Archive for September 30th, 2009

Central Baja

Sunset in Catavina in Central Baja

Yesterday I rode from El Rosario to Catavina in the middle of the Baja peninsula. In the morning there is still fog, as El Rosario is situated close to the Pacific Coast. I head out early (6:45am) to take advantage of the cool morning air.

Leaving El Rosario in the cool of the morning fog

But once the fog burns off (9am) it gets hot as there is no escaping the sun all day. In the beginning the road climbs up to a plateau of about 500m, so the first 40km and 3h are very slow going and strenuous.

Climbing up the road from El Rosario

The landscape is very barren, just a few cactus trees and bushes. But it has its own rugged beauty, and there is little traffic in this section, so relatively safe to ride on.

The desert road from El Rosario to Catavina

Unfortunately there is also a lot of trash beside the road; people seem to just dispose of trash by dropping it beside the road and then the wind distributes some of it across the landscape. This is definitely a less attractive side of Mexico, but not unexpected: Most poor countries don’t bother with protecting the environment, it’s almost like a luxury they can’t afford.

It was a long day (total 7h, 125km, 1500m elevation gain). And it was hot, as expected, with temperatures sitting at or near 38C / 100F for several hours during the day! I had started with 4l of water, and drank fresh coke at the little restaurants along the way. By the end of the day I had drunk 10l of fluids – I don’t recall ever drinking this much to stay hydrated. Upon arrival in Catavina I set up my tent at a desert RV park.

My tent at desert RV park in catavina

Accomodations are simple, facilities almost non-existing (no electricity, but candle light; no running water, instead big barrels with standing water, small buckets for “showers” and to induce toilet flushing…). But the restaurant across the street has good food – and there I meet Bill, Nina and Hendrick who are touring the Baja on motorcycles and we have a nice chat over dinner.

It gets cool at night, with a near full moon. Once I woke up around 4am and saw a brilliant night sky with the milky way. The desert sky with its super dry air is famous for its sunset colors and the stars at night.

Today I first needed to deal with some bike repairs (my shifter cable snapped again, despite being replaced in Santa Cruz not too long ago). Not the best place for this problem to develop; with some improvisation I was able to rig a temproary fix which should last until Guerrero Negro where there is a bike shop…

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