Zacatecas to Cancun

September 26, 2011

We arrived in Guanajuato, and the city was very cool, set in a picturesque valley, with an amazing road around the top, and tunnels beneath.

We stopped at a market for breakfast and had some great shrimp and seafood cocktails and some bread stuffed with… something. Was tasty but, and all for $4 per person.
I also noticed my pannier rack had cracked again at the weld that was done yesterday… On we soldiered to Santiago de Queretaro, another beautiful Colonial city. We saw lots of bikes as we headed towards the city, big bikes, not the 100-200cc ones, this was obviously gringo country. We arrived and the city was “beautiful”, all the buildings painted perfectly and kept exceptionally well. Range Rovers and BMW SUV’s abounded, not my kinda place. I like heritage, but I much prefer soul. We didn’t stop… until leaving the city and I spotted Mark and Maggie’s bike parked outside a hotel… we stopped for a quick chat, swapped some more travel suggestions, they had intentions of staying the night in the city, we didn’t.

We headed a little further, and got off the highway, we wanted to see the highlands of eastern Mexico, and our book said something about a road with 700 curves in the area (although it didn’t say where!).
We found out it was the one that we were on.

Some spectacular scenery (and roads). We camped as it began to rain, a theme that would continue to follow us for the next few days.
I awoke early in the evening to the sound of Tim’s voice and red and blue flashing lights on my tent “cops”. We had camped in a pull off away from the road, and we were just visible to passers by, Tim suspected that they saw his headlight as he was reading. Unawares of the laws on camping in Mexico, I expected to be hauled out into the rain in my underpants, get accosted in Spanish, and get summarily told to “GTFO”. Nope, they had a quick look and turned their car around, I happily went back to sleep.
We rode into town, enjoying the last bit of the road in the morning light and I noticed an exhaust shop, I stopped and explained the dilemma with my panniers to the kid who looked no older than 19, he knew his way around a welder though… I articulated through arm waving, breaking noises and poor Spanish some further modifications I wanted done to reduce the stress on them, thinking that by the time we leave Central America, I might have a bike that can actually hold up over a rough road! I am pleased to report that no chairs were harmed in the modifications of the panniers, and that I am happy with the finished job. Fingers crossed.
A really pleasant guy who spoke perfect English saw the bikes with California plates, he lived in Texas for a number of years, and had returned to Mexico in search of work, while his family stayed behind in Texas, we gave him a sticker and had a good chat; he gave us a recommendation of a place for breakfast. Times like this I particularly like travelling by Motorcycle, in places like this you stick out like a sore thumb, everyone wants to chat to you, and everyone thinks you are crazy, which is good as it removes the possibility of a false first impression.

We had an amazing breakfast, and then got our bikes washed for $2.50 each, they were filthy. We had a good chat to the guys, they liked our style and we liked theirs.

We continued on down through the Mexican state of Hidalgo, or as I have formally requested it to be renamed to “Land of the bleeding topes” (Tope = speed bump). Like Salsa, Tortilla’s, Cowboy hats and mustache’s, Mexican’s have a fetish for these things, I am yet to understand why, but Hidalgo by far is the worst, they vary in shapes, sizes and in many other ways except frequency. They are there before a corner, after a corner, during a corner, to protect the children, protect the dogs, the cows, the adults, the trees, they put them in the sun, in the shade, behind buildings and in front of them. I lost count of how many times I hit one unexpectedly (and as a result, too fast), my panniers and top box were going to love me.
The scenery and people did kind of make up for it though.

It is obviously on the poorer end of the provinces, and it is not uncommon to come around a corner and be encountered by a little hole in the road

We found a decent camping spot and called it a day.

We had conveniently parked near a lake, in the morning we woke up to this:

And we had the best meal we had in Mexico, fish for breakfast:

Continuing on we saw picturesque waterfalls, towns and the like

Riding down through Puebla, we hit Oaxaca, and noticed a change. This was obviously the poorest province, potholes were now filled in with a crushable gravel, meaning roads looked more like this:

And trucks that would randomly share their load with the rest of the world

That’s alright, out route soon turned to the sky

And the sky met us with a present too

The road went away, and back to us.

It was obvious we were entering more tropical provinces, the maize fields were still evident, but now they had to share their surrounds with sugar cane, banana trees and other more tropical flora. We stopped in a cool town

Dinner was particularly epic.

We stayed in a hotel (rare), mostly because it wasn’t just cats and dogs coming down, cows and horses decided to come down from the ceiling as well.
In the morning, the scenery and the road simply unfolded in front of us.

Usually I prefer my throttle locked in one position, wide open, for the first time in this trip (and possibly ever), I went slow. I was soaking it up.
A little 125 went past sporting more luggage than us, instead of getting the red mist and wondering how I could out brake him in the next corner, I thought about yelling at him “hey mate, you might have been born here, have you checked out the scenery here lately, how bought slow down and check it out!”

It was all happening, horses carrying Sugar Cane,

horses crushing Sugar Cane

horses not crushing giant spiders

Epic scenery

Empty pools

And traffic 😦

With neat rigs

Lunch was impressive

Served by some wonderful senorita’s (note the sticker at the top 😉 )

We stopped at Sumidero Canyon for a little boat ride, which is well recommended.

Stunningly beautiful scenery surrounded us
with a little bit of trash.

Back on the bikes, and it was a little wet.

New day. Palenque, we paid our $7, although I suggest asking for a discount, looks like they hadn’t finishing building whatever we were supposed to be looking at

Trying our best to get our monies worth, we looked past that


Seeing the age and condition of the buildings, Tim dryly added “should have gotten these Mayan dudes to build the roads, they would be a bit better off”.

We headed off to Cancun, found our worst campsite so far (in a maize field)

And settled in to enjoy the humidity for the evening.
Arriving in Cancun, we decided to head to Cuba. Tomorrow we are off.
Our hostel’s cleaning staff were that efficient that they thought throwing out our motorcycle boots might be a good idea (perhaps that says something about their smell?). I could do nothing but laugh. We attempted to find replacements for them, trying to find boots that fit my (not so large) feet that offer any form of safety protection in Mexico was like finding a swim suit for an elephant. We sort of succeeded and will not be riding in our sandals.

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2 Responses to “Zacatecas to Cancun”

  1. Blair Says:

    You guys are blazing, it seems like you’ll be finished with the trip by Christmas?!?!?!?

  2. Di Otasevic Says:

    Am following every bump & pothole with you Adrian take it easy hey..Cheers Di


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