Back on the road... for a bit - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

November 19, 2018

Back on the road... for a bit

San Felipe to just outside San Felipe

Before I get started on today’s journal entry, I thought I’d include a map to show our journey thus far, from the border to San Felipe, just so you know where we are:

We were staying on the second floor of the apartment in San Felipe. Before that it was flat.
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Leaving San Felipe was rather a long-winded process, that started with a morning of “maybe just one more day?” as is often the way when we’ve got a roof over our heads. Unusually for us, however, we didn’t give in to the temptation this time, and we were out of the apartment by sometime around eleven. Luis came by to wave us off, and told us that a few weeks ago he’d been bitten by a rattlesnake, which might have been enough to convince us to stay one more day in the safety of the apartment had we not already packed up our bikes and given Luis back his key. There was no turning back now, we were to return to the dangers of the desert.

But it was the dangers of San Felipe that showed themselves to us first. It happened when we hit a backstreet that was made of sand and had to resort to pushing our bikes down it. We’d just passed a side road on our right when an ATV with a couple of young lads on it came racing down the side road. They were going very fast and battling to keep control on the loose sand, as they turned left onto our road, going up it the way we had just come from a few seconds earlier. The reason for their haste was immediately evident when two police cars with their lights flashing came bounding around the corner hot on their tail. It was a police chase, and it all passed us within a matter of metres before disappearing around the next corner. It was all quite thrilling, the closest I’d ever been to a police chase. Apart from that one time in China, when I was in one.

I managed to snap this photo as the police cars disappeared around the next corner, but you can see from the road to the left how close they passed us initially.
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Well all of this talk about rattlesnakes and police chases is making my mum feel quite reassured about us being in Mexico, no doubt. Perhaps better to talk about something nice. We made it to the main drag through San Felipe and stopped for lunch, eating some things that may or may not have been called gorditas. They were corn tortilla sandwiches, with cheese, vegetables, and beans in, that were fried, and they tasted really good. Another thumbs up for Mexican food. Mexico is lovely, Mum.

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A cute stray dog that turned its nose up at a piece of my vegetarian gordita.
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After lunch we had to go to the supermarket to resupply, and this took quite a long time, and the afternoon was getting on before we finally really hit the road. Our plan was to continue south on Highway 5, and at least get out of town to find somewhere to camp. Unfortunately Highway 5, so excellent until this point, immediately deteriorated south of San Felipe. There was still a wide shoulder, but the road was in such a poor condition, so full of bumps and pot holes, that much of the traffic elected to drive in the shoulder instead. Not ideal for us, especially as so much of the traffic consisted of big four-by-four pick-up trucks, which really should have been able to handle a few bumps and potholes. In any case the question of who needs to/should be allowed to use the shoulder was soon a moot point, as it disappeared completely. 

The sea still on our left as we finally leave San Felipe.
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There are no parked cars in this photo, believe me.
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Come back, shoulder! All is forgiven!
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"♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫"
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Bill ShaneyfeltFor me, this is an easy one! Sand verbena in full bloom after the recent heavy rains down there.

https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+0203+0136
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4 months ago

Dea was having some troubles with her front derailleur, that had mysteriously started to rub against the chain. It was not an easy fix, and with the road not the best we were both happy to call it a day early. We hadn’t cycled very far, but we had at least got out of San Felipe, and that seemed like a fine achievement under the circumstances. It was nice to be out camping in the desert again and the sky went very amazing after dark, as a nearly full moon lit up a patchwork pattern of cotton wool clouds.

Dea trying to fix her derailleur at our campsite. She struggled so I had a go, and made things worse. I hate front derailleurs.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice campsite among the tall, spindly ocotillos!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fouquieria_splendens
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4 months ago
The end of another long day on the bikes, a whole 18 kilometres from where we started.
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Curled up in our tent, only one thing remained to be done, we had to learn ourselves some Spanish. I opened up my Spanish phrase book at random, under the condition that we would learn whatever it opened up on. And that is just exactly what we did.

Spanish phrase of the day: Aqui hay un problema con el medio ambiente? (Is there an environmental problem here?)

Today's ride: 18 km (11 miles)
Total: 299 km (186 miles)

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