Ciudad Hidalgo to Puebla, Mexico

Please find the photos for this entry here: Ciudad Hidalgo to Puebla, Mexico (Photos/videos should be pretty self explanatory, but just let us know if you have questions!)

The crossing into Mexico went smoothly. The food poisoning that Eli and Noah came down with that night did not go as well. It was the full deal can't leave the bathroom for 6 hours body cleanse kind of night. By the time the morning came around both of them were completely drained and barely able to stand. They had no choice but to remain in the small border town for a day to recuperate and rest from the ordeal. Our trip is often full of fun and beautiful adventures but also there are many moments like these where the unexpected and unpleasant come to call. The hardships and challenges have been just as important for us as the joys. 

Cameron had made plans to travel solo to make a visit to Colombia from Mexico City - because he only had a certain amount of time to get to Mexico City and because Eli and Noah were sick, it made sense for him to separate from the group and continue solo.

Eli and Noah spent a day curled up and rehydrating before setting out again. Our narrative will follow them and their experience for this next section. While Cameron was not riding with them, he followed the same route and had a similar experience in many ways.

When we got got back on our bikes we found we had lost a lot of our strength and only managed to limp to the nearest town the first day. After that, we slowly improved and our strength returned. We found Mexico to be one of our favorite countries to ride in other then Colombia. The road conditions improved over what we had become accustomed to in Central America, and we were warmly welcomed by the people. So many people had warned us about Mexico being dangerous but, as it had been in so many countries before, we never experienced anything where we felt unsafe or in danger. Only friendly people interested in us and our trip.

Southern Mexico was hot but flat riding. The next few days past without much to note. The landscape rolling jungle broken by grasslands and distant hills. We spent another rest day on the beach to say goodbye to the west coast before heading inland. Then it was up into the mountains again as we headed for the city of Oaxaca.

We found the mountains to be beautiful and the towns we stopped in to be relaxed. As the evening would come everyone would go out into the streets to walk and visit each other. There was a feeling of peace and community. This was a drastic difference from what we had found in many of the towns we had passed through in Central America and a welcome change.

An experience that stood out from this section of riding was stopping for lunch in a tiny mountain town with only a few houses. There was a man selling home made Tequila and Mescal at a road side table and he called us over. He asked us about our trip and was very interested. He wanted us to try all the different flavors he had for sale. We had to stop after only a few because it was the middle of the day and the drink much stronger then what you would find in a store. There aren't many regulations when you grow, harvest, and distill your own agave in the mountains of Mexico. Needless to say, we made sure to eat a large lunch before getting back on our bikes.

We got to the city of Oaxaca after a long day of riding and finished in the dark and rain. We found our hostel and made friends with our roommates before settling down to go to bed. As we lay there, all of a sudden we felt a growing vibration. Every one in the room looked at each other and then, as the sensation grew, it was quickly agreed it was an earthquake. The next two minutes were  some of the scariest we have had on this trip. The entire world was rattling, like driving fast on a bumpy dirt road. It was so strong that it was hard to stand. It wasn't just the movement that was scary, but the feeling of being powerless and in the hands of fate. There is not much else you can do in a natural disaster than to try to stay calm and hope for the best. When the world stopped moving, we found that luckily there was no damage to the building and we were all fine, other then being badly scared. As it turned out, this was the worst earthquake to hit Mexico in the last century and there were many deaths and injuries around the country. We had been incredibly lucky because the epicenter had been just off the beach town we had spent our rest day, only four days earlier. The shock wave had decreased a lot by the time it got to us and the damage was much more extensive closer to the source.

We spent the next three days in Oaxaca and took a rest break to act as tourists for a little while. We toured a pre-Colombian Zapotec temple ruin and crawled into one of its tombs. We learned more about the difference between tequila and mescal and how they are made. We visited the home of a local rug weaver who showed us how all the dyes she used were made from natural materials she had gathered. We also visited the city market and tried spiced grasshoppers from a street vendor. It was a good view into aspects of Mexican culture and history.

When we set out again, we separated for a few days of riding alone. When we spend so much time together, taking time apart is often a needed break for us. It is also a different way to travel and experience when you are cycle touring on your own. When we rejoined in Puebla outside of Mexico City, we celebrated Mexico's Independence Day and rejoined with Cameron. We set out again together for our last stretch of riding in Latin America.

Please find the photos for this entry here: Ciudad Hidalgo to Puebla, Mexico (Photos/videos should be pretty self explanatory, but just let us know if you have questions!)