Such has been my state of mind since entering Mexico, that the potential slog back up the peninsular to get the visa, presented no great anxiety.
I left you last in San Filipe in 100+ degrees. From there the road south along the coast was very good for the first 70 miles, then it turned to gravel and sand for the last 50. It was also heavily corrugated in places, a very uncomfortable surface. It is tough on the bike and tiring to ride over. I got about half way when I stopped for a break only to notice that there was a crack on the frame that cradled the engine. It was in the same place that it had bust before in India nearly a year ago. It had not completely gone, so I roped it all together and rode at a slower pace, praying it would hold till I hit the tarmac.
|This was a brave hitchhiker...he needed a 10 mile lift that took us 30 mins...|
|The road..a better stretch|
|Beautiful hot desert all around|
|The bra and knicker trophy ceiling|
|The night's shelter|
He insisted that I should not risk driving the next 2 hours as the road got rougher before the tarmac, and it was pretty late. He pointed at a bed frame that was under the original shelter. He threw some blankets over the springs, showed me the old caravan that is now the bucket and scoop wash room, and then bid me good night, saying he goes to sleep at night fall and wakes at dawn. I cooked a quick supper and retired. There was a big wind, thunder and lightening all night which had me awake half of it, but the biggest fright was when one of his blooming cats jumped on me just when sleep had finally come. Poor thing probably had just as much a fright as I lashed out in wild and blind defense.
An early start had me at some welders a couple hours later and they saw the frame right and strengthened in an hour or so.
|Back to full strength, with an extra plate to strengthen that seemingly vulnerable part|
It did not seem to have rained over night so I went down to the river and saw a few 4x4s crossing ok. So I though I could. A minute later Batty and I were stalled in the middle of the river with water nearly up to the tops of the wheels. It was a silly idea and I should have paid more attention to the route to take, but more importantly I had not anticipated the water been thrown up in such amounts that it filled the too low engine air intake. Luckily there were a couple of chaps wading across and they helped me push her back to the dry. It was good to have entertained the long queues of impatient drivers for a moment. The road to the centre of the town was passable luckily and I spent the day drying out and adjusting the air filter cover so that I could go through 2 feet of water with ease.
|Shot by a wet footed photographer|
Dolphin Diving was a little down the road from my guesthouse and by chance I went down there at 8am the next day to see if there were any chance of a dive. Luckily for me Raphael was just loading the boat to take John out, and they hung on 10 minutes so I could join them.
John has many years diving experience and having retired after a career in environmental journalist, both in Thailand and his native Oregon, now spends a month in Baja each summer, fishing and diving, often with Raphael. His particular quest nowadays is to find different Nudibaranchs, colour full marine snail that are a fascination to him. The good thing about these sorts of missions are what else you see along the way, sea lions, turtles, whales, monster lobster and every fish in the aquarium, just magic.
|Our lunch spot, Daniel (driver), Raphael, and John|
|These chaps came along for the dive...and showing us what they could do underwater that we could not...I wish I had had a underwater camera to capture their grace and agility.|
|John discussing Nudibaranchs with Rafael at 6am|
|Sun rising as we set out for Santa Cantalena|
|This is a huge whale spotting area, but mainly in the winter months...we were lucky and had this companion for a while...my camera was never on when she/he showed...so this the best I got|
|The Island coast line|
|Hardly anyone ever comes here, and this was thought to be a very fine example of this type of Cactus.|
|Loreto mission at sunset.|
|On the road to Santa Juarez. I should have seen many more of the abundant cave paintings on Baja, and these are probably the poorest examples.|
|The mission at Santa Juarez, the first mission in Baja, and a pilgrimage is made every year here from all over Mexico.|
|It doesn't look it, but behind Batty is a very steep hill, which I had to run along beside her whilst slipping the clutch to get up...first time since the Himalayas|
|Ended up staying about 4 happy nights at the Hotel Yeneka, La Paz. The owner, Manuel, is a great artist and the hotel is one huge artwork|
|Dinner at last with my Italian girl friends in La Paz|
|This is a handshake with Yuri, who helped me a great deal with my visa issues...a fellow biker, who had just come back from a 16000 mile run to Alaska and back. He owns a travel agency called Viaje Perla in La Paz...although he did everything he could to not sell me a plane ticket. A very fine man|
|Each room in Yeneka...was themed. This one was fun.|
|Damien, from Brussels, was staying at the hotel and we had a great couple of nights out...very good company|
It seemed like a good idea to get Batty serviced a bit whilst there, and Yuri gave me the name of Gabriell, a Hungarian bike mechanic. Gabriell is a very generous man and went to great lengths to see me right...along with his sister Maria who lives in Miami....we had an open Skype line to improve communications. Also the with Scuzme ('Excuse me' his chat up line that became his nickname) his pal who ran us around the town getting parts and stopping at off licenses to get more beer to keep the heat of the day at bay. I lost count but I think it was about 12 pints in about 4 hours.
|Gabriell just before setting off for the ferry to the mainland port of Mazatlan. After oil changes, new fork seals, breakpads, wheel bearings etc.|
|I met Rob on the ferry. He had ridden across to Japan from York and then to Alaska and now on his way south like me. He left a bit after me last year. His blog is http://aroundtheworldforwater.co.uk/ . He wild camps every night and is on a budget of less than £10 a day.....makes me feel very soft core. Good and interesting company. Funnily enough he had been told to look out for me by diver John, who he had bumped into at Loreto.|