Welcome to the desert

Day five 35km, 35km * 8% average slope
Today was a sweet day. Got a happily planned late start. As a result we didn’t get too far today, but that is OK. Most of the day was uphill, in the desert. Traffic was the best it has been all trip. The views were also spectacular. No dogs, no barking, no chasing, it was also nice.

A cactus, a sure sign you are in the desert.

The morning started with charging our electronics, and drying out our tent, sleeping bags, clothing, thermarests etc. It has been pretty crazy, the condensation we have been getting each night is unbelievable, our tent was soaked the first night and really hasn’t had a chance to dry out yet. That is until this morning. Once that was dry we packed our gear in a more intelligent way. We have not really had a couple hours to pack our gear in the best way yet this trip, we always are biking until just before dark, eating dinner until it is dark and then going to sleep when it is dark. So to have a few hours in the morning was really nice.

Our campsite, a bit of a mess in the morning, but what needs to happen your touring.

Once we got all our bikes packed with our 30L of water, we headed out to the desert. The vistas were amazing today. I am often reminded of Nirvana’s song Plateau. We were on a plateau and we were in Mexico. There were also many plateaus in the distance. Another neat sight was the cactus’. They are everywhere, it is kind of like a forest, as far as the eye could see there was cactus. I never really knew that there were so many different types of cactus, there is tall cactus, short cactus, prickly cactus, cactus with leafy leaves and cactus with spines.

Today I had they best Mexican food I have had since I have been in Mexico, and we made it ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, the food that have been having to this point have been great, but the food we made today had a little bit of a Canadian touch. We had tacos, with re-fried beans, some rice, cilantro and lime, some salsa. It was very delicious.

We started a fire tonight, which will be great, now we can stay up after dark and socialize a little, and this will be a great way to stay warm as well (remember our sleeping bags got a little wet, and they are down).

Posted from El Aguajito, Baja California, Mexico
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Day four

Day four 80km
This day took longer then we thought it would. Maybe being a little ambitious thinking we could do 80km. The day started off great, got off early start, the sun was shinning and the road was flat. We passed through a town of 40000 people, the last big town for a while. It was great because as soon as we had passed through that town, the traffic died completely. Now you could go 5 or 10 minute without having a car pass you. We stopped for lunch at a small taco stand, 10 pesos a taco. Chris (our American companion) brought out a beer that he had, it was cold from last night and would not be could be they time we were done today. So we drank it (it was a big bottle probably about 1L).

We passed through a lot of farms, berry farms. There were a lot of green houses and not much else. After that we saw the ocean, and we were getting closer. I don’t have much appreciation for the Ocean but Chris (who is from Orange County) loved the fact that the beaches were untouched by development. This is how California would have looked about 150 years ago. Pretty nice, I could see why someone would want to build a place there. The weather was nice and the surf was impressive.

We saw a road that lead down to the beach so we thought we would go take a look. Looks like a nice place to retire in, and I think there are a lot of Americans that do that. If you want to get away from it all this is the place to be. But they must have been grumpy and unhappy. This one guy we saw just started yelling at us “You’re going to die on those bike!!” We didn’t know what to say, after hearing many negative remarks from friends and family, we never heard one this negative, and from someone that doesn’t even know us. It really made us mad. How could you say that, and it wasn’t in a joking matter, it wasn’t after introducing himself, it was, “You’re going to die.” I really dislike it when someone says something like that, it really bothers me. The next 3 hours all our conversation was focused on was making fun of this guy for being so negative and mad at the world, for never stepping outside his comfort zone and getting out there, never doing something like what we are doing.

 

Down by the beach, pacific side.

The last part of the day was brutal, we said good bye to the ocean for the next 4 or 5 days and headed inland into the desert. We had to climb this massive hill. In total it was probably about 10km long, but the last 5km were killer. I had to get off of my bike just to continue of the hill. It was stepper then anything I have seen in Canada, the last pitch must have been 10-12% steep. That is pretty steep on a bike with a trailer, especially after a long days worth of riding. It was all worth it though, the view at the top was amazing and the ride down the other side was a lot of fun. The nice thing about a 10km long uphill is the 10km long downhill afterwards. We came to the town where we were going to spend the night.

Since we are heading into the desert and have 350km (I think, but I could be wrong) and we need to carry all out water, so I go and get 30L of water for Tanya and I. 30L of water is like adding 30kg (it is actually add 30kg) of weight on our already heavy bikes. We continue from the super market to the campground (which is more of a parking lot) and set up for the night. Too tired to make dinner we head to the nearest restaurant and all order fish tacos. Damn good food down here. By 8 we were all asleep. All of our gear was soaking wet so we decided that the next day would be an easy day, taking our time in the morning letting our gear dry out and having a nice easy day. Right now we look like a bunch of gypsies, clothing and gear is all spread out all over the place. Gives me a good chance to update my journal. We should head out soon, no real plans of how far we will get.

Posted from El Aguajito, Baja California, Mexico
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Metting up with Chris

Day two 53.5km
Day three 81km
The last two days have been cycling days, as most of our days will be from now on. This went very well. After leaving Los Canadas we headed out for San Vincent. The ride was very hilly. There would be a big climb and there would be a long downhill which was followed by another big climb. It was great, a lot of work buy things went very well. We stayed the night in San Vincent in a hotel. We were going to camp, but it was getting late when we arrived into town.

Early morning sunrise on the hills.

The next day we awoke and started to cycle as soon as we could. After climbing a bit hill and having a nice downhill stretch we saw our first cactus. This made us excited as both of us have never seen cactus grow in the wild. Shortly after we met up with an American guy who is cycling all they way down to Chile. I think he will be joining us for the next little while. It is nice to have someone like Chris along for the ride, he always makes the day more interesting. He is also very positive, which helps on those big hills. We decided to stay at a RV park for the night and it is pretty cheap and they give free filtered water (which tastes better then tap water that has run through our filter).

Tomorrow is another day of cycling. According to the guide book, tomorrow will be our last day in traffic. Apparently traffic dies after the next town, which is great the roads don’t allow a lot of room for cycles. The traffic has been really good though, if there is no room for them to pass (due to oncoming traffic or a blind corner) they will wait for a good place to pass. The drivers are friendly, often waving at us, cheering us on or giving us a short horn. After tomorrow we head into the desert, which should be interesting.

Posted from Baja California, Mexico
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Mexico

After a wonderful sleep on the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on we awoke to a blue sky, 17 degrees and an the exciting feeling of biking to Mexico. A big day means we need a big breakfast, so we went to Denny’s. You get a big breakfast there, in hindsight Tanya and I should have split the meal because there was too much food. We got our bikes ready for the trip and headed out. San Diego is a wonderful place to ride a bike, we rode close to the harbour on a bike path. It was great, then the path ended and we made our way through town. The traffic was light, that was good because we got lost. Using a map that was not to scale and didn’t have enough information on it, I got us lost (I know, what kind of forester am I). However we got back on track when I asked for directions. Around lunch we stoped at small little grociery store and got some lunch. It was very tasty (even though it was pork skin, I just pointed I didn’t know what I was eating). Got back on the bikes and started to ride again. We crossed the boarder to Mexico. That is the easiest boarder to cross in the world. Looked over the fence and saw thousands of cars trying to get back into the States. The only problem was that we didn’t know we crossed into Mexico and we needed a visa to stay longer then 7 days. We had to ask around and found out where to get the visa. Then we were off, off to the bus depot. We got there with 10 minutes to spare. Bought the tickets and then tries to place the bikes in the bus the best we could. Mind you I didn’t have much to do with it, the bus people did, and they didn’t do it very nicely. They just threw tanya’s in and then mine in afterwads. That is when I stepped up and said, hold on a second, they are somewhat delicate and didn’t spend 5 hours in Edmonton packing them in a box to have them just thrown around in Mexico. I got in there and helped the place the bikes in the bus. It was a fairly difficult process but we got them on, and they seem to be working fine.

Palm trees in Ensenada

 

The bus came to a stop and 3/4 of the people jumped off. “Where are we” I asked Tanya, “Is this Ensenada?” Tanya didn’t really know, and if this was Ensenada, where in Ensenada are we? Got out the rough guides and opened to the map page and started asking questions “aaahhhh dedonde are we?” No one really knew. The bus driver asked several people and we found out where we were, a short walk from the hotel district. Good news so we headed to the best western. $66 a night, are you kidding me? we are in Mexico we want cheap hotels. He then guided us to this nice place one block off of the main tourist site which was only $20 a night. It’s a little noisy but pretty good value.

That was the end of the day. Pretty exhausting day, and when it was over I slept very good.

Posted from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
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Getting there

The concource in Seatle’s airport had a varied selection of shoes walking on its floors. There were nice shoes, and old shoes, shiny shoes and dull shoes, shoes made of leather, shoes made of suede, and shoes that rolled. There were not any sandles however. The lone sandles to been seen were on the feet of Tanya and I. We felt out of place, (and yet we didn’t really care). When you have to carry everything on your bike you carry as little as you can. Style was left behind. We brought only what we needed, sandles.

We started to pack our bikes yesterday. It was a momentious event. I had no idea that it would take 5 hours to take apart a bike and place it precariosly in a box (only to have them stuffed into a bus with suitcase thrown ontop the next in Tijuana). Fueled with the idea of lonely Baja highway, we pushed on until we had to eat something (frozen McCain pizza, Thanks Doris). After 7 exhasting hours of packing we were finnally done.

“Make sure you are at the airport 2 hours before your plane leaves” Our plane leaves at 6:40am, is the airport going to be open? Checked the web, it opens at 4:30. We head to bed at 11pm with our alarms set at 3:23 (those few miniutes are precious). Amy (my sister) was going to drive us to the airport. Two bike boxes, a bike trailer and 4 paniers (saddlebags) stuffed into the back and three people stuffed into the two front seats.
4:31 Leave for the airport, turn out the lights, lock the doors and set the alarm
4:32 Realize we left a light on, turn around and turn it off.
4:33 set off the seirens of the unfamilar alarm system and answer the phone
4:36 reset the alarm after talking to to the nice alarm people on the phone, just about forget to turn off the very light we turned around to off
4:38 Close the garage door and get into the car (two minutes to get to the airport)
4:41 go the bank and deposit a cheque I found in my wallet
4:43 drive down Ellerslie rd heading for Calgary trail.
4:53 arrive at the airport

It was an exciting morning, it took a lot out of Tanya, she is trying to fall asleep on my shoulder, I think she is finding it hard with my typing fingers.

San diego is a nice place. From the airport we go to our hotel. Ariving with two big boxes and two large bags, very combersome, needing a minivan to get us to a hotel. The looks on the hotel workers was pretty funny. We told them that we were going to go cycling in Mexico. “Are you crazy!!??” they ask “I hope not” I replied with confidance. They take us to our room. A very small room. Big enough for a queen size beg, 42in wall mounted LCD TV and your shoes. The room apears much larger due to the full mirror ceilling and the wall mounted fish bowl. The fish’s name was Szasza. Pretty cool room. We asembled our bikes (about 2 hours) went to get some food (Mexican) and went to the convience store and bought some beer (cheap beer in America).

We have a stove, but we didn’t have any camp fuel so I went to find out where the closest place to get camp fuel was. Talked to the manager and he told me REI was the best place. The only problem was that REI was a far distance from us, and not on our way to Mexico. So that manager offered to dirve us there. It blew me away, I didn’t ask for a ride or anything like that, he said that if were going to bike in Mexico he didn’t want us searching around for camp fuel. So he drove me the 30 minutes (all on freeways, they have a pretty good road system down in the states) to REI. It was great, we got the fuel and then he even drove me back to the hotel. I can’t say enough about that hotel, I would highly reconmend it to anyone who is going to be in San Diego. I asked that manager why he drove me, and he told me it was for good customer service. I thanked him and then we went to bed.

Posted from National City, California, United States
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