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Day Five: Veracruz, Mexico – Palenque, Mexico

Submitted by on Thursday, 19 February 2009No Comment

Day Five
Veracruz, Mexico – Palenque, Mexico
393 miles

The plan was to ride to Villahermosa and stay there but flexibility while traveling changes things.
Somehow I thought Highway 180 was a toll road because we had been paying tolls. But in reality it was a “libre”, where every body uses it. While leaving town, I managed to take the wrong road. We ended up taking the expensive “Cuota”. Some of the toll charges were $12 dollars per bike. At the same time the road was truck-free, comparable to US highways and in great condition.
After paying so much in tolls, we were low in cash and decided to stop at the next town in search for a bank. Cosamaloapan was clearly a non-tourist spot. I asked for directions to the nearest bank.
As soon as we got off the saddle an old man came over. He was the owner of a small barber shop. He was totally thrilled about the bikes and couldn’t believe how big they were. He kept repeating that over and over.
He mentioned he had Harley 70 years ago, but now he only had a little scooter. Then he said he couldn’t even ride a bicycle pointing at his missing four front teeth saying he busted them while riding.
We made a lot of time on the “Cuota” bypassing Villahermosa and driving another 100 miles to Palenque. We got there fairly early but the sunlight was gone.
I had read that the camping spots were close to a national park so we head towards that direction and we found “El Pachan”. It looked like a small community in the middle of a rain forest.
There was a narrow trail to the camping ground and it was dark and full of vegetation and small ditches with wooden plank overpasses. I happened to see one overturn when I quickly used throttle to defeat it.
My friend wasn’t so lucky and when I looked back I only saw two driving lights vertical and the faint words: help! He had dropped the bike on the turn and gotten pinned between the bike and the tree.
We pitched the tents and a local named Hector stop by to help me. After they were done we went to look for a drink and noticed the place full of backpacker – type people – you know -hippies.
After dinner, Lloyd went to bed and I stayed up hanging out with other travelers from Europe and Australia. We order “Caguamas” (Liter beers) and enjoyed the local band under the sounds of the jungle.
Late at night we wondered around the site. Hector who was lit at some point missed his balance and went butt first in the creek. The water was cold. Immediately, a Swedish girl reached for her camera and pointed it at Hector. All we could see or hear was some flashes and click, click.

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