Friday, December 31, 2010

12/31/10 New Years Eve: Puebla - Oaxaca, 220 miles 8 hours.

Left Puebla at around noon, after checking out a pretty amazing church and eating huevos rancheros at my favorite coffee spot. I plan on taking the southern highway through the mountains to Oaxaca, but end up headed east and so opt to go the south-eastern route. On the way out of town I stop at a moto shop and get my chain adjusted for a few bucks. It immediately goes slack again, Baja and the rest of it has certainly taken its toll and I'll need a new one soon. I manage to stay off the toll roads, I plan on paying even closer attention so as not to end up paying out the ass like I did inadvertently between Mexico City and Puebla. I hit the city of Tehuacan and spend a good amount of town searching for the road out of town. The road isnt really marked but I am assured by locals that it is the right way to go. Things look vaguely familiar and I realize that I have been on this road before a couple of years ago, so I feel a bit more confident now. I rode a lot of this road in the dark before and as I hit the mountains I realize how much I missed as far as amazing scenery. I take several photos from the tops of mountains and bridges and memories from he previous trip come flooding back. The weather is perfect as I cross into the state of Oaxaca and the roads are beat-up asphalt, which is actually perfect for me as my dirt bike handles it like its nothing and Im able to blaze around the slower moving vehicles ahead. This is my most enjoyable day of riding yet on the trip, a combination of the weather, scenery, not having ridden for very long since before Mexico City, and relatively good roads. Obe thing I unwisely did not do is gas up, and besides remembering that Im riding a pretty remote area with no gas stations, I see a couple of hand painted signs outside of small roadside shacks advertising bootleg gasoline. Surely crappy and at a huge markup, but at least its there if I need it. Right in the nick of time though, I see a Pemex and luckily for me, its inhabited and not deserted or in the building stage. I gas up and the attendant says they have been there for 10 years which is a surprise to me. The 220 miles into the Oaxaca city center takes about 8 hours, as it starts to get dark about an hour and a half before I reach my destination. I manage to find the hostel and get settled in, when someone turns to me and says "I know you". Turns out that Jordan was a roomate of a girl I used to go out with. Small world and all of that. I walk around and fill up on food from various places around the zocalo. I've spent time here before and rather than try to check out all of the sights, I am in relax-mode which is great because Oaxaca is definitely a place built to walk around and enjoy. I get back to the hostel and realize Ive lost my keys. This could be a problem, if I dont get it sorted out tomorrow, everything is closed New Years Day and Sunday as well which means that Ill be here until at least Tuesday instead of leaving on New Years Day as planned. An almost perfect day, I decide to sleep on it and see what happens tomorrow.

Wake up and head out to a few places to try to find my keys. I hit the jackpot at the pharmacy and breath a sigh of relief. Go to a gym for a much needed workout. Eat a bunch of food. Skype a couple of folks I havent spoken to in a long time. Coffee and pastries. Now back at the hostel and about to head upstairs for the New Years Eve bash happening tonight. In the meantime, I meet Jerry, an older gentleman who lives on 14th and 6th in Manhattan, the subway stop I get off at almost daily. Again, small world. We talk about food, restaurants, you know, local shit and despite all the snow up there, I actually begin to miss NYC. Headed out to San Cristobal tomorrow, will try to make it in a day but may have to break it up into 2. From there, a 2 hour ride out of Mexico and into Guatemala where I'll spend a few days in Xela, the city I was in for a month last year. Looking forwards to catching up with the folks I know there, and also being in another country and continuing the journey.

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