A good long rest - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

December 4, 2018 to December 8, 2018

A good long rest

Mulugé

As I wrote in the last entry we booked into the Hacienda Hotel in Mulegé for two nights, and yet here I am now, sitting on a deck chair beside the pool at the Hotel Hacienda, soon to settle in for night number five, and feeling the need to write a blog post and explain how it is that we have spent so long going nowhere.

"Maybe one more day" are powerful words in a place like this.

Mulugé is a nice place, that's one reason. On the first day, our one intended rest day, we walked up to the 18th Century church on the hill and sat and looked out over the little oasis town. As with San Ignacio, palm trees dominated the view on either side of a river, the range of mountains that we climbed through on our way in providing the backdrop. From our vantage point we sat and watched kids playing an interesting mix of football and baseball in a distant school playground, while a turkey vulture sat on a cactus next to us, undisturbed by our presence. In the river below us we saw a flock of birds swoop down and skim the surface, perhaps fishing, perhaps just doing it for the thrill of the thing. Then we made our way down to a dam that ensures there is always enough water for the town, a dam that is also a causeway linking the opposite sides of the river. I dived in to the reservoir and swam, and the birds returned, swooping above me and diving down into the water nearby, creating special memories for as long as I dared stay in the water after Dea's words: "Aren't there crocodiles in Mexico?"

What came first, the house, or the palm tree? Methinks the palm tree.
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Believe it or not, this is the 18th Century church.
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The rules appeared to be the same as baseball, except instead of hitting a baseball with a bat, the kids were throwing and kicking a football.
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"♫ Cool desert bird of the oasis ♫"
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The swooping birds.
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The dam.
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Swimming with the birds.
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Another reason for our prolonged stay is how nice the Hotel Hacienda is, with its large leafy courtyard, and in particular the fact that there is a pool. Having carried our inflatable tubes for so long with few chances to make use of them, having a pool has been amazing, and we managed to get in a couple of epic games of pool football. This very fun and amazingly awesome game involves both of us sitting in our inflatable tube, and basically playing football, with a deck chair at each end of the pool marking the goals. Its a game we played a lot in Australia when we had a pool, and it was really fun to play it again, especially as I narrowly won 5-4 with epic final minute goals two days in a row.

The pool at the Hotel Hacienda.
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Trying, and failing, to recreate my winning strike for the cameras.
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The old town of Mulegé itself is also a really nice little place, with a few narrow streets hosting a range of shops and cafes. It is a little bit of a tourist town, but some road closures have apparently affected visitor numbers, but for us that's been great. There's not much traffic on the roads and we like that the town is quite quiet. 

On our second rest day we walked out to the coast, a couple of kilometres from the old town. Along the way we passed a couple of resorts, but nothing too outrageous, and the area seems to have maintained its authentic charm. The beach itself was rocky and not super nice, and the lighthouse on the rocks was fenced off, but we saw pelicans in the river amongst other birds and it was all pretty peaceful and pleasant.

Pelicans!
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Another advantage of staying in one place is that we met a few other travellers. Andrew, a cyclist from Tennessee, had been making his way down Baja off-road with his fat bike, until he arrived at the Hotel Hacienda. Like us, he found it hard to leave, and is now into his second week in Mulegé, with no intention of returning to the bike. We went out to dinner with him and Matthew and Crisela, a Canadian/Mexian couple who were driving south from Canada to Crisela's family home in southern Mexico, when their car broke down. This misfortune was to our advantage as it meant we got to spend a fun evening in their company.

After their departure from the Hotel Hacienda we hoped some more fun travellers might arrive, maybe even bicycle travellers, but things remained quite quiet as the "maybe one more day" strategy brought us other benefits - getting to know a local place a little more intimately than usual, enjoying omelettes at a little Mexican restaurant one day, vegetarian lasagne at the tourist cafe the next, recognising an employee of the hotel as she picked her little boy up from school, or the woman who served us the omelette picking up some things from the local store. We've spent too much of our travels rushing to get somewhere. Here, there is no rush.

And then, on this, surely our last evening in Mulegé, our patience was rewarded when we saw three touring bicycles outside of the supermarket. We waited to meet the owners - Keiran from Ireland, Tom from the US, and Nathan from Switzerland. They had all been on solo journeys south until their paths had crossed and aligned. Now Keiran's onward progress was threatened by a rapidly deteriorating back wheel. "You don't have a tool for removing the cassette do you?" he asked, "I need to replace some spokes."

As a matter of fact I did, much to Keiran's surprise and relief, and the three amigos followed us to our hotel, where we set about replacing the spokes and getting his wheel in rideable shape again. And then the six of us, Andrew included, headed out to eat dinner at a local taco restaurant that had escaped our attention until this point. It was a lovely little place, and a great evening in the company of some good guys. A French couple, Vincent and Sonia, also cycling south, by chance came and joined us too, and now there were no less than eight cyclists all of us together, and, with the exception of Andrew, who I believe may never leave the Hotel Hacienda, we all have plans to ride south tomorrow. It may be quite the adventure, so long as we can resist the temptation to stay one more day.

Keiran, Dea, Tom, myself, Nathan, and Andrew.
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Jeremy PerksThis is such a great blog, I'm enjoying every entry, it's very complimentary to Dea's writing and the photos are great! Keep up the good work!
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6 months ago
alan bairdYou'll be getting fat sitting around that pool. Harder to pull a fat ass up a hill.
Hope you've got your mojo back now that you're doing regular blogs. Great to read them.
Alan & Wendy.
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5 months ago