It’s 9pm. The ferry has just sailed from La Paz. We’ve been on board since 5.30…but that’s ok because it’s only an hour late and we’ve got another five months to get nowhere, or should that be to get everywhere. In any case time just doesn’t seem to be so important these days.
We have just climbed into our sleeping bags on the outside deck (it seems to be the place that all the peasant cyclists sleep). It’s warm and dark. The boat has that big boat vibration thing going on so I’m thinking sleep should come easy…it definitely will for Karen, she’s already there.
After a week off the bikes, save a easy 60km over the hill from La Ventana to La Paz you would think sleep would be he last thing that we need. But it almost seems the opposite…the less we do the more tired we get. It’s definitely time to hit the trail again.
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t thoroughly enjoyed the week off. Why a week off I hear someone ask. It’s simple really, the stars aligned. We had just finished the Baja Divide and needed a rest, it’s just a brutally fantastic ride. We were also going to be waiting for some parts to arrive but that’s another story. A week earlier we met some riders, Mary and Ermanno, on a trail who invited us to come visit them in La Ventana. A few days later we decided to take them up on their offer and arranged to be there Friday. It turns out we arrived on the Thursday and stopped at a cafe to grab a beer to celebrate finishing the Baja Divide.
This is where the world gets small. While sitting at the cafe a van pulls up and a woman jumps out, introduces herself and asks us if we want to stay the night at their place. Since we’re officially homeless we gratefully accepted with the distinct feeling that we’re being taken in like a couple of stray cats. Turns out this woman is Alenka who we heard about while I n Lake Tahoe. She bikepacked from Tahoe to La Ventana back in October / November. She and her husband Jim both knew a few of the people we met up in Tahoe.
So after finishing our beer and following Alenka’s directions we arrive at their house. We’re in for a real tropical treat. The house is a big palapa, open on three sides with all the living under a thatched roof but essentially outdoors. We get the guest quarters upstairs, it’s just amazing.
Anyway we get along like a house on fire and could quite easily stay for a month. Not sure Jim’s to keen on that though. But he is keen to show us the local mountain bike tracks. They are definitely worth it, so much fun ripping between the cactus on sweet flowing tracks.
After a couple of days we head to Mary and Ermanno’s for some more R&R. This couple have life sorted too. They did a two year bike tour about 10 years ago and decided life needed to change so they made it happen. Ermanno works remotely so they can lIve five months in La Ventana kitesurfing and mountain biking and the other seven months in Seattle. I definitely like the way they are thinking.
For some reason we keep gravitating back to Jim and Alenka’s. Karen loves their morning coffee. I’m not so sure what it is but they are bloody good company and remind us of friends at home.
After four days it’s time to go. We want to have a poke around La Paz before heading to the mainland. There’s some more single track to explore through the Cardon (cactus) forest on the way out of La Ventana. It is forecast to rain, it does that very occasionally down here, and the forecast is right. The rain arrives and Baja has one more serving of mud for us while riding through the forest before we get back to the road.
Before the rain…
After the rain.
La Paz is a pretty relaxed but vibrant city with lots of sculptures and mural art…but we’re not city people so having a poke around is biking through the old town and along the Malecon (waterfront) is enough for us.
The best thing about La Paz is the whale sharks that feed just off the coast so a swim with them was in order. That was an amazing experience. These are seriously big fish that just cruise around sucking in plankton. The two we swam with were about six meters long. What a buzz and such a privilege.
So Baja is behind us now. If anyone wants a challenging but very rewarding bikepacking adventure then the Baja Divide is a must do.
In front of us is mainland Mexico and another stage of the journey. We arrive in Mazatlán then we’ll take the El Espinazo Del Diablo (The Devils Backbone) into the mountains to Durango before heading south. We’re jumping out of our skins just itching to get going.