To D or not to D - We'll Follow the Sun - CycleBlaze

December 23, 2018

To D or not to D

That is the question

Last night we thought we were going to eat dinner at a lovely restaurant near our hotel, but when we showed up, they were closed for a special dinner – of course!  So, we walked into town and ended up having tortas (meat sandwiches).  They were pretty yummy and we had room left over to eat more of those tasty crepe-like things with Nutella and bananas.  What a feast!  We enjoyed the evening stroll back to our room and after watching a little football, called it a night.  

Hotel Hacienda Izamal - not a bad place to hang our hats for the night!
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6:00 came along and we were up and out the door for our leg to Piste. It seemed even colder this morning and I did resort to putting on an extra layer for a while.  There were several choices for routing.  Garmin and Google both had ideas about us going down a road that was not listed as a route for cars, so we overruled them both and struck out on our own.  This was a mostly successful strategy.  We rode out of town on a major road, but being Sunday it was very quiet.  The road was smooth and took us down to where we had a choice to make.  Take the 180, which is the old highway, or sneak onto the 180D, which is the newer toll highway.  You are technically not supposed to cycle on the toll roads here in Mexico, but I know of many who have.  The good part about the toll highway is that it has a nice, wide shoulder and its in good condition.  The good part about the old highway is that it is a bit shorter distance wise to where we are going and it goes through a few little towns where we can stop.  We briefly debated the options and chose the old highway.  At least with this we would be able to stop and take a breather when we needed to.  However (isn’t there always a “however”?), there is no shoulder on the old highway, and very few places to pull off other than the towns along the way.  Traffic was not too crazy, but people were driving pretty fast.  At first I was very nervous cycling this way, but I was soon reassured by the always very polite Mexican drivers.  They would only pass when no one was coming, and usually put on their emergency flashers as they passed.  They gave us so much room that it became obvious that shoulder or no shoulder, this would be fine.  

So, we divided the day up into the 3  little towns we would pass through on our way to Piste and then our hotel which is about 7 km past the town of Piste.  At each little town we would pull over, have a snack and a drink of juice and be on our way.  It was surprising to both of us that we seemed to be climbing most of the way today. We would go up a small hill, plateau and then go up again.  There were not a lot of downs, so we must have been moving to a higher part of this region.  None of the hills were really that steep – for the most part we never even changed gears, but it was different.  At least you could look forward to seeing what was beyond the next hill (usually another hill).  Eventually our old friend the wind kicked in and then it really became a challenge to just get to the next little town.  With nowhere to pull off in between, we just had to keep riding up the hills and now into a significant wind – fun times!  I was beginning to feel a little like Sally Field in The Flying Nun (if you are too young, google it!) as I would bend my head forward when the wind came into my face strongly to keep the DaBrim from coming off. Thankfully, we had heeded the advice of Dodie (of Grampies fame) and used come extra straps to keep the DaBrims attached at the sides of our helmets.  At times I felt like the bike was the only thing keeping me from taking off! The total ascent for the day was 258 meters.  Not a lot, but enough when you are cycling into the wind as well.  

Bonita indeed (pretty!)
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Sometimes you just have to use what you've got to make that Christmas tree happen!
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We finally arrived in Piste and stopped at a little restaurant for some lunch – a torta for Jim and tacos for me.  Filled up and ready to tackle the last 7 km, we headed down the road that leads right past Chichen Itza where we would like to visit tomorrow.  Oh my goodness!  I couldn’t believe the traffic – it was crazy! Busses and cars were lined up along the road, waiting to park and offload their passengers.  It felt like the Disneyland of Mayan ruins, and after the ones we have been to in the last few weeks, it was really a shock.  Hopefully we can get there early tomorrow morning to beat the crazy rush of people all scrambling for that one view or one pic to make the trip worthwhile – ugh!  Thankfully, we cycled past the traffic mess and a few kms down the road found the turnoff to our very swanky digs for the next few nights.  Since it is Christmas, we figured we would go all out and book a bungalow at a resort.  The pictures online looked amazing and we had been looking forward to coming to Hotel Okaan for a while now.  So, imagine the shock when we made the turn and found the driveway to our beautiful hotel was…. a long, rocky dirt road!!!!!  Oh no!!!!!  We rode and walked the 1.5 kms to the hotel and were not too terribly excited about this first impression.

Nope, not too excited at all!!!
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We made our way at last to the reception, where we were given a welcoming drink of juice.  At first it seemed that we would have to wait a bit as we were a little early for check in, but our bungalow was ready and so we rode through the pathways following a guide, to where we could leave our bikes and walk the last bit.  Well, it was a struggle to get here, but my oh my, what a room!  And we have it for 3 nights!  Merry Christmas to us!!!!  

Our little treehouse getaway for 3 whole nights!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesWhat a great Christmas highlight to remember!
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3 weeks ago
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Oh yes, and there's a pool!
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After a nice long shower and a nap, we walked the property, checking things out, before having dinner at the lovely restaurant on site.  Tomorrow will be a special buffet dinner as it is Christmas Eve and that is when Mexicans celebrate, not on Christmas Day as we do back home.  We are looking forward to visiting Chichen Itza early tomorrow and then relaxing at this wonderful place until the 26th when we head out.  I’ll post some pics of Chichen Itza, but will keep it short as this is a little break for us too.  Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from Piste! 

Today's ride: 78 km (48 miles)
Total: 599 km (372 miles)

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