Tuxtla Hill Country

07Feb10

We left Veracruz on Thursday morning after eating breakfast at a little place we found the day before that offers eggs and chorizo for 20 pesos. The place was packed again which we have found to be a very good sign of the establishment. We saw some of the same people we saw the day prior. After dragging all our gear and our bikes down from our third floor hotel room we headed for the waterfront for a leisurely ride out of town. Veracruz is ramping up its city streets for the coming of Carnival in a week or so. It is a huge party here. Actually, it is one of the biggest in the hemisphere and we planned to sneak out before it got started. The street we took out of town was lined for what seemed miles with metal bleacher seats for the extravagant parade that is to ensue. Construction projects made our ride slow and hectic. We stopped at a large supermarket in Boca Del Rio for provisions. Here reminded us of the states with plenty of strip malls and chain stores. We were able to eek out 55 km’s to a small town called Salinas, near the coast. We found a small restaurant with a grassy field in the back and we asked the owner if we could camp for the night. This was our first time asking someones permission and it felt nice to be accounted for and also to not have to pay. It rained most of the early evening and all through the night.

 When we left in the morning no one was around but we left a short thank you note and small bottle of N.Y. maple syrup.
Most of the early part of Friday gave us relatively flat terrain and the occasional view of the Gulf of Mexico. We rode 80 kms that day and found ourselves beginning to climb into the Tuxtla hill country so we decided to call it quits for the day. We found another  nice restaurant, asked to camp and ate dinner there as well. For about 150 pesos we had a great meal and a place to camp-not bad! We spent that afternoon after our early dinner sketching and drinking tea along the riverside amidst all kinds of flowering trees.

Nice view from the campsite

roadside friend

We left early the next day and started climbing immediately. We were instantly glad we did not ride further the day prior. The Tuxtla region of Veracruz has a much more lush rainforest quality to it. The soils are rich and dark. Sugarcane, tobacco and corn grow everywhere and there are flowering trees and vines all along the roadside. When the clouds weren’t blocking it we were at the base of a volcano and slowing switch backing up to lower pass. In Mexico, we have found you can pretty much guess the high point of the road by the location of cell phone towers. we climbed for about 3 km’s and once reaching the top we began our descent of over 4 km’s! We win. The ride was amazing, super curvy and fast and flowing not much traffic. We blazed into Santiago Tuxtla for a quick lunch break and then started climbing  up out of town. It was much hotter now and the climb was tougher but at the top we again were delivered a grand descent. One more short climb followed and then we zoomed down into san Andres Tuxtla. Here Debi quickly found our hotel and we moved into a beautiful second floor room with plenty of hot water and a nice view of the town.

climbing in the mountains has its benefits

looking down on the town of Santiago Tuxtla, how about that cloud shadow?!

Debi relaxing in the sun on the hotel balcony

flowering plants line the hotel balcony....so nice!

Last night we asked our hotel staff about a movie theater in town that our guide book had mentioned but, alas it did not exist. Instead we walked on to the zocalo where we came upon a dance performance by a local school. We spent the next hour and half watching various youth dancing to popular music in brilliant costumes. During these performance a loud entourage of men circled the zocalo pulling one man on a donkey! Everyone was honking and laughing. They made two laps and were gone. We think it was for a bachelor party.

Today, we took a bus out of town to a giant waterfall named Salto de Eyipantla, a 50m wide and 40 m high waterfall. Quite impressive to say the least. We spent the afternoon at the bottom of the falls with our feet in the water and feeling the cool mist in the air. We returned to town and bought some fruit at the market. We have fallen in love with these lovely little yellow mangos which are just delightful. It seems we might be the only gringos in town. We haven’t seen many foreigners at all but that could change soon as we get closer to the Pacific coast.

view of the falls

downstream

Bryan relaxing, check out that healed right collarbone! We call it the shard.

Tomorrow, we are heading on to Lake Catemaco, traditionally a center of native witchcraft. It’s surrounded by mountains that are volcanic in origin.  There should be lush scenery and wildlife in abundance.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more to come.

Bryan and Debi

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2 Responses to “Tuxtla Hill Country”

  1. 1 Kate Cross

    Happy Valentine’s Day to both of you and “the shard!” (looking good!) Sent you a gift, check your donation site. Love you! Aunt Kate

  2. 2 Joanne Harrison

    I am loving taking this trip with you. You have done such a nice job of bringing the culture and experience to us.. You both look great. Enjoy every moment… I am! XOXOX KP


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