(October 10 – written by Nancy)
We had a good sleep in the relatively up-market Hotel Villa de San Quintin. It’s far enough off the road that we weren’t bothered by the traffic noise – always something to consider when looking at places to sleep along the Transpeninsular, as Highway 1 is formally known. So far all of the towns that we have been through (other than Ensenada) essentially run along the highway. The shops and houses line the road, and there is always a steady stream of people walking and cars driving along the dusty shoulders – and it is always a dusty shoulder!
Today we felt like we finally got out of vortex of Ensenada and the traffic that brings. Traffic was pretty light all day, and almost all of the drivers were very courteous and gave us lots of room. We only had one truck that was a bit obnoxious, but it felt like heaven compared to the last several days. The road surface was good most of the day as well – no real shoulder but with the light traffic that was okay.
We went through a large agricultural zone not long after we left San Quintin – Ranchos Los Pinos. There were tons of covered greenhouses, with lots of professional-looking buildings around them. We saw quite a few trucks with the Ranchos Los Pinos logo on them. It looks like a large company, and according to what we could see on the web it was founded by a peasant immigrant from mainland Mexico. They specialise in hydroponics, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Hwy 1 then heads pretty close to the ocean today so we had some nice views of the water. There were several ‘development’ opportunities, including an optimistically signed trailer park with great views over the ocean that obviously didn’t quite pan out for someone. There were several other blocks of land for sale, with a few houses out at the water’s edge. While there is clearly electricity available to these properties, we can’t imagine what they do for water. The land is so dry, with very little vegetation other than cacti of all sorts. Obviously some people try to make a go of it – I think I prefer a few trees around me…
We went through our second military checkpoint today, and just like the first one we were waived (and waved) through. This time there were trucks being stopped going the other way and there was a bit of a line forming – still not sure what they are doing or checking for but they do have quite a few guys working the spots and they all have decent size guns!
We made it to El Rosario about 12:30 and stopped at the first grocery store we saw to try to see what we could pick up for our next couple of days. The store wasn’t great but we were having a couple of snacks when who should ride by but Frederik! We called out to him and he came over and we had a bit of a reunion. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do yet – stay in El Rosario for the night or head out and wild camp somewhere. We headed off to check out hotels and ended up stopping at the first one we saw – the Baja Cactus. We got a very nice room, with good wifi and tv (even English channels) for quite a bit less than we paid last night – who knows how these rates are set!
Frederik ended up getting a room at this same hotel, and Martin and Nina (the Austrian couple we met the other day) are in another hotel down the road we all met up for dinner at Mama Espinoza’s, a well-known restaurant in the town. Always fun to chat with other cyclists over good food!
The next three days we have some long days (75 miles) with some climbing. We will have to do some camping as well, as there are not many places to stay along the way. Tomorrow is the hardest day, with over 3000 feet of climbing over 75 miles to get to a place called Catavina. There is not much in Catavina, but apparently there are two hotels so hopefully we can find a place to stay. If it turns out to be too hard to get there we may wild camp along the way. Dave promises to carry enough water so that should slow him down a bit on the climb…
Random funny photos from today that didn’t fit Nancy’s blog…