Frozen in Mexico
It was just too comfortable. We encounter this “issue” often this trip. Arrive in a town, get set up in a great place with great people and have a great time… then it gets hard to leave.
We managed to leave Ensenada regardless, after an interview for a potential new member to our gang.
A short ride out of town introduced us to Mexican traffic and also Mexican maintenance work. Jayne nearly got clothes lined by a man installing new power lines across the road.
It was a slow start to the day, so we only made it a little ways down the coast before our mandatory riding cutoff of sunset. We juuust made it to our goal of the Coyote cal hostel as the sun dropped over the horizon.
Hostels are nice as they have space to cook, sit, play games and provide a place to hang out that isn’t a small tent, but that doesn’t justify charging $20USD to camp there. Not in Mexico at least. We did meet an interesting guy named Brian, another motorcyclist cruising down the coast. He had a ’74 BMW, complete with side-rack for his surfboard! (missed my chance to take a photo unfortunately.) Great way to travel!
Onwards to the San Pedro Martir National Park and Observatory. I had heard great things about how dark the sky was there, and the lack of moon in the forecast had me excited. I’ve found I truly enjoy the far away places where I can just lay back and look at the stars at night. The park did not disappoint. For stars at least.
For starters, the road up to the park was great fun and full of twists.
Jayne got more practice while I would race ahead for awhile then stop to let her catch up. Our greeting to the park was a nasty, non-welcoming sign to say the least. While we were allowed to park and set up camp in the campground, we were not allowed to ride the final 16km up to the observatory. Cars? Cars are allowed.
I wallowed in sorrow while Jayne and I went for a walk down the road we couldn’t ride on. It was paved, it was even twistier than the road up to the park, and appeared to have been freshly paved! Perfect for bikes! My blood boiled a bit, and I pouted. I decided that if I couldn’t hitch up the road in the morning, I’d just ride up anyways. I hadn’t come all this way for nothing. Morning would have other plans.
After a night looking at the stars that was indeed spectacular (some things my camera cannot capture), the morning greeted us with a chilly reminder of home: below zero temperatures. Well below zero. A layer of frost covered everything and all our water froze. Thank those stars I added anti-freeze to my coolant last month… Neither of us slept great, though I think Jayne’s cold bloodedness fared particularly poorly. She’s not a fan of the cold, especially not in Mexico where it’s supposed to be all “sunny beaches”.
While thawing our water over the fire, I played charades withÂ one of the rangers named Alfredo, to see if there was anyone driving up to the observatory. We were in luck! Between Jayne and I and our combined Spanish and acting skills, an hour later I was in the back of a truck with Alfredo while the other ranger also named Alfredo drove us up the “no motos” road.
A gent named Carlos gave us a short tour and some history and facts about the Observatory, though the scientists inside were working nixing our chance to peek around. Still we could see all the way to the Pacific ocean and to the
Sea of Cortez just by turning our heads. As we were leaving, Carlos pointed out the coyotes waiting for the deer to get fed. We turned up a dirt road to find the deer a mere 15feet away from the coyotes!
The ride out of the park provided the same great turns, but with a better view.
A tame night followed, camped for 60 pesos in an olive grove. Though they did lock us out when we went for dinner. In their defense it was nearly 8pm when we returned.
Fog greeted our morning ride, at times so thick we couldn’t see more than 20 meters in front of us. It was an eery military checkstop when we pulled up to our first of the day, but they smiled and waved us through as most have.
At most they ask where we’ve come from and where we’re going. I really, really, really wish I’d spent more time learning Spanish. The simple stuff shouldn’t be a challenge. I’m finding it frustrating, mainly because I knew well in advance that learning Spanish would be very helpful for this trip. Oh well. No time like the present.
The fog turned to sun, and after another checkstop and getting waved through an agricultural control point, we set up shop at an RV park in Guerrero Negro.
We had a rendezvous with AJ and Quin, some fellow bikers from LA Jayne met through ADV rider. We shared stories, tips, and even found out we had both hosted the same German couch surfer!
From there we sat in the bar and watched Manny Paquiao get a concussion with a couple Canadians heading to a sailboat in La Paz. There are a LOT of Canadians down here on the Baja. More than there are Americans. Jayne and I sat talking with Steve and Denis until well after bedtime in their tent trailer. Very much reminded me of camping in our tent trailer while growing up, except with more scotch.
From sandy Guerrero Negro, where our bank cards don’t work, we head towards Mulege.
Enjoy the Gallery below, with a couple bonus pictures (edit: or not. I’m having gallery problems). Final note: I’ve named my bike: “Jugs”, after the milk jugs everyone seems to enjoy so much. Oh, and for those who worried: I’m still dropping “Jugs” even with my efforts not to…