(October 30 – ridden by Nancy and Dave)
Today we finished the Alaska to Baja ride –approximately 8,200Ks, or 5,100 miles. La Paz has been a “mythical” destination for quite some time and now we are here. It feels a bit surreal. We still have a long ways to go to reach Patagonia but we had to get here first and we’ve made it!
Today’s ride was fun. We both slept fitfully in our little bunker last night but we had no trouble getting up this morning. I’m not sure if we were excited about reaching La Paz, or just excited about escaping Las Pocitas – probably a bit of both. It was not a luxurious night, but it was better than being out in the wilds – we had a shower, air conditioning and a bed – a bit surprising for rooms rented at a tire shop.
Due to the time change here, away from daylight savings, we were able to get out early this morning. In spite of my poor Spanish, the tire shop man was at our door right at 6:30 this morning to get the key. Who says my accent is all wrong – whatever works!
We had a great sunrise right out town then mostly rollie-pollie and up for the first 10 miles. We didn’t stop at El Cien, the first village but the penny dropped for me when I realized that this town is 100 K from La Paz. Get it, El Cien translates to 100. I know, how clever for a town name. Of course, Nancy knew that El Cien meant 100 and had the name figured out days ago. Maybe I do need to start in the beginner Spanish after all!
The scenery was nice all day, rolling hills of cacti and distant mesa. Of course, I took almost no pictures of this. Three weeks ago I was snapping away at every interesting cactus as if it were the first I’ve seen (it may well have been), now giant elephant cacti in the sunrise are ordinary. Someone told us that south of El Rosario, we’d see cacti all the time and they were right. I am sticking with the “La Paz pull” as my excuse for not stopping today. Somehow I managed only a few photos and mostly of roadside memorials or shrines throughout the day – no cacti.
We had four climbs today – all noted from Nancy’s extensive route research. But none of them were overly taxing. Between the 3rd and 4th, we picked up new, super smooth wide asphalt, and a tailwind. Wow, what a combination. It’s hard to stop and take photos when you are grinning and laughing because the riding is so fun. I managed to sneak in a few photos at the top of the last hill, overlooking the Sea of Cortez and La Paz. I think we crossed the central Baja Mountains 5 times on this trip – this summit was the last one. And other than a little construction on the way down, it was smooth sailing all the way to town.
Before we knew it, we were at the La Paz sign in town, hugs and photos all around. It was nice to reach at least one goal of the trip. While at the sign, Seb rode up, followed by Frederik and Sonya and Kendra (two of the Canadian gals). How lucky is that, just as we road in! We exchanged more hugs and agreed to meet up later for dinner and we headed off to our AirB&B for a shower and something to eat.
Our AirB&B is in a great location and we’ve already discovered the most amazing bakery just around the block – think amazing fresh buttery croissants and actual proper espresso with steamed milk. And just across the street, there are two fish taco restaurants. More research on the neighbourhood is required but so far so good.
We had dinner with the gang and finally said good bye to a number of our travelling friends. Frederik flies off to Cancun tomorrow for a short holiday before heading home to Austria and Sonya back to Vancouver the next day. Seb, Kendra and Maya are heading to Mazatlan over the next couple days and I suspect we may see them again – never say never… And really, at this point, we know we’ll see Frederik again – not sure where but for sure, we’ll see him again…
We are now going to be in La Paz until the New Year. We start Spanish immersion school on Monday so it won’t be all croissants and cortados at the bakery (no more than one a day anyway). Posts will slow down but not stop completely over the coming period. I can’t be posting and not studying – or else Nancy will get even further ahead of me!