La Venta - The eleventh step ... Mexico City to Cancun via Guatemala & Belize - CycleBlaze

October 5, 2021

La Venta

Our hotel included a buffet breakfast so we tucked in before we left.  The smell of the petrochemical plants hung heavily in the air this morning and I can't imagine that it is a healthy are in which to live.  It was raining lightly but we were keen to get out of Coatzacoalcos.  As we crossed the river it started raining heavily and we managed to make it to a shelter near the toll booth before we got too wet.

The R180 is the main road down to the Yucatan and it was shocking to see how bad the condition of the road was for the first ten kilometers out of Coatzacoalcos.  Cyclists are not charged to use the road but I would have been upset if I were an ordinary motorist.

Sheltering from the rain just before the toll booth.
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One of the many PEMEX plants along the way.
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Once the road improved we got a shoulder in which we could ride.  The challenge was avoiding the "rumble strip" to warn motorists that they are straying into the shoulder.  Whereever the shoulder's width got a bit narrow, the rumble strip would force us into the road.

Leaving Veracruz and entering Tabasco. Note the rumble line, thankfully enough room to the right of it on this section.
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The R180 was incredibly busy and mostly pretty ugly but we have got to ride it for the next two days.  The shoulder means that it is easy to stop if we spot any birds.  The first half of the ride was roller coaster stuff but the second half was through flat marshy countryside which threw up a few water birds for us.

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
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Female Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)
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Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
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Great Egret (Ardea alba)
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After forty nine kilometers of the R180 we turned off onto a country road to take us to La Venta.  It is the location of a pre-Columbian archaeological site of the Olmec civilization and is where many of the well known Olmecan heads have been found.  We hoped to experience some of it. but unfortunately, the museum was closed and all that is visible is a number of vegetation covered mounds.  

The Olemcan heads are prominant throughout La Venta.
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The consolation is that the VQ Hotel in town is really good for a simple place like La Venta.  Tomorrow we brave the R180 for about seventy kilometers to Cardenas before taking a loop down to the coast for a few days (we cooked up this change of plans last night).

Today's ride: 57 km (35 miles)
Total: 1,043 km (648 miles)

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