Here I am- in La Paz Mexico near the end of Baja. My bike is completely loaded up with all of my riding gear as I’m preparing to ride the overnight ferry to Mazatlan. The trip to Baja has been nothing less than extraordinary- although it didn’t start out too fun with a nearly three hour border crossing experience. After going back and forth between two immigration offices, I finally had all my paperwork straightened out and was issued permission to bring my bike to the mainland. I pushed on towards San Felipe, even though I had begun my journey at 630 AM, and wanted to arrive before dark. (One of my unsaid rules is not to drive in Mexico after dark) I arrived into the quaint little town on the Bay, stopping at a little hotel in which allowed me to park on the walkway next to my room. A Shrimp Festival was happening right around the hotel, where I walked around a bit and met a few locals.
After a full days rest, I was anxious to get back on the road again to head towards a little town called Puertecitos (not really a town just a few houses by Hot Springs on the beach) when I noticed there was not a single person around. After a little while, a young man approached me and advised that everything’s closed as it was Sunday. I decided to move on, however was a bit concerned when realizing in front of me was a 40 mile dirt crossing path- exclusively through the desert.
Having no food or water with me, I came across a small restaurant in the middle of nowhere (literally) that happened to be open. I excitedly arrived at the restaurant- where I began speaking in my broken Spanish. The owner responded in some fairly good English and proceeded to tell me all about his restaurant and oh- his lots for sale. After about an hour, he casually asked what I did for a living. Once I told him, the questions started flowing. The gentleman started asking me if I wanted to buy property; telling me all about the benefits of living here in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that $20,000 for 3200 square foot lot in the middle of nowhere (with no utilities) was not going to work out too well. With a full belly and the last bottle of water he had, I was off for my desert crossing.
A short while later I saw 3 bikers go by, and I thought of the irony as I sped off at 110 mph to catch up with them- so my ride would be safer. We met at the entrance of the dirt road, where we exchanged a few stories and travel plans. They told me they were headed “all the way south”, where I replied “Me too!” It was then that we realized they were referring to the bottom of Baja, and I South America. There we were: 4 desert explorers, speeding off into the desert crossing, towards the wilderness, with a low chance of survival in the middle of nowhere. All of the sudden, in the middle of our expedition- there was a gas station in the middle of the desert with a fully stocked mini -mart. Miles into our desert crossing, we stop at Coco’s Corner- where we met Coco himself! Do I dare say that Coco was quite the “colorful” man, sitting underneath a tin hut with all of his friends. I noticed he was sitting atop a stump, as he had lost his legs. Despite his lack of stature, Coco was very talkative and loud, yelling out nice comments in English, while adding insults in Spanish. He offered us a “free place to stay”, yet I figured from the combination of beer, the dessert, and his language- this was my cue to continue heading on down the road.
Unfortunately, this next piece of the road was extremely rocky. One rock flew up and hit the bottom of my bike, another hit a traveler on his shin, and another hit and damaging his oil filter. When he pulled up beside me, I noticed the leaking oil streaming out. We literally taped up the oil filter, (I think McGuiver would have been proud of me) and limped down the road to a little shack. When we pulled up, we see two young Mexican men working. With their help and mine, we attempted to repair the oil filter for about an hour and a half. Unable to patch the filter together, we starting to realize we were going to have to leave this poor guy at this shack in the middle of Mexico. Fortunately, with my little bit of Spanish we were able to direct him to a place to stay, a place to get his bike fixed, as well as something to eat at a little restaurant down the road. Of course, placing our order was the easy part as we were greeted at the restaurant with two options- ¿Quieres quesadillas o burritos?
Once we got Blake (the traveler with the broken oil filter) all set up, we realized we had 108 miles until the nearest town- and it was already 8pm at night. I was forced to break my rule of riding in the dark. Thankfully, we arrived safe and sound at a little karaoke bar with blasting music next to a 3-room Motel. When the guy at the motel quoted us 400 pesos, or roughly $32.00, we jumped at it. One good thing about the hotel was that I had an opportunity to bring out my sleeping bag. (I did have to wonder what that goop was coming out of the shower drain) We had a wonderful breakfast the next morning and headed out to La Paz.
As I write this, I’m sitting on this giant fairy from La Paz to Mazatlan, with a handful of tourists and close to a hundred truckers. The ferry boat was sold out of Cabins, so I am riding atop the ferry until tomorrow morning when the boat will arrive. The best way I can describe this ferry, is a warehouse that is also a boat. Tomorrow morning cannot come soon enough! Once I reach Mazatlan, I will be traveling to my first Orphanage stop, near Mexico City. I will post more next week- thank you for tuning in!