It was about a two and a half day ride on dirt roads over the mountains to get from Oaxaca to the coast just east of Puerto Escondido. The ride there was great, but immediately upon reaching the coast I thought, “What have I done?” I always seem to forget how much I hate beaches until I’m at one. It was diabolically hot, touristy, paved, and far less friendly than I was used to in rural Mexico. I was so tempted to get on a bus and go straight to San Cristóbal. Bad move going to the coast, but that’s enough complaining.
A couple kids led me down a pretty rough path to a secluded beach. I was dumb enough to let them both sit on my rear rack, completely compromising my ability to steer and I kept riding into gigantic thorn bushes. I had so many punctures all the sealant was used up in my tubes. This was the first time I had to deal with flat tires in Mexico and I stayed up until the early hours of the morning trying to fix them. It didn’t help that my spares had worn unpatchable holes in them from rubbing around in my framebag for the past few months.
I had heard horror stories of this road. Cyclists being literally blown off their bikes, people not even being able to hold their bikes on the ground. Apparently it’s not uncommon for semi trucks to be blown over onto their side. In what now seems like characteristic serendipity, I ended up with an ever so slight tailwind guiding me to the town of Zanatepec just before dark, where I had a very pleasant place to stay for a couple days.
I couldn’t figure out how there were so many classic Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico that were in such pristine condition. It turns out the Volkswagen factory in Mexico didn’t stop producing the classic Beetles until 2003.
Cascadas El Chiflón. As if I wasn’t already fed up with tourist places by this point. I arrived here at 5:30pm and wasn’t allowed in because they close at 5:00pm. The whole place was totally developed with concrete pathways and stairs and different buildings to give people money in. It didn’t open until 8:30am which was far later than I had any interest in sticking around for, so I slept in the park in town and snuck in at 5:00am when the jailers in charge of enforcing visiting hours were gone.
Lagunas de Montebello, a national park comprising almost 60 lakes. Each access to any of the lakes was guarded by a man at a toll booth, so I made a little game of riding down to the lakes and back while they chased me in their pickup trucks. All the different lake jailers had walkie talkies, so after a few rounds they were prepared for me.
And that’s it for Mexico. On to Guatemala. If I had any ability to write I would take a moment to say how amazing Mexico had been in the short 4 months I’d been there. It’s going to take a lot out of any other country to beat Mexico.