Day 39: Papantla, MX to Palma Sola, MX

We stopped at a small cafe for breakfast on our way through Papantla. They had pancakes, and I ordered them with ham, and they ended up stacking the ham and pancakes up like a sandwich. It reminded me of a McGriddle, but was very good. I also ordered what they called a “chocomilk,” which I assumed was just chocolate milk, but it was kind of in-between milk and a milkshake; they blended the milk with some ice. They served it in a small fountain glass with the metal mixing cup on the side, like the old-fashioned soda fountains in the US. I also noticed that they had a bunch of bananas up on the shelf behind the counter, and I thought it would be nice to eat one. For some reason, both Ray and I had a hard time getting the server to understand that I just wanted a plain banana. She kept asking if I wanted it in a fruit salad, or fried, or what?

The riding route was hilly at first, but flattened out later in the day. The road was narrow and winding for a while, and sharing it with semi-trucks was kind of nerve-racking. We stopped for lunch at a small town before the city of Nantla. They had several seafood options; I chose the shrimp stew. It was good, but not as good as the fish stew from a few days ago. The lime juice in the broth gave it an aroma that kind of put me off.

After riding near the Gulf of Mexico ever since we entered the country, today we were finally close enough to actually see the Gulf for the first time. We enjoyed Gulf views along much of the road all afternoon, as we passed many resort style hotels. Unfortunately, we also passed through a construction zone, with a very rough and narrow road for a number of miles.

The town of Palma Sola seems to cater to beach tourists from other parts of Mexico. We found a nice hotel, although we had to take a second-floor room, which made lugging the bikes up a little more difficult than usual. We explored the town a bit, stopping in to chat at another small bicycle repair shop. The owner told us that he owns a total of three bike shops in the area. He said “I own my own house; it’s not a great house, but it’s MY house. This is not a great living, but it’s a good living. Bicycles are my passion; I never want to do anything else.”

We got chicken sandwiches and fries at one of the local cafes.

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