29 Jan Cycling From Tula to Teotihuacán
About happy encounters
In the morning, it is time to continue our cycling tour from Tula to Teotihuacan. Leaving the Terrace 10 Hotel in Tula was not easy and it had nothing to do with having to pack up all of our panniers and trying to manhandle all of our bags down three flights of stairs without tripping and falling. No, it was simply, because we liked the place and its people.
Eventually though, and much later in the day than anticipated, we find ourselves cycling out of town.
We decided to stay off the busy highway and followed a small road instead. As we reach the outskirts we find our way onto a dirt road, which led along a canal. It is actually very nice to be able to listen to birds instead of the usual roar of car engines. The only traffic we encounter are a small group of people herding their cows along the dirt road.
After riding through a blocked off area, we stop in front of a gate to check our GPS. We notice a small, adorable puppy next to us and want to film him as a security guard appears on the other side of the gate and starts chatting with us. Apparently, he has been living in Tennessee for a while and he speaks pretty good english. After chatting for a few minutes, we say our goodbyes and he sends us off with the best wishes for our travels.
The blocked off dirt road eventually turns back into a nice country road. As we ride through another small town, two women wave at us and ask where we come from and where we are going. The two are eager to have a picture taken with is before we continue on.
About humbling encounters
Unfortunately, the route eventually leads us back onto the busy highway. As we start ascending a short climb out of another town, a motorcyclist slows down right next to me and asks where we are headed to. As I huff and puff up the hill and try to tell him our story, we decide to stop for a moment to talk. Unfazed by the traffic, he parks his motorcycle right in the street and tells us in broken english that he also cycle tours on occasion.
Since the traffic is picking up we decide to move to the top of the hill to let cars pass more easily and chat some more.
Just when we are ready to continue on, he asks us in broken English if we have any Mexican pesos. Initially we thought, that he might be asking us for money, but before we know it, he pulls out his wallet and hands us 200 pesos.
Although we ensure him that it is a very nice gesture, but that we are doing just fine, he insists that we take the money for food or drinks and does not take a “no” for an answer.
Today is an absolute magical touring day and the people we have encountered so far are nothing short of amazing!
Very humbled, we say our thanks and depart after a big heartfelt bearhug.
About finding direction
We continue on the busy road for a few more miles, before we run into a construction area. It looks like, here, the all-or-nothing approach is common practice when dealing with road construction. Instead of having half the road blocked off and leaving the other lane open for traffic, everything gets torn up at once. This leads to a few miles of zigzagging detour through town over gravel and mud. Cars and big trucks alike are slowly snaking their way through the organized mess….and we are somewhere in between.
Eventually, we reach the end of the construction and are happy to ride on pavement again. The joy of good pavement, however, is short lived, because we soon find ourselves at a dead end.
Our route somehow terminates in a quiet residential area. According to our Routing app, we are to follow the dirt road, which initially leads along a small creek.
The dirt road quickly deteriorates and we find ouselves bumping along a narrow path which at times resembles a single-track trail and at other times a well used goat path.
We spot a few sheep below us in the valley, grazing by the creek.
As the path becomes unridable, thanks to a few ruts and lots of roots we start pushing our bikes. Shortly afterwards, we find ourselves surrounded by a herd of sheep and goats. We even spot a few cows and a donkey, as the animal parade passes by us.
At the end of the parade, we see two men on horses. The two cowboys stop and greet us very enthusiastically with ”buenos dias, buenos, buenos”. Then they seem super confused and amused about how two gringos on bikes happen to appear in a nature preserve in the middle of nowhere. ” You come from San Diego to HERE?!”
Yet, the two are very nice and try to give us directions out of the wild and back into civilization. Unfortunately, there seem to be several paths leading out of here, as the man points into various directions and our Spanish is not good enough to figure out which one is the best. So we say our thanks and goodbyes and watch the herd and the cowboys move on.
Shortly afterwards, we continue half cycling half pushing our bikes somewhere into one of the directions he was pointing us to.
Soon, we find our way out of the woods and into a more open area before discovering a dirt road that leads us back into a small town. To our disappointment, we did not end up, where we anticipated. What else to do, than try another short-cut down another very bumpy dirt road toward another town, where we might find a place to sleep for the night.
As we finally reach town, we check our map to see, where the nearest hotel might be. Before we know it, two women from the adjacent small eatery come out and ask if we need help. To our dismay, they tell us that the only place with rooms is about 4 miles from where we are…. into the direction, we just came from. So much for short cuts!
In the end, we managed to find a very nice, modern, but cheap hotel room, complete with dinner. What a wonderful day!
Visiting the Pyramid of the Sun and the Moon
The following day, we just have a short ride into Teotihuacan. There, we plan on spending an extra day to visit the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.
Rolling into town, it looks like we might have just missed out on a local festival. Besides a few permanently painted murals along the street, there are still colorful flags and banners hanging across the small alleyways. Also, the central plaza is still adorned with several beautiful flower arrangements and has some left over market-stands set up.
We ride through town and take a short rest to look around before setting out on a quest for an affordable room.
When we wake up in the morning, we hear loud party music. Curiously, we step out of our room to find the source of the early morning disturbance. Right on the other side of the fence we see a group of people jamming out to the techno rhythm. In the middle of them a hot-air balloon is getting inflated with bouts of hot air.
As we look over to the archeological site, we spot several more hot air balloons. They are peacefully hovering over the pyramid of the sun and the moon while the morning sun is rising over the horizon……..What a view to wake up to!
It is only a short walk from our room to one of the entrances to the archeological area. A few taxies and a couple buses are already parked out front. Overall though, the place is pretty deserted, another sign, that the COVID epidemic is still scaring people from traveling.
To our disappointment, we are also limited to only seeing the pyramids of the sun and the moon from the walkways surrounding them. Due to COVID restrictions, nobody is allowed to enjoy the climb up the steep stairs to the top of the pyramids. Instead, all visitors get to clump together in front of them to snap their memory pictures….Go figure.
Nontheless, we have a good time exploring all the nooks and crannies of the Teotihuacan pyramid complex, before heading back to our room.
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