30.7 mi / 10.4 mph / 1333 ft. climbing
Home: Hotel San Pedro Martir
We went for breakfast at the Valentina restaurant in front of our hotel. The proprietor again did a great job of communicating simply, and I was proud that I could respond smoothly with “harina” when he asked “maiz o harina” (corn or flour) for my tortillas (yes, that’s what qualifies as “good” Spanish for us). Exactly what I should do with my tortillas in regards to my Huevos de Mexicana, I still haven’t quite figured out. But I was at least able to do way more learning-by-observation at this meal than I have at any other, since there were at least five other parties in the mostly-full restaurant, more than we’ve eaten with at all our other meals combined. Rett went with a good American-style plate of pancakes, eggs, and bacon, which tasted good, and had the nice side-effect of eliminating any cultural uncertainty.
On our way out we stopped at the nearest abarrotes on the dirt back-street to fill our water bottles for 10 pesos.
The riding today was more nice mountainous countryside, though we went through a few more settled areas that were not-quite-towns, and not especially-wealthy-looking. It seems one of the biggest employers in the area must be the Llano Colorado vineyard, which was the largest vineyard operation we’ve ever seen, stretching as far as we could see and for miles along Highway 1. Most of the flat land in this area, while fenced, doesn’t seem to be very intensively cultivated. A small herd of skinny cows here and there, a rare bit of a vegetable farming operation, but mostly just empty pastureland. So the winery was a big exception to that.
One difference was a bit of intermittent rain, something we haven’t seen in over a month. Nothing heavy, but enough to get our rain covers on our panniers before we even left the motel, and then we had our rain jackets on for a downhill (more for the cold than the rain…the temperature probably didn’t hit 60 deg. F today).
Traffic continues to be largely-respectful, with any dangerous-passers 80% likely to have an American license plate, despite representing about 30% of the cars on the road. We did have one insane asshole big-rig driver blast by us way too close, and than blast his horn on the way by on top of that. Given how the big-rig drivers seem to be the most careful and respectful of Mexican drivers, and we have barely heard an anger-honk at us in our whole time in Mexico (as opposed to dozens of supportive beep-beeps), I’m 90% sure it had to been an American truck+driver.
We got safely passed by a little red car with a bicycle on the back, and with a surfboard and kayak strapped to the top, and were a little surprised to see a Colorado plate, but Rett said “he’s an adventurer like us, so of course he knows to give us plenty of space. I bet he’s going to kayak with the whales!” It turns out that’s exactly what he was going to do (or at least is on a list of possibilities for him), which we know because he pulled off the road just ahead of us to chat (and luckily we had a break in traffic behind us so were able to drop down and stop in the dirt shoulder). It was nice to have a full English conversation with Douglas and exchange more ideas and information.
At Héroes de Chapultepec (yes, that’s the name of the town), we again had to ride past our motel turn off in order to safely stop and drop down to the dirt below the asphalt. Turning back up the dirt road seemed annoying, and we’d gotten the idea from Douglas of letting the tailwind push us further ahead than we’d planned, so we had a bit of a stressful debate about whether to continue forward another 12 miles (favored by Rett) or stick with our plan (favored by me). The effort needed to figure out what would work for us in that next town, combined with our not-yet-eaten-lunch, made me decide to just stick with our plan. As we walked our bikes down the dirt road that took us well off the main highway, and far away from any shops/restaurants, I felt bad for “forcing” Rett into what might be a pain-in-the-ass stay, but once she saw the cleverly-decorated, old-west, adobe-style giant motel room (with equally giant bathroom), I was happy to see that she was on board. And a super-low cost of $19 USD was an extra bonus we could both get behind!
We showered up, then walked the 0.6 miles to the nearest supermercado to pick up a day-and-a-half of groceries. With the hotel being off the highway, we could also then walk the “residential” dirt streets of the wide-open town.
We took our groceries another block over to Danny’s Pizzeria and got ourselves a big-ass dine-in pepperoni/ham/jalapeno pizza. The whole time we were there, we didn’t see a single other customer, or see any pizzas go out for delivery (though one phone order might have come in). So it’s still confusing how these places manage to stay in business; is cost-of-living so low that economic activity can be really inefficient? Or is it just that “dinner” isn’t much of a thing in Mexico, and our meal-times are mis-aligned with the locals? Continuing the “how do we eat this?” questions, we got a bowl of ketchup packets with our pizza, but everything else about it was American(/international?)-style.
Heroes de Chapultepec Day 2
Part of the hesitation with our out-of-the-way motel was that we planned to stay two nights. The light showers of yesterday were just a preview of what the forecast showed as heavier rain overnight and into the morning. We definitely had good overnight rain, filling all the ruts in the dirt roads with puddles, and it continued into the morning, along with strong constant winds, so staying put for another day felt like a reasonable decision (especially at $19 USD/day!)
In addition to the rain waking me a few times, the usual late-night roosters (who apparently live on nearly every motel property!) added to the noise, but worst was the loud music being played seemingly by the people running the motel! It stopped a little after 10pm, though returned for a bit sometime later. Maybe we needed to pay $29 for a no-music stay?
The room also has neither heat nor A/C, so despite getting it to 72 deg. F yesterday by letting the sun stream in the west-facing window, it was 58 deg. F when we woke up in the morning. But hey, we’ve spent 3 times as much staying in a yurt, and this is better than that! But carrying through the yurt-like living, I got our camp stove out in front of our room to boil water for coffee in the morning, ramen at lunch, and pasta-soup for dinner.
We watched “For the Love of the Game” in the morning (in English w/ Spanish subtitles, helping at least a little bit with our Spanish learning!), Rett did a load of sink-laundry, and we filled the rest of our time with the usual day-off laying-in-bed.