Day 46: Palenque, MX to Ocosingo, MX

The hotel had American-style breakfast options, so we ordered some pancakes and eggs, then checked out and headed down the road. Just a few miles south of Palenque is a Mayan archeological site, so we took the detour to go check it out. In the parking area for the site, one of the private for-hire guides approached us to offer his services. As we told him about where we were from, he mentioned that his brother lives in Kent, Ohio; he runs a translation services business there. Yet another small world incident. We didn’t want to spend too much time at the site, though, so we bought our tickets and went in on our own.

We had asked last night and this morning about options for lodging along this route. There are a few resort hotels south of Palenque near the archeological region, but no hotels or anything along the route until the city of Ocosingo, which is about the mid-point of Route 199. So, we had to do the best we could to make time to get to Ocosingo before dark.

As we proceeded down Route 199, the terrain became very steep and hilly. It was very beautiful, but very challenging. We stopped and ate pollo asado at a roadside stand about 25 miles in. Mid-afternoon, around 3:00pm or so, we stopped to take a break at a convenience store, and figured that we had about 30 miles to go until Ocosingo. Our choices were to keep going, or catch one of the microbuses that seemed to be passing on a pretty regular basis. I looked at my bike computer, and figured that we had averaged a little less than 10 miles per hour so far, so we decided that if we hustled, we could make it.

The steep hills continued unrelentlessly, and it started to look like a thunderstorm was coming as well, which made the daylight fade a little faster than we had expected. With about 19 miles to go, the rain came, and we stopped to take shelter at another convenience store. It was almost completely dark by now, and because of either that, or the rain, none of the buses or trucks that we flagged down were willing to stop.

We talked to the family who ran the store, and the owner had a pickup truck. We asked how much would he want for a ride into Ocosingo, and he said 300 pesos. A little steeper than we had hoped, but we had no other option, so we agreed.

During the drive of the final stretch to Ocosingo, the hills were just as bad, if not worse, than what we had pedaled all day, and we realized that we probably could not have made it all the way, even if it had not started raining. We might possibly have made it were it not for the stop to see the ruins, but it still would have been a close call.

We got dropped off near the center of town, and we found a hotel right around the corner. It was a bit more expensive than we would have liked, but we didn’t have the time or the energy to go exploring at the moment. We got cleaned up, had some dinner at the hotel restaurant, then took a walk around to explore the town and got a few taquitos to supplement our dinner.

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