Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bahia de Los Angeles to San Ignacio

I didn’t, unfortunately, get a photo of John Weed but that’s his cabin up there at the top. With the wolf and the oars. He was a top man and we enjoyed his company. The wind didn’t really let up at all though and even though the beach was fairly picturesque it wasn’t that warm and we were hungover so we hit the road pretty quick. John explained to us why Bahia de Los Angeles was kinda dead – initially because this isn’t the tourist season, but then, more importantly, the whole place had been hammered by storms and flooding a while back and it was still getting it’s shit together following these events. That explained, also, the fact that the road in had, in some places, completely disappeared!

We stopped for lunch at a great little place called Restaurant Melany. This was a fairly random stop in the middle of the desert, but we were starving. I guess you’d call this place a ‘truck stop’ and the people running it were surprised to see a bunch of gringos on motorbikes pull up and go in. Especially their teenage daughters. We ate some great food while the girls giggled at us from the corner, and then eventually asked if they could take some photos with us on the bikes.

We then set off for Guerrero Negro where we were really only stopping for gas. We were hoping to get to San Ignacio, a little oasis village in the desert we’d heard a lot about. We did eventually make it, but only after riding the most hideous road any of us could ever remember riding. This thing was dead straight for at least 2 hours, and being that we’d already being riding all day, it started doing strange things to all our heads. I started hallucinating cows on the road around every corner. Awful. Also the desert here is real boring, not like around Catavina where there were amazing rock formations everywhere. Here it was just flat and barren, apart from the occasional cactus, as far as the eye could see.

El Rosario to Bahia de Los Angeles

This was a decent ride down through the desert from El Rosario, through Catavina and then across to Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja peninsula. The ride through the desert was awesome, especially closer to Catavina. We stopped to go for a walk and check out the cactus forest... I guess you don't call it a forest? But whatever, there's a whole lot of them altogether. Sounds like forest to me. We were blown away by how big some of them were, and Darren was so stoked he got all excited and fell into a cactus and got a spine right through his fingernail. It's still there and he's kinda been freaking out about it poisoning him or something.

We got gas in Catavina from a couple of guys who syphon it out of cans on the back of a truck. That was pretty cool. Kinda 'Mad Max' I guess.

When we finally rolled into Bahia de Los Angeles it was a bit odd. There was hardly anyone around anywhere and it wasn't quite the paradise we were expecting. It was also real fucking windy. Malcolm ate some octopus and was pretty convinced straight away that he had food poisoning. Joe also had the octopus and felt fine... but we were all paranoid that we were gonna get food poisoning now. Rather than let our guts rule the evening we destroyed any bugs in the system with copious amounts of tequila... and beer, although I don't think the beer's killing anything is it? Darren and Joe did the first drink run to town from where we were camping, and then me and Joe had to go back an hour later (in the dark with no helmets) to replenish the stocks. We lit a fire.

We met this real decent chap – John Weed – at the campground, and we ended up in his makeshift cabin sorta thing smoking, drinking, and playing guitars and whatnot (Joe on Kazoo, and Darren banned from any instrumentation after about half an hour).

Saturday, April 25, 2015

La Jolla Beach, Ensenada to Mama Espinoza's, El Rosario

Met a great guy, American, at La Jolla Beach while getting packed up in the morning. He’d been all over Baja and gave us a bunch of tips in terms of places to go that are a little more ‘off the beaten track’. We then had a great breakfast at a place right in front of the campground – the first of many servings of Huevos Rancheros.

We hit the road, Mexico 1, heading south not really knowing where we’d stop/stay. We’d heard about this ranch we could go visit and stay at, but we were also super keen to get further south as everyone has been telling us the ‘real’ Baja is ‘down there’… although interestingly everyone also agrees that there’s no point going further south than La Paz because it’s all been fairly Americanised for tourists down there. They’re talking about Cabo etc. We’ll see…

Did a lot of riding today and almost ended up staying at this amazing house out by a lagoon, which a guy living next door said we could have for $100 USD a night. It seemed too good to be true – and it was. The owner, rung on the phone by Pablo, the dude we’d bumped into, was an American and wanted a lot more money than that. He got shirty on the phone with me and told me “this is NOT how you do it, just showing up and expecting to stay”… I tried to explain that we were just exploring, met Pablo, and heard about the house… blah blah blah, and could see it was going nowhere. We apologized to Pablo, and hit the road again.

And I’m so glad we did, because we ended up spending the night at Mama Espinoza’s in El Rosario. This place was great! I’d heard about it before we came, and so we sorta knew it was there. This is one of the first stops on the Baja 1000, and a lot of the racers eat and stay at Mama Espinoza’s. We got a room straight away and hit the bar/restaurant where I had some of the best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten, washed down with a few beers and a jug of margherita for dessert. Mama Espinoza’s daughter and grandson were running the place, and apparently Mama is still alive at 108 years old!!! They were really great people, and looked after us well. We got T-shirts and there’s been a lot of concern since about who got what colour and who can wear their T shirt when.

It’s tough on the road.