Baja Coda– Seven Days of Dirt

Day 5  cabo pulmo  7

This is the final installment from Alex Dunn’s bicycle adventures in Baja.  Read more about Alex’s journey in Baja aboard a Surly Big Dummy.

it’s already been nearly two weeks since i last wrote. the days really do blend together into one long, glorious bicycle ride. once i arrived in la paz i remained there for four days, for it is a place i hold dear to my heart – almost three years ago exactly i stayed in la paz for the better part of a month, stoking the fires of an old flame. she attended spanish school, while i did my usual wandering about. this time around i stayed again in my favorite hostel, pensión california, just a couple blocks off the malecón. i had to do some re-exploring, mainly sniffing out the best food vendors in the crowded streets and eating to my heart’s content. the beauty of bicycle touring is that one can indulge in rather obscene amounts of food, with no real concern or regrets, for food is fuel and much fuel is needed. i often find myself eating upwards of five or six full meals in a day, not including the various desserts; but of course, the dessert compartment has an entirely different capacity.

after much feeding and rest, as well as swimming with whale sharks and mingling with germans and canadians, i was ready to ride again. i had been throwing around different ideas for what routes to take on my last big ride down the peninsula. i had nine days until my flight to ecuador, which left me seven days for cycling if i wanted to play it safe – reserve time to decompress and disassemble my noble steed and put it in a bike box. what i really wanted was pure solitude. not just a day or two’s glimpse, but a real confrontation. i wanted to be alone with this great peninsula and say my goodbyes to the land and water that have benevolently guided me. i had already seen the western cape from my previous journey and i was itching to ride on dirt roads, so it only made sense to head east towards cabo pulmo.

late in the afternoon i finally left la paz, after waiting around for a few hours in a bike shop for the owner to deliver me a 2.35in tube. he eventually arrived with tube in hand, but of course it was a 2in tube – smaller than I cared for. he then rummaged in the back and finally found one of ample size, yet despite his inspection i discovered several small holes in the tube already. i promptly left in mild frustration for i didn’t really need this tube, it was only for piece of mind since all three of mine were littered with patches from goat head punctures. being that la paz was the last big city i was going to encounter, and has grocery stores which carry such rarities as nuts and berries, good coffee, and so on, i squandered a few more hours of daylight purchasing enough food to last me almost a week. at long last, i said adios to the hostel and it’s dueño and i was on my way.

pedaling east on carretera 286 was a sluggish, steady ascent for about twenty miles, peaking at about one thousand feet. the sun was beginning to dim but i was not anxious, for the descent was one of the more amazing things to behold. i could see san juan de los planes twenty miles off in the distance, the road reaching down and out in a perfect straight line from myself to the small town. i easily covered this distance in less than an hour. in los planes i filled my bottles and bladders with water, fourteen liters in all, and started out on the dirt road for boca del alamo. the sun was growing heavy and tired, and so was i. half way up the climb to the ridge line of the sierra la gata, i gave in and set up camp right there on the side of the road. i hadn’t yet encountered anyone and things were becoming quite steep and treacherous, so i figured i would not be bothered. here i had a wondrous view of the setting sun over los planes and the wide valley stretching out into the sea of cortez. as i cooked dinner ants and spiders swarmed my station and the lonely song of the coyote filled the air, but i didn’t care for i had john prine, hank williams, and townes van zandt to keep me company– men who make loneliness seem alright; they make it feel appropriate, or honorable even. and so i relished in my loneliness and sleep came easy, my dreams filled with a feeling of amity.

the next day’s dirt was precarious, yet gratifying, with climbs so steep i had to dismount and sudden descents that rattled me close to my own demise. i was periodically stormed by clouds of wasps, who seemed only to want to drink my sweat, no taste for flesh or blood. still, without revealing any sense of nervousness or trepidation, i could not help but feel a little wary inside for there were enough wasps to bring anyone into anaphylaxis. this only made me pedal faster and i reached the water’s edge quickly, arriving just north of boca de alamos in the early afternoon, roasting in the heat and swiftly turning on the first path i saw out to the water. i dumped my bike in haste and was immediately swimming in the ocean. the sun has only become hotter and hotter as i’ve traveled south, almost thwarting any desires to travel further once the early afternoon heat is upon me. after my swim i decided to camp in order to play guitar and reserve ample time for my sunset routine. as the light grew dim, manta rays began jumping out of the water twenty yards off shore, much like the salmon do of the northern pacific where I spend my summers. all through the night i could hear their large bodies slapping upon the surface over and over, either trying to rid themselves of parasites or loosening their eggs. they may also have been communicating or simply playing. apparently, this activity is still a great mystery to the many biologists who have studied them, just like the mystery of the salmon. i like this, when nature evades the scrutiny of humankind, when only our sense of magic remains to describe the world. we are infants stumbling upon a planet of creatures far older than ourselves.

in the morning i rose with the sun as always, yet i took my time. i am here to embrace the beautiful boundary of land and sea, not to hurry along to the next destination as so many bicycle tourists do. con despacio, con despacio had become my mantra. first i stretched, then drank coffee. next i played songs for myself, for the changing colors in the sky, and for the many saguaro cacti standing proud as they too looked out upon the sea and the wonder of the day unfolding. i packed up slowly and once ready i took a quick swim with the sword fish and puffer fish, to cool myself in preparation for the coming heat. and as expected the heat arrived. i skidded, slid and slithered along the mostly flat dirt for most of the day’s journey and it became quite unbearable to wear anything but my shorts rolled up and a bandana wrapped around my head, like a great naked bicycle pirate in the desert. for the few passing cars (mostly elderly white folk) i seemed to be quite a surprising sight to see – almost a bashful yet confusedly impressed look of shock they had on their faces. some of them even stopped their cars involuntarily, stunned and slack jawed, and i rang my bicycle bell and yelled yargh!– a sweaty, maniacal marauder on a strange two wheeled ship! and i loved it. anything to shock the old bald heads and white hairs. the heat was certainly going to my brain, and i needed to cool off quick. i decided to make this another short day and i stopped just south of punta pescadores to swim and drink the cold beer i purchased as i passed through cardinal. this beach wasn’t the best, and had the encroaching american retiree sprawl of los barriles just five miles southbut it was still beautiful and i was getting a little too picky in my search for ‘my own’ private paradise. it would have to do. i had neighbors camping a kilometer down the way, but they couldn’t hear my singing and hollering so i didn’t give a damn. more songs, more burritos, a deja vu baja sunset and the crystal clear light of the waxing moon. i drank my last beer then fell into a deep, blissful, oceanic slumber.

Pensión california  la paz

Saliendo la paz

Day 3  boca de alamo  3

Day 7  near punta gorda  4

Day 3  south of punta pescadores  2

Day 5  cabo pulmo

Day 4  cabo pulmo  4

i started early the following day since i had ambitions of reaching cabo pulmo by early afternoon. i was up and at it quickly, no time for traveling tranquilo like the last few days. i immediately rolled through los barriles, which certainly seems like a real paradise if one is old, has some money, likes to windsurf and doesn’t really know any spanish. at first i didn’t like the immediate transition from rural mexico back to american refuge – i could feel the imposing despondency of cabo san lucas already. although, after encountering my first little tienda in baja that carried all the vegetables and grains you would find at the local organic co-op in the united states of america, and witnessing the real happiness in the eyes of the aged couples as they motored around on their four-wheelers. with nothing to do but go from the villa to the beach to the bar and back, i began to understand. maybe if i make it to be as old as the hills and have a little cash stacked up, i’ll change my tune and i too will want to find a little piece of earth all safe and sound where the cold never comes, where the sun lights the way and nothing is ever urgent. i just don’t know if i’ll do it quite like this.

south of los barriles i couldn’t escape the two mile stretch of carretera 1 before turning back onto dirt around buena vista. about seven or eight miles later, just past la ribera i pedaled through a skeleton of what was going to be a cancun-like resort. thankfully, president calderón denied building permits last year after research could not prove that the project would not damage the neighboring reef system. out and around cerro los teso, i entered the cabo pulmo national park, home to the oldest of only three coral reef systems in the entire eastern pacific (around 20,000 years old). several hours later i arrived in the town of the same name right on schedule. as i rolled through this tranquil little pueblito of post tourist season dormancy i encountered several old ex-pat, resident windsurfers. but mostly, everyone else was local save for a few of the dive shop owners. as i meandered about i was approached by a young american man who liked my bike and said it reminded him of the extracycles he and his friends used to ride from the northern tip of alaska to tierra del fuego. his name was jacob and he turned out to be one of the ‘ridethespine.org’ crew, a blog i had indeed used as a reference as i designed my own long bike. the serendipity of our encounter grew as we realized we shared common friends in seattle as well, and he invited me to go on a snorkel tour of the coral reef with him and his girlfriend the following morning. naturally i accepted, then i headed off to look for my campsite – i was directed by the locals to a privately owned beach that spanned a few kilometers north of town. here i was all alone on a littoral of small stones, sparse bushes and thinly scattered cacti. two dogs, one that looked similar to my dog reina back home and had the very same demeanor, greeted me as i was clearing out a space for my tent. right away they attached themselves to me and became my guardians for the next two days, scaring off any creatures that came within one hundred yards of my new residence. they even slept right next to me. reina’s cousin made sure that our sides touched through the tent walls all through the night.

i awoke earlier than usual to break camp so i could make it back to town for the snorkel tour. we headed out in a small skiff and snorkeled around the electric reef, swam with sea lions, hawksbill turtles, and great whirlpools of jack. so many other various species of fish of the most vibrant colors, parrot fish, banded guitar fish, sword fish and moray eels. we then went out a few kilometers to where the manta rays were jumping, sometimes upwards of six feet in the air. for some reason we could not help but giggle every time we saw one jump out of the water – it was as though, with each attempt, they truly believed they were one step closer to flying up and away from this confounded ocean. really they were just awkwardly flailing. we dove off the skiff and beneath us there were thousands of rays, what seemed to be millions, flowing beneath us. the surface of the sea is a guise for a real ocean below. these waters were alive with manta.

after the tour i said goodbye to my new friends and headed back to my camp, my guardian dogs patiently waiting for my return. a pair of horses had also come by to visit, inspecting my bicycle and tent and grunting in approval. i napped, played guitar, then cooked us all a little feast of rice and beans, avocado, cheese and chorizo. i even gave my new amigos a little beer for we were in a celebratory mood – they were quite thankful. the sun fell and the moon rose, emitting a glow almost brighter than daylight, and i could hear the pleasant sounds of the mantas practicing for take-off all through the night.

the next day i pedaled only twenty miles to punta colorada, about half way from cabo pulmo to san jose del cabo. nonetheless, at a pace of no more than six miles an hour this was a long four hour journey. the road was more like riding on the sandy beach and the sun had grown hotter, larger and more oppressive– a challenging and strangely euphoric combination. drink, sweat, pedal. my thoughts were no longer. i acknowledged the flora around me, the large white clouds hanging sparsely overhead, nothing more. if there were cars that passed my way, i cannot say. by circumstance this had become zen bicycle meditation– feet on pedals, wheels spinning round.

i awoke from my practice in the middle of an arroyo, hard packed dunes rising fifteen to twenty meters all around me. i followed the arroyo out towards the sea where it faded into the soft sand of a lonesome beach and i knew i was somewhere near punta colorada because despite my previous exercise in letting go, the words boca de la vinorama (a nearby rancho) hung lightly in my recent memory. there were five palapas or so along the water’s edge and no signs of humans, only a small house sitting atop a short plateau a few kilometers away. this was the ideal spot for my last night camping on the baja peninsula. i parked my bike underneath a palapa, dropped my shorts and dove into the surf. i swam well past the breaking waves and floated on my back, staring up at the drifting clouds. my ballad of cortez quietly played, fading into the pacific ocean here at the mouth of the gulf of california– the end of the sea of cortez. i had made it and i could care less if i pedaled to the famed arch at cabo san lucas– the geographical tip of the peninsulaa goal such as that would be existential regression. and so i smiled and said goodbye.

Day 4  south of punta pescadores  2

Day 5  cabo pulmo  5 reina s cuz

Day 6  south of cabo pulmo 3

Day 6  south of cabo pulmo 2

Day 6  south of cabo pulmo

Day 7  near punta colorada  3

Day 7  near punta colorada

Dreams of Cortez: San Ignacio to Loreto

Punta arena  bahía concepción 3

“the phosphorescence exploded in response to our every movement like great flashes of diffused lightning. entranced and electrified by the alluring phenomena, our witching hour began – running in circles, kicking, splashing and howling like great coyotes of the sea. small fish darting all about, leaving trails of glowing light, fading into the dark waters. our companions, our mates back on the shore had no idea what they were missing as they receded into the dying embers of consciousness. we too heard the call of sleep.”

Punta arena  bahía concepción 5

amidst the sounds of palm fronds brushing and pelicans diving for fish along the banks of the small river, the dream of san ignacio comes to an end. the sun rises, again. the two burros on the property have been eating the bark of the date palm and its fallen fruit that lay just beside our tent. awake– startled by their grunts and grinding teeth.  it is a strange and menacing sound when heard so nearby, hidden in the darkness. my first movement– an attempt to peer out at my devourers– spooked them instantly and the sound of their frightened hooves trailed off into the distant grove. and so i smiled, and climbed out of the tent to wait for the coming light. salutation.

the sky turned a blaze orange– the color of a burning flame.  i rekindled the previous night’s coals and made coffee. mario arrived moments later, for he wanted to say goodbye before we continued to ease our way eastwards, back out to the sea of cortez. cheerfully, he hung around as we ate our breakfast and packed up our camp. con abrazos fuertes, we experienced yet another happy, grateful farewell – a recurring event on this voyage through the ephemeral.

the highway steadily climbed eastward for a slow twenty five miles. no wind. from there, around the southern base of volcán las tres virgeneswe were afforded a pleasant, calm descent out and and away from the proud volcano. the next twenty miles were flat and easy, before an abrupt drop straight to the edge of the sea. we then skirted the dirty beach north of santa rosalíapast a massive copper mine and the town’s disregarded trash site. fortunately these were both hidden out of view, in the shadow of the high plateau, when we approached from the west. the early evening sun painted the sullied outskirts of town in a warmth of golden light– inviting light– helping to make things a little more presentable. of interest though, is the fact that the old mining facilities (built by the french when they founded the city in the late 1800s) were never dismantled and one can see old locomotives, great furnaces and other giant steel structures all about the town itself. the french influence is apparent, though it dresses itself in a dignified mexican garb. and rumor has it that the ordinary, unimpressive church near the center is argued to have been built by gustave eiffeli don’t really see the argument, but such a claim to fame must be good for the shop keepers, restauranteurs, and hotel staff. so be it.

we checked into a cheap, dingy hotel and went about the town, wandering through tight streets and bustle. we found a nice restaurant offering whole baked chickens at a reasonable price, and by chance shared a meal with a group of english cyclists (one canadian) whose paths we briefly crossed the night before in san ignacio. we ate wholeheartedly then bid them adieusure to see them along the road. after many scoops of ice cream, a deserving fat-filled retort to such a protein-rich dinner (our bodies crave such things most, for our calories have been reduced to mere bicycle fuel). a deep slumber immediately fell upon us.

Leaving san ignacio

Descending into santa rosalia

Santa rosalia

as always i arose at dawn, and went out into the streets to look for potential breakfast. everything was boarded up and closed, the town still sleeping. i returned and cooked our porridge and coffee on the alcohol stove in the hotel foyer. erin awoke as breakfast was readied and we ate quickly, eager to ride south.

luckily for us there was a large windstorm that day, and it was blowing fiercely towards our destination – south to mulegé! another beautiful day at ease, traveling fast, pedaling little. we sailed along the coast through piercing light: through large open seas of suguaro cacti, silhouetted from behind in green shades of black and by mountains pressed against the burning blue sky. the morning passed – even time was consumed by the incendiary nature of the sun and wind.

without much effort, we arrived in the fishing town of mulegéweary and burnt dry by the incessant rays. but we felt good. we felt accomplished. we rolled unworriedly through town, another desert oasis divided by a meandering river, set slightly inland from the sea. another oasis, another mission, another expat hideout. we rolled through narrow corridors of shops filled with curios, blankets and hammocks to the eastern edge of the town center and parked our bikes in a small park across from a taqueria. at that very moment our cycling comrades from santa rosalía came wheeling to a halt alongside us. we escaped out of the sun and shared pork tacos, really just baskets of delicious pig with tortillas and different salsas. it was the only option on the menu that day, but it was certainly satisfying when coupled with ice cold cerveza. it’s amazing to me, the rarity of vegetables at any restaurant or taco joint in this country. just meat, beans, rice, tortillas, salsa. but some how, they still maintain a magical sense of variance.

after lunch our new friends were headed further to the mouth of bahía concepción, but i was tired and needed to write and to purchase a plane ticket to ecuador. i was beginning to feel my proximity to the tip of this great peninsula, and i needed to figure out what to do when i got there. we wished them well with hopes to reunite, and then went off to find an inexpensive hotel. i consummated my further plans for post-baja vagabonding and we went out for dinner – an unfinishable amount of pizza, pared with free spaghetti. quite an odd pairing, but sometimes it’s best not to ask and just eat. after flan and full bellies, another day was at its end. mulegé.

Mulegé

Mulegé 2

Punta arena  bahía concepción

Inside punta arena

Inside punta arena 2

in the morning we awoke, packed our bikes, and leisurely departed for bahía concepción. we planned to ride only some fifteen miles and search for camp along the white sandy beaches. after ten miles of inland riding we turned off onto a dirt road a pedaled out to punta arena, where the road met the bay and traced the water’s edge. the bay was an enchanting teal, a glowing neon green, or some color unnameable. the road turned to large stones, kindly sprinkled with goatheads, or devil’s thorns, named by the laughing, conniving gods of cortez. their prickly spines would give me grief for the week to come as i periodically fixed flats and found remnants of thorns previously unseen. what a damned evil way to spread one’s seed.

luckily, as long as i didn’t pull the spines out, my tires held air. we meandered on around the point, turning into a smaller bay named playa santiscpac, butted up against the highway. the picturesque beach was perfectly lined with rv’s, efficiently packed side by side from one end of the cove to the other. this same scene can be experienced at each and every one of the beautiful beaches along the western side of the legendary bahia. on every patch of soft sand along the water accessible by four wheels, there will be found a multitude of expats living out their dreams of final escape, yet nestled within the confines of the western world they can’t do withoutgiant satellite antennae maintain a constant connection (wouldn’t want to miss a game! ), skiffs, quads, dirt bikes, everything motorized; and a right minded person certainly wouldn’t want to leave home without a lazy-boy. nevertheless, many set up their tents alongside heaps of excess, in attempt to still feel like they are camping– roughing it. these little ‘campgrounds’ become little americas in the end, creating an unsavory paradox, a strange almost disturbing juxtaposition of industrialization stamped upon a seemingly pristine setting.

it is my fortitude to accept these surroundings as a fleeting experience, still beautiful in its own way. the power of letting go. we would also find that the far end of the cove harbored a secluded mangrove where we could camp, far enough away from the motorized masses. in doing so, we were once again, almost serendipitously reacquainted with our fellow cyclists of the past few days. they too, had discovered our mangrove hideaway the night before, and decided to take a rest day on the beach. they invited us to share their camp and to join them for dinner at a little shack by the road exiting the highway. we set up the tent, walked off into the warm coming night, and sat down to an exquisite dinner of fresh fish fried in garlic butter, battered scallops, and margaritas so strong they were really just large bowls of tequila.

following our gluttonous, yet justifiable feast, we returned to camp, built a fire, and moved on to a bottle of rum (by demand of the english of course). sitting around the flames, half of our camp grew tired while the rest of us enjoyed music and composed revelry. out of habit, as i have always been one for a good midnight swim, our new friend mark, erin and i shed our clothes in the black and ran out into the shallows of the bay. the tide was low, so we were able to wade quarter mile from shore, the phosphorescence exploding in response to our every movement like great flashes of diffused lightning. entranced and electrified by the alluring phenomena, our witching hour began – running in circles, kicking, splashing and howling like great coyotes of the sea. small fish dart about, leaving trails of glowing light fading into the dark waters. our companions, our mates back on the shore had no idea what they were missing as they receded into the dying embers of consciousness. we too heard the call of sleep.

at dawn, we awoke to say goodbye to our new allies of the road – they were off for loreto. shame they could not slow down and experience the southern reaches of the bay con despacio. erin and i would remain at this sequestered camp, swimming, napping, reading, playing old folk tunes on the guitar, plainly walking around barefoot in the sand with no real objective. at night we waltzed back to the restaurant for dinner, and while eating, a surprising thundershower came pounding upon the tin roof – a powerful monsoon. we waited it out for a while, but fearing it would last all night we ran through the rain, immediately soaking ourselves silly. it was only seven o’clock, but we had nothing to do but strip off our wet clothes and hop into our sleeping bags. about ten minutes into my book, by the exact nature of a monsoon, the rain stopped. dead quiet. night. it never returned.

we awoke from a long night’s rest in a different dark. sunrise. fire. breakfast. a happy routine. we then gathered our things and pedaled on in search of a more remote location to camp further south along the bay. the road was a serpentine dream, gently winding about in and around modest points, never really climbing, never really falling, never really lying flat or straight. we stopped at isla requesón for lunch, and the tide was out so we could walk across the thin spine of sand, out to the island itself. we waded in the waters to cool ourselves from the baking sun, and happened upon a few scallops, so tenacious and determined in their attempt to remain rooted. after a valiant effort we pulled them free, immediately searching for more. soon, we had quite an excellent addition to the night’s dinner. we cracked them open, cut out the meat and saved them in a bag for later.

back on the road, lost in such a dream the minutes and the miles slipped away. soon we found ourselves at the bottom of the giant bay. we had heard that there was an abandoned rv site close by, deserted in the early 90’s once the proprietors decided the wind too strong and the beach too ugly for their taste. not enough diamond white sand i suppose, and the road was frequently getting washed out, too difficult for large motoring behemoths to traverse. perfect for us, and sure enough we found it. km 76, a good day’s ride from loreto. we opened the gate, closed it behind, and rode about a mile out to the forsaken grounds. it was only a skeleton of an rv site, the best there is, naked bones of an ambitious plan thwarted by the mighty forces of nature. there was no one around. we found ourselves the best shelter from the wind, set up the tent and collected stones from used fire pits. watching a vibrant setting sun, we cooked dinner as the stars crept sheepishly out of the fading hues. this would be erin’s last night camping. in just two days she would be on a plane back to portland, oregon. and I– residing, contented, far off within a distant desert dream.

Bahía

Isla requesón

Bahía concepción 3

Callo  scallops

Deserted rv camp ground  km 76

Deserted rv camp ground  km 76  2

Deserted rv camp ground  km 76  4

Deserted rv camp ground  km 76  8

Deserted rv camp ground  km 76  5

one last pot of cowboy coffee in the baja light of dawn. one last breakfast burrito and empanadas cajeta. one last time to load the panniers. erin’s last ride would be one of the more memorable rides of the trip, both symbolically and visually. after the stout climb in the beginning, the majority of the highway led us through vast swathes of suguaro forests set against the mountainous backdrop of the sierra la giganta. there were few other vehicles throughout the day, and a gentle cool wind at our backs fought the ceaseless infernal sun. the final descent was slow and perfect, and loreto could be seen from miles away, projected far off onto a distant screen, slowly coming closer and into focus.

we arrived with a couple hours of light remaining, and we rode satisfied and serene through town and out to the malecón. the wind at the shore was violently blustery and we could see that much of the beach had been destroyed by a hurricane two months before. the malecón itself was being rebuilt, slowly. another stroke of good fortune and we found a nice cabana at the south end of the road for dirt cheap because of the construction. this didn’t bother us because we had a swanky little home now with many sconces, modern art, a full kitchen, dining table, living room quarters and a master bedroom. this was a wonderful place for erin to spend the last of her time. we made new friends with an alaskan couple and their two year old daughter, and had maybe the most unrivaled mexican food thus far for dinner. the next day we rode several miles out to the airport in search of a bike box only to find the airport empty – no flights scheduled that day. no matter, for a stove box from the appliance store worked just fine. for her last meal we barbecued fresh shrimp with pineapples and mushrooms and prepared a decadent guacamole. we even shared absinthe with the ever amiable man who manages the cabanas. we grew tired. in the morning, she flew away.

-a

End of the bay

Bahía concepción

Nuge s last ride  a loreto 3

Nuge s last ride  a loreto

Nuge s last ride  a loreto 5

All packed up

“there was no one around. we found ourselves the best shelter from the wind, set up the tent and collected stones from used fire pits. watching a vibrant setting sun, we cooked dinner as the stars crept sheepishly out of the fading hues. this would be erin’s last night camping. in just two days she would be on a plane back to portland, oregon. and I– residing, contented, far off within a distant desert dream.”

Volcán

All words and images: Alex Dunn.  See his other posts in this archive.

Friends and Desert Oases, Baja California

Arriving san ignacio 2

“…listening to the stars pass by, and reminiscing of our past week together. we would miss our new friends. we would miss them greatly. but the road keeps on going.”

Ancient bicycle hieroglyph

waking just before dawn, but too cold to move, we lay in wait for the heat of the sun. once warmed up and well fed, we headed on again down the rest of the dirt road, some fifteen miles to chapala. we reached highway one around noon, had lunch at the junction, then continued on. it was nice to be back on pavement. nice to finally cover some ground. we pedaled into twilight and stopped at the turnoff for bahia de los angeles to look for dinner. i arrived first and a twenty four hour truck stop was the only apparent option. parking my bike outside i was welcomed by two six year old boys, cousins, intrigued by my nordic girth. i kidded with them for i was about a foot taller than the doorway, before entering to meet the mother and daughter who ran the place. they had a small cafe with one table and offered to cook us food, but first they insisted on us setting up our tents behind their house. the woman had the little boys show us where we could camp and we set up and changed into warm, dry clothes.

dinner has never been better. simple quesatacos, or quesadillas really, with beans, cheese and carne asada with salsa. we filled our bellies and drank iced cola after iced cola, followed by many cups of hot chocolate and coffee. after a good night rest we returned for breakfast – what we all agreed was the absolute best juevos rancheros any of us has ever had. we thanked our hosts ever so greatly for their hospitality and back on the road we went. from there we rode to guerrero negro (it was decided not to follow the dirt road to bahia de los angles due to conflicting feelings about dirt roads, as well as their ill affect on limited schedules – oh well, i’ll get more chances in the weeks to come). the paved road was pure desolation. nothing to see, not even a cactus or a bump on the earth, just low lying shrubs and barren isolation. guerrero negro is nothing to write home about either – an unattended town of 14,000 that happens to be the worlds largest salt producer, and one of the largest grey whale sanctuaries. despite these accolades, it is a dirty, windblown place sadly worn by exploitation. the ninety miles or so from there to san ignacio is more of the previous highway. more nothing and more wind. so much aggravating wind. so much that we only made it half way and had to camp in viscaino. the next day was just the same. the only redeeming aspect of this ride was the common courtesy of the few cars that passed. much like all the roads south of northern baja (ensenada), the cars are few and the drivers, even the semi trailers, slow down, give a wide berth, and honk while holding up the peace sign.

Close to champala

Junction bahia LA

Junction bahia LA 5

Lil pisser

Arriving san ignacio

upon reaching the hill above san ignacio around four in the afternoon, we stopped to rest and discuss whether or not to stay the night or camp past town. unable to make up our minds we decided to first ride through and visit the old mission while we still had an hour or so of day light. descending into san ignacio we realized we had entered a true oasis far more beautiful than we had imagined – large groves of date palms lining a beautiful river filled with various species of ducks and pelicans. nestled tightly in a rich, fertile valley, it’s hard to remember the barren desert that surounds it on all sides. time seemed to stand still as we rolled along the river towards the town center and the famed church, misión san ignacio, built by jesuit missionaries in 1728. Constructed of lava bricks, the church is quite impressive. Walking slowly around the church courtyard and basking in the last rays of the setting sun we were approached by a man who couldn’t help but admire our bikes. He also appreciated the fact that we seemed truly interested in the church, that we were not just passing through quickly to take pictures and move on like the motoring types. his name was also mario and he worked at the mission. he offered to take us to the top of the church, something few people get to experience, in exchange for a donation. we agreed and he led us up an narrow, winding staircase, through the bell tower and out onto the rooftop where we had resplendent views of the beautiful land around us. we soon told him of our need to find camp and he told us not to worry – he had a property along the river that he takes care of for some ex pats. we promptly followed him back down the road alongside the river. after crossing the river we turned onto a dirt road, eventually coming to a stop one kilometer further. mario opened the gate to the property and led us to the sandy river bank where we could set up our tents and build a fire. he helped us gather wood, started our fire and made sure we were all content before leaving. we joked that from here on out, every town we arrive in we must ask for mario, for he is the kind man who will show us to our own magnificent beachfront paradise.

this would be our last night with our german companions for erin and i wanted to take a days rest and enjoy the splendor of this wondrous place. we cooked a feast of fresh guacamole, rice and beans, chorizo and chiles, fresh tortillas. more of the same mexican deliciousness. we then stayed up drinking beer and tequila, listening to the stars pass by, and reminiscing of our past week together. we would miss our new friends. we would miss them greatly. but the road keeps on going.

-a

San ignacio 3

San ignacio 5 1

San ignacio 2

San ignacio 8 1

San ignacio 9 1

San ignacio 7 1

“…more nothing and more wind. so much aggravating wind. so much that we only made it half way and had to camp in viscaino. the next day was just the same. the only redeeming aspect of this ride was the common courtesy of the few cars that passed. much like all the roads south of northern baja (ensenada), the cars are few and the drivers, even the semi trailers, slow down, give a wide berth, and honk while holding up the peace sign.”

San ignacio 4 1

All words and images: Alex Dunn.  All of his other posts can be found here.

South from San Felipe, Baja California Nord

Close to champala 4

“we gathered wood for the fire. ocotillo. mesquite. elephant tree. once ablaze we cooked fixings for hearty burritos of rice, beans, tuna, queso fresco, chiles and salsa. i decided it was time to cut some weight and crack open the nice bottle of tequila i had purchased for christmas. carsten and reiner were delighted by my surprise and we stayed up for hours drinking, smoking tobacco, and sharing stories.”

Punta willard 2 1

This is the third post in an ongoing series from writer, rider, musician and photographer Alex Dunn.  The most recent excerpt from travel in Baja can be found here, entitled “Oye Amigo!– Ensenada to San Felipe”. His first post, “Big Dummy”, details his Surly Big Dummy longtail bike and the first leg of his ride from San Francisco to San Diego.  Dig in!

christmas day. i swapped my tires from front to back since the rear had been wearing twice as fast, and did an oil change on the rohloff speedhub for good measure – now it shifts quite smooth. It’s good to be a little fastidious out on the road i suppose. good for a clean conscience at least.

erin and i decided we would head out of san felipe for puertecitos, despite the warnings to avoid drunken christmas drivers. we wagered that most people would actually be drunk and stuffing themselves on holiday feast at home with family, not driving around inebriated on a road to nowhere. we were also starting to get a little restless in the city sand, though very grateful for the chance of repose. so off we went in the late morning, quietly pedaling through the silent, vacant streets. past closed storefronts, the empty beach off the malecon, and out of town. it seems our drunken compatriots of the road were merely figments of a proud boast of communal deprecation. we encountered maybe four or five vehicles the entire 50 miles or so – all seemingly sober and unhurried.

the road was practically ours – mile after mile of smooth pavement like low rolling waves. the hot wind blew so fierce at our backs that pedaling was more of a charade, our bicycles more like giant sails pulling us forward down the highway. we really hadn’t to crank much at all and arrived in puertecitos in about 3 hours, quite impressive for such a heavy vehicle as mine. the sun soon began to touch the top of the dusty hills as we set up the tent beside some palapas in the bay, and after camp was made we rode up over the point to the hot springs. the springs themselves are actually tidal pools that change temperature as the tide comes in and goes out, requiring you to move pools as the water becomes too cold or too hot. we soaked that evening in a long, narrow slit at high tide with a young couple currently touring around baja and some mexican soldiers who had just been monitoring the springs from a house up the hill. tony has been riding his motorcycle around the united states and canada for the past year and now is venturing through mexico and beyond – his girlfriend follows him in her truck, with the comforts of a bed, a kitchen and true companionship. quite a nice set up really. his photos can be seen at http://www.intotheblueagain.com.

rising in the morning to yet another beautiful sunrise, we decided it best to spend the day in puertecitos soaking our tired bones in the thermal pools and relaxing (as if the life we lead is anything but). after a long breakfast of our usual porridge (oats, flaxseed, almonds, cranberries), fresh papaya (cuban), and several cups of coffee, we went back to the pools where we remained until sundown. while soaking i shared beer and conversation with an oceanographer from ensenada named juan. juan was there on a week vacation with his three beautiful children, camping on the beach two kilometers south. he was impressed with my endeavor and with my spanish and offered to get me more beer with his truck. realizing he had finished his last bottle, he drove off to the market and returned with several different mexican beers he wanted me to try. as we lay in the pools with his children, sharing an intercambio of spanish and english he asked what my dinner plans were. i replied that erin and i had no real plans as always, so he invited us to come to his family’s camp where he would cook us hamburguesas, papas fritas, chorizo verde (quite rare actually, compared to red chorizo), chili rellenos, and of course mas cerveza y tequila! certainly we inclined to do so, and once the night fell upon us we rode off to find their camp. the dinner and company were perfect and magical, as we shared food, drinks, laughter and traded more english and spanish.

this experience was just another prime example of the many acts of kindness and hospitality we have experienced in baja thus far. i have been thinking much lately about all the horror stories i’ve heard of kidnappings, thievery, rape, and whatever else a person of high anxiety can imagine. and i’ve realized that they all have been from people who know little to no spanish at all. it is quite practical, almost critical really, to have some sort of grasp of the language that is spoken in the land that you travel. or at least display a desire to learn. if you cannot connect, how do you know whether or not someone is offering you their generosity, or if they have an ulterior motive? it is no wonder that such a barrier only leads to misinterpretation and apprehension. you also may come across as self important and superior, alienating yourself and possibly being taken advantage of. people are people and the beautiful ones exist everywhere – baja is full of them. the world is full of them. common sense and compassion go far.

as our fogata turned to embers and our bellies tiredly full, we said our goodbyes, gave thanks and abrazos and rode back to our camp – no need for lights, for a full moon hanging from the clear black sky is the best lamp of all. before bedding down we stared up at the stars and relished in our great fortune. experiences like these are what sparks a lust for life.

On the way to puertecitos 2

Nuge

Puertecitos

Puertecitos springs 2

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Puertecitos to gonzaga

First day dirt from gonzaga 3

Porridge and papaya

First day dirt from gonzaga

First day dirt from gonzaga 2

morning. another perfect sunrise. porridge, fruit, coffee. bliss. will this ever end? just as i was finishing my breakfast a tall german man came strolling down the beach and approached me in such confident gaiety. he introduced himself as carsten and said that he and his best friend reiner had arrived themselves by bicycle the night before. they had started in san diego ten days prior and were headed south for the next two weeks. we talked of our mutual plans while looking at the map and he inquired if we should like to camp with them later that night. of course we welcomed the offer, though they were already prepared to leave and we still needed to wash up, pack, relax a little more.

shortly after, we said goodbye to puertecitos and peddled south again, up ample climbs immediately followed by wonderful descents with immaculate vistas. the wind was calm and the pace was steady over forty five miles of new, open pavement. we passed the german cyclists early on and played leap frog with them throughout the day, as each of us stopped frequently to take in the wide open expanses of the desert foothills falling gently into the sea of cortez. the pavement dropped off five miles before bahia gonzaga, and the sun hung heavy in the west. as we reached the crest of the last hill at punta willard a man in a truck came barreling along the dirt road, sliding to a sudden stop in front of us. he hopped out of the small pickup with his little chihuahua named daisy, yelling buenas tardes bicicleros!  he introduced himself as mario and asked where we were headed, from where we were coming, and related stories of his own adventures as a long distance runner and avid hiker (he claimed to have run the 50 mi from san felipe to bahia gonzaga many times, and to have hiked across the peninsula as well). he spoke little english, but was of course enthused by my grasp of spanish and he was he wildly excited by our bicycle exploits. he was headed to ensenada for four or five days but offered first to lead us a few miles out to his beachfront property where we could stay as long as we wanted and even enjoy his guest house (an airy trailer with no running water and a few broken windows). we abandoned ourselves to his offer and followed him out to the property just as the sun slipped away, trading its attention with the fast rising moon. he was quick to show us around, give hugs and wish us well before he and daisy jumped back into his truck and sped off in haste. mystified and elated by our unexpected gift, we set up camp wearing giant smiles, reiner whistling all the while.

after camp was made we gathered wood for the fire. ocotillo. mesquite. elephant tree. once ablaze we cooked fixings for hearty burritos of rice, beans, tuna, queso fresco, chiles and salsa. i decided it was time to cut some weight and crack open the nice bottle of tequila i had purchased for christmas. carsten and reiner were delighted by my surprise and we stayed up for hours drinking, smoking tobacco, and sharing stories. the two of them had met in boy scouts in germany and have remained best friends ever since. both of them are forty eight years old, but started cycletouring together at the age of twenty eight – for the past twenty years they have cycled in a new part of the world (pakistan, ethiopia, uganda, papua new guinea, iceland…) for their four weeks of winter vacation. i like to think that they have always ridden side by side, just as i would come to find them without fail over the following week.

as we continued to add wood to the fire, we returned to the topic of language as i discussed before. and as we delved deeper, we came to the language of the bicycle. our great benefactor mario was obviously connected to me via our ability to converse in spanish, but he was also linked to all of us through our means of conveyance. he was impressed with our desire to navigate a foreign land by method of such self sufficiency. we are not isolated within fast moving cars, nor reliant on the help of others as backpackers most often are. and though we move about on our own accord, our speed is such that we truly experience the roads, the land, the people that surround us. this is something that carsten and reiner said they have always experienced in every country they have toured. even if they can’t speak the language, people are always kind and generous and widely affected by the nature of the bicycle itself. so i say this – get out of your fast moving cars, strap your backpack to your bicycle, and engage in the land that you travel!

-a

Close to champala 3

Close to champala 2

20 year old trangia  german s

Coco s

Champala

“…as we delved deeper, we came to the language of the bicycle. even if they can’t speak the language, people are always kind and generous and widely affected by the nature of the bicycle itself. so i say this – get out of your fast moving cars, strap your backpack to your bicycle, and engage in the land that you travel!”

Long distance

All words and images: Alex Dunn

Coming soon: A good look at Coco’s Corner. Back to pavement and at long last, a desert oasis.

Oye Amigo!– Ensenada to San Felipe

Cañon la calentura 3

“…made me feel i had finally found what the hell it was i didn’t know i was looking for down in this godforsaken land.”

Highway 3  3

hey buddy -

just got into san felipe yesterday (staying at costa azul hotel on the beach for two nights for a much needed descansa and holiday treat), camped last night in a weird rv/camping site called las playas del sol (6 km from town) where a bunch of retired old folks think it would be nice to have a home away from home amongst some nice dirt and propped up mobile homes.  we were recommended to stay there by an elderly couple from victoria, british columbia, and their description was much nicer than actuality.  we stayed under some palapas and had the place to ourselves, and no one was around in the evening to accept our 15 bucks, nor were they there in the morn.  the view was spectacular and the residents were more than nice, but the communal amenities were rather sparse and dirty.  glad it was free.

prior to that we stayed at cayote cal’s for two nights, one night camping and the second inside due to crazy winds that were about to rip my tent in half.  the hostel was great, but the owner rick was a total arrogant ass.  it’s too bad his manager lulu (whom we met just upon departure) wasn’t there while we were, for she would have made the stay infinitely nicer.  rick seemed to be much more impressed by cycles with motors than ones powered by bi-peds, though he doesn’t ride himself for the great fear of falling.

the ride from coyote cal’s along highway 1 to the turnoff for cañón la calentura was made quite difficult and slow by an incredible side wind.  we went two miles past the turnoff before asking a farmer for directions, turned around and went back to the military checkpoint where we had semi-nervously passed the unmarked farm road.  the soldiers laughed but were impressed with our endeavor and happily directed us on our loco path.  after making it about ten miles down the sandy road we dipped off and hid in the bushes of a little slot canyon.  only a few cars passed in the night and we fell asleep under stars and silence.

the next day proved to be one of the more beautiful, yet challenging riding days i’ve ever had – those thirty miles of dirt were even tougher than the ninety mile push from hollywood to laguna beach.  such a beautiful way to travel, biking in solitude and dirt (reminded me of edward abbey’s proclamation to allow only feet, bikes, and hooves as a means of travel through national parks).  we only encountered two trucks passing, and a few men on horseback, nothing more but swirling sand and gusts of wind in the high desert.  the climbs were intense but the views were more than rewarding, made me feel i had finally found what the hell it was i didn’t know i was looking for down in this godforsaken land.

we finally reached the top of the pass and descended into a high, dried up lake bed where we started to run low on water.  close to the top of our last climb a truck came barreling down the road towards us and i stood with hand up, desperate to confirm our proximity to civilization.  the truck stopped and in confusion and awe, the four seemingly sketchy old fellows told me ten to fifteen more kilometers.  i waived them on and we immediately collapsed by the side of the road and stuffed our bellies with all the fats and sugars we had – even took big “nicholas carman” gulps of agave nectar, straight shot of glucose to the blood stream.  drinking the last of our water and high as kites we crested the final hill and could see lázaro cárdenas off in the distance.  the next eight miles or so were beautiful, slowly rolling down the washboard dodging frequent patches of what seemed like quicksand.  as we reached the ranchos outside of valle la trinidad, exhausted and parched, we had to evade quite a few packs of angry guard dogs – which proved rather difficult and frightening as we slid through the wash and repeatedly had to stop to throw rocks to ward them off.

finally, we reached valle la trinidad as the sun set and by luck rolled right into a nice, cheap hotel in the center of the quiet little pueblito of sand.  steaming hot showers, the best tacos of my life, a six pack of dos equis and twelve churros were my ultimate resolve for such a tedious day of pedaling.  the man and woman who ran the taquería asked if we were there just a year or two ago – was that you nick and lael?  I said no but told them of our recent adventure, and the man said we were ambitious fools for having ridden and camped on that road for only outlaws and bandits traveled through there, assaulting anyone else who tried to pass.  in retrospect maybe those men in the truck i stopped where crazy banditos who were too befuddled by my giant dirty bike and self to really think of assaulting me.  or maybe they wouldn’t have deemed any cyclist as worthy prey.  or maybe they were simply old cowboys headed to a dusty ranch and that taco man’s worries only reflected a universal fear that many have of remote places.  i take the latter.

rising early to thaw our milk for the morning’s coffee, we packed up and headed north of town where the sandy road finally met up with the pristine pavement of highway 3.  heading east we stopped at the last outpost for water and tortillas and by chance crossed paths with an ex-military man from fort louis washington passing through with his wife and father.  they had been coming down here for fifteen years, sailed around the entire peninsula and even done a three week cattle run in the area with a mexican cowboy friend of theirs.  he assured us of the safety of the region and insisted that we camp only twenty five miles or so in the valle santa clara on the southeastern foot of the sierra san felipe.  and that we did, after a relaxing, gradual drop down such a grade of road that would make any cyclist blush.  hardly ever needing to pedal, banking through mellow canyon turns and cruising along smooth highway in high gear, shooting off into great expanses of only more sand and cactus scattered in the bright light– this truly was the most beautiful ride so far.

we climbed off our bikes around 2pm and pushed them a quarter mile off the road through sand and mesquite, constantly evading the dreaded jumping cholla cactus – those little buggers gave us such annoyance they even haunted erin in her sleep that night.  we set up camp out of sight of the highway, dug a big fire pit and had infinite mesquite for fuel.  when the sun fell the heat turned immediately to a dry, piercing cold, perfectly illuminated by the extreme clarity of the desert moon.

waking with the coyotes and leaving erin cocooned in her bag i went on a two mile hike by my self through the changing darkness, black to blue, and gathered firewood for sunrise coffee and porridge.  i’m learning how to steal away from my companion for these brief moments of much needed solitude.  when she rose we packed up and continued our glorious decent.  after four days of riding alone on dirt roads and highway, we came to the military checkpoint where highway 3 meets highway 5.  the soldados asked to go through our bags and quickly realized we had nothing but dirty cloths, food and camp gear.  impressed by the preparedness of my surly big dummy bicycle and a gringo’s ability to speak spanish, they happily wished us luck along the way…

–we are gonna stay the next two days in san felipe, maybe leave on christmas but locals are warning us of drunks on the road so maybe we’ll wait till the 26th.  time to switch the tires from front to back – the rear is getting quite warn already and has some little tears from glass probably.  the front still looks brand new.

i’ll send photos tomorrow.

hearts from erin,
me too,

-a

Erendira  south san isidro

Baja California is traversed north to south by the main Transpeninsular Highway, which was unpaved until the mid 1970’s.  Today, it is trafficked by gringo tourists and locals.  Some long-range truck traffic is present, mainly serving the larger cities in the southern cape region such as La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.  South of Ensenada, a short paved road leads from the main highway to the town of San Isidro on the Pacific Coast.  This is a popular surfing hang, and is home to the aforementioned hostel with mixed reviews.

As secondary roads are paved at a rapid rate, now is the time to visit Baja. Plentiful backcountry riding opportunities abound.

San isidro 2

San isidro 4

Returning to the main Transpeninsular Highway, or Carretera 1, a small dirt road crosses a low mountain range to connect with Hwy.  3, which eventually leads toward the Sea of Cortez.  This road can be found amidst farmland south of San Vincente along Hwy 1, and meets Hwy 3 at Lazaro Cardeñas.

First night cañon la calentura

Big man make big bike look little

The road passes through farmland for a few miles, then narrows into the Cañon la Calentura and climbs nearly 1500ft to a pass.  It steadily descends the other side before settling onto an elevated plain near the town of Lazaro Cardeñas.  This is a great road, and a nice introduction to dirt road touring in Baja when approaching from the north.  From pavement to pavement it is a single day’s ride, although camping near the top of the pass is recommended.

Cañon la calentura 4

Camp  SE foot sierra san felipe 2

Highway 3 crosses the peninsula from Ensenada on the Pacific Coast to Hwy 5, near the salty marshes of the northern Gulf (Sea of Cortez).  Hwy 5 connects the California border near Mexicali (and Calexico) with San Felipe, a popular beach town to the south on the Gulf of California.  While San Felipe is a quick trip for many San Diegans and Arizonans, it is much more peaceful than Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada on the Pacific Coast.  It is one of many retirement/expatriate communities on the peninsula where Americans and Canadians seemingly outnumber Mexicans in winter.

Erin rides a vintage Specialized Stumpjumper, re-imagined with an more upright position and versatile 26×2.1″ Continental Town and Country tires.  She asked me how she might free some space in her panniers and balance her load toward the front of the bike.  Over the phone, I recommended she strap a drybag to the handlebars.  I was surprised to see it secured above the bars, presumably because it interfered with the exposed brake cable running to her front cantilever brake.  I like to think that it may provide a measure of safety in the event of a collision, like an airbag.

Hwy 3  6

Sunrise SESF 2

Camping along the shallow waters of the northern Gulf near San Felipe.  South of San Felipe, past Puertecitos, the pavement ends once again…

Palapa camping san felipe 4

Palapa camping san felipe 2

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Jumping cholla sunrise

“…and that we did, after a relaxing, gradual drop down such a grade of road that would make any cyclist blush.  hardly ever needing to pedal, banking through mellow canyon turns and cruising along smooth highway in high gear, shooting off into great expanses of only more sand and cactus scattered in the bright light– this truly was the most beautiful ride so far.”  

Hwy 3  4

All images: Alex Dunn

Big Dummy

Gaviota2

Alex is a seasonal salmon fisherman and a musician; a painter, a steel sculptor and a cyclist.  He and I rode from Tacoma, WA to San Francisco, CA in October 2009.  On that ride, we scouted a great route through the Lost Coast of California, pedaled for a week with the globetrotting English cyclist Matt Blake, and encountered not a moment of trouble in three weeks of travel.  Alex’s Mavic MA40 rim cracked dramatically at an eyelet, raccoons stole our food at least once, and the tent we were sharing was a little too short for his 6′ 4″ figure.  Alex rode a 1989 Trek 520, and I rode my 1995 520.  It couldn’t have been any better.

After another season of fishing in Alaska and much planning, Alex has set out to continue the ride south.  This time he has crafted a bike for the Bikapocalypse, with space for many liters of water, a camera, computer, and a guitar.  His Surly Big Dummy is built with a Rohloff hub, custom drilled by Aaron’s Bike Repair in West Seattle for 48 spokes.  A Shimano dynamo hub is wired to Supernova E3 lights front and rear.  Of note, the saddle is one of the most luxurious models that Brooks offers– the sprung triple-railed B33.  The saddle weighs 3.5 lbs.

Alex hopped the train south to San Francisco from Tacoma, and met a friend for the first few days down the coast.  They mixed pavement and dirt tracks over the mountains from SF to Santa Cruz.  Along the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur and the south-central coastline are an exceptional ride– one that never gets old.  Further south, Alex pointed his tires up into the Santa Monica Mountains before descending into Los Angeles.  Now, another friend has flown into San Diego for a few weeks of riding in Baja California.  Alex and I plotted some routes on the peninsula in search of quiet roads and remote beaches.  Working from memory and the same National Geographic series maps that I used several winters ago, they should be on their way from the Pacific Coast across a low mountain range to the Sea of Cortez.  As this Big Dummy continues south, I hope to share more photos and stories from the road.

The guitar is encased in a waterproof tarp on the back.  The tires are 26×2.35″ Schwalbe Fat Franks.  The rims are Halo SAS, 36h front and 48h rear.  The handlebar is an aluminum Jones Loop H-bar.

Bigsur3

Bigsur

Bixbybridge

Bigsur4

Deercreek2

Gaviota

Mugu

Mugu2

Santamonicamtns

Photography: Alex Dunn, captured with a Sony Nex-5R with 18-55mm lens.