It has only been a few days since we last updated, but we are having so many adventures and new experiences each day that it is worth another update so soon. Also, while we have internet!
We are currently in the small town of El Rosario, about ¼ of the way down the Baja California peninsula. Our overwhelmingly positive impression of Mexico persists. This area is a study of contrasts: the hills are often stark and boulder-strewn, while the towns are lively and packed with businesses. There is a long agricultural valley with fields of tomatoes, prickly pear cacti, brussel sprouts, and strawberries. There are herds of goats in the hills and cows in the valleys. When we camp there are chickens poking around in the dirt, dogs with puppies, cats, and all manner of insect life. When we go shopping we are amazed at the low prices. A mango was 2 pesos here: 15 cents .
Remember that last time we updated was in Ensenada, at the beginning of town. We headed away from the tourist strip to find some authentic tacos, and then braved the crazy city traffic to get out of town again. The cars and trucks were all very nice, but the buses were insane! They are privately run, and pick people up anywhere along the route, so they constantly swerve and stop and go again. It was quite an adventure getting out of the city, but we made it.
That night we stayed in an amazing camping area. It was about $6 US per person, and we were given full run of a swimming pool / resort area with rows of picnic tables, a large pool, showers (that kind of worked, sometimes), and a central camping area. We stayed there again with our friends Antonie and Tyler. Antonie has this wonderful book called ‘Mexican Camping’ that details all of these places. Thank goodness for that book!
The next day we climbed out of the valley where we had camped and headed back down towards the ocean again. We stopped for lunch in the small town of San Vicente where we again had tacos and also discovered Mexican bakeries and fruit stores. There are so many delicious things for so cheap! We ended up buying 5 small loaves of bread, a large piece of banana bread, and two giant cookies for $4 US. For touring cyclists, this is happiness.
That night we camped in another swimming / camping area, but a much smaller one that wasn’t in the book. There was a whole pack of dogs / puppies running around that were very cute, but also very shy. There are so many street dogs here, since no one spays or neuters their animals. It is actually very sad, since none of them are looked after very well and there are just so so many. It makes me miss the service and guide dogs that we raised.
Hurricane Simon passed us over that night. It rained buckets, but we stayed dry under a shelter. The road the next day had flooded areas, and we sometimes had to rush through the puddles to avoid getting seriously splashed by the passing vehicles. In some places the road was completely underwater, and in some places schoolkids were just swimming about in the deep mud puddles! Obviously, this area is not equipped for downpours.
We had planned to stay for a night in a camping area just outside of the city, but the access road was so underwater that cars couldn’t even get through. After discussing with our camping buddies A and T, we decided to push on to the next town of El Rosario. The riding was great all the way to town: a gentle tailwind, very low traffic, and barren but beautiful scenery. Sure, there was a big hill to climb, but it was just fine!
Last night we camped behind a restaurant on the outskirts of town, and were guarded all night long by the owners tough-looking but very sweet dog Bruno. Today we are resting and enjoying all that this little town has to offer. For example, Jason just used the bathroom in the local jail! Tonight we might even stay in a hotel so that we can take some much-needed showers. The next stretch is through the Vizcaino desert for about 200 miles. Don’t worry though, there are some water stops and campgrounds there at good intervals.