David Johnson's Travel Blog
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09/11  Hello Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa
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11/10  Village Life
11/12  Chichen Itza
11/13  Grutas de Loltun
11/14  Road to Campeche
11/16  Gulf of Mexico
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11/18  Tabasco
11/19  Ocean-side
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11/21  Heading Inland
11/22  Tuxtepec
11/24  Into the Sierras
11/25  Mountain Views
11/26  Teotitlan de Flores Magon
11/27  Reserva de la biosfera
11/28  Desert to Pines
11/29  Oaxaca
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12/01  Miahuatlan
12/02  Up and Down the Mountain
12/03  No Minions in Huatulco
12/05  Adios
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Into the Sierras

2015-11-24

tl;dr: After breakfast in McDonalds in Tuxtepec, I am making my way into the Sierra Mountains.

I forgot to mention: Since Mexico has no Thanksgiving, Christmas starts even earlier here. I've been hearing Christmas music since I arrived. The mall in Tuxtepec already has a big Christmas Tree in the center.

Tuxtepec has a McDonalds, and it is close to my hotel. Real breakfast! I head over there at 6 AM. It's not open and there are no hours posted. I come back again later, and I can tell by the sweeping and cleaning that it's finally going to be open by 8 AM (ish). Mexicans do not appreciate breakfast. Even after they opened it was still some time before they were mobilized. I took my time eating, and the only other people to enter the restaurant the entire time I was there were three security guards armed with shotguns who collected cash.

I happened to walk by parrot making all kinds of noise. it occurred to me it was probably speaking Spanish.

I stayed in Tuxtepec two nights. Because I'm lazy. The first morning I washed clothes in the sync and hung them up. Even with the air conditioner running they were not completely dry by the next morning as I was packing up.

I ate breakfast at McDonalds again before heading out of Tuxtepec. The manager happened to be there, and he spoke a little English. He said the store wasn't doing well because of the economy.

Highway 182 from Tuxtepec to the Miguel Aleman Reservoir was bordered by a lot of sugarcane fields. But after that it was houses and food stands and just people. Kilometers and kilometers of people. The bus and taxi traffic was heavy. It was early afternoon before I finally passed through San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz and found roads that were relatively quiet.

You know the old saying: Wherever you go, there is a Mexican.

Sometimes while biking along I will spot a Pemex, which is Mexico's primary gas station company. It is run by the state. Unfortunately, unlike most gas stations, it really just does sell gas. Even each one has convenience store space built, the store itself is often empty. If you are lucky there will be an adjacent Oxxo, which is basically 7-11.

I am climbing into mountains now (which I guess are the Sierras, although I'm not real clear on that). The rugged landscape is covered in banana trees and lemons and cow pastures. There are many springs and creeks flowing down from the mountain peaks. It is pretty neat.

I was greeted once again in English. Sal was in his wheelchair by the highway. He had lived in Wisconsin for 13 years before he had some sort of accident which disabled him. He returned here to a house and land he had inherited from his father. Sal spoke excellent English. I actually learned quite a bit from him. The reason why horses are staked beside the road is because the owners live in small houses with no actual room for a horse. He also pointed out that due to cheap fruits and vegetables and because most people raised chickens and turkeys, you could survive around here on only a few dollars a day. That explains how so many roadside stands are able to keep operating. Sal smoked a lot of weed, which he purchased in town because that weed was of higher quality than what he could grow himself. Apparently a fistful of marijuana only costs a few dollars here. While I was talking to him, he had a puppy delivered. It seems somebody had poisoned his previous dog. He says you need a dog in Mexico.

I moved on up the mountain. I could see that finding a flat camping sport was going to be troublesome. I considered stopping at a hotel that I found along the road. (Hotels in Mexico just seem to appear in the most random places.) But eventually I found a flat spot right beside the road, but elevated enough that the few cars and trucks here can't see me.

school kids at mall




truck loaded with sugarcane


heading into the foothills




men cutting sugarcane


laundry day


it turns out these trees planted in rows are having sap harvested


looking across Presa Miguel Aleman


these rocks will keep you out of this hole


mountain taxis are trucks






Sal with his just-delivered puppy














camping beside the road

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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