After three grating days of post-new-tire flat-fixing (three pinch-flats on my bike and one on Malcolm’s) I am still on the hunt for the elusive 130/80-17 tubes and a case of anti-chafing talcum powder; a multi-purpose cure for tire/tube friction and monkey-butt. And fortunately now, after scuba diving the Cenotes in Tulum, I’ve regained my tranquila and bi-wheel love. Mechanicals happen.
Sweet warm-water white sand beaches of Tulum and our dive leader, Paulo of Easy Chango dive center, another diver and Malcolm looking into Cenote Angelita.

The Cenotes are massive water filled holes leading to miles of caves throughout the eastern Yucatán Peninsula, and are credited as the source of Mayan hydration. They were allegedly created by the meteor that killed the dinosaurs and decorated with stalactites and mites after the first ice age melted away, subsequently being filled with freshwater after the second ice age liquefied … that is, according to fellow divers. They are phenomenal endangered natural wonders, being that the beauty that exists in the Cenotes now is frozen history; if a stalactite is broken, it will never grow back. They also offer optical-confusions, like haloclines, which is where fresh and salt water meet, making a blur, like heat-waves in the water. And in one, Cenote Angelita, about 100-feet down divers can find a foggy bank of sulfur that looks like a sci-fi scene, but that can be paddled through to a clear under-layer. They’re absolutely awesome and highly recommended for non-claustrophobic divers.

From the eastern Yucatán there is no legal passage from Mexico into Guatemala’s northern border. The options were to either backtrack west or drive through Belize to cross into Guatemala’s eastern border, which is what we did. The Belize crossing, aided by an online step-by-step blog-guide I found, was simple. Step one was to leave Mexico; stamp passport turn in visitors visa paperwork and if you’re not coming back, cancel 6-month vehicle permit – we decided to keep our since we might be going back through before it expires in July. Step two was to enter Belize; stamp passport, chat with customs, continue to little fumigation shack and pay $2.50 USD to get bike sprayed and $6 USD per-day for mandatory insurance. Fortunately, US dollars are widely accepted in Belize, so we didn’t have to deal with any money changing.

Fumigation shack shimmy: Got me a moto it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail! ... uh, for those who remember the B-52s.

We powered through the sparse colorful little towns of Belize and headed down a dirt road to Crooked Tree, northeast of the coastal Belize City.

Crooked Tree is a birders paradise, but for us it was a beautiful place to pop a tent, try some cashew jam and be on our way out of the English-speaking Rastafarian Central American oasis. We were at the Guatemalan border before lunchtime the following day, having spent under 20-hours in Belize. We paid the $15 USD exit fee and were on our way to the Tikal Ruins; a place-to-see on my unending travel list after hearing about it when I was last in Guatemala during the summer of 2009.

The jungle began to grow around us as we headed for El Remate on the eastern coast of Lake Petén Itzá, our lodging HQ for Tikal. We parked at the beautiful and affordable Sun Breeze Hotel ($100 quetzales =  $12.50 USD per night) on the edge of the lake.

Laundry ladies of Lake Petén

In the midst of the jungle with the sounds of howler monkey and tropical never-before-heard-by-my-ears bird calls, Tikal was simply splendid. We brought our lunch, having learned from our six recent ruin journeys, and ate atop a temple with a phenomenal view above the jungle.

Tikal's Grand Plaza and a view of temple tops and the horizon from our lunch spot

When we entered Tikal, which was 22-kilometers to the park gate from El Remate and another 17-kilometers to the ruins, I looked at the map of the grounds and noticed the Uaxactún (Wa-shock-toon) Ruins down a 23-kilometer trail from the entrance of Tikal, so, being dual-sport ready, I had to go. We got permission and with our Tikal ticket didn’t have to pay an extra fee. We were zipping down the thin dirt trail walled by jungle beauty until (dun-dun-dun) it started to rain. I felt my new rear Kenda K761 begin to slip a bit and slowed down (not dirt-worthy). It was one of the rare times when I wasn’t geared up in my Aerostitich, being that I had been trekking through the hot-n-humid jungle all day, and then as Murphy’s Law would have it, kaboom! Down went Cart-her. Malcolm saw the fax paus from behind and helped my lift him up. He was fine, and minus an elbow boo-boo, so was I. We were super close to Uaxactún, but since the dirt was slicker than the South Carolina snot-mud I rode in during the BMW GS Challenge, I thought it would be best that we turn back; pout.

Overall, the day was awesome. We came back, showered up, went out for a lovely dinner and then on the way back my little flip-flop let go on the wet wooden stairs and I vibrated my way down. Seriously now … ha! Accidents happen.