(October 12– written by Nancy)
Another long day today, but another good one through some great desert scenery. .
Our room at the Mission Hotel Catavina was very nice and I think we all slept well. We ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant – very good pancakes and eggs to get us off on the right foot (or stomach, as it were). There were some thoughts about whether we should actually take a day off there, so we could enjoy the hotel and surroundings, but once again we decided to keep rolling and save a day off for a town with a bit more to it – someplace where there was actually a town!
There weren’t many places to stop along the way today – there was really only one loncheria (little roadside restaurants) the whole day, at about the 35 mile point, at a point in the road called Chapala. So, of course we stopped there, drank several cold drinks and had some good burritos and quesadillas. And, what do you know, we ran into another touring cyclist! Seb had taken the road from Ensenada over to the Sea of Cortez side of the peninsula, and had just come back to Highway 1 after making his way across a 20k stretch of dirt road. We traded stories over lunch, and then Seb joined us for the remaining ride into Punta Pietra.
Not much to say about the scenery today other than it was a continued ‘wow’ from yesterday. There were so many cacti that it really felt like we were riding through a kind of forest. They apparently had a lot of rain last winter so everything is much greener than usual and we saw lots of cacti are growing lots of new shoots. Traffic was pretty light again, and while the road was not so great (potholes) in several places we also had a section of newly repaved road – very nice.
Our intended destination tonight was another loncheria in Punta Prieta, where we had read in other cycling blogs that cyclists were allowed to camp. We stopped in the ‘town’ and loaded up on water and made our way to Restaurant Melany, which is at the south edge of town. As the most proficient Spanish speaker we sent Frederik in to negotiate a spot for us to set up the tents. Unfortunately it turned out that we couldn’t camp there – not really clear why, as we knew a couple of cyclists had camped there, one sometime this year. As we pondered what to do, the woman at the restaurant came out and said we should go back and check with the police, or alternatively her house was just back up the road and she had a large yard that we could camp in.
So, we headed up to casa de Maria to see what the situation was. Maria lived there with her daughter, who came out to greet us as we rolled up the dirt driveway into the dirt yard. And, of course, there were her two ‘friendly’ dogs that came out to greet us as well. The house sat just off of Hwy 1, so camping would be a bit noisy there from all of the traffic on the road. We discussed it a bit and decided to go check with the police to see what they had available.
The police were very welcoming and took us right over to a large sport court area right next to the station and told us we could camp here. It is much further back from the highway so less noisy (but of course you can still hear the traffic), and it’s good to know the police are right there. The only downside is that there are no working toilets (!) so it’s a bit of a bush camp after all. We had lots of extra water so were able to take a bit of a ‘shower’ over in the corner (hoping all the while no one would drive by). Then we all made our various dinners and it’s now time for bed. The lights came on in the sport court so we will be sleeping in the light at least for now – not sure if they will go off later.
No internet or mobile coverage here, so we will have to post this later. We are going to head back to Restaurant Melany for breakfast (they do have toilets there!) and will try to post from there. Oh, and Dave finally got his Baja California license plate today…