This should just about wrap up most of the content from my fatbike trip down to Mexico. Although I have been known to take off for days on end on a pretty regular basis this trip was different in a few ways. In 15 years of doing this, I had never toured with another person, let lone four. When you travel by yourself you are only hindered by your own problems. This was a great learning experience and it was pretty cool to share the experience with some other people. Also new was that some of the financial burden of the trip was eased by some really great companies that hooked us up with product. Osprey Packs helped us shoulder our loads. Smartwool provided us with socks, arm warmers, and base layers that kept us cozy and warm in the harsh conditions. While Smartwool kept us warm close to our skin, Club Ride kept us looking stylish on the outside with some badass jerseys and shorts. And Keen surprised us all with the comfort and durability of their clipless shoes. These 4 companies love DC and make really great gear, give them a look next time you are shopping.
One other thing I wasn’t used to was traveling with a professional photographer. It was awkward at times having a camera pointed at me, but the results were well worth it. I asked Devon to pick 10 of his favorite images from the trip and to give me some captions to go along with them. This is what he came up with:
The whole trip to Mexico was a bit of a cluster for me. I basically invited myself into the trip and then took off to California for the three weeks leading up to our departure. But I knew that everything would work out with this crew of guys involved. So, I hopped into a plane and left behind the snowy cold of Colorado and joined my three friends in Arizona. We hitched a ride with E to south Phoenix where we were to take a shuttle to Puerto Penasco then ride our bikes back to the US.
When we arrived at Transportes Nena’s, our shuttle to south of the border, the gentle man at the front desk said it would be a little while before we could leave. Shortly there after Travis came up to me saying, “You have to go out back. Our shuttle van is on blocks!” And kidding he was not. When I arrived on the scene not only was the van on blocks, but the drive shaft was on the ground. At least we knew they maintained their vans…?
Right from the start I knew this trip was going to be a life changer. Not so much in the sense that something crazy was going to happen, but more that the experience was going to leave a lasting impression on my life. As we drove south, the unmistakeable sound of a beer can opening interrupted all activities in the van. “Just be careful,” said our driver in broken yet understandable English. “And when you are done, just throw them out the window.” “You mean the cans?” Said Joe. “Si.” Was the only reply.
Our drive south took much longer then anticipated. Anxious to get out of the van, we had the driver drop us off about two miles from Rocky Point, our planned starting location. As we unloaded the van, I wondered what the few people in the sand parking lot of a small run down bar were thinking of us four gringos with our clown bikes. As we rode off into the night, it made perfect sense to stop at the only open cantina in Rocky Point. By the time we left we had locals offering us cake, giving us prime camp locations and random questions of reality of my mustache.
With our opening day delayed with a heavy rain and hail storm it left us with little to do but go back to the cantina. We sat out the rain and entertained ourselves with push-up contests and harmonica playing. Once we finally got started we got no further then a few hundred yards before one of the guys in the bar came flying up in his tiny Ford telling us someone left their pack. “What was in it?” Asked Dirty. “Oh, just my food and water for the trip,” replied Joe. What to do as we waited for our friend to return?
As we rolled out on to the beach that first day, it was extremely difficult for me to not stop constantly to inspect all the things on the beach. Every so often a particular shell would catch my eye and the 50-ish pound bike would come to screeching halt. I slowly began a small collection of shells, some being tossed back when a nicer one was discovered. But there was so much more to be found on the beach then just shells
An unfortunate and all too common site for me on this trip; a flat tire. All in all I got something like 6 flats. I stopped counting after I got a double flat just moments after a long lunch break on the second day. It seems as though I was attracting anything to puncture my tire and only slowing the forward progression of the group. At the end of our long third day of riding, as we devoured food under the safety of shrimp shack, the unmistakeable hissing sound came from the dark.
Day 4, the day of the hellacious wind. We rode the whole day in a 40mph, ice cold, and sand filled head or cross wind. Never before have I wanted more to get away from weather with no place to go. No possible way to hide from the wind, just desert and ocean for as far as the eye could see. At one point Travis was seen leaning to what seemed to be a 45 degree angle into the wind. Every so often the wind would pick up so much that getting off and walking made more sense to save energy.
After only making it about 6 miles in four hours in the horrendous wind and sandstorms, we decided that hitch hiking would be the best solution if we were to make it to El Gulfo de Santa Clara to resupply. Gulfo was a mere 30 km away at the start of our day! Finally, after what seemed forever a truck finally stopped (mostly due to Joe’s witty hitch hiking skills). As we began to pile the bikes into the back, it became quickly evident that there was no way all four of us would fit. The young Mexican kid offered to return for the other two for $20 American. We were more than happy to pay. What a sight it was to see a pile of bikes and gringos in the back of that truck.
The end of the day of hell in the wind, we opted to take refuge in a hotel so funnily named, Little Las Vegas. With a shower and two entrees each for dinner we were all feeling top notch again. We even took a stroll down to the beach to watch the sun set. As the sun disappeared for another day, we were all happy to be crawling into a bed and not sleeping on the sand.
The whole idea of this trip seemed pretty crazy. The locals thought we were crazy. The Federales thought we were crazy. You very well may think we were crazy. Maybe to do something like this you have to be just a little bit crazy. For me, this was my first time in Mexico, not to mention my first bike tour. When I returned to reality my body was beaten. I could hardly walk for a week and my hands and back ached. I also seemed to have picked up an itch while riding a fat bike on the beach. An itch that will only be cured by going out on another fat bike adventure…. where to next?