Have I mentioned the mosquitos and sun? We hit the road early to not get caught on the scary beach past sunrise and fairly promptly stopped at Subway for breakfast and Walgreens for some new bugspray and sunscreen. GVP came out with SPF 90. We’d heard the sun on the southern coast is brutal and the only thing worse than biking in the sun all day is doing so with a burn. It was like covering my body with clay. Later we would learn it was indeed waterproof. I had to scratch it off my legs in the shower. Not cool but we didn’t get burned once the whole trip so I’m grateful. I mean, some people pay a lot of money for a clay mask…right?
Those 51.2 miles to Ponce were hot. So hot. I was fine if I was sitting still in the shade drinking water (or eating ice cream) but take any one of those away and sweat was running off me.
We ran into some cool things that day. There was a mural of famous and historical Puerto Ricans and how they influenced the culture. A local came by as we were admiring it and tried to shake GVP’s hand. Being from DC he instantly thought the man was asking for money and declined his hand. Once it dawned on him what the man wanted, they had a man-to-man moment. And to answer the question I know is on your mind, yes Daddy Yankee is on the mural.
We pulled over in a hotel’s entrance for some much needed shade.
As we took in our surroundings of a bare-chested woman sculpture in the fountain and a drawing depicting a nude male and female locked in embrace, we quickly concluded that Hotel Adonis was a by the hour hotel. We laughed at what the drivers on that busy road must have thought of the two of us and our bikes and then we headed back into the sun.
Do you remember how Adventure Cycling was kind enough to give us their cue cards for this same trip that they organize and run? Well low and behold when we stopped for lunch in Salinas we ran into that trip! We talked with a few people in their group but had to get moving. Some numbers were exchanged so we could meet up later (this never happened) and we continued to see riders here and there from their group. We actually pointed them in the right direction a couple of times. They followed our advice despite not knowing who we were.
Arriving to Ponce was a relief. We would stay for two nights on the balcony of someone from Air B&B. We never did meet our host but we did meet his other Air B&B guests (two Danes who were residing inside), and our host’s father who tried to convince us to let him in the home so he could get his keys. Nothing like waking up at 2AM to a strange man standing by your tent. The morning we left we decided to sleep until 7AM since at 6AM his father was sitting creepily in a chair on the balcony. We had the pepper spray at the ready.
We went to P.F. Chang’s for dinner both nights we were in Ponce. And we went to the movies and had popcorn and a giant soda each. What can I say? We needed an American day.
Because biking lets me run into unexpected people and places, that’s why I love riding my bike.