Our first stop out of town was going to be the gas station about 10 miles away. We passed a convoy of circus trucks on the way. Rickety, old things covered with faded writing and drawings extolling the wonders that were contained within their wonderful world. We were quite amused to see a bunch of monkeys emerge from the top of one of the trucks. They had been snuggled down in the baggage and paraphanalia and were securely fastened to the truck with chains about their necks. We were almost finished at the gas station when the whole convey pulled in, causing quite a bit of interest amongst the service personnel. It was not everyday that the circus came to this particular gas station! It took a while longer to finish, since gas stations in Mexico are not self service, but finish we did and were off on our way again.
With the map spread out on B’s lap, we passed through Mani, Teabo, Mayapan and on to Cantamayec. We stopped there at a roadside stand and got some bottles of water and fresh bananas. Back on the road, passing through Sotuta, Tibolon and finally to Holca where we saw the signs for Mexico 180, directing us to Chichen-Itza. We were very pleased with ourselves that we had negotiated this part of the Yucatan on our own. We continued on the Ruta Libre (free road, meaning no tolls but 1567 speed bumps!) to Valladolid. This is a major city and we hoped to find someplace to park the Jeep where we could watch it and have lunch. It was a busy town with the usual amount of confusing signs. We were concentrating so hard on getting through the city and staying on the proper road, we never did find a restaurant where we could stop. Out of Valladolid and back on the bumpy road to Cancun. Not long afterwards we spotted a pleasant looking roadside restaurant with signs in English telling us how good their food was. We pulled in, parked and had the place to ourselves.
It was indeed a pleasant place with good food, enhanced by the many peacocks roaming freely about. We were pleased to see them spreading their tails and prancing about the peahens, showing off their grandeur for them, but impressing us probably more, judging from the peahens reactions!
Back on the road and by 3 pm we reached our goal and reason for taking the slow road home instead of the faster expressway out of Merida. Just past Leona Vacario, where we had had our first breakfast, we stopped at our favorite roadside nursery. This was the very same one where Lizzie had stepped in the dog poop in what seemed ages ago now. We bought more cactus and plants for our gardens and made the last hour dash to Punta Sam to catch the ferry back home. We made it with a half an hour to spare! Pretty good planning and driving, I thought. We experienced such a warm feeling and one of relief that we would soon be home again as we sat and waited to be loaded onto the ferry. The only time looking across the bay at Isla that she had looked better to me was when I sat there months earlier with Jaimie, having had driven the Jeep from Minnesota.
We disembarked on Isla and turned the Jeep for the final 2.5 miles to home. Our great Yucatan adventure now at an end. We would have many new memories to mull over and we were very glad to have had the opportunity Juan had just generously given us. All the little irritants of learning to live on Mexican time and dealing with group dynamics forgotten. Just happy to be home and to have had this adventure. Thank you Juan, Maria, Carlos, Lupe, Lizzie and the extended family in Akil. You just made two American friends lives a little richer.
UP NEXT: Our first car trip in Mexico. This took place in 2005 and includes wild monkeys, car accidents, surreal jungles and cable cars, to mention just a few highlights! Hope you can join me!