Day 34 Campeche to Chetumal 385km
I planned to make the trek to Chetumal in two days but decided to get there today. My departure from Campeche was early enough that I arrived at my planned overnight stop at 12:30. Chetumal is only 130km from there so I made the push to do the rest.
It was another great riding day on good roads most of the day. The temperature was brutally hot and the sun relentless. I actually wanted it to rain to give some relief. The entire day I kept seeing road signs indicating names of ruins I had never heard. The whole Yucutan seems to be littered with ancient sites. It might be fun to come back one day to do a “ruins tour” and return to all the cities in the area I’d like to re-visit.
Too bad I killed about 229 of these guys today
I found Chetumal to be very modern and clean, obviously a popular tourist town. I scanned the businesses looking for a motorcycle shop as I made my way to the city center. I needed to buy a rear tire for Skelly and had been told there are at least two bike shops here. A motorcycle cop past me riding a DR650, a very good sign that a tire my size could be found here. I didn’t see what I was looking for so the next priority was lodging.
The Oxtankah Hotel is two blocks from the place I’ll be storing Skelly for 10 days while in Belize. The website prices are $40-$45/night which is a touch rich for my budget but I thought it might be worth a try. For the price of 300 pesos ($25) per night I’m here for 4 nights.
The front desk was manned by Gilberto, a young man who was extremely helpful. I asked him if he had a map of Chetumal explaining I was looking for a moto shop to buy a tire. Gilberto who speaks only a few words of English replied no map but he could help using Google maps and the yellow pages. I wrote down the addresses and took note of the approximate locations but Gilberto was not satisfied with his efforts. He suggested he call a friend who drives a taxi to take me to the bike shops. I asked when? He replied in 10 minutes! Quickly, I wrote down my tire size and some possible brand/model options, and made sure I had my credit card. Lucio arrived and fifteen minutes later we were at a little shop that hand all kinds of tires on racks. The girl at the desk started checking inventory and with the assistance of the manager found they had a Kenda 761 enduro tire in stock. The price was 2680 pesos, about $206 USD which was more or less what I expected even though it’s expensive for this particular tire. What I did not expect was how easy it was. Lucio charged me 150 pesos and I gave him an extra 20 . Total tire price, about $220. After being dropped off I arranged with Lucio to pick me up Monday morning to take me to the Belize border.
Mitas E07 with 9300km and a new Kenda 761
I will be carrying the Kenda for awhile as the Mitas still has life in it yet
Why am I storing the bike in Chetumal?
The reason for this has to do with vehicle importation rules in Belize. If one enters Belize with a vehicle, one must also leave with said vehicle. In my case I will be leaving Belize briefly to visit the ruins of Tikal in Guatemala. It’s only for two days but enough to cause problems at the border if I don’t have the bike. Belize does not want you to import a vehicle into the country so they mark the VIN into your passport. The solution is to leave the bike in Mexico while I’m on my vacation within a vacation. I found a nice person on the Belize forums who offered to store the bike for me in a secure spot. Hopefully it’s the perfect solution. It must be noted that Mexico too has rules about vehicle importation but the VIN is not noted in your passport. The important thing to remember is you must pay a hefty deposit to Mexico customs when you bring a vehicle in. They will refund the deposit upon departure.
The next few days will be full of nothing but relaxation.