Day 14: Valladolid to Piste - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 13, 2023

Day 14: Valladolid to Piste

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Like a dog with a bone, we were still trying to mail postcards this morning. Our idea was to try the common ploy of getting the hotel to add the cards to their regular outgoing mail. I went to the front desk, and presented this proposal in clear and elegant Google Translate. The man looked at me, his obviously normally passive face clouded by befuddlement. What did this yellow alien want? He looked at the envelopes, duly stamped  and each containing postcards for grandkids in USA and Canada. He looked at the back of the envelopes, and he looked at me. The Correos on the other side of the square, he said. Nope, was our reply, they are permanently closed. The man, and a passing cleaning lady attracted by the drama, clearly had a hard time believing this. The nearest and only office is in Zaciabil, chimed in Dodie. That sealed it. OK, impossible, was the verdict.

We retreated to our room, tails between legs, and grabbed our bikes. While we were wheeling them by the pool, a young man appeared and directed to us the UQs. He was clearly Mexican, but did this in quite good English. A light went on in one dog's head. "How can we mail these letters?", she asked, deflecting any further UQs with our own UQ.  The young man (Kevin) said he was from Isla Mujeres, and he might know the answer to that for there. He pulled out his phone and began to locate the post office in Isla Mujeres. Feeling this was going nowhere, I continued to wheel our bikes toward the exit. But the other dog hung in there. After many long minutes, I went back halfway and called to the dog  "Come, come", clapping encouragingly. But Dodie had a firm grip on the bone, and when she finally did come, Kevin had agreed to take our letters to Isla Mujeres and mail them. He said he would phone us when this was done, but of course we don't know our phone number. He found that amazing.  He'll email us instead!

The front desk man and the letters
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We had hung around until 7 for the onsite breakfast cafe  to open, sacrificing two or three hours of cool riding time in exchange for a real breakfast. I jumped on the opportunity, ordering pancakes, bacon, eggs, and coffee. Sensible, conservative Dodie ordered fruit. The fruit came first, and we stared at it a bit. For our three hour investment, we rather at least expected some bananas in there. Maybe even oranges. How about grapes? But no, it was just a rather small pile of watermelon and papaya. I was for asking if they could break their hearts and find some banana. But no, Canadian politeness won out.

Not happy.
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Ok, happier!
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It was a fairly staight shot out of Valladolid toward Piste, although as usual we had to circle the square a bit to get oriented and get going. Toward the outskirts of town, we came upon  "La Rafaelita", a steam roller that was brought in in 1923 as part of street construction in the town. It looked really crude, but was no doubt effective.

La Raphaelita, road roller.
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Another random find was the Bimbo factory. Bimbo bread makes Wonder bread look good.

The Bimbo bear looks suitably pasty.
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Sue PriceNo!!! We love Bimbo Bread! And we buy their "toast" too!!! Yum yum!!!
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2 weeks ago

We picked up a quite nice bike path just out of town, and when that ended there was a good shoulder on the main road. We searched for birds all along, but no one was out. Too late in the day, probably. We did notice some other natural things, such as a tree with yet another form of haging pods. Hanging pods seems to be a common strategy of trees in this area.

The bike path
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One type of tree with pods
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The pods
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Bill ShaneyfeltI know that one... It will only take a minute to find a good internet link for mahogany!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahogany
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2 weeks ago

There was also a flowering tree, often standing with the puzzling yellow one from yesterday, with orange flowers.

The orange flowered tree
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The flowers are interestingly shaped
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like African tulip... highly invasive in Hawaii where my brother lives. He is constantly cutting them from his property.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spathodea
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2 weeks ago
And of course there were coconut palms. Not fair to omit them just because they are common.
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The road and shoulder - really nice. The photo does not show the occasional maniac speeding and passing drivers or big trucks, but it was ok.
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The only glimpse of a bird we got.
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Bill ShaneyfeltAnother oriole, but not quite enough exposed for a good ID
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2 weeks ago
Also worthy of mention are these yellow flowers, which cover the landscape everywhere.
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Bill ShaneyfeltBest I can say is family Asteraceae... Looks fairly closely related to sunflowers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteraceae
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2 weeks ago
The yellows combined with blues gives a pleasing kind of Ukranian flag!
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Bill ShaneyfeltSomething in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convolvulaceae
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2 weeks ago

This road is the main one to Chichen Itza, a truly world class heritage site. Consequently there are a lot of vendors by the roadside.  Dodie and I have a different approach on these (as well as on the sidewalk when we are walking). she does not like to be bugged or accosted, while I greet each person, looking directly at them. I appreciate their work and sympathize with their situation, if sales are slow. On the other hand we both greet almost every ordinary person, cyclist, motorcyclist, truck driver, or roadside machete worker we encounter. The great part is that they all greet us in turn.

Hola! Buenos dias. Nice hats!
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The hats really are nice!
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Lots of blankets, pictures, or bags, like these, feature the image of Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo was a famous Mexican painter, married to equally famous painter Diego Rivera. She did have a striking appearance, with those dark eyebrows. She died at the young age of 47.
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Crafts of all sorts
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On this Chichen Itza run we also began to see Mayan themed store decorations, and also lots of Mayan food restaurants. Poc Chuc  is one of the premier dishes on offer. It was of course the theme of our previous visit here, the Poc Chuc Pursuit.

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Large breezy Poc Chuc restaurant
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We take this to be just the entrance to a house. Nice illustrations, except we kind of doubt the prevalence of elk here.
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Rich tortillas made by hand, with your poc chuc.
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The temperature had reach 32 and we were already pouring water over our clothes, when some dark clouds gathered. Soon, for about ten minutes, it poured, and the temperature dropped 10 degrees. his really made our day and allowed us to cruise along in comfort.
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Outside one town, this cemetary. It looks rather a cheerful place to be dead in.
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Suddenly, crossing the road toward us was the only other touring cyclist we have encountered. It was Chi Chien-Chong , from Taiwan. He had started in Alaska and was heading for Argentina! Of course we eagerly questioned each other about routes and timing and where we had been before.  Chien-chong had done three months in Japan and had also been in Southeast Asia. Wow. So neat to meet such a person!

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Exchanging stories
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Chien-chong's bike really is fully loaded, He is wild camping where possible, but found a hostel in Valladolid for tonight. The piece that is most forward is a bike cover, which seems a good idea especially if ever parking and leaving the rig. There is also a fan on there - seemed a Taiwanese touch!
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Patrick O'HaraLooks like he has protective lower leg thingys? For dogs?
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2 weeks ago
7 km before Piste we passed the Doralba, where we had stayed previously. It is right across the street from the fabulous Ik Kil cenote. But Dodie had found a place right in Piste, which will give us a 7 km boost on our run to Izamal tomorrow.
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Parking for Chichen Itza starts quite some ways from the actual site.
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So many motos stacked up!
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Little parking lots form a local small business.
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Our new hotel choice is called La Casa de Las Lunes. It is an oasis back from the dusty Piste street, and features all kinds of granite or onyx or such in the furnishings and terraces. Only thing, our assigned room was tiny not suitable for the bikes. Ok, another tiny one was found, with a good place for the bikes just outside. For more money, they do have bigger rooms. Ours was 745 pesos. The bigger room would have been about 1200.

Oasis off the street
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Our little room has the OXXO beyond - a plus for this hotel.
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After the rain the temperature stayed moderate, at about 26. No need for the pool today!
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Pieces of granite adorn some walls.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice! Maybe onyx?
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2 weeks ago
Stone sink
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Bikes outside the little room.
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A big feature for us of Las Lunes was their birds, such as these canaries. If not for the cage we could have added them to our bird list!

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A tree in the patio also contained two parrots. They are free flying pets, and had to go to bed in their cage when evening came. They just hopped on a stick and went nicely off.

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Bill ShaneyfeltNeat bird! Looks like a yellow headed parrot... imagine that!

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/18998-Amazona-oratrix/browse_photos
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2 weeks ago
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The wifi in this place is fairly ok, but they could only offer a QR code for signing on. Several of our devices do not like that. However 16 year old Ismael - maybe the son of the reception lady - was very adept in tackling the problem, and eventually got all of the devices going. Ismael is also very into bikes, and was interested to read our blogs.

Ismael - computer whiz and mountain biker.
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Tomorrow we will return to early riding, after eating some "poison" breakfast from OXXO, which is at least open 24 hours. Izamal will be a bit of a stretch, but should not really be a problem.

Today's ride: 47 km (29 miles)
Total: 557 km (346 miles)

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