Entering the Yucatan was the beginning of my dislike for being in tourist-heavy areas. Beautiful sights to be seen, however I was no longer lost and submerged in a world alone. But it also exposed me to other travelers such as myself. Arriving into Palenque I met a couple who were taking the same route as I was, but on a tandem bicycle. We shared stories and I was left feeling that my trip was easy compared to them. The path I had just come from Texas was only 2 weeks where for them it was nearly 2 months. If you are curious of these two, check out www.therandomsam.com. Interesting life, but not one for me currently. The next day I left to get an early look at the Palenque ruins and start heading north towards Merida. Along my way north I decided to take a detour to some small ruins which were far off the path. There I discovered that I was the first visitor in weeks, which hurts their funding and the restoration is very poor due to that.
A few stops along the way, where I would enjoy some more chili con lime snacks, I made it into Merida. Merida is a large port town at the northern tip of the Yucatan. Beautiful buildings, excessive culture, and delicious food. But my best memory from the town was arriving at the hostel, where a scruffy looking American leaned back in the doorway to stare at me and my bike. Enter Mitch and Taylor, a young couple that is doing the same
trip in a Toyota 4-Runner from Oregon. They were waiting in the hostel for their 4-runner to arrive after being shipped from Texas to Merida. We instantly hit it off as we were only in the beginning of our trip and shared a lot of the same tastes. A few days of fun and we set plans to meet up again in Tulum, Mexico.
The big highlight in the Yucatan is clearly Chitzen Itza, but this is a location I had already seen in a previous trip to Playa Del Carmen. This allowed me to skip the heavy tourist areas, see some of the back road sights such as Coba, Uxmal, Xtampak, and swim in multiple cenotes, freshwater caves that are all linked throughout the Yucatan. My confidence was growing and my trip had gotten easier after Mitch and Taylor introduced me to the application ‘iOverLander’. I was also learning, with their help, how to enjoy camping on the beach, which is hard for me since I would much rather be surrounded by mountains.
Two days camping with Mitch and Taylor, we parted ways without knowing when and where we would see one another again. I was moving quickly on the bike compared to their pace, so most likely we would see one another on my trip back north. My final destination within Mexico would be Calakmul, which is a town of ruins lost in the jungle. It was a beautiful destination, but I struggled to absorb the uniqueness of it after having spent weeks exploring other similar ruins. Only now, reading up on the history, that I truly appreciate the chance to visit that I had. Its really far for tourists to get to, but not for my motorcycle.
My last night in the US was spent in a cheap hotel in Laredo, Tx. The presence of Mexico was very strong at this border town, which brought me to start questioning my trip. I was still going through with it, of course, but the fear of the unknown was strong and I couldn’t help but wish that I was already done with my trip and all adventures conquered. Now at the Belize border, I had conqured some foolish fears and was strongly set for the future adventure into Latin America. There was much more of Mexico to see, but that would wait for my return trip (Unfortunately that wouldn’t become the case, so I will have to go back someday). Now I was relaxed and ready to find more struggle. I just didn’t think that would happen on day one of entering Belize.