Dodging Butterflies

We’re camped out in hotel in Minatitlan after an afternoon of battling rainstorms.  My room is decorated with watery clothes strung out on hangers and the air is cranked in the hopes that it will hasten their drying.  The internet comes and goes and I’ve discovered that network tv is subtitled instead of dubbed so I can indulge in a little gratuitous tv time.  All in all, not a bad night.  Day seven of riding is drawing to a close, and at this point we’ve developed routines that start and end our days. Tomorrow I will wake up, shower, and pack.  We’ll eat breakfast and then go through the routine of dressing our bikes.  Then it’s ride, ride, ride- hopefully until we get pretty close to the Guatemalan border.

We’ve learned a lot over the last week and every day brings more adventure. We’ve discovered that though toll roads can be pretty pricey in Mexico, they’re a hell of a lot easier to ride than the one-lane pothole ridden country highways that resemble whack-a-mole boards.  We broke the cardinal rule and rode after dark.  What a disaster. There are no lights on the roads here. The only thing you have to light your way is your solitary headlight and the glaring bright of oncoming trucks.  The roads that night wound through tropical hills and every 15 miles or so we’d cut through a village.  The road is dressed with signs that appeal to conscience, saying things like “Don’t Drive Tired, Your Family Hopes You Won’t” and “Protect Them”(pedestrians).  In the dark night, every now and again your light would pass over a parent walking their children alongthe road, just feet from the barreling trucks.  As a result, we’ve gotten much better at choosing our end of day towns.

All hotels are held up to a standard based off our first night in Mexico. We will never again stay in one quite like that first hotel… Good God.  It was an act of desperation – a late afternoon, a long drive, no sense of when we might find another town and these kind people welcomed us into their hotel. They had us park our bikes in their lobby and they opened their restaurant up for us. They were so very, very nice. And our rooms were like prison cells. They were windowless cubess with one blaring flourescent and walls that hadn’t cured yet. It was kind of hard to breathe.   And outside my room was the lobby tv where the late night desk teenager  sat and laughed with his awkwardly deep voice late into the evening.  If these people hadn’t been so nice…. well we still would’ve stayed there.  There just aren’t many options in small towns where we don’t know our way around.

Mexico has been absolutely beautiful to ride through. From the first day in the dry plains where we were so eager to cross the border down through the rainy tropical craziness that we bore down through today – the views have been incredible.  We’ve seen flat expanses of cactus and sage broken up by mountains lumbering towards us.  There were tons of grocery bags that had been cast out of passing cars and were caught on bushes waving like flags near the border crossing. It was almost jubilant. Its kind of fascinating, since so many of the buildings are made of concrete, its often unclear if they’re new construction or old dilapidation. They often look like roman ruins strewn off in the distance. Everything is green and growing luxuriously where we are now.  We’re trying to get some video up of a ride we took the other day, but strong wifi signal has been hard to come by.

As we’ve gotten further south, the bugs are multiplying and as you can guess, we’re highspeed bug squashers.  Our visors are more and more obscured by lunch – today my dad scraped a bee out of one of my helmet vents.  But I find myself doing the dumbest thing as I’m flying down the Mexican hi and byways – I try my damndest not to hit the butterflies. I don’t know if its because they’re so delicate in their billow through space and we’re so hard and fast, or if its because they’re so beautiful, or if they’re so emblematic of childhood delights.  Or maybe their brilliant colour announces them so loudly that it seems coarse to obliterate them.  But I try and dodge em when I can. I’m sure I look like an idiot.

I have plenty of photos, but i’ll have to wait for better wifi- it took 20 min to get the one in.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Dodging Butterflies

  1. Daniel

    I can understand your desire to avoid smacking into butterflies — as a kid, riding up in the mountains, we used to call them ‘buffaloflies’ because they hurt so bad when you ran into one.

    Great trip report so far — thanks for letting us follow along.

  2. Caroline

    Loving the storie I have read, Heather your a hell of a brave woman! The butterflies in your head that said it all! Can’t wait to see more photos. Mike your not missing one damn thing here! Enjoy the ride!

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