A 10 minute newscast showing the people of Syria fighting for their freedom against a murderous government. Absolutely gripping.
The dirt road snaked around hills by the ocean. The scenery was amazing. The road was challenging.
The dirt was replaced with sand. When the sand was relatively hard it was manageable, but bike tires do not ride well through soft sand.
Eventually we had the opportunity to leave the sand and get back on pavement. The paved road may have been the hilliest road I have ever seen (I am not exaggerating). You would finish a hill and think “damn that was hard” and then there would be another, larger one. Repeat this about half a dozen times. We all ran out of water.
It was another tough day of biking, and incidentally ended up being our last full day on the road. The riding from La Paz had taken its toll on our desire to bike. We thought we could do the last 60 miles to Los Cabos on a paved road along the beach, but we learned the road was only paved for 10 miles. Spending our last days of the trip biking on 50 miles of who-knows-what kind of conditions was unexciting, to say the least. The idea of relaxing by the beach was rapidly gaining appeal.
Leaving La Paz was rough. Lots of stores were closed because of the holiday and finding food in the morning was challenging. Also, we ended up biking about 9 miles in a completely wrong direction, and so we started the day with 20 M’s before we went anywhere.
We also decided to not take Highway 1 out of La Paz. We thought a side road would have less traffic (which it did) and take us closer to the beach (which it did). What followed was possibly the 2 hardest days of biking I have ever done in my life.
Taking the 286 out of La Paz starts with a 15 mile up-hill (maybe 20?). Due to our misstep in the morning we did that in the hottest part of the day.
The giant uphill was followed by a downhill of about the same distance, most of which was on a single straight-away. It was wild to be coasting in the same direction at over 30 mph for half an hour. It was glorious.
Our route abandoned the paved road (which ends) and crossed some mountains on a dirt road. We did this in the late evening. It was rugged. By the time we were camping I remember any sort of movement was a serious challenge.
Loreto was the sight of some of our less-good decisions of the trip. An unfortunate encounter with some local hooligans left us a bit demoralized. We were running out of time on the trip and decided getting a ride to La Paz, about 200 miles to the south. The biking between Loreto and La Paz was mostly a long and straight bit of highway through the desert. No one was too worried about skipping it.
We spent several hours by the highway 10 miles outside of Loreto in the late afternoon trying to hitchhike. Finding a ride for 3 gringos and their bikes so late in the day turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. We ended up biking back into town and catching one of the fabulous baja buses late in the evening.
The bus ride was probably my favorite ride ever. The road was passing us by as we lounged comfortably and without worry. It was one of the only times in my life I didn’t want the journey to a destination to end.
We arrived in La Paz around midnight that night. Exhausted, we managed to find a cheap hotel downtown.
The next day was New Years Eve and for the first time all trip we would be staying in the same place on 2 consecutive nights. Jeff and I did a 30 mile day ride. It was great to bike without the weight of our bags.
New Years in La Paz ended up being a bit of a let down. There was a stage setup on the waterfront, but the only ‘music’ we saw were cheesy guys with too much makeup lip synching. It was awful. The event seemed to consist of people that didn’t know how to have a good time. Probably me just being judgmental. I felt the Mexican government was to blame for this crappy celebration.