Saturday, November 27, 2010

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew: Friday, November 26, 2010: Bahia de Los Angeles – San Ignacio (110 miles, 10 hours) San Ignacio – Mulege (110 miles,

Got sick from either bad tacos, the antibiotics for my lip, or both. Laid up in my tent with cold sweats and dry heaves for a whole extra day. On the plus side, I ran into Sondra and her two friends on dirt bikes, as I knew I would somehow. We talked bikes and riding for a while at the mechanics shop and then I headed back to my tent to collapse and sleep, since I had been up all night before with painful nausea. Got up the next day, said goodbye to Samuel the mechanic and headed down the dirt road to El Arco. Starts out ok, but soon deteriorates, with the dreaded sand getting thrown in here and there just to make me slide all over the place. Another thing is this is taking WAY longer than I anticipated. Between the 1st and second gear riding and slowing down during the sandy bits I’m making bad time as it is. But the thing is, the distance is much farther than I thought. I thought 50 miles through this tops but 70 miles later I’m still slogging through this crap. I also take a spill and bust open one of my side cases, which I get back together after shutting off the bike and turning off the fuel petcocks. Gas is still leaking out of the top of the tank all over my tank pannier bags. I’m getting that dread- feeling again, but even more than usual. I’ve been trying to figure out why. The remoteness of this place is just fucking intimidating after a certain point, no people, services, water, communication, and solo riding are all contributing factors. Enough of me is still enjoying the solitude and stark desert landscape to a certain extent, but on top of all of this, riding through this stuff is just a BITCH and I pretty much decide to be done with this dirt for the rest of Baja when I get back to civilization. I then hit a really bad section, where the graded gravel road becomes a nasty, rocky, sandy, rutted dirt track. I dump the bike again and now I’m just pissed. I’m in 1st gear paddling through this shit with my feet and thinking about how many hours it’s gonna take me to get the next 30 miles to El Arco. After 4 or 5 miles of this I see the graded dirt return and breathe a sigh of relief. I’ve actually been taking deep breaths when I tense up out here, something I never do. Another morale killer is when the GPS all of sudden decides to “add miles.” I finally get to El Arco where there is supposed to be a highway turnoff, but all I see are a few scattered buildings and an abandoned military base. I continue down the road and see a truck stopped and after speaking with the driver, realize that this dirt road IS the highway and its another half hour to asphalt. The road is relatively straight and smooth and I even get the bike into 4th gear a few times. I get to Highway One and take a left, vowing to be done with that shit! Its starting to get dark now and chilly as well, with tractor trailers flying by me way to close and blowing me and the bike around on this shoulder-less road. An hour and a half later I’m in San Ignacio, a literal oasis in the desert and a jumping off point for a lagoon 45km’s away which is a spawning ground for grey whales. I settle into a motel room, which is fantastic after 3 days in a tent. I meet Alex next door, who lives in Cabo and is helping his aunt and uncle move down for the winter from Idaho. I’m still feeling under the weather so I have a just a bowl of soup and some crackers, even though I haven’t eaten anything since this morning. Oh yeah, its Thanksgiving and I’m feeling pretty homesick, another new feeling for me, which I'm also chalking up to the Baja experience. Thinking about flying home for a week for my birthday and Christmas, a thought which I quickly dismissed only a month ago. Tomorrow, an easy ride to Mulege on the coast. Then a day in Loreto a couple of hours south before the final push to La Paz where I’ll catch the ferry to the mainland and leave Baja behind.

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