When we last left we were bedding down for the evening in a crazy windstorm. Well, the next morning wasn’t any different, we awoke to a solid 30mph wind out of the south. Upon packing up camp I noticed I had a rear flat so before we could head out I had to patch the tube. This is where a little tool made by my friends at PDW comes in super handy. The 3Wrencho is a combo 15mm wrench and Tire lever, plus it opens a beer in a pinch also quite handy. Having an Alfine rear hub means you need one of these guys around for just such an occasion. I patched the flat and re-inflated and we were soon on our way – Straight into a headwind, riding along at about 2mph.
But hey what can you do? We just put our heads down and ground out the miles back into La Paz. Of course none of the restaurants are open on our way back into town so we had to make do with a few energy bars to tide us over until we could find something open. We finally made it back into town proper around noon and came across a California Chicken restaurant that a guy had told us about the night before so we stopped in and devoured an entire chicken.
Once again we had to explain to the restaurant owners about the bikes and we even had a few other riders pull over and check the rides out. After finishing up lunch we headed out to make the 30+ mile crossing on the 264 hwy over to the coast and La Ventana. On our way out of town we ran into the La Paz Velodrome which was pretty cool, it was really big maybe 400+ meters and pretty steeply banked, I wonder if anyone still races there?
After that we were pretty shortly out of town on the highway, when I say highway all I mean is a paved road designated as such, really its just a straight up 2 lane road with no shoulder unless you call the desert that people drive on in random spots a shoulder. It was hot outside but getting on the Asphalt in the desert raised the temps to easily above 100 degrees and for some reason we really couldn’t keep up a pace of much above 7-8mph I really could not figure it out and was even to the point of stopping and spinning my wheels to see if something was rubbing when I finally noticed that my altimiter was creeping up, then I turned around.
Ugh! 20+ Miles of 1-2% grade in the baking sun with no shade and no place to stop. Once again, all you can do is put your head down and keep turning the pedals over, you would crest a rise and think I have to get a downhill now, but no it would just drop 8-10ft and then climb up 30 more feet for what seemed like forever. The only plus was we had lots of time to observe things such as.
- Some cowboys in full gear riding horses next to the road sipping on some Modelos. So mad I didnt get a pic.
- Basically any tiny bit of shade qualifies as a family camping area, old scraggly tree next to a pile of tires – perfect for a picnic!
- Garbage – people just toss it out in the desert, sad really, bags and bags of it all over.
- Road eroded and falling off a cliff? No big deal just put a stick with a bit of orange tape on it to mark the spot where half the road is gone.
- Want to execute a hazardous move? Just put your hazards on and go for it, double yellow pass up a hill? No problema!
After what seemed like an eternity of climbing we hit a mini supermercado and pulled in for some water and cokes. Everyone else driving this route pulls in for a different reason, refilling their Cervezas.
Its nearly as bad as Wisconsin out there! You really do see lots and lots of people cruising with a beer in one hand and the steering wheel in the other. But aside from that it really was quite safe, we never got buzzed by cars and no one minded slowing and waiting for a safe spot to pass. Much different than the impression I got form all sorts of people who despite never riding down there told me we would surely be killed the moment we set foot on the roadways.
After our rest stop we finally hit the crest of the mountain and got our first look at La Ventana
Man was this descent nice! 20 solid minutes of uninterrupted descending no rises no sharp curves, just sit back and relax and watch the miles click off the GPS. Soon after we made the left turn and headed into La Ventana where I saw some truly excellent memorials.
Sadly, right next to it you have a fairly typical amount of trash
We soon rolled into town sweaty, hot, tired and hungry but luckily all our bases were covered within minutes of stopping. First we got 2 amazing meals for 120 pesos total(10ish bucks) along with 10peso beers.
Then, directly across the street, we camped for 80 pesos in this spot.
If you are going to spend any time in this area let me highly recommend La Ventana, amazing kitesurfing and fishing. Plus everything is very very cheap. As a result you have lots of Ex-Pats who stay here for months at a time. We passed out basically as soon as the sun went down and woke up early and packed up camp before stopping back across the street for breakfast and heading out down the beach.
So, up to now I had no idea really what the actual beach riding would be like on the coast proper. Holy crap, it was amazing! Deserted beaches and a nice offshore breeze saw us riding nearly 15 miles before we had to get off the beach, which we were pretty glad to do since the sand up this far is coarse and does not pack very well so it requires quite a lot of work to ride through. We saw all sorts of cool dead stuff including this sweet hammerhead shark and this Dead dolphin (don’t click if you don’t want to see a dead dolphin.)
We detoured around some more mountainous coast and soon turned onto a steep jeep track over the mountains and back to the coast where the views were amazing once again.
A rutted rocky descent tested our bag setup and handling. (the Porcelain Rocket bags were amazing in this regard. Watch for a longterm review soon.) Soon, we were back along the coast, except this time instead of being on a beach we were 100 feet above the ocean on a deserted jeep road.
After a solid 8 hours of riding we were spent as well as low on water. We were hoping that Cabo Del Almo would have food water and a place to stay but instead we found some goats and a dog.
At this point we were getting really worried that we were just going to have to beg water from a house or something but eventually Melissa flagged down an older gentleman who told us that there was a taquiera about 5k from us in a town called El Cardonal. It took what seemed like forever to ride those 5k but we made it and found a mini-super open where we were able to refill on water. They told us there about a campground / hotel / resturant just down the road so we dragged our asses over there and found the owner who told us rooms were $78 american a night, (crazy money) I tried to talk him into taking 500 pesos but he was having none of it, so we started to just set up camp, before we got too far into it he came over and offered us an RV to stay in, yes please!
He made us some whole snapper with pasta for dinner and we sat around chatting untill about 9pm when we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.
Next time we ride more beach, party with some Mexicans, and make it to our destination.
View Part 1 of the story - http://fat-bike.com/2012/04/baja-beach-adventure-part-1/