Day 17: Telchac Puerto to Progreso - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 16, 2023

Day 17: Telchac Puerto to Progreso

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We appreciated being able to sleep in a cool, clean place and then waking up to look out a balcony at the water and the lush plantings. In the distance Dodie could see a small flotilla of flamingos. Her bird vision is very keen!  This degree of luxury, but dropped in the middle of nowhere,  is really nice but maybe just for a day or two. After that, what would we actually do out here?

Our balcony in the morning.
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A dip in the pool could be nice?
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Just as an aside, our room was far from reception and up a lot of steps. So when first they neglected to supply the wifi password, I had to trek down and ask. The reception clerk helpfully wrote it on a piece of paper. Was this the first time the hotel had been asked for this? What she wrote is on the top line below. My first six tries to enter this met with no success. I asked the perceptive Dodie what she thought the letters and numbers were. Still no luck. So I wrote below what we took the code to be, and trucked on down to reception, again. The lady corrected what I had written, mainly changing all the upper case characters to lower case. But look, I pouted, you clearly wrote these as upper case! This produced the Spanish equivalent of "Yeah, so?" or "desolee" in French. I trudged back up the stairs again, muttering to myself.
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We could have taken breakfast out here, but decided we had better get on with the ride. So breakfast was one granola bar from Canada.
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The bikes were raring to go, having sipped power all night. They look quite fetching in the tropical environment!
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We set out toward the west, along the coast, and could immediately see that huge buildings, like yesterday's "Death Star" were the order of the day.  It occured t us then, and from looking at the various billboards, that our place last night probably was not so much a hotel as a condo. Perhaps the quite cheap price we got was because we were in a room that somebody individually owned. All the same to us,but it could explain how the place could not be bankrupt with us apparently being the only clients there.

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They certainly go in for elaborate but non-functional entrances!
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As you can see from the track map, we were traversing a long spit, that has the Gulf on one side and a huge lagoon on the other. All the condo (or whatever) development was on our right, facing the Gulf. On our left was a relatively narrow strip of bush, but it often obscured our view of the lagoon.

We left late today (8 a.m.) and we rather thought the birds would not be around. But no, lots were on the electric wires by the road and in the water, which we could see periodically.

Wake up and stretch!
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Yucca were in evidence, like this one getting ready to flower, but there were no giant plantings here.
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White winged dove?
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What a funny expression.
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Bill ShaneyfeltSome species of swallow?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swallow
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1 week ago
We saw many of these guys.
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Scott AndersonHe looks suspiciously like the other Tropical Mockingbirds you’ve been seeing recently.
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1 week ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonDid not realize they had such white bellies, I thought the others were more grayish. Difference between make and female perhaps?
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesNo, that’s the species. This is one of the differences these have from their northern cousins.

Tropical: https://ebird.org/species/tromoc

Northern: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Mockingbird/id
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1 week ago
The amount of housing construction was amazing, and we later learned that there was even lots more of this on the spit, beyond Progreso. It means even projects that looked derelict to us may just have been going slow, or at least are in a minority.
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Aside from the large projects under development, the main feature of the Gulf side was smaller enclaves, with maybe single maybe multiple family structures, sealed off from the road by gates and driveways.

Typical appearance of the Gulf strip.
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Some entrances had bizarre features.
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All along we kept an eye on our bird friends.
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Scott AndersonAnd one more for good measure.
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1 week ago
Until we got to abut 20 km from Progreso, the road was quite empty. We did have to cope from time to time with careening Potable Water tankers and similar heavy trucks.
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In short order we arrived at Uaymitun, a place with a special significance for us now. Five years ago we were cruising down this way, when we were hailed by a man that turned out to be Doug Loten. Doug had noticed our Canadian flags, and reacted since he is from Sarnia. We stayed in touch since that day, and now here we were again passing by the place that Doug and his wife Elaine rent  every year. 

We dropped in to say hello. We were all quite up to date on goings on, because we have our blog, and Doug also blogs events that happen with him out here. We had a nice two hour chat about, you know, everything. It was during this that Doug and Elaine mentioned the rapid development in this area. They predict it will be another Playa del Carmen before too long. There are some other good developments they mentioned, such as a fledgling recycling and garbage pick up program.

At Doug and Elaine's
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Marvin Paxmanwhat a cute couple!
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1 week ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Marvin PaxmanAwww, thank you.
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1 week ago
A great chat
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The Grampies are off again! (Thanks for the photos, Doug and Elaine)
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Douglas LotenIt was great to spend time with you two! Safe journeys, especially near Muna!
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2 days ago

Quite soon we came to spots where we could see the lagoon, though the Gulf side of the spit remained obscured by properties. On the lagoon side, we see some wind turbines, which seem a great idea. Solar on all those concrete buildings along the Gulf would seem a good idea as well. There is certainly no shortage of sun here. While parked at Doug and Elaine my bike thermometer went to 46 degrees in the bright sun.

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Looking toward the lagoon side, we thought we saw flamingos in the air, but the camera reveals it was frigate birds. The shot has some bonus cormorants!c

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Bill ShaneyfeltDoesn't look right, but the only thing I found with a tail like that was the swallow tailed kite.

https://ebird.org/species/swtkit
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltMaybe, but I think it’s a female Magnificent Frigatebird.
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1 week ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonYup! You nailed it yet again... Bill, body shape, coloring and the tail... Didn't see a picture of it with the tail like that when I looked... Just big red breast shots.

I'm better with reptiles and amphibians, but even then, out of southwest US, and all is suspect.
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1 week ago
Some of the condo stuff is quite attractive, sort of.
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About 7 km out of Progreso it became possible to see water on both sides of the road. And with that, lots of water birds.
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Scott AndersonBlack-necked stilt. If you keep an eye out in coastal areas in Southern Europe you’ll see his close cousin, the black-winged stilt. You can’t really mistake them for any other bird.
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1 week ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonWe will watch for them on the other side of the Atlantic.
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1 week ago
Seagulls enjoying a ride on a tire.
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Bill ShaneyfeltTired of swimming and flying?
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1 week ago
Cormorants hanging out.
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Hey waitaminute, what wildlife have the Grampies found now? Actually, in Chicxulub there is a development called the Jurassic Trail. We are not sure what in total it entails, but it does have lots of dinosaur models.
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Lying behind this dinosaur thing is the fact that in about 1990 scientists came to accept that there is a huge meteor impact crater just offshore from right here. This crater marks the event that led to the extinction of almost all dinosaurs. So that's how dinosaurs work in. It is not, apparently, that anyone is claiming that the ten or so species of dinosaurs featured n models hereabouts actually roamed this exact territory. There is a new museum being developed in town about the meteor impact. It also seems to favour dinosaur models, but perhaps it will deal as well with the geology of the crater.

Something of a theme park. The corner on which this has been developed used to be a garbage dump, so things are looking up.
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Getting closer to Progreso and now looking to our right, we see not luxury condos but the reality of Chicxulub town.
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The water of the lagoon an now clearly be seen. It is more brown pink. So this is not shrimp but rather colour coming from the mangrove roots.
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We rolled into Progreso, and soon were out near the boardwalk - the Malecon. There are some houses in this area that are very unique and very distinguished. We are not sure how you would name or characterize the style. Not hacienda...  but ??

The street near our hotel and the malecon
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What style is this?
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The hotel we chose is called the Mayan Gypsy. The American couple who own it have filled it with art and decoration, and it had been done with flair and unique taste. It was recommended to us by Judith and Bill Landles, two world cyclists that we met in Izamal, maybe in 2018, and who wrote to us about the place  from cycling now in Thailand.

This hotel is really unique and gorgeous.
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Not only was the hotel beautiful, but it had everything - from a fully equipped kitchen for guest's use to everything in the rooms and common spaces spacious, organized, and working. The owners deserve a lot of respect.

When we were here in 2018 we stayed in a little hotel on the malecon. But then the area was rather grubby and undistinguished, and I recall wondering at the time what the big deal about Progreso was. But finishing in 2020 the whole area has been redeveloped, with a wide and artistic concrete walkway, palapas, and benches. In our view it is now really something, an asset  to visitors and to the town.

We set out for a walk along the malecon, and immediately encountered more of that sort of unique building style - in both existing and new construction.

Stylish building
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New construction
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The malecon at Progreso
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Terns at the malecon.
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The beautiful beach extends for a long way
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We had thought to go into the town to find food for right away and for tomorrow, but we ended just walking into a restaurant on the malecon. The prices were about 1/3 higher than we have been accustomed to pay for main dishes, but just like with the hotel yesterday, the quality was more than 1/3 greater. Our grilled chicken plates had up to seven kinds of vegetables, including never seen asparagus!

We chose this place at random
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But what we got was really super. We would come again.
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Almost next door was an artisanal gelato shop. Again, the quality was number one. And the man behind the counter had worked in British Columbia, leading to a nice chat.
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We found the museum of the meteor, under development. Again, it seemed to stress theme park type dinosaurs. But maybe it will include some more in depth information in time.

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We stopped our walk near the very long pier, that had taken over from Sisal for henequen export. Here is their story on the pier:

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By the time we reached this point, the sun was setting, creating one of the more pleasant times of the day. We slowly walked back to the hotel, savouring the view of sand, sea, and sky.  Another wonderful day on this trip.

Judith and Bill had been down on Progreso, branding it Regreso and Depreso, but we just didn't see it.  We were thrilled with our hotel, restaurant, gelato, and the ambiance of the malecon. We are thinking to come to nearby Merida in a future year and hang out for a language course. If so, we would make sure to ride up here. Keep that gelato cool, we'll be back!

Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 755 km (469 miles)

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