After 5 weeks on the road we’ve finally crossed the border and find ourselves half way through Baja California. Crossing into TJ was uneventful with the exception of losing the road to Rosarito. But as fate would have it, Enrique, a local laborer, was commuting home on his vintage 80’s mtb fully equipped with rear milk crate, shovels, hand tools and the days fresh veggies. He lead us out of TJ with the savvyness of a NYC messenger. He knew the short cut that bypassed the Toll road entry gates to Rosarito and helped us hoist our 110lb bikes over the barricade and on to the road.
This, I think is the best road in all of Baja…..6′ wide shoulders of new pavement, nearly no traffic because the locals can’t or won’t pay the tolls and stunning views of the coast. Enrique led the peloton for the next 35k before giving us a stellar lead out to the Rosarito town sign!!!
After spending the night a Chuie’s Surfer Camp just south of Rosarito we nearly picked up a riding companion………..Chuie or Stinky as Margit deemed him, was just about the most adorable little pup we’ve seen in years. The little guy was dropped off at the camp and was subsequently attacked by one of the big dogs and was chewed up pretty badly….hence his name. Jimmy the camp host swore he was going to take him to the vet but his prospects didn’t look good from our prospective so we thought we could clean him up, fix him up and put him in a handle bar basket and let him accompany us to points south. But after viewing his injuries and later learning what Baja is really about we abandoned the concept.
We worked our way south to Ensenada and was hosted by Luka a gracious woman with a set of twins missing upon our arrival. Luka gave us the lowdown on the peninsula….all the hot spots, if you will. And hot spots we got. After leaving the Pacific coast we crossed the desert to find relentless 900′ climbs and temperatures climbing to 118!
And then there was the marine awakening after we returned to the Pacific coast a few days later. We found the most remote shoreline campsite 30k from anything resembling Baja Civilization.
We were at least 3 or 4 k from the main road with a camp site high above the breaking surf. Temps back down to a manageable 70 and a star display never seen in the Bay Area lulled us to a wonderful sleep……until a light flash in my peripheral vision at 4am. A shooting star? UFO? Plane crash? What the hell!!!! And then voices. Opening the tent I see two pair of legs and that unmistakable image of the wrong end of a barrel! Damn! Not again I though……But this time the conversation was a little more civilized. “Habla Espanol”. ” Piquito” I squeaked…..”Guns and Drugs” they said in a rather serious fashion. “Dos gringos y dos bicicletas”….I said with some hope to what was a Mexican Marine search party patrolling the Baja coast for Narcos doing their thing in the remote darkness of the Baja beaches. As we learned those guys are our friends including the military check points scattered through out the central desert.
Now in Mulege suffering through a little Rancho with a great little restaurant with cold horchata and Negro Modelo, free WiFi and just 10 steps from the beach. Pancho and Yolanda have been great hosts but its time to head south.