La Paz….finally

Wow, I didn’t realize this much time had gone by since I last wrote.

The three of us took off from Loreto and got to Puerto Escondido…about 25k away.  There was a scenic overlook of the Sea of Cortez and a vendor there was selling green coconuts.

For those of you who haven’t tried one they are unlike any coconut type product you’ve had before.  Since they are green they are still husked so the vendor uses a machete to cut down to the shell and make just a big enough hole to stick a straw into so you can suck out the water.  Once it is gone it’s time to split the coconut in half and using a bent knife he slices away the coconut meat from one half into the other.  It is then presented and a liberal sprinkling of hot sauce and lime juice complete it.  The texture is like eating raw calamari.  Very soft and kinda slimy, but very tasty.

The stunningly beautiful Sea of Cortez…and Dom…although not so stunningly beautiful.

Just as we were finishing up an old VW van pulled in and I got talking with the driver, Scott Thibodeau.  Scott is from Manitoba Canada and is in the Baja doing a videography of the area.  You can see some of his latest on http://www.wanderglobe.com.  Since I had no desire to do the massive climb ahead and he was headed the same direction I accepted his offer to take me to the top…or Ciudad Insurgentes.  Well, as it turned out, I rode with him all the way to Ciudad Constitucion (Insurgentes didn’t have much to offer).

So yet again I got a bit of a jump on the boys (and yes, this will be a somewhat recurring theme!).  I got a hotel (surprisingly difficult in this town as it is full of crews coming in to harvest and work the fields).  I biked around quite a bit of this dusty spot on the road.  There is darned little gringo money apparent here and the blue-collar background shows a nice slice of everyday Baja Mexican life.

I know it’s hard to believe, but I found the best street taco stand in town.  Four tacos…loaded, with a tray of condiments for 80 pesos.  Life is good!

A master craftsman plying his trade…damn fine tacos!

Considering the hill the boys had to climb I was surprised to hear from them early the next morning letting me know they’d be in town by that afternoon.  Knowing they’d be beat I got cold beers located.

A short while later they arrived.  Pedro’s knees were shot and he confirmed that my hitching a ride was probably a good idea.  They crashed (slept) and I caught up on my reading of “Crime & Punishment”…I’m wondering if all Russian novels are this difficult to get through?

When they finally roused themselves we all went out and…you guessed it, back to the best taco stand in town.  It was good time, especially considering I got to sit next to two cuties from La Paz!  Pedro posted a pic on FB.

We pushed off early the next morning and I saw this restaurant as we left…I have to admit I would have loved trying it.

We covered 100k today, my personal best to date.  It wasn’t too bad, but mainly because the road was nice and flat for most of the ride.

Reminiscent of central Nevada straightaways.

We stopped at a little wide spot in the road and filled our water bottles and took a much-needed rest.  The family working the place was pretty nice and we enjoyed vegetable tamales and bean soup….damn good for the soul!  They had a toddler who didn’t know what to make of the three of us.

We pushed on to El Cien which is pretty much the halfway mark for bicycle riders.  We found one of only two places to eat.  This one had a ton of good feel to it.  The owners Manuel and Susana are relocated from La Paz.  They had lots of photos and it seems that Manuel was a hell of a fighter in his time.  He was doing MMA long before the UFC existed…who knew?

Susanna cutting chilis right before we pushed off the next morning.

We spent the night inside a “casitas”…basically a little stone cabin.  The funny part was being woken up by at least three crowing roosters.  Pedro (Peter) swears at least one of them was sitting on his while doing so.

I got on the road first.  It was pretty chilly out as there was an overcast sky.  The fog from the ocean comes this far inland.

Beautiful overcast morning for riding.

Today wasn’t going to be the flat riding of yesterday, nope, today was riding up and down arroyos over and over again on the way to kilometer marker 75 where the assault on the big hill is supposed to begin.

It wasn’t too long before Dom passed by me.  We rode together for a few before the rolling terrain slowed me down too much.  Here’s a couple of photos which show the difference between the Nevada desert and Baja.

Dom and I figured that Pedro would have caught up with me by the time I hit the 75 K marker, but such was not the case.  It was around 10-11am by the time we got to the restaurant here.  We ordered up some chow (I ended up with the best plate of Huevos Rancheros yet).  Just as soon as we finished and were getting ready to leave Pedro showed up.  He enjoyed sleeping in more than us.

We took off leaving him in anticipation of his lobster tacos.

I was psyched for the upcoming climb…but it really never materialized.  There were a few long gradual pulls but nothing like the climb from sea level leaving Loreto to the plateau above.  I can’t say I was too disappointed.  However, the rolling hills also became much more stretched out and the wonderfully cool overcast riding weather had been replaced by hot…damned hot.

By the time Pedro overtook me I told him I intended to hitch a ride when the opportunity presented itself.  Opportunity knocked around the 45-50k marker when a van pulled over.  The driver had already picked up two younger guys hitching to La Paz but he still had room for me and the bike in the cargo area.  So without delay we loaded the bike and myself into the rear and shut the doors.  The only down side to this was that I couldn’t see a thing…only feel the sharp turns.

About 20 minutes later we were in the outskirts of La Paz.  We unloaded and I gave the guy 40 pesos…maybe it’ll help convince him to pick up the next biker in need.  The 20 minute ride would have easily taken me three hours to complete…I had no regrets.

Earlier I scoured TripAdvisor.com and found a hotel I wanted to try in downtown La Paz.  Hotel Yeneka is a sight!  It’s a funky, artsy place where the owners have mashed together a lot of junk to make it, well….funky and artsy!

Lastly there is “Bush”, an adorable little cat who likes to keep me company as I write.

I swear she looks at me as though trying to figure out how much she can take in one bite!

While waiting for the boys to arrive I met two other travelers who had just arrived, Neil and his brother Chris, from…Las Vegas.  Go figure.  Really nice guys who are backpacking through Baja.  Not long after the boys arrived so it was off to dinner and cold beer.

9 Comments

  1. It sounds like you’re starting to have some fun and food sounds great. And yes, Russian novels are tough, especially Crime and Punishment. I gave it 50 pages (an old habit of mine; if I’m not hooked by then it’s on to something else) and put it back on the shelf.

  2. It is beginning to be much more fun. I started to put down the novel, but my stubborn side kicked in and I’ve made myself continue. It’s turned out to be like biking…it’s just now starting to get fun.

    1. With biking, you’ll get a good workout and enjoy the view; with Crime and Punishment, you’ll just get a headache. Trust me.

  3. Let me know when you do the BMW GS Adventure alå “Long Way ‘Round” and I’m in. I pedaled the Sturmey Archer you gave me for a few miles and I have a new found appreciation for just how crazy you are:) Glad you’re having fun Bigus, and MORE PICTURES PLEASE!

  4. Mike, from your pictures it looks like there are so many great place to take a dip, set up camp and spend the night under the stars! Get that tent out and stop splurging on booze and hotels! Haha hope you’re enjoying the trip, W

    1. They are great…unfortunately I hate trying to sleep when it’s hot at night…and make no mistake, Baja is warm right now. We’ll hit the highlands soon. And it’s only cerveza senor!

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