Topes, F-ing Topes

Darn, what is this amateur hour who takes a picture in the 21st century with their finger in it?

Darn, what is this amateur hour who takes a picture in the 21st century with their finger in it?

Disclaimer: what follows is a little bit of a rant, also there are few pictures,  as today was 10+ hours of riding. Now that I'm in my bed typing this, I realize this is what I signed up for, today was the nitty gritty behind the scenes of adventure, not all adventuring is glamorous

The "thrill" that I wrote about yesterday (really yesterday? Feels like a year!) is gone. We rode 10+ hours close to,  but not on the Gulf of Mexico.

It was 10+ hours of the same thing on repeat on the intercom, "pot hole on the left", "pot hole on the right", "pot hole in the middle", "topes, topes, topes". Do you remember frogger? Imagine that in reverse you are speeding along in the cars (motorcycles) dodging frogs (pot holes). That wouldn't be too bad on its own,  factor in other cars passing on the shoulder and the center line and its a motorcyclists version of hell. That's just on the highway, in towns you have all of the above plus topes. 

Topes are Mexicos version of torture, both for the rider and the bike. A tope is type of speed bump, but if speed bumps were from hell. Much like demons every one of them comes in a different shape and size. Some are marked, most are not,  and some that are marked don't exist. You never know what to expect. On one such occasion I went over one to find a pot hole on the other side! After nearly 10 hours of this right before we got to our destination (Veracruz) Dom pointed out that my rim was bent. I have no clue what to do about that (motorcycle friends I'm open to suggestions) 

Now that my rant about the road conditions is over (thanks for sticking with me so far) on to the good stuff today. We officially entered the tropics! It seemed as we passed the line on the map the scenery immediately changed too. Gone were the scrubby bushes, and pine trees in their place are trees with huge waxy leaves, palm fronds and vines reaching so desperately for the sun they are wrapped tighter than a noose around the larger trees.

Dom prepares for the rain, it's a good thing too because if he hadn't it wouldn't have stopped raining five minute later. 

Dom prepares for the rain, it's a good thing too because if he hadn't it wouldn't have stopped raining five minute later. 

As the latitude changed so had the agriculture, we saw our first banana plantations, and sugar cane fields today. We passed through the orange capital (Alamo). While the rows of orchards flanked by jungle were beautiful, I couldn't get two things out of my head.  1) what is that gross smell? Imagine fermented citrus mixed in with two week old garbage. It was rainy then,  and the mud from the road caked all over us and the bikes carried this smell with it. 2) I couldn't get the environmental impact of all the slashing and burning it took to make these fileds/orchards out of my head. I can't judge the locals or hold them responsible as its not their fault they are doing what they have to, to survive.   

Hanz and Franz in front of the blue oyster our hostel for the night. 

Hanz and Franz in front of the blue oyster our hostel for the night. 

We stopped at Tijan a world heritage site and ruins. While the idea of stopping there sounds great, in practice it wasn't. We got there around 1pm, the hike in would have taken 30 min and we were less than half way to our destination so we had to push on without seeing any of the ruins (that's why the thumbnail picture is of a tire and not cool ruins, sorry guys). We made it to our hostel just before nightfall. We have a even longer distance day tomorrow than today so there likely won't be a post. However, the next time we post we'll be in the Yucatan! 

These little shrines are everywhere along the road. I think they may be made by loved ones who lost someome on the road. I've seen this in the states but not nearly as elaborate. I'm going to investigate this more and I'll keep you all posted. 

These little shrines are everywhere along the road. I think they may be made by loved ones who lost someome on the road. I've seen this in the states but not nearly as elaborate. I'm going to investigate this more and I'll keep you all posted.