Cerro Azul -> Tampico
Distance (km) : 141
Time on bike : 6h 56m
Brutto time: 09.20 – 18.00
Avg : 20.2 km/h
Total (km) : 46.037
Altitude: 10 m
Difficulty: 4½ of 5
I have a high momentum in the pedals all day. The terrain is hilly and much drier than just a few days ago. Not exciting. Exciting, by contrast, is the idea of arriving at Tampico before night falls, but I know – just checking the distance on my map (135 km) and with both the terrain and wind conditions as the eternal unknowns – that it will require all the best, I have learned about long distance cycling and disciplined, focused cycling to reach town. At times I have a fine wind from behind, but the foothills slow me down considerably.
In the town Naranjos I look for a coke light at a gas station kiosk. But the kiosk is closed due to renovation accordig to a sign on the door, though I can see no renovation at all inside the shop. But through a small hole in the door (think night time pharmacy), a sales clerk accepts my order. I ask whether this thing is because of the swine flu, but she just gives me a smile and repeats that it is because of the “renovation”. I can (as always) be wrong, but to me it just seems like a bad excuse …
With a focused pedalling – a total of 7 hours today, time equivalent to 2-3 marathons under the Mexican sun – I slowly generate a long mental trance in the afternoon, boosted by the heat, that is wild and savage. My thirst is uncrunchable. Ass hurts in the permanently wet bike shorts and shouts for help. Or at least just a little baby powder.
The temporary rescue from the work-out is American Wes and Scott from Ohio (photos of our roadside encounter might pop up here), who wave for me to stop when I’m about to pass them next to their 4×4 car. I’m partly in a trance. Immediately the put an ice-cold coke (and later 2 cold peanut bars) in my hand and I have a delightful chat with the brothers who are on their way home from a short trip down to Guatemala. A great social boost, which makes me even more excited about getting to the States where my tongue will be free and liberated again. God bless liberated tongues.
I cross 46,000 km today 30 km south of Tampico. Fist goes in the air several times this afternoon when I start to believe that Tampico is within today’s reach. Am really proud of today’s (and the last 4 days with a total of 490 km) stint.
After having crossed the elegant Puente Tampico, that crosses the Rio Pánuco, I’m guided by random local guys towards the center where – several hundred meters away – I spot a hotel sign that entices me with prices at only 100 pesos (8 USD) on the busy Calle López de Lara. It sounds almost too good.
And so it was. The 100 pesos was for 1 hour, the receptionist, who – understandably – are more interested in playing with her daughter at 15 months (I asked) than in serving me, explains. An entire night costs double that. I ask for something cheaper and am not put off by the fact that the place apparently (also) works as a hooker hotel, because it seems completely new and I am tired. The girl calls her lifeline – the boss, I’d say – and returns with the acceptable price of 150 pesos for a shiny new a/c room with bath, without TV. Deal. For that price it means less to me that there are plastic covers on the bed …
I have a great and massive dinner tonight.