Oaxaca, OAX. , Mexico, DEC. 09.
Posts Tagged: touring cyclists
I was still in the sea, watching the sunset, thinking: I could just stay here forever. But we left Puerto Escondido the following day. We decided to make a side trip to Oaxaca city, so we took a bus up the hills to the valley.
On our way there we met these guys
They’re part of a group making their annual pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Juquila: several days riding from all over Mexico up the hills and many switchbacks to the town of Juquila.
Most of them were riding old school singlespeeds.
This is faith. This is Mexico.
Gracias a la guapa y super simpatica Señorita Carla y al muy amable Señor Milchis, we’re crossing the sea of Cortes from La Paz to Mazatlan in a comfortable cabin onboard the Chihuahua Star of Baja Ferries (we’re working on getting a special discount-and bicycles travel free-for cyclists, stay tuned).
Chris is with us again, we met last night in La Paz for a few Pacificos and tacos (and some delicious ice cream watching the absurd “parade” of big loud cars cruising along the Malecon).
We stayed in Pension California: 250 Pesos for a room with 2 big comfy beds with a nice warm (not hot) shower, free wifi, cooking facilities. A very cosy small hotel very well located near the waterfront (and next door to the Hermanos Gonzalez Fish Tacos stand) and very interestingly (and weirdly) decorated.
There we met some cool people, like Ricky, the local poet who helps out in the Pension, or the french guy who played online poker all night long, the Spanish couple traveling around Mexico, or the swiss guys traveling also down south.
And we’re meeting lots of specially nice people along the way:
Therese and Kyler from Salt Lake City (thanks for the awesome breakfast), Olivia and Mark who own the lovely restaurant in Playa Buenventura (gracias por todo), Los Señores Luis y Beni de Tijuana (mucho gusto de conocerles y gracias por “el paseo”), Martin, Pete and Gary also riding their fully loaded bikes south (nice to meet you guys, tailwinds!), … and now I’m looking forward to arriving to Puerto Vallarta as soon as possible where we’ll meet up with Bryan’s brother John and his fiancee Jessica, buena gente.
I’ve just washed my Keen Commuter Sandals for the first time and they look and feel like new.
2 weeks riding down Baja California, 900 miles, pushing my bike through sand and rocky trails, walking among cacti, under water in the sea, heat and sweat, with or without socks, cold nights in the desert, walking around towns, cobble stones, warm nights by the campfire, just pushing the pedals, and my feet are so happy.
I love it and so I keep going…
54km with some hills to El Rosario where we camped at the back of a Motel next to Mama Espinoza’s Restaurant and had the best hot shower ever (and first one in a while). My front panniers are now the lowest I can have them on my Surly rack, and the front of the bike feels a lot more stable.
Heraclio gave us a lift up hill (teletransportation) out of El Rosario to El Arenoso and from there we rode 77km through the beautiful scenery of El Valle de Los Cirios: weird trees, cactus, amazing rock formations, nice cool (overcast) weather, pretty, flat (except for some gentle rolling hills), expectacular. We paid 100 pesos for a spot to camp at the Desert Inn where we met Andrea, a very nice german lady who offered us a place to stay in Berlin if/when we get there.
56km of desert, hills, heat to free camping at Loncheria La Nueva Chapala, the only place that has survived 50 years strong in the area: best dinner we’ve had in a long time.
We managed to start rolling befor 8am! and arrived at Punta Pietra at noon after 64km with some small hills and some headwinds. Free camping at the rear of the local Abarrotes and ice cream before another early night.
We get up with the sun and go to bed when the sun goes down. We roll at 7:20am. The road deteriorates after Rosarito but we make good progress. We met Seth and Parker from San Francisco who are riding the Panamerican Higway from Prudho Bay to Ushuaia on Big Dummies (we plan to meet up for some beer in La Paz). Longest day so far with 98km. The last 8km pushing the bikes through sand trying to find the beach. We end up free camping (again! Viva Mexico and the hospitality of its people) at the back of a tiny hotel in Villa Jesus Maria.
After breakfast we met Ramon, the owner of the Hotel Villa del Mar, and had a very nice chat while we waited for the fog to clear. Arrived to Guerrero Negro. we’re half way into Baja California now.40km of easy straight (a bit boring) road. Stock up on food and water. First shower in 4 days, (slow) wi-fi and camping for 150 Pesos. It’s too early to go see the whales at the Laguna del Ojo de Liebre so we’re leaving tomorrow, heading east.
We didn´t make it to San Ignacio, we were 40km short when Mr. Steve let us stay at his rancho. He bought us a soda and cookies and gave us some awesome grape tomatoes (perfect bicycle snack) from the farm he works at. We had a shower, shared dinner with the farm workers, and slept in our tents. 105 km.
Bryan was way ahead of me when after 70km got a lift uphill with Chui and Sergio, 2 very nice fishermen from San Hipolito who also gave me a can of delicious Caracoles de Mar. Their taste reminded me of my hometown. I waited for Bryan just before La Cuesta del Infierno to ride the downhill to Santa Rosalia. After 95km we managed to find free camping (once again!, speaking spanish definitely helps) by the (not in use) swimming pool at Hotel El Morro. Nice!
We’ve arrived at El Mar de Cortes, the east coast of Baja. I´m looking forward to seeing the sunrise on the sea tomorrow morning.
I´ve never seen so many stars, millions of them. And I can hear the waves. Paco and Lola are with us; two dogs that became our best friends after sharing some rice and garbanzos for dinner.
They belong to Faustino, the guard of what used to be a campsite. We´re free camping on the beach near Cielito Lindo. This is beautiful. And it feels so good to be back on the road.
We left Ensenada on El Dia de Los Muertos, and felt a bit sad to say goodbye to Delia, Jose and Canica, but it was great to finally keep going. The first day back on our bikes was hard and the hills made the 71km very difficult. That night we stayed with El Señor Pancho and his wife, a very nice couple who own a cheese store near San Vicente.
My legs felt better on Tuesday riding 61km to a campsite near Ejido Ruben Jaramillo. It was so hot when we got there, we jumped in the swimming pool straight away. Sometimes I forget it´s November.
We´re back along the coast now until El Rosario, just before the hills, the big ones, and the desert. And then we we´ll be on the east coast, the Sea of Cortez.
While I write this, the moon is coming out above the mountains; it´s big and yellow… preciosa. Paco and Lola have fallen asleep next to us, on the sand, and all I can hear is the waves.
We left Los Angeles on monday and stayed with our friend Allison in Long Beach. On tuesday we camped in San Clemente with Ashira and Therese. And we made it to San Diego on wednesday. We’re staying with our new couchsurfing friend Katie until tomorrow when we cross the border into Mexico.
We’ve done 167 miles in three days, at an average speed of 11 miles per hour.
We’re taking it easy, getting used to our fully loaded bikes. We’re enjoying the ride and our Soma Saga’s.