We take some R & R time in the city of Palenque, eventually gaining enough strength to visit the famous ruins of the Mayan city.
If you’re just here for the pictures, keep scrolling. There will be some good ones. 🙂
Wednesday, January 24
Ok. So I crashed but I didn’t die, so I guess I have to keep writing. 🙂 I don’t have any media from this day, but it was fairly eventful.
The morning after an injury is always full of suspense. My ankle had hardly been usable at night. Giving it a full night to swell up was going to be telling. But when I woke, I was pleasantly surprised. Though the hobble to the bathroom was an arduous process, I was able to put a little weight on my left foot. At this point I doubted that there was any serious injury. I decided to give it one more day before deciding if I needed to see a doctor.
Still, I wasn’t moving well and I had some business to take care of. I had only paid for one night and it was obvious my stay would much exceed that. I limped over to the adjacent hotel (which owns the hostel) and attempted to pay for two nights. Unfortunately, I was a few pesos short. They told me that the closest ATM was at the supermarket, about a half mile away. Time for a hike! (I’m sure that a taxi would have cost like $2, but the thought never entered my mind. I’ve still never ridden in a taxi in my whole life. It’s just not something I think of doing.)
It took me a long time to cover the distance, but I found that I could actually walk better as my ankle warmed up. Still, I really hated gimping around. One of the things that normally puts my mind at ease is that I don’t look like an easy target. That was definitely not the case this day.
Furthermore, I like to be pretty careful with my ATM choices. I prefer to withdraw money when I’m just passing through a town. Hop off the bike, get money, make sure I haven’t been followed and get out of town. Now I was taking out money in a crowded supermarket, looking like I was on my last legs.
I got enough food and water to last me for a few days, paid at the hotel and made it back to the hostel. It felt like a real accomplishment.
Despite conquering this obstacle, I was in a terrible mood. I was having a hard time shaking off the events of the previous day. I was having some serious doubts about my will and ability to complete the trip, moreso than at any point previously. I felt like I should update my blog, but I knew it would be some terrible drivel that would not be indicative of how I really felt.
I really struggled with the lack of justice with the events. I had not deserved to crash. There have been plenty of instances during this journey where I’ve ridden too fast or too aggressively. If I would have crashed on the Tail of the Dragon, I would definitely have deserved it. But this time I was being cautious and riding at a reasonable speed. I should not have gone down.
Additionally, the thought of getting back on the bike actually sent a wave of fear through my core. The thought of riding back down the same stretch of road was almost unbearable. It is such a foreign feeling for me that I was having a difficult time processing it. I knew the feeling would probably dissipate, but it still made for a very rough day.
It was great having my new friend, Francisco, there (he was the one who gave my hydrogen peroxide in the previous post). We had some good chats which helped improve my mood marginally.
Thursday, January 25
I felt a little better in the morning, both physically and mentally. Franciso left in the morning and he signed Annie before going.
It rained all day, but I had nowhere to go. I got an update sent out, but did not get much else done in terms of work. I tried to reassure myself that I had a pretty good excuse.
Friday, January 26th
I’d had enough wallowing for the time being, so I decided to get some work done. Annie’s left side case had taken a hard hit and I knew I would need to replace the corner brace which acts as the fail-safe for the system. I brought two spares along.
It’s not too convenient to replace this part. For being homemade I think my luggage system is pretty good, but it’s not exactly intuitive. I needed to remove the trunk to access it.
New vs. old. It takes a lot of force to bend one of these.
I probably spent a couple of hours working on this project. It was difficult not being able to move around like normal. Still, it felt good to know that Annie was road worthy once again. She’s really living up to her “tough chick” namesake.
Being able to complete this fix also gave me enough confidence to feel like I could get back on the road in a couple of days. Though I still had quite a limp, it was obvious that I was improving each day.
Saturday, January 27th
Why was I here again? Because I like crashing? Because road blockades are a source of joy for me? No…..
Oh yeah. The ruins.
I had sacrificed quite a bit in order to get to view these. This morning, I decided I was well enough to try to visit the site. This would mean about a 20 minute ride and a couple of hours of walking around.
As usual, I wanted to be there right when the site opened (8am), so I got a fairly early start. The ride was peaceful enough, but I still proceeded slowly and nervously through the curves. I could tell right away that this site was much more trafficked than the ruins at Tonina that I had visited a few days prior. Even at this early hour, it was rare to get a picture without another person in it.
I’ll interject here and there, but let’s let the pictures talk for awhile.
Temple of the inscriptions
Vendors getting set up:
The thing that probably impressed me the most about this site was the sprawling nature of the site. It really goes and goes. Still, it is estimated that only about 10% of the site is excavated. There is still lots more to be discovered.
Temple of the Cross, a steep hike up:
By about 10am, my left leg was beginning to complain fairly loudly. There were still a few more things that I could have seen, but I decided not to overdo it.
So was all of the hardship worth it to see the ruins? HECK NO! Though someday I will probably appreciate it. 🙂
Back in the parking lot, Annie had company from another adventurer.
When I departed the next day, I would get to meet the rider, Ron. He’s from Vancouver, on a trip to reach both ends of the Americas. His online handle is “Ural Guy” (Ural is a Russian made bike….not exactly known for its reliability). After a myriad of issues, he scrapped the Ural in the US. He decided to continue his journey on a Honda Africa Twin. I concur with this decision.
I took it easy the rest of the day and had a nice long conversation with my sister. During which, some sort of miniature dinosaur was prowling around.
I wandered out for some street tacos in the evening, finding some with pineapple on top. I think it changed my life.
I don’t think I’ve written about Tuk-Tuks yet.
These three wheeled contraptions are basically a little modified motorcycle, used to transport people, pizzas or anything else you can think of. They are not common in northern Mexico, but upon reaching Oaxaca (and further south) they are practically ubiquitous.
I tried to mentally and physically prepare myself for getting back on the bike the next day. My knee was still pretty raw, but it was finally starting to scab over.
(Side note: I’m still working out how to get some real motorcycle pants. It will happen!)
It will be interesting to see how my memories change and evolve regarding my time in Palenque. Though they were some of the darkest days, mentally speaking, I think they were also some of the most important days. I’ve faced very little hardship on this journey so far, so I think it was important to see how I would react to it. Once again, thank you for all of the support through this trying time. I don’t know if I would have made it on my own.
Stay rejuvenated, everybody.
Realtime update: I’m in Antigua, Guatemala currently. For some reason, I’ve been feeling like picking up the pace a bit. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I may try to cross over into El Salvador tomorrow.