(February 3 – written by Nancy)
The sky was full of hot air balloons when we left our posada this morning. Obviously Saturdays are busy days for the balloon companies – I think we saw at least 20 gliding along in the morning air. It was pretty early – 7:30 or so when we left and most of the balloons were pretty high in the sky so they must have an early start. There seemed to be quite a lot of air pollution so I am not sure how much they could actually see from the balloons – we could see a brown layer sitting up above us. We were both hacking a bit, looking forward to escaping the Mexico City vortex.
We rode in four states today – we started in the state of Mexico, then rode for a short time in the state of Hidalgo, spent most of the day riding in the state of Tlaxcala, then headed into the state of Puebla just before we reached our final destination. Only one state sign though, so you’ll just have to take our word for it.
Most of the day was spent riding on a tollway (the M40D) as that was the easiest route to get away from the pyramids and not venture too close to Mexico City while making our way south. The road, while a bit loud, wasn’t too bad – it had a very wide shoulder and we felt safe from the traffic. It warmed up quickly too – we started with our jackets on but stopped to take them off before we hit the 10k mark and it continued to warm up throughout the day.
We only made one stop today, at the one highway stop we came across. While we were parking the bikes at the Oxxo store a man and his son came over to take a look at the bikes and after reading our flags they wanted pictures with us – kinda funny. We also had someone hand us some bananas from their car window while we were going slowly up one of the many hills today. It looked like it was a car with another one of those cycling groups and they slowed all of the traffic on the freeway to hand us the bananas. We didn’t see any cyclists though – we think they were in a bus behind the car.
We rolled into Texmelucan about 2 and went searching for a hotel we had seen on Google maps. Lots of traffic in town and the roads are quite narrow, many one way. We missed the hotel the first time around and had to turn back. When we finally made it there it turned out that they were full. They pointed us toward where there was another hotel so we continued on but ended up a bit lost. We finally stopped to check the map again and discovered that there were a couple of hotels just around the corner so headed that way to check them out. We ended up at the Hotel Imperial, which seems to be kind of a fancy spot. They had rooms available on the ground floor, so we could just roll the bikes in – that is always a big tick from us!
While the shoulder today was pretty clear, as with most of the roads in Mexico, there were stray pieces of truck tires here and there. It’s amazing how trucks continue to drive with their tires disintegrating – I guess it helps to have double tires front and back on the big trucks but we’ve seen some pretty rough tires going by. When we got to the hotel and started to unpack some things Dave realised that his back tire was soft. Turns out he had a small wire, undoubtedly from one of those pieces of truck tires, in the tire and it had broken through to the tube. Seemed like a sign to check all of the tires – turns out he got about 6 pieces of wire and a piece of glass out of our tires. Hopefully that will avoid the necessity of on-road tire fixes in the near future.
We went for dinner at a little cafe down the road and are now ready to call it a night. We have another 100k day tomorrow so want to get out early before the traffic picks up. Dave says we’ll have tailwinds – we’ll see how that turns out.