April 20 to 28
Time is running out to get to the USA so Mexico is going to be a rush. We’ve studied the maps, checked out the travel advisories and, most importantly, talked to other travellers. We decide to cross into Mexico via Belize.
It’s bloody hot at the border and it’s a slow process. Once we are in the country we have to lodge $400 US on our credit card to get the bike in. This will be refunded when we leave. For the first time customs want to search the bike and seem a little put out when we ask if we can park in the shade for the search! A quick glance inside the panniers and we were on our way.
We wanted to go to Chetamul because of its Mayan museum. Unfortunately it closed the day before we arrived for renovations.
A very simple mistake between Cuidad del Carmen and Playa del Carmen meant we travelled about 400 kilometres into the Yucatan peninsula to a Caribbean beach rather than the quickest route to the Gulf of Mexico.
Oh well – we put up with two delightful days at Playa del Carmen swimming in the cooling waters of the Caribbean and lazing about under the palm trees sipping cold beers and eating fresh prawns!
Then it was time to hit the road and make up for lost time. We took to the toll roads. They are good and quick but they are expensive. We have two long days – 720 ks to Cuidad del Carmen and then 680 ks to Veracruz. The next day is on 480 ks to Tampico but the road is bad and the going slow.
It’s time for a day off the bike so we stop for two nights in Tampico, right on the Gulf of Mexico. We chill out by the pool, walk along the beach and rest up.
We plan to head to Monterrey and cross over into the US at the Nuevo Laredo/Laredo border. Foolishly I check the travel warning on one of the info sites and read about the 52 people murdered in Monterrey a few months early. It’s a bad area and we plan to stick to the toll road and get in to the US.
Our plan works. The Nuevo Laredo border is big and easy but the size also makes it slow. Getting our paperwork stamped out of Mexico was easy. Then the going was slow over the bridge – one of three at the border.
Then, with little fuss we are in the USA – yippee! Now it is only a matter of days and we will see our good friends Phil Bangham and Ian, Sylvia and Sarah Marr again.
It’s been a long six and a half months in South and Central America. We have travelled more than 28,000 ks, seen some amazing things and met some wonderful people. And there have been some tough days. Now it’s time for a good dose of old friends and new in the USA.