andres' life

Living the Dream

San Diego, CA to Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur


Wow. That’s about all I can say about finally cycling in Baja California. Each and every day has been a new adventure complete with wildly rewarding experiences. In the interest of keeping things straight, I am going to post a day to day log of my adventures through Baja California Norte.

Day 1: San Diego, CA to Rosarito, BCN (Baja California Norte)

It’s funny how a small human imposed border consisting of a recycled metal wall can change so much….

Upon entering Tijuana we were thrust into a seemingly endless maze of walkways, tourist visa diversions and entirely overpowering stimulus from all directions. After doing all the neccesary paperwork, we hightailed it out of town playing human frogger in Tijuana traffic. I think this section takes the cake for the most terrifying cycling yet. Thankfully it was over soon enough and we snuck onto the Cuota (toll) Road and headed South to Rosarito. As if the coastal view and amazing roadway weren’t enough, our host for the night, Nick, just happened to be passing by in his car headed home. He gladly took our baggage off our hands and we cycled load-free the last 15 miles into Rosarito. We ended the day with a nice dinner and beer watching the sunset. That night we all gathered around a fire and passed bottle after bottle of wine around and shared stories into the night.

Baja coastline.

Holy Giant Jesus!

Day 2: Rosarito BCN to Ensanada BCN

Our first full day in Mexico got off to a rockin’ 11 AM start! Due to a bit of indulgence the night before, we groggily awoke and had fish tacos on the beach before cycling out. When in Rome, right? The day’s riding was partly coastal with a short detour into the wine country of Northern Baja. This section of riding was also through the more “touristy” Baja and at times it felt a bit much like “Gringo” Mexico. Our day’s riding ended when I spotted a cyclist on the side of the road. I stopped to chat and ask about camping opportunities in Ensanada. He introduced himself as Santo and upon hearing what we were up to took it upon himself to invite us to stay with him for the night. The hospitality was amazing and him and his wife Marisa fed us, offered us wine, and gave us a bed to sleep in and a warm shower. Santo is not only a wonderful person, but apparently he’s also an award-winning cyclist in Ensanada. Santo, gracias para todo! He certainly lived up to his name.

Santo, our wonderful host in Ensanada.

Day 3: Ensanada, BCN to San Vicente, BCN

Today’s ride was our first introduction to typical Baja cycling. There are never really any HUGE mountain passes to contend with. Instead there’s a steady stream of rolling hills and short but steep 100-200 meter climbs followed by wicked fun twisty descents. The roadways at this point have started to shift and we are now getting the full offering of Baja’s road contruction! The roads go from shoulders so wide we can ride side by side (though not adviseable!) all the way to zero shoulders with a steep drop off filled with cactus, glass and broken car parts. The cycling is never truly dangerous, it just requires a little more attention. We ended our day by cycling a few KM’s out of San Vicente and finding a nice secluded spot for the night.

Typical scenery for the day with the mountains loooming in the distance. Soon we would be grinding up and over and through those mountains.

Day 4: San Vicente, BCN to San Quintin, BCN

It was nice to have a rather chill day today. Not much to write except for the continual hills and heat. It has been a challenge to always remember to carry the water we need. However every town here, no matter how small, seems to have water filtration units. Usually it takes 5-15 poesos ($0.50-$1.40) to fill my monstrous 11.5 liter load of water. Cycling with that much water is never fun but it allows us to camp outside of town for free under the stars with little worry for the next day.

Cyclists seem to be of little concern at military checkpoints. We get a smile and a wave at every one.

Day 5: San Quintin, BCN to El Rosario, BCN

This desert riding is truly becoming a treat. Again we had a nice “relaxing” day of cycling up, over and down all the desert had to offer us. It has been nice passing town after town down here, though something seems to be lacking. I guess life in the rough and tough desert leaves little room for flourish. It will be nice to get to a more “colorful” Mexico. For now, I am loving the desert and all it has to offer.

Day 6: San Quintin, BCN to Cataviña, BCN

Today it started to truly feel like Baja. Gone was the traffic, towns and tourist traps. Instead the landscape slowly transformed into a surreal Dr. Suess wonderland. Boojum trees slowly started to dominate the lanscape and all manner of desert flora soon took over. By midday we found ourselves cycling through the boulderfields of Catviña. It was as if we were cycling through Joshua Tree except for the truly unique Boojum Trees!

The desert flora out here is amazing!

The boulderfields of Cataviña are like Joshua Tree, only with Boojum Trees!

Day 7: Catviña, BCN to Punta Prieta, BCN

Day 50 of the trip! Woohoo! It hardly feels like we have been travelling for 50 days. Yet all it takes is one glance at a map to assure us that we are truly far away. By midday we had passed the boulderfields and ended up on more gentle, slightly rolling terrain. As an added bonus we got a killer headwind and ended the day doing an average of 15-20 MPH! Thank you Baja for helping us celebrate day 50. However we would soon discover the true source of those winds….

Day 8: Punta Prieta, BCN to Villa Jesus Maria, BCN

Our day started off with a slight cross wind and overcast skies. Soon we were full on battling a fierce crosswind and ever increasing cloudcover. By lunch, it finally hit us! Little did we know what Tropical Storm Paul was just finishing its hissy fit in the Pacific and we cycling right into it! After lunch we found ourselves cranking along at 6 MPH, directly into the head wind, giving it everything we had. It was the worst wind I have ever cycled in and it only got worse. It seemed as if all the sands and wind in Baja were conspiring against us and unleashing their fury on us. Baja seemed to be screaming, “Get lost! Go home! You shouldn’t be here!” We decided we had had enough and ducked into a culvert under the highway just as the wind and rain decided to kick it up a notch. Sitting there under the culvert, caked in desert sand and sweat, I had a thought. I realized that I am, and always will be, an arrogant Westerner. I purposely take time off from work to travel through places where people might never dream of doing such a thing. I purposely put myself in these situation because “normal” life bores me. As I look around at the people as I travel through Baja, I feel ashamed at times. Yet the shame quickly passes as I realize that I am here, through the good and bad, because I want to be. I want to see new lands, meet new people and always create new experiences for myself. In the end, Baja was simply giving me a little slap in the face to remind me how real it can get. So Baja, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for keeping it real! However next time, a smaller storm will suffice! Luckily we ended the day in a small town where I quickly ran off to the nearest enclosed structure to consume the most delicious torta of my life. I even  got a little washed up but not before being offered a campsite alongside the local police building. We even made a friend of the local school teacher, Sergio, who gave us plenty of beta for further down south. All in all, a truly memorable day.

We hid from Tropical Storm Paul in here!

The resulting sand, wind and rainstorm from Tropical Storm Paul left me feeling a bit gritty.

Day 9: Villa Jesus Maria, BCN to Guerrero Negro, BCS (Baja California Sur)

We did it! After cycling a mere 24 miles we made it into Guerro Negro. We are offically in a new state, have passed the 28th Parallel, and are enjoying a rest day! The killer winds are now replaced by a gentle ocean breeze and we are feeling a lot better! As I type this my clothes are being cleansed of their sweaty desert filth and tonight we get showers! Life is good!


Tomorrow we head out after a relaxing morning of nothingness. Back into the desert for us with San Ignacio being our next destination. I’m looking forward to this next desert oasis!



The Numbers:

San Diego,CA to Rosarito, BCN     64 miles

Rosarito, BCN to Ensanada, BCN     42 miles

Ensanada, BCN to San Vicente, BCN     57 miles

San Vicente, BCN to San Quintin, BCN     69 miles

San Quintin, BCN to El Rosario, BCN     53 miles

El Rosario, BCN to Catviña, BCN     61 miles

Cataviña, BCN to Punta Prieta, BCN     79 miles

Punta Prieta, BCN to Villa Jesus Maria, BCN     46 miles

Villa Jesus Maria, BCN to Guerro Negro, BCS     24 miles

Total mileage freom San Diego to Guerrero Negro     495 miles!!!!!

That’s all for now. enjoy!

All cleaned up and ready for Baja! I have not seen my bare chin in 5 years now!

Josh enjoying a small rest from the sun.

A typical Baja desert campsite.

What’s a graboid?

Whatever works, right? I love this place.

Battle Kitty!

Win. Just win.

Our first Tarantula!

These llanterias (tire shops) seem to pop up 2-3 times a day in the desert. Not much use for us except that they also tend to have a restaurant with shade and soda!

Livin’ the desert life.

Josh pondering that itchy feeling in his shorts. Welcome to the desert!

Our nightly show.


Officially in Baja California Sur and 8 days away from La Paz!


3 comments on “San Diego, CA to Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur

  1. Mom
    October 18, 2012

    Yes, the adventure you are living is one that few ever get to experience. How wonderful that you realize that you should always travel as a fellow human, without personal expectations, but embracing the reality of life. Love you

  2. Adrian
    October 18, 2012

    Mijo, yet another milestone on your quest. The hurricane and hot desert are but a small test for you. Just another bump in the road, many more to come. Get some rest, drink, and load up with good food for your 8 days to La Paz.. Let me know if you get your mail in San Ignacio. love you, dad

  3. Ramon
    October 18, 2012

    Glad you got through the rain. Enjoy Mexico! If it wasn’t for the Mexican Revolution of 1916 (when there was a mass migration to the US), we would be living in Mexico! wow. it is like the Mother Country.

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