Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Make Sure Your Map is New-ish. And Fuel Up Frequently.

Leaving El Eden

We left Rosa’s Eden early after our rest day, intending to make a big day of it.

The highway was in great condition (for the most part) and ran through a beautiful National Park, Valle de los Cirios, filled with cacti. And not filled with gas stations. This is when we discovered that our map is actually 11 years old, and many of the gas stations listed on it are now defunct.

Just an itty-bitty pothole here and there

Fortunately, there was a guy on the side of the road in one of the small towns selling gas, and we all fueled up. Given the load he is carrying, Mike’s fuel range is pretty limited, so he made sure to top up at every opportunity. Which was smart... we should have done that, but we got very lucky and happened upon this guy:

There was nothing for miles around, and with the sun beginning to set, Roel began investigating dirt tracks that went up into the hills where we could stealth camp for the evening.

Getting a good leg stretch in

Though Mike is on a Super Tenere, the way he is packed up, he is not comfortable going off-road so he decided to camp next to the highway while we went up into the mountains. This led to quite a bit of anxiety for me as I continued to worry about him all night long. Given the experience we’d had in Australia, I ONLY camp hidden in the wild regardless of whether it’s the US, Canada or Mexico. So all night, I worried about him being harassed, or worse, because all it takes is one person with bad intentions who wants to ruin your evening. Perhaps this is a really negative way to view things... I'm sure he could get through all of the world camping like this and be perfectly fine... but I personally wouldn't be able to sleep.

The next morning we got up and out early and rode to where Mike had camped alongside the road and waited while he finished breaking camp. We're so used to setting up and breaking down camp is practically an automatic task for us: it takes me less than a half hour to break camp (Roel usually makes coffee while I’m doing this), pack up the bikes and be on the road. 

We rode to Guerrero Negro on the Pacific coast, and found a lovely spot to have coffee and enjoy some internet. And then we continued South in the direction of Mulege. We stopped for lunch in a small town and enjoyed some chicken, pasta salad and fries for about 40 Pesos each. It wasn’t a bad price, but it’s pretty obvious that we are going to be paying tourist prices when we stop at roadside spots, so we’re not going to do this anymore for a while.

We were hoping to make it to Mulege, but given how low the speed limits are and how much slower you travel with an extra person who you cannot communicate with via headset, we wound up making it only to Rosalia when the sun was setting. And wow, what a shock that was.

Riding by Tres Virgenes Volcano

The road leading to Rosalia is stunning… it takes you by the Tres Virgenes Volcano, through lovely cactus groves around winding roads with sweeping curves and the scenery is other worldly.

And then you drop down into Santa Rosalia where the dump is literally next to the beach and loose trash is flying all over the place. It’s an mining town, and there is no clear route through town, so we wound up riding around and getting lost in “rush hour” traffic on the one-way lanes.

By the time we made it out of town, it was dark and I was extremely nervous to be riding around in the dark, as not riding after dark is pretty much the #1 rule to abide by in Mexico. We found a main road off of the highway and decided to look for camping along this. Roel found us a dirt track that led off road a bit so we could be hidden and again, and since it was a bit of a rough track, Mike opted to sleep next to the road, more or less. We had no idea where exactly we were camping given that it was dark so we wanted to be out by 6:30am. Mike was a little perturbed by this as he’d heard that camping in Mexico was completely safe (and the subtext was of course that he’d have to wake up at 4:30am in order to be out by 6:30am). I felt bad for being so rigid about how we do things, but ultimately, I had to remind both Mike and myself that everyone travels differently and has different deal-breakers regarding what makes them feel safe and comfortable... this is one for us. Each to his/her own, and if he wanted to meet up in Mulege, that would be fine.

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