First days in the state of Oaxaca


We have a week to catch you up on.  We left Catemaco last Friday, February 12th.  It was a foggy day and we knew we’d have to climb out of town to continue south.  The climb went on for about 5 kilometers and we certainly expected some downhill after that, but we were pleasantly surprised with close to 10 kilometers of sailing down through small towns.  We just kept going and laughing the whole way…it’s an exhilarating feeling going down and it’s amplified when it goes on that long.

In the mid afternoon we spotted a touring cyclist going in the opposite direction.  We all stopped and quickly gather together to exchange our stories.  Israel had been touring for about a month and was going around the gulf, he had started in Cancun.  He had homemade panniers and a homemade back rack.  He told us racks and panniers are super expensive in Mexico so he spent a couple months fabricating his own.  They looked terrific!  Israel spoke Spanish so our conversation was a little limited but we all were excited to see each other and he expressed that he hadn’t seen anyone else touring.  We all wished we were going in thee same direction and we shared information about the upcoming terrain in each direction.  We all got back on our bikes and pedaled away, Israel lifted our spirits and reminded us that we’re not alone out here.

Israel, fellow bicycle tourist

We ended up riding about 80km that day and we found a hotel outside of Acayucan.  We had read that Acayucan wasn’t worth going through and had weak accomodations so we were happy to stay at the place we found. We had a nice little room in the back on the ground floor.  A hot shower and free coffee the next morning made our stay worthwhile.

Is that the sun? It fails to appear for days!

It’s now Sunday and we got a late start leaving our hotel combined with getting some groceries.  We don’t really have any pictures from these past few days, it was rather dreary and unremarkable.  It seems like we’re in a weird weather pattern, it’s been cloudy most days and kind of misty.  It makes for terrible pictures and mundane landscapes.

We rode 80kms Sunday and decided to try staying behind a restaurant.  We found one we thought might oblige and asked them if after we ate dinner could we pitch our tent in the back and stay.  Sure enough they said yes and we ate Carne Asada while the whole family watched and then the show continued afterwards while everyone watched us set up our tent.  We talked with them for a while, showed them some photos of our family and friends.  Their was a little boy there who was impressed by our photos of snow.  We retreated to our tent early to relax and rest for an early departure.  Little did we know how early it would be.  At 7am the next morning the jukebox in the restaurant was fired up loud and clear.  It was right outside of our tent aand it scared us awake!  We moved into action and packed up our gear.  It was good motivation to get us on the road early.  We thanked the family and pedaled away into the rainy mist.  Thus concluded our last day in the state of Veracruz and we pedaled 5 kms down the road to reach the border of the state of Oaxaca.

It was dreary again all day.  We rode about 65 kms to arrive in the city of Matias Romero.  We were beat.  3 days of pedalling had worn us out and we decided to stay 2 nights in Matias Romero.  We just slept and relaxed and ate tacos.  We wandered around the town a bit as well and checked out the park.  We managed to catch the first 2 episodes of the season of LOST.  We love that show and it was a total unexpected treat.  Yeah, we’re dorks for it.

The park in Matias Romero

Outside our hotel in Matias Romero

Painting in our hotel, it reminds us of themes from El Tajin

We left Matias Romero on a full stomach of eggs and chorizo. This has become our go food in the morning before riding.  We climbed a little out of town and then the descent began, the terrain changed before our eyes and the once lush rainforest fell away to catcus and ranchland.  It was windy in the beginning of the day and it kept picking up as we kept descending.  The wind became so strong that it was pushing our bikes into the road.  The guardrails disappeared at times and for our safety we got off the bikes and pushed them, or rather the wind pushed them for us.  It was scary and the rocks along the road had biblical references painted on them, for good reason.  It was super dangerous.  Little did we know we had entered the area called “La Ventosa” where windmills were as far as the eye could see.  Isreal, the cycling tourist we had met a few days prior had warned us about a super windy section of road and showed it to us on a map.  We weren’t going to be in that exact area but we were going to be close so we thought it would be okay.  We debated hailing a pickup truck to get us out off there as the wind was almost pushing us over, it was out of hand!  We stood on an overpass trying to figure out what to do.  There was nothing around so we pushed onward.  Once we got off the over pass we tried riding our bikes again.  It was a tailwind and we barely had to pedal to get to our destination of Juchitan.

Crossing the continental divide

Windmills greet us on the horizon

The perfect site for windmills...the wind was crazy!

We thought we’d have a good time in Juchitan but the place was rather torn up.  The zocalo was a mess of construction so all the regular vedors were crammed ont the side of the streets and it was super windy and dusty.  There definitly were more women out and about, which has not been the case thus far.  We enjoyed the street food, we ate too many tacos.  Bryan decided to order a taco de cabeza-cow head taco.  We’ve seen these tacos for weeks and they are getting increasingly popular as we travel south.  A lot of people eat them and it was time for a go.  It was pretty tasty, super tender, and delicious overall as long as we didn’t look at where it came from.

Watch out for the giant jackhammer and the falling telephone booth!

Don't be alarmed, but that's where the tacos de cabeza come from and they're everywhere!

Street scene in Juchitan

We decided to get out of Juchitan and have a short ride to Tehuantepec where we are today.  It’s our second day here and we’re enjoying our stay.

On the way to Tehuantepec from Juchitan, the lanscape has changed so much since Catemaco

Today we went to “La Casa de la Cultura”-the house of culture which is housed in the remains of the Dominican Ex-Convento Rey de Cosijoni.  It  was built in 1544 and some of the frescoes from that time have been restored.  We wandered the empty halls and admired what once might have been.

Flower on a tree outside La Casa de la Cultura

Remains of frescoes from 1544

We wandered farther out of town in search of a small market that wasn’t running.  Instead of walking back to the center we decided to take a trike, what they use as taxis in this area becasue the streets are so narrow.  We stepped in the back and held on.  It was fun, almost like a ride at the fair.  It was like a 3 wheeler with a lift kit.

Woman riding on a trike in front of us

view from our fourth floor hotel room in Tehuantepec

Mountain view, Tehuantepec

The sun finally came out today.  We wandered the markets in Tehuantepec, bought some watermelon and delicious cornbread. We’re headed out tomorrow to get down to the coast, we’re only about 3 days away.

While we’ve been blogging a celebration has been going on outside, the anniversary of a local school.  We’re going to check it out and get something to eat.  Just another day in Mexico.

Hasta luego,

Debi and Bryan


7 Responses to “First days in the state of Oaxaca”

  1. Miss you so much!! We’re all in Florida!! Wish you we here with us. Aimee ran 2 miles with me today!

  2. 2 Pat and Dan

    Thank you so much for being the ultimate journalists. Your detailed responses are so satisfying, to us the desperate masses!
    we love you and are sending good vibes your way.

  3. 3 Lauren

    Ive been to all the cities in Oaxaca you’ve mentioned so far! I’m so jealous. You’ll love Oaxaca City….. There’s a cool museum there you should check out….

  4. 4 Kate Cross

    Cow head taco? You guys are too much!

  5. 5 Kate Cross

    Scary wind!! And that photo of the flower–amazing! Looks like something that lights up when you plug it in! But it isn’t sold in Spencers, ha!
    Stay well.

  6. 6 Gretchen

    That flower is fantastic. It doesn’t look real. And I’m very impressed with the wind turbines. Immensely enjoying all the photos and blogging. Take care. xo

  7. 7 Kyle

    Keeping track of your trip and enjoying all the pictures and great cultural information. I am currently reading undaunted courage and it is a great book, thanks for leaving it! I hope your trip is a little easier than Lewis’s. Enjoy!

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