Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Day 87: San Cristobal to Tapachula

Greetings all
A day of firsts and lasts today, of topes and of torrential and prolonged rain. This was to be Shirley's first day of full riding on this second leg of her adventure and our last day in Mexico.

We had a rough night last night. Something Shirley ate during the day came back to bite her and she was very unwell. It was not fun - especially for her. Finally Dr Chan's magic drugs worked their magic and she recovered, enough to get some sleep and be ready to tackle the day.

The plan was to ride out from San Cristobal and get to Tapachula, within striking distance of the border with Guatemala tomorrow. We had a simple breakfast at the hotel and were on the road not long after 8am.

We ignored Karen and Liz telling us to take the zigzag route out of town and went straight(ish) up the street to Mex190. This took us through Comitan and Motozintia to Talachula. Great names. The road consisted of stretches of five kms or so of rural road then into pueblo, plagued with tope. Tope are speed humps and they are everywhere! What a pain. Not enough to ask you to slow down but to make it absolutely impossible to do anything else.

Some of the road was steep and twisty.

Along the way we stopped for coffee, served in earthenware mugs

where a little boy met his first kiwi.

and Dick and I did some fine tuning of the route.

We stopped for lunch at Motozintia and watched while a convoy of heavily armed police rolled by. Then we got back on the road just as it began to spit gently with rain. Shirley was keen to stop and put our wets on so we did. And BOY was she right. Not long after we began to see flashes of lightening and the road was very wet and slippery.

As we got to within 40kms of Tapachula the heavens absolutely opened and the rain poured down in an absolute torrential tropical downpour. The rain was so heavy there was hardly room for any air in the atmosphere. I was soon in trouble with the outside of my visor soaked, the inside of my visor soaked, the fog insert soaked and my glasses soaked on both sides as well. We were on motorway by now and I just could not see. We stopped for a dry down and discovered that I had blown a headlight bulb so was also riding without much illuminate apart from my (fantastic) Skene lights on the front.

I switched to high beam and then we pulled in at a petrol station, fuelled up and hunkered down beneath a canopy to sit out the storm. We were joined by a delightful Mexican couple. Kiwi checked them out. Seemed ok.

After about 30minutes or so and several false starts we decided to push on. What choice did we have? Dick went up front and we followed behind with my hazard lights flashing, sitting on around 60kph. Most of the traffic was doing much the same but as always (and everywhere I guess) there had to be some idiots. One of whom decided there was absolutely no law of physics which precluded us and his van from occupying the same bit of space at the same time. Phew! (In NZ I would have kicked him. I was afraid that if I did that here it might become more difficult?)

Town was a total unbelieveable chaotic mess. The rain was hammering down and the streets were 10cms or so deep with fast running water. And huge potholes lurking within. It was hazardous riding but Dick was doing a great job with the navigation. Eventually Liz got us to the place where the Casa Mexicana Hotel was to be. But it wasn't.

Just up the road was the Hotel Norma, with a parking space across the road. We grabbed it. It had a flat roof with the water channelled off the roof in water pipes that squirted out onto the street.

To get to the parking area we had to ride a little way the wrong way up the deadend street. Shirley and Diana valiantly stood in the middle of the road (see how narrow it is!) and held the traffic up long enough for us to u-turn and get into the parks. Bloody legends!

So that was about it. Shirley and I were both soaked. My goretex jacket had kept my top half dryish but of course my Draggin Jeans were wringing wet. We stripped off, hung the wets around the room and headed for a warm shower. And headed for a warm shower. And headed for a warm .... bugger. No hot water. And headed for a cold shower. A very short cold shower, a very very short cold shower, got dressed and went out for a meal. It was ok too but we were whacked.

I still am. Goodnight all.

Today's runs: 340kms
Cumulative: 23,620kms
Tipovers: 3

Location:Tapachula, Mexico.


  1. Ok Shirley, we're gonna have to start seeing pictures of the food, now that you're back.

  2. After Shirley's tummy upset and the crap weather, I hope this story gets better soon! cheers!