed in a very small RV park right in the centre. It was expensive at NZ$26 a night. It did include power, showers and good Wi-Fi.
Day 393 Thursday 1st October 2015
I decided I would stay the day in San Miguel Allande. San Miguel Allande is a World Heritage site known for its baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene and cultural festivals. In the city’s historic, cobblestoned centre lies the neo-Gothic church Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, whose pink towers rise above the main plaza, El Jardín. It is said that the guy who build this neo-Gothic church only had a picture of Guadies Cathedral in Barcelona, hence a few similarities.
There are lots of retired or lifestyle seeking Americans here. It’s nice to be able to communicate in English again.
I went for a walk through the old town this morning before all the stalls were up. It is a picturesque place.
I headed south east again for Teotihucan The holy city of Teotihuacan ('the place where the gods were created') Built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its monuments – in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. It is a world heritage site.
I got there finally but had a nightmare on the navigational front.
I will award Mexico (I might be premature here the award for the most toll roads, yes NZ$ 25 today and the most speed bumps). They call them topes here; I call them a pain in the backside. I must have easily gone over a hundred or more today.
Entry to Teotihucan was $65 Pesos about NZ$6.50 which I thought was pretty reasonable. It’s a very steep climb to the top but worth it.
I ended the day at an RV park and paid NZ$8.50, now that’s more like it.
In the time I have been in Mexico I have been surprised by the open spaces and lack of population. The joy of riding uncluttered roads has been a satisfying thing. Today that changed. It started with spending the first hour riding between first and second gear over my favourite things, the now famous Mexican Topes (speed bumps).
I rode past some Topiaries, there seems to be lots here. I think I’ve now figured out where Edward scissor hands lives.
The destination was Taxco but I fell short by 50km. Just as if the day hadn’t been bad enough my seventh pair of sunglasses broke. I spent some of my night trying to fix them with Gorilla tape until I can buy a new pair.
Day 396 Sunday 4th October 2015
If yesterday's ride had been one of the worst of the trip, then todays made up for it. I left the hotel and headed to Taxco on the 95. The road twisted and wound its way through the hills until I came to a lookout on the outskirts of Taxco. From here you get an appreciation of the layout of the town. It’s a quaint place on the side of a steep hill. It used to be a silver mining town. Today all the silver has gone but there is a thriving silver jewellery trade that is the life blood of the town. The other major income is from tourism. Travelling through the town you notice the baroque Spanish architecture. Its two famous sites are Santa Prisca Cathedral and the statue of Jesus on the top of the hill.
I made my way along the free 95 and spotted a Auto Zone store in one of the towns. I went in brought 4 litres of oil, an oil pan to drain the oil in and set about doing my oil change outside the shop.
I cooked dinner and brewed up a coffee to wet my parched lips. After I had cleaned up, I went for a stroll along the beach. The beach has beautiful golden sand strong surf. There were a few people on the beach and in the sea making the most of a pleasant evening.
The wind had dropped and it was hot in my tent so I went for a short walk down the road to buy a cold beer. I purchased one from one of the guys sitting alongside a group of Mexicans who were well on their way. They had plenty of empties sitting on the table. One of them could speak a little English so he asked me to join them. I spent the next three hour with them. They shouted me a couple of beers which was nice of them.
I went for a stroll along the beach before I headed into Acapulco centre. There was hardly anyone on it; it was a lovely way to start the day.
On the way though Acapulco there was a detour which meant all the traffic from the highway was diverted down the back streets. It was another big traffic jam. I rode along the coast road then left Acapulco behind as I headed out of town on the 95D. Yes, it’s a toll road but I didn’t really mind paying as there was no one on it and I could make up some time. From the 95D I switched to the 93 which is a curvaceous road heading high into the hills. There are very few major towns just the odd small one. The day was getting on and the fuel was getting low, I was wondering when the next petrol station would appear. My GPS had no clue on the route today so it was about keeping my eyes open for the signposts. I knew the next large town was called Tlapa De Comonfort and there surely would be a petrol station there. I was correct; as soon as I spotted the signpost for Tlapa De Comonfort then a petrol station appeared. There was quite a queue so I pulled in behind this car which was waiting on two other vehicles in front of him. One of the cars in another queue left so the guy in front of me decided he would jump into that queue. Without looking behind him he put his car in reverse and reversed straight up over my front wheel, lifting the rear of his car into the air and knocking Winston and I to the ground.
They just sat in the car and did nothing to help until I motioned them to come over and help me lift Winston up.
Luckily there was no damage. It wasn’t until later I notice the rubber insert in the foot peg was missing.
It was another long day riding through the mountains. With all the twists and obstacles to look out for (pot holes, gravel, cows, TOPES) on the road I was pretty tired when I finally arrived in Oaxaca. The plan was to stay at a camping ground or to be more precise an RV park. When I arrived, the gates were locked and the place was overgrown and shut down. I ended up staying in a motel which was nice but not the same price as if I were to camp.
Today I saw more dead dogs per kilometre than anywhere I’ve been, even India. There are huge numbers of dogs in Mexico and I guess some of them are not as road wise as others. It’s always sad to see a dead dog.
Day 399 Wednesday 7th October 2015
I visited one World Heritage site and the second most historical town in the Oaxaca province today. The first, Monte Alban which was inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples – Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs – the terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Alban were literally carved out of the mountain. This site had a more political focus compared to the second site Mitla which was more religious. The name Mitla can be translated to the place of the dead or underworld. When the Spanish arrived, they trashed a fair portion of the site and used the stone as building materials. They built the church of San Pedro right on the site to help spread the Catholic faith.
If yesterday was about historic sites, then today was about the pleasure of motorcycling. The road MEX 190 heading south east from Mitla was a 160km rollercoaster with road surface in generally good condition and very few Topes. The road went through the mountains into a cooler climate with a few pine forests on the way. This area was extremely mountainous with panoramic views in all direction. Not that I could really see as the road was always on the move. This road reaffirmed why I love motorcycles and why I’m doing this trip.
Once through the mountains it was into the heat of the plains and the predictable straight roads.
Just after the town of Tehuantepec I rode through the biggest wind farm of the trip, there were hundreds of wind turbines as far as the eye could see. They were situated in an ideal place as the wind gusted so hard, I really had to fight to keep Winston on the road. No way of taking a hand off the handlebars today.
I continued east along Mex190 and up into the mountains again. The road got higher and higher until the hot breeze turned cool. The altimeter on my GPS showed 2700 metres at one point. The haze that had obscured the views today disappeared and was replaced with cloud and a few drops of rain. The cloud was so thick it was difficult to see more than 5 metres ahead. There wasn’t much traffic on the road but the traffic that was where being sensible and had their headlights on, all except for a couple of vehicles. I came up behind one. It was a four-wheel drive coloured light silver, it was almost impossible to see in the white haze of the cloud. I shook my head in disbelief at the common sense, or lack of.
I descended the mountains back into the haze and warmer air and ended up at a town called San Cristobal de Las Casas where I managed to find a campground.
I headed north east into the mountains under a very grey sky. It was chilly and looked like it might rain. It was slow going on MEX 199 because of the number of topes. These things are enough to drive you mad, they are literally everywhere. Most are signposted but some just pop up out of the blue, in the middle of an 80km/h section where you have to slam on the brakes and change down the gears for no apparent reason. As if this wasn’t frustrating enough there were major demonstrations in some of the towns I had to pass through today. The first blockade was in Huxtan where the traffic was stopped and not going anywhere. I managed to get myself up the outside of the queue of stationary traffic and to the front of the blockade; there were hundreds of people blocking the road. They had put large pieces of wood with 6-inch nails hammered through them with the sole purpose to puncher tyres. They pulled the wood across the road to let one guy through, as he went through, I forced my way in. One of the protestors ask for money, I said “none Mexican, no comprende and managed to squeeze past the nails and on my way I went.
The next one was in Oxchuc and it looked like there had been a riot as one of the buildings nearby had been burnt down, the iron off the roof had been placed on the road, just behind that two huge metal gates were placed on two large concrete cylinders. There were cars parked on the pavements to stop any vehicles getting by. There was no traffic getting past this. There was enough room for pedestrians to go up a bank over the grass. That’s where Winston and I went, it was steep it was at a very tight angle but there was no way we weren’t going through. We got through; a couple of the protestors weren’t happy about it and got quite vocal so I roosted them with dirt as I went past. If they were going to moan about something let them moan about that!!!
The destination for the day was the archaeological site at Palenque which is a world heritage site. This is a huge Maya site. Only a small percentage of it has been excavated.
The Mayas populated this site from around 226BC until 799AD. After its decline it was absorbed into the jungle of cedar, mahogany and Sapodilla trees.
During the night there was a storm and the rain poured. It was that heavy I watched small streams of water run either side of my tent. I made sure I pitched it on raised ground. Even so I could feel the water underneath the ground sheet. The water leached into the tent, but only under my air mattress. Everything stayed dry except for the underside of the mattress.
I had a rest day. Swam in the pool and had a lazy day. In the evening I listened to the Howler Monkeys.
Day 404 Monday 12th October 2015
I was on the move again this time heading north east via the MEX186 firstly down some gravel roads with no one on them and then through a small village. All the villagers were out on the street and all looked concerned. A bit further on I saw a police officer being confronted by a couple of men. They had anger in their eyes. I then saw another police officer with a couple of locals who had a guy under arrest. His wrists were tied together behind his back with rope, he was struggling like mad to get free.
Well, that was a bit of entertainment for the day.
I finished the day in a campground all on my own in Francisco Escarcega. Well, I wasn’t all on my own. I was privileged to be sharing it with the critically endangered Mexican Howler Monkeys.
They live in the tree canopies. They are one of the loudest animals on the planet. Check them out on You Tube.
At 7:30am the Male Howler Monkey started to bark out his morning chorus. This is done to mark out their territory. Normally other Howlers will reciprocate and this gives a good indication of how many groups are out there. It looked like they were the only group. They were making their way over towards me, I could tell because bits of eaten seeds were dropping through the trees to the ground. I went over to see them. There was a mum, dad and two kids. I was staring up into the canopy of the trees they were busy eating breakfast and checking out the strange hairless creature below (me).
I felt a real sense of sorrow come over me. These are endangered because of the amount of deforestation that has occurred. They lived in a very small forest and were trapped there. This is all they would ever know and this is what their survival depended on. I also felt happy that there were to young Howlers because it meant there was a future for the species.
I had breakfast, then packed up camp, bit farewell to my Howler family and headed to Calakmul which is another Mayan excavation site. It’s a one way in and a one way out deal going down a 60km single lane road with a speed limit of 30km/h.
When I got there, there was hardly anyone around. The site is right in the jungle and it was very humid. It is a reasonable walk; I decided to do the long route. There’s no food or drink at the site so you need to take your own.
There were so many mosquitoes that if you stopped walking, they would be all over you like a rash. Even while walking they got me.
North bound it was today heading to Merida. This is where I have arranged for Heidenau Mexico to send my front tyre. It should be at the Triumph dealer tomorrow.
It was a 400km trip which was uneventful until the last 30km where the rain came down in sheets. I was soaked and visibility was poor. I arrived at my destination to find the place I was going to camp no longer existed which meant I had to hotel it. I didn’t mind too much as it would give me chance to dry my gear off in the air conditioning.
In the evening I went for a walk around the Merida square it was very relaxing with the church lit up and people just sitting and watching the evening pass buy.
Yesterday my 8th pair of sunglasses broke so last night I searched out some and brought three pairs. They were cheap and not polarized but will do until I can find a decent pair.
Day 407 Thursday 15th October 2015
I spent the first few hours of the day walking around the Merida square area just looking at the multi coloured Spanish style buildings.
I headed back into Chichen Itza and camped for the night.
I headed to Cancun on the east coast. Unfortunately, in rained very heavily all day so visibility was poor and I was soaked. It was a day for a hotel. I found one and spent the day inside watching the rain pour nonstop past the window. Hopefully tomorrow the rain will stop.
The rain had finally stopped so south I headed under a grey sky. It wasn’t long before the rain caught up with me and it was torrential. The day goes dark and the rain is so intense that many cars pull over to the side of the road as visibility is negligible. It’s better for me to carry on because if I stop or slow down my visor fogs and I have no visibility at all.
The rain slowed to a spit and the air started to dry my sopping riding gear. I carried on until I saw in the distance the next wall of rain. That meant it was time to find somewhere to stop for the night. I ended up in Felipe Carrillo Pueto. I found a reasonable hotel and managed to negotiate the price down 40%.
I noticed a hairdresser's shop on the corner of the street so I popped across there for a NZ$5 haircut which was much needed.
Day 410 Sunday 18th October 2015
It was like ground hog day today. The last three days have started the same. Overcast when I start riding and then within 10 minutes torrential rain. Today was slightly different the rain never let up. When I arrived into Chetumal, which is only 14km from the Belize border the rain was still like a monsoon. The streets had started to flood and a couple of them had been blocked off due to the high-water levels.
I rode down one street with no traffic and the water got deeper and deeper until it was only inches from my tank. I was starting to feel a bit nervous that I would drown Winston so I gave it a bit more throttle and we managed to get through. There was a guy sitting on his bicycle watching. He must have realised how deep it was and was there for entertainment.
I found a hotel and that’s where I stayed for the rest of the day.