We rode in the rain the previous day and I woke up hot and sticky. It rained all night long. The combination of heat and humidity reminded me of being back in Houston.
We camped in a grove of some sort and I did not recognize the trees. It was past harvest because I saw no evidence of fruit or nuts. The previous night, the ground was verging on saturation and I did not want to wake up in a mud puddle so we put the tent on a two-track trail. There was some evidence of recent tracks but we planned to be up before sunrise and on the road shortly thereafter. I did not think this would be a problem
Unfortunately, I figured wrong.
Sarah poked her head outside just as a pickup truck was heading in our direction. Hopping outside the tent she explained the situation to the driver of the stopped pickup in front of our tent. I hurriedly crammed our things into their bags inside the tent. I am not sure what the workers in the truck made of the situation because they never said a word. They just stared. Perhaps they were dumbfounded by the site or it is common occurrence to have a pair of gringos camp across the raised two-track road in the grove and they were patiently waiting for us to move.
We dragged the tent out of the way so that the pickup could pass. They went down the road and we packed up wet, leaving without eating breakfast.
Packing up wet is my second least favorite thing while camping or bicycle touring. Everything tends to acquire a mildewy smell and the fungal growth can degrade gear, especially the waterproofing on tent flies. My first least favorite thing is mosquitoes.
We rode through the rain until the next town. We huddled under an awning at a store, eating our breakfast of yogurt and some delicious pan dulce (sweet bread).
Riding in a rain jacket, especially in the heat and humidity is like being inside a self-contained sauna. My shirt was soaked in sweat, rain ran down my face and the spray from trucks managed to invade every other nook and cranny.
Conversations with locals confirmed three days of rain, “ayer, hoy, y mañana” (yesterday, today and tomorrow).
As Sarah’s back wheel was kicking up a rooster tail of water in my direction, my front wheel was retaliating by shooting a stream of water onto her back bags. Fenders do a great job of keeping water off the rider’s bike, but without modification, they are not neighborly.
I was not happy. At one point I yelled over the sound of traffic, “We gave up everything to do this?” to which Sarah responded “Living the dream babe, living the dream.”
Wet and tired, we found a mobile transmission tower to camp behind. Mosquitoes were horrendous, seemingly immune to DEET. We had to finish dinner inside the tent, which just added to the miserable day. The damp gear and tent, along with heat and humidity were not pleasant dinner guests.
Later, I was reading and Sarah was sleeping. I felt an ant crawling on my arm which I flicked off (it is not unusual to have an additional tent mate or two of the winged, six or eight legged variety). As I swiveled my head to find it I noticed that ants had swarmed our tent, chewed holes in the mesh, and were coming in for a slumber party.
I woke Sarah. Half asleep, she groggily asked “What’s wrong?”
To which I replied, “Living the dream babe, living the dream.”