Tootling to Tulum - We'll Follow the Sun - CycleBlaze

January 2, 2019

Tootling to Tulum

Another long short day

Walking up this morning was difficult.  We wanted to get on the road early, but it was still dark!  We convinced ourselves that really, we were so close to the time line that it could conceivably still be called 5:30 instead of 6:30 and that worked for about 1/2 hour of extra sleeping before we dragged outselves out of bed and got ready to head out to Tulum.  The hotel supplied a few breakfast things, so I was able to make some PB&J sandwiches for us to eat at the 20 km mark.  We turned in our key and were on the road!  Or not.  My bike was making a weird rubbing sound, so we had to stop and find out what was rubbing - a zap strap on my bike holding the fender on.  Ok, noise gone, we took off.  For another 30 meters before another noise stopped us again.  Really????  Noise police (Jim) having done a proper job of it this time with whatever else was rubbing, we for real took off for the short and straight ride down to Tulum.  To say it was a boring ride would be too nice.  However, the highway had a good shoulder all the way and to drown out the sound of traffic, we both put on our headsets and just started to ride.  

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Soon we were at the halfway spot, a little town called Francisco Uh May, where we pulled over to get some juice (oh my goodness, do I love the juice down here!!!!) and eat our sandwiches.  This little town seems to be a hub for all things garden related and there was an interesting place across from our stop where they sold garden furniture - if only we could a) fit this into our panniers and b)have a place to put it!  Ah well, another time!

Lots of garden things here
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As well as the usual dresses, blouses, hammocks
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And dream catchers?
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But I like this thing a lot! I could hang out in a place like that all day!
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We were making good time to Tulum, but of course, about 10 km out the wind kicked up again and we were slogging along into it, all the while keeping our eyes on the dark clouds up ahead.  About 5 km out, I needed a break and thankfully there was a Pemex gas station there.  We pulled over and sat on the curb outside to have a short break when we felt the little first drops of rain.  Within seconds the skies had opened and we rushed into the store attached to the gas station to escape.  It was nice for once to watch the rain and not be in it.  Jim very kindly ran back to the bikes to grab his wallet so we could buy some cookies.  Before we had even completed the purchase, the rain had pretty much petered out and we set out once again.

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A short way outside of town was a sign for the cenote that I had hoped we could visit today.  It looked pretty busy and when we saw a young couple come across the road on their bikes just leaving, I asked how much it was to get into this one (Grand Centote).  She said they charged 180 pesos!  What?????  In Coba we paid $160 for 3 cenotes!!!!  And in Valladolid it was 30 pesos for the one in town.  She told us she didn't think it was worth the cost and that the inside had some phoney trees and things that just wrecked the whole thing for her.  It didn't sound like something we wanted to bother with, so we thanked her and were on our way.  

Eventually we arrived in Tulum and made our way to the Hotel Iker, our destination for the day.  It was still raining on and off and we were looking forward to having a hot shower and changing our clothes.  It was still pretty early (11:00 I think), but we have had great luck with our hotels so far, getting in early every time.  However, today our luck ran out as we were told that check in was at 2:00 and no earlier - bummer!  We asked if we could at least store the bags until check in and that was no problem, so we rode into town, tired and sweaty and just wanting maybe a cup of coffee and to get cash as we were running low. 

We came to the main drag in Tulum and it was a big culture shock!  We have, up until now, only been in smaller, sleepy tourist towns like Celestun and Campeche.  Tulum is just in another world altogether - so many tourists!!!!  And they seem to be mostly made up of the kind who come in to town from their beachy resort to walk around with their perfect tan looking sunkist and still not showing an iota of sweat.  We, on the other hand, were still wearing our bike clothes, heads all sweaty from cycling and feeling just a little out of place - oh boy!  How am I going to handle the rest of the way up this side of the Yucatan?

We found two banks across from eachother, each with a long line of tourists outside the ATM.  We figured we'd best grit our teeth and get this part done, so we stood in a line for about 20 minutes before entering the little cubicle.  The sun was shining directly into it, making it very hard to read the screen.  Jim created some shade and I tried my card - no dice.  Jim tried his - nope.  Then we tried our credit card - no again.  What the heck!!!!!  We have been in Mexico for a month and have NEVER had any issues with any cards and now all of a sudden nothing works!!!!!  We walked into the actual bank to see if they could help (they could not) and when I tried to phone the bank I couldn't get through.  By now I was getting close to complete melt-down.  I really wanted to just sit on the floor and cry, so I suggested we get out of there before I gave in to the impulse.  

We decided that what we needed to do was sit down and have some food and a cold beer and then try again at a bank machine down the street.  We needed to find a restaruant that took MasterCard, which took a few tries, but eventually we were seated in a large palapa, cold beers in hand and eating yummy beef tacos.

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Feeling much more able to face the money issue, we walked a block further to yet another ATM lineup.  Oddly enough, there was a machine next to the one people were lining up for, but onone was using it.  We all assumed that it was for local users or something like that, but eventually a couple of people gave it a try and came away with cash.  Leaving Jim in the other line-up, I gave it a go.  My bank card did not work (I need to check with them to see what the issue is - grrrrr!) but the credit card did and we were back in the cash - yay!!!!!  

By this time it was close to check in time so we rode back over to the hotel and checked in.  I booked this place online through Booking.com and it was the most reasonably priced place I could find in Tulum, which is a really really pricey place.  For what we paid I wasn't expecting much so it was a massive surprise to be brought up to our suite!  We have a kitchen!!  And a giant king sized bed!!! And a closet!!! And a little deck!!!  Oh, and did I mention that the kitchen has a fridge???  Holy cow - we hit the jackpot!!!!  More than satisfied, we both showered and at last got to have our afternoon snooze - bliss!

When we got up, we decided to bike into town for an early dinner, do a little walking around and then get back to our room for an early night.  Tomorrow we hit the ruins at Tulum and we want to be there when they open at 8:00.  We looked around a bit and ended up eating at the same place we had lunch earlier - the food was great and so were the Margaritas!  Happy and satisfied and feeling a little more kindly towards Tulum, we returned to our room to catch up on the blog and read for a bit before bed.  Here's hoping this place is as quiet as it seems!

Looks like we're in the wrong town! It says "ULUM"!
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Looking a little more refreshed after a shower and a nap thank goodness!
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Some of the street entertainment. It's weird because there will be several different people busking quite close to eachother so their music clashes
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Nice courtyard at our hotel
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Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 781 km (485 miles)

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Steve Miller/GrampiesYour bank card story is one I have told more than once to the uncaring agents on the end of the CIBC and Mastercard phone lines. I dramatically portray being stranded, peso-less, and hungry out on some dusty Mexican road, all because their computer decided it was weird that I should be out on some dusty Mexican road. The "best" was when they blocked my U.S. dollar credit card because they could not understand what I was doing trying to use it to get U.S. dollars, in the U.S. They also like to say "Just phone us and we'll clear it up" or "Why didn't you reply to our text?". That's when you say, "Remember, dusty Mexican road in the middle of nowhere". But, they don't care!
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5 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo When we came down from Cancun and hit Tulum, it seemed that the tourists changed from the type you describe (beachy resort, perfect tan, sunkist) to grizzled, backpacking, travelling Central America types. So if Tulum looks beachy (maybe its the exact time of year), brace for conditions further north, along the coast.
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5 months ago
Michael ReynoldsI was going to say .. If you think *Tulum* is touristy .... Never been there, but just looking at the map, you're getting closer and closer to Cancun! Plus, prices will seem exorbitant. Get yourself over to Cuba and back to the good life.
So glad you're having such a great time, can't wait to hear about cuba!
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5 months ago