San Ignacio to Mulege- A long pause

18/01/2018

Arriving in San Ignacio we go in the restaurant “Rice and beans” who doesn’t offer rice and beans as such on their menu but only as an accompagnement for a lot of meat dishes as usual… Ian orders some off-menu though.

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After that we end up in the Casa de Ciclista where we meet the German tourer couple, Steffi and Andi, again, and a motorcyclist, Brian. It is a camping put in place by a couple of cyclists that the owner of the house assisted, to help him financially. It is not too expensive for us though as they charge by tent rather than per person, as has been usual in Baja in most campings we have been. The place is rather small, but nice.

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Steffi and Andi with their bicycles
We end up staying four days in San Ignacio. In the middle of date palms…

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Some more Mexican trucks…
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End of afternoon light on the date palm grove and the river
“Resting” involves some walking/hiking around the town. There is the 18th century Mision on the Plaza (not pictured here), colored houses and shops around.

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I also end up hiking and scrambling on a strange overgrown trail by the side of a cliff leading to this…I end up dragging Ian along the following day to see it. Apart from getting sore feet, he is not too unhappy of the view.

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Vulture tribe amongst the cactuses near the cliff
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It also involves hanging out with the other cyclists, the nice cats and the small chihuahua named Chocolata. The cats, including kitten “Tigresa” eat anything, including tortillas with guacamole and even coriander leaves…

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Look at those eyes… Yes, she did end up sneaking in our tent !
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Tigresa and Chocolata practicing their favorite pastime: Cuddling/fighting/napping on a cyclist’s lap

Hanging out with mainly road cycletourers it is interesting comparing setups. Other cyclists include a couple French Canadian cycling south to Argentina, a Flemish travelling from Patagonia, and French cyclist Jacques Sirat (see his french website), now in his fifties, who has been on the road for at least twenty-one years. He has also done a tour of Europe running before starting to travel by bicycle.

It is time for some bicycle/gear fixing too. My rear tyre gets flat again after fixing a couple punctures on the rear tyre- we discover a couple more on the same inner tube. Thorns generally hit several times as they get caught on the wheel and spin around…

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Removing a rear wheel the easy way…
My Thermarest has started regurlarly getting flat in the middle of the night. At that stage I am unable to locate a puncture with soappy water, so I’ll get more nights like this until recently, locating a pinprick when the mattress is submerged in the water.

Andi and Steffi also tip us off on the fact that warming up tortillas directly on the Primus stove is not the healthiest thing on the planet. They found out than mercury get infused in it. We’ve done one month of that. Don’t know how I haven’t thought about it before! We are now using a pan.

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Kids, DO NOT DO THIS.
After discussing it over we decide to opt out for the next section of the Baja Divide to Mulege. Given the reports of bowling-ball sized rocks on the trail (amongst other stuff) we are hearing about, it seems like it is not worth the effort for us.

After our time in San Ignacio we are back on the MEX1, heading first to Santa Rosalia, 74 kilometers away. The road is nothing special and uneventful for a few dozen kilometers, before we get to an impressive long downhill in the middle of an amazing landscape.

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Not far from San Ignacio
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View of a part of the downhill amongst the canyon…
IMG_0449[1].JPGNot long after we are in Santa Rosalia a bit before dusk, on a bumpy, badly paved and fragmented road with potholes. Looking for a campsite, further searches on our phones reveal there is no official campground before fifteen kilometers! Strange as this is meant to be a big town. From what we see Santa Rosalia is not very exciting. An harbour and industrial town with small stores and a disorganised display of motels, factories and flats. We pass a pick up crushing cans for landfill in front of a house.

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Strange wooden cargo structure in Santa Rosalia harbour
We ride on and camp by the road after the end of town.

The next day we do about sixty kilometers on the road and arrive around lunchtime in Mulege. We flew along as the road is good with the wind on our backs and apart from a hill into Mulege at the end it is fairly flat.

Then, we realise Ian has to apply in several days for his permit as he is planning on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this summer and if we leave Mulege two days later as we were initially planning we’ll be in the desert on that date, with no internet connexion.

We end up staying a week in Mulege. We go to a Warmshowers host, Yolanda, in Mulege. Cyclists camp next to her restaurant, using a bucket shower. Views are great. We only have a couple of French tourers staying with us the first night and then we are on our own. There are a lot of cyclists, motorbikers and Americans tourists in Mulege, though a small place it’s getting quite developped.

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At Yolanda´s
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Boat-garden
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A friendly bird seems interested by the bucket shower…
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While there Ian get a dental fix. We see dolphins while on a stroll. Go to see an opera-inspired performance in a hotel hall. Play pool in a very cheap bar. Check out the old mission.

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Mission in Mulege
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IMG_4321.JPGAs usual, the trail has been hard and I am happy to recharge for quite a long time between San Ignacio and Mulege. Some tensions surge with Ian too but they ease up after both having had some rest and getting ideas and inspiration from other tourers. And spending some time on our own. It is challenging to travel with someone else as rythms and wants are always different. Being on the Divide it is exacerbated as so far remoteness has given us less options to ride separately or do different things.

After some internet researching, a lot of thinking about and a bit of anxiety about what’s ahead I come to the conclusion that I’ll be looking for things to do rather than routes to take to plan my next steps. It becomes to me more and more evident that as much as I enjoy travelling by bicycle I am more excited about the wilderness I go through and the things I do when I am off the bike rather than the mileage I do. As I was already suspecting that setting off, I am not going to be a do-it-all by bicycle.

 

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