Reports on my cycle trip around the World (by Ernest Markwood)
Monday, 8 October 2012
TABASCO HEAT & SIERRA MADRE
Since my last post Leana and I left the city of Merida on our way West (and we picked up our USA visa's on the way out). Within a couple of days we were in another historic colonial city, this time the coastal city of Campeche, where we spent a day looking around and photographing restored history. From there we cycled along a very scenic stretch of the Mexican Gulf coastline, where the road mostly ran only metres from the ocean. We also crossed a number of big bridges in the area, the 3km and 4km long causeways to- and from Isla Del Carmen, as well as bridges over various large rivers. Until fairly recently there were no modern roads in the region, and river transport prevailed. Mexico has a large oil industry, with refineries and oil rigs visible from the coast.
We followed this coastal road as far as the town of Paraiso, past Isla Del Carmen and Frontera into the Tabasco State.
Then we headed South, trying to cut through the depression in the narrow part of the country in order to avoid the mountains on our way to the Pacific coast. Somewhere along the way my odometer also clocked over to 99 000 km.
In the process we visited more Mayan ruins at Comalcalco, and at the Tabasco state capital, Villa Hermosa, we went to Parque De La Venta where we looked at ancient Olmec artifacts (including the famous giant heads carved from basalt rock). There were also some captive local animals in the park, such as the jaguar in picture. Moving on South we also stayed over at Teapa in the pouring rain, and took a tour deep into the spectacular caves just outside of town.
Then the trouble started, the dreaded Sierra Madre mountain range. Luckily the road doesn't cross the highest part, but we caught the edge of it, and that was fierce enough!. After some time in the flat humid jungle and coastline, these hills were a wake-up call. However, on the bright side, the scenery was spectacular, we passed through amazing rural villages where the indigenous ways are still strong, and the climate was nice and cool for a change.
Now we have dropped down to the lowlands on the Pacific side of this narrow part of the country, and we'll head on to that coast from here. Currently we are taking a break at another historic colonial town, Chiapa De Corzo, which is close to the Chiapas state capital, Tuxtla.
Daily distances cycled since my previous post have been:- Maxcanu 67 km; Campeche 121 km; Champoton 67 km; Sabancuy 71 km; Cuidad Del Carmen 87 km; Frontera 100 km; Paraiso 81 km; Villa Hermosa 81 km; Parque De La Venta 7 km; Teapa 71 km; Tapilula 80 km; Nuevo Pueblo Solistahuacan 36 km; Bochil 40 km; and Chiapa De Corzo 69 km. The total distance I've cycled in Mexico so far is 1785 km, and the total distance which I've cycled so far on this trip is 99 330 km.
My bike (Old Saartjie) on the first day of this trip, 27 March 2007.
PLEASE HELP TO KEEP OLD SAARTJIE'S WHEELS ROLLING: In order to fund this cycle trip I'd sold everything I had, but that has long gone. Please help if you can! If you want to contribute, then please contact me on my e-mail, and I will give you details. (email@example.com)
My Cycle Route
Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 March 2007 - 146 849 km so far
My name is Ernest Markwood, and I am a South African formerly from Cape Town. I am a Research Psychologist by profession, and operated a Market Research business before embarking on this journey. I sold my posessions and took off by bicycle all the way through Africa from Cape Town. Since then I've proceeded via the Middle-East through Turkey, the Caucusus, Iran, Sub-Continent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal), China, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, South- and Central America, and the USA, crossing Canada from the West to East and then all the way down the East coast of USA, and Jamaica. Currently my mission is to close gaps in order to form a continuous route around the world. I left Cape Town on 27 March 2007. This was not intended to be a race, but rather an experience (and so it is!).
Me (Ernest), on one of my better days
. . . . on this trip I have looked like this . . . .
- - - also like this . . .
. . . . and I've even looked like this!
I have not been cycling on my own for this entire trip. Leana and I left together on 27 March 2007 from Cape Town, South Africa (our former hometown). Since then we have cycled separately at intervals, although in total we have been together much of the time. We split in 2013. For more about her see leananiemand.org.za