Be careful what you wish for.
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
Not so Stealth Camped
Trip alt 497 m
At 6:30am we were on our way. It was fresh out and we were delighted with the much flatter terrain. The hills are shorter and less steep with easy flat stretches in between. We stopped for scrambled eggs and fresh tortillas at first little comida (small simple restaurant) we came across with smoke rising from the wood stove. Hammocks were hung between the posts so we suspected that the husband and wife sleep there. Unfinished remnants of a broken down house was the back drop of the comida. A pile of squash in one corner of the comida added charm to the rustic scene. A blackened pot of maiz (corn) boiled on the stove. The grinding stone is used to make tortillas and a fresh ball of dough always seems to be at hand.
We were more inland now and soon we were battling against a mighty headwind. It would subside and hit us full force again and again as we crossed the different canyons. But....I got what I wished for yesterday; which was cycling like in Holland, meaning flat. And now I am reminded it is also rarely without headwind!! Now we have the headwind in Mexico. A couple of higher passes surprised us. At around 10:30, we arrived at Santo Astata. We checked out the only hotel in town. It was overpriced for what it offered and it was still early. So we decided to continue after getting water, a few tomatoes, avocados and a jicama for the road.
We passed a village I named "Bedrock" because of the huge boulders seemingly haphazardly strewn around town and on the surrounding hillsides. The next stretch was pretty deserted and by 2 pm we wondered when we'd find a place to resupply. We were running low on water and lunch would be nice. Then after a nice downhill we passed a lagoon on our left and on our right a restaurant appeared. A police car was parked under a shade tree, one of cops sound asleep. The other told us the restaurant was closed and that there was a restaurant 5 minutes down the road. We figured max 5km, no problem. The restaurant did sell us a bottle of water for which we were grateful and figured the one liter water would be ample. What followed were some gnarly climbs. In addition, the wind became a force to be reckoned with. Dave was mostly able to stay on his bike as he was blown from left to right. I pushed my bike with all my might, it was slow going . Even the downhills were void of joy as we struggled to stay upright and had to pedal hard.
Two hours had passed and still no restaurant. It was deserted here. Finally we spotted a guy on the side of the road and asked him where we could find a comida. Not until Salina Cruz, he told us. We were pretty frazzled by now and I didn't have another 22 km pushing against the storm in me. We inched our way partly up another hill and stopped at a bus-stop located on the cross road to small village down a valley. Dave decided to go there in search of water at least, before continuing in search of campsite. A lady who was waiting for transport and had been curious about the usual (where we came from and where we were headed) handed us some "limas". A delicious juicy citrus fruit we had never seen before, maybe a cross between orange and lime. Buses and small trucks dropped people. Loaded down with provisions they disappeared down the steep road to the village below. Dave returned with water and we had some crackers with avocado and oranges before continuing onward and upwards.
The mountainsides on this section were steep and the road carved its way ever upward toward the next pass. There were no places flat enough to camp and dusk was at our heels. Not a good time to be on a windy busy shoulderless road. Finally, when I caught up with Dave, he had spotted a 'not very stealth' stealth campsite. But the spot was horizontal and not too far from the road. We took it. This was no time to be picky. Quickly, we cleared a spot of thorny branches and rocks and set our tent up in record time. We enjoyed my favorite Honig Forest Mushroom soup with crackers and fell asleep soon thereafter in spite of the heavy bus and truck traffic, or the howling, from what seemed like all the dogs in the small farming village, below us.