Excerpts from “Journal: Motorcycle Trip – Baja Peninsula,” Part 2

Part 2: Bahía de los Ángeles > Loreto

 

By Rick Albertson

October 4: Bahía de los Ángeles

Decent sleep, though warm. Realize now that I came down here a little early. Still pretty warm and humid. Guess that’s why I haven’t seen any RVs.

Back to Las Hamacas restaurant for a great lunch of quesotacos with carne asada. Returned to camp hot and sticky so decided to take a dip in the sea, something I haven’t done post-“Jaws.” A few steps in, wonderful temperature.

A quick dip under the building waves. “Ouch!” My left little toe is throbbing, bleeding from a wound, stung by a stingray.

Back to camp to treat it with advice from George, an American in his mid-70s with a lifetime of travels throughout Baja. He now spends much of the year living in a house next to the campground and tells me how to soak my toe in very hot water to leech out the venom.

Sitting in the shade soaking my toe in the last few ounces of my water supply. Pretty hard to manage this with my little 7” cooking pot and tiny propane burner. Heat water. Soak. Heat water. Soak. Foot cramps. Heat water. Soak. George says it takes about 90 minutes. My system probably won’t work that long. Part of the adventure. Will probably be a long time post-Stingray that I will re-enter the ocean. 90 minutes later no pain!

Late in the afternoon rode into town to gas up and water up. Snacked on the beach watching the sunset. To bed with a book.

 

October 5: Bahía de Los Ángeles > Santa Rosalía

Broke camp, drizzle lukewarm shower, packed bike, snacked. Off early for ride to Guerrero Negro. Windy leaving the coast behind. Cool (mid-50s) inland riding once again past Cirio cactus. So strange looking they remind of descriptions of C. S. Lewis’ imaginary world, Perelandra.

Arrived in Gurerro Negro by 11:30 and had a hamburguesa at the Halfway Inn, named appropriately as it is located next to the border between north (norte) and south (sur) Baja. Felt good and decided to drive on to Santa Rosalía back on the Sea of Cortez. Very warm and humid driving final 135 miles.

Santa Rosalía is the first real town I’ve come across. It’s an old mining center with a maze of streets and an interesting history. I’m a day ahead of schedule so will visit more tomorrow and stay an extra night. Looks like good photo opportunities.

After two nights of primitive beach camping and a long (for me) 250 mile ride today, I’m wimping out and staying at the very nice ($45) El Morro hotel that sits on a bluff overlooking the dark blue bay. Just took a nice dip in the pool with a view.

Feel like I got my legs today, more accurately my butt and back. Little discomfort on the long ride.

Really nice dinner company at the hotel with Dale and Robbin from Ashland, OR, who are headed for Los Barrilles between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.

 

October 6: Santa Rosalía

Laid back rest day in this neat old mining town hugging the Gulf of California. The town was developed by a French company in the 1880s. As such, most of the architecture is French Colonial. Of particular interest is the cast-iron Santa Barbara Church, designed by A. G. Eiffel (of Tower fame).

Had a fun time this morning exploring and taking portraits of locals. All seemed to enjoy the experience. Only had two people refuse a photo.

I’ve changed my itinerary somewhat for two reasons. I’m now comfortable driving 200+ miles a day, and the return route I had planned, in which I would cover new ground instead of just backtracking, is no longer an option. A large section of the road was washed away by Hurricane Rosa.

Back on the road again tomorrow morning for a couple of long rides. Will be pretty much of the time riding along the coast. Hope to reach Cabo before another hurricane, Sergio, strikes.

 

October 7: Santa Rosalía > Loreto

Poor sleep last night, tired and sore riding, so changed plans and only rode 120 miles to Loreto. Drove slowly (50 mph) though was still 10 kmph over the speed limit.

Amazing scenery much of the way following the coast, especially around Bahía Concepción. For several miles every twist in the road revealed better and better stunning views of natural turquoise lagoons outlined by brilliant white sand beaches occupied by a dozen or more palapas awaiting campers visiting paradise.

Scenery became greener every mile as I’ll soon cross the Tropic of Cancer. Reached Mulegé, a small palm tree-filled town along a river flowing into the ocean.

Finally reached Loreto and parked the bike in the center of town across from the Loreto Mission, the first Mission established in Baja, back in 1697.

Wanting to find a good lunch I asked a lady walking by for a reference. She pointed out two nearby restaurants but then informed me she owned a cheese shop next door and suggested I would enjoy her homemade, fat-free cheese quesadillas. Well, Carlotta was right, simply the best I’ve ever had. Fantastic, especially with the special condiments she had made, including a raisin jam. Wonderful serendipity.

Found the Rivera Del Mar RV Park a few blocks from the plaza ($4/night). Another motorcyclist, Glen, had arrived just before me. Like me, this is Glen’s first long distance trip. He’s 51 and from Vancouver. Also like me, he prefers to ride alone but seeks company later in the day.

As I jot these notes I’m sitting on the edge of town just feet from the bay, cooled by a light breeze and serenaded by a beautiful concert of hymns emanating from the mission’s bell tower. Glorious.

 

Off on a long ride tomorrow heading southwest across the peninsula to San Carlos on the Pacific. Very hopeful my butt and back will cooperate.

 

Rick Albertson’s limited-edition coffee table art book, “On the Street Portraits: Baja Sur Mexico,” featuring street portraits, travel photography, and his travel journal, can be purchased at the link here.

 

 

 

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