(October 29 – written by Nancy)
Today we made all of three turns in our whole 100 kilometer ride – counting the turn from the street our hotel was on back on to Hwy 1. The rest of the turns were just the road curving enough that you could actually call it a turn. The scenery was more of the same that we saw yesterday, so not a lot to catch your eye. As you can imagine, that doesn’t make for a scintillating ride. You know it’s an exciting day when Dave starts taking pictures of moss on the power lines….
Our hotel last night, the Posada Del Ryal, was okay – pretty clean and generally quiet. We found a place to get some fish tacos for dinner – pretty tasty, but the waitress was not overly friendly and refused to slow down when speaking to us even when we asked. Interactions with the waitstaff in a place can make all the difference and unfortunately she didn’t leave us with warm and fuzzy feelings. They did have a nice ’65 Thunderbird parked out in the parking lot – I think it was for sale.
After we got back to the room I found a movie on TV (in English!), The Fifth Estate, about Wikileaks, so we watched that – kind of fun to hear some English for a change. The hotel seemed to fill up with cars and trucks towing dune buggies/desert racers – the Baja 1000 is starting soon and we have started to see lots of them on the road as people prepare for the race. There are apparently lots of prepatory races as well so some of these guys may be getting some extra practice in. Whatever they are doing, they sure do like to rev their engines, even in parking lots.
The time changed here last night, so we got an extra hour of sleep, which was nice. It also means that we are back to good daylight by 6:30, so we can get on the road earlier and take advantage of the cooler morning air. We had clouds this morning again, and even some foggy mist along the highway – first time we have felt that in a long time. It almost looked like it might rain, but then the clouds seemed to disappear almost in an instant and we could feel the heat right away.
We are back into mostly desert, with only a few houses or buildings in some very small villages that we passed through. We made a stop for a snack in a little village called Santa Rita. There is not much there (calling it a village is probably too much – more like a blip on the road) but we knew from our scout Frederik that there was a good restaurant just as you came into the place. Neither of us was too hungry but they did have some tasty looking biscuits/scones so we had those, served to us very nicely by the proprietor’s young daughter. When it came time to pay the bill she helped me with my Spanish and I helped her with the English equivalent.
We ended up in another little village called Las Pocitas, where we knew there was an Oxxo store where we could get water and other supplies. We thought that today we might have to camp behind a restaurant up ahead or bush camp, but one of the other riders ahead of us, Aled, had sent us an email telling us about some rooms available in Las Pocitas that he and another couple of cyclists found. He said they had showers and air conditioning, so we were keen to see if we could find them. Aled said to ask at the llantera about the rooms – a llantera is a tire shop (they are everywhere in Baja), which seemed a bit weird. Dave asked at the Oxxo about a hotel, but they didn’t know anything.
We rolled down the street and sure enough there was a llantera. Our first attempts at trying to figure out if, and where, these rooms were was not very successful. I think the fellow thought we were asking for a church! Anyway, we tried again, referring to our three amigos who stayed a few nights ago, Dave miming a sleeping posture, to see if that got the message across. Well, it seemed to, because one of the guys went and got some keys and took us across the street to this little building where there were several doors with numbers on them.
Success – these were rooms for rent! We ended up picking one of the larger ones as it was at the back and out of the sun. Actually, I think the one we have is the same one that Aled and his friends had, as it hadn’t been cleaned yet. The nice fellow said that someone would come clean it and sure enough about 15 minutes later a gal came and gave it a good cleaning. It’s not the Hilton that’s for sure, but we did get a shower and the air-con is nice and cool! Very cheap too – or maybe not, for basically a concrete bunker, but it will work for the night.
We walked back out to see if we could get something to eat, but there wasn’t much to choose from so we ended up back at the Oxxo and got supplies to make ham and cheese sandwiches. I think Dave ate three of them and we still have lots of bread left! We’ll make our own dinner from our supplies tonight. That way Dave can quit complaining about carrying emergency meals all the way to La Paz!
Tomorrow we will be on the road as early as possible to get to La Paz at a reasonable time, as we are aiming to catch up with Frederik for dinner before he flies out the next day. It’s about 70 miles or so, with a bit of up and down so I expect it will be a bit harder than today. But, it will be our last ride before our break for Spanish immersion classes so we will try to enjoy it.