Sunday, February 19, 2017

Feb 19--The Final Countdown!

We moved to the Cactus Inn which is closer to the airport, although we're still not sure how we are getting to the airport.

Sarah routed us to the hotel on dirt roads, so we didn't have to ride on Mex 1 hardly at all.
The part of San Jose Del Cabo that most gringos never see.

Once we got checked in, we started the process of packing up the bikes. I took off most of the bags, then we rode to a restaurant that had birria, which a a soup with shredded beef that you add veggies to, and tortillas. I can't believe I waited until the last day to have birria! That was a mistake. Guess I'll have to come back!

When we got back to the hotel we buckled down and got to taking the bikes apart. I thought about how Tilmann goes in his case, and used that to pack Mama Cass. Of course, she's a little bigger, but I think I did a good job.

I wrote my name and phone number, and added, "Please handle with care so this cocoon and become a beautiful bikerfly."

Here's the guys getting their bikes ready.

Once the bike was packed, I packed the Chinese Shopping bag. I'll carry on one pannier with my sleeping bag, pad, and pillow, and my little backpack with my iPad, camera, etc.

For dinner, we walked down to a hot dog stand that had more than hot dogs. I had a final torta (gonna miss those), and some juice. 

Final dinner

We were just now sitting outside talking with Liza and Tyson when a white panel van pulled in. I told Tom that van would be perfect to take us to the airport. The guy checked in, then parked his van. Tom went over and asked the guy if he could give us a ride tomorrow morning. He said yes! This is Mexico! People are amazing! We're not sure if he said 6:00, 6:30, or 7:00. We'll be ready at 6:00.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Feb 18--Adventures in Bus Riding!

Indeed, we did stay in San Jose Del Cabo. We needed to gather packing supplies for the bikes, and wanted to look around more. The weather forecast, however, was not great. At around 10:00, I knocked on Tom and Sarah's door to see if they were ready to go on the hunt for packing supplies, as it wasn't raining yet. Brent was out talking to a couple we met yesterday. They offered to take us to Walmart, and drop us off on their way out of town.

Walmart didn't really have what we were looking for, so we went across the street to Fed Ex, and a mailbox store. Neither had what we were looking for. We decided to take a bus to Costco. We got on the first bus that came by that was going by Costco. It cost 32 pesos. Soon we were racing along Mex 1 toward Cabo San Lucas, and I mean racing! The bus was flying at a tremendous speed. The windows were open, and the blue curtains were flapping. Then we pulled off the highway, and the driver pulled over. He got out, and opened up the hood. Uh oh, that's not good. But, he got back on, and we took off. Pretty soon we could smell something, and the engine was smoking. Again, the driver pulled over and opened up the hood. At this point, we were stopped in front of a Home Depot. Perfect! We got off and went to Home Depot. We found exactly what we were looking for (a big roll of shrink wrap, and packing tape). When we came back out, the bus was still sitting there. We played Frogger (1990's video game) to get across the highway so we could catch another bus back. A much nicer bus pulled up (cost 37 pesos this time), and we rode back to town. As we were walking back to our hotel, we saw some discarded cardboard. We gathered it up, and kept walking.

We dropped our supplies back at the hotel, and headed to Baja Brewing for some lunch (and beer for those who like it). On the way, it started to rain. The pub wasn't too far, so we didn't get too wet. The place was packed, but we finally got a table indoors. I had a great pulled pork sandwich, and homemade root beer. Then it really started to pour down rain, and the wind was blowing too. We just sat in the pub for a bit longer. When it eased up we went out, and decided to go peruse the shops. Because we must have dessert after every meal, we opted for the OXXO station (like 7-11, only more prevalent). Then the rain came down in buckets! We made a run for the hotel the moment the rain let up.

For dinner, we went to a place the couple had recommended. It's called, in English, The Hangman. The food was good. Sarah finally got to eat a lingua taco (tongue). I don't think she was impressed. Two other riders, Liza and Tyson, joined us. A guitar player came and played for us. It was fun, and the food was good.

On our way back to the hotel, Tom and I went for churros one more time. They weren't as fresh as last night, but still good.

Once again, I seem unable to add photos. That's okay, though, I didn't take many today anyway.

I feel like this was our last night in Mexico, even though we still have one more night. Tomorrow is going to be a lot of hard work getting the bikes packed, and ready to go.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Feb 17--We Made It to San Jose Del Cabo, and Only One Pig Pile

Well, we've done it! We have completed our version of the Baja Divide! We packed up, and shoved our bikes through the sand for our last day of riding.
Last morning on the beach
The Coast road was really not bad. We were told there was only private property, but that was not true. There were several public places to access the beach, mostly surf spots. Sadly, we did not see a turtle sanctuary. We found out the turtles aren't really around until March. We did, however, see several humpbacks slapping their fins on the water--too far away for photos, but cool to see.

About midway through the ride, we came across a fancy hotel. It had a restaurant, so we stopped and had some food. Sarah wasn't feeling great, so it was a good break, and a chance to get some fluids (especially Coke), and food.

The Coast road is a lot of up and down. The ups are not too difficult, and neither are the downs.

Brent with Sarah in the distance
Usually, at the bottom of a hill, there was some deeper sand. I had no problems rolling through it. There was one downhill was curvy. Brent went around the corner, closely followed by Tom. I was a respectable distance behind them, but not too far. As I came around the corner, all I could see was a pile of bikes, and Tom. At first I couldn't even see Brent under the bikes! I stopped before running into them. First thing Tom says is, "Well, we got that out of the way!" Fortunately, neither of the bodies, or the bikes, were badly hurt, just a few scrapes. Apparently, Brent came around the corner, and hit a soft spot in the road. His front wheel went sideways, and he went down. Tom, being fairly close behind Brent, hit Brent's bike, and flew over the bikes and Brent. Brent's bike was completely upside down. I took a couple of photos.
The pig pile

We came upon a sign saying San Jose Del Cabo 25km to the right. We thought we would be following the dirt road all the way into town, but apparently not. The final 25km was paved, and included a rather long climb. It looked bad from a distance, but wasn't really too bad once we were going up. I listened to my music.

Once we hit town, Dylan navigated us to the Hotel Posada Terranova, where Nick is staying. It is right in the middle of the old town for a very reasonable price of 960 pesos/night.

We showered (yep, it was the BEST SHOWER EVER!!!), and dropped our laundry off at the lavanderia around the corner (I may have to relearn how to do my own laundry when I get home). We'll pick it up tomorrow. Then we got more pesos, and headed to the center of Old Town (the Misíon area) to catch a bus to the free Jazz Festival. The busses are old school busses. There are specific stops, but you can also just flag them down. It costs 12 pesos. When you want to get off, you just walk up to the front of the bus, and the driver stops and lets you off.

The jazz festival was okay. There were various vendors there selling paintings, and a variety of other crafts and food. I had a shrimp empanada that was tasty. We also ate at a food truck. I had a Cameron y pancetta burger and papas frites. It was delicious. Then we had gelato. Also delicious!

The food truck

We got back on the bus, and got off back in the Misíon area. We walked around a bit, and found a churro cart. I was stuffed, but managed to choke down a couple of churros. We even saw how they make them (not like it was a super big mystery, but fun to watch nonetheless).
Making churros!

Since we could hold no more food in our bellies, we walked back to the hotel. Tomorrow we have to get stuff to pack up the bikes, then we will move to a hotel closer to the airport...or maybe we will stay here another night???
Balloon guy

Feb 16--Stars on the Sand, and in the Water

It's hard to believe this is our last night camping on the Baja Divide, but what a day we've had!

Because this is now the snorkel tour, we of course started our day with a snorkel session. We saw some different fish, and some of the same fish we've seen before, but not at Arbolita.

Since some of us were a little short on food, we opted to go back to Cabo Pulmo and eat lunch at Pepe's again, then get a bit more food from the aberrotes. Yesterday, there wasn't much selection. Today they had restocked and there were more options. It was a good choice to go back. Besides, we were only going to Los Frailes, a short 9km from Cabo Pulmo.

Brent and I took off a bit before the others. We were looking for a road off the main road to the beach. Every road we saw said private property. Finally, we saw a road that had no sign. We waited for the others to catch up...and waited, and waited. Finally, we decided to ride back because, clearly, they weren't coming. As we were riding back, we could see some palapas (the umbrella things) on the beach. I figured the others must be there. Sure enough, as we were pushing the bikes through the sand, we could see Tom walking toward us. Part of the beach is the end of Cabo Pulmo National Park, the other part is a fish camp.

The water looked pretty calm, so we got our snorkel stuff out and headed for the water. Well, once we got to where we wanted to get in, we found the surf to be rather rough, and the chance of being thrown onto the rocks pretty high, so we made the prudent decision to NOT go snorkeling.

Back at the palapas, Tom decided to go see if he could score some fish from the fishermen. They had marlin they were willing to sell. He bought a huge piece, 1 kilo (the smallest amount they would sell) for 120 pesos (remember, that's about $7.00--$7.00 for 2 lbs of marlin!). The fishermen said it was best raw. The others ate it that way first (I declined--my stomach has done well so far), then made some ceviche. Later, he grilled some over the fire on the license plate. I did eat some of that, and it was very good.

While we were eating, Justin and Koby rode up. We last saw Justin in La Paz. He took the bus to San Jose Del Cabo to meet up with his girlfriend, Koby, to do the Cape Loop (she is from Australia). They made the same mistake Brent and I did, but they rode even farther.

While we were sitting around the fire, we could hear some people down the beach (they came in by boat to some tents that were already set up). We decided to go see what they were doing. Tom and Sarah were ahead of me, and they were yelling at me to come see, and turn off my headlamp. As I got to the water, I could immediately see what they were looking at. It was bioluminescence! If you don't know what it is, you'll have to google it because it was impossible to photo. It was incredible! It was like looking at a sky full of stars, except it was on the beach, and in the water. We could sweep our feet across and send a spray of bioluminescence over the sand. We walked down to the end of the beach where the bioluminescence was even more prevalent because the water is more stirred up. It was so cool! Tom, Sarah, and Dylan were wanting to go swimming, but, in the end, didn't (smart idea I think).

So, we didn't get to snorkel at this beach, but we were rewarded with amazing bioluminescence! What a fantastic way to spend our last night camping! Tomorrow, we make the push to San Jose Del Cabo. Then, it will be crazy trying to sort out the bikes to fly home.

Feb 15--This is Not a Bike tour, This is a Snorkel Tour!

I think it's possible that we snorkeled longer today than we biked. First, this morning, Tom tried to swim out to the whales we saw passing by. He was making good progress, but then there were too many jellyfish, so he had to abort his mission. Besides, the whales were going faster than he was swimming anyway. At one point we could tell there were 4 distinct whales surfacing. We are pretty sure they were humpbacks because they are common in the Sea of Cortez at this time of year.

We left the beach, and rode into the town of Cabo Pulmo, which is about halfway into the National Park. It was a sweet little town--seemingly more gringos than Mexicans, but it is a tourist spot. We had second breakfast at Pepe's--pan frances made with homemade bread, YUM!

There was an aberrotes that had minimal stock, but we were able to get water. Apparently, there is no other resupply between here and San Jose Del Cabo. So, once again, I'm carrying the baby seal (that's what the dromedary bag looks like when it's full).

The rest of our ride was all of 3 miles to Los Arbolitos, a great snorkeling and camping beach. It cost 50 pesos each, but totally worth it (of course, that's like $2.50). This beach has the same umbrella things as the last one. We each took one, and set up our tents.

The snorkeling is great! All kinds of fish. Brent even saw a small octopus (pulpo en español). I got lots of photos.

Later, I went back in the water, but to the other side of the cove. I was swimming along when I heard the others yelling my name. I looked up, and they were gesturing to get out of the water. Not knowing why, I swam as quickly as I could back to the beach. They said they had seen something out in the water, and thought maybe it was a shark...even though it is not shark season. Then they thought maybe it was a turtle. Anyway, a guy on the beach said I swam pretty fast. Well, sure...if a whole group of people were yelling at you to get out of the water, you'd swim fast too!

After awhile, we all went back in the water. It's so much fun to see all the different fish, and to spot ones you haven't seen before. I saw an orange one with lighter colored stripes, and just a stubby tale. That was a new one. Tomorrow morning we are going to go out further because Sarah said she saw bigger fish out there. It would also be cool to see a turtle.

Sarah and I also went for a walk on the rocks (not necessarily princess shoe or flip flop appropriate). There were some pools where we saw sea urchins, snails, sea slugs, and tons of crab scuttling around the rocks. Then, we climbed up to a trail we could see on the bluff. Good photo ops there!

There's no wood for a beach fire here, so Tom lit a candle. A good alternative for light, but not so great for cooking.

We rode a whopping 13 miles today. Tomorrow we will see how far we will ride. There is another snorkel spot not far. If there is a restaurant in the next town, we'll probably camp another night. If not, we'll probably book it to San Jose Del Cabo. Sarah and I were remarking how much fun it's been since we started riding together in San Everisto. This has really seemed like a fun vacation with great friends!

Feb 14--Happy Valentine's Day From Mexico!

Valentine's Day in Mexico! I even got kissed by a total stranger! On our way out of Los Barriles (note correct spelling), we stopped at the supermercado. As I was walking in, a gentleman said good morning to me, and put out his hand for me to shake. I did, then he threw his arm around me, gave me a hug, and kissed me on the cheek. I thought, well...okaaaayyy...that was interesting!

Once we were resupplied for the next few days, we headed out of town. We saw two guys from Colorado who were just doing the Cape Loop. We rode with them through a tricky part of the route, then just followed their tracks as they were much faster.

We pulled into La Ribera, and waited for Tom and Sarah, and Nick and Dylan. When they rolled in, Nick wasn't with them. Dylan said he gave up on his bike, and went back to Los Barriles to take a bus to San Jose Del Cabo. I felt bad for him.

We moseyed out of town, heading for Cabo Pulmo, a National Park, and our next snorkel spot. The route went inland a bit, which meant it was really hot. It was also very sandy. When we came out to the pavement, Sarah and I looked at the route map, and decided we had come enough miles, so we could look for a beach to camp on. After about 5 km on the pavement, we saw a sign that said public beach access. Perfecto! We rode out to the beach and came to a most beautiful spot, complete with little shade palm "umbrellas". We each took separate ones and parked our bikes under them.
A palapa for each of us!

A swim was in order, and everyone got in the water. The only problem was that the surf was pretty strong, and there were lots of rocks. I only went as far as the edge of the sand. Getting out into the water wouldn't be so hard, but coming back in was tricky. Brent said he was kind of bounced on the rocks. That was not appealing to me. Later, I did walk down the beach to a spot where the sand goes all the way out, but the surf was still pretty strong.

We spent the afternoon sitting on the beach and watching rays jump out of the water, birds dive into the water, and saw a whale (at least that's what we think it was) slowly going up the Coast. It was heaven! This is the life!

I set up my tent in such a way as to make it capable of surviving a hurricane. I used my sand stakes (I have two), and I doubled up the stakes on the corners that don't have sand stakes. Then, I put big rocks on top of the stakes. Of course, that means there will not even be a puff of wind! Ah, reverse karma at play!

When it started getting dark, Dylan built a fire. He found the front grill of a fan, and made himself quesadillas over the fire. We sat and watched the fire and looked at the stars. The moon had not risen yet, so we could see the Milky Way and everything.
Dylan riding down the beach

It's hard to believe we have so little time left here in Mexico! We will enjoy these last few days as much as possible.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Feb 13--Now This is Vacation!

Before I get on with today's activity, a little update is in order from last night. When we went to bed, all was calm, just a gentle breeze. Maybe a couple hours later I was awakened by the wind howling. I had not used my stakes because the ground was too hard. However, I did put big heavy rocks on the corners. That didn't really do much good. It was another one of those nights where the only thing keeping my tent in place was the fact that I was in it. The opposite corner from my head seemed to be taking the brunt of the wind. I piled my water containers, iPad, toiletries, and anything else of weight into the corner. Still, when a strong gust would come, the corner f the tent would pick up and move. Tom and Sarah had put their tarp tent up. Tom had to take it down. So they were stuck out in the full force of the wind. I had a fine layer of sand covering everything in my tent.

Our plan today was to hit the next snorkeling beach, snorkel for awhile, then continue to Los Barrailles. We stopped first in El Cordonel for mid-morning snack. Dylan and Nick caught up to us.

We stopped at the snorkeling beach probably around 11:30. We all got in the water (except Nick who went on to town to get his bike fixed). There were lots of cool fish, including a blue damsel. Out a little deeper, the fish were bigger. The wind was still blowing pretty good, but we found a somewhat protected cove. The water was chilly at first, but then a pretty comfortable temperature.

After a bit of snorkeling, we sat on the beach in the sun to warm up and dry off. Then we got back on the bikes for the last 6 or so miles to Los Barrailles. Rolling into town, we could see the kite surfers. We turned town a road to the beach so we could see them better.
We rode along the beach to a restaurant/bar. There, we spent a fair amount of time consuming large amounts of food. Full on food, beer, and margaritas well, not me...except food), we headed back out to the road, and on into town.

Los Barrailles is pretty much gringolandia. I haven't heard hardly any Spanish. We are camped in an RV park somewhat similar to a KOA. It seems all the RV people are gringos. It feels like we're not in Baja anymore. It's okay, we'll be pulling out tomorrow.

Sorry for the somewhat short post, I am very tired after not much sleep last night.