Living the Dream
“Tranquilo”….. It’s a word you hear a lot down here. Peaceful. Relaxed. Chill.
After the hustle and bustle of cycling through the vicious yet stunning desert of Baja California Norte we were due for a change of pace. Rest however did not come easy as we were constantly searching for the “right” place to stop and take a day off. Some towns were too small, some too big….. but none just right. However once we cycled out of Guerrero Negro and began the BCS portion of our trip, we could feel ourselves in need of a slower pace and some rest. Luckily Baja provided as always in ways we could not have expected.
Guerrero Negro, BCS to Guadalupe (?), BCS
After a late start in Guerrero Negro (getting in early the day before and starting late the next days equals a rest day, right?) we hit our goal of putting in as many miles as possible. We would be arriving in San Ignacio the next day and were looking forward to maximizing our rest days there by arriving early the day before. The ride was fairly uneventful with flat and gently rolling terrain with a slight tailwind. One of those days where the scenery just rolls by and you can let your mind wander for a bit. A good, yet unremarkable day.
Guadalupe (?), BCS to San Ignacio, BCS
Today’s ride was nice and short which got us into San Ignacio quite early. Cycling into San Ignacio is truly like rolling into a desert oasis. The land slowly sloped down into a lush spring-fed lagoon with forests of palm trees blanketing the entire town. After being in the desert for so many days, it felt foreign to be cycling through trees with running water all around. We headed into the plaza and finally had a chance to sit back and relax. As with most Latin American towns, there was a nice plaza with a beautiful church. This town however truly had a “pueblo” feel to it and we were at once relaxed and content. After doing a few touristy things we deeded to head to the local campground where we ran into quite a few other travelers including a wonderful couple who insisted upon treating us to dinner at their camp. Ulrich and Lizbeth were great friends and their hospitality shall not be forgotten. If you are reading this, thank you very much! I owe you dinner and a hike in Yosemite!
San Ignacio Rest Day!!!!!
At last, our first real rest day in Baja! Nothing to do but eat food, chat with locals and catch up on reading and writing. 11 days of riding demands true rest and for me that involved reading an entire book, napping and drinking entirely too much Tecate! It was also nice to sit and take stock of where we were and how far we had truly travelled so far. San Ignacio is the kind of place I could end up staying in for a week and I look forward to coming back to this wonderful place in the future. Our final night at the campground was spent with yet another couple from Germany who swapped stories with us as we all sipped Tequila. Livin’ the dream!
San Ignacio, BCS to Santa Rosalia, BCS
Tearing yourself away from one beautiful place after another is like breaking up with the same woman over and over again. You know you want to be with her but something inside you forces you to move on in search on new adventures. You end up spending the entire next day day-dreaming about how it could have been if you had stayed and you rationalize everything to make the decision to leave justified. Eventually however you find yourself in a new place that doesn’t feel the same yet somehow eases the pain a bit. For me, that peaceful desert and volcanic landscape dramatically giving way to our first view of the Gulf was enough to get me excited again for a new place. I was also excited to get to Santa Rosalia because it was there that we had planned to meet Remo! Remo is a Swiss cyclist who I had met when I cycled into San Diego. He had left San Diego a few days before us but we had planned on meeting somewhere. The thought of “building” a bike touring gang like we had in Alaska and Canada the summer prior made me smile.
Santa Rosalia, BCS to Mulege, BCS
After breaking camp in the morning and meeting Remo at the designated spot, our gang was complete and we were ready to hit the road. It was a nice change of pace to be cycling with some new energy. As we cycled along I couldn’t help but laugh at what we must look like to all the passing motorists. Not only were we bike touring in Baja, a sight in itself. But now as motorists passed they couldn’t help but stare at the dark-skinned guy on a blue bike, the tall white guy on a bamboo bike pulling a red trailer and the blonde cyclist on a recumbent. We are truly a sight down here when we roll into towns and we keep joking that all we need is someone on a tricycle to complete the bike circus. As usual, the renewed energy brought on much laughter, stories and shared passions. It is moments like this that make touring everything it is. Thank you bike gods for days like this. We eventually got into Mulege and were surprised at the amount of storm damage from Hurricane Paul. It’s a shame to see such a beautiful town in such bad shape but people seemed ok and most people were simply busy cleaning up their property. Finally being able to swim for a bit and eat out at a restaurant was a nice change of pace as well.
Mulege to Km. 68
As we cycled today we had a chance to feel each other out and see how we rode together. It is always interesting to see how another cyclist rides and when they feel the need to stop, eat or take pictures. We all have a slightly different riding style but now that we are riding in a group of three it is a lot easier to hang back and ride solo for a few miles and let the other two chat then switch out. It’s a nice natural flow. The end result though was that we all thought that different beaches were “just right” to stop at and enjoy a lazy afternoon of swimming and beach camping. What ended up happening is that we ran out of beaches and found ourselves instead in a beautiful, but desert, campsite instead of the beach as originally intended. I had been really looking forward to a night on the beach on the Bahia de Concepcion but I guess you can’t always have it all, right? It wasn’t all bad though as we were treated to a nice sunset in our own personal cactus garden.
KM 68 to Puerto Escondido
In an effort to not repeat the same mistake twice we made sure to investigate all possible beach camping options in the afternoon. However for first time in Mexico we were actually told we could not camp somewhere. Apparently a development company was planning on developing on the beach and that meant we were now unable to spend the night. We spent quite a while arguing the legality of restricting access to a PUBLIC beach but to no avail. Instead we cycled a bit further and whined to the owner of a local tienda who showed us a better place to camp, also beachside. I guess no matter here you go, it’s the same old capitalist story over and over again. Those with money decide how our lands get used. Our night on the beach with a little fire more than made up for the previous couple hour’s troubles though and we all slept to the sound of waves on the beach.
Puerto Escondido to Constutucion
After a 500 meter uphill climb in the morning we were treated to every cyclist’s wet dream. Gently downward sloping smooth highway with a mild tailwind. We were all able to kick back, lazily pedal every few moments or so and let our minds wander. Not a word was spoken as we floated down the road for what must have been 25 KM’s. Days like this are a treasure on a tour and we decided to use the favorable conditions to push it a bit further, managing to pedal in the relatively busy yet entertaining town of Constutcion. After procuring an RV park for the night, Remo and I enjoyed a nice night out watching the city life around us and entertaining locals with our bikes and stories. It’s nice to be around more people now, the desert can get rather lonely with only us cyclists.
Constutcion to KM 124 (Llantera El Paso!!!)
Today’s ride was a bit flat and boring and also hot since we managed to cycle out of town right around noon. One clear disadvantage of cycling with a larger group is that everything takes a bit longer. However the camaraderie more than makes up for that. Instead of suffering silently, you have the opportunity to curse the blazing Sun in union and laugh about it. We decided to see how close we could get to La Paz and at KM 124 we found a roadside llantera/restaurant that seems like a great place to ask for a night’s rest. Sure enough we were welcomed to camp on their property and spent the evening chatting with them about what we were doing, where we were coming from and what our lives back home were like. They even went as far as to insist upon giving us food for the road! These people were very kind and it wasn’t until morning when I went to the front of their lantern that I noticed the name of their shop. “Llantera El Paso!” Funny how a little bit of home made me feel so good.
KM 124 to La Paz!!!!!!!
Nice long day into La Paz with the thoughts of warm showers, good food and beer dancing in our heads. The riding was mostly uneventful until the fateful moment when we got our first glimpse of the Gulf and off in the distance, La Paz. A rippin’ downhill to the sea then a nice flat ride into town was all that stood between us and a few day’s rest. I had arranged a few possible couch surfing/host options and though nothing happened as planned, it was amazing! Immediately upon our arrival in La Paz we realized we just needed to let go of our plans and go with the flow. It was as if La Paz were telling us to take a load off, turn off our brains and just enjoy a few day’s rest.
A few day’s rest here is in order with a ferry ride to Mazatlan on the 1st then a 4 day ride into Guadalajara! I’m excited to see my friends in Guadalajara and do some big-city things for a couple days. That’s all for now, cervezas and playas are calling my name……
Guerrero Negro to Guadalupe (?) 63 miles
Guadalupe (?) to San Ignacio 34 miles
San Ignacio to Santa Rosalia 53 miles
Santa Rosalia to Mulege 49 miles
Mulege to KM 68 47 miles
KM 68 to Puerto Escondido 63 miles
Puerto Escondido to Constuticion 79 miles
Constuticion to KM 124 57 miles
KM 124 to La Paz 78 miles