Maya Rally, We are (update: were) the champions! =)

In the morning we hit the road quickly, knowing that we are over 3 hours to the border and any chance of securing enough points to stay competitive.  We blow past the campground, second guessing again our choice to continue...knowing that others have already arrived and are enjoying the peaceful lagoon we saw just a day before.  We push on for the border towns and secure loads of license plates in rapid fire.  Knowing the guys from Team Astrid likely came up with the same plan we have no idea how many plates we need or how long to keep at it.  We stop when hunger overtakes us, grab a local quesadilla and return north. nate and sarahmaya rally toastmatt and isabeljen and persephone

We are weary, dirty and completely exhausted when we roll into camp but the smiling faces of the other rally teams fuels us with the energy needed to carry on.  We pull ourselves away from them and their travel stories only long enough for a shower that feels better than any i can remember.  We have heard rumors of team astrid’s points, and are sad to hear that they have edged us out by only a few it all comes down to judges discretion.

The teams all continue our reunion after the hard 8 days on the road.  Several teams dropped out or returned to the states and a few are still missing.  Chris, Liz and Andy- if you’re out there send a note to let us know that you’re okay...or at least which town you’ve decided to take over for a while.

As darkness falls we are all called to gather on the far side of the campground for a slideshow of evenness trip while we eat a superbly prepared local buffet of cochinita pibil.  So fun to see the route everyone else took and the photos of them enjoying themselves along the way.  Most teams traveled in groups, so the photos within their group aren’t news but those of the other caravans easily bring the laughter and cheers from the crowd.

After the meal (and after the final team has pleaded their case to the judges) we move into the announcement of the results.  The latecomers Tad and Gaila won the motorcycle class easily, and we are thrilled to find out that we have eeked out a win over the mercedes in the 2wd class.  Jen runs up, thrilled at a chance to use the microphone and accepts our award with the shortest speech ever.  “we love everybody!” she shouts into the mic as if rallying a crowd of concertgoers.

Team astrid clearly takes the 4wd class and melt our hearts when after the announcement they present us with a gift for helping them along the way.  Such a nice gesture from a hugely competitive couple of guys.

The three winning teams are ushered over to the sawn log podium for the announcement of the grand champion of the inaugural Maya Rally and we are floored when they hoist us onto the highest tier.  Apparently the judges have named us the winners of the rally as our creativity and bonus points edged us out over the boys!!  We love the judges!!

jen winner maya rally winners 2maya rally winnersjen tossed in lagoonmaya rally lagoon toss2 We stand for a few moments for photos behind mexican sparklers and then we are grabbed by the crowd for what is apparently the traditional champion toss into the lagoon.  The rest of the evening is spent with everyone playing in the water, sipping mezcal, smacking the pinata and dancing around the bonfire.  A truly great party for any event and the perfect way to end the world as we know it!!

As teams start to drop the party wanes and only a handful of us remain around the once massive fire.  At this point there is little more than embers and our rowdy nature has changed to intimate conversation.  We are amazed at how we have connected so easily to these people that until 9 days ago didn’t know existed.  All travelers, all seeking some of the some questions we are looking to answer ourselves and all genuine and fantastic people.

When the fire is no more, we all stumble to our respective cars, tents and cabanas and jen and i fall asleep in the glow of victory.  We aren’t really used to winning...but we sure like the feel of it!

bryon pinatajudges and sunajorge