I re-did the last update from our adventures in the breath taking National Forests 'Davy Crockett, Angelina and Sabine River'. This time more organized, with the pictures in order of travel.
Coming to you from Lufkin, Texas. We have been enjoying the tranquility and convenience of Davy Crockett National Park just a bit West of here. What a beautiful National Forest! I hope ya'll go on out to see it! Camp Hosts there let us onto another way of living free. National Forests let you stay free on their camp sites in exchange for 20hrs of work a week. There are many Americans who live in tents, trailers or RVs just cruzing onto which ever National Park strikes their fancy. We've even heard a rumor that they might accept foreigners for this job.
Tonight we hope to find a free camp site at Angelina National Forest. We have been trading the Park Rangers camping spaces for help cleaning garbage from trails and public areas within the Forests. We are happy to report that Fea the travelling Chihuahua was very free and happy visiting her first forest. She joined David, Milo and me on a 5km walk yesterday and is ready for more forest views and smells tonight.
David, Milo and I are relaxing along side the dam in Jalpan de Serra, Queretaro with a host from Warmshowers.org. After climbing up to 1600 metres in the last few days, my bottom bracket is ready to wobble my pedals right off. So we have 3 options. 1.expensive, 2.slow or 3.do without. We don't know what to do.
What we do know is that this is a nice place to wait. We have been touring around, seeing the sites and scoring kilos and kilos of mangos. What a beautiful state, Queretaro. I highly recommend a trip through the Sierra Gorda especially if you go by bike, just make sure to bring a small chain ring and pack light because there will be climbing involved!
The beautiful Huasteca, breath taking. Not just the views but also the climbs. We did 1200 altitude meters since yesterday morning. Hannah had her first crash of the trip after slipping into a shoulder on our way up to Xilitla. Reason enough to make it a short day we thought and the friendly paramedics of the Proteccion Civil offered us a room for the night in their base. We got a little disturbed in the night when the same paramedics brought in a handful of village drunks (mayors orders) to keep them out of the rain. We were awoken to drunken cries, screams and song throughout the night. I'm glad I had a shower in the night because one of the drunks rolled a huge turd in the shower, despite the toilet bowl right next to it. Maybe he hadn't seen the toilets because of all the rubbing alcohol he drank. A BIG thanks to Protection Civil in Xilitla, you guys work too hard! Below some more pictures of the spectacular ride.
All over the world there are people who invite touring cyclists from the internet into their homes. I love it! David and I have stayed with dozens of hosts from one awesome website. www.warmshowers.org
Since living in Playa Hermosa we were able to meet up with and host touring cyclist from all over this small world. Are you interested in hosting travelling cyclists? If you're still not sure, why not read a bit from the touring cyclists that we have met along the way.
In February 2014, we had a French adventurer, story-teller and musician (he bikes around the world carrying 3 instruments) stop by and hang out with us for a few days. What a great guy! We wish, as with all of our guests that he could have stayed longer. He let us on to something that has broadened our travelling horizons; Boat hitch hiking. Months later we would have another visitor through the same hospitality website warmshowers, tell us of more amazing adventures spent crossing oceans free (or sometimes PAID) aboard other peoples boats, yachts or tankers. Awesome!
A few months ago we had two wonderful travelling cyclists stay with us for a few days on their tour from Bolivia to the United States. We laughed our bicycling shorts off together and really enjoyed their company. I was just reading the greatest post on their trip website about the energy efficiency of bicycles vs cars and I think that you should read it too!
Click here to read about the efficiency of cycling and more about Sara and Nia's grand adventure.
Shortly After Sara and Nia left, we were honored to host another touring cyclist, Joan, a historian with beautiful stories and a great personality. He is living the most incredible tour! Across Europe, Asia, Canada, The USA, Mexico and beyond! Here is a link to his Flickr account. He takes incredible photos.
It can be very rewarding to host a traveller. I especially like warmshowers because it is just for cyclists who I find are good people. They bring stories, culture, ideas, song and friendship into your home and sometimes they cook and clean for you too! Maybe you want to be involved in a bicycle tour without all that pedaling, here's your chance.
Make a Warmshowers account.
We biked 75 or so kms yesterday in what te Mexicans call chippy chippy (light rain), to arrive with our friend John in Papantla. Along the way we stopped to score some road side nopal from the fence line of a beautiful ranch. They had peacocks that were frightened by our arrival and flew away! It was the most beautiful thing I have seen! I didn't even know that peacocks can fly. So we got to Papantla and searched for our friends new house. In town we asked some chavos (teenage boys) where the steet we sought was.. They laughed and sent us to the steepest street I have ever seen I thought it was some kind of a joke but apparently no, our friend just lives on a mountain. I will upload photos of the climb to John and Diana's house once I have access to a computer.
After a delicious lunch made by Diana we spent a lot of time catching up. It's so nice to see a familiar face on the road, we can laugh about the same old things and celebrate each others successes and just be together, it was really nice.
Just when we thought our day couldn't get any better, I got an email from our friend Carlos who came with his charming mother, Adelaida and took us out for a night on the town in Poza Rica (the name means rich well, rich with crude oil) but they should change the name to comida rica (rich food) because boy oh boy did we eat well!! I will not rest until I have recreated the recipe for pinchos which are like corn dogs only cheesier and crunchier and ohh I'm getting hungry again! Carlos dropped us off in Papantla (much faster by car) and Carlos, his Dad Don Carlos and us exchanged Mexican legends about the poor heartbroken princess who was turned into vanilla by the God of celebration and of mountains and volcanoes. Beautiful traditions and histories that I am proud of as I feel a bit Mexican. Fun fact courtesy of Don Carlos, the name Papantla is totonaco (a native language) for town that will perfume the world. This because Papantla is where vanilla comes from.
We parted ways in Papantla, it is always hard to say goodbye to our new friends because often it's a year or two or three before we cross paths again. I wish much love, joy and friendship to Carlos and his beautiful family. May we meet again. Xo H
We departed from the beautiful beach in Santa Ana quite late today because the crabs were keepin us up all night. They beach was filled with these tiny baby crabs that snuck into the little tears still in our tent from Milo the terror and crawled on my legs and my face and my arms all night. Luckily they hadn't developed enough pinching power to really be a nusence. So we got up late and totally SCORED when we found all these beautiful green limes beside the road. So we grabbed all we could carry and headed into the next town were we sold them for a very reasonable $10/bag which would be 2 or 3kgs. So if that wasn't enough our first customers gave us each a beer so we could relax and watch a bit of the Mexico vs holland World Cup game then they cut us off a giant hunk of the most delicious cheese ever so we thanked them and headed down the road another minute and scored a pop and free lunch along with the sale of more limes! But that's not it, a minute later and we were gifted another 2 pops and a pineapple! So after making $80pesos in lime sales we bike some more, overflowing with joy from our fellow man. scored some road side mangos. Shortly after Casita, Veracruz we stopped at a Pemex station (gas station) and were given permission to camp for the night under a roof!!! I then scored free Internet (which I am now using) and electricity which is powering this upload. So sitting here a family asked if I would like to share their sandwich. Yes I would! We got to talking, super nice family. I really enjoy meeting interesting, educated people and just enjoying coming up with common interests and that. We parted ways and they handed me $200pesos with their business card!! I am overflowing with love from my fellow man! You guys make life worth living. So show a little love today because who knows, that scruffy traveller just might be ou one day! It's bed time for us. We will try to bike to Papantla tomorrow. Hope you are livig your dreams. Xo H
My Kona Jake looking almost new again with new Schwable Marathon Mundial kicks, tubes, cables, brake pads, Shimano Tiagra rear derailleur and so many fancy bags!! Jandd frame pack, cannondale slice top tube bag and Sunlite bartender handle bar bag. Bike touring storage problems solved! Thank you Huntington Cycle and Sport.
David and Hannah - cyclists extraordinaire