Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
15. Voy A Mazatlan
After two days of partying I’m tuckered out and ready to gas up and hit the road. It’s Thursday morning (10/10/13) and I’m pretty sure that there is a freighter ferry leaving from La Paz to Mazatlan (on the mainland) Saturday afternoon. First though I want to check out a place called Canyon De La Zorra, which can be found roughly halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. There is supposed to be granite here, and waterfalls. Which means I can hopefully do some climbing and also jump off some tall shit into water. Yes, this sounds good.
First stop, San Jose del Cabo, the next major town east from Cabo, and where you switch directions to head north towards La Paz. It’s more laidback than Cabo, and seems to have itself a nice little thing going. It attracts the less intense vacationers that want the beach and the rays, but not the mayhem that is Cabo.
They even have a nice and relaxed eco building with plants growing on it. Aww isn’t that relaxing.
After I head north from San Jose Del Cabo the road becomes nice and curvy. The plays I’m heading towards is called CanyonDe La Zorra, so I guess that makes sense.
So much greener here in the South of Baja compared to the North.
After about an hour or so I turned west onto a dirt road towards the canyon.
Here I found a little town that had, no you didn’t guess it, a Zoo. Why there would be a zoo out here in the middle of nowhere is beyond me. Also the military. Maybe they came for the zoo.
I stocked up on some food and headed further west out of town towards the canyon.
Again I found sand.
After a few miles I also found a sign that reassured me I was actually in the right place. Looks like I’m close.
DAAAYUUUUMMMNNN, someone’s got a pretty driveway.
I got to the end of the driveway and found two evil looking dogs.
They were completely black and hairless, so all their coloring came from their funky sandpapery skin. They looked super fit, they demanded fear from you, but were oddly regal. They probably were birthed straight from the underworld and spend their days hunting souls to eat. I want one.
After I was done being intrigued by the dogs, I realized they were standing in front of a closed fence. I’m pretty sure that there were people somewhere on the property. But my bike isn’t quiet, and their isn’t exactly much else out here to make noise. So if they wanted me to come in and enjoy the Canyon they would have come to the gate. I waited for a while and enjoyed the dogs eary company some more. Nope, nobody is coming, alright, well I guess I’ll just go all the way to La Paz today. There’s a free beach that I can stay at there too. That’ll save me some pesos and help make up for all the money I spent getting silly in Cabo.
I headed back out the driveway and according to the GPS at the end of the driveway I was able to go left rather than turn back right and go down the way I had come. I don’t like backtracking so this was good. This road was much sandier though. Again I dumped the bike and again I pinned my leg under the metal pannier.
This time it was my left leg, which has my bum knee from a previous injury attached to it. It’s a very weird experience when your mental state changes gears so rapidly, things go from “everything is the norm” to “well shit”, very quickly. One minute I’m grinding along in soft sand thinking about my body position, thinking about what side of the sand rut will have better traction, wondering about what breed of dog that was back there, who actually lives all the way out here, can I make it to La Paz before sunset? Then boom. I’m forcibly thrown back into the present moment. I catch a particularly soft patch wrong and me and the bike are now down in the sand, pinned together awkwardly. I start assessing the situation.
Am I badly hurt?
No, nothing hurts, it was a slow spill. But I am stuck.
Is anyone else around to help lift the bike?
Mmm (I look around hoping yes). Who am I kidding though, I haven’t seen anyone for 3 hours.
Am I pinned against anything hot, is anything burning me?
Cool, so I’m not in any immediate danger.
Alright, next, I can tell from looking at my leg that this is not good. How long can I stay in this position before it gets too painful and my strength to move the bike goes away?
I focus my attention on my left knee now. I can feel the pressure of the bike, and the unnatural angle of my leg, torquing on the surgical bolts that keep everything in place. My muscles and ligaments are working hard to keep shit together. Mmmmmm, not long. Maybe 3 minutes?
Alright then, it’s now or never. I’m pinned awkwardly enough that I can’t use my arms or core for any leverage to heave the bike up. Instead I need to use my pinned leg to leverage the bike up and wriggle free. I think for one last time, do I have any other options that don’t involve putting more strain on my knee and possibly wrecking it? Nope, if I wait too much longer, my window of opportunity to physically get out on my own is going to shut. I grit my teeth together and start to point and flex my boot as much as possible to loosen up the sand. I torque up on my knee and my leg starts to budge. I can feel all the ligaments working to their limit to stay attached, but after a few more seconds I am able wriggle free of the bike. With my knee back in line and the pressure and torque removed, I crawl away from the bike and roll over onto the ground. My knee is sore but nothing popped or went out so I’m golden. Relieved that I’m out now and the situation is solved, I chuckle to myself. It’s funny how again, your mental shift can go back from the “well shit” seriousness of a situation, to the “hah, well that could have sucked” attitude.
With everything in the just peachy again, I stand up carefully and go over to pick up my bike. With the bike upright, again I chuckle to myself at the juxtaposition of how close a fun time and shitty time can reside. Glad I came out on the ‘fun time’ side on this one.
Irony aside though, having low-speed tumbles in the dirt is normal, getting my leg stuck under the bike (now twice) however, is not normal, and can be a serious issue if I’m all alone in a place like this. It’s something that really shouldn’t be happening. I thought for a while about what it was that I did when going down that caused it, and how I could possibly have done with my body position to prevent it. I have an idea of what to do differently for the next time, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice. Hopefully I won’t be writing anymore about getting stuck under my bike.
After several hours I made it to La Paz and made it to the beach just after dusk.
By the time I got in I was exhausted and my body was sore. It felt good to be on a nice comfy beach with a cool ocean breeze and soft sounds of waves lapping on beach. I layed down on the beach and put in my headphones to listen to a full Alt-J album and take in the killer night sky. The milky way galaxy is pretty clear tonight. The music flowed and my body relaxed. Hard to find a concert venue this good anywhere else. Not too shabby, mother nature. Not too shabby at all.
The next day I lounged at the beach.
At some damn good ceviche.
And accidently put a whole in my sleeping mat.
There are two ferries that go from La Paz to Mazatlan, one is predominantly a commuter ferry (more luxurious) and the other is a freight/cargo ferry. I decided to take the freight ferry as this seemed more interesting than a posh commuter ferry. It’s a 15 hour trip so maybe I can interact with the locals a bit more too.
The next day I went to the terminal and booked my spot on the ferry. There were some paperwork issues but I was actually able to work through it with my broken spanish. Holy shit am I learning spanish?? There was a guy that I met and spoke to for a while at the docks. He offered to just load my bike into the back of his semi trailer, pay the passenger fee, and then ride across with him on the ferry. In hindsight this would have been a good deal, but my spanish wasn’t good enough at the time to really understand what he was offering and work out the specifics. I aired on the side of caution and just paid the individual motorcycle toll instead. This is the exact reason why knowing more spanish can be so helpful. Next time, Jhonathan.
Here’s the water steed we’ll be taking.
Hey, look who else is catching the same boat. The Dutchies and their dog Dunya.
We loaded up.
The dutchies (Michel and Erica) black rig on the left looks so small compared to the other rigs.
Dunya seemed pleased with her spot.
I got my bike strapped in.
Got some goats for neighbors.
Looks like things are lax in terms of where you can and can’t go around here. There’s the other commuter boat.
We took a look around the deck and then the boat set off.
Dinner was basic ferry food, but it’s pretty hard to mess up tacos. Nom nom nom nom.
The ferry is a night ferry which makes the 15hr commute really reasonable. This is the cargo ferry and there are few actual passengers, the majority of the cargo is just semi containers without their drivers. This means there are no real passenger accommodations, and those that are on board just sleep in their rigs. I found a nice spot on an empty gangplank above my bike to sleep.
Pretty top-notch sleeping spot if you ask me. Even have an open air window straight out the side of the hull. It’s maybe 30ft off the water and the breeze is perfect.
Being an island boy it’s nice being on the ocean again. The slow pitch and yaw of the boat as it rocks across the sea is comfortable and calming. Relaxation sets in. With the boat now well under way, headed away from Baja and towards the mainland, it feels like I’m moving to a different place, a new chapter. Although I know I could easily spend MUCH more time in Baja, I’m ready to go to the mainland. The Baja peninsula has served as a great set of training wheels for me. Baja is sort of like a watered down Mexico. It’s super safe, it’s very easy to travel, and there are still lots of people that speak a bit of english. As a person who doesn’t speak much spanish and has never been to Mexico, These are all good things for me. By traveling Baja first, I’ve been able to slowly dip my toes into the culture and get a feel for how things are done. Baja has given me a preview of Mexico, and I like what I’ve seen. I want the real thing now though. Catch you tomorrow Mazatlan.
SeanPNW screwed with this post 10-15-2013 at 12:15 PM