Lanky waving Dr. Seuss cactus, bright liquid blue sky saluting, puffy cotton cloud drifting, excruciating intense heat riding, melted deteriorating pavement has been consuming my reality these last couple days. It’s been truly incredible but the desert has been challenging. It has been a couple of weeks since I have wrote, so this post is almost 3 weeks worth of travel. A lot, a lot, a lot of desert. So many cactus and so much dust and sunshine! No shade! Ah!
San Quintin was an experience I will never forget staying with the Gomez family for one week! they treated me like a daughter and really became my family! I feel so grateful for people like Gabino and Lupita!
I ended up painting some hummingbirds in their kitchen and a little bike mural in the garage! Adley and I even got to play a little concert for a family gathering!
Leaving San Quintin with a new riding partner was by far the worst ride we have experienced yet! I have a new friend, Maud from France who is riding from LA to Peru alone. We decided to ride together and our first experience was in 107 degree weather and incredible side winds creating a tornado of dust and rocks and making it quite dangerous when riding alongside trucks and cars that block the wind and then suck you in near their wheels as they unblock the wind from you. We only made it 30 km when Maud felt sick and we paused on the side of the road. Here we were stopped by a green truck where a Mexican American Alejandro appeared like an angel.
He offered us a place to stay for he night and maud and I desperately needed a place to hide away from the wind and heat. His house sits alongside the ocean and he provides us with food and beds and was so welcoming and amazing to us. He cycles himself and was excited to have us. We actually ended up staying 3 nights there as maud got better and we met some amazing friends on the beach. Some American boys from La traveling by van and surfing and two American girls who were road tripping and celebrating their 30th birthdays. We had a camp fire and swapped travel stories. So much fun and exactly what we a needed!
So we were off on the road again and into the desert. We camped a couple nights in the desert and then I got sick darn it. Probably the same thing Maud had. Really traveling is amazing but it can be hard! I was so sick and riding a bike through the desert in 100 degree F heat, cooking on and in the sand, cactus camping and so badly wanting the comforts of a home when not feeling well. Not to mention we are not even close to being out of the desert, not even close!
This uneasy feeling must easily be accepted or you will not have a pleasant time. These roads bring into the reality of death and peace. The cars pass now every 10-30 minutes and it’s much more tranquil of a ride.
You can enjoy the wind and the smell of the native plants that remind me of sage. Their scent fills the warm air. Here kilometer markings are signs of our progress and I count each one knowing that soon we will reach a town with water. We must bring enough water and food for a 3 nights stay. 10 liters of water adds a lot to the weight of the already heavy pack. I would guess my head now weighs 60 pounds.
One day we were riding through the desert exhausted and with unbearable heat and flagged down 5 cars for water. 4/5 cars were American and gifted us water, Gatorade and one person even had Halloween bags of candy for us ha. People are very generous on the road. Then we continued 30 km more to the closest town Katayina where we were in awe of the change of scenery from desert nothing to huge giant boulders and enormous towering cactus. Here they call the town an oasis and there are petroglyphs still preserved you can walk right up to and a river! We took a whole day off and swam in the river and enjoyed the oasis while we had it. That was our first rinse in 4 days! While Maud, my friend and I were checking out the petroglyphs high up in a cave we saw from way below a tiny figure with a bike! Another cyclist!
We met a 25 year old cyclists Cameron from New York who had just finished a cross US country tour this last year and is now cycling with us. How cool! And what a fun way to meet someone! We set up camp near the side of the 1 highway and then a Canadian motor bike slowed down near us and asked if we needed help. We replied no and invited him to camp with us. So from 2 to 4 we camped 2 nights and made some new friends! We shared meals together and had a fun sharing stories. Below is some of the petroglyph and the trailer that Ramon lives in who let us camp in his yard.
As far as riding, we never know how many kilometers we will do each day, where we will sleep or who we will meet a long the way. Sometimes we meet people like Eugene whose grandparents created the town of rancho Calamata. It’s a town with the population of two buildings, 5-6 people, 20 cows, 3 horses, 20 chickens, 2 peacocks, 3 dogs and 1 kitten. The only have solar panels and make money from truckers and having a restaurant. Eugene continues to tell us the story of his father in 1925 who met the governor or Mexico who actually came to meet the father and telling him news that they were going to build a road through Baja. The father was not pleased and continued to tell the governor that he wouldn’t live to see the day that happened. Well a couple decades later and sure enough the road was built and the father was greeted by the governor again but this time with the first car he had ever seen in his life a ford from the states. He ended up driving the car and accepting that the road was built. Eugene tells the story with such “animo” or enthusiasm that it makes you want to make a film out of the stories he tells. What a crazy bunch of people in that town we spent one night there and he gifted us coffee and water which was essential for our voyage.
Above, one of the things that really disturbs me while riding (and there isn’t much that does) are the crosses that are on the sides of the roads. They are quite a literal symbol of death with names, dates, and loved ones writings etc. showing how much they miss their loves ones. Most of the accidents are truckers and most of them are at night, but still they are quite the sight to be seen. Next to the picture above is Maud’s back trailer that was stuck in the mud. What a mess, we got stuck for a little bit but also long enough for me to take a picture!
Here in the small “town” I met a French family a dad and two boys that were traveling around the world and were on their way to southern Baja to study the whales as there are many grey whales living in the southern part of Baja. The family was truly an inspiration as they travel together and had such an array of experiences and history I really enjoyed speaking with them. This is one of my favorite parts of traveling is speaking with people, especially other travelers and hearing honest stories and different perspectives on their view of the world. Just amazing!
Below is a picture of a tire store and the sign for the shop is made out of tires and is an elephant. Can you see it?