Manzanillo to Punta de Piedra – 106.3 km

As per, an hour after we went to bed last night, the music came on and the Cubans began partying around the pool. This time, I went straight for my earplugs and slept well. We were up and on the road by 8am this morning in an attempt to beat the heat.

The ride out of Manzanillo was pleasant. As we rode on, further and further from the beaten track,  the road became rougher and we had to stop several times to tighten or replace bolts that had vibrated loose on our front racks. I’ve begun raiding the water bottle carrier bolts. I’d better get some lock-tite on the remaining bolts before the road gets worse and I run out of bolts!

We stopped for pizzas and pop along the way, then stopped for lunch in Media Luna. It is a beautiful little town with a nicely shaded square and a dollar store for water. We had enpiniddillas and sandwiches at the local restaurant next to the store. It turned out that they don’t take convertible pesos, and once again we had no national pesos. A nice man who we had been talking to earlier offered to exchange some money for us so that we could pay. He gave us 25 pesos for one convertible, more than enough to pay for lunch which came to about thirty cents.

We rode out of town under the hot afternoon sun and turned south towards the mountains. The heat was getting to Juliette again, so we took a few breaks by the side of the road. A storm chased us from behind and slowly the mountains in front of us grew bigger and we began climbing. The terrain changed from open plains to thin tropical jungle and palm trees as we got higher. There are more people in the mountains and children giggled, waved and hammed for us as we passed.

As we came to one small town, an Italian man stopped his car and came out to greet us. He was impressed that we were riding such heavy loads through the mountains and told us that it was only another 5 km to Pilon.

Soon after that, we crested the last hill and began the exciting decent down the winding roads out of the mountains, towards the coast and into Pilon. We stopped at a relatively modern looking gas station for water and a pop. The Italian man came out apologizing because it was actually 7 km and he offered to buy us a beer. We were so dehydrated that we thanked him, but said no. We would have probably fallen over if we had a beer.

From Pilon, we started riding east along the south coast. We passed a small budget two star hotel at Punta Piedra and kept riding towards the nicer hotels near Marea del Portillo. We were looking forward to a night of good food and a few beer at a comfortable resort, but when we pulled in, we were told that there were no rooms available here or at the other hotel up on the hill. They called back to Punta Piedra for us, there was one room left.

We wearily mounted our bikes again and started riding back. A white pickup left the hotel behind us and passed us on the road, then was sitting in the parking lot of the Punta Piedra when we arrived. At the reception, there was a Canadian man in front of me with a Cuban guide. He had raced us here and taken the last room. There are no Casas or hotels around, so we stayed for dinner and bought water and beer.

My first impressions of the Canadian man were correct, he is a creep. As we ate dinner, his guide introduced him to a young Cuban girl by the pool. Within minutes, his hands were all over her. I had hoped that this sort of thing didn’t go on here.

We left Punta Piedra again and rode east until we found a beach, pulled off behind some trees and set up camp for the night. We have a mosquito net for shelter and a couple of light sleeping bags for warmth. The beach is rocky, but beautiful.

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