After three weeks in Cuba we were thoroughly looking forward to getting back to Mexico. We were having a spot of luck as five other tourers whom we’d met at various points in the last few months were all going to be in Cancun when we flew in. A whatsapp group was created and a big airbnb house booked for couple of nights. This turned out to be wonderful both in terms of bike admin and coinciding with the Super Bowl as both of Herbie’s disk breaks had been bent on the flight back from Cuba. By the state of our bike boxes we’re pretty surprised this was the only damage done as it looked like the baggage handlers had been using the boxes as trampolines they were so wrecked. Anywho, it was a all fixed relatively quickly and it gave us time to give our steeds a well deserved wash (the first so far). Sparkly bikes, oiled chains, fully inflated tires, a rough grasp of the rules of American Football, rekindled love for Lady Gaga and we were ready to go!
That plan was to head south along the coast towards Belize, there is pretty much only one road, it’s boring and pancake flat. the one good thing was there was a shoulder the entire way so we were able to often cycle side by side meaning we could chin wag the miles away. It was two days of cycling in a touring bike chain gang, enjoying the flat roads and banter that comes with hanging out with other lunatics. Pulling into the little towns along the coast we realised just how touristy this stretch of Mexico was, there were a lot of five star resorts and a lot of expats. In all honesty you cannot blame them, it’s absolutely beautiful with a reef a mere couple of hundred of meters off shore. The water is pretty warm and armed with only a pair of swimming goggles we were able to swim out far enough to see tropical fish and beautiful reef.
Unfortunately it was when we reached Playa del Carman that we had to say our final goodbye to Jackie. We have mentioned the wonder woman that is Jackie many times before as we first met her up in Forks on the Olympic peninsula in Washington back in September. Since then our journeys have leapfrogged back and forth many times and we’ve become good friends. Jackie’s health has been deteriorating on and off for a while and it was finally in Playa that a doctor ordered her back to Canada for some proper healthcare and rest, rather than seeing a new doctor every couple of weeks on the road. We all knew it was the right decision for her but gutted also that her trip had to end. However she is only a young things and we know this is not the last we will be seeing of her on the road, we hear on the grapevine that already she is planning to cycle back to work next month (a commute that will take her from Toronto to Vancouver Island)
Ian decided to stay behind with Jackie for a few days which left us as four. As I mentioned before the road was pretty dull (yes we were still on the same one). A fairly empty big main road, interspersed with 5 star resort hotels, one enormous dead python and not a lot else for a few days, The wind was non existent and the temperature was breaking into the very high 30s. Perfect if you were in one of those 5 star resorts relaxing on a sun lounger and sipping a mojito, but not so wonderful if you’re lugging your house around on a bike. Bus shelters became the highlight of our day as every time we saw one we’d all dive in for 20 minutes of shade to try and cool down our core body temperature.
Right before crossing into Belize we had heard roumers of a pretty cool little town called Bacalar where there was an awesome lake where you’re allowed to camp. We’d been looking forward to it for a few days and when we finally arrived, four hot sweaty messes covered in dirt and bike oil it was absolute paradise. The beer was cheap, the lake was clear and it cost only 50p to camp. I can’t remember why we left?! We spent the night washing in the lake (which by now is socially acceptable) eating salty chips and taking it in turns to be on ‘moon watch’ trying to catch a glimpse of a lunar eclipse – we missed it!
After the enormity of Mexico (pretty much the size of Europe did you know?) we were pretty excited to get a new stamps in the passport and start ticking off some of the Central American countries. It’s safe to say that Mexico has been good to us. Cycling down the US we had LOTS of people express their concerns about us cycling through Mexico, from our experience all those concerns are completely unsupported. We met some of the nicest people on the planet experienced wonderful hospitality from strangers even when there was a huge language barrier and felt safe the entire way. It’s a beautiful country filled with the most welcoming of people – go visit!