Frustration…Elation… Amazement…Nervousness

So here we are. Sitting in the middle of nowhere feeling all a bit beaten up after four days of hard going. It’s been a mixed bag of emotions to get this far.

(08/12/18 to 12/12/18)

Frustration

There’s the mud, lots of mud and it feels like we’re going nowhere. South of San Quintin the route followed mud roads and cut through soft paddocks before heading to the coast. Great we think, flat fast going. How wrong could we be. There’s more mud, just this stuff is made with salt water. Near the end of the day Karen was feeling the frustration. I’d like to say she threw her bike into the mud and swore a bit…but the bike threw her into the mud then she yelled and swore at the sky, then at me but that’s probably because I asked if she was having fun…Not helpful. Needless to say I retreated down the track to safety which was easy to do because her wheels had stopped turning and she had to clean out the mud before carrying on.

Four days after rain and the roads are still flooded

While we are talking about the tracks, they are hard. This is by far the hardest riding we have done on this trip. The tracks are just rough and slow. Today was a good day as far as terrain goes with not to much climbing. We managed 77km in 8 1/2hrs. We’re still working on adjusting our expectations so we don’t run out of food or water.

There’s the bikes. I guess after 14000km of hard going things are going to start to fall apart. First I thought my frame was giving up. Turns out it just needed a good clean out and some lube…and a bigger Alan key to screw it altogether. Then the bracket holding an Anything cage on broke on a rough decent. Luckily I heard it go because the cooker was still attached to the cage bouncing down the track. Would have been a hungry night otherwise.

Elation

It was so good to get away from the flat and populated coast and back into the hills. Riding a small second of the MEX1, the main road down the Baja was just plain scary. In the hills the ups might have been brutal, the downs rough and the flats just plain hard work given it was either soft sand or loose rocks but that all didn’t matter. We were surrounded by hills and both back in our happy place.

Amazement

That brings me to the amazing part. This place is our other worldly. We have never seen an area so arid but so full of weird and wonderful life. The trees and cactus are just bizarre. Apparently the tree are called Curios, I don’t know, but I think Dr Seuss rode the Baja because it’s just like the trees in his books. Needless to say the vegetation is a little different. But it’s not too friendly, everything is covered in prickly things. It’s defiantly not a place to go around tree hugging.

Dr Sues must have been in here

And in such an arid climate there is still wildlife. Being woken by the birdsong in the mornings is always welcome. And spotting those birds during the day always puts a smile on my face. Hummingbirds always amaze while birds of prey sit high in the the cactus waiting their turn and watching us go by.

Passing through a Curios tree forest

Nervousness

The Mexican people have been fantastic. Even with our nearly non-existent Spanish they are friendly and relaxed. One morning we were trying to find our track through the cactus down to the town of San Quintin. As we were back tracking a man carrying a 20 litre bucket appeared from no where. Inside the bucket were lots of fruit he had picked from the catctus’ that we assume were Prickly Pear. He offered one to us, but we had no ideal how to eat the thing as it was covered in thorns. He then pulled out a pair of small scissors and used them to trim off all the thorns and gave us a couple to try. They were pretty good. He then told us with lots of arm waving and sign language which way to go to find our way down to the road.

Today was the first time in Mexico that it has been people that have made me nervous. Not long after leaving camp this morning we had stopped to lose a jersey when down the road a bit we see a few tents about 50mt from the road. There were a few guys standing around the camp so we gave them a wave. They wave back then pick up their assault rifles and start walking out to the road. Considering we were a long way from nowhere we decided we weren’t going to hang around for a chat so got peddling and passed them by before they got to the road. Good thing it was downhill and one of the best sections of road we had been on. Anyway they may have been there for any number of reasons and to do us harm was probably the last of them but perception is a strange thing…it felt good to get some distance between us.

The other thing that has made me nervous down here is being prepared for the unknown. This route is remote and preparing for that is still a work in progress. Every night we have a look at the map and try to figure out how long the next day, or section, will take and how much food and water we will need. We haven’t ran out yet but we have been close. Yesterday we got lucky and found a small stream (the only one we’ve seen in the hills) to top up our water. Then near the end of the day we found a 1 1/2 of bottle that we think had come off someone else’s bike. That meant that night we could wash our dishes with water not wet wipes.

There’s some big cactus in here

Where have we been

Colonet to Vicente Guerrero on the MEX1. Don’t try it. Definitely the closest I have come to being collected by a car. And the worst ones were those coming towards us when passing other traffic. If we didn’t swerve off the road we would have been a fly on their windscreen.

Vincente Guerrero to Nueva Odisea.

Frustrating riding. It felt like we were going around in circles. We were even tempted to get back on the Mex1…what were we thinking. This night we camped at a rv park on the beach where the showers we hot salt water. It felt great but don’t wash your hair with soap in hot salt water. It just turns to glue. Three days later and it’s still stuck together. I might be getting dreads.

Nueva Odisea to Catavina

This has been is three days of remote riding in the hills. Slow and hard going? Yes. Fun? Most definitely. There’s something about camping under a cactus in the middle of nowhere. We’ve almost got the place to ourselves. The terrain changes all the time, from sandy flats plateau’s to loose volcanic rocks to towering granite boulders. In these three days we’ve seen one car on the roads (if you call them that).

Typical desert camp

Lion rock

Gotta love the art of granite boulders

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Two solemates sharing bikepacking adventures that are off the beaten track.

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