In Tijuana, I took a taxi to the Central Autobuss Terminal. I was there about 11:45 or so. I go up to the ABC counter and ask about a ticket to Catavina. I had thought I would restart there, but they said they didn't serve Catavina ( even though it appeared on their website ). Was discussing it with them and the lady behind the counter even called someone and they said "we don't do that". Meanwhile one of the lady's suggests another town further down and I picked Vizcaino and found out that the bus was leaving in 5 minutes. So I paid for the ticket and she takes me out to where the bus was getting ready to leave and by 12:00 we were rolling south to Vizcaino a stop south of where I had stopped that was actually on the route.
Turned out that Vizcaino was a bit further south than I wanted to go, and I thought about getting the driver to dump me off in Catavina anyways, but with my lack of Spanish it just seemed too darn hard. And then there was a lingering suspicion that I wasn't ready anyways, so maybe the section from Vizcaino to San Ignacio would be a good place to start.
So at about 2:30 in the morning ( after leaving at 12:00 ) I end up under a street light, in Vizcaino, getting off the bus and putting my bike back together. Started down the road to the center of town and found an open hotel, rang the bell, got a room and went to bed. Was beat from the bus ride.
I got up at about 9, found some breakfast and started out.
Vizcaino to San Ignacio:
It was a pretty good ride, at least the first third or so, some dirt road, some pavement on Mex-1, then followed a power line for a bit then a turn onto a sandy section and THEN a turn into a total sand pit of a road that went on for about 5 miles. There is a little agricultural operation that this road went around and it was slow going. Finally it got a bit better, actually rode through a lot of big cardon cactus, a ranch and back to pavement. Rain started coming down and I was at the northern end of the Laguna San Ignacio ( the part without any water ). I think the GPS said I was at -5 feet ( probably not right ). It rained a good bit that night and when I got up the ground was a bit sticky. This time I took the pavement option and instead of going straight to San Ignacio, I rode pavement to Mex-1 and then to town. I made a swing past the Mission and then back to the Rice & Beans hotel and got a room even though it was only a little after noon. Was probably a good call as I got to eat and rest up still more from the train/train/bus ride.
San Ignacio to El Datil:
Out the next morning with a little light rain, but on pavement until we were almost to the Ocean. At a little place called San Zacarias, I ran across Jahn a rider from the Czech Republic. The owner of the Diconsa had a log book where Baja Divide riders were signing in, and we both signed it. Then we were off to the Laguna. The road turned to dirt but was pretty fast. I ended up with about 84 miles for the day, my longest for the whole Baja effort. When we turned south we picked up some good hardpacked salt flat stuff ... and a tail wind. It was great riding !
|Mission San Ignac|
Getting later in the day and we got to El Datil. There was a little store there and in the back I knew they had a kitchen. Stuck my head in ( after bashing my helmet on a low beam ) and started trying to figure out what they had ( they have no menu ) and just started ordering carne asada burritos and frijoles and arroz ... A Columbian couple were there, they were riding north with their dog. The food was great, and the only mistake was to forget to order some to go !
|El Datil -- unloading fish|
I think I got about 10 miles in after the stop, and set up the tent in light rain and light wind.
El Datil to Mulege:
The next morning it was the start of a leg to get to Mulege which is on the other side of Baja ! First I had to contend with a bit of stickiness, that soon went away to a really washboarded road. And then I was at La Ballena and made the turn towards Mulege.
More rain, not too heavy, then it got steamy. The road and the GPS track diverged several times and once I found myself climbing down over a bunch of boulders only to get into the river bottom and then look and realize I was south of the actual road and it would have been a lot easier over there !
|River bottom ... I would cross this dozens of times|
It got warm, I would ride across a rocky stream bottom, plow through a pool of water, then get stuck in a sand pit coming out the other side before I could go again. Lather, wash, rinse, repeat. Ran across a couple from Washington on ATV's, then 3 guys from Canada on motorcycles who had seen me at the Rice & Beans place in San Ignacio two days before.
I got about 45 miles or so in and found a sandy spot along the stream bed and bagged it for the night.
|Cow'd up stream|
Up the next morning, more riding, and passed a little blue sign that said soda's for sale ! Got a Coke and a Fresca, and they hit the spot ! Then I began to realize that the switchbacks on the map might actually go down instead of up ! I kept riding in the expectation that sooner or later I was going to see the Sea of Cortez. No such luck. I rode all the way to Mulege without seeing so much as a glimpse of big water. In fact I didn't see it until the next morning after I rode through town.
|So Good !|
Found a hotel in Mulege, found a good restaurant and then found a good restaurant the next morning for breakfast.
Mulege to San Javier:
On the way south there are two options, one is to go south on Mex-1, the other to go to the waterside and find a fisherman boat and get a ride across and then go down the other side of the Bahia Concepcion. I had fiddled around until almost noon, way past the fisherman time and it was Sunday, so I just went on the highway.
|Sea of Cortez|
Stopped at several places going south, lots of RV's parked along the water, and lots of them from Canada. Didn't really push it and camped at the south west end of Bahia Concepcion.
The next morning I got a few climbs in to get away from the Bay, and stopped at Rosario for breakfast. Tiny little spot on the road, basically a couple of houses and the restaurant, but the food was great.
The rest of the day was spent riding along to San Isidro. Some of it along a streambed and a lot of nice rim rock views. Towards the end of the day I was looking down at San Isidro from an overlook that had lots of bicycle tracks on it. ( you could tell that every rider had done the same exact thing ). A quick ride down into the town and stopped at the little store. The lady came out and she smiled when I petted her little poodle. ( some people had said she was grumpy ). Turned around, rode back out of town, up a crazy steep hill. Tried to find a camping spot ... one looked pretty good, but had a dead goat in the middle of it. Passed on that. Went a little further and found a good spot. The area was really rocky all around, it was a good find.
|Internet cafe/store Comondu|
The next day I got to San Jose de Comondu around 11 in the morning. There was supposed to be only one store, but I stopped at the first place I found that was also an Internet access point. I paid $12 pesos for a password, and logged in with my phone, posted a couple of pictures and goofed off for a while. Then I rode up past the other store and the Mission and then up a giant hill to get out of town.
|Tree growing out of the rock at the top of a ridiculous climb|
|San Javier Mission|
San Javier to Ciudad Constitucion:
Up in the morning, hit the restaurant and this time I got a to go order ! Three macha burritos. They were great in the middle of the day on the road to Ley Federal #1. Thought I would make it to Ley Federal, but darkness fell about 5 miles north of it so I stopped there. There were so pretty big sandy sections after you came out of the mountains ... another one of these riverbed things where you get stuck in the river bed for a couple of miles of slogging through sand.
|More Cow'd streams|
|Lunch Break here|
Ley Federal had a nice little store. I scored a couple of bananas, some bread, sodas, and a little water. Still amazed at how inexpensive things were in these little stores. I could get four or five items and it would be less than $100 pesos.
Ciudad to San Evaristo:
Next stop would be Ciudad Constitucion. I got there about 2 pm or so after riding past some orange groves, a sand and gravel pit, some farms and some desert. I found the local bike shop Probike and got them to install a set of new brake pads for me and I bought a bunch of Honey Stingers for the next section. Found a hotel with a laundry next to it. Was able to get my smelly stuff washed for about $65 pesos.
Got breakfast the next morning, and I stopped at a store next to the hotel and after a while found a resupply of wet wipes, some ibuprofen and some dental floss. Took a while in that store, but they had everything.
On the way out of Ciudad, you get to ride through the city dump. It's an area about a mile and a half long and it was on fire. Stunk pretty good and it had several people there who were digging through the stuff looking for goodness knows what. It wasn't as bad as I had read. Kept on riding and I thought I saw someone ahead of me. Right outside of San Luis Gonzaga I caught up with Gary whom I had briefly talked with in Ciudad yesterday afternoon. We stopped at the Diconsa, went around back and got some drinks. While I was there three of the local kids showed up and got some sodas. I asked them if they liked "stickers" and they said yes, so I went to the bike and got some El Grupo stickers that I had gotten from Emily Yetman at Living Streets Alliance. They were a major hit ( the kids in El Datil liked them also ). Got a couple of pictures of their bikes with El Grupo stickers.
|El Grupo !|
|More El Grupo ! ( glad I brought the stickers ! )|
We rode out headed for San Evaristo. I got about 40 miles from there and camped. Woke up the next morning with dew all over the place. The bushes and cacti were simply dripping and I was up in the hills a long ways from the Ocean. Packed up the tent wet, rode past several streams and as I crossed one I stalled out in the sand on the far side. I was pushing my bike up a little hill to a spot where I could get on and a rancher came out and said hello and motioned that he wanted me to come in. So I parked the bicycle and went with him into his house. He was having lunch and he invited me to sit down. He spoke no English and I speak about a dozen words in Spanish, and his wife offered me some beans an a tortilla a some goat cheese. It was really good. They lived in a little palm thatched house, eating outdoors with wind blowing hard all around, the goats a stones's throw away. I tried to make small talk, asked about the distance to La Soledad, the next wide spot in the road. His daughter was there and I asked her about "stickers" and went and got a couple for her. I said goodbye and got back out to the bike and they waved as I rode off. I wish I could remember their names ... my hearing of Spanish is so bad, it just didn't stick. He gave me some peanuts and I still have one of them.
|Fixing the evening meal, little hot water and we have soup and then coffee !|
|so quiet, I loved the sundowns|
On to La Soledad. You don't actually go there, but it the next thing that shows on a map. After that there was about a 5 mile climb up a mountainside with a great view of the Sea of Cortez at the top. Then followed by a crazy steep descent. Lots of walking going up and down. Way too much. Whatever. The wind was blowing straight in my face, the surface was slippery .... almost fell down a couple of times just walking down the hill. At the bottom there was a road going straight up another smaller hill and the main road continuing towards to Ocean and no sign saying anything about San Evaristo ... all I knew was that it was on the other side of the hill. Took the risk of going up the hill to see it that was the right road and it was ( even though the wind almost blew me back down the hill .. seriously ! ) At the top I could see San Evaristo ... yay !
San Evaristo to La Paz:
I had heard of Magnolia and Lupe's place, but didn't know where it was. And there aren't any signs. But the fellow at the store ( which is inside someone's house ) pointed me in the right direction and I found it. Lupe was standing outside and greeted me. I was really happy to see him. It was getting cold and the wind was blowing hard. I got a couple of Cokes and he fixed me up some delicious fish tacos. Then I had a beer and got one of his casita's for the night ... it was good to be inside and I slept well.
|Lupe at San Evaristo|
Lupe was up fixing me breakfast at 8 am and I got a good start. The wind had died down overnight. The first few miles were pretty uneventful, a little bit of sand, but that's pretty normal. Then I saw some places on the Garmin ahead of me where the road went inland and I knew I was in for a hill or two. It turned out to be a pretty steep climb, a few hundred feet at least and took a while. And there were these really pretty rocks, some were a deep green. I meant to pick one up and take it with me, but nuts, my bike is heavy enough already, not bringing a rock along !
|have to figure out what the green is|
|Sea of Cortez .. everyone takes this picture !|
|that's what I'm talking about|
Rode some more, now up and with a good view of the Sea of Cortez. The further south I went, the better the road got. Again I was next to the water for a while, then would go inland for a bit, then back to the ocean. I got to Punta Coyote which had a store, but it was Sunday and wasn't open. After some more sandy sections there were some pretty nice fast sections getting to San Jose del Faro. Near sundown, I found the little store there, got some goodies for the night and headed further south. I had thought about trying for La Paz, but that was going to have me riding for three or more hours at night and getting on a busy road into La Paz at night, so I camped, pulling off the road at a place with no fence and I was about 100 yards from the water. Could hear the waves against the rocks all night and I was in a little place of bushes all hidden from any neighbors or traffic on the paved road. Pretty sweet !
|Hotel .. drying my shir|
The ride into La Paz was great. I got to the intersection with Mex-1 and stopped at a little restaurant and got a couple of burritos and a couple of Cokes. Some road riders came up and I went outside to talk to them. Decided it was time to leave and I rode off, riding really fast into La Paz. I stopped on the Malecon, at the La Paz sign and took a picture of some tourists and they took one of me. Then I headed up to the Hotel Paradise California where all the Baja Divide groupies stay. I checked in, got into my room and started to take my Camelback off ... and it wasn't there. I went out front and looked around. No Camelback and no one had come by in the last five minutes. Thought maybe I took it off taking the picture, and I remembered to look at the picture the tourists took ... and guess what, no Camelback there either. So that meant that I left it at the restaurant. Went outside and there was a line of taxis, so I'm in my bike stuff, phone in one hand, hotel key in the other and I ask the fellow to take me to "restaurante y Pemex in El Centenario" He says $400 pesos and I go Ok and jump in and here we go. Few minutes later I'm going in the restaurant and right there in the chair where I left it is my Camelback ! Said gracias many times to the kid behind the counter and the lady running the register ( think it was his Mom ) and back out to my waiting taxi. The important thing in the Camelback was my Passport and my Mexican Visa .. would've been a pain without those, so was glad I managed to recover them.
|La Paz on the Malecon|
|La Paz Hotel|
La Paz to La Ventana:
I stayed two nights in La Paz. Went and bought a replacement chain brush because I managed to loose the one I had, and met Deiter, a rider from Germany who had just finished the ride. We went to dinner a couple of times, he actually recognized me from that video that Iohan made at Butts Cabin in Canada back in 2015 ! There were other riders setting out on the Cape Loop, they left the morning after I got there.
I elected to go to La Ventana after La Paz, so followed the course to the highway and instead of turning right I went straight. Managed to get off the course for about 3 miles or so, was down in a stupid wash, plowing through sand and a major headwind, while the actual real road was about 300 yards to the north. Didn't figure that out until I got to the end of the thing. I know where I made the mistake, I had the Garmin zoomed out just a bit too much and followed the truck tracks into the wash.
Didn't think I was ever going to make it to La Ventana, but I finally got to Playa de Central. Got a couple of Cokes and a ham and cheese sandwich. I had plans of staying there for the night, but on then way there had seen a sign for a hotel just down the road. Instead of waiting for Olivia to finish talking to someone and asking her, I wandered out to my bike and just got on it and headed back to that hotel. I was totally fried, completely unable to fulfill even the simplest social interactions.
|Restaurant in San Juan de Los Planes|
|Above the sea|
|such a great ride|
Another morning on Baja Divide, I am up looking for breakfast and a car comes up. Cannon from way back in Vincente Guerrero and Nueva Odissea rides by in a car and talks with me for a few minutes. He had finished and was hanging out for a while with his girl friend. After that I headed for La Ribera and then Cabo Pulmo. I got to Cabo Pulmo about 1:30 or so, ate again and then looked around. It seemed like a pretty nice place to check out, so I found a casita for the evening and took an easy day.
Cabo Pulmo & San Jose del Cabo:
Well, now we're in striking distance to the end. I walked on the beach at Cabo Pulmo, watched the pelicans do their thing and got up early in the morning and started riding. About 15 km south of Cabo Pulmo is a little restaurant at Boca del Vinorama. Great French toast. I had decided to not go inland on the route, but to stick to the Coast for the rest of the ride ( I can ride in mountains in Arizona, can't ride on a Coast here ). Someplace south of Vinorama, the road turned inland and was newly paved ( with concrete ) .. think this was at about the 25 k mark to San Jose del Cabo. I think it might have been better to have continued straight as this new road took me straight up and inland at a right angle to the Coast. Then it made a turn for San Jose that seemed right, so I kept going on it. A couple of miles later, I look ahead and darn if it isn't taking me straight up the side of some volcano. At least when I got up there I was only 6 miles or so out of San Jose, and it was too late to change plans. I think it was probably the same distance as staying on the Coast, but there was a lot of climbing and no more ocean view. But pretty soon I was right in the middle of San Jose del Cabo and found a great restaurant, ordered a cheeseburger ( first in a while ) and got a hotel. This was all next to the old square in the Old Town area, and I just had a pleasant evening hanging out there.
|Cabo Pulmo beach|
That leaves us with about 25 miles to go to get to Cabo, so on a Sunday morning I get in the middle of a running event with blocked off streets exiting San Jose del Cabo, and then get on the main Mex-1 corridor between the two. With the exception of a couple of places it went well ... those two had a pretty narrow shoulder with a big retaining wall on the right side, so no place to go. Otherwise I had pretty good shoulders all the way and the traffic while fast wasn't that heavy. Didn't find any place to eat along that road, but it didn't matter, pretty soon I crested a little rise and could the the Friar's and the arch going out in to the sea. I rode past a Walmart and the bull ring, made the turn into town, rode on a closed off street ( where the street was closed for children and peds, like our Cyclovia ), got some food, rode to the end of the marina, took some pictures, rode back the other way, found the #CABO sign and we were done. Got a room at a little Mexican hotel, the Hotel Del Angel for $ 600 pesos a night and I carried my bike up two flights of stairs.
|Cabo, about as close to the end as you can go on a road|
|about 10 pelicans on this little boat|
|That's the End|
I hung out in Cabo until Wednesday morning and then started the journey home. Rode up the street to the bus station and got a ticket to La Paz. Then in La Paz, I had about a 2 hour layover before the trip to Tijuana. I ran into Gary from San Luis Gonzaga and the two of us were on the same bus. The bus ride went well, someplace about sundown and Loretto, the bus stopped and the Federal Police came on and checked everyone's ID's against a list they had. Few hours later we came across the first military checkpoint, where they had everyone get off the bus with their carry on's and they took stuff out from beneath the bus and poked around it, looking for drugs or guns or something. They did this again near Santa Rosalia and again at San Ignacio. Nothing like getting awakened at 2:30 in the morning with uniformed guy telling everyone to get off the bus. They were nice about it though, no complaints. There were two other checkpoints further north, but the bus just stopped and then rolled again. Arrived in Tijuana with a quick taxi ride to San Ysidro. Walked across the Border, stopped at the CBP desk, got asked where ya been, what did ya buy, and on into the USA. Took a train from San Diego to LA the next morning and another back to Tucson and the trip was done.
So all in all I think I did about 1200+ miles of Baja Divide, not exactly the whole thing but a big chunk of it, am happy with that. Might go back and do the whole thing sometime, who knows ? Nice to have some real knowledge of what lies ahead. Not sure what comes next, have to think about that.