Page 58: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
Oh yeah, San Cristobal was a lot of fun. Heidi and I really enjoy witnessing the indigenous culture of places like this and seeing how people live. But this place is high altitude and the temperatures are real cool. We felt cold in our room morning and night. So, after three nights we were ready to ‘book out’ to some warmer weather in lower altitude.
It continued to rain day and night but the morning we are ready to leave the skies were clear.
The ride out of San Cristobal de las Casas is beautiful to say the least. High mountain roads cut through orange colored rock. The sky was blue but as we rode down the mountain all we saw below us down in the valley were the tops of clouds. I’ve never seen anything like this before except while looking out a window on an airplane, way-way cool.
Our next destination is the village Cordoba. It’s over a 400 mile ride and I knew the only chance we had to make it in one day was to jump on the cuota (pay) freeway. I never liked riding the pay freeways in Mexico because we miss the Mexico we’re down here to see. We would miss all the small villages, all the fresh fruit stands, fresh juice stands and all the taco stands we’ve grown to love here.
I warned Heidi that the toll roads are expensive but HS, this is costing real money. I’m going to need to hit another ATM before we get a hotel tonight. Ouch…..
We rode within ten miles of Cordoba before we hit rain. Unreal, we haven’t had one day in weeks without rain. I thought this was going to be the first, but no…….
I moved the bike back a little so these guys could share the overhead shelter with us. It looked like the rain was going to pass by but as soon as we thought it did and got back on the road it started raining ‘cats and dogs’ again.
We pull into Cordoba in heavy rain. This city has a busy and large downtown area. We pass a half dozen ‘auto-hotels (sexo hotels) on the outskirts of town but we like to be downtown so we can walk everywhere. We get to the city center park (parque central) then start circling around the side streets. This activity makes Heidi nervious and the pouring rain didn’t help. We discussed this issue after looking for a hotel in San Cristobal and Heidi had to agree, her comments to me while I’m tying to pay ultimate attention to what I’m doing and what everyone else in the crazy downtown traffic is doing doesn’t help me at all. She stays quiet this time and I appreciated it.
After what seemed like our ‘umpteenth’ loop around town we see a hotel with parking and pull in. The guard is right there and directs us to a small motorcycle parking spot. We are wet but so happy to be parked at a hotel. $15 a night makes me even happier. It seems like almost everything in life that is difficult to achieve seems all the sweeter once it is achieved. Heidi and I settle into our hotel room with a small TV bolted high up on the wall With 80 Channels. We have been without cable TV for over 5 years now while trying to save for this trip so every time we get to a hotel with a TV and cable we like it ‘a lot’. You people with cable I’m sure can’t understand this but ‘checking out’ the shows on cable to us is like ‘wow’! Heidi has discovered this show about the ‘Playboy Mansion’ and she likes it. And I have to admit, I can ‘put up’ with it too…………. :)
Our Mexico guide book only has a small paragraph about this city but it did say it’s a colonel town with cafes around a nice central park. I envision a real Mexican town with no tourists, that’s why I picked this town to spend a couple nights, because, we like Mexico…...
We don’t see the name Heidi in Latin America very often. I say “Look, Heidi!”
Everyday lately we both sense our Central America/Mexico portion of this journey coming to an end. We both agreed today that it’s time to live it up a little. After walking around town we stop at one of those ‘central park’ side cafes for a cocktail or two.
This has happened to us before in Mexico. With every cocktail we’re served a plate of Mexican food. A lot of times we had no idea what the stuff is or how to go about eating it. I pour some hot sauce in a little glass cup we were given and discovered it is too narrow to dip chips into. Then a waiter comes by and wants to pour some orange liquid into it. We had to watch other people first to see what they did with the orange liquid before we knew what to do with it. It ended up being shrimp consommé and you’re meant to drink it. Heidi and I are laughing and having a great time with all of this. We were the only Gringo looking tourists we saw all day. The people sitting next to us and the waiters ask us where we are from, real friendly. This is fun.
This guy came by selling roasted pumpkin seeds. He hands me a scoop full to try. I purchase a bag of the great tasting seeds. He tells us about his five children, three of them live in the U.S. He was very proud of his family.
This is one of several roaming groups of musicians we heard this day. Heidi and I had a great time here watching the world go by and enjoying Mexican culture.
The next day after several hours of exploring the city on foot we look for some food. There’s a small park in front of a church near our hotel with several carts serving food.
Heidi sees a woman frying platanos, her favorite. She races over to get some.
We had a lot of food stands to pick from here. We walk by all of them before deciding which one we wanted.
This stand looked like it was serving up some hearty burgers. In Mexico we often buy fantastic burgers from places like this that come standard with all the fixings included. This looked like one of those places. We were right. They even offered to include a slice of pineapple on our burger.
While we were waiting for our burgers to cook a guy sitting next to us asks us where we are from. He was with his wife and young daughter. He said he just returned from the U.S. where he has been working and is now home with his family. He complemented us for being able to speak two languages and says how important that is. He talked about how difficult it is to be away from his family while working in the U.S. We like eating at places like this not just because the food is so good or that the cost is so low but we really enjoy the local flare also.
We had fun here in Cordoba, Mexico………
Riding out of Cordoba was no easy task. We first rode straight on the main street we came in on. I knew we needed to hook up to highway 125 leading to our next destination, Xalapa. Before long it started to rain, we suite up in our rain gear once again. There are several small suburbs on the outskirts of Cordoba. We attempt to continue riding straight through them. At one point I sensed that we veer left when I knew we should be veering right to get to highway 125. We were finally out of town and in the country on a winding road going down a steep hill. A few miles later I see a turnoff to the right with a sign indicating a city. I turn right on a hunch. We ride up another steep hill for a couple miles then find ourselves in the village. At the village central park we see several taxis parked. I park the bike and walk up and ask one of the taxi drivers where the highway to Xalapa is (?puede decirme donde es la carretera a Xalapa?) He tells me to go up the street and turn left then two hours down a windy road to Xalapa. I thank him a thousand times (mil gracias) and get back on the bike. Two blocks later we see a sign indicating highway 125 turning to the left. Heidi and I marvel at our unbelievable luck once again.
The highway is in rough shape and the traffic is moving slow, and it’s raining. About an hour later while riding through a small village I see off the corner of my eye a fresh ‘orange juice’ stand. I knew this would make Heidi happy so I pull over. At the stand they also had cups of yogurt with small cut up chunks of fruit and granola on top. We buy one of each and share them. Stops like this are part of why we like riding the slower secondary roads of Mexico.
I knew that about half way to Xalapa we needed to connect up with another highway, highway 140.
Whoa! Road block, what up! We pull over near a couple of trucks and dismount. A car pulls up to the road block and asks us if the road is closed. He tells us to follow him when we say yes. He drives back on the road we came in on then turns into a village. We follow him winding through this village until we come to a highway on the other side. He turns left on that highway, we follow. About a mile or so later we see a sign for highway 140 and Xalapa. The car we were following pulls over, rolls down his window and waves to us as we pass by him. We are on our way, Xalapa. Heidi and I talk about how this guy led us all that way just to show us how to get around the road block. How flippin’ nice is that! Again we can not believe our luck. This is just unreal. I can feel my head tingle with pleasure and happiness.
It’s raining. The road is twisting and turning and going up hill. We are passing just cleared landslide after landslide. This landslide is not completely cleared yet but they are working on it. Heidi is scared.
We pull up to this landslide and Heidi is yelling “I want to walk!” After we see a car drive through sliding sideways I agree, she jumps off and walks.
A guy on the work crew motions for me to ride along the streaming water on the left hand side of the road. That was good advice. Heidi said the mud in the middle was as slippery as ice.
At the next landslide area I had no problem having Heidi walk.
It’s raining, it’s foggy, it’s raining, and it’s foggy. Trees are sliding down hills onto the highway. The road is nothing but twists and turns and is surrounded by lush jungle. This two hour ride is now into the fourth hour. We have passed at least twenty landslide areas. Where the H is Xalapa……..?
Every night while we stayed in San Cristobal and Cordoba we experienced what we thought were torrential rains. I guess the landslides and this washed out bridge confirm that…..
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