Part Eighteen: Baja California Sur – End of the Desert

3rd January (Loreto – Ciudad Insurgente) (121km)

The road has turned inland toward the spine of the Baja peninsula climbing through a winding mountain pass (refer photo) and then back onto the long flat desert track for some more km churning. The climb of the morning (from the coast up to 430 metres) left me a bit weakened and I compounded the problem by not food fueling correctly so the afternoon became more difficult than it might have been otherwise.

Mountain Pass

There is only one hotel in Ciudad Insurgente and it barely justifies the name. The people there don’t really give a rat’s bot bot if the place falls apart and the building is obliging very nicely. Happily the bed didn’t fall apart during this particular night so had a good night’s sleep with the prospect of some more long flat road the next day for this last push to the end of the peninsula.

4th January (Ciudad Insurgente – Camping in Cactus Field) (132 km)

Long, flat and hot riding. Felt the energy fading away in the heat of the afternoon. In order to cope with the distances between water and supplies have been carrying a lot of water and the pack is therefore very heavy, which probably contributed to a flat tyre in the afternoon. Oddly, after the previous day  where there had been nothing in terms of shops etc along the road, there were restaurants a plenty spread along the way. It’s very difficult to predict such things so best to carry the extra water anyway. At the end of the day’s ride, I had to struggle through a fence in order to get into the desert to set camp in a cactus field just on dusk so as to not be seen hunkering down in the  field hopefully unmolested by any overly curious passers by. The question as to why someone would want to own and fence such a desert is one that remains, yet I imagine it is worth something to someone. To me this night it is worth a place to rest and is within a day’s good ride from the end of the peninsula ride.

Long & Winding Road

5th January (Camp Cactus – La Paz) (105 km)

Woke up early in order to break camp and get going before being noticed in my cactus field. Skillfully managed to get my self caught on the barbed wire whilst trying to shimmy back under the fence to the road; painful and ignominious. Such an experience gives one the opportunity for a sudden moment of clarity. This one going something like, “What the hell am I doing out here in the middle of this desert in amongst the cacti and dried goat shit about to pedal through the hot dusty day and now am bent over and caught under a barbed wire fence?” Don’t really have a good answer to that one right at the moment. Am confident that it will look somewhat different after the dust is extracted from the various orificia. These guys repairing the under side of their truck across the road didn’t help much (refer photo).

No Parking

Towards the end of the peninsula ride the familiar sliding away of the destination and once the road spilled down toward the coast I was well ready for the end of the desert run and a couple of days in La Paz reassessing d-deserting.

Here endeth the Baja experience. It’s been a ride alright down the peninsula and not while it has been beautiful out in the desert, I am happy to be out of the desert for a while.

Part Seventeen: Baja California Sur

 29th December (Guerrera Negro – San Ignacio) (145km)

Well, it finally happened. Your much set-upon correspondent finally fell off his bike today. I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I fell off a touring bike but this afternoon I went the proverbial ‘gutser down the hill’ in trying to avoid a truck.  I fell victim to the combination of an on–coming car, a truck coming from behind and a cyclist all looking to take up too little space over a narrow culvert at the bottom of a hill and there was only really ever going to be one outcome – the biker sliding off the road to avoid being side-swiped by the semi-trailer.  So off he heads down the embankment through the rocks and ends up on his bum in the dirt nursing some scrapes and bruises.  Bike happily undamaged.

After leaving Guerrera Negro this morning accomplished the sterling achievement of half a kilometer before getting a puncture.  Am happy to report that my technique for repairing punctures is improving.  The road thereafter was flat and the kilometers flew past thankfully as I had 150 to get through with only one town at 75km for food and water.

4WD on fire
Bike Gang

Just outside San Ignacio was heartened to see someone having a worse day than me as some poor sod watched his new 4WD going up in flames (refer photo).  Soon after I took this photo the fuel tank blew up and the whole vehicle was engulfed in flame.  This made me so happy that soon thereafter I celebrated by throwing a rock at an overly attentive dog and caught it flush in the midriff – occasioning a pained yelp –  very satisfying.

In San Ignacio met up with my bike gang (refer photo).  Unfortunately it has to be said that the little girl performed a handle bar twist with face plant into the road just prior to this photo being taken. She didn’t cry about it nor bleat on about her misfortune on her blog.  Truly hardcore.

Lake at San Ignacio
San Ignacio Church
Vulture on cactus

This is a lovely little oasis town (refer photo of spring lake).  It has a very nice church in the central square and the trees provide ample shade from the desert sun.  The locals are very laid back and friendly and the post-ride beer is cool and tasty.

30th December (San Ignacio – Mulege) (138km)

 31st December (Mulege – Loreto) (135km)

Loreto was a nice venue for new year’s eve. A Mexican dance party, a bar and then on to a night club. I’m reasonably confident that a good time was had. The end of three big day’s riding to get here and therefore a break here for a day or so.