(February 17 – written by Dave)
Today we took the bus because high winds were forecast and several other riders have had significant issues with the wind on the route we were planning. Safety first as they say. Having said that, we are not sure that the bus was needed and we are sure that we don’t like riding it.
There was almost no wind in San Pedro Tapanatepec this morning. So little that when we talked to a couple of taxi drivers, they said that we should ride. We might have ridden had it not already been 9:30 at this point and it was already quite hot in the sun. Our bus pick-up was not scheduled until almost 11 but we went to the bus/taxi/tuk-tuk area about 9:30 to see if we could get some other form of transportation. We had booked bus seats but the ticket seller was not the bus driver. We’ve heard stories about bus drivers not taking bikes unless they were boxed. So going out early was about keeping our option open.
We had no luck finding anyone who cared to make a few pesos taking us up to Cintalapa so we just hung out and waited. When our bus arrived, the ticket seller was very kind and helped us get the bags loaded. If the bikes are empty, we have 2 bikes and 10 bags – most likely over any reasonable bag number limit. Anyway, with the ticket man’s help, we had almost every loaded before the driver even got around to helping us. The two bikes were perfectly safe, laying on top of everyone else’s bags (I’m glad that they were mostly clean).
The ride was less fun. We only had to drive 80k but the first half were up a narrow twisting mountain road and the driver was an F1-wanna-be. We tried looking out the window but that didn’t really work. Both of us started getting queasy pretty soon. I decided to sleep, hoping it would over sooner that way. Nancy just sort of hung on for grim, traditional Peterson car-sickness to take over. She made it until about 5 minute before Cintalapa before having a little episode. We exited the bus quickly as soon as we reached the station. I’m sure that the other passengers, who know this road and the ride better, were happy to see us leave.
Unloading the bikes and bags was easy, except now the earlier inattentive driver insisted on matching every bag with a bag tag. To be clear, we look like aliens to most people here. Our bags and bikes are about as common as snow in these parts. Bikes, bags and we all clearly go together as part of the package. But never mind that, let’s make sure that we haven’t accidently grabbed someone else’s florescent green left front pannier – you never know. Even the Mexican passengers behind us in the baggage queue were rolling their eyes.
Bag clearance speed was not really that big a deal as we had to kind of just sit at the bus stop for a spell, just to get our wits about us again. Long after everyone else had cleared out, we hooked up bags and headed on the hotel search. The first one, Hotel Real Cintalapa was run by a couple teenage boys and looked abandoned – next. The second one, the Hotel Leo was noted by a couple other cyclists and seemed ok. At this point neither of us really felt like looking for anything so we just took it.
After showers, rest and lunch, we are both feeling mostly normal again. When we could look out the bus window, the trees were blowing, but not that much actually. We probably could have ridden to be honest. Better safe than sorry is fair I guess. I’m probably pushing things a wee bit trying to call today a rest day however. Sliding almost out of your seat on every corner, while griping both armrest and getting car sick, well, that’s not really much rest. I’ll leave it to my senior editor to offer her thoughts on the bus ride and it being an actual rest day…(Senior editor – no, not a rest day. Thank god it was only an hour or so bus ride – we contemplated getting a bus to the next big town but I think I would have gotten off at this town anyway. The wind yesterday was pretty scary but I think I might take the risk over a bus ride like that…)
Sorry, very few photos today – I was hanging on for dear life most of the day!