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Old 09-03-2013, 07:42 PM   #55
DRRambler OP
AKA Albertastrom
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Vancouver Island
Oddometer: 846
Day 9 Getting to know the Baja

Day 9 San Vincente Baja California to Catavina Baja California 289km 6.0 hours
The Hotel El Camino at night

The day started for me at 8AM getting Skelly out of the hotel room.

The nice fellow who came over to me this morning delayed my departure by 45 minutes. I certainly had no objection as he was giving me advice about the road. He told me that on weekends I should be wary of drunk drivers. In addition he advised me that trucks often will be in your lane as you round tight corners. Sometimes itís just bad driving on their part but the roads have no shoulders in places and the trucks have no choice but to cut the corners. Okay, lessons learned and Iím ready to get going in this unusually humid weather.
I fueled up and hit the road. There are many small towns all the way to El Rosario so the velocity is subdued. The maximum speed limit is 80k/hr with 60k/hr speed zones all along the way and 40k/hr in the towns. About 50% of the traffic obeys the limit while others are just flying. I had to watch my speed carefully as I donít want a speeding ticket. Interspersed with speeding cars there are quads, dogs, horses, dirt bikes and plenty of big trucks. In the towns one needs to be aware of the ďtopesĒ or speed bumps. Most of the time there is warning with a series of smaller bumps that get closer together as you approach the main bump. Some of the bumps were so worn down they basically did no good.

My second fuel stop was around San Quinton where I received 54 pesos worth of 87 octane (Magnum) Fuel. As always at the Pemex government owned gasolineria the attendant filled the tank for me. He then proceeded to tell me I needed to give him 3 US dollars. This was after handing him 60 pesos and telling him to keep the change. I asked him why I needed to give him 3 dollars and he replied (I think) so he could spend it in the store. I kept telling him sorry I donít understand and he eventually gave up.

Litter along the highway

Today I encountered two military check points. The first one just waved me through but the second one was a mandatory stop. Itís a good thing there are warning signs notifying you of the upcoming checkpoint. The fog was so thick at the time I could only see 100 yards in front of me. The armed soldiers asked me where I was going. Eyebrows raised when I told them and they sent me on my way without checking any papers.

A rare roadside pullout

My last fuel stop of the day was in El Rosario. I had read the next stretch was a long fuel run. The attendant verified this so in addition to 32 pesos in the tank, I filled all three extra fuel cans to the tune of an additional 35 pesos. I needed to get 318km before the next stop. There is fuel sold out of barrels at Catavina but it is expensive and of unknown quality.

Riding the last 120km of the day was beautiful high desert, twisty and straight with multiple elevation changes along ridges and through gullies overflowing with water. It was brutally hot and humid and I had to force myself to stop and eat at a roadside taqueria. After a very difficult ordering process I received 1 burrito containing a meat I know not what it was. It was tasty however and I chased it with a cold 7up. $3.00 including a huge tip.
I am now in Catavina in a hotel that is highly overpriced but is luxurious by the standard of last night. The meal was pricey too but delicious with a cold Tecate.

The Hotel Mission Catavina

Learning to deal in Pesos is coming (Iím so glad I know my Spanish numbers) but there is still a lot to learn. I havenít seen all the denominations of coin yet. I canít read the coin value without my glasses so I have been trusting the change Iím receiving.
My Spanish is so weak itís embarrassing but people have been patient with me and Iím catching on to a few things.
Tomorrow Santa Rosalia
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