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Los Cabos

2007-12-07

After finishing my week of intensive language course, I was armed with the knowledge of the past tense, and a desire to finally finish riding the peninsula to Cabo San Lucas. So I headed out to Todos Santos.

The 50 mile ride was made rather easy by generally flat terrain and the beginnings of a tailwind as I approached to Pacific Ocean. And so I arrived in Todos Santos in time for lunch, and with plenty of time to explore the city. But I quickly concluded that there wasn’t much for me there by way of accomodations, and decided to try my luck in one of the towns to the south. Also finding nothing in those towns, I resolved that this would be another night of sleeping in the cactus, and towards dark (and 30 miles down the road), I found a spot with the perfect combination of enough bare ground to pitch a tent, seclusion from the road, and stunning views of the Pacific. Also, in riding south from Todos Santos, I crossed the Tropic of Cancer, and was officially in the tropics.

I set up camp, and as I was gazing out on the pacific, I saw a whale breach. And then another, and then I saw a tail slam down on the water. There must have been seven or eight whales, swimming right off shore from where I camped. I figured that wasn’t such a bad trade off for going to bed absolutely filthy, and having to squat near razor sharp cactus to take care of business.

The next morning, I covered the short distance to Cabo San Lucas, including one never-ending hill just before town, to arrive in time for lunch. I decided to first go as close to Los Arcos as I could with my bike, and wound up walking (covered in dirt and sweat) through the lobby of a very expensive hotel to get there. I guess I have to thank the Mexican law that all beaches must be publickly accessible for that one, or perhaps it is the fact that being a gringo allows me to get away with nearly anything…

Six years ago I had come to Cabo San Lucas, and my memories from then did not help me navigate the city this time at all. Everything had changed from how I remembered it, and wanting to preserve those memories, I decided to press on to San Jose del Cabo.

That too had become very developed, and so I rode on into the cactus once again. I finally found a spot in a wash north of Santa Anita next to a very old wreck of a car and called it a day. After reading my Spanish books for a while, and using my binoculars to gaze at the abundant stars, I tucked myself into my sleeping bag and passed out.

Very early the next morning, I was gently awakened by the sound of trucks engine breaking down the hills on either side of the wash, and after a breakfast of potato chips and Emperador cookies, I headed on up to Los Barriles, crossing the Tropic of Cancer once again.

In Los Barriles, I pulled into the first campground I saw, set up camp, took a shower, and headed to the beach to drink some beer and eat some fruit. Both were done with great enthusiasm, and while I was restoring humanity and insobriety to my body and mind, I was treated to the sight of windsurfers and kite surfers playing across the water. It was an amazing thing to behold.

Seeing how amiable Los Barriles was, I decided to spend an extra day. That day was spent in the glorious tradition of all break days: eating and napping and eyeing my bike with the intention of performing maintenance, but not the motivation.

I eventually and reluctantly left Los Barriles to cover the remaining 65 miles back to La Paz. Unlike the gentle hills of the Pacific road, the Sea of Cortes road seemed to adopt the Alaskan strategy of laying road straight uphill, the grade be damned. So it was a lot of climbing and exhilirating descent that brought me through the picturesque San Bartolo and El Triunfo. In El Triunfo, I stopped for lunch, and had my first conversation entirely in Spanish. It wasn’t easy or fluent by any means, but by god I was speaking and understanding (mostly)!

After an interminable period of grinding the gears, I found myself on the now-familiar streets of La Paz, and finished off my tour of Baja California. On Monday I take the ferry to Mazatl├ín, and from there it’s anyone’s guess…

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