Newsletter – Cycling in the Yucatan Peninsula

March 14, 2009

This is it – our last day in Mexico. We arrived into the border town of Chetumal yesterday after a grueling 400-km jaunt across the southern part of the Yucatan peninsula. The headwinds were howling, heat was extreme, and we faced the first hills we’ve seen in I-don’t-remember-how-long. But we’re here – and ready to face new adventures in Belize.

cycling in Villahermosa

Family on Bikes meets the Lazo cycling team. The Lazo family graciously invited us to stay with them – it was great to meet another family who enjoys cycling!

I last wrote to you from the city of Minatitlan, where we holed up for a few days to escape the heat. If only we had known what was to come, we might never have left!

As we continued to make our way southward, our first stop was Villahermosa, where Jorge and his family welcomed us with open arms to their home. His two boys – Fer (13) and Ricky (9) – immediately befriended Davy and Daryl and the four of them enjoyed a lovely few days playing in the neighborhood pool, playing PlayStation, and otherwise doing what boys tend to do.

And then – the entire family escorted us out of town. Jorge pulled 7-year-old Ale on her trail-a-bike, while Mom Alejandra hauled Gigi the dog in a basket on her handlebars. Ricky and Fer pedaled their own bikes. What a sight we were! Nine people, one dog, and seven bikes – a caravan all our own!

The next to continue the unbroken chain of Mexican hospitality we’ve been shown, Magregor welcomed us to his home in Cuidad del Carmen. It took all of about 15 minutes for Davy and Magregor’s son, Kevin, to become fast friends – even though they could barely speak to one another. It’s fun to watch how easily kids figure out ways to communicate – I think we adults can certainly learn from them.

And from there, we made our way to Sabancuy where Fecundo greeted us with open arms and led us to his father’s hotel. We spent a lovely day there, playing in both the ocean waves and the pool.

And so it was that we arrived at the gateway to the Yucatan. A simple 400 kilometers separated us from Belize – or so we thought. Yes, it was a mere 400 km. But simple? Not by any stretch of the imagination!


After a full day playing at the beach, we headed back to the picturesque town of Sabancuy.

Our first day cycling in the Yucatan peninsula gave us just a hint of the heat and winds to come, and we arrived into Escarcega just as the sun was about to set, exhausted. The next day was even worse – the hills had begun in earnest. Each day we battled ferocious winds – becoming stronger by the day – until we collapsed into our tent utterly wiped out.

But we knew that each pedal stroke, each gasp of air, each drop of sweat, brought us closer to Belize – and that thought kept us going. And now we are here in the border town of Chetumal, poised to enter Belize tomorrow.

We’ve now crossed our first continent, with only Central and South America to go. The boys have accomplished something few, if any, 11-year-old kids have done – cross the great North American continent under their own power. I’m certainly proud of them.

And yet I was talking with Davy about that last night. “What do you think sweetie?” I asked. “You’ve now crossed all of North America!”

“Eh,” he responded. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

I guess the kids’ perceptions of our travels will never be the same as ours.

Thanks for being part of our adventure!
Nancy, John, Davy, Daryl

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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