Dienstag, 26. November:
Our explanation: Six corners were cheaper than eight.
Holidays are coming... Feels weird though when it's warm enough to wear a t-shirt.
Wir feiern Bryans Geburtstag im Puerto Viejo, einem Stripclub mit Fischrestaurant. Sehr empfehlenswert, zumindest was das Essen betrifft! Wobei wir nicht genau wissen, ob wir einen Oktopus- oder einen Hexapuscocktail bekommen haben!
We celebrate Bryan's birthday in the Puerto Viejo, a strip club with seafood restaurant. Highly recommendable, at least as far as the food goes! Not sure though if we got an octopus or a hexapus cocktail...
Gefahrene Strecke: 73 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 17,96 km/h
Nachtlager: Ballinas Hotel in Guerrero Negro
Mittwoch, 27. November:
Wir verbringen den ganzen Tag in Guerrero Negro: Ausschlafen, Blog schreiben, Wäsche waschen, einkaufen, Fahrräder putzen... In der Wäscherei lernen wir Marion und Virgile aus Frankreich kennen, doch die beiden fahren heute schon wieder weiter. Angeblich tummeln sich aber noch mehr Radreisende in der Stadt, da sind wir ja mal gespannt! Und tatsächlich: Als wir am Abend in diesem Tacostand aufkreuzen, sitzen Erin und Rigel bereits mit den Tandemfahrern Paul und Alexa aus Minnesota zusammen!
We spend all day in Guerrero Negro: Sleeping in, writing the blog, washing laundry, buying groceries, cleaning the bikes... In the laundromat, we get to know Marion and Virgile from France, but they are leaving town right away. Rumour has it though that there's a whole bunch of cyclists here today, that's exciting! And really: When we turn up at this taco stand in the evening, Erin and Rigel are already sitting at a table with the tandem couple from Minnesota, Paul and Alexa.
Donnerstag, 28. November:
After Guerrero Negro, the Carretera heads straight east which makes for a fast and easy ride but it's really boring. Until we catch Bryan, Maggie and Justin sitting in the ditch eating some mysterious fruits.
Pitayas are a spiky kind of cactus fruit, related to dragon fruits.
Harvesting them turns out to be quite painful but after a while we get the hang of it!
Shave off the spikes with a knife...
... and then cut the fruit in halves and eat the inside with a spoon, similar to a kiwi. It sort of tastes like red berries and apples. We love them and take a few Pitayas with us!
While I'm cooking dinner, Dave practices the mandolin. One after the other, our fellow campers move in front of our tent with their chairs and cooking gear...
... and eventually end up in our tent. All nine of us fit inside, and we chat and joke around for a long time after dinner.
Gefahrene Strecke: 81,45 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 17,73 km/h
Nachtlager: abseits der Carretera hinter Vizcaino (Cactus camp IV.)
Freitag, 29. November:
This scorpion has been sleeping underneath Paul and Alexa's tent last night. It's hard to see because it's only two centimetres long.
We arrive in San Ignacio, an oasis between Vizcaino and Santa Rosalia. What a beautiful place! Date palms and ducks everywhere, pleasant air and: shade. It's only now that we realize that it has been a long time since we actually had shadow from trees.
European flair in the town centre: This church belongs to the mission from 1728.
There's even a nice town square with an ice cream parlour!
We totally deserve this!
Gefahrene Strecke: 70 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 18,5 km/h
Nachtlager: Manuels Campingplatz direkt an der Lagune (ein Traum!)
Samstag, 30. November:
Ruhetag in San Ignacio. Manuel hat uns schon erzählt, dass fast jeden Tag Fahrradtouristen hier sind, aber heute brechen wir mit 15 Leuten alle Rekorde. Paul hat uns in Cataviña abgehängt, doch wir finden ihn hier wieder, weil er gestern krank war. Marion und Virgile haben uns in Guerrero Negro abgehängt, doch mussten hier ebenfalls einen Tag Pause einlegen, weil sie Leitungswasser getrunken haben. Am Nachmittag lernen wir Peter aus Seattle kennen, und etwas später kommen Mathias und Torii dazu.
Rest day in San Ignacio. We've learned from the campground host that there are bicyclists coming through every day, but today we break the records with 15 people. Paul had gotten ahead of us in Cataviña but he's here now after a sick day yesterday. Marion and Virgile had gotten ahead of us in Guerrero Negro but also had to extend their layover here after drinking tap water. In the afternoon, we get to know Peter from Seattle, and later Mathias and Torii catch up with us.
Maggie and Bryan serve their homemade Pitaya Margarita. Cheers!
We all hang out in the community hut when we crave a few fresh dates. First, the guys just grab a couple of hand fulls from a low palm tree.
But they're too hard and yellow still. What to do?
Suddenly, we hear Justin's voice from somewhere above our heads: "Hey, can someone throw me my knife?"
From then on, the handful of dates turns into a huge project...
... with great success!
In the evening, we're still sitting around our dates nibbling and chatting, when Dave grabs his mandolin from the tent. I follow him with my melodica, Mathias with his guitalele, Torii finds an empty 100-litre water tank somewhere and turns it into a sitdrum, Peter plays cowbells on his metal mug, Alexa shakes her granola bag and Justin chews his chips to the beat. Oh my god, it would be hard to fit more fun into one rest day!
Sonntag, 1. Dezember:
A German saying goes: "First you work, then you enjoy yourself." It's totally true today: On our way to Santa Rosalia we fight against a really strong headwind and some 12 % climbs.
But this traffic sign finally announces the hard earned downhill to the coast!
People around here have more trust in god than in guard rails.
And this is not the only memorial along this road.
This is the moment we've been looking forward to for so long, the first glimpse of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). Our enthusiasm gets choked right away though, as we approach the black cloud of smoke (on the right) and realize that there's a huge garbage plant (an overdimensional open fire) right next to the ocean. It's awful.
Santa Rosalia welcomes us as friendly as the apocalypse, but a local woman takes pity on us and drives slowly to a beach just south of town where we can camp for free. Phew!
Gefahrene Strecke: 81,9 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 14,62 km/h
Nachtlager: Strand südlich von Santa Rosalia (Beach camp I.)
Montag, 2. Dezember:
Looking back to Santa Rosalia just before sunrise. During the day, it's impossible to take a flattering picture of this town.
Within the first 800 metres Dave patches his trailer tire four times before he has enough and puts a new tube in. Afterwards, everything runs smoothly...
First glimpse of Mulegé.
No, this is not dirt. You should see Dave's tan but he refuses to have his picture taken.
Looking for something to eat in the evening.
We find this seafood stand which is already closed for the night. But when the owners see our group of eight people they spontaneously unfold the plastic tables again and ask Bryan to screw the light bulb back into the fixture up there. Ready.
Seafood cocktail with octopus, scallops, snails, prawns and who knows what. Dave's face says more than a thousand words!
Gefahrene Strecke: 62,31 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 17,92 km/h
Nachtlager: Hacienda Hotel in Mulege
Dienstag, 3. Dezember:
In the courtyard of our hotel, there's this grapefruit tree we can help ourselves from.
The smell alone is incredible. This is what I call a healthy breakfast and a great start into the day!
Erin is painting the courtyard. Good to know that other cyclists also carry around stuff that's not necessarily handy on a bicycle tour but pleasant to have. (More examples for "luxury items": straw hat, spear gun or fishing rod, dress or skirt, professional filming gear, book, folding chair, guitar, laptop, binoculars, hiking boots...)
This sidewalk surrenders to Dave's strong fist. Paul's expert opinion: "This is NOT code."
We reach this idyllic walking path...
... via this ladder.
Paul the architect and Justin the scaffolder are in shocked amazement.
In the middle of an oasis not too far from the coast, we discover the mission of Mulegé.
The construction workers who are renovating the inside of the church don't seem to mind us snooping around.
And before we know it we're standing on the roof. No railings of course.
Relaxing in the hotel.
Dinner in Mulegé.
Mittwoch, 4. Dezember:
The motto for the next few days: reduce your speed! We take it literally and camp on this beach in the Bahia de Concepcion, the most beautiful part of the Sea of Cortez. Our food and water supplies should last us three days, we'll see how long we can hold out here...
Fresh from the ocean: all sorts of mysterious shellfish.
Cooked in the campfire, they're a wonderful dinner for some of us, or at least an interesting experience for the others. I only watch...
Nobody really knows what this is, but after Rigel ate one of these things raw and didn't die, the majority of our group dares to try them.
Paul very classy with knife and fork :-)
Randnotiz: In der Nacht sehe ich Dave zum ersten Mal in vier Jahren kotzen.
Passing reference: In the middle of the night I get to see Dave puking for the first time in four years.
Gefahrene Strecke: 25,32 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 15,73 km/h
Nachtlager: Marcos zukünftiger Campingplatz (Beachcamp II.)
Donnerstag, 5. Dezember:
Dave feels a little bit weak today but has enough appetite for breakfast. There are a couple of bellies grumbling a lot today but most people are just fine.
View from our tent.
There are lots of boards laying around on the beach which Marco wants to build huts out of for his future camping guests. We use them as kitchen furniture.
Our beach camp the way I see it during my morning round of swimming.
In the late morning, a pickup truck drives up to "our" beach with the back full of vegetables, eggs, seafood, pastries and so on.
Plastic camping plates are awesome to play frisbee with!
I think I'm going to skip the idea of not having tan lines this year.
In the afternoon, the baker comes with cheese- and jalapeño bread and cinnamon buns that are still warm. We already picture ourselves staying here forever...
Dave feels better by the evening. During the day, Ben from Australia and Patrick from Canada joined us, and with yesterday's newbie Paul from England (pronounced Pole) and the usual suspects Maggie and Bryan, Erin and Rigel, Alexa and Paul, Justin and Peter we're thirteen people again.
Freitag, 6. Dezember:
Vegetable delivery in the morning.
Washing dishes on the beach: First, you scrub the dirt off with wet sand...
... then you rinse them in the ocean, done.
Just one kilometre from our camp spot, there are some hot springs which are just perfect to relax in. Bryan and Maggie love the warm water after coming back from fishing in the ocean slightly hypothermic.
The little restaurant on the beach organizes a party tonight - we're in!
Samstag, 7. Dezember:
Watching the sunrise from our tent.
Cooking breakfast in the board kitchen.
Who says that cyclists smell bad? Alexa, Paul and Dave having a shower.
Today our big group dissolves because after all those rest days some of us are in a hurry to move on while others even stay at the beach for a while longer. Dave and I ride by ourselves again - nice and slowly behind the fast guys.
We follow the Bahia de Concepcion south towards Loreto. As I've mentioned before, it's the most beautiful part of the Gulf of California!
At this construction site, a worker hands us two popsicles as we're riding through. We won't say no to that!
The first 50 kilometres are hard work, but looking down on the Bahia de Concepcion we totally forget our legs. At some point the terrain gets more flat and we say goodbye to the beautiful bay. Time to look for a good camp spot! It's the first night in over two weeks that Dave and I spend alone - it feels weird in a way, but we enjoy the freedom and the quiet.
Gefahrene Strecke: 79 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 15,21 km/h
Nachtlager: in einem Feld an der Straße (Cactus Camp V.)
Sonntag, 8. Dezember:
Turkey vultures are everywhere here. It's always a bit macabre when they're circling above us while we're slowly working ourselves up a steep hill!
On our way to Loreto we stop at a little shop because we need something refreshing in 29 degrees. A little girl, maybe seven years old and wearing her thick december jumper, looks at our t-shirts and shorts in disbelief and goes: "Aren't you cold?"
In Loreto angekommen, stellen wir fest, dass es Sonntag ist und der Waschsalon, den wir so dringend nötig haben, geschlossen ist. Doch die Hotelbesitzerin lässt uns ihre Waschmaschine benutzen. Sehr gut, so können wir hoffentlich morgen schon weiterfahren. Die Sonne geht gerade unter, und der Waschgang ist noch nicht ganz fertig, da zeigt die Frau in den Hinterhof und sagt: "Und danach kannst du deine Sachen hier zum Trocknen aufhängen."
When we arrive in Loreto we realize it's Sunday today, which means the laundromat we so desperately need is closed. But the hotel owner allows me to use her washer, so hopefully we can move on tomorrow. The sun is setting, and the laundry is not quite done yet when the woman points into the back yard and says: "And afterwards you can hang your stuff here to dry it."
Gefahrene Strecke: 42 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 16,32 km/h
Nachtlager: San Martin Hotel in Loreto.
Montag, 9. Dezember:
Our laundry is neither clean nor dry so we bring it to the laundromat anyway.
As we're stuck here for the day Dave and I get a few organizational things done. We find fuel for both our camp stoves in a hardware- and paint store. For my Trangia alcohol burner I get this bottle of "alcohol industrial", whose exact contents and alcohol percentage is unknown. Hope it'll burn.
Looking at the glass bottle more closely, I discover the engraved words "Salsa Picante" - hot sauce.
Außerdem rufen wir von einer Telefonzelle aus mal ganz unverbindlich bei UPS an um nachzufragen, wo unser Paket mit den Fahrradteilen ist, die wir neulich bestellt haben. Oh Mann! Das Zeug liegt im Zollamt, denn das Lederwachs für unsere neuen Sättel braucht eine spezielle Einfuhrgenehmigung, und die dauert zwei bis drei Monate. Wir schlagen der kaum Englisch sprechenden Dame, die für die englischsprachigen Kunden zuständig ist, vor, die Wachsdose einfach wegzuwerfen und uns den Rest zu schicken. Ja, das kann sie tun, aber dazu braucht sie unsere schriftliche Einverständniserklärung. Sie kann uns eine E-mail mit dem Formular schicken, das sollen wir online ausfüllen und ihr zurückschicken. Okay. Das Buchstabieren der E-mail-Adresse dauert etwa eine Viertelstunde, aber irgendwann hat sie's.
Other than that, we also call UPS from a phone box in the street just to ask where our package with the bike parts we ordered the other day is. Oh man! It's stuck in customs because we need a special import licence for the leather wax we ordered for our new saddles. That would take about two to three months. We suggest to the lady in charge of English speaking customers who actually doesn't speak English very well, to just throw the wax tin into the bin and send us the rest. Yes, she could do that, but she needs our abandonment approval in written form. She can send us an e-mail with the form, we just have to fill it out online and send it back to her. Okay. Spelling the e-mail address takes about 15 minutes but finally she's got it.
We appreciate Loreto's beauty despite our tension because of the package!
Dienstag, 10. Dezember:
Eigentlich wollten wir spätestens heute weiterfahren, doch die Dame vom Zoll hat sich über Nacht eine neue Schikane für uns ausgedacht: Die Einverständniserklärung zum Entsorgen unseres Lederwachses (wir sprechen hier von einer kleinen Dose Bienenwachs im Wert von 17 Dollar, also vergleichsweise lächerlich zu den über 1000 Dollar teuren anderen Sachen in der Schachtel) muss jetzt plötzlich ausgedruckt, unterschrieben, eingescannt und per E-mail zurückgeschickt werden. Und zwar bis morgen um 12 Uhr, sonst geht das Paket auf unsere Kosten zurück an den Absender. Ja herzlichen Dank auch! In unserem Hotel gibt es zwar Internet, aber weder Drucker noch Scanner - genauso wie in den meisten Internetcafés hier. Und in der Druckerei haben wir keinen Internetzugang. Es wird wieder mal eine längere Odyssee kreuz und quer durch die Stadt, aber schließlich bekommen wir alles geregelt. Puh!
We had planned to leave Loreto today at the latest but over night, the lady from the customs office has thought of a new way to harass us: The abandonment approval for our leather wax (we're talking about a little $ 17 tin, a relatively ridiculous value compared to the over $ 1000 worth of other items in the box) now has to be printed out, signed, scanned and sent back via e-mail. By tomorrow 12 o'clock sharp, otherwise they return it to the sender at our cost. Well thanks a lot! In our hotel, there's WiFi but no printer and no scanner - just like in most internet cafés here. And in the print shop we don't have internet access. It's another long odyssey through town, but eventually we get it all sorted out. Phew!
Mittwoch, 11. Dezember:
Already a habit with us: water shops. In Mexico, you only drink tap water after boiling it, and only if you have to. Usually, you get a big canister from a supermarket or a water shop and keep refilling it.
One of my bottles being refilled behind a plexiglass wall. Sometimes, these water shops charge us ten pesos for this service (0.80 CAD) but most of the time they feel sorry for us poor cyclists and just give it to us for free.
Oh cactus tree, oh cactus tree...
With Maggie and Bryan, who showed up in our hotel by coincidence yesterday afternoon, we ride heavily loaded with supplies. After a strenuous but very scenic climb to 430 metres altitude we call it a day.
Gefahrene Strecke: 81,49 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 16,06 km/h
Nachtlager: an einer Seitenstraße (Cactus Camp VI.)
Donnerstag, 12. Dezember:
Heute holt uns John aus Irland ein, den wir neulich in Loreto kennen gelernt haben. Nach einem gemeinsamen Mittagessen in Ciudad Insurgentes ist er aber auch schon wieder weg - der Mann fährt an die 200 Kilometer am Tag!
Today, John from Ireland, whom we met in Loreto the other day, catches up to us. After a quick lunch together in Ciudad Insurgentes though he's gone again - that guy does like 200 kilometres a day!
Wir wollen gerade unsere Zelte in einem Kaktusfeld aufschlagen, da kommt Yasmina daher und lädt uns auf ihren Hof ein. Leider können wir uns mit ihr und ihrem Mann Marco kaum unterhalten, doch die beiden schauen uns fasziniert bei unserem Abendritual zu: Fahrräder entpacken, Zelte aufbauen, Abendessen kochen.
We're just about to pitch our tents in a cactus field again when Yasmina comes our way and invites us to stay on her ranch. Unfortunately, we cannot really communicate with her and her husband Marco, but they seem to enjoy the entertainment we provide by simply doing what we do every night: unpack the bikes, set up the tents, cook dinner.
Gefahrene Strecke: 63,28 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 22,98 km/h (Rückenwind und leichtes Gefälle)
Nachtlager: auf Marcos und Yasminas Hof (Ranch Camp I.)
Freitag, 13. November:
Yasmina baking tortillas. Her stove is in a hut next to the house, and it consists of a DIY concrete table, a metal grill and a few burning sticks. The family mainly eats tortillas with beans, rice and vegetables; meat is very rare on their table.
Today we make such effortless progress that we only take a break after 50 kilometres! The pop cans are from a friendly couple who handed them to us through their passenger window on the go. Cheers! In 40 degrees heat there's nothing like a cold drink.
We ask the owners of a little café for a good camp spot nearby and they invite us to stay on their ranch.
Maggie and I feel like home between all the animals!
The pig sty.
We eat the last one of the grapefruits we brought from the hotel in Mulegé, and Dave discovers the cooling, shock absorbing, and finally sedative effect of its peel.
Gefahrene Strecke: 92,08 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 20,75 km/h
Nachtlager: auf Antonios und Antonias Hof (Ranch Camp II.)
Samstag, 14. Dezember:
An exhausting, but unspectacular day: oncoming wind, continuous climbing to over 400 metres altitude and 41 degrees heat. We're glad when we catch up to Maggie and Bryan who have found a good place to camp behind this wired fence!
Gefahrene Strecke: 80,7 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 15,36 km/h
Nachtlager: an einer Seitenstraße (Cactus Camp VII.)
Sonntag, 15. Dezember:
It's not even 50 kilometres downhill to La Paz but it is harder and more annoying than all the climbing we've done so far. Strong winds from all directions and car drivers who suddenly are in a hurry in their last half hour... When we arrive in La Paz, we're mostly frustrated.
Nach einem sagenhaften Mittagessen und einer Dusche in Glendas fahrradfreundlichem Haus sickert jedoch die freudige Tatsache durch, dass wir Niederkalifornien geschafft haben: 1627,11 Kilometer in fünf Wochen (drei Wochen reine Fahrzeit). Jetzt muss nur noch unser Paket mit den Fahrradteilen ankommen und der Wind aufhören, damit wieder Schiffe hinüber zum Festland fahren können...
After a really nice lunch and a shower in Glenda's bicycle friendly house though, the good news slowly leaks out to us that we've just finished Baja California: 1627.11 kilometres in five weeks (three weeks of riding). Now only our package with the bike parts has to arrive and the wind has to stop so that the ships can cross the Sea of Cortez again to the mainland...
We are not the only guests in Glenda's house right now: Sara and Pedro from Portugal have been staying with her for one week now, they're waiting for a boat to go to the mainland. Today, they celebrate their wedding anniversary and cook dinner for everybody. And to our surprise, Marion and Virgile are invited as well, the couple has also been stuck in La Paz for a whole week because there's no ship traffic due to the wind.
We learn that most of the bicycle tourists whom we met during the last few weeks are either still in town or on a ferry north. Which means that chances are we're going to bump into them again at some point on the other side of the Sea of Cortez!
Cutting the wedding cake.
Gefahrene Strecke: 48,16 km
Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit: 15,36 km/h
Nachtlager: bei Glenda in La Paz (Warmshowers VII.)
Montag, 16. Dezember:
Zurück in Glendas Haus ruft Dave nochmal bei UPS an, und siehe da: Morgen soll unser Zeug in La Paz sein!
The day of the good news. We ride to the marina with Maggie and Bryan at the crack of dawn. At eight o'clock, all the boat owners meet for the daily weather-, emergency- and news announcements. After the official part, everybody can grab the radio and make an announcement that will be heard on all boats and in all marinas. Dave and I are only spectators today because we're still waiting for our package. But Maggie and Bryan find a guy who's going to sail out tomorrow and still has room for two guests...
Back in Glenda's house, Dave calls UPS again, and guess what: Our package is supposed to be in La Paz tomorrow!
And another reason to celebrate: Glenda's son Glen graduated from school today! In the evening, the two of them take us into a typical Mexican restaurant.
Pedro can't wait for his food to come!
For dessert, we have hot dogs from a little stand. It's fun to watch these men work: Their hands are flying across the counter like a piano player's, and without watching they fill the buns with vegetables and sauces!
Just a hint at how busy this stand gets during the day: a number dispenser.
Dave gets to sit in the boot.
Dienstag, 17. Dezember:
First thing in the morning, Dave and I go to the marina again and try to get a ride to the mainland. We make an announcement to all boats and put a note on the pinboard. No reply though, but that turns out to be a good thing because firstly, both of us suddenly get really sick tonight, and secondly, even if our package arrived in La Paz today we can only pick it up tomorrow.
Waterfront of La Paz
Christmas decoration on all the lanterns.
Mittwoch, 18. Dezember:
Mamas alter Trick mit Butterbrot und rotem Paprika und Glendas Kamillentee stellen uns langsam wieder auf die Beine. Gott, sind wir froh, dass wir jetzt nicht auf ein Schiff müssen!
My Mom's old trick with the red peppers on bread and butter and Glenda's camomile tea slowly put us onto our feet again. Man, are we glad not to to be on a boat right now!
In the afternoon, Glenda drives us to the UPS store, and then it's christmas for us...
... or actually for our poor, sore bums: They get a new saddle each.
Hopefully those things will live up to what all the other touring cyclists have promised us!
Donnerstag, 19. Dezember:
Here he is: Looks like it's too cold for Santa Claus up at the north pole!
Goodbye, La Paz: Today we zigzag around town trying to get things we cannot find in smaller towns. But leather wax for our saddles doesn't seem to exist here, we'll have to try in Guadalajara.
Morgen verlassen wir Niederkalifornien. Wir nehmen die Containerfähre nach Mazatlán, denn die Passagierfähre ist tatsächlich bis weit in den Januar hinein ausgebucht.
Tomorrow, we are going to leave Baja California. We take the freight ferry to Mazatlán because the passenger ferry is booked out until the middle of January.