No-Moto-Boundaries-Latin America n' back n' da' TAT, un-planned, un-hinged, and solo

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by SeanPNW, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    It’s time to leave Ensenada. It’s been real. It’s been fun. It’s been real fun. For any other riders going through Ensenada and wanting a cheap ($18/night) non-camping place to stay, the Ensenada Backpackers Hostel has safe gated parking on the side of it’s building. You could fit 2 maaaybe 3 bikes in there. If they aren’t busy they have a whole back patio that could fit more bikes too. Bonus, it’s a hostel too so somebody is always at the front desk 24/7.

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    San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez is where I want to go. Depending on when I make it there I may keep heading South as I heard that there are lots of small nice places to camp on the beaches a bit further down past San Felipe.

    First though, more tacos.

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    I didn’t realize how mountainous Baja was. This is coming out of Ensenada on Mexico 3, looking east towards the Sea of Cortez.

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    Awwww yeah, canyon carving….. good way to start the day.

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    Catholicism is big here, lots of little ‘shrines?’ on the side of the highways. Sometimes they paint stuff on the rocks.

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    This is saint ‘gator. Patron saint of killin’ shit.

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    Am I in Ohio?

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    Los Federales are cracking down on the drug running in Baja so there are checkpoints every few miles at strategic spots. One can be seen down at the bottom of this valley. After they went through my stuff and made sure I was only carrying stinky clothes and not kilos of cocaine the soldier questioning me asked to sit on my bike. Sure why not? The captain quickly stepped up swatting him away from the bike and jumped on himself. These guys seem fun. I reached over the captain turning the bike on and gestured him to take it for a spin. Through my broken spanish I confirmed that 1st gear was down, then 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th were up. He stalled it at first but it’s pretty heavy. The other soldiers laughed as he swore at them and took off again, this time blasting through the gears down the straight road into the valley. His soldiers laughed again, but this time it was at me, saying that he and the bike were now gone, en route to Tijuana. He did come back though, faith in humanity prevails. I asked if I could hold his machine gun, he did not return the favor.

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    Pushing on towards the coast, is that the beach??

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    Nope, some sort of mirage. Still desert.

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    More checkpoints. I got waved right through this one though, maybe mi amigo radioed ahead saying the ginger is all clear.

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    Hello San Felipe. Where can I find Mr. Cortez?

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    Oh, he’ll be getting tacos by the beach you say? Perfect.

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    Mr. Cortez never showed up, but I had some damn fine tacos anyways. I still have some sunlight so I’m going to go find a small beach place to camp.

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    AND THEN A FUCKING NUCLEAR EXPLOSION!!!

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    Never mind, just the sun setting behind a bush.

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    I found a nice place to camp, if you can call it that….I guess I was in a tent, but it was pretty bougie for camping. The place is about 50 kilometers south of San Felipe, called Puertecitos. The next morning I woke up on the beach and watched the sun come up, first pushing out the deep dark blues of the night sky...

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    then shifting to a swatch of rich oranges and yellows.

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    This camping shit is real tough. Had the beach to myself to get some exercise in too.


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    Then made some break-y. Huevos sucio.

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    And listened to some 'practice spanish' tapes. It's the say and repeat type stuff. “No hablo espaniol a hora!” Nothing planned for today. The ol’ bizzeard is getting scraggly, maybe I’ll take care of that.

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    I packed clippers and also wired in a 12v to 100w converter on the bike. Pretty handy piece, picked it up at Home Depot in Joshua Tree CA. Plugged my clippers right into it and went to town. It’s supposed to be able to charge a laptop too but we’ll see, it even has a light that glows different colors so you can see if you are draining too much of your battery. Oh technology.


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    I’m informed that there are ‘aguas termales’ (hot springs) nearby on the beach so I set out to find them.

    This looks promising.

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    Yep, found them.

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    Holy shit-balls they are waaaaayyyy to hot! I put my hand quickly in one and it almost felt boiling. It was low-tide, pretty sure you have to wait until the tide comes in and cools them down a bit. The ocean water itself was in the mid to high 70’s easily, apparently that’s pretty average for the Sea of Cortez.

    I met some other people vacationing in the area too. They confirmed I had to wait until higher tides. They offered me some cold beer instead. It tasted like nectar of the gods.

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    Where to next? Looking on the map it seems like Coco’s Corner is a reasonable distance away. I hear from everyone else on ADVrider that his place out in the middle of the desert is a must if you are riding through Baja. Maybe I’ll check out what this guy “Coco” is up to.



    #21
  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones AdventureDeficitDisorder

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,331
    Location:
    San Diego, not Mex, but I can smell it from here.
    Glad to see you on the east coast! Love Saint Gator.

    The little road side shrines are built by locals to mark where loved ones died in accidents. They always remind me to go easy on the happy handle.

    Back up at base camp tonight sans bike. I can see your taillight from here!

    Vaya!
    #22
  3. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Ahhh I see, I was wondering why people made so many random shrines. I guess it's similar to the stuff we do in the states. I need to pay less attention to them as I'm riding so I don't end up as one.

    Good to hear your body recovered from the crash:ricky
    #23
  4. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Coco’s Corner is a must location as you near the ‘border’ of Baja North and Baja South. It’s a historical marker, and museum of sorts, for both adventurers and racers alike. It’s off the east coast of Baja a ways in-land and can be found along the route for the Baja 500 & 1000.

    I’ve seen the pictures, heard the stories, it’s time to meet the man himself. Hopefully he’s there, as there’s no guarantee that he ever will be.

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    Heading south on Mex. 3 down the coast from Puertecitos the landscape gets more and more baren.

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    Not much growing out here. No need to worry about rain...what’s rain?

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    Mmmmm Sea of Cortez, still haven’t met the guy though. Cool sea, man.

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    This roads really good, but where’s the dirt I heard about? My bones need a good rattling.

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    There she rolls.

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    Passed this guy on the way to the last stop before the road to Coco’s. Is it a camper, is it a van, is it a offroad rig? Sweet vamper rig.

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    He caught up at the last gas station.

    Cool rig man.
    Thanks Man.

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    Juan is from Nevada and cruising around Baja with his dog, Duke. He says all of it is for Duke’s comfort.

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    Meet Duke. Duke, is chill.

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    I’m Hungry. What can I eat? MORE TACOS!

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    Awwhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhh

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    Fart fueled up and on the road. Vamos a Coco’s.

    The road out was decent, not super technical but a blend of hardpan choss and stretches of sand and silt. The scenery was stark, harsh, and cutting. Don’t want to break down.

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    Sometimes you get two roads side-by-side to pick from. Like a ‘choose your own adventure’ ride. Ride the hardpan choss stuff for a while to get good a shooken up. Then switch to the soft sandy silty stuff for a butter-smooth ride, but much less traction though. Keeps things interesting.

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    Road climbed and fell at times, dropping into small valleys where water would come crashing through taking out the road. It’s the desert, the floor doesn’t absorb anything anymore, so when it rains, it alllll turns into rivers. Speaking of water, didn’t I have two water jugs on the back of my bike? Damnit, one must have rattled loose on the road somewhere. Of course it had to be the only one with water in it. Coco’s got water probably right? Just don’t break down.

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    There’s a lot of stuff reflecting sunlight up ahead. Is it a mirror? Are those beer cans strung along fences? Ahhh this must be Coco’s Corner. As I get closer a small blue ATV comes out to the road to see who’s coming and welcome whoever it is in. Hola! Su nombre es Coco, correcto? Shit, who am I kidding, Jobius guy without any legs on a quad in the middle of a desert, it’s got to be him.

    Welcome to Coco’s Corner.

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    This place is like a Mad Max oasis in the desert. Cars, trailers, race scraps and memorabilia everywhere.

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    And lots of panties.

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    We chit-chat for a bit and I ask if it’s cool for me to camp here for the night. He says of course, you buy something to drink and you can stay in one of my trailers. Take your pick!
    Well shit, I’ll buy some beer then. Several please :-)

    Oh, and I’ll take this one, por favor.

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    This is a funky place. I like funky.

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    It was just him and I there so I got to kick it with him all night. We had some beers, shot his gun off into the desert, and chatted in broken span’glish about the crazy people and things that have gone on here over the last 23 years he’s been living here.

    He’s a character for sure, and at 73 (?) it’s pretty amazing that he subsists out here all by himself still. His history out here is a tale of great fun, excitement, and good people. Sadly though it’s also a story of great hardship, not in just the lifestyle (which he seems very happy living) but in the price you pay when people want to take advantage of you. Over the years he’s lost both his legs to health complications, forcing him away from racing, and into the city for periods of time leaving his home vulnerable to vandals and thieves. People stealing everything from his tools, equipment, and vehicles to his caches of much needed water and food. He even had his beer art sculptures dismantled for the money that could be had from recycling the cans. Thousands of cans and many hours lost. He has rebuilt it twice, and twice it has been dismantled while he has been away for health reasons. He said that he doesn’t have the energy to build it again.

    We brought the chairs out to an open area to watch the sun dip behind the mountains. He said on ridgeline you can see the facial profiles of family members and friends that have already passed away. I asked him how long he thinks he’ll be able to stay out here. His tone shifts to positive gear and he chuckles. He looks at me and asks “How long do you think you’ll be alive? Nobody knows these answers. Neither do I. Every day I wake up and realize that I’m still alive, I am thankful to be here. I say, thank you for this day I have been given.”

    After the sun went down it was time to go to sleep. I told him to think about anything that would be helpful to have another hand for around the place. In the morning we can get some of it done. I didn’t want to be insulting, he sure is fucking capable, but an extra set of hands makes light work.

    I slept like a rock in his trailer.
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    Plenty of space for me and my stuff too.

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    Plenty of interesting characters have slept the night in this trailer. Some of left their marks, providing interesting stuff to read.

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    Pretty primo view for sunrise from my bed too.

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    Even got to sleep next to my lady.

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    In the morning we fixed one of his quads tires, got the front wheel off his big rig, and relocated some solar lights that needed to be adjusted.

    Before I left I swapped out my old plate for my new one that I had been carrying since I left Seattle. I nailed the old one to his wall and signed the book, making my mark along with all of the other travelers and racers to have done so before me. He’s now on his 7th book.

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    Thanks for letting me chill for a bit Coco, it was a pleasure.

    Unfortunately when I was leaving my camera started to take a shit on me and appeared to be breaking. I have no photos for the rest of the day to Mulege. I first met up with Mex. 1 and took it South, then southwest to Guerero Nego, then back east crossing through San Ignacio and Santa Rosalia before getting to the coast and into Mulege. I will also say that if one is in Baja and getting tired of the dry desert, DEFINITELY stop in San Ignacio. It’s small, chill, and a literal oasis in the desert with big palm(?) trees lining the main street if you turn into town. Then, the road to the coast? Well that is just swell and very pretty. So far it is my favorite road in Baja in terms of aesthetic beauty.

    The beauty must have fixed the camera (for now?) because it’s now working again. Welcome to Mulege Mr. Ginger. Sweet.

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    #24
  5. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,066
    Location:
    Sandia Mountains New Mexico
    This picture is the tidal pool where Baja Bug bit on of our riders in February. Near Bridge of Leona.



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    Lovin' your report.
    #25
  6. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    No Baja Bug yet for me and I will be avoiding this tidal pool now.

    PS thanks for the GPX tracks, I was following them through Coco's and they were great. Didn't brave the Score route after that though as it was recently washed out, you guys are beasts.
    #26
  7. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Welcome to Mulege, a little oasis on the Sea of Cortez. Someone in town told me the population was around 3000 on average, and 4000 when the gringos come for the winter. I don't buy those numbers, 3000 seems like this little town would be bursting at the seems. I'm a tourist though so what do I know.

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    What it doesn't have in numbers though it definitely has in feels. It's small, it takes 3 minutes to drive every street and end up back where you started. In such a small town where everyone knows everyone, not being a local I definitely feel out of place as I putts through town. I like it here.

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    It is a popular place for snowbirds. The kind that travel south for better weather during the winter months. Not the bird kind though, the human kind, and I have come early before the rest of the flock.

    There are small shops and old buildings.

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    Public Squares to loiter in and pull your shirt over your belly.

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    And plenty of good places to eat. I recommend both Danny's (for the TACOS!) and Gato Guerdo for the Pizza.

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    Gato Gordo just opened, is locally/family owned, and make damn good original as well as mexican fusion pizzas. Soon they’ll be offering sandwiches and subs, I’m told, as well. The owner (Laura) and her daughters are rad and speak waaaayyy better english than I do spanish. Cool hang-out spot to shoot the shit, drink some beers, and people watching.

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    I've got a feel for the town now, as I like to do, so I headed outside of it to see what there is to see. There is a beach out a road on the edge of town so I went there. A big hurricane came through and covered most of mulege in mud, destroying lots of property. This road was being rebuilt, couldn't tell the town had been so affected though from being there.

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    The gringos build their homes on the other side of the inlet outside of town. Unfortunately this also seems to be the place that floods first when storms come in.

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    Shieeettt, that's pretty good livin.

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    Found an early-bird like myself flying a kite.

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    And a guy from Portugal. ‘Bout that time to eat and drink a bit, so we did that.

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    The guy from Portugal is named Juan, he's been traveling for 8 months mostly hitchiking. He was doing genetics research and decided some time off to think about what he wanted to do next was good. Sounds familiar.

    Beach camping was free so Juan and I did that.

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    Juan tried to teach me spanish.

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    And I tried to learn how to use my camera in low-light a bit better.

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    Here I come Victoria’s Secret, so majestic.

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    Sunrise’s are pretty good here.

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    The locals say the best beaches in the area are south of town, the best being about 10 miles out called Playa Coyote.

    The road south is nice, twisty, and good elevation gain/loss. Definitely fun on the bike. Is that a beach in the distance?

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    Jigga fuckin whaaaaaattttt!

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    Mmmmmm greenery.

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    10 miles out, this must be it. Pull down a dirt road and find a beach at the end with little palapas. Yeeeeeep, this'll do just fine for the night.

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    Juan was traveling with two other people, Patricia (from Mexicali Mexico), and Damian (from France). They were going to go on a tour of some famous cave paintings outside of Mulege tomorrow so I'm gonna tag along for that. The location of the cave is protected, as with most things though, if you pay someone they can show you. They said it's an hour or so out into the desert down dirt roads. Perfect, I'll take my bike :-).


    #27
  8. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Meet Gary. He's my neighbor at Playa Coyote. He says nobody knows his real name around here, everyone just calls him Cuervo. I guess Cuervo is a snowbird, as he spends half the year in Madras Oregon and then the other half here on Playa Coyote, and has been doing so for the last 20 years. He's always working, even when he's down here, so I don't categorize him the same as a true 'snowbird'. He's a rad dude, but more on that later. We are both late to meet people in town, him for work, me for a cave painting tour.

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    Shiiiitttttt this road is good. If I had to ride it every day into town for work that WOULD NOT be a problem. But I don't work right now, and it's too early for anyone else to be on the road. Perfect, crank the happy-hand!

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    I met Patricia, Damian, and Juan (other travelers) in Mulege which is 10 miles north of where I'm staying at Playa Coyote. They got a deal to be taken to some cave paintings and I'm tagging along. They were in a 4x4 van lead by the guide and I followed behind on my bike. Why not ride with them they asked? Because it's going to be a shitty, bumpy, dusty dirt road out into the desert....that's exactly what I want to be on my bike for! After an hour or so down dirt roads into the desert northeast of town we arrived at the Trinidad Ranch. Really pretty place.

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    The cave is somewhere on the ranch, they try to keep it's location secret to protect the paintings. Mind you these are not your average finger paintings, these are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (think pyramids, Eiffel tower, and Jay Leno's chin).

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    The area is rich with artifacts that show how the indigenous people lived here. Before we began, the guide spoke very sternly in spanish to the 4 of us. Patricia translated the gist, she said to think of the place as a whore house, you can look but don't touch, and definitely don't take anything home with you.

    We passed some stones that were used for grinding wheat and corn. These stones were not locations of a homestead but rather were to be left in specific locations throughout the valley so that as the people traveled through the valley, they would remember where each of these locations were and would know they could prepare food there.

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    The terrain is harsh, as with everywhere in Baja.

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    Vultures circled overhead, waiting for our sweaty survival-skill-inept bodies to become their next carcass meal.

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    We came to a river. We were to swim across the water and on the other side we would find the paintings up on the cliff face.

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    We aren’t allowed to take pictures unless you pay extra. I'm on a budget so you’ll just have to google it. The paintings are prehistoric and absolutely fascinating. Obviously not in a Rembrandt or Picasso way, they are essentially just finger paintings on some rock, but in a way that leaves you in awe of a people that have long left this valley. The history that is right in front of your face is mind boggling. Our guide had a wealth of information and it was worth the money to learn about these people and how they lived. They were known as the 'second harvest' people. Why you ask? Among many other fascinating things, when food was scarce (as it often was in this location) they would eat their food, then throw it up and give it to the others in the tribe to eat. They would also all defecate in the same location, then later when food was scarce they elect a person to go through and sift out all the seeds from the dried feces for their "second harvest".

    I have no photos of the place, here’s a picture of Damian instead. He is a cheeky frenchman.

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    We walked back.

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    I snapped some photos.

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    And then it was time to go back to town which meant going back down the dirt road that we came in on. Earlier on the way in I had been dropping tracks on my GPS, I now knew the way back and was free to ride on ahead. Wait, so you mean I don't have to go 10mph and suck down the kicked up dirt from your van for an hour? Ah shiiiit yeah! Having left all my gear and panniers at camp I was ready to fly. I haven't really opened the bike up for some higher speed pounding since I reworked my entire suspension with the help of Cogent Dynamics, this road provides just the opportunity.

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    Let’s just say, the 14 miles back into town were the most fun I have had on my bike in a very long time. The little boy-racer in me came alive again. Leaving the group behind, motor belching it's thumper roar. It was time to have some fun. Up through the gears and onto the trail. I got up on the pegs, body weight centered and mobile, picking up pace as I started to work the whole bike. I went zipping through washed out river beds, over banks and up burms. I can remember being a little kid on my rickety old mountain bike, bombing downhill on my long gravel driveway, throwing the handlebars side to side as I peddled as fast as possible. I used to imagine having a real motor as I emulated my favorite racers from TV. Sometimes making the sounds of the motor with my mouth.

    Today, riding through this desert, I feel the exact same. I’m 25, but I feel 8 years old again. I have a real motor to make the sounds with now, and boy are they better. Picking up more speed my pupils dilate nice and wide, analyzing the track ahead. There's no time to see everything, just what is important. Large rocks, changes in surface texture, and the distinct patterns of soft deep sand. Obstacles quickly approach before flying by in a blur. Dreaming of my favorite racers I crank the throttle. The suspension jackhammering over the ground as I blast over whoops and power slide around corners. The tires fight to stay on the ground in a violent dance of traction and rebound, all orchestrated by the crank of my wrist and movement of my body. In my head I'm alone the deserts racing the Dakar, I crank the throttle more as I hunt for the perfect line, eager for every bit of speed. brraaaaaAAAAAAP.

    Much like my old rickety mountain bike, my motorcycle is far from a race-bread machine. What she is though is a dream bike, a bike that can take me places I've never been. Today, she's brought me exactly where I want to be, right here, flying down this dirt road. I'm a little kid again. Shit eating grin ear to ear. I love you bike.

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    After I got back to town I ate some tacos in the square. (Isn’t that the exact same guy from the day before, still reading??)

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    And had some cold beer.

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    This is now the third day I've been here in Mulege? Or is it the 4th?? I don't normally stay this long in a single town. I guess I did switch to the beach 10 miles south of town, yeah that counts as a move.

    I went back to the beach and sat.


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    Mangos are good here, and cheap. Nom nom nom.


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    I pulled the killer into the bike shop and stripped her down to get some work done. Switching to LED's in the back and need to wire in the new relay and lights. Digital RPM readout is gone too, should address that. Love working on bikes, this is a good spot to do it. Some tunes and sunset complete it.

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    I wake up the next day and knock on Cuervo’s motor-home door to see if he’s around. He has already been up for a while and is kayaking around the surrounding islands. He's left me a pot of warm coffee on the step. He's doing research on the local raven populations and taking general ecosystem metrics of the area. He's a naturalist both at heart and in his profession. He specializes in ravens and golden eagles. He's an endless book of information about the area and at 67 he has a very impressive resume, even having worked with Sir David Attenborough himself. He's booked out years in advance and still only has to work 4 months a year, mostly up in Oregon doing golden eagle research. The other 8 he's down here working on personal projects for himself, and in general, just having a good time. Sometimes he bicycles down when he's trying to stay in shape between bicycling seasons. He's made the trip from Madras to Playa Coyote and back 6 times via bicycle.


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    He’s a regular crocodile Dundee type character, fun guy. His hat has a raven feather and a stingray stinger in it.

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    I try to practice spanish for several hours every morning. Coyote Beach is perfect for it because there isn’t anyone else around to think I’m trying to speak to them. Eventually Cuervo comes in from his morning doings and pressures me to take his Kayak out around the islands for a study break.

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    There’s lots to see out there.

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    Several little island beaches that are always empty.

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    These shells are biiiiiig, this is one side of a shell, I got big neanderthal paws and this thing looks huge still.

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    Hang out for a bit, eat some lunch then leave.

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    It’s a pretty shitty way to go through the days. I should just go home. (Wait….where’s home again?)

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    Sometimes we get new neighbors, like this dutch couple. They converted a 30year old volvo military ambulance for their trip.


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    Sometimes clams are snorkeled for and eaten raw on the beach.

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    Or are cooked in the fire later.

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    Twice a week a baker drives in from town with pizzas for sale.

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    Whatever can be done to pass the time. Again and again taking the almost perfect road 10 miles back into town as the sun sets, sometimes with a purpose to get more food, or pick up beer. Sometimes for no purpose at all, just to enjoy the ride.

    It’s wonderful here in Mulege and Coyote Beach. This is a place that has a feeling that is hard to put your finger on, but having been lucky enough to grow up in a similar place, I am all too familiar with how rare it is. Time to move on though. Many good places to see, can’t get too attached to any one spot just yet. Tomorrow, back on the road and further south, to roads yet unridden and places unseen.

    Catch you later Mulege.

    [​IMG]










    #28
  9. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,066
    Location:
    Sandia Mountains New Mexico
    :clap
    #29
  10. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    I left Mulege and Coyote beach yesterday to find someplace new. Someplace further south and hopefully by some water. It feels good to be on the road, it feels productive in a very geographical way. It’s a productivity that is quantifiable. Sitting and relaxing is nice but there’s always more to see. I didn’t know where I was going to go but the main options were first Loreto, and then Ciduad Constitucion, along with any place I saw fit to camp in between.

    After I left Coyote it was only about an hour south on Mex 1 and then I hit Loreto. Loreto seems larger and more hip with the hippety-hop than Mulege.

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    It’s a beach town that is supposedly trying to become the next La Paz (which is the largest city in Baja Sur).


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    After being in the same area for a few days, moving an hour south was not satisfying my itch to ride and find something new. Ciudad Constitucion is another hour or so southeast and inland from Loreto. Inland? That means no water….no, no that will not do.

    My camera needs to be professionally serviced as I am now aware that every photo I have taken has a small round smudge in the upper center. I tried to disassemble it myself yesterday but it didn’t go very well. I must accept I can’t fix it and take it to a professional. Alright, La Paz it is.

    Doesn’t seem like there’s much between Loreto and La Paz on the map, this is infact correct. First you head straight for an hour or so towards Constitucion on Mex 1. The first 30 miles are great, twisty, turny, climby roads.

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    But don’t be fooled, as you will soon reach a plateau.

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    And after that plateau, it’s flat and straight, all the way to the middle of the Baja peninsula.

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    After a long straight stretch. There will be a slight turn which points you south. This minute change in body position brings with it much excitement and joy, for at this point you may, like me, find yourself hopeful that the endlessly flat and straight road, has given up on it’s sinister game, and died. But no. It lives on to torment you further, only now in the southeasterly direction for a couple hours.

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    Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttt these straight stretches are terrible. It’s funny how quickly riding a motorcycle can go from “this is the best thing in the world” to “sitting here going in a straight line for hours is the last thing I want to be doing right now”. My mind drifts, desperate for stimulation of some kind. Anything, please just anything. Giving in to the nothingness I stare off into space, slouched over the gas tank and handlebars, motor droning on at a steady high pitched hum….

    Next thing I know I’m through some military checkpoints and in La Paz though! Was I really just not paying attention for that long?

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    I found a nice hostel with locked parking for the moto and had some beers with the staff. They said they knew of a place I could probably take it tomorrow.

    The next day I awoke rested and showered. Fresh water rather than salt water to clean myself with? I feel like a new man. Or maybe I just don’t smell like the old one. I can’t take the camera to the guy until after 5pm because he’s doing me solid and working on it after hours. Hopefully this will get it done faster as well.

    Again I set out to criss cross the city and get a feel for it. There are roughly 250k people here I’m told. It feels bigger than any other place I’ve been too thus far in Baja, yet still has a smaller town vibe.

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    The beaches are really nice in town, but I heard they are even better outside of town about 16 kilometers. I went to find those ones and to scoot around on the bike.

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    Yes, they are in fact nice.

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    But there’s also dirt to be ridden!
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    And more beaches to find.

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    Alright time to go back so I can drop this camera off in time. Hopefully he can fix the smudge (see it up there on top of all the pics?)


    [​IMG]

    #30
  11. kosh

    kosh Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    dang dude... you are making me jealous. what's the mileage so far?
    #31
  12. kosh

    kosh Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    [​IMG]

    Also, the skeptical third world kid in me wanted you to see this.
    #32
  13. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    The shit we "people" do. I keep asking for directions to places and asking for the longer route or the dirt road. They look at you funny like "why?".

    I don't know how many miles so far (I didn't take note of what it was when I left) but I think around 3-4k. Taking my time poking along. You want to zip down on you rocket ship? I'll stock the fridge.
    #33
  14. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    220
    Location:
    Kingston / South Frontenac
    Keep it coming!!
    #34
  15. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    It’s the morning of 10/5 and I’ve been in La Paz now for 3 nights. This is a fun city. I’ve gotten a feel for it, met some people, and had a good time. This is a city that seems to have a bit of everything. You can have anything you want here, for the right price. Do you want a nice family vacation on the beach, or wild nights of debauchery? Maybe a historical getaway, or some time with the darker seedy underworld that quietly pulses throughout the city? If you look in the right places, it can all be had, and quite easily. This seems to be a Mexico thing.

    The Hostel where I’ve been staying is called Baja Backpacker. For anyone wanting to stay in La Paz, this is a great place. Typically priced for hostels in the city ($250 pesos per night, current exchange is about 12.5/1usd) but is very well run and very professional. The owners (Rick and Eva) are very helpful and great hosts. The location is a couple blocks from the typical bar grinds and food places.

    If you are traveling by moto there is also great gated parking.

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    The motos also can’t be seen from the street and there’s plenty of space for several bikes.

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    Time to head out though. I now have my camera fixed and am ready to roll. I haven’t seen the west coast since Ensenada, which was a couple weeks ago. I’m pretty close to the bottom of the Baja peninsula now and will be returning at some point to La Paz to catch a ferry to the mainland. At the bottom of the peninsula is Cabo San Lucas, I am told that it's a show of sorts and I can't leave without seeing it. Kind of like vegas, whether you want to see it or not, you have to go at least once. I like watching lots of shows, circus shows, freak shows. I even like to play a role in them every now and then. I’ll try anything once so might as well. Lots of other places to see on the way too Cabo as well.

    First stop, Pescadero. A small surf community near the larger town of Todos Santos. It’s about an hour or so drive. The road is nice and big to accommodate the hordes of people going to and from Cabo.

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    Just on the south side of the town of Pescadero is the Pescadero Surf Camp. This place is close to two of the best surf breaks in all of Baja, Los Cherritos and El Pedrito are both just down the road. The “camp” is basically a hostel designed around the idea that lot’s of surfers want to be here. It’s a rad place and only 10 bones a night if you are willing to camp.


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    Looks like the dutchies (Michele and Erica) got word of the place as well.

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    They have a pool for lounging.

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    The pool sports a swim-up bar that you can also bring your own booze to.

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    If you want to get all Gordon Ramsay on it there is also an open-air communal kitchen that has a full gas range.

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    They have a camping available so I took that. It doesn’t really seem like camping though. I pull my bike right inside.

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    The inside is big, with power and lights. $10 per night ain’t bad, ain’t bad at all.

    I went out to drive around the area and see what the town is like. First I went to take a look at the beach.

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    Then went out to drive around the little communities outside of town that all reside by the beach. There is a main area that has a network of dirt roads connecting all the houses.

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    Beautiful place to have a home and pass the days.

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    If you follow the roads as they wind around, between some of the houses closest to the beach will be little paths that lead down to the water. These beaches can be just as good as the main surf breaks, but are more remote.

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    Stomach is grumbling for some food. Don’t know what I want?


    Shiieeeeeet who am I kidding. I want me some TACOS.

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    Got back to the spot and kicked it at the swim up bar for a while. You can get BIG beers here for 24 pesos, which is less than $2. I ended up chatting with Michele (the dutch guy driving around in the sweet old Volvo war ambulance) for quite a while. Asking him about how his journey came about, what lead up to it, what (if anything) he plans to do next. I like asking other people about their lives and the experiences they’ve had. Him and his girlfriend have been traveling for about 7 months. They started by shipping their vehicle to the US from the Netherlands. They both resigned from good jobs in the Netherlands to go and explore. They gave up and sacrificed a lot for this trip. Through the ups and downs and inherent uncertainty of what will happen in the future for both of their lives, they are confident it’s been the right thing to do. We talked on and on about the prospect of starting over after the accounts run dry, politics in each of our countries, and what we think things will be like in the future. Really interesting guy to chat with.

    The next day I woke up and went straight down to the beach to surf for a bit. The wind is really low in the early morning and the water is less crowded. One of the locals let me use one of his boards for the morning which was sweet.

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    Not sure how long I’ll stay. Don’t really need to know either. This guys got the right idea.

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    #35
  16. buzzardair

    buzzardair terraqueous Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    307
    Location:
    Utah
    Great RR. I am enjoying it immensely. :clap
    #36
  17. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Glad to hear it. More coming.
    #37
  18. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Been hanging out at the Pescadero Surf Camp for a couple days now.

    I’ve explored the local areas.

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    Ate some damn fine tacos.

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    Adopted a new dog.

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    Michele got some work done on his whip.

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    I ate some more kick-ass tacos (this was all for only 44 pesos, less than $4)

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    And got a bit of lounging in.

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    Pescadero Surf Camp, you are a nice place. I like your chill atmosphere. I like your style. What I mean to say is, I really like you. But I also need to tell you something, you're great, but you're too comfortable. I'm a rambling man baby, and I need the unknown. I need excitement. I’m sorry, but I need the road. Goodbye for now, Pescadero.

    A girl I met in La Paz and her friend are celebrating her birthday in Cabo San Lucas tomorrow at the southern most tip of Baja. I’m going to meet up with them there. I need to get my dirt fix satisfied first though. I picked up the GPX track files for a section of the Baja 1000 race route that ends in Cabo. I can pick up the trail about 10 miles north of where I’m at now and then ride dirt all the way down to Cabo. Saweeeeet.


    I packed up my shit and headed north until the GPS told me it was time to get off the pavement and hit the dirt.

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    Right away I can tell taking this way to Cabo was the correct decision. This is going to be great.

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    The track is pretty remote, and runs north to south sort of near the Mex 1 hwy but a few miles inland from it. I shut my motor off to take a picture. It is beautiful and quiet here.


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    The first few miles are really pretty. The road is relaxing. Isn't this part of the Baja 1000? What’s so difficult about this section of the race? If I was unloaded I would flyyyyy down these roads, and I'm on a beater. They are nice and smooth, relatively solid. Seems perfect.

    Oh, that's more like it. As soon as I got cocky, I got stuck in a rut.

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    I’m still running my 16 tooth sprocket aren’t I? Maybe I should swap out for my smaller one if I’m going to be doing more of this... I guess now isn’t exactly the best time. I unloaded the bike a bit instead to get some weight off the rear. This did the trick and got her to the top.

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    The route crisscrosses a few other tracks.

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    Again I got cocky with the weight of the bike and spun out around a corner on a down-hill section. The bike hocky-pucked on the pannier and spun around 180 degrees before stopping. I’m familiar with ejecting off a small and light dirtbike, bit different getting free of this little piggy though. I was wondering when I would start getting into some decent off road and start coming off a bit. Maybe today will be the day.

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    Bent the shifter underneath the case. Metal was nice and hot so I carefully bent her back into a shiftable position. Back to work little lady.

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    It’s really pretty here.

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    And real dry.

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    And real hot.

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    There are lots of little creak beds running through the area. They are usually full of deep sand, and no water.

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    As I got further south the elevation started to climb and drop quite a bit. The terrain got a bit greener too.

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    I started seeing signs of inhabitants. A little old lady came out and stared at me after I took this picture. I waved. She looked at me like I was a martian. I waved again. She stared more confused. Maybe waving isn’t a universal thing anymore.



    [​IMG]

    More greenery, more elevation change.

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    The killer was getting tired and wanted another dirt-nap. This time she wanted it in deep sand.

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    Well shit, that’s fresh water right? Forgot what that looked like.

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    As I pushed further south the road opened up and hardened out. I could pick up the pace a bit. Hello horse.

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    Nevermind. More sand.

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    Like a junky diving into a pile of blow, my bike again couldn’t resist a lay-down in the soft stuff. This time she wanted me to lay with her and as she went into the sand she pinned my right leg underneath the right pannier. Glad I got these big SIDI boots. I pushed the bike up just enough with my left arm to reach around and awkwardly dig out the sand under my right leg with my other arm. Leg is perfectly fine. Good engineering SIDI. Get back to work bike, quit horsing around!

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    Is that a mirage, or is that pavement?

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    Yep pavement, hello Cabo.

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    Found the girls and the hostel. Hey Cabo, you like to party right?



    #38
  19. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    I would like to be able to say that I saw a lot of Cabo over the last two days. I would also like to be able to say that I took a lot of photos to share with you. Unfortunately, I’ve spent the last two days inebriated in one way or another and have thus taken zero photos, and everything that I did see, was seen through a hazy blurry filter. Luckily though, the girls that I met up with (Caszara and Ariane) are far more responsible than I, and they were able to juggle the adult task of both drinking and clicking a couple photos. Really though, we were only able to manage a few.

    I pulled into the hostel parking area and was greeted from the balcony by Ariane and Casz. “How was the ride? Hurry up and get cleaned up, we are grabbing drinks!” Get cleaned up? I only have 2 shirts anyways?

    Package deal for 2 margaritas, 2 shots of tequila, and 3 lobster tacos to get each of us started? Deal

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    We then continued the party at a series of locations. I started to pull out my amazing neolithic dance moves. The local women naturally loved it. So we partied more.

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    Went to bed eventually, then woke up and brushed off the last nights haze with more tequila and a dip in the pool.

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    Followed by yet more tequila, push-up challenges for buckets of beer, and wet t-shirt contests. Sorry guys, like I said, it was the girls taking photos, so we only get the push-up contest.

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    Rest was had eventually and my time in Cabo was complete.

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    This is a place where pretty much anything goes. It’s weird, funky, and fast paced. No matter what you pursue while here, eventually the stay goes by in a blur, one way or another. For most, it's not a long term destination. It's a place to be dabbled in, not a place to settle in. For me, I’ve stepped over and into the dark side for a bit. I even drank the cabo fever cool-aid, and let me tell you, it tasted pretty damn good. But what I’m left with is having my party itch scratched and I’m now ready to step back out of this weird alter-reality that is Cabo, and back into the real Mexico. I think I’ll head back to a place where there will be more locals than tourists. Maybe back to a place where the ATMs dispenses Mexican pesos rather than US dollar bills. Thanks for the good time Cabo, I’ve enjoyed my little vacation away from...well, my vacation. Now, back to Mexico.



    #39
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones AdventureDeficitDisorder

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,331
    Location:
    San Diego, not Mex, but I can smell it from here.
    I’m now ready to step back out of this weird alter-reality that is Cabo, and back into the real Mexico. I think I’ll head back to a place where there will be more locals than tourists. Maybe back to a place where the ATMs dispenses Mexican pesos rather than US dollar bills. Thanks for the good time Cabo, I’ve enjoyed my little vacation away from...well, my vacation. Now, back to Mexico.


    Well said. Vaya! :wink:
    #40