Having made great progress it felt great to get this far up so quickly. The wind had been the usual cyclist evil but the scenery had kept me happy. The southern Baja is beautiful and I could see why so many come down to enjoy the scenery, wildlife and warm water. It is however hard leaving somewhere that has so much to offer and has so much to see. Now being at the top of the southern Baja I would now be moving into the north Baja all the time getting closer to the US. With Jules coming out in a few weeks I was getting excited about my next country, new experiences and a good friend.
Saturday 26th March
Although I was awake early I was tired and it seemed to take me ages to clear the tent, put the kettle on, have breakfast, pack the tent, load the bike and post a blog that I had already got ready. Sarah and her son Pedro came out to see me off and I was out and on the road by 8.30am.
I weaved through the soft sand backstreets until I met the main road into town and headed out to the junction. Noticing the wind was blowing from the north west I knew I was in for a tough day. Once I reached the junction the road turned almost exactly north and straight as an arrow for the next 30 miles. I made ok progress considering the wind as it would pick up at times which made my speed drop to about 9mph but then drop allowing me to get up to 12-13mph.
I soon crossed the state line that split the peninsula into north and south making me feel like I was making good progress north. The road remained fairly flat with the odd ups and downs but the landscape remained pretty much featureless and baron.
It did however have a beauty of its own and quite enjoyed the ride
Once I had covered 30 miles the road turned west into the wind but also into some hills. They weren’t big so I managed to keep up a good pace until the road turn east and I reached a tiny settlement called Rosarito. Spotting a restaurant and being just after 1pm I went in and ordered fish. Being brought out fish, chips, salad and pasta was perfect and just what I needed to keep me going. Getting a message from my sister was really lovely as I had managed to get wifi but the best news ever was Joe and Lizzie were getting married and had set the date. It was the best news ever and a couple that were made for each other. Feeling happy about the news I set off again this time heading a little more west but by this time the wind had actually dropped making my life easier if it wasn’t for the increase in hills.
Some of the desert flowers on the way
The cacti came in many weird and wonderful shapes and sizes
With the sun getting lower the colours were starting to make the desert glow and I was now getting closer to where I would call it a day. After the last ten miles taking forever I finally reached Punta Prieta that was nothing more then a few houses and a few tiny shops.
The scenery hardly changed and even the road sign could only think of two things that might be of interest
This rattle snake wasn’t quite so lucky although i was quite pleased I hadn’t see a live one
Not really knowing how anyone could survive here I sat in the restaurant and had my tea. It was just what I needed but the next challenge was to find a place to wash and sleep. Having been shown a piece of waste ground devoid of anything and certainly no water I thought I would head back to the army barracks I had spotted on my way into the village. On arrival I called out to see who to ask but there was no one. I looked around and found the buildings had been abandoned and it looked like it had been for some time. Having eaten and having a little water on me enough to wash I figured I had what I needed and could grab breakfast back at the restaurant in the morning. Feeling exhausted from a few long days I know needed my sleep as I was about to enter the proper desert and I needed my strength to get through in good time and safely.
Sunday 27th March
Waking up in the abandoned army barracks with the sun rising outside and the birds singing was quite nice. Wanting to get going fairly soon I got up and put the kettle on while I packed away my things.
Although I was about to cross the desert or I should say more desert I knew I needed to be more careful with water but with a small shop just a few minutes away I could enjoy a nice cupper without to much worry.
My new friend just checking I had everything I needed and if I had to much could he have some
I set off to the shop to restock on biscuits, snacks and fill my bottles then left the tiny settlement and headed north. The road climbed very steadily for the next 30 miles to where I had been told was a restaurant and could stop and rest.
These Cacti were just incredible
You know your in the desert when you see a sign like this
The scenery was nice, changing from time to time one minute being fields of huge cacti to small shrubs and lots of rocks. The wind although coming from the north was light so I could stay at around 11mph as I climbed and finally reached the settlement of Chapala where I did find a restaurant.
With no garages for the next 100 miles I came across pick ups selling fuel in cans
It was good to eat and although early I needed the break before the next big push. I set off once more still climbing with the odd descent to rest my legs. I was trying to get to Catavina where I was told there was a camp.
As the afternoon went on it started to get much cooler
As I drew close I spotted a sign and soon arrived at the restaurant. I asked how much it was to camp only to find I could camp for free. I sat down to eat when I realised it was still early. Deciding not to worry about it and use the time to check the bike, clean the chain and go through my things it was perfect time to do it. Having covered over 100km felt good but I wanted to put in a good day tomorrow. With my chain clean, my bags cleaned and checked, and my gloves sawn up I set about working on the blog. It felt good to have so much done and helped me relax about not getting to far behind. With the night getting on I went in to charge up my things with the power now on and then headed to bed for an early start. I was really pleased at my progress and looked like I was on track for reaching the states when I had planned before I had got sick. I just hope the wind stayed down to make my life easier tomorrow.
Monday 28th March
Waking up to the dogs trying to get into my tent meant I was awake in seconds. I pushed them away but it didn’t stop them knocking my bike over which landed on my mozzie net and ripping it. I was so annoyed and not only that they had managed to raid my bag and pull out a packet of cookies. I soon scared them off but I could see they were ready for any opportunity to grab an extra snack. I got up and as I packed my things I noticed the wind was up and getting stronger. Even though I was protected behind the cabin I was getting buffeted which left me with one conclusion and that was I was in for a very tough day. Although yesterday had been good and I’d got a lot done it didn’t stop me thinking I should have done another 20 miles. I set off and immediately I battled the headwind to Catavina which I could have made easily if I had just continued. Spotting a small shop stopped to pick up a few snacks and a drink before riding on into the wind. I had been told the next bit was tough but with the wind it could be interesting.
Although it was windy the scenery and the massive boulders were pretty cool
I left town passing amazing rock fields and formations stopping when I saw a small snake in the road. I checked if it was OK by podding it with my stick only to find it was more then ok and was keen to check me out. Not wanting any harm to come to it I flicked it with my stick into the bush and with that it disappeared into the desert.
I headed on and with that a car passed over where it had laid knowing he would live another day. The road climbed and according to my GPS I should start to descend but with every down hill came an uphill the other side. The wind was relentless and any down hill I did get I had to peddle hard to keep going. I stopped at midday at a disused garage to have some cereals that I had been carrying which would hopefully get me through the next 25 miles. I pushed on all be it slowly but never feeling like I was making any progress. It was so hard in the wind and I never seemed to get any rest. I stopped around 2pm after covering 50 miles and grabbed some dinner.
This restaurant was just in a barren wasteland but they made great food and were very friendly
I could see the flags on my bike staining with the wind and I knew I had to face it once more after I had finished my meal. I set off once I had eaten and as I was riding I saw something on the side of the road. I stopped to see what it was only to see it was a portable pergola which looked brand new. I picked it up and with no one around I couldn’t leave it so I carried it for the next 3 miles even though it weighed another 6 kg until a car came along. I flagged them down and at first they thought I was in trouble but when I asked if they wanted it they looked chuffed to bits. Swapping it for two chocolate bars was perfect and we set off with me back into the brutal wind. Determined to get to el Rosario I pushed on but with every descent came a climb.
The hills just kept coming and they weren’t easy in the wind
And just kept going
At times the road was so rough it would have been easier to be on a track
As I would drop I would have to peddle hard to keep going and on the climbs that were a little bit more sheltered from the wind I would often climb at the same speed. I was shattered and by the time I reached town I had covered 82 miles all into a brutal head wind. I stopped at a hotel to see if I could camp and was shown prices of a room.
Arriving in town just before sunset and not a moment to soon
I asked if there was somewhere else and so made my way to another place where I was told I could camp for free. Feeling good after my bargain I pitched my tent sewed up the mosquito net and headed in for dinner. The owner was really nice and while he cooked me lunch I sat on the sofa and drank beer. Although it had been such a tough day it had finished great and I had covered the miles I wanted. With the wind warning up for the next few days I wasn’t out of the woods yet but at least I wouldn’t be going west anymore.
Tuesday 29th March
I felt tired when I woke and the sound of the wind was by no means a motivator for getting up. I had breakfast in my tent and went into have coffee and to say my thanks. Being told I had a 3km climb then it should be flattish helped me get going but I knew I would still have to battle the wind. I left out of town heading south west until it turned a sharp corner and started to climb. I’m not sure if it was 3km but it certainly felt longer. Once at the top it levelled off with great views of the sea but it was cold and I was in two minds whether to put on a jacket.
This military checkpoint did make me chuckle. Although I was concerned it had been taken over by aliens.
I see the sea
Once through a military check point the road dropped towards the sea with the odd climb I between. The wind made it tough going but with the volume of traffic I did get some rest bite.
Passing many farms I saw these tracked machines used to get better grip in the sandy soil
Some old ones that were left to rest
Wanting to cover around 80 miles so as to leave a days ride to Ensenada I pushed on until I had covered 40 miles before I stopped for lunch. It was nice to have the break but knew I couldn’t hang about.
I pushed on into the ever strengthening wind dropping into each small town then climbing out the other side. I passed many snakes on the rode all of which had been killed and wondered how many were dangerous.
I was amazed at how many different types there were
It was cold on the bike today and seeing the signs to beautiful beaches felt strange as it was so cold and cloudy that none would look like the pictures. As I drew close to the town of Colonet I spotted a cyclist coming the other way. We stopped and chatted and I found she was called Andy and was from Brazil but had ridden down from Vancouver.
It would have been amazing to have spent more time chatting but was fun while we did
It was really great to chat and could have done for hours but with the sun steadily going down we both needed to get to a place to camp. We wished each other luck and I headed the last ten miles to the town when I was stopped by a guy called Tarino. He asked if I needed a place to stay and told me he lived in the next town. It was perfect and so gave me directions. On doing this I set off and they sat behind me the whole way. It was nice of them to do so but with the wind it would have been nicer if they went in front.
The sunset was amazing and it somewhere to head to I could ride and enjoy it knowing I had a safe place to sleep
The sun soon set and I pushed on in to town following his directions. After another five miles we arrived at a dark building with no power. It all felt a little strange and was then asked what I needed. I said I need to eat but with no food he kindly said he would drive me into town. It was really good of him and when we arrived we found a lovely taco place owned by a really nice family.
Torino was a great guy and this family were so lovely and made my evening fun
Now full I picked up some snacks and headed back to their place. On arrival the power was on and I was shown around. Torino was a lawyer and had finished to run the restaurant his farther had left him. It could be a lovely place but where it was I did wonder if he would have many costumers. He kindly got me some water that had been heated up so I could wash but I was exhausted. I had covered 82 miles and my whole body hurt. If I could just make it to Ensenada tomorrow I could have a day off to rest and relax after a tough week and having done the miles today had put me in a place where I could make it in time.
Wednesday 30th March
Waking up around 6 am after hearing the rain I hoped it would be a dry day. I looked outside to see a blue sky and Burt climbing out of one of the pickup’s after waking up. Torino arrived and we sat and had breakfast once I had packed.
Torino and Burt, with Torino doing the entertaining and Burt making breakfast
They were really nice guys and were very interesting to chat to but I needed to push on to get the miles done. Once Torino had a ride on Dolly it was time to head off and try and reach Ensenada.
I started to head east then the road turned northwest and started to climb. With it the rain started so I quickly put my jacket on to try and keep dry. It soon passed and I reached the top and on to the next climb.
Riding north and watching a storm move across in front of me
It was hard going and I wanted to cover about 45 miles before I stopped for dinner. With a pass ahead of me rising just under 500 metres I knew it would be a long slog but once I was over I could enjoy I nice down hill to the next small town. The rain continued to be on and off and was getting quite cold in places making me keep my jacket on between the showers.
As I got closer to Ensenada the weather improved and I started to pass vineyard after vineyard. Now being in the wine regain and having a day off I hoped to do some tasting as the people in Ensenada I was going to meet worked in the vineyards.
Seeing all the vines disappear off in the distance was amazing especially with the mountains as a back drop
Reaching the town around 4pm I tried to call Juan Pedro to let him know I had arrived and after a while I finally got hold of his wife Marisa who told me someone would come and pick me up. Arranging a meeting point I waited for a bit when they all arrived to meet me. It was so amazing to see them and their daughter Valeria then to be told they would take me to stay at their friend Tiki and would have a BBQ. We drove out of the city and arrived half an hour later at a house in the countryside to be met by Tiki and Louis who were their friends.
Juan Pedro, Louis, Tiki, Marisa and Valaria were all amazing to be around and great fun
I was shown around and allowed to have a shower before we ate. It was such a nice evening chatting with them all and enjoying their company. With a day off planned for tomorrow and a visit to the vineyard I could relax. They were such great company and I was looking forward to my day off tomorrow.
Thursday 31st March
Waking late I found that Juan pedro had already been and brought breakfast while I was asleep. I got up and joined Tiki for breakfast and with loads of things to sort out before I reached the US I got to work. Needing to sort through my emails and messages then tried to arrange places to stay in US all took time but I was pleased to get it done. Managing to message Jules about his visit in a couple weeks felt good and also hearing from Amanda who was now getting excited about Alaska. I was surprised at how long it all took but having that time was great. Shortly after 3pm Juan Pedro arrived and we headed out to his friend Louis’s place to look around at the vineyard.
This was one of thousands of vines with this merlot being 30 years old
It was clear he knew a lot about wine and was great to see how passionate he was about it. We relaxed at Louis’s for a bit eating freshly picked oranges from the tree then headed out to where Juan Pedro works.
Hear we had the chance to taste the wine which was just amazing and once we were finished I was then given two bottles of their wine. It was so kind of them as I knew how good their wine was.
These shrubs were beautiful
Think I’ll just pop the cork back in
With many wines to taste I was feeling a little tipsy but they tasted amazing
We then headed on to another place where I tried even more wine which was just great but after several glasses I was starting to feel sleepy. On our way back we got a call to say we had to drop Valeria off at baseball and then we would go and get fish tacos. They tasted amazing and felt so lucky I had got to try so many foods in Mexico. Once we had eaten we headed back to the ground to watch Valeria play.
Valaria smashing the ball
She was brilliant and I really enjoyed watching. Once the game was over so we headed back to Tiki’s house to be dropped off. It had been a brilliant day and surrounded by great people. I would be sad to leave tomorrow but I needed to keep going. When we arrived we found Tiki watching a James Bond movie called ‘Die another day’ which was the one that had the bio domes in it that was filmed near where I live in Devon. It was great to watch but I was however tired but it had been a great day and a perfect rest.
Friday 1st April
Needing to leave and head and head to the border, I got up and had breakfast with Tiki. It wasn’t long before Marisa arrived to pick me up and drive me back to where they had picked me up.
Tiki was a star and such a kind person. He was a great person to been around
Once we had said our goodbyes I set off out of the city and up the first climb. Being 4km long it wasn’t long before I was at the top and starting the descent the other side. As I headed north Juan Pedro, Marisa and Valeria went past waving. It was so lovely to see them and even got to stop and let Juan Pedro have a go on Dolly.
Juan Pedro taking Dolly for a test ride
I set off once again passing many vineyards before a nice descent before the next big climb. With this one being at 780 metres high It was going to take a while to reach the top but at a nice gradient I managed to keep up my speed. Once at the top I dropped again and on to the last two but much smaller climbs.
The road to Tecate was beautiful and with the weather remaining good to made for a perfect ride
Looking back up the hill at Mexico knowing I would miss it dearly
As I was descending I got a message from Jorge and was about to reply when he arrived.It was so great to see him and now made it easier to find his house. I followed his car into town and up a few very steep hills and arrived at their house.
Jorge and Selene preparing a feast
I was greeted by Selene and their lovely dogs and was made to feel at home. Once I’d had shower I was then taken to see the sun set.
My last sunset in Mexico and I don’t think it could be better then this
I was made to feel so relaxed and it felt awesome being on the border of the USA. Heading back I joined them in the kitchen to watch as they made a prawn dish using lemon juice, chiles, salt and onions.
If you like prawns you love this but if you like mexican food you’ll find it incredible
It was then time to set up the bbq which we were about to have. Jorges brother and wife arrived along his parents. It was so nice to be made to feel so at home and so kind of them to make this evening so great. It was the perfect end to great day and to the end of another country.
A perfect last night with perfect people
The last stretch up the Baja had been cold and tough going with the wind and the grey clouds but when the sun came out it was perfect riding weather. I was excited about getting closer to the USA and seeing my friend Jules but I was really going to miss Mexico. When I returned to Mexico after spending christmas at home I hadn’t taken into account how much I would miss my family and friends, how much I would miss home, how far I still had to ride in Mexico and how much further I still had to ride to the finish. I did however stick at it and with the help of Chris and Mariann who had given me contacts in Mexico and the incredible hospitality of the Mexican people I grew not just to like it but to love it. I had been treated so well and made to feel safe and welcome everywhere I went. It wasn’t an easy country to ride through with most of my direction being west, The wind, rain, snow, hills, the mental and physical struggles and the preconceptions of it being dangerous but this country has so much to offer and I saw just a tiny fraction. I had met so many cyclists in the south that said Mexico was their favourite country and if they were to choose one to return to Mexico would be it. Now being at the end I to felt the same and I also had many friends to come back to that weren’t just saying come back anytime for no reason but meant it as if I was family. This country is so great and I was sad to be leaving but I have to keep going so I could reach Alaska before the winter. Tomorrow would be a new day in another country `’the USA’ and I couldn’t wait.
Thanks for reading xxx
Stat’s for Mexico and Totals
Currency:Approx £1= $1.5US
Number of days in country: 90
Total distance cycled: 3,126miles / 5,031km
Total altitude gain: 49,795metres –
Altitude gain per mile: 15.924 metres/mile
Totals from Ushuaia Southern tip of Argentina/ South America
15,491 miles/ 24,925 km, total alt gain 304,502 metres
Running Distance total: 31,639miles / 50,907 km
Running Altitude total: 498,306 metres