The days in Mexico are going to an end and this will be the last day here at the Yucatan peninsula. Short after I started from Tulum, 2 other guys on their GS followed me and at the next gasstation we started chatting.
Eduardo told me, that they are 6 persons, 2 following and two already ahead and while we got gas, the other 2 arrived. They immediately asked if I would like to join them and so we went along together: a very nice ride although after some kilometers rain started. We visited the lagoon at Bacalar and the in Chetumal they went further towards Escarcega and I stayed for the night in Chetumal.
Another day in Tulum, this time with necessary bike repair, as since a long time, my front headlight was shining somewhere into the sky, but not where it was supposed to be. I already found out in a GS forum, that while changing the bulb, it might happen, that the fixation points of the whole front light mirror housing might disconnect. And that was it, a 4 hour works of disassemble the front, try to get the housing fixations set up again with the need of high sensible super mini fingers trying to attach someting which you don't see as it is inside the closed housing. finally it worked and the light workes again as designed.
beach, diving, visiting Ek Balam, swimming in a cenote, diving in an other cenote, Quad tour in the jungle, visiting Tulum, diving at Cozumel and no biking
Ek' Balam is a Yucatec-Maya archaeological site within the municipality of Temozón, Yucatán, Mexico. It lies in the Northern Maya lowlands, 25 kilometres north of Valladolid and 56 kilometres northeast of Chichen Itza. From the Preclassic until the Postclassic period, it was the seat of a Mayan kingdom.
The site is noted for the preservation of the plaster on the tomb of Ukit-Kan-Lek-Tok, a king buried in the side of the largest pyramid.
At its height from 770 to 840 CE, Ek' Balam provides a rich resource of information for understanding northern Classic cities, due to the poor preservation of many other notable northern Maya sites (e.g. Coba, Izamal, and Edzna).It was during this height that the Late Yumcab ceramic complex (750-1050/1100 CE) dominated the architecture and pottery of Ek’ Balam. The population decreased dramatically, down to 10% of its highest, during the Postclassic period as Ek’ Balam was slowly becoming vacant. There are several theories to why it was eventually abandoned and to the degree of haste at which it was abandoned
Tulum is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for CobáThe ruins are situated on 12-meter tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have been the cause of its demise. One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites.
The Maya site may formerly have been known by the name Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise. Tulum stands on a bluff facing east towards the Caribbean Sea. Tulúm is also the Yucatan Mayan word for fence, wall or trench, and the walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to be defended against invasions. Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it an important trade hub, especially for obsidian. From numerous depictions in murals and other works around the site, Tulum appears to have been an important site for the worship of the Diving or Descending god.Tulum had an estimated population of 1,000 to 1,600 inhabitants. (Wikipedia)
Thestreets are straight here, most time im very well conditions and driving is easy and boring. But in the last days I have looked also for the beautiful vegetation here and there which is growing in this humid area and found marvelous flowers around. The nature is doing well and uses the given conditions at its best. Looking left or right off the sreet, it seems immediately like jungle and I get again the impression that any camping off the street is simply impossible... There is no way to get in.
First the temples of the Maya and then another etappe before I will go diving. Early in the morning, it was time to start to the archeological site of palenque, some 9 km in front of the city. It was worth going there in the morning as it wasn't yet too hot and almost no tourists were at the site.
Palenque, also anciently known as Lakamha (literally: "Big Water"), was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century. The Palenque ruins date from ca. 226 BC to ca. AD 799. After its decline, it was absorbed into the jungle of cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees, but has since been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors. It is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, about 130 km south of Ciudad del Carmen.Palenque is a medium-sized site, much smaller than such huge sites as Tikal, Chichen Itza, or Copán, but it contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings that the Mayas produced. Much of the history of Palenque has been reconstructed from reading the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the many monuments; historians now have a long sequence of the ruling dynasty of Palenque in the 5th century and extensive knowledge of the city-state's rivalry with other states such as Calakmul and Toniná. The most famous ruler of Palenque was K'inich Janaab Pakal, or Pacal the Great, whose tomb has been found and excavated in the Temple of the Inscriptions. By 2005, the discovered area covered up to 2.5 km² , but it is estimated that less than 10% of the total area of the city is explored, leaving more than a thousand structures still covered by jungle. (Wikipedia)
After a 1 1/2 h tour around, I returned back to the hotel, got my bike ready to head northeast to Chetumal, the border city to Belize, find another stay for the night and then head north to Akumal for the next adventure, meeting with my family and go diving ...
After a day in the glowing road with that much humidity, that I had to take a rest every now and then, arriving in the evening at Palenque at one of the various hotels located there, the onliest goal was to fall into the pool and cool down... Unfortunately, this night, I had first time the challenge of Montezuma, also known as a heavy disturbance of the stomach... not nice but it's part of the game...
I am heading again towards mountain area and a heavy thunderstorm is coming. But as it happended already, clouds, lightnings and rain is left and right but not hitting me. However it is an impressive game of the nature how the stored energies are spent within short time. After half an hour, everything is gine and sun comes out again and I arrive at the next city, whre I have the impression, there are only taxis. At least every second car is one. And as it is common in Mexico, every city has its own taxi colour, here it was white orange. On the way every now and then there are small, cute couourful churches on the road from various time epoques. The one almost broken down, the other nice maintained...
To hot to write... sorry but the hotel in the evening, directly at the seaside was like heaven
Having chosen the small curvy roads is fun to drive but on the other side it's time to write somthing about the road conditions, which are very good on bigger roads and up to gravel road on the small side roads. What is common for all of them are the holes, which are coming up and then absolutely unexpected, and these are often real deep holes. There are 2 possibilities, either to drive very slow and try to avoid them or very fast and slip over... In any case I can understand why driving at night is not recommended.
The other really disturbing thing are the speed reducers, which are installed in every even so little village and also sometimes in the middle of nowhere. And if there are, its not only one or two, no there at least five or six every 100 m. The result is existant, people simply cannot drive fast without destroying the suspension but in any case it is a heavy challenge for any driven suspension system... lets see when mine is leaking...
today no comments, just pictures
Today I started late and before departure I enjoyed a healthy breakfast with fruit and joghurt and walked around a bit in the city. There are all types of little shops from sewing machine dealers
up to the saddle makers. Somehow I felt set back by 100 years. Even the hairdresser didn't accept me as it was only for ladies.
The trip itself to Zacatecas wasn't extraordinary, the road most time went straight ahead.
Already 10 km before the city the publicity for a specific hotel Baruk started and finally I went there to look if that might be affordable ... and checked in. The hotel is situated on top of the city with a marvelous view all around.
I had found the tip in a book that the road to Durango should be a nice one and in fact it was. Al least 100 km curvy road allways up into the mountains and while driving I also met the first rain since weeks. It was refreshing and enjoyable and right with the sunset I arrived in Durango, found a nice little hotel right in the center, a burger bar around the corner and the evening was done.
Saturday, August 29, 2015, Durango - Zacatecas, 289 Km, nice and warm with 28°C
Today I started late and before departure I enjoyed a healthy breakfast with fruit and joghurt and walked around a bit in the city. There are all types of little shops from sewing machine dealers up to the saddle makers. Somehow I felt set back by 100 years.
The trip itself to Zacatecas wasn't extraordinary, the road most time went straight ahead.
Already 10 km before the city the publicity for a specific hotel started and finally I went there to look if that might be affordable ... and checked in. The hotel is situated on top of the city with a marvelous view all around.
I had to start early this morning to figure out, where the harbour is located, to buy a ticket and also to make the importation paperwork for my bike. To get to the harbour of La Paz, it's a 15 Km ride along the shore and arriving there, it was quit easy. The lady at the importation office knew well english, so I didn't have to fight with my slowly returning spanish and also the custom officers understood what I need and stamped my Carnet de passage. I also got a ticket but no room, so that would mean stay overnight in a seat... we will see, in any case I thought may be I can sleep on deck with my sleeping bag and air mattress.
After all tasks were done, there were still 3hours left until I had to be in the harbour so I drove back some kilometers and went to the beach...
At 3 o'clock I was back in the harbour and could directly drive into the ferry, got my bike fixed, took my stuff for the night and went up to the passenger area. The next hours were filled with hanging around, reading, drinking some beers and while sitting on the upper deck I met a couple from Florida, father Michael Rice and daughter Jocelyn Rice on the way with their bicycles, also heading down to Patagonia (www.FatherDaughterCyclingAdventures.com). They had a room with 4 beds and offered me to join them! Sometimes, life is beatiful and people are nice and friendly. We spent dinner together and later on I enjoyed my unexpected bed. The next morning at 8 there was breakfast time and afterwards, while beeing again on the upper deck, I met peter, a guy from England who was walking with his back pack all the way down from San Franzisco. You see, there are still a lot of individualists and adventurers existing in this world.
We arrived at around noon, met in front of the harbour for a last lemonade and then everybody went along his way. Mine was to arrive at Durango heading into the cooler mountains.
Also it wasa nice place there in Mulege, I had to go further to catch the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan on Thursday afternoon and I did not yet have a ticket. So the way went further down the Baja
California, first along the coast line and then within the middle of the island.
The sun was burning without mercy and I can't count anymore the bottles of water and lemonade, I was drinking on the way. The t-shirts in meanwhile always have white marks from the salt I was sweating. When arriving in La Paz, it was already late and I didn't like to search long time for a hotel so I took the next best at the road: a Car Motel. When I entered and got to the reception I understood, that it was a so called hour hotel for couples, who want to spend some intime moments. However, the price was resonable, I had a bed and a shower and I didn't care further....
After a strong breakfast in the truck driver restaurant, I first had to ride slowly with max. 80 km/h as I was already driving with the last drops of gasoline and the next gas station was still 40 km away. But it seemed after the reoair of the gas indicator in LA, there was more gas left in the tank than indicated and I arrived well at the gas station without using my little spare tank in the rear.
During the day, I could see various thunderstorms at the horizon but more than some raindrops didn't catch me. After crossing the baja from west to east, I found in Santa Rosalia a technical museum. But beside a lot of rusty old stuff, this little city was really demotivating. I was dreaming of a little motel at the beach and there was only industry all along the shore line.
But a guy at the gas station recommended me to go until mulege and indeed there it was. A nice hotel almost at the beach, totally empty. They told me that all the guests had left due to school start. So I got the biggest and most beatiful room, the suite and enjoyed dinner with a marvelous fish and a glass of white wine directly in front of the pool...
I was glad, leaving the crowds in Ensenada and headed down south.
The scenery was first very boaring, the road straight but while I was thinking about which picture to take, suddenly the vegetation changed and I found myself in the middle of cactus fields with all imaginable types and sizes. And the road changed to curvy up and down.
And instead of bears and moose on the street, there are now cows everynow and then.
In the afternoon,I tried a little sandy road right to the beach and of course got stuck... so all the luggage down, digging the sand around the wheels and then it worked.
Every hour later, the traffic became less and in the evening I was alone on the street, enjoying my new front lights and fortunately finding a nice little truck driver motel on the road, where I was joining some of the drivers, who were sitting in front of the motel singing popular mexican songs. One of them (not singing) was the master of the karaoke laptop.
Starting from LA, I first went down south following the highway 405 and then turning left towards Tecate. I wanted to avoid the border crossing at Tijuana, as it is named as the border with the most traffic worldwide.
InTecate, the custom clearance was easy as the bike importation into Mexico has to be done only in La Paz in the south of the Baja California. But at the US customs, I had again the same experience: nobody feels responsible and nobody is really working.Instead, they let you waith for nothing...
Riding down the Baja, the vegetation changed to more and more desert. Just stones and sand. And late evening at around 9 o'clock I finally arrived at Ensenada. Checking from one hotel to the next, they all have been fully booked. It seems, all the americans came down for the weekend and in fact, as I finally found a place for 180 pesos in the middle of the redlight district, it was obvious: crowds of people on the streets for drinking, eating and any sort of shows. I really had to fight against all the invitations from prostitutes, transvestits and guys, inviting me into their super extra best show... however the hotel was up to now lowest level, in price and standard. A bed, a shower and the noise from all the neighbours around all night long...