Monday, 3/21 and back in La Paz
We are back in La Paz so have an internet connection again as well as a working cell phone (working as more than taking pictures and acting as an alarm clock), so it is time for another catch up about the last few days and then tomorrow we continue our slow ride north.
We left La Paz on Friday morning and drive straight south on highway 19 which has some very dull, straight dry parts and then it gets to the Pacific coast (yeah, cool breezes) where it is pretty. We drove straight through Cabo San Lucas and made for San Jose del Cabo where we met my sister Renee and her husband Ken for a late lunch at the Baja Brewery (I mention it because the food was really good). We were about 2 hours later than expected due to leaving a bit late, road construction and then a really, really slow driver we couldn´t get around.
Then we headed out along the coast road with the small goal of reaching Cabo Pulmo but we just didn´t get that far at all. Because, what was the road like???? You guessed – sand! We kept moving forward and just dealing with it and thinking well, let´s just get on with it. I was sweating bullets but there were parts that were okay and not too deep. We ran into some folks on the side of the road who gave us more of the skinny about what to expect. The up side is they said we were through the roughest bit and that for the most part the remaining road was hard pack sand. This was mostly true. We ended up camping on Punda Gorda and it was awesome. No people, free camping with a palapa and the waves crashing right it front. The near full moon lite the place up as well. Loved it.
Next day we did make for Cabo Pulmo and the sandy road was not all hardpacked but definitely mixed with some deeper stuff that was a bit stressful. We stopped for an excellent meal at Crossroads country club but left at just after high noon which meant the light on the road was had no shadow which makes picking a line basically impossible (it is already tricky) and I had my fall down number 4. Getting tired of the falling down but we picked the bike back up and just kept moving. Nothing else to do and in some respects it was getting easier. We only rode a total of 35 miles before camping at Los Frailes (might have the wrong spelling on this one) and again it was free, beautiful, under a palapa, feet away from the ocean. We didn´t stay in the ¨town¨of Cabo Pulmo because it is crowded and you have to pay.
Onto Sunday – an interesting day – we started off on the coast road through more sand and had a bite to eat in Cabo Pulmo before continuing on what we thought would be about 30 more miles of sand but then there was a happy, happy reprieve and there appeared tarmac. I love tarmac. We didn´t have far to go for our goal of La Ventana and we weren´t a hundred percent sure of the route we would take. We knew we could go hwy 1 and snake through La Paz and stay on tarmac or we could take a chance on another route. We stopped in Los Barriles (likely wrong spelling again) to get some cash and batteries for the radios. In doing so, we chatted with some folks (Americans living in the area) who said the road (along the coast again) was great, all paved, etc, etc. So we thought why not, prettier drive and more direct. We had about 20-25 miles (or so we thought at the time).
The first 15 miles or so were really lovely with nice tarmac. The road went up great elevation then came down and we stopped for many a photo as we thought we have loads of time and not far to go. Then we came to a turn where we had to go left (only option) and right away the conditions changed. It was our lovely friend sand again. But, at first this didn´t seem to be a problem at all….just a bit of sand, at times deep but again we (okay, mostly me) was getting a bit more comfy with it and we were thinking we only had like 10 more miles or something. The road gradually changed. We stopped for a quick chat at one point and said wow the road sure seems to be changing ahead but, damn, I don´t want to turn around and do the sand we have come through again. So, we gamely decided to go forward. What was forward you ask?
It was the toughest road that either of us have ever, ever, ever ridden on! The road was no longer a road but a single track that was rock (large rocks), sand, grave and huge ruts and there was lovely thousand foot drops to the right side. We went up and down elevation multiple times with gains of 500 to 1,000 feet. No guard rails and really just hard track. There were places that were totally terrifying and where I thought, what the hell am I doing and how am I going to get down that section. There was a down hill where with both front and rear brakes being held as well as using engine braking the bike was still sliding. And, there were lovely large rocks to hope over. Again, there was that super scary dropp off as well. There were places that going up you couldn´t slow down or stop even for a second because the tires were spinning at times trying to grab their way up. Our bikes are like little mountain goats and it is amazing what they will do in first gear with that throttle pulled all the way back. It came to pass that on one of the up hill sections I took a section to the left (wanting to avoid the sheer drop on the right) and my tire bouned off one rock to the left and I couldn´t get her turned to the right and off the bike I came. This time the bike basically landed upside down which meant it was totally flooded. Mike is still suprised that I was not at all hurt on fall number five. Because of wanting to get it upright as quick as possible we did not snap a photo of the poor thing upside down. Then it did take the two of us to ease it back down the hill to a flat spot where Mike had to do the following: pull spark plug, dry plug and drain float bowl, check for spark (ok) and then crank until it started. It did start!! We were very happy as we were starting to contemplate camping out there (we did have enough water and some food). I also managed to bend the shift lever but not so bad that it wouldn´t work and ripped off my bungee cord. My side bags have really taken a beating from the falling but so far so good and they are still in one piece with no holes. We continued onward…only thing to do and we kept thinking it must only be one more mile, one more mile, one more mile. The road finally turned inland and changed to a dy river bed rather than an actual road and then came the scariest downward hills I have ever done. Did I mention neither of us have ever experiened anything so difficult.
In the end – we made it!! All in one piece and Ducati hung in there like a real champ (no complaints from him) and Mike kept his bike upright because he in no way was willing to drop it with lil´D on the back. Mike says in his mind it just isn´t an option. Where I was thinking if I fall go left and let the bike go over the cliff.
We made it to La Ventana were we camped in a pretty crowed area with a lot of really loud local music going until the wee hours. Then up early for an easy ride of like 40 miles into La Paz where we are staying at this awesome RV type camp place (excellent place) where we have a little bunk house, free laundry services (it was definitely time), a pool and nice neighbors. This has been a people and machine recovery day. Mike got my shift lever fixed and the speedometer cable on his bike had also taken a hit but he fixed that too. The tools he brought down are coming in super useful (good thing he likes to be a very prepared scout).
Tomorrow we will continue our slow ride north and we shall see what interesting challenges and adventures await us. I probably won´t have any internet for some time but if I do I will be sure to let you know what has been happening. Thanks for the comments as well!!