Tag Archives: speed humps

Ciudad Valles to Molango, Saturday, 27 October 2012, Day 116

view from my hotel window stopped raining for a couple of minutes.

What a difference a day makes yesterday it was excellent even my off road excursion in hindsight was enjoyable but today was totally different. It has taken me 6 and half hours to cover 210km non-stop riding only had one 10 minute break for a petrol and a pee stop. So what was different well for starters it was raining when I got up not heavy but enough to need waterproofs. So I had a leisurely breakfast and finally I hit the road at 11am destination was Pachuca, which was 380km away according to the GPS, I would be there at 5pm so this is doable. In reality it started to rain harder so the roads where like an ice-skating ring covered in mud that had turned to slush the roads are okay when dry but add water and they are treacherous. So I am not getting anywhere fast and the road I have chosen to take is quite twisty and hilly so I am not sure how hard I can push it in the corners as they are all as greasy as hell. Another obstacle impeding my progress is that the road went via loads of villages and in every one of them there are loads of speed bumps. Not just ordinary speed bumps but bumps of all sizes and shapes not one is the same some huge and all of them had to be taken in 1st gear due to the fact that the car or lorry in front of you had always slowed down to a near stop and because of the weather conditions and the fact that they where all over the place there most be hundreds I have had to slow down for today. Very irritating and uncomfortable not sure I like them (I am pretty damned sure I do not like them). To add to this I headed up into the mountains I was riding in the clouds for the last couple of hours so visibility down to nothing in places on wiggly greasy unknowns roads with random speed bumps thrown in for good measure. This was all just about manageable but then add in other Mexican road users such as humans and animals  (Dogs, Cows, Goats, Pigs wandering all over the road) I was frazzled at 5pm about 130km short of my target so I pulled over in a place called Molango I found a nice hotel and got out of my wet gear. Its cold it has been 18 degrees all day, which was nice but feels cooler when you are wet no a/c or fan in the room tonight but do not think I will need it as unlike last night it was 30 degrees I think its going to be about 14 degrees tonight so I may need a blanket.

I grabbed some food in a place next to the hotel which actually looked like somebody’s front room with a couple of tables and a stove for cooking. I had chicken and enchiladas and as they where cooking a huge bowl of rice for some reason and they offered me some, which was also very nice, the chicken however had seen better days.

I went for a wander around town cold and wet and still drizzling so I head back to the room. I am wearing a jumper for the first time in ages I hope its at least dry tomorrow as I think the route I did today was actually quite nice but unfortunately I could not see a thing due to the weather.

Molango

Going to have to have a rethink if it stays like this, as I am not sure I can cope with to many days like today as it is far to stressful.

Halloween

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Molango to Apizaco, Sunday, 28 October 2012, Day 117

Road block who would have guessed it was for a Religious run carrying the Madonna with my bad spanish I was certainly surprised 🙂

I woke up and fortunately it was dry today but it was still quite cold. I hit the road and it was still very misty or I was driving in the clouds but fortunately it started to clear and I could finally see where I was going and it was nice.

Crap Vision-ability

Plan on the page is to keep plugging away moving south to Antigua where I plan to have a rest and do some Spanish lessons as I have not got a clue what is going on around me and I am not at all comfortable with that. Today the road was blocked and I was trying to found out what was going on but my knowledge of Spanish is woeful so all I could do was wait. It turned out that it was some religious event the road was full of young people running down the street and a convoy of accompanying cars and lorries and they where carrying a statue of Mary I passed another one later. I am not sure I would have been able to understand the explanation for this holdup in English never mind in Spanish but it does explain why the petrol pump attendant when I asked about what was going on he crossed himself so there was the religious clue unfortunately at the time I had no idea what he was trying to tell me.

Good day in the saddle but I am not covering the ground as quickly as I think I should be I did more than yesterday but considering the hours I am putting in I am expecting to have gone much further. Slow going on these roads and village very rarely going fast at all. I think I gained an hour but I am not sure as have seen no clocks to verify this so at about 5pm ish according to the clock on my GPS which I think is right my right leg was beginning to cramp up no idea why could be all them damned speed humps or all the stop start riding I have been doing today so this was a sign to call it quits for the day as well as my GPS sending me on another off road excursion and getting chased by wild dogs was enough to tell me to stop for the day. So I ignored the GPS I did a U-turn only to be chased by the same wild dogs and decided to stop at the first decent place I saw. A couple of minutes later saw a nice old church and opposite a small hotel which had a courtyard for parking the bike so I pulled in there. Got a room no problem and extremely cheap but no Wi-Fi but who cares I can live with a night without Wi-Fi. I was in little village just short of Apicazo so not much there other than the church and the hotel so nowhere to eat. After wandering about for a while found a place that was cooking chickens on a rotisserie so ordered half a chicken and some papa’s fritas and got some pop and then back to the room to eat my little greasy feast. I had mushroom quesadilla for breakfast/lunch, which was also very nice.

Tonight’s entertainment was to finish the Hunger games on my Kindle. I quite enjoyed it easy reading and a page-turner but quite a simple plotI have  just downloaded part 2 and 3 so another excuse not to be doing my blog or responding to the comments on it. I will do this when I am back on line honest injun

Oaxaca to Santo Domingo Zanatepec, Tuesday, 30 October 2012, Day 119

What are you looking at!

I was feeling a bit down this morning I am not sure why it could be that I have not spoken to anyone since I left Houston other than transactional conversations and since I have been in Mexico conversations are even more limited. Or it could be alcohol withdrawals, as I have not had a drink for 8 whole days!

Feeling a bit lonely which is unusual for me so I need to come up with a solution for this and fast I have a couple of ideas in the pipeline.

Today went a long way in putting me in a better mood a glorious day in the saddle. I had a chat with the car park attendant who spoke some English which was pleasant and just telling him what I am up to lifts my spirits as when you put it into perspective this is an opportunity of a lifetime what I am doing but I am only human and even a trip like this can get to daunting for me when I think how far I still have to go.

Suck it up you ponce!

Got lost leaving Oaxaca the road I wanted was full of riot police and camera crews so I decided did not want to get entangled in that. I finally cleared the town got some petrol and some breakfast and hit the road. For the next 200km it was bend after bend corner after corner twist and turn after twist and turn. I think you get the idea biking heaven little to none other traffic except the odd lorry to past which were treated as mobile chicanes. It can be difficult to pass other traffic as there are very few straights and I do not have the ability to see round blind corners so you can be stuck behind them for while. Mostly they work with you to get you past but sometimes that is not always possible. So this is were those god-awful speed humps come into their own as the slower moving vehicles come to a practical stop at these and I can be over the bumps a lot quicker as I can slow down quicker and accelerate quicker so many an overtake done today whilst bouncing over speed bumps.

Nice Roads

Not to hot weather dull and overcast which was nice and the villages further apart so less speed bumps. So a good day to lift my spirits the road not perfect as this is still Mexico so all sorts wildlife and domestic life wondering over the roads and rough has hell in places to keep you on your toes. After the mountains hit a flat bit nearer the coast and it was every so windy and looks like it is always windy there as there where thousands of windmills as far as the eye could see. Not many of them where turning probably out of the safety window for them so out of the spec for running them makes you wonder how practical these thing really are. (Do not get me wrong I am a big fan of alternate energies but sometimes I do wonder how efficient the options chosen really are)

It was getting hot now I was out of the hills but still dull and looked like rain but in fact it was just getting dark. I had forgotten how far south I am and it gets dark at 5.45pm on the dot and I am not used to that so need to find somewhere to stay quick before it get dark. Problem is I am in the middle of nowhere no big towns or obvious places to stay and the next town I was aware of is about 50km away and it would be pitch black by then and I do not fancy riding on these roads in the dark. Fortunately I saw a sign for a Hotel pulled over just as it was getting dark. In the middle of nowhere but a reasonable price so I was setting up camp there for the night.

Allegedly it had a restaurant as well but this was deserted I think I am the only person staying here. So ask for the menu they do have one but they do have chicken. I am sick of chicken as it all you can seem to get here. They said they have some meat but they did not seem that keen on it so I asked to see what they had got as the conversation was bad due to my lack of Spanish. So I was shown into the kitchen, which was probably not the wisest thing to do, as ignorance often is bliss. The meat looked disgusting, as did the chicken. They had some prawns but god knows how old these where and I did not fancy risking them. I spotted some eggs and some rice so asked for 2 fried eggs and rice with soft tacos and a coke. So that was dinner sorted and I do like a fried egg every now and again.

Not much else to do, as this was a Hotel in the middle of nowhere on the side of a busy road so I retired to my room for the usual upload photos update blog do some planning for the next day and read me book and before you know it is bedtime.

A couple of days ago I was sitting having a coffee at a petrol station when a car pulled up and this very young lad gets out and goes across to my bike to have a look and then he strokes it which I thought was great I have never seen anyone stroking a bike before but I think she deserves it as she doing a great job. I often find myself patting her on the tank and thanking her for a great day and today was one of those so a pat and a stroke for me bike today it was good bike day 🙂

San Cristobal de las Casas to Huehuetenango,Thursday, 1 November 2012, Day 121

No mans land between Mexico and Guatemala Gorgeous!

Today I was in two minds as whether or not to cross the border into Guatemala today. It was about 180km away so I was not sure how long this would take to get there and I did not want to turn up to late not knowing how long the process will take and arriving in a new country late in the day. To ensure I was ready for both options in the morning I went on the Internet to do some research on the border crossing this entailed me perching on a corner of a balcony, as this was the only place I could get a signal. So after this I have a vague idea on what the process is the next thing I wanted to do was get some Guatemalan Quetzals, as I do like being hassled by the money changers at the border and I seen a place last night that was selling Quetzals in town the exchange rate not to fantastic but probably better than what I would be getting at the border so I loaded the bike went the exchange place and then as usual got lost trying to get out of town which you would think be nigh on impossible with a GPS but I am not sure how good the coverage is of Garmin is in Mexico it always seems to be a bit off. Whilst trying to find the right road out of town spotted an OXXO (Mexican 7/11) so decided to have breakfast there before hitting the road. So it was quite late when I left San Cristobal so had already had my mind set on the fact that I would be spending another night in Mexico. Nice road not to hot when I was in the mountains and before I knew it I was at the crossroads to the town I had planned to stay for my last night in Mexico.

So I filled up with petrol and asked how far to the border and it was just down the road. It was 3pm so I thought sod it lets go for it and get this border crossing out of the way and it turned out to be a lot easier than what I was expecting.

  • First on the Mexican side find the banjacito office to get my deposit back for my bike as I was leaving the country. Very easy guy took my forms did some paper work and came out checked my VIN number and I was good to go (Note to self double check credit card to see if they put the monies back)
  • So the bike is officially out of Mexican but I am not so next stop immigration to get me officially stamped out of Mexico also no problem adios Mexico
  • Ola Guatemala, short drive through no mans land which is so gorgeous that I have to stop and take a photo probably not the wisest thing to do stopping and taking photos at a border crossing but it really was spectacular scenery that needed capturing
  • I rolled up to the Guatemalan side and was directed to the immigration and in out within minutes no queue no hassle I am officially in Guatemala and have been given 90 days. It seems I am the only one crossing the border today so the nice chap comes out with me and points me to where I need to go to get the bike temporally imported which is 20 meters further down the road
  • So move my bike from immigration to import place and park my bike in front of the kiosk a couple of money changers ask me quite politely if I would like to change any money and I politely declined and they did not bother me again
  • Young lad at kiosk spoke some English so he asked me for
    • Passport
    • Driving Licence
    • Registration Papers for the bike
    • Exit papers for Mexico

As he needed to make copies, I told him I had copies he could have but he insisted that he made his own (nice little money spinner) so easier to let him just do this. So he did all the admin and filled in the forms, which took a while. Trying to find the Netherlands on his list on his computer was the 1st stumbling block but we found it eventually. When forms completed he showed me them to check them to see if all info correct. This is when I noticed that he had the Netherlands for the bike, which was correct, but he had me down as a Dutch person which was wrong but an easy mistake to make as how many English blokes turn up at the border on a Dutch registered bike with a Dutch driving licence. So this set of paper work went in the bin and we changed it the UK, which also took some finding this on his computer. This time paperwork correct and complete so I sign all 3 copies and so does he and then he makes up the invoice and gives me all my paperwork. The cost was 60 Quetzals for the copies, which was not really necessary as I already had copies but hey it’s only 6 EUR so I can live with that and 100 Quetzals for Import Costs. This I challenge as I read this morning it should only be 40 Quetzals but he tells me this is last year price so I joke about that is huge inflation but I accept the charge as the chap has been pleasant to deal with and I have a fully itemised officially looking invoice that is signed and stamped and 16 EUR seems a reasonable price to me.

  • So directed to the cashiers kiosk, which is next door to pay the fee. Walk into the door expecting it to open but it was locked and needed to be open by an armed guard from the inside ouch! Paid the cash having another go at getting a discount or the 40 Quetzal rate in there but the cashier spoke no English
  • Back outside to the import kiosk there were a couple of other people there now and the young chap was dealing with them. So waited for a while it getting hot about 30+ degrees so starting to sweat a bit. I was expecting him to deal with the other folks in the queue first but he called me in front of them and we finished of the paperwork and I had my temporary import sticker.
  • Showed this to another guard/official for his records and I was in Guatemala and it was just after 4pm so this whole exercise only took about a hour so quite efficient.
  • So thanked the young lad and other official sorted my paperwork out and drove into Guatemala
  • So no hassle with folks trying to offer there services, no hassle from the money lenders, officials I dealt very pleasant and courteous, no fumigation needed and no fumigation fee very efficient all things consider and only 160 Quetzals so considering all the horror stories I had heard and read about on the Internet I am wondering if I am just lucky or if folks really do have the experiences I read about!

Border Crossing

So should I find a place for the night or move away from the border. It was stunning scenery and I had itchy feet and was feeling good about how easy the border crossing had been so I hit the road. I was heading for a town, which was about 80km away called Huehuetenango, and if I saw something nice I would stop before then and in theory it all should be doable before it got dark.

For about 5km I had not hit any speed humps and was just starting to celebrate as I was lulled into thinking that they do not have them in Guatemala but nope bugger they do have them here as well.

As I moved into Guatemala my GPS started loosing detail as the maps I had loaded where only for North America and Mexico and my South America was buried in one of my bags so I went back to old fashion map reading and looking at the signs. Two problems here was the map I had I had borrowed of my mate John in Houston who had borrowed it of a Dutch college of his and this was in the 90’s so it was very old and two there are little to no road signs in Guatemala.

  

So doodling along enjoying the road and the scenery bit concerned as it was getting dark and I had not seen any places to stay since I left the border I had no idea if I was even on the right road or how far Huehuetenango was away. I finally saw the sign for the turn off Huehuetenango and before I knew it I was in the outskirts when I saw a fair and or fiesta and just after that a hotel with secure parking so pulled in there for the night. Hotel run by a couple of young Guatemalan lads so I have some fun with them checking in and also later trying to get the Internet to work (seems to be common issue).

I headed back to the fair/fiesta a small affair but it was nice wandering around there and I went the Guatemalan equivalent of KFC for my tea. One thing that struck me as strange why they had the fiesta right in front of the cemetery but later I found 1st November was day of the dead celebration so location made more sense to me now.

So another great productive day easy border crossing nice biking roads (except for them damned speed humps) fantastic scenery, a couple of days ago was feeling a bit down and lonely and needed to do something about this. So the plan is tomorrow to go to Antigua and sign up for Spanish lessons at a language school pretty sure that will involve lots of talking 🙂 and at the end of next week I will be craving for the solitude and wanting to be on my own and bitching about that in this blog 🙂