Day 13: Tizimin to Valladolid - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 12, 2023

Day 13: Tizimin to Valladolid

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It was so "cool" rolling out through the dark and quiet streets of Tizimin.  Dodie had found a street that was not even bumpy, and we just glided silently through the sleeping town. It was about 5km until we reached the open road. Here too we had a smooth surface and we just swooped along. The Tizimin-Valladolid run has to be one of the most pleasant on the peninsula. We did have one glitch, though. We had neglected to charge our headlights, and Dodie's went out when the daylight was just beginning to come. No problem, I just rode closely behind and lit the way with my light. Next time, we should bring at least one backup light!

The road to Valladolid
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With the interested reception from our "commenting crew" for the yellow flowering tree yesterday, we noted some of the more common plants of the kind of meadow that lines this road.

Very common are these white pom poms, which attact a lot of the small bees later in the day.
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The white pom poms.
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Bill ShaneyfeltLeaves and flower shape lead me to believe some kind of mimosa.
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2 weeks ago

And how about these red, and yellow flowers?

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Bill ShaneyfeltPretty sure it is a type of sage, maybe Salvia coccinea, blood sage?

https://observation.org/species/209959/
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2 weeks ago
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Bill ShaneyfeltSome species of Lantana

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lantana
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesGolly, there are so many Lantanas!
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2 weeks ago
Next we saw one of these gray hawks (Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus)) identified by Scott yesterday.
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Scott AndersonThese are so cute! They look like plush toys.
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2 weeks ago
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And we think this is something new...
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Bill ShaneyfeltGroove billed ani

https://ebird.org/species/grbani
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesWow, never heard of it. Beak looks parrot like.
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2 weeks ago
... and this?
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Bill ShaneyfeltOne of the orioles...
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesBaltimore Oriole?
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2 weeks ago

Each day, at seemingly random points along the roadway, we have encountered lone workers, having arrived by bike, and hacking away at the brush with clearly very sharp machetes. Are they highways department workers? What are they trying to achieve in these relatively small patches? If we had already taken a Spanish course, we would ask.

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There was one tree quite full of these.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice photo!

Matches well with orange oriole...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_oriole#/media/File:Icterus_auratus_60726713.jpg
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesWow, we are seeing some new birds!
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2 weeks ago
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Without much fuss we arrived in Temozon, passing the now familiar church.
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Again we crossed over the construction on the Cancun toll road, and with the combination of drivers who gave us room, and some available shoulder, it was really no problem. Soon, we could see the twin towers of "our" church.  We had again arrived in Valladolid!

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We got to Valladolid at something like 9:30 a.m., a time when some cyclists, like the Andersons, may just be setting out. For example, they wrote today "It’s a full day’s ride out to Saguaro and back, so we plan on bundling up and getting an early start.  We begin working our way out the door at 9:30, about as early as Rachael and I ever get underway." But they are coping with an entirely different environment.

With it being 9:30, we clearly were not about to check in to our hotel. No matter, we had two other goals today, both continuations of early efforts. Dodie was still intent on getting some Mexican stamps, so as to send postcards to grandkids, and I, having thought better of my tantrum over the 42 peso repair kit was now intent on actually getting one, not to mention some more tubes to guard against further valve failures.

We began with the stamps, heading to the spot in the central square where both Google Maps and a lady in a souvenir shop had pinpointed the Correos de Mexico. Oh sure, not a thing to be seen there. Dodie tried her ploy of accosting a police officer, and today's victim did have an idea, even wrote it down:

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 As later research showed, he was sort of on the right track. He even pointed us south, and said about six blocks.  It was not that easy to go South, because of the one-way nature of traffic circulation around the square. So around and around we went, until finally we innocently sailed off, calling out the blocks as we passed "Uno, dos, tres....!" But at seis and siete for good measure ... nothing.  The clue - "Centro comunitario" was still valuable, but Google Maps identified lots of them about - not much help. Dodie ducked in to a hotel, and after some time located a man who both spoke some English and who had much of the answer: Centro Comunitario de Zaciabil. Zaciabil is a town just a little south of Valladolid! Ok, well we did arrive at 9:30, so we have lots of time. We booted on South. In that direction we found a de facto bike path, and we could tell ourselves that we were off on another fun ride. Half way along the path was blocked by a crew  trimming a tree. Dodie took of into the brush to go around, while I (wisely) took the road. For her pains, Dodie picked up a pile of prickles, that took some time to pluck from her socks!

The "bike path" to the theoretical Correos.
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The socks
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We blew on down the path, until we reached the perimeter road. Out came Google Maps, and it gave its opinion about where to go. Dodie, distrustful of most technology, told it where to go, but did reluctantly head in the approximate direction indicated.

We entered the town (suburb) and did fetch up in front of an unsigned building. But this was the place. Tidily uniformed school kids were entering the building and congregating, but we have no idea why. Inside there was little indication, but hey, there it was, in an unmarked room: Correos de Mexico!

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Scott AndersonNice. Almost in synch.
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2 weeks ago
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Dodie went in, leaving me in the sun with the bikes. I'm used to it! The man in the room broke the news - they have no stamps, we should try Merida! Dodie of course does not readily take no for an answer, and with some encouragement the man came up with a partial solution. He stamped the letters as if they had been parcels, because he was able to do that. Wow, do they ever look official! We were so proud of them. The postcards are not yet written, or we could perhaps have "mailed" them.  I have this pony express image of them going into a pouch on a motorbike and ... does anyone here actually know where Montreal and Seattle are?

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I was wondering what this post office actually does, if it does not have stamps, so I went in for a little closer look. In a corner was a poster explaining their "specialized services".  They mention parcels, but also letters. In fact their logo shows a dove (Mourning Dove? Scott) with an envelope like Dodie's in its beak. The poster was hard to see because of bikes parked in front. OMG! one of them is from Correos de Mexico! Maybe I was too optimistic when I imagined an actual motorbike!  btw, the other was a Mercurio - the maker of the iconic cargo bikes here.

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Heading back through the town of Zaciabil, which had the distinction of being the postal hub of this whole sector of Yucatan, we did notice some beautiful floral displays. And the Traveller's Palm is always spectacular. When we reached the main road, we passed again by a vendor who had given us some partial directions on the way out. He was selling standard cocos frios, but also something else. This was a cold drink made from ground coconut (coconut cream) with a touch of sugar.  It was so good. Much like a milkshake. In fact the last time I remember a milkshake-like thing this good from a natural product was the amazing Date Shake from near the Salton Sea.

Flowers on the way from the Correos.
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Bill ShaneyfeltJust don't brush against them!
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesWhy, what do they do?
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2 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltBougainvillea have hidden thorns, and when they scratch you, it swells up and hurts some. Found out back in January of 1967 when I went to AZ to go to college, and brushed up against one not a week after I arrived.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bougainvillea
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2 weeks ago
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We will remember this!
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Now on the way back, we continued to see trees with hanging pods. The most likely, we suspect, is carob. True?

Long hanging pods.
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Bill ShaneyfeltAmazed at the numbers of mimosa species!

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/479698-Mimoseae
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesOK , cancel that Carob idea!
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2 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Steve Miller/GrampiesNope, Carob beans are shorter and thicker. We had a lot of carob trees along the ASU mall.
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2 weeks ago
Bill Shaneyfelthttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carob
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2 weeks ago
Old pods from the ground.
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Beth ArtIs it a Gleditsia aka Honey Locust.
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1 week ago

In Rio Lagartos we noticed that none of the motos had license plates. This reflected a loose approach to vehicle regulation. But here on the way into Valladolid was a truck that not only had no plate, it had only a half chance of making it home. It looked like a totally worn out burro - that should have been put out of its misery!

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But now, before reaching the central square with its large two tower church, we passed a smaller but also nice two tower version.

Two tower church
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When we had almost reached the central square, I spotted a likely bike shop for replacement tubes. Most bike shops in town as shown by Google Maps are actually bike rentals, and have no idea about repair.  But now it was noon, the temperature was well over 30, and we already had 62 km under the belt. Dodie declared an inability to stop in the sun for even a minute. So we carried on into the square and stopped in the shade of one of the buildings that form the square. I was leaving Dodie there and starting to run back to the bike shop, when a security guard materialized out of thin air and declared no bike "parking" in front of the building. I had half a mind to let him try explaining that to Dodie, but I took pity on the fellow and we moved to the shade of a different building!

At the bike shop, I went through my now sort of practiced routine about the "pegado" and the "camaras" and came away quickly with a bag of goodies.

At the bike shop.
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Happy customer. With this I can fix 48 more flats! After all, we have only had four so far.
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Returning to the parked Dodie, I found that having been run over 30 degrees and having covered over 60 km she was now "done". No matter, our hotel was around the corner, and it has the secret weapon of not only A/C but also a pool. Dip Dodie in that, and she will be as good as new!

The miracle pool
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In the hotel garden
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The miracle pool, the garden, and our great room at the (surprisingly economical) San Clemente did their work. Soon we bounced out to find some food at the terrific food court, off the square. Our favourite there now is the Chinese stall, one of the few places to find a dish containing, for instance, broccoli, not to mention carrots, onions, and potatoes cooked together, with fried banana on top. Yumm. We ate this with a litre of fresh squeezed orange juice. That juice cost 45 pesos - exactly half the price of Paris.

Our favourite food court.
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Back out into the square, and cautiously making our way back to the San Clemente - for we had neglected to bring hats or sunglasses - we read about the origin of the square and the statue in the centre, which is also reflected in the one in our hotel garden:

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We suspect that the "fusion" mentioned on the plaque may not have been entirely voluntary.
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This is the town emblem, found on the benches in the photo above. Bird ID, anyone?
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More than one of these rigs was repeatedly circling the square.
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Sitting in the shade in the square, we noticed another type of podded tree. There seem to be lots of tree with this general idea about.

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A mourning dove came and perched just over our heads. Aha, a chance for an easy bird shot. Not so. My camera refused to take a sharp shot. Dodie had several suggestions, so I handed her the camera. She says this one is her shot - better, but really, the thing was right in front of us!

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Scott AndersonFinally a new species of dove! This is a Eurasian collared dove, an import. This is the dove species you commonly see throughout Western Europe. Note the black collar on the back of the neck.
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2 weeks ago

Speaking of doves, here are two love birds using one of the park's love seats. In fact, they do not seem to be exactly billing and cooing. And in this shot the lady seems to be sucking her thumb, and in another try - not shown here - the guy was picking his nose. We had better stick to birds on wires!

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Finally back at the hotel, we could look at the top of the church from near our room. This place is so restorative. With the pool, the good room, the breakfast offered in the garden, and the food court and square nearby, we could rest here for a long time. Maybe we will do that one year, riding out into the countryside in various directions. We could even go see if Zaciabil has any stamps yet! 

Part of the church as seen from our room.
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Once it was dark we, like everyone else, ventured out into the square, The church was illuminated, and Dodie commented wryly on how the Spanish had used the stones from the Mayan pyramid that had been where we were standing to build the thing.

Repurposed Mayan pyramid. How rude!
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The main activity in the square was in buying Marquesitas, which are filled crepes. The most common filling is Edam cheese. Dodie chose this, plus banana and Nutella, a luxury model, for 50 pesos. I went for ice cream, going also for the luxury model, in larger sugar cone - 25 pesos.

The lady at right looks like she has been on shift too long! Marquesita production is something like French crepes. But once the crepe is wrapped about the filling, it goes crispy. Could these sell in Paris? Maybe yes!
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Sorry for the not so sharp photo.
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Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 510 km (317 miles)

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