Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stunning Beaches and Windy Deserts Dec. 27th-31st

From the journal of Tamara

Dec. 27th
It was pretty much a perfect morning, tailwind, flat road, sunshine, sparkling blue Sea of Cortez on the left and jagged desert mountains on the right. It wasn't long before we were in the town of Mulege, where we bumped into the Austrian cyclists again and decided to bike with them to a beach on the Bahia de Concepcion.
They have a lot more stuff than we do! 
It made for some fun times on the beach with warm food and music.

Turns out, the bahia (bay) is simply amazing. There is no noise and no development except for small shelters known as palapas made from palm leaves. The sand is white and dotted with perfect shells. The water is clear, aqua blue, and shallow for a long way out. Did we find paradise?

On the beach we met two German cyclists riding a tandem bike from Alaska to Argentina as well as some other friendly traveling Europeans.  We stayed up late talking and sharing stories. 
Check out Robert and Sabrina's blog. (The two German cyclists) 

Dec. 28th 
People come to this beach planning to stay a day and instead stay for weeks. We were also easily sucked in. After a morning of painting and sand sculptures, Danny and I borrowed goggles from Robert and Sabrina and went swimming out to a small reef. In the clear waters we spotted stingrays, pufferfish, red coral, schools of small stripy and clear fish, and sea stars. What an amazing underwater world! To warm up after our swim we hiked around and did some bird watching. A nighttime campfire with our new European friends sealed the deal on a wonderful day.
A painting I did on the tandem.

Phillip, Nikki, Jakob, Robert and Sabrina- you guys are awesome! See you down the road.

Dec. 29th
After enjoying an amazing sunrise over the water, we sadly said goodbye to the beautiful beach and our friends. Our morning ride took us from beach to beach along the pristine bay, each stunning in its own way. Unfortunately, the road turned inland and we were in the desert for the rest of the day. 
After 70 miles of hard riding we happily greeted the town of Loreto. Here we found a hotel at a good price, and Mike, the friendly guy who we met in San Ignacio on Christmas. 
Our friend Mike

Mike generously took us out for a simply delicious dinner of giant burritos and flan, and introduced us to several of his friends in the area. Rick and Andrea it was great to meet you! And Mike, we can't thank you enough for everything. 

Dec. 30th 
After a late night out we slept in and spent the morning exploring Loreto. The street by the ocean known as the malecon is beautifully developed with tiled sidewalks, stylish hotels and restaurants. It was unlike anything we had seen in Mexico. 
The Malecon

After riding along the ocean for a few blocks we turned back into town on a cobblestone pedestrian street. Here little shops line the way, and trees are cut to form archways over the road. In the main square is the oldest mission in Baja, a gorgeous historic building with a iconic bell tower and stained glass windows. 
The Mission 

Riding out of town we enjoyed the blue waters of the Sea of Cortez for 20 more miles before turning inland to the coastal, deserty mountains. 
Goodbye ocean
Hello mountains!

Here we started the hill we had been warned about, twisting steeply up and up and up. Despite the heat we pedaled hard and made good time. It helped that the scenery was fantastic. Unfortunately the hill didn't really end; it just turned into more smaller hills and we picked up a headwind. Very tired after 40 miles, we stopped at a small place selling burritos and asked to camp. Before we had even finished speaking the guy was smiling, nodding his head, showing us where to camp, and taking orders for burritos. Such nice people here.
Our campsite

Dec. 31st
We woke up early and enjoyed our now standard breakfast of avocados and tortillas. Avocados are so cheap and delicious here we each eat at least 1 a day. 
After a few hills, our road flattened out and we zoomed through expansive desert into farm country. Here the traffic picked up but thankfully the road widened to 4 lanes. Since it's New Year's Eve we decided to stop early at a small, well maintained campground. We're mixing up some special salsa for dinner tonight and relaxing. 
Feliz Año Nuevo!

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