So the updates from the most exciting leg of my journey so far in respects of challenges, security risks, culture changes, music and food has been lacking in my blog. I have become a bit lazy on the writing front and have become selfish with my time, sometimes seeing the blog and website as a pain in the arse. But at the same time loving the emails of encouragement I receive on a daily basis from strangers, and of course the narcissistic curiosity when I see how much people are finding the website and finding inspiration in this dumbasses trip across the world.
There has been over 20,000 visits to the website, over 100,000 page views and another 13,000 views on another forum that I sometimes post on. Seems like there is an army of people out there itching to read about adventure travel.
As of March 18 the bike and I have covered 9530 miles.
Baja has been a great introduction into Mexico proper. Baja has so much to offer on all fronts, beautiful pristine beach, awesome desolate desert environment, unmatched marine wildlife, great food and really friendly people.
So lets pick up where I left off..
My frst stop out of Ensenada was San Quintin. I arrived pretty late. Its not a pretty town to say the least. I decided to go look for a free place to camp, but turned down the wrong road and was about 10 miles down a sand road with farm land and barbed wire fences on each side. Still feeling a little apprehensive about my early steps in Mexico I decided to turn back and look for a cheap hotel. I found one at a cost of 200 pesos. Approximately 12 euros. The bike was smelling of gasoline so I gave the carb a wipe to try to remove some of the grit and sand that had acculated on it. I decided to leave it out side the door and promised to check her over in the morning. In the morning I came out to a little puddle of petrol on the ground. After a while of messing around and tightening the float bowl screws I was confident that the leak had stopped and I hit the road.
Never one to miss an opportunity to explore a little side road I explored off piste and had a little spill.
I reached Mama Espinoza's in El Roasario. I camped there that night and set about dismatling my carb to locate the problem. The filter and float bowl were clean as a whistle. However there was dirt evident across the gasket. I cleaned it up and put it back together. The leak was gone so I hit the road the next day.
The next day saw me enter the boulderfield North of Catanvina, I had intended to get to town to pick up some supplied but I found the most amazing campsite amongst the boulders down a side road and decided to stay.
The next day I left to get some supplies and refuled at the side of the road from Jerry cans. The fuel guy showed my the card of another Irishman that came through earlier in the year. Tony Mangan from WorldJog.com. It just so happened that I had doanted some money to Tony before I left Ireland. Which as I rememeber at the time Tony was in Baja California at the time when I donated him the money. Small world and our paths cross in a round about way.
I pressed on toward Guerro Negro and met 2 Mexican motorcyclists. We met on a patch of dismantled road with a sign reading "Deviacion". Which in my mind at the time was only two T's away from total devastation.
Umberto and Jose Luis were so enamored by this lone fool on his little bike that they felt the need to buy me dinner. A gesture that would be repeated some miles down the road by my amigo Rick.
Umberto was a strange mixture of a macho cop and and an alternative medicine practitioner.. I called him a Hippy Cop, he laughed and didn't protest. So he remains the hippy cop in my mind. Umberto offered to host me in Queratero North of Mexico City should my bike bring me that direction. Thanks Guys!!
While in Guerro Negro having breakfast the next morning, I spotted a Mexican guy checking out my bike and taking a photo. He came in to look for me. Jose not having much english and me not having much spanish manged to find common ground and have a laugh despite either one of us having the vaguest notion what the other was saying.
At one stage he offered me a place to stay and I laughed and walked off. He caught up with me beside my bike and asked *another person to translate. He had offered the local fire station as a place to stay should i need somewhere. I had no plans and always willing to see where fate might lead me I agreed. After all who would turn down the*opportunity*to sleep on the cold concrete floor of a disused fire station? Jose pulled out a rubber matt and said "sleep here". Perfect I thought, its always the unusual places I sleep I find the most interesting. Jose was a Volanteer Fireman and the building was used to store equipment rather than being an active firestation. Nevertheless I was glad to be staying there and I had thought about repeating the scene from "Backdraft" on top of the fire engine if only i could lure Rebecca De Mornay back into the fire station.*Jose gave me the keys to the place and left, sating he would stop back later with a nut and bolt from my rack which I required.
Alas I never slept there *as Jose returned later and insisted I come back to his family home. I could only presume like every good husband he had to Ok it with the Missus before dragging home a complete stranger.
I stayed at Jose's 2 nights and had a great time with his family. Beuna gente. Muchas gracias Jose y sus Famillia.
Whilst at Jose's I done a spot of whale watching and met George a lady travelling in a little VW Camper. We would bump into each other a couple of times through Baja.
I reached a spot where i had to decide west into the Sierras or south to San Ignacio.
I headed south....
San Ignacio is a beautiful quite colonial little town that has been built up around a natural sping and is an oasis in the dry Baja desert. It is the site of one of the many Mission Churches built by the missionaries in the 1700's to convert the heathen's to catolosims while displaying less than admirable respect for his fellow human beings in the process.. oh those catholics (i am one by default), " Reminds me of those lyrics by me homeboy Damien Dempsey: " with bible in one hand and the sword in the other. They came purify my land of my gaelic Irish mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers".
While in Sam Ignacio I witnessed a big event in Mexian culture a *Quinceañera. The 15th birthday, the *a girls coming of age party.
It was a very grand affair with a lot of ceremony ans very elegant.
In a nut shell
Girl dances with girls
Girl dances with each boy (giving them each a test drive I assume)
Girl Choses her date
Dad puts on her new highheels shoes
Dad dances with Daughter
..Much dancing and drinking ensues
I spent a few days in the village, it the nicest village I've come across in San Ignacio, I camped at a site near the lake and had my daily bath their.
On Monday I hit the road to Laguna de San Ignacio. I had heard the road was pretty bad. There was the option of getting the shuttle bus. But I opted for the cheap option, not realising the road before me. Heck I had tackled the Haul Road to the Arctic Circle and survived so the road to San Ignacio should be a piece of cake. Like most things in life everything is relative, a bad road in the good old US of A is very different from a bad road in Mexico. It was a 50Km trip to the lagoons a 25 km of that was on corregated, rutted, sand and rock. It was a tough ride out there and my box had popped open during the process and things flew out. Thankfully my laptop stayed put but it was a bit of a scare.
I found most of my stuff back up the road a short distance but I was missing my camp stove. Crap i thought, it could have fell out anywhere. Just then a 4x4 pulled up and and rolled down the window and said. "know anyone who wants to buy a camp stove" .. hmm yes... I know just the man thanks you very much. No money exchanged hands they knew it must have been mine.
We hit the lagoons and I was honoured to be sharing a space so close to these magnificant mammals. We were not having much luck with the whales approaching our boat. I had heard that they were attracted to music so I gave them a few bars of Raglan Road, I defy anyone to not like that tune. The whales, a mother and baby came very close to the boat but stayed out of touching distance. I didn't try to hard to touch them as I was happy just to be there.
After the whale watching i got talking to Paula one of the workers at the camp. She was very friendly and a pleasure to talk to. I told her of my attitude to traveling never having a plan and practically doing everything on a hourly basis, and that sometimes I get caught up in indecision not be able to make a decision which way to go. She told me I should flip a coin. Why didn't I think of that before I thought!. When in doubt and there is no a clear direction for you to follow put your fate in providence and see where it takes you.
The next morning I got up not sure what I should do, hit the road aftar a great day of whale watching or go out again. I flipped a coin. It said I should stay. So I did and what an amazing day I had in store. I asked the camp if we could have an English speak guide and they appointed Paula our guide for the day so we were able to pick her brains on Whales.
I bade farewell to the camp and Paula, and she had left secret lunch for me which she had hidden in my helmet for the journey back out the road and gave me a piece of sage. Thanks to Paula and everyone at Kuyima Camp at Laguna de San Ignacio.
I headed out the road and made it to Mulege and ended up staying meeting an Alaskan, who liked the idea of travelling on a scooter, so he gave me the use of his home for a couple of days and we went out on his boat dolphin to view to local wild life. We saw some dolphins but unfortunately there were no chicks on the beach that day.
Not far out the road form Mulege there are some beautiful beaches. I stopped at a few of them but each time I was diappointed, there were all these RV's and there 4x4's.
I rolled into one beach and saw this stout guy with a big grey beard waving to me in a enthusiastic manner. I decided I better investigate, I pulled over. Enter Glenn.
"wow man, its you, I've heard about you, you're famous"..he said. "Ha what me?" I said. He said his friend had told him about my trip and had been following it. Wow too weird. He said if you are looking for a campsite with no RV's and thats a little quiter you should come to our beach,*Escondida. Glenn was reading my mind. Glen and Pete had come from North California in their pick-up truck, camping gear and also their two Honda Trail 90's.
I spent the few couple of days at Escondida, with the guys hanging out on the beach, swimming, eating drinking, and a bit of kyacking.
[caption id="attachment_1076" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Escondida as view from the kayak"]
[caption id="attachment_1075" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Arrival at Escondida.."]
Glen was rather funny individual, he had a pun for every situation and when he got going it was hard to stop, but they were generally funny so no one did.
It was great to meet up with these Honda enthusiasts and what a coincidence to bump into folk with Honda 90's.
When I left the guys gave me an escort up the road and Peter made me a shell necklace for the bike.
Thanks guys pleasure meeting you!
I headed on toward Loreto I was pulled over refueling I thing but in the end I had a congregation of 3 different groups of bikers standging aroud scrathing their head in disbelieve at my overlanding 90. "your fucking crazy" was repeated many times.
I travelled into Loreto and scoped out the town for camp sites, there seemed to be no problem camping on the beach, so figured I'd see what the town has to offer.
Whilst in Loreto I bumped into a guys called Rick on the side of the street. Rick had been travelling with two of his friends on KTM's, BMW and A Yami Tenere. We got chatting and of course the subject leads on to "what are you riding?" Rick's jaw nearly hit the floor when I told him about my choice of ride. We went over to survey the equipment. After some chat which included my stories of bathing in the lakes and beaches for the last few days Rick offered to buy me dinner later in exchange for some road tales, I agree and we parted company, but Rick came to look for me and found me in the plaza, he had walked up to the square in his socks to find me. *He gestured to come with him. We walked to the hotel reception and he booked a room for me. "Wow" it really*wasn't*necessary I protested but he insisted and the idea of a hot shower and comfortable bed suddenly seemed very attractive to me.
That night we went out and I shared some of my road storoes with the guy and a good few laughs.
Whist in the hotel I bumped into a young guy on his bicycle, he had got a puncture and had a though days cycle. we chatted for a few minutes the next day and he headed off. I wasnt sure what I would do that day. After a while checking out the town I got the urge to hit the road so*I decided to jump back up on the bike and try to catch up with my Italian amigo. I figured he had probably made it a good 70kms down the road by the time I *caught him. My estimation was right. I found him setting up his tent outside a small roadside home/restaurant.
He name was Aladdino a very interesting young man. He had set off travelling nearly 6 months ago like myself and had cycled from LA to Baja. He was the only cyclist that I've seen on my journey that carried not one, but two fishing rods. We had a good chat that night Aladdino had grown up in a camper van with his parents on the road. They had traveled all around the americas and europe. Alladino was largely 'home' schooled by his parents and is definitely a student of life. If ever there was a more rounded young individual, self aware and aware of the possibilities of life beyond your 9 to 5 this was him.
The next day I got up not sure which way to go. Aladino had his mind made up he was heading south. I was not so sure.
I saw a dot on the map 45km off on a side road. It was called Agua Verde. There was only one way in and one way out (apparently). *I knew nothing about this place but I liked the sound of it and I didnt think there would be anyone in RV's down there so I figured it would be pretty nice place to check out. Then again I thought I should be moving on, I was spending a lot more time in Baja than I had anticpated. Plus the the front suspension bushes were not the best. I decided once again to put my fate in providence and flip a coin.
That was it to Aqua Verde it was....
What a crazy mental road it was into Aqua Verde, it was dangerous and challanging, but i loved it. Throughour most of the journey *the road dropped away to one side, with a drop of over 100ft in places. Meeting traffic on this road at a corner would not be nice.
When I arrived I met up with some American lads in their fully kitted out Toyoto Landcruise. We hung out for a couple of days and they were great company. We went abseiling/rapelling, spear fishing and cooked at their camp.
After that It was to Todos Santo, where I bumped into Carlos, a guys who had travelled eastern europe on hi Vespa back in the 80's..
more to follow..