Monday, December 22, 2014
Baja Norte, December 19-20
We leave our hotel in El Rosario early and bike into the desert hills. These are big hills with steep ups and downs, not easy riding. To compound the frustration, Tam keeps getting flats and she can´t find anything in the tire. So we keep changing and patching the tubes and continuing on.
I am not a big fan of the desert, especially biking through the desert, but this is an interesting area. There are huge saguaro cacti everywhere, boojum trees (cirios in Spanish), and ocotillos. The saguaros are like trees, their stout, upright limbs like naked trunks adorned with spines instead of branches. The boojum trees are even stranger. They start wide at the base and taper straight upward to a narrow point, sometimes forty feet high. They also lack ¨normal¨ branches, though they often have flowering or branched tops. Were the cacti and boojums to have branches, this would be a veritable forest! But they don´t, so there´s no shade to be found.
Awhile down the road, we meet another cyclist, Omar. He´s from Cancun and is biking all around Mexico. Really nice guy. We enjoy talking for a bit. He gives us a tip of a good place to go in about twenty miles, but it´s getting late and, with the headwind, we don´t make it. We set up camp at a random spot off the road.
There´s frost on the tent. Mexico is cold? We change Tam´s tire again. The hole´s in the same spot as the last two changes. We scour the area again, not finding anything again. We finally put a boot over the area and hope that it works. Back on the road, we head through more cacti and boojums and jumbled rocks reminiscent of Joshua Tree. A sign appears: ¨Pinturas Rupestres¨. We stop and hike a short way up to see these indigenous pictographs. They´re well preserved, but we don´t stay long enough to make any sense of them.
In the town of Cataviña, just after lunch, we stop at a restaurant Omar (the Mexican cyclist we met yesterday) recommended. We weren´t planning on eating, just getting some water, but we start talking with a nice guy and, after he invites us to eat with him and his wife, we sit down and eat some flavorful huevos rancheros. His name is Cenovio, and he´s a filmmaker and a self-described adventurer like us: next year he plans to ride a horse the length of Baja! It was great to meet and talk with Cenovio.
It´s already late when we go. The terrain soon opens up, and we can see for miles in every direction. No more big cacti, no more trees, no more anything except small bushes, low cholla cacti, and some rocks. Lots of rocks, actually, as we find out when we try to camp off the road. Over our walk to get far enough off the road to minimize visibility and noise, we end up carrying our bikes for probably half. Fingers crossed that Tam´s tire holds air tonight...