Against the Wind - We'll Follow the Sun - CycleBlaze

February 1, 2019

Against the Wind

We're older now but still riding against the wind (apologies to Bob Seger)

We woke up a little early so that we could grab our breakfast and be on the road quickly.  Breakfast this day was a little different – we were offered chorizo sandwiches or ham.  We both chose the chorizo and then, to the consternation of our waitress (a different one today) we asked her for a bag to take them with us.  She rolled her eyes and took them away, bringing them back wrapped in plastic wrap.  We drank our coffee, picked up a couple of waters instead of juice and were out on the road by 8:30 and into the wind.  Oh boy, were we ever into the wind!!!  It was fierce and in our faces for the entire day – what fun!  

These guys were at the beach yesterday too. Must be a lifeguard training thing going on.
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Looks so pretty, doesn't it?
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It never gets old, seeing a horse cart on the road!
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About halfway to Santa Cruz del Norte there was a little pullout with an old structure out by the beach with tourists crawling all over it.  They had a café, so we pulled in and had a quick look.  We aren’t sure what it was used for originally, but it was faced entirely by coral.  All falling apart now, it made for an interesting place to check out.

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Jim was hoping to find some treasure, but someone beat him to it!
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See how our flags are sticking straight out in the wind? Too bad it was in the wrong direction!
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Once done, we hit the café for a couple of coffees and were sitting enjoying the beach view when who should pull in but Kris and Dave!  We enjoyed another quick visit, with people wanting to look at their Bike Fridays (folding bikes).  We have been curious about them as well, so both took a little spin.  They certainly handle a lot differently from our Surleys, but I bet you get used to it quickly and for the ease of travel they might be something in our future – who knows?  

As they had to make the resort in Jibacoa today, Kris and Dave took off before us, but soon we had to give up and head back into the wind again.  It was not a pleasant time at all. You can try to distract yourself by looking out at the ocean, but really, cycling into a tough wind is just work.  We both put on our headsets and ground out the short 10 km to Santa Cruz where we pulled off, thinking we might find a place to stay and wait out the wind.  However, a short ride through town convinced us that this is not a town for foreigners at all.  They do have three banks though, so if you are going through, you can get cash before heading out. Not needing cash, we stopped by the waterfront to eat our sandwiches before once again launching ourselves out into the fray.

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Not a whole lot going on here
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It was a very tired twosome who pulled up at a little restaurant on the side of the road at El Fraile.  We thought to get a cold drink and some food before deciding what to do.  We knew there were a couple of Casa here but weren’t sure if we should stop or go the last 5 km to Playa Jibacoa.  As we normally do, we leaned our bikes against the wall of the restaurant but before we could even go in, a waitress came out to tell us the bikes couldn’t be there. I asked where they could go but she was not helpful at all and by this time, I was not interested in eating at a place like this.  We hopped back on and were just heading off when we noticed a waitress from the restaurant across the highway waving to us.  There was a guy wearing a hat with a US flag on it standing next to her, so we thought, what the heck, we may as well check it out.  The waitress, Danyela, told us we could park our bikes anywhere we liked (I loved her already!) and the fellow, Ernie, who turns out to be a fellow Canadian, told us this restaurant has a wonderful chef and, happy to be welcomed in such a way, we sat and ordered lunch, which was fabulous and included a wonderful lemon frappe – freshly made!  As we sat and chatted with Ernie, Danyela checked with the owner of the restaurant where they also have some Casa rooms to see if we could have a room for a couple of nights.  At first they said no, but then came back and said we could have a room for one night if we liked for $30 CUCs – done!  We were so happy not to have to head back into the wind and even more happy to find our room at the top of the stairs with a beautiful deck overlooking the water – amazing!!!!

The not so nice people who wouldn't let us park our bikes - lost business, folks!
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Our happy place - literally!
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Our buddy Ernie
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What a great view!
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As we were settling in, another group of cyclists came by – all Canadians!   Lies (pronounced 'leez') and Cooper are here from Toronto and have been in town for a week already.  They were on rented bikes and on their way to the beach when they ran into the other couple from Ottawa (on a Co-motion tandem) – I didn’t get their names.  They were looking for a Casa and Cooper and Lies offered to help them look by introducing them to their Casa owner.  However, a short time later they came back saying they couldn’t get in and the wife looked keen to push on to Matanzas (about 50 kms away).  Wishing them well, we said goodbye and Jim and I went for a walk to check out the waterfront.  Where we are its very rocky – the same sharp rocks we saw in Mexico, but with the wind as it was we enjoyed watching the waves crashing up and over – especially since we didn’t have to keep riding!  There were some great views – you’ll just have to believe me because we both forgot to bring any kind of recording instruments!  Sorry!

Pretty rocky!
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Back at our Casa we showered and had snooze before dinner where we had arranged to meet Lies and Cooper.  The restaurant here is small but so good and dinner was just a wonderful experience altogether.  These smaller privately owned places are really the place to eat in Cuba!  We had a great time visiting with our fellow Canadians and talked for quite some time before finally saying goodnight.  They are heading out in the morning for some snorkelling at one of the local resorts (arranged for them through their Casa owner).  Our plan is to check out the other Casas in town, hoping we can find something here for a few days as we now know that along the Jibacoa beach there are only resorts and hotels, so our best Casa chance is right here – we will see how it goes, but for now, we are just so happy to have such a wonderful place to stay!  

Lovely presentation and great taste! The Mojitos weren't bad either!
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What a day!  If we had decided to wait out the wind in Guanabo, we would have missed seeing our fellow bike pals and would probably have blown right through Jibacoa, missing this lovely little spot altogether.  It was only because we were so very tired and that place across they way was so rude that we found this wonderful little spot – lucky lucky us!!!

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Today's ride: 30 km (19 miles)
Total: 1,400 km (869 miles)

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