I can see for miles and miles - We'll Follow the Sun - CycleBlaze

December 17, 2018

I can see for miles and miles

and miles and miles and miles

Ah yes, another day with many parts - aren't they all like that on a tour?  But before getting into today, we need to finish up yesterday.  We went for a short walk about town, thinking we should pick up some juice and muffins for the morning as we planned on getting away early again.  As we walked, we saw that most stores were closed for siesta!  Oops!  Lucky for us, the little store where we had gotten directions earlier was not quite closed and the very kind lady there not only sold us our goods but gave us a little bag of peanuts!  They're very tiny, not like what we see at home, but tasty nonetheless.  After completing our purchase, we thought it might be wise to check in at the restaurant next to our little motel, just to be sure we could have dinner there.  Good thing!  Turns out they close early (maybe on Sunday, maybe everyday, who knows?) and we needed to eat right then, at 4:00.  We quickly deposited our purchase in our room and headed over to the restaurant.  It is in what appears to be an old hacienda, with high ceilings, large rooms and a big courtyard.  This place has not been totally restored, which gave it a certain charm.  There was only one group eating when we came in and sat down and they finished their meal and left, which meant we had the place to ourselves.  Our waitress brought us a handwritten list of what we could order - about 5 things in total.  I chose a breaded chicken breast while Jim chose grilled chicken.  When our food was delivered, I was kind of blown away by the giant portion I was given - 4 pieces of chicken!  Yikes!  However, the chicken had been pounded flat, then breaded and fried so it was not quite as big as it looked at first.  But my oh my was it yummy!!!  Jim's was good, but he had a bite of mine and wished he had ordered it as well.  Good thing for Jim that I really couldn't finish mine and he got the leftovers!  Drinks consisted of a choice of pop or lemonade, so we chose lemonade.  The total for this massive feast was 200 pesos, which was ridiculous!  But then, we had been overcharged for our breakfast so I guess it all evens out in the end!

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Tiffany EllisonOh that looks really nice!
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4 months ago
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Yum!
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We retired to our room to relax and watch a bit of football, thinking to get to sleep early.  It had been very quiet when we checked in and since it looked like jungle behind our unit, we were expecting a nice quiet evening.  Nope!  Someone somewhere had the tunes cranked to the max.  We thought perhaps there was some sort of celebration happening in town so went out for a walk to check it out.  Here I have to point out that this is the second very small town we have stayed in.  If this were somewhere in Vancouver, we would have been concerned by the look of the neighbourhood and walking at night where there are not a lot of streetlights, but in both these places, and in fact everywhere we have stayed in Mexico, we have felt nothing but totally safe walking around.  There is not a feeling of threat coming from anywhere.  Sure, a lot of the buildings are run down, but the people who inhabit these places do not make you feel afraid in any way.  They are kind and polite and always offer to help with directions or anything we are looking for.  We LOVE it here in Mexico and encourage anyone to come!  Ok, rant finished.  Back to the walk.  Turns out that no, there was no big event going on, but lots of stores were open again and people were just out doing their every Sunday evening thing I guess, which meant that someone in the neighbourhood behind our motel just really really likes loud music - oh boy!  We returned to our room, passing the church were a service was in progress.  It had been closed earlier so this was our first glimpse at the inside and wow!  It was amazing!  

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Returning to our room, we resigned ourselves to a noisy night and were not disappointed on that front.  As it turns out, we slept better in the motel with the rock hard bed and the loud fan than in the sweet little casita!  Ah well, such is life on tour!

We awoke at 6:00 and were away by 6:30, knowing we had a fairly long day ahead of us.  We decided to give the original directions I had created on Ride with GPS a try and sure enough, we headed out of town and started towards what looked like another dirt track - oh no!  Thankfully, someone from a nearby business stopped us and said, "no hay camino aqui!" (No road here!), so we turned around and headed back towards town to reroute.  We decided the best way to thwart Garmin's (and everyone else it seems) effort to put us on a dirt road was to route our way to a couple of small towns along the route that we knew was also one that would have worked for cars and this seemed to do the trick.  Thus armed, we followed Garmin's directions towards the very small communities of Santo Domingo, Kochol and then Chunchucmil.  This part of our day was actually very pleasant.  Although the road was pretty much one lane only and there was a fair bit of traffic going back and forth between the towns, everyone was very careful and took their time to pass us when it was safe.  There were all manner of vehicles on the road, from cars and motorcycles to the little motorcycle and pedal carriers we have seen in many towns.  Because it was a meandering road, we didn't encounter much in the way of wind and we really enjoyed just taking our time and seeing the sights along the way.

Ready to rock and roll
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See? We haven't forgotten it's Christmas! Our bikes are all decorated, but lights are a bit difficult to manage!
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There were a lot of rock walls along the way, usually protecting a field of weeds (or dreams?).
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Now this is an impressive plant!
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Bill ShaneyfeltThat is the flower stalk of some species of agave.

http://succulent-plant.com/families/agavaceae.html
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5 months ago
Sue PriceTo Bill ShaneyfeltAh! That makes sense!
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5 months ago
The base of said plant
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And the top
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At the end of this part of our day, we came upon Hacienda Chunchucmil, which is a crazy big and very deserted large hacienda.  We were looking for a good spot to eat breakfast when this appeared, so of course, we took off across the empty field and parked our bikes at the grandiose steps of the hacienda.  While we unpacked our muffins and juice, a local man came up to us and offered to show us around - sure!  He didn't speak English and our Spanish has not progressed to a point of having even a short conversation but it didn't matter.  Room after room we went through and we were just blown away by the spender that had once been here.  It is just tragic that such a beautiful place has been left to ruins.  It was a sisal farm as well as raising cattle and horses it would seem. Much of what life was like at one time is left to the imagination and as we wandered around with our wonderful guide, munching on our muffins, we were taken back to another time in Mexico, when large holdings like this supported the town around them.  We have seen much evidence of this during our time here in the Yucatan - sisal was the big industry that drove much of the large homes we have seen both in Merida and around the countryside.  It seems that the landholders would have their big and fancy home in Merida where they had a wife and family and then their farm in the countryside with the fancy hacienda and, quite often it seems, another family!  What is sad to see is how much has fallen into disuse because of the fall of industry and the greed of a small group of men.  

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These are hand painted! Every room had a different theme
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The tiles on the floor were dirty but still in amazing shape
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Another room with a different theme
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Really an incredible place. Google it!
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After leaving the hacienda, we began the next part of our day - slogging into the wind.  Ah, what fun it is!  For 24kms  we were on a pretty much dead straight road that deteriorated as we went along.  We stopped partway through for a break and both took out our headsets, the first time we have done so on this tour.  We needed some music in our ears to get us through to the end of this day.  At one point, Jim was listening to the song, I Can See for Miles and Miles and that seemed an appropriate title for today's blog - just a lot of miles with not much of a break in the bush on either side of the road.  

At the end of 24km we reached the highway leading to Celestun, which we were looking forward to as we knew that at the very lease the road surface would be better and it was, but that was about it.  The wind came and went and traffic was intermittent.  There was no shoulder, but people were very respectful, taking the full lane to pass us and if there was oncoming traffic, waiting until they did pass.  We stopped a few times for a quick drink of juice, but pretty much just kept the headsets in and using the drops on our handlebars much more than ever before, we pushed through until we reached Celestun.

Out of the jungle, we crossed the bridge and saw the tourist information on the left.  We had heard this was the best place to get a boat tomorrow to head out and see pelicans and flamingos, so we stopped in to ask.  While doing so, a young man approached us and said he very much wanted to share a boat with us.  At first I thought he was selling spots on his own boat, but no, he was also a tourist, albeit a Mexican tourist, here in town with his German girlfriend and her mother.  It turns out that he is very interested in bike touring and wanted to pick our brains while on the boat.  Sadly they were going out right then and we were absolutely in no shape to do anything but find our room and then a beer, in that order! We gave him the Cycleblaze site info and encouraged him to look up the many tours that others have posted about cycling in Europe since that's where he lives now, and wished him and his companions a good journey.  We saw that getting on a boat seemed very straightforward so headed into town to find our hotel.  My phone, which has all of our hotel information, had run down to the red zone and all I was able to get before it shut down completely was the name of the place and general location.  With that in hand, we found the street and asked for Hotel San Julio.  Lucky for us, the store owner we asked knew of it and directed us just down the street.  We were so happy to find our wonderful little get away on the beach - it is perfect for a couple of days of relaxing, sleeping to the sounds of waves breaking and of seeing flamingos!  Yay!  So, that's it for today's adventures.  We are off to have a promised cervesa on the beach and then a siesta before dinner - boy, life on the road is tough here in the Yucatan!!!

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Yes let's!
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Today's ride: 74 km (46 miles)
Total: 366 km (227 miles)

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Tiffany EllisonWhat were the drops on ur handlebars?
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4 months ago