Baja Divide, Day 23

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After 22 days I had covered some 800 miles of hard dirt road riding aand now I was facing the longest span without water or other resupply. It was a very reasonable 150 mile drift of coastal southern bound dirt roads according to the map. But this also meant I would be portaging over 12 liters of water to see me through at least three days of riding. This was the Seven Sisters frontage of the Pacific, in middle Baja, a killer surfing destination and remote as hell.

In planning, I had intended to push through two further days to reach Bahia de Los Angelés, because of my imagined need to “make time.” That was a full five days away, yet the grovel from Cataviña consumed more stoke for forward movement than I could have anticipated so by day three I had arrived in Santa Rosaliita and I was faced yet again with a with a tienda full of Tecates, cheap junkfood and beans, while next door there were tacos and in the morning, huevos rancheros. I had no need to be anywhere, so I sat up.

120 miles prior, five miles of the sweetest Cirios-forest slope delivered me from Catavina into the longest stretch of the pacific that I would ride. A cool off shore breeze distracted me from an array of steep, rock strewn rollers that would be the mantra of this sector. I arrived at San Jose del Faro, a lighthouse and fishing encampment on the shore where the route turned south and changed from loose bouldered egg sized cobble to perma-washboard for the rest of the days I’d spend on it, pounding hands and ass and mind for the entirety of the ride at a 5mph slough. There was no relent here as with much of what I had ridden previous. As I have said in conversation before – maybe 10% of Baja is what I would call enjoyable or “comfortable” pedaling. This sector was some of the most arduous.

I arrived to a camp at El Cardon somewhere in the middle of the Seven Sisters span of point breaks. I spent the night on the beach there with a hand full of American surfers on New Years holiday. The waves were small and playful. It made me briefly wish for more than a bicycle on this sojourn. Sliding down the dunes I would set camp among wayward bushes, not creosote but a family memeber. I would lay to gaze at the stars and hear the chuckle of families and a surf lingo undoubtedle Californian. In the morning, I would set out again after the best night’s sleep so far on the tour. I had no resource for coffee so I had no need to delay. There would be no dawn ceremony but to roll up the kit and go. I began pedaling before the sun broke.

The roadway south of El Cardon is purposed for cars, a folly in this arid ill resourced land. What may have been a dirt road convenience when fresh has ultimately fallen way to an egg-sized-gravel and that dreaded washboard, something so significant it will tear a car apart in a matter of a few years with it’s rattle inducing jar. It continued the theme of hard work for beautiful vistas as I traveled. Side roads, parallel to the main, offered respite not only to me, but motorists as well who tired of the pounding and rattle. I then spied an unknown path to my right and took it in search of relief. I could see power lines on the horizon. It was an easy guess, but it lead into Santa Rosaliita by a backway.

Throughout this journey, I am more amazed by where I stop than where I ride. This is a law of my universe. Everywhere I stopped I found the authentic Baja I wanted for nearly my entire life to see. Santa Rosaliita was yet another point within that truth. The next two days after this I would then again arrive to the Bay of LA where I would again siesta for six days and have some of the deepest experiences of the entire tour.

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