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Stage 5: The Home Stretch


After all, it has come to this





Stage 5 Actual Route

Stage 5 Route Map


On this, and all other route maps, the blue lines represent travel by ship, red by airplane (Booo!), and green by bicycle.

Belize: No Entiendo Ingls!

Belize, though being a very small country, was certainly a unique part of the Stage 5 route. The main reason for that being its status as the only English-speaking country in the region. After traveling through Latin America for over a year, that fact definitely made life easier for me. With the addition of some nice attractions in a small area, I had high hopes for my stay. However, while I certainly enjoyed the country, I was not really able to make the most of it due to the lingering presence of a schizophrenic tropical storm. Despite some less than ideal conditions, I entered the country at its western border, rode to the largest town, and former capital, Belize City, and then continued north to the border with Mexico. The primary attraction that I was able to work in was some nice diving at the Belize Barrier Reef

Storm in Belize

Tropical Storm Arthur soaks Belize


San Pedro

The island town of San Pedro


Beach at San Pedro

Beach at San Pedro


Sea Turtle

A school of fish at the Belize Barrier Reef


A Sea Turtle at the Belize Barrier Reef


Corozal

Corozal on the Caribbean Coast


Mexico: Such a Way to Go

Mexico is another country that contained such a large number of amazing destinations that trying to see them all proved to be a tough task. I did my best to do that, though the approaching end of the Tour, with the practical concerns that entailed, made doing so even more challenging. The sites that interested me the most were generally in the southern part of the country, so most of my time was spent there. I entered near Chetumal, and made an interesting, though occasionally problematic, circuit around the edges of the Yucatan Peninsula. In that area were some outstanding places of interest, the most important of which were the five separate Mayan ruins sites I was able to visit. Among those, Chitzen Itza, Uxmal, and Edzna were the most impressive examples. Also in that area were the historic towns of Merida and Izamal, and the threadbare little village of Puerto Chicxulub, the site of an ancient planetary impact, though no visible evidence of that disaster can be seen today. Continuing on I passed through the historic port town of Campeche, before turning west, towards the Pacific coast. The final attraction in that region was the final Mayan site I was able to see, the intriguing ruins at Palenque.

Tulum Beach

Beach at Tulum in the Yucatan


Tulum Ruins

Mayan Ruins at Tulum


Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos


Chitzen Itza Sculptures

Carvings at the Mayan Ruins of Chitzen Itza


El Castillo

El Castillo at Chitzen Itza


Izamal

Colonial town of Izamal


Uxmal Ruins

Mayan Ruins at Uxmal


Campeche Cathedral

Campeche Cathedral


Palenque Ruins

Mayan Ruins at Palenque


Continuing on, I completed my interesting tour of the southern part of the country, riding through Chiapas state, briefly visiting the interesting city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, before descending to the vicinity of the Pacific coast at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, providing my last, albeit distant, encounter of the Tour with any ocean. From there I climbed back to the high altitudes found in the center of the country and began an interesting segment there. The highlights began with the somewhat stylistically different ruins of Zapotec cities at Mitla and Monte Alban, and the significantly fun city of Oaxaca. After those were the historic center of Puebla, the Franciscan Missions of the slopes of Volcan Popocatepetl, and the grand, starkly beautiful ancient city and pyramids at Teotihuacan. Riding through that part of the country was not a part of my original plan, but I appreciated the chance to see those sites, and certainly welcomed the cooler temperatures found in that area.

Dancers

Dancers in Cintalapa


Oaxaca Cathedral

Oaxaca Cathedral


La Geualaguetza Festival

La Geualaguetza Festival Parade in Oaxaca


Dancers

Dancers at La Geualaguetza Festival


Monte Alban Ruins

Zapotec city ruins at Monte Alban


Puebla Cathedral

Angel at the Puebla Cathedral


Teotihuacan

Pyramid del Sol at the ancient city of Teotihuacan


The final part of my route through the country, in the northern states, was distinctly rushed, as my remaining time and resources were running low. Nevertheless, I continued to enjoy some surprisingly attractive places that lined my course to the border. Most of those were members of a string of historic towns built during a bygone Silver Boom, including Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas. Beyond those lay only the big country of the states of Durango and Chihuahua, and I put forth an effort similar to what I had done in the early Stages of the Tour in order to make it across on time. The change in style to an open, arid landscape and a more intense cycling pace, resembling more closely that which I remembered from Outback Australia in Stage 1, gave me a nice opportunity to consider the vast distance that had gone by between there my location at the time. For the final border of the 78 I crossed during the Tour was just ahead.


One final post closes the Tour ~HERE~



Quetetaro Sculpture

A Scuplture in Queretaro


San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende


Guanajuato

Guanajuato


Zacatecas

Historic Center of Zacatecas


Marcaras Museo

Museo de Mascaras in Zacatecas


Durango Countryside

Countryside in Durango


Boot Shop

A Boot Shop in Chihuahua


United States: Can It Possibly Be True?

In a situation that I was never really 100% sure would eventually occur, the United States became the 44th country in which I traveled by bicycle during the Tour of Gondwana. Now far away from Tasmania, Ethiopia, Tierra del Fuego, Sri Lanka, Timor, Bolivia, Tibet, Madagascar, or even Nicaragua, along with hundreds of other places, I was suddenly closer to "home" than I had been in 1,200 days. A fairly long circuit around the southwest, including a number of the region's exceptional national parks, had been my intent for the final section of the Tour, with the ultimate destination being the Grand Canyon. However, since I was tired and broke, with a bike that was considerably worse for wear, and with promises that I would soon visit my family looming on the calendar, pieces of that plan had been progressively chopped off during the previous months. Since those places were not critical to the spirit of the Tour, I really didn't mind having to sacrifice them to the needs of practicality. In the end, the most I could manage was a quick northward tour from my entry point, at Columbus, N.M., through the border region with Arizona, arcing through Navajo Territory, with a quick diversion out to see Monument Valley, and then, finally to the Canyon, the Grand destination that had been my anticipated terminus of the Tour for so long that there was no way I could force myself to give it up. And on August 22, 02008, that's where I was, and an amazing sight it was, indeed.

Border Fence

Fence at the USA-Mexico border


Mmmm... Burger

A genuine American Burger


Monument Valley

Monument Valley


Blue Wildflower

A blue wildflower


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


End of Tour!

End of the Tour of Gondwana!


A Few Final Words

No matter what may happen to me in the remaining years that I will have the good fortune to spend on our Earth, the Tour of Gondwana will always be, personally, the most important of my experiences. From the time that the first tentative thoughts that I would seriously attempt a tour of that scale arose, through all the years of planning and preparations, when it seemed, more often than not, that the Tour would never really happen, and then, of course, together with the forty months in which it actually did, ten years, more or less, of my life revolved around the goal of bicycling through the southern continents, and returning to the Grand Canyon. In an earlier page on this site, I wrote that: ...if my will is strong, and luck is on my side, the Canyon will mark the end of the Tour of Gondwana. I can't even imagine how I will feel when I first look out over the rim.

I certainly never would have imagined that my actual feeling at that point would best be described as emptiness. In all honesty, however, I must say that that was, in fact, the case. The Tour was what I had always been meant to do and as I stood there at the edge of a beautiful overlook, I knew that I had done it. To be sure, the Tour gave me exactly what I was hoping it would; a first-hand understanding of the beauty and diversity of the natural world, knowledge of fascinating cultures, both ancient and contemporary, the prospect of continuous physical challenges, and the opportunity to meet thousands, upon thousands, of the most friendly people. With those goals achieved, I might have expected more triumphal thoughts to dominate my mood. But, for most of the previous ten years, the Grand Canyon seemed like just an ephemeral objective that could, with the slightest change in circumstances, never be met, and that provided an almost mythical goal that added focus and a unique perspective to my life. Somewhere toward the end of the Tour, I can't say for sure exactly when, possibly when I dropped down out of the Andes for the last time, and when a successful outcome appeared to be increasingly certain, I lost those aspects, and nothing was there to take their place.

Even today, it seems hard to imagine that any potential future projects will captivate my spirit as thoroughly as the Tour did, and, if they do, that I will, for a second time, be able to balance the forces of reality that conspire to extinguish such endeavors, and make them actually transpire. On the other hand, it is not out of the question that one day I will pull out some unexamined maps, and, while looking them over, start to feel again that twinge of curiosity that first struck me so long ago. For there are still lands yet unseen by me, and I have heard rumors that they are also filled with friendly people, beautiful birds, and testaments to the immense cycles of time. It may be that, for me, the Tour of Gondwana was an experience that can be equaled, but not surpassed. If that is true, I will not complain in the slightest. For if there is another event out there somewhere, which can even begin to approach its effect on my character, I, most certainly, will not hesitate for an instant to seek that out and attempt to make yet another journey come to pass.

Thank You,
Michael Ayers


Dates and Distances


Start: April 15, 02008
Finish: August 22, 02008
 
Actual Distance: 9,781 km
 
Ride days: 71
Rest days: 42
Unavoidably delayed days: 17

Highest Point


2,717 meters: Guanajuato-Santa Rosa Pass; Gto, Mexico

Entire Tour


Start: May 04, 02005
Finish: August 22, 02008
 
Actual Distance: 86,408 km
 
Total days: 1,207
Full-day ride equivalents : 561






Stage 5 Log
(continued)


For a description of terms and symbols look: ~HERE~

May 29-31, 02008


Cayo  
Accommodation:

Comment: Rest/weather delay days in Cayo; tropical storm Alma/Arthur in area

June 1


Cayo to Belize City
Distance: 124 km
Terrain: Light rolling to flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: Western Hwy.
Max. Temp: 27 C
Weather: Light rain/drizzle through morning, becoming moderate to heavy showers in afternoon; moderate to strong headwinds in afternoon during showers
Accommodation:

Comment: Short, easy, but dreary day due to weather; final 30 km especially bleak; very heavy storms during night, with wind and local flooding

June 2


Belize City  
Accommodation:

Comment: Weather delay in Belize City; road to north closed by flooding

June 3


Belize City  
Accommodation:

Comment: Day trip to San Pedro on Ambergris Cay; diving/snorkling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve

June 4


Belize City to Corozal
Distance: 142 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: Northern Hwy. (1st 20 km with heavy traffic)
Max. Temp: 31 C
Weather: Cloudy, with a few periods of very light drizzle; slight clearing in late afternoon; mild to light crosswinds
Accommodation:

Comment: A reasonable, though somewhat dreary day

June 5


Corozal to Chetumal, Mexico
Distance: 32 km

Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: Northern Hwy., MEX 186 (Mex)
Accommodation:

Comment: Short ride, then an unplanned rest day; decided to stop after wrong turn just past border; easy border procedures; entered final new country of tour!

June 6


Chetumal to Felipe Carillo Puerto
Distance: 159 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 186, MEX 307
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Mostly cloudy; early light tailwinds, then light to moderate winds varying from cross/tail- to headwinds; 2 brief, light showers
Accommodation:

Comment: Mostly an easy day, though route was very uninteresting; completed second circumference of Earth; attacked by swarm of bees

June 7


Felipe Carillo Puerto to Tulum
Distance: 105 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 307 (section being widened)
Max. Temp: 32 C
Weather: Partly cloudy to partly sunny; 1 brief light shower; light to moderate headwinds
Accommodation:

Comment: Short, uninteresting day to break at Tulum

June 8


Tulum
Distance: 38 km 
Accommodation:

Comment: Sightseeing/rest day in Tulum; kayaking in Sian Ka'an Biosphere reserve

June 9


Tulum to Playa del Carmen
Distance: 76 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 307
Max. Temp: 36 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; light to moderate crosswinds; heavy thunderstorm crossed route in afternoon, but minimal rain during ride;
Accommodation:

Comment: Tedious half day to break in Playa del Carmen; visited Mayan ruins at Tulum; may need to stop for a while due to bank mix-up

June 10


Playa del Carmen
Accommodation:

Comment: Errands/rest day; will need to wait a while longer

June 11-14


Puerto Morelos
Distance: 36 km 
Accommodation:

Comment: Continued delay due to bank problem; moved to next town to north

June 15-27


Cancun
Distance: 33 km
Accommodation:

Comment: Completely frustrating delay; moved to Cancun for better communications

June 28


Cancun
Distance: 10 km 
Accommodation:

Comment:  Problem finally resolved; stayed at beach for one day 

June 29


Cancun to Valladolid
Distance: 161 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 180
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Partly cloudy; brief light shower at start of day; light to moderate tailwinds, decreasing in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Finally moving again; generally easy, though uninteresting day; felt just a little tired after long layoff

June 30


Valladolid to Piste
Distance: 46 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 180
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Partly sunny
Accommodation:

Comment: Short half day for sightseeing; visited Mayan city of Chichen Itza

July 1


Piste to Izamal
Distance: 74 km
Terrain: Flat to light rolling
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: YUC 295, YUC 13
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Partly sunny; heavy thunderstorm in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Planned on full day, but stopped early in nice town; should not cause much delay; first day in a long while on quiet roads

July 2


Izamal to Chicxulub Puerto
Distance: 138 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: Izamal-Temax Rd. (2 short sections good to excellent dirt/gravel, 1 under construction), Temax-Dzilam Gonzalez Rd. (single lane), MEX 176, YUC 27 (1st 40 km single lane)
Max. Temp: 31 C
Weather: Mostly cloudy/overcast through morning, partly sunny with thundershowers in area in afternoon; 1 brief heavy shower then, a few periods of light rain/drizzle; mild to light crosswinds through morning, light tailwinds after turning west
Accommodation:

Comment: A rather easy day, but felt a little tired; pleasant lack of traffic for most of day

July 3


Chicxulub Puerto to Merida
Distance: 53 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 261, MEX 176
Max. Temp: 33 C
Weather: Partly cloudy
Accommodation:

Comment: Short half day to break in Merida

July 4


Merida
Accommodation:

Comment: Maintenance/errands day in Merida

July 5


Merida to Uxmal
Distance: 88 km
Terrain: Flat; flat to light rolling; light to moderate rolling
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 180, MEX 261
Max. Temp: 33 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; early evening shower; light tail/cross- to head/crosswinds
Accommodation:

Comment: Late start, but reasonable half day to sightseeing break; visited ruins of Mayan City of Uxmal

July 6


Uxmal to 10 km N. of Edzna Ruins
Distance: 140 km
Terrain: Light to moderate rolling; flat to light rolling
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 261, MEX 188
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Cloudy; heavy thundershower in afternoon; light cross- to tail/crosswinds
Accommodation:

Comment: A generally good day; covered desired distance despite having to wait through storm; first camping night of Stage; visited Mayan ruins at Kabah

July 7


10 km N. of Edzna Ruins to Campeche
Distance: 75 km
Terrain: Light to moderate rolling; flat to light rolling
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 188, MEX 261, MEX 180
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Mostly sunny, mostly cloudy in late afternoon, with brief light shower; moderate to light tailwinds
Accommodation:

Comment: A fairly pleasant half day for sightseeing; visited Mayan ruins at Edzna, and Historic Center of Campeche

July 8


Campeche to Sabancuy
Distance: 140 km
Terrain: Flat; moderate to light rolling; flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 180, MEX 259
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Mostly cloudy; thundershowers in area in afternoon, one moderate shower on route; light cross/tailwinds in morning, becoming moderate tailwinds in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: A rather nice, easy day, even enjoyed riding in rain; actual distance somewhat longer than map indicated

July 9


Sabancuy to Aguacatal
Distance: 138 km
Terrain: Flat
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 259, MEX 186 (30 km section under construction)
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Mostly cloudy; periods of heavy rain in afternoon; light headwinds, becoming tail/crosswinds after turning south, diminishing in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: A decent start, but less pleasant when road construction, heavier traffic, and rain occurred simultaneously; wanted to go somewhat farther, but stopped to dry out

July 10


Aguacatal to Palenque
Distance: 113 km
Terrain: Flat; light to moderate rolling
Max. Elevation: <300 m
Roads: MEX 186
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Partly cloudy, becoming cloudy in afternoon, with one brief shower; occasional light cross/tailwinds
Accommodation:

Comment: Fairly short, but rather tedious day; planned on sightseeing at ruins, but arrived too late; will take unplanned day off, as also not feeling too well

July 11


Palenque  
Accommodation:

Comment: Sightseeing/recovery day in Palenque; visited Mayan city of Palenque

July 12


Palenque to Ocosingo
Distance: 120 km
Terrain: 350-m climb; 300-m descent; hilly to moderate rolling; 850-m climb, rolling in sections; one small descent; 350-m climb; 490-m descent
Max. Elevation: 1,380 m
Roads: MEX 186
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Partly sunny through morning; cloudy in afternoon, two moderate showers, lingering drizzle after
Accommodation:

Comment: Late start and late finish, and a rather tough day overall; reasonable progress given conditions

July 13


Ocosingo to San Cristobal de Las Casas
Distance: 98 km
Terrain: 1,320-m climb, broken by a few small descents and flatter sections; one small descent; rolling 480-m climb; one small descent
Max. Elevation: 2,480 m
Roads: MEX 186, MEX 190
Max. Temp: 26 C
Weather: Partly sunny
Accommodation:

Comment: Pleasantly cool and fresh conditions at altitude, but still another tiring day

July 14


San Cristobal de Las Casas to Ocozocoautla
Distance: 98 km
Terrain: One small climb; 1630-m descent; heavy to light rolling with 600-m gain; one small descent
Max. Elevation: 2,330 m
Roads: MEX 190-D (2-lane expressway w/ wide shoulders), MEX 190 (1st 30 km W. of Tuxtla Gutierrez narrow, poor road with very heavy traffic, sections under construction)
Max. Temp: 32 C
Weather: Partly sunny
Accommodation:

Comment: A short but rather unpleasant day; stopped early to tend to errands without much success

July 15


Ocozocoautla to Tepanatepec
Distance: 131 km
Terrain: One small descent; light to heavy rolling; one small climb; 785-m descent, broken by short flat section
Max. Elevation: 1,105 m
Roads: MEX 190 (4-km section under construction)
Max. Temp: 29 C
Weather: Partly sunny; light shower in afternoon; occasional mild tailwinds in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Too much traffic on narrow road through morning, much better in afternoon; some nice scenery; planned on going somewhat farther

July 16


Tepanatepec to Juchitan de Zaragosa
Distance: 108 km
Terrain: Light rolling; flat to light rolling
Max. Elevation: 340 m
Roads: MEX 200 (alternating wide and narrow sections, and a few construction zones), MEX 185
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; cloudy with heavy thundershower in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Enjoyable when road condition good, otherwise tedious; planned to go considerably farther, but stopped early due to storm

July 17


Juchitan de Zaragosa to 14 km NW. of La Reforma
Distance: 114 km
Terrain: Flat; one small climb; moderate rolling; 680-m climb; one small descent; one small climb (incomplete)
Max. Elevation: 1,080 m
Roads: MEX 185, MEX 190
Max. Temp: 31 C
Weather: Sunny; occasional mild tailwinds
Accommodation:

Comment: Lack of shade during climb made day very tiring; would have liked to have gone farther

July 18


14 km NW. of La Reforma to Totolapan
Distance: 93 km
Terrain: One small climb (continued, ~350m total); hilly; 480-m climb; 610-m descent; 590-m climb; 300-m descent
Max. Elevation: 1,330 m
Roads: MEX 190
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Sunny; occasional moderate to light winds, various directions, but often tailwinds
Accommodation:

Comment: Terrain much tougher than expected; wanted to go considerably farther

July 19


Totolapan to Oaxaca
Distance: 93 km
Terrain: 830-m climb; one small descent; moderate rolling to flat
Max. Elevation: 1,895 m
Roads: MEX 190
Max. Temp: 29 C
Weather: Mostly cloudy, becoming partly sunny in afternoon; light to moderate winds, various directions in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Fairly short, but tiring day to break in Oaxaca; includes short detours to visit archeological site at Mitla and weaving village of Teotitlan

July 20-21


Oaxaca  
Accommodation:

Comment: Sightseeing/errands day in Oaxaca; visited historic city center and ancient Zapotec city at Monte Alban; watched events of La Guelaguetza Festival


July 22


Oaxaca to Cuitcatlan
Distance: 121 km
Terrain: Light rolling; 500-m climb; hilly; 1,200-m descent; moderate rolling
Max. Elevation: 2,285 m
Roads: MEX 190, MEX 135 (some bumpy sections, inc. big descent)
Max. Temp: 30 C
Weather: Mostly sunny, becoming partly cloudy in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Actual distance somewhat longer than map indicated; stopped early to better space upcoming days

July 23


Cuitcatlan to Tehuacan
Distance: 122 km
Terrain: Heavy rolling to hilly; light to moderate rolling, with gradual elevation gain and 3 small climbs; 440-m climb
Max. Elevation: 1,670 m
Roads: MEX 135, PUE 730 (bumpy), PUE 908
Max. Temp: 32 C
Weather: Partly sunny; becoming mostly cloudy in afternoon; rain threatened, but none on route; strong headwinds in early evening
Accommodation:

Comment: A tougher day than expected; nice conditions and great scenery on first part of route; actual distance slightly longer than map indicated

July 24


Tehuacan to Puebla
Distance: 126 km
Terrain: Light rolling to flat, with very gradual elevation gain
Max. Elevation: 2,330 m
Roads: MEX 150 (20 km section SE. of Tepeaca very narrow with too much traffic)
Max. Temp: 24 C
Weather: Partly sunny; increasing clouds in afternoon , with rain beginning just before end of ride
Accommodation:

Comment: Mostly an easy, short day, though rather stressful on section of bad road; pleasantly cool weather;

July 25


Puebla to San Martin Texmelucan
Distance: 73 km
Terrain: Flat to light rolling, with one gradual small climb
Max. Elevation: 2,400 m
Roads: Local Rds.; Cholula-Calpan Rd.; Calpan-Huejotzingo Rd.; MEX 190
Max. Temp: 28 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; cloudy in afternoon with light shower
Accommodation:

Comment: Intended a full day but delayed by difficulty navigating and sightseeing; visited Historic city center of Puebla, and Franciscan Missions in Calpan and Huejotzingo

July 26


San Martin Texmelucan to Teotihuacan
Distance: 112 km
Terrain: Moderate to heavy rolling, with gradual elevation gain and one small descent
Max. Elevation: 2,700 m
Roads: MEX 117, Popocatla-Calpulapan Rd. (usually somewhat bumpy); MEX 166; MEX 88 (narrow section with too much traffic); MEX 9; MEX 132
Max. Temp: 24 C
Weather: Partly sunny; cloudy in afternoon with heavy thunderstorm just before end of ride
Accommodation:

Comment: A short day; generally pleasant over first half, but terrain tougher than expected; end of route less appealing

July 27


Teotihuacan to Tula de Allende
Distance: 88 km
Terrain: Light rolling; flat to light rolling, with a few small hills
Max. Elevation: 2,360 m
Roads: MEX 132, Teotihuacan-Tecamac Rd., MEX 85, Los Rey Acozac-Zumpango Hwy., MEX 9, Atitalaquia Cut-off, Tula Hwy.
Max. Temp: 27 C
Weather: Partly sunny, becoming cloudy in late evening
Accommodation:

Comment: A nice half day after morning sightseeing; visited ancient city and pyramids at Teotihuacan

July 28


Tula de Allende to Queretaro
Distance: 175 km
Terrain: Light rolling to flat; hilly, with 2 small climbs/descents; light rolling to flat; heavy rolling
Max. Elevation: 2,530 m
Roads: Tula-Tepetitlan Rd. (some bumpy sections); Tepetitlan-Nopala Rd. (20-km section under construction, with 2 sections of good dirt); MEX 45; Huicapan-San Francisco Rd.; QRO 200
Max. Temp: 28 C
Weather: Sunny; mostly cloudy in afternoon, with 1 moderate shower; occasional light tailwinds in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: A long, but generally good day; some terrain tougher than expected, and some poor roads, but achieved desired distance

July 29


Queretaro to San Miguel de Allende
Distance: 66 km
Terrain: Light rolling to flat, with 2 small climbs
Max. Elevation: 2,360 m
Roads: MEX 57 (expressway), MEX 111
Max. Temp: 25 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; light shower just after sunset
Accommodation:

Comment: Easy, short half day; intended a full day, but late start after sightseeing, and stopped in nice town midway; visited historic city centers of Queretaro and San Miguel

July 30


San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato
Distance: 94 km
Terrain: Moderate rolling to hilly, with one small descent
Max. Elevation: 2,365 m
Roads: MEX 51, GTO 51
Max. Temp: 29 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; occasional light winds, various directions
Accommodation:

Comment: Long half day after a late start; visited historic city center of Guanajuato

July 31


Guanajuato to San Filipe
Distance: 110 km
Terrain: 500-m climb; slightly rolling 470-m descent; heavy rolling to hilly; moderate rolling, with one small climb/descent
Max. Elevation: 2,717 m
Roads: MEX 110, MEX 51
Max. Temp: 27 C
Weather: Partly cloudy, becoming cloudy in afternoon with showers in area, but no real rain on route; light winds from various directions, becing moderate cross/headwinds in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: A rather disappointing day; wanted to go considerably farther, but stopped early due to threatening weather that never really arrived; first climb larger than expected

August 1


San Filipe to Pinos
Distance: 117 km
Terrain: One small climb/descent; light rolling to flat; flat; one gradual small climb
Max. Elevation: 2,600 m
Roads: MEX 51, ZAC 144
Max. Temp: 27 C
Weather: Mostly cloudy; occasional light crosswinds in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Could have gone considerably farther, but would have left short distance for next day; actual distance slightly longer than map indicated

August 2


Pinos to Zacatecas
Distance: 140 km
Terrain: One small descent; light rolling; flat; light rolling; one small climb< br> Max. Elevation: 2,600 m
Roads: ZAC 144, MEX 49 (semi-expressway), MEX 45 (expressway)
Max. Temp: 27 C
Weather: Partly sunny; light tailwinds, diminishing in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Mostly fast and easy day, until entrance to city with very difficult navigation; actual distance somewhat longer than map indicated

August 3-4


Zacatecas  
Accommodation:

Comment: Rest/sightseeing days in Zacatecas; visited historic city center, El Eden Silver mine, Rafael Coronel Museum, and watched folklore festival parade

August 5


Zacatecas to 18 km S. of Juan Aldama
Distance: 192 km
Terrain: One small climb; light rolling to flat, with gradual descent; flat; hilly; light rolling
Max. Elevation: 2,615 m
Roads: MEX 45 (alternate sections of semi-expressway and old highway, soulders variable from wide to absent), MEX 49
Max. Temp: 29 C
Weather: Sunny, partly cloudy in late afternoon; light to mild tailwinds, becoming moderate cross/headwinds in evening
Accommodation:

Comment: A good start for the final push to home; fast and easy until winds started in evening

August 6


18 km S. of Juan Aldama to Nazas
Distance: 168 km
Terrain: Light rolling, with gradual descent; one small climb/descent; light to moderate rolling
Max. Elevation: 2,365 m
Roads: MEX 49 (30-km section N. of Cuencame narrow, with very heavy truck traffic), MEX 34 (bumpy)
Max. Temp: 32 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; scattered clouds in afternoon, with one brief light shower
Accommodation:

Comment: Another reasonably easy day; afternoon shower coincided with section of bad road

August 7


Nazas to Rodeo
Distance: 66 km
Terrain: Moderate to heavy rolling
Max. Elevation: 1,640 m
Roads: MEX 34, MEX 45
Max. Temp: 32 C
Weather: Mostly cloudy, becoming partly sunny in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Not feeling perfect in afternoon, stopped early after half day; lost time gained on previous days

August 8


Rodeo to Las Nieves
Distance: 178 km
Terrain: Light rolling; 585-m climb; light rolling; moderate to heavy rolling; light rolling, with slight descent
Max. Elevation: 2,225 m
Roads: MEX 45
Max. Temp: 29 C
Weather: Partly sunny; becoming partly to mostly cloudy in afternoon, with ominous showers in vicinity, but no rain on route until light drizzle just before sunset; light headwinds when showers in area
Accommodation:

Comment: Terrain a bit tougher than expected for most of day, but still made good progress; felt much better than previous day

August 9


Las Nieves to Hidalgo de Parral
Distance: 87 km
Terrain: Moderate rolling, with one small climb
Max. Elevation: 2,165 m
Roads: MEX 45
Max. Temp: 28 C
Weather: Partly sunny; increasing clouds in afternoon with one shower near sunset
Accommodation:

Comment: Unplanned half day; stopped for rest and to better schedule errands in upcoming days

August 10


Hidalgo de Parral to Satevo
Distance: 158 km
Terrain: Moderate to heavy rolling, with 2 small climbs and one small descent
Max. Elevation: 1,985 m
Roads: MEX 24
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Mostly sunny, partly sunny in late afternoon; moderate to light cross/headwinds in morning, diminishing at midday
Accommodation:

Comment: A generally good day, but felt like distance covered was longer than reality

August 11


Satevo to Chihuahua
Distance: 82 km
Terrain: Flat to light rolling, with gradual elevation gain; gradual 300-m climb; one small descent
Max. Elevation: 1,730 m
Roads: MEX 24, MEX 16 (narrow expressway)
Max. Temp: 34 C
Weather: Sunny; occasionally light head- to head/crosswinds
Accommodation:

Comment: Half day to try to take care of errands in Chihuahua; felt very sluggish at morning

August 12


Chihuahua to 21 km SE. of Flores Magon
Distance: 171 km
Terrain: Flat to light rolling, one small climb/descent; flat to light rolling; flat; one small climb/descent
Max. Elevation: 1,700 m
Roads: MEX 45 (semi-expressway, sections w/o shoulder), CHIH 7 (2-lane toll road with shoulder)
Max. Temp: 33 C
Weather: Sunny; occasional light tailwinds, period of light headwinds in afternoon; cloudy with scattered showers at sunset
Accommodation:

Comment: A very slow start, but a generally good day; highway conditions not quite a bad a feared, though very uninteresting for first 110 km, last section actually quite nice; somewhat minimal services after 1st 40 km

August 13


21 km SE. of Flores Magon to Nuevo Casas Grandes
Distance: 153 km
Terrain: Flat to light rolling, with 2 small climbs/descents
Max. Elevation: 1,585 m
Roads: CHIH 7, MEX 10, CHIH 7, MEX 10
Max. Temp: 25 C
Weather: Cloudy to mostly cloudy, with light periods of drizzle through morning
Accommodation:

Comment: Another rather fast, easy day; took toll-road shortcut and rode straight through; arrived early enough to visit Paquime Archeological site on same day, extra 18 km to do so

August 14


Nuevo Casas Grandes to Ascension
Distance: 97 km
Terrain: Flat, with a few sections of light rolling
Max. Elevation: 1,445 m
Roads: MEX 10 (narrow, moderate traffic) MEX 2
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Partly sunny; cloudy with showers in late afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Unplanned half day, long but easy; stopped early due to being annoyed by flies(!); lost time gained on previous day

August 15


Ascension to Deming, NM, U.S.A.
Distance: 163 km
Terrain: Flat, with a few sections of light rolling
Max. Elevation: 1,415 m
Roads: MEX 2, NM-11 (USA), US 180
Max. Temp: 37 C
Weather: Sunny; quickly becoming cloudy, with scattered showers, before sunset; occasional light tailwinds
Accommodation:

Comment: Final border crossing of Tour!; a generally easy day

August 16


Deming to Buckhorn
Distance: 146 km
Terrain: Flat, with gradual 400-m gain; moderate rolling; 355-m descent; light to moderate rolling, with slight descent
Max. Elevation: 1,905 m
Roads: US 180
Max. Temp: 28 C
Weather: Cloudy; partly sunny in afternoon, with 1 rather long and intense thundershower; occasional mild to light tailwinds
Accommodation:

Comment: A sluggish start, and a longer than normal midday break for errands; would like to have gone somewhat farther; no place for shelter, so rode through soaking rain

August 17


Buckhorn to Luna
Distance: 114 km
Terrain: Moderate rolling, one small climb/descent; moderate rolling; 475-m climb; small descent
Max. Elevation: 2,450 m
Roads: US180
Max. Temp: 24 C
Weather: Sunny; partly cloudy in afternoon, with 1 passing light shower during meal break
Accommodation:

Comment: A disappointing day; terrain a little tougher than expected, despite having ridden last section of route on a previous tour; stopped a little early, as not feeling too great

August 18


Luna to Witch Well, AZ
Distance: 158 km
Terrain: 380-m climb, broken by small descent and rolling section; one small descent; one small climb/descent; light rolling to flat, with gradual decline; one small climb
Max. Elevation: 2,590 m
Roads: US 180, US 191
Max. Temp: 30 C
Weather: Mostly sunny; partly sunny, with widely scattered showers in afternoon , but no significant rain on route; light to moderate headwinds, periods of strong to moderate head- or crosswinds in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Despite unexpected change in wind pattern, completed close to desiree distance , though would have preferred to go just slightly farther

August 19


Witch Well to 14 km S. of Chinle
Distance: 160 km
Terrain: All types between light rolling and hilly
Max. Elevation: 2,225 m
Roads: US 191, I-40 Frontage Rd., US 191
Max. Temp: 31 C
Weather: Sunny; light to moderate cross/headwinds, beginning in late morning
Accommodation:

Comment: A fairly tiring day, but accomplished close to desired distance

August 20


14 km S. of Chinle to Monument Valley
Distance: 170 km
Terrain: All types between light rolling and hilly
Max. Elevation: 1,965 m
Roads: US 191, NAV-59, US 160, US 163
Max. Temp: 33 C
Weather: Sunny; moderate to strong cross/head- to headwinds in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: A mixed day; nice conditions at first, very tough when going into wind; nice short-cut on secondary road; some impressive scenery

August 21


Monument Valley to 19 km NE. of Tuba City
Distance: 144 km
Terrain: Moderate rolling, with 2 small climbs, and one small descent
Max. Elevation: 2,135 m
Roads: US 163, US 160
Max. Temp: 33 C
Weather: Sunny; strong to very strong headwinds beginning in morning, diminishing occasionally in afternoon
Accommodation:

Comment: Penultimate day of Stage 5 and entire Tour!; a tough one due to wind, though rode close to desired distance

August 22


19 km NE. of Tuba City to Grand Canyon
Distance: 155 km
Terrain: Light rolling, with 300-m descent; 930-m climb; moderate rolling with one small climb and 2 small descents
Max. Elevation: 2,220 m
Roads: US 160, US 89, AZ 64
Max. Temp: 35 C
Weather: Sunny; occasional moderate winds, various directions, after midday
Accommodation:

Comment: The Tour is Complete!!

 


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