February 26, 2010
Oaxaca Tabasco and Chiapas
I nearly froze to death in Mexico! The road from Oaxaca to Tuxtepec was even better than the road to Oaxaca. The road climbs up into cool pine forests and every so often I pass one of the seven dwarves in Mexican clothes packing a load of firewood on his or her back. (In Oaxaca anyone over five feet in height is a tall person.) Finally I reach the top of a ridge and on the other side the road descends into a gloomy mist. Fine, I have my outer jacket, sans liner, over a Tee shirt and jeans, as it was about 30 C when I left the City of Oaxaca (Oaxaca is also the state name). After great weather all day I figure this is temporary, so I just keep on riding. Pretty soon it is raining, a very cold rain that feels like ice. I am going downhill, I can 't see very well and the road is as straight as a corkscrew, with no place to pull off and change into warm clothing.
By the time I do stop I am well on my way to hypothermia in a tropical rain forest with wild banana trees growing beside the road. A sweater, long sleeved shirt, rain pants puts everything right again, and just as I make it to Tuxtepec the rain stops.
The night before I had spent in El Ciudad Oaxaca, the old part is one of the nicest cities in Mexico, so it is full of tourists. The following day would be Dia De La Bandera, Flag Day, there was a ceremony in square with speeches and saluting soldiers.
My bike was in protective custody, locked away in a parking lot near my hotel, release time was 9 AM, so I wandered the city in the evening and early morning, letting myself get lost.
When I get lost in a Mexican City I go in a circle, the theory being that I will end up where I started. It mostly works, but there were a few times when I almost had to call a cab to rescue me.
I found this most amazing fresco on the ceiling of a church, the lead photo of this post.
From Tuxtepec I head towards Villahermosa in Tabasco, making a detour to visit El Golfo de Mexico in Coatzacoalcos. It was muddy and brown, just like it was in Mississippi and Texas. Maybe El Mar Caribe will be better. There is a KTM dealer in Villahermoso, which is a good thing because the mountain roads have done for my front brake pads. Fortunately El Sport Cycle Center had a brand new pair of pads, which was a good thing because I was headed back into the mountains, where I had my moto ass handed to me by a VW beetle. The local hot shots know these roads. I did pass all the dump trucks and buses.
Tomorrow (Feb 27), if all goes well, I will be in Guatemala. This mouuntainous southern part of Mexico is my favorite so far. If you like getting dizzy on a motorcycle this is the place to go. More pix on Picasa, http://picasaweb.google.ca/everiman/SouthernMexico#