Maybe this could be our friend? - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

November 26, 2018

Maybe this could be our friend?

A lot more desert

It seemed that every night that we spent camping in the desert brought us close up with more and more weird and wonderful desert plants, and this night was no exception. So incredible were they that Dea had remarked that it was like camping in a tropical garden. In the morning I went around and, careful not to step on any chollas while I was doing it, took photos of some of the more interesting ones. Think of it as a bonus cool desert plant of the day feature.

We'd been passing lots of these for days, but it never quite made the number one spot, because there are just so many other cool plants!
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Bill ShaneyfeltSome day, I would like to see boojums face to face.

More interesting info. about them:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/cacti-succulents/boojum-tree/boojum-tree-care.htm
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3 months ago
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Bill ShaneyfeltOuch!

Cholla for sure possibly silver cholla.

https://www.cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Cylindropuntia&species=echinocarpa
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3 months ago
This guy was not meant to grow into a P (see below for how it intended to grow), but seeing this did give me a spectacularly good idea. The desert plants take on such weird shapes that I thought maybe I could find different letters to spell things, maybe I could spell my name even. Then I thought what if I got every letter of the alphabet, then I could write anything I wanted with desert plants, and I got all excited. For now I just have the P.
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like coastal agave.

https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-taxon=Agave+shawii
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3 months ago
This is how it meant to grow. Seriously weird and seriously cool, is it not?
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice shot of the agave's flower stalk! Yup, this confirms it is coastal agave.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonAnd now you have the I, so you can spell pi. Much easier than looking for the greek character set.
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3 months ago
This was actually a little later in the day, after we'd started cycling, but it's a good example of the weird shapes. Not really any good letters to add to my collection here, but plenty to give me hope.
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Also a little later in the day, we stopped to get a photo next to one of these cactuses to show how enormous they really are.
Heart 7 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltHuge! World's largest cactus species. Elephant cactus, (or in Mexico, cordon).


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachycereus_pringlei
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3 months ago

Before beginning our day of cycling we listened to Unit 2 of the Pilmsler Language Course, which bore a remarkable resemblance to Unit 1. After giving another half an hour of our lives away we had, at least, added to our Spanish vocabulary the ability to say that we are from North America, which I'm sure will come in useful at some point. But it did at least give the wind, which had rattled at our tent all night, the chance to die down a bit before we started cycling. Then, after an initial difficult start, things got excellent for us, as a shoulder appeared on the road. What simple joy. We rode along very happy, even if the closest we'd got to making a new friend was the giant cactus we stood next to, and the osprey we observed perched on an electrical pylon.

Black and white birdy thing.
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Bill ShaneyfeltThat was a really close guess! Black and white hawk eagle.

http://www.world-birds.com/birds/v/black-and-white-hawk-eagle
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3 months ago
Phwoar! Check out the shoulders on that!
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After 25 kilometres we stopped to take our customary first break of the day, sitting in the desert dust and squeezing refried beans into bread, calling it a sandwich, and munching it down. As we sat there looking back at the road a dark, slow-moving shape appeared. "That looks like a cyclist," Dea said, and we both got excited. At last! Maybe this could be our new friend!

The cyclist arrived and pulled over to talk to us, a natural reaction to seeing two dusty strangers jump out of the cactuses. He said hello with a very nice English accent (don't they talk funny?!) and said that he was Nick, from Devon. Nick was an older man, with a beard and sunglasses and a high-visibility sash across his torso. We exchanged pleasantries and he revealed that he'd started his ride up in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and was maybe on his way to Argentina, but he was first going to fly home from Mexico City for Christmas before that, and then he'd see. He told us that he'd already ridden about 40 kilometres today, and was hoping to make it a further 70 to reach the town of Guerrero Negro by nightfall.

"I heard it's a sh!thole," I said, casually trying to dissuade his ambitions. He seemed like a nice chap, and if only we could slow him down we might have ourselves a friend.
"Oh," he said, "that's a shame. I was hoping to spend a couple of nights there. Maybe I'll just stay one night and then push on."
Dammit, now we were never going to be able to keep up with him.
"Well, nice meeting you," Nick said, wrapping up the conversation and preparing to move on.
"You too," I said. "We're just sitting in the dust eating sandwiches, you're welcome to join us."
"Oh," Nick said, looking like a man who didn't, as a rule, do that, "I would, but, erm, I've got to push on if I'm going to make it to Guerrero Negro." And off he went.

Alas I didn't even got a photo of Nick, but don't worry, here is one of the Pacific Ocean, which appeared off to our right a while later.
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Dea and I consulted, and decided that the thing to do was to try and cycle to Guerrero Negro ourselves before the end of the day. The road was good, it was flat, the wind had died down, and we were really friggin' desperate for a friend, so we thought why not? Unfortunately this plan didn't go too well, because we're not really very good at cycling fast. The shoulder disappeared again and the wind picked up, and we were both exhausted by the time we were halfway there. Fortunately there appeared at this point a small town, with a cafe, and outside of the cafe sat Nick's bicycle.

After chatting briefly with a Canadian girl and an Israeli guy outside who were road-tripping down Baja we went inside and located Nick sitting at a table alone. We sat with him, obviously, like friends do, and ordered ourselves some food. He seemed like a really nice guy as we chatted more. This was not his first long bike trip, he'd ridden across Eurasia to Australia back in 2012.  Definitely good friend material, but unfortunately Dea and I were too exhausted to cycle the rest of the way to Guerrero Negro, and so I decided to change tact. We only planned to stop there for one night, if Nick stayed for two we would be all caught up with him again by the morrow. "Say, Nick," I said, "I'm not sure Guerrero Negro is a sh!thole really. It was probably just what an American tourist thinks of it, it's probably actually just a real Mexican town, you know what I mean?" But Nick's phone rang and he had to take it, it was his wife calling from England. He went over to a corner of the cafe and Dea and I went on eating our lunch. A little while later I overheard Nick saying to his wife, "I was planning to stay two nights, but apparently it's a sh!thole, I think I'll just stay one night."
"Ah, did you hear that?" I whispered to Dea. "He really thinks Guerrero Negro is a sh!thole. It's all my fault. What do you think about that?"
"To be honest," Dea replied, "I'm just surprised by how many times I've heard English-speaking people use the word sh!thole these last two days."

I forgot to get a picture of Nick again. You can see his bike there though, behind that big dog.
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Nick headed off to Guerrero Negro, but in one last desperate attempt I exchanged email addresses and asked him to let us know if he found a good hotel that he could recommend us in Guerrero Negro. "Maybe we can still track him down there," I said to Dea, but it was hopeless. He was too fast for us anyway. We left the cafe and went to a park in the town, because we'd pushed ourselves a bit hard and didn't want to cycle much more. The park was nice, with a bright yellow church next to it, a poorly constructed orange tyre-based elephant, and some nice benches, one of which we sat on. We could hear the kids in the school across the road and after a while the bell rang and they started coming out. As we went to leave, one of them said hola to us. He was a bit young to cycle around the world with us, but I thought maybe he could be our friend for a bit. Unfortunately, conversation was a bit slow after he answered our "habla ingles?" with a "no". 

Image not found :(
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A friend at last! (sort of)
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We then cycled a little bit out of town and made camp, once again, in the desert, just the two of us.

Today's ride: 69 km (43 miles)
Total: 654 km (406 miles)

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