On With the Show This Is It! - We'll Follow the Sun - CycleBlaze

December 1, 2018 to December 2, 2018

On With the Show This Is It!

Hint: you will only get this title if you watched Bugs Bunny when you were little

Whew!  We have finally made it to Merida and have had a fantastic start to our tour here - all of 12 km today!  I'll explain more later, but suffice it to say, we are keeping to our theme of enjoying the very very slow way of touring!

We left Austin, after one lovely, sunny day (thanks, Austin!) to head down to San Antonio where we would be flying out on the following day, December 1.  We rented an SUV to get us and the bikes there and won't be trying that trick again - it was not easy fitting the two bikes into the back, but we managed.  Later that day, my cousin Betty and her husband Stuart came to pick us up and take us to the River Walk for dinner.  It was lovely to see them again and to experience the River Walk during the Christmas season with all the lights.  We went on a barge tour with them and got to see and hear about some of the more interesting bits of history along this waterway.  We also, of course, made a quick stop at the Alamo, which was also done up for Christmas.  It was a lovely evening and we really appreciated their coming into town to take us out, thus saving us from sitting in our hotel room fretting about the long day that lay ahead of us.  Instead, we enjoyed good food, good company and many lovely sights - thanks again, Betty and Stuart!

Heart 1 Comment 0

The next morning, bright and early, we packed up the bikes and our gear and stuffed them back into the SUV for the short trip over to the airport. We stopped briefly to put gas in the car and then dropped it off almost without a hitch.  The SUV was a newer model with a start button, so you just had to have the key nearby.  Jim kept it in his hat on the console so it wouldn't get lost.  On top of that was an empty bag that I through in the trash at the gas station before we left.  When we got to the drop off, do you think we could find the key? Nope!  It was not in Jim's hat!!!  We panicked, thinking that somehow it had managed to get into the bag I through away until fortunately, the young man checking us in managed to find it under the driver's side seat - thank goodness!!!!

We took a big breath and wheeled the bikes into the airport.  When we arrived the day before, we had some time so went to the check-in counter for Interjet to make sure it would be ok to have the bikes in plastic bags.  Our good friends, Steve and Dodie (the Grampies) had taken their bikes on Interjet last year with varied success, so we weren't sure.  The woman at the counter at first said they had to be in a box, but when I told her that my understanding was a bag was fine, she went along with me - that should have been my cue that things wouldn't go quite the way we wanted.  Sure enough, we showed up at the counter where another woman was in charge today and she at first insisted they had to be in boxes.  Jim quite kindly talked to her away from me (I think he was afraid I would lose it on her and get us kicked off the flight - probably true) and got her to agree to just put cardboard over the parts that stick out - I guess they thought that somehow our bikes would damage everyone else's hard sided luggage!!!  Luckily, we had left ourselves with the maximum amount of time, so after buying a couple of small boxes ($5.00 each!) and tearing them up, we taped them on, wrapped the bikes up and delivered them to the Interjet counter where they were accepted and sent off....after I signed a waiver saying they weren't responsible for any damage!  Grrrr!!!!

Do I look impressed?
Heart 0 Comment 2
Steve Miller/GrampiesThat is exactly the same look I had in the same situation. Dodie
Reply to this comment
6 months ago
Sue PriceTo Steve Miller/GrampiesLol!
Reply to this comment
6 months ago

We managed to get through security (please pay attention to this) with Jim's bike tool being the only questionable item.  On the X-ray camera it looks like a pocket knife, so he always has to take it out and show it to them.  Once done, we were on our way to wait for our flight to Mexico City.  We were a little worried about this part as we would have to pick up the baggage and bikes, go through customs, drop off the bags and bikes again before again going through security to get on our final flight to Merida.  We had a 3 hour layover, though, which we thought would help us.  

As it turned out, the airport at Mexico City was the best part of our day! First off, if you've been to Mexico before, you are familiar with the long long snaking line to get through the first part of customs.  We joined the line thinking it would take forever, when we noticed a few people getting out of line and heading for some kiosks.  They looked like the ones we had used at the Vancouver airport - a more automated version where you put your passport in, it takes a picture of you and your fingerprints, you fill out a few items on the touch screen and it spits out your visitor pass.  We decided to give it a go and sure enough, we were through in no time with our passports stamped, free to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days!  We were not told to pay any extra fees, so I'm not sure if it was part of our flight cost or what, but we arent' complaining!  Once through that part we went down to see if the bikes survived the first part of the journey.  They actually put them on the converyor belt, which we found very surprising, but they seemed fine.  We had to take our bags over to have them checked by a very nice and polite young security person who asked a few questions, looked at the panniers stuffed into the IKEA bags (this is a great way to pack panniers on a flight!) and allowed us to continue.  Yay!

Ready for the final leg!
Heart 1 Comment 2
Scott AndersonThis would make a great advertisement for Bike Fridays. You should submit it to their website.
Reply to this comment
6 months ago
Sue PriceTo Scott AndersonHaha! It would, indeed!
Reply to this comment
6 months ago
Our flight is on there somewhere, we hope!
Heart 0 Comment 0

We had a bit of time so stopped briefly to have a reviving Starbucks (decaf) before heading through security once again.

How you enjoy your Starbucks at the Mexico City airport
Heart 0 Comment 0

So, you remember that this very same day we went through security with the very same items, right?  Ah well, it would seem that not only do different airline counters decided different ways you have to deliver your bike, different security counters have different restrictions!  Jim again was asked about his multitool, but this time it was confiscated, along with another tool for adjusting the breaks and a roll of duct tape!!!  What? How the heck is duct tape dangerous?  I don't even know, but at this point there was nothing to do but let them go.  Luckily, he has a spare multitool but we will have to repurchase the other items and won't be carrying them on in the future!

That bit of drama done, we made our way over to the gates to wait for our flight.  However, we were to have one last difficulty added to our day.  While checking me emails, I saw one from Interjet informing me that our flight had been delayed by 1 1/2 hours!  Well, we weren't going to let that ruin our day so found a little restaurant near the gate and sat down for dinner and a couple of cervesas - after all, when in Rome!

Dos cervesas por favor!
Heart 2 Comment 0

Dinner done, we walked over to the gate and a short time later our flight was called. It turned out there was a big delay at the airport that day - maybe because it was the day the new president of Mexico was sworn into office?  Oh well, at this point it didn't matter.  I let our hotel know we would be late arriving and we settled in for the last flight for 6 weeks - yay!

What a beautiful site on our way to Merida!
Heart 3 Comment 0

Arriving at the Merida airport we made a beeline for a minivan/bus to take us to our hotel - no way were we going to try and navigate the streets of Merida at night as exhausted as we were by this point.  Good thing too as it was a fair distance (I know, that's a funny thing to say when we're planning to cycle all over down here, but hey, I was TIRED!).

We were shown to our room which is along an interior courtyard with a pool in the middle.  It looked mighty inviting, but our main task was to unpack for the 3 nights we will be here, check the bikes for damage and pump up the tires as the next day we were planning to ride!  All things done, we played a few hands of gin while listening to soccer in Spanish on the tv and were off to bed before long.

That brings us to today.  We got up not too early (around 8) to find it was already very warm outside.  Breakfast comes with our room, so we wandered over to the restaurant by the pool and enjoyed the complimentary feast.  Now, I know that other bloggers on this site, the Klassens, have invented their own guide to judging breakfasts at hotels - a 10 jammer being the very best (due to the number of jams and other foods offered).  Well, let's just say that I don't think the breakfast at Hotel Mirador will make their list.... at all!  Some slices of fruit a 3 pieces of toast with 1 jam, that was it.  And, if we had wanted coffee, we wouldn't have gotten either the fruit or the toast!!!!  Hahaha!  Lucky for us, we don't drink anything with caffine and all they had was the high test stuff, so we enjoyed our little repast and went back to grab the bikes.

It was a short ride up to the Paseo de Montejo where every Sunday one half of the boulevard is closed for a few kilometres for only bikes, roller blades, scooters or walkers.  It was lovely and we really really enjoyed cycling in the large crowd of every kind of bike you can imagine.  In fact, you have to imagine until Jim manages to get his Go Pro footage sorted because that's all he took today of the many other bikes we saw!  There were bikes that had been connected to create family bikes and could carry up to 6 people, depending on the kind of bike they used.  There were also several that had lovely umbrella like awnings over the top - maybe we should look at those for our next tour?  One little group caught my eye, or I should say, my ear.  It was a multi person bike with the parents in the front and 3 little girls in the back and they were shouting "Ra-Pi-Do!" over and over again!  So cute!

At the far end of the paseo is the Monumento a la Patria - very beautiful - so pretty as a matter of fact that we totally missed the Merida sign! Will have to go back tomorrow for that!
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 2
Steve Miller/GrampiesWhat did you use to attach the flags to your handlebar bags? They look awesome.
Reply to this comment
6 months ago
Sue PriceTo Steve Miller/GrampiesJim glued them on with some fabric glue I think.
Reply to this comment
6 months ago
We stopped at a little cafe for some fantastic sorbet - perfect on such a hot day!
Heart 2 Comment 0
Now to relax - hasta la proxima!
Heart 1 Comment 0

After our very successful first ride here in Merida, we meandered back to the hotel where I checked the temp on our Garmin to see it was 100 f - yikes! We put the bikes away in our room, quickly changed to our swim suits and jumped into the pool. It was so refreshing!!!! Sufficiently cooled down, we relaxed in the lounge chairs poolside for a long time, enjoying the atmosphere here and wondering at the thought that we were at last here, where we had been dreaming of being through the whole of the last cold and rainy winter back in Nanaimo.  We finally retired to our room to catch a bit of NFL football (in Spanish of course) and will head out a little later to find a place to eat.  All in all, a wonderful beginning to this adventure!  We have one more lazy day here in Merida before we head south.  Not sure what we will end up doing tomorrow, but hey, it's mañana!  

Today's ride: 12 km (7 miles)
Total: 12 km (7 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Steve Miller/GrampiesGoogle search on uses for duct tape produces 20 million results. So who knows what they were thinking. Some of the top uses I noted were remove lint and catch flies.
Reply to this comment
6 months ago
Sue PriceTo Steve Miller/GrampiesYes, duct tape is a staple! I guess he thought we would use the duct tape and the multitool to create a weapon! Good grief! But we did get to look up duct tape in Spanish to ask for it in Walmart! 😊
Reply to this comment
6 months ago