On the road to San Felipe - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

November 16, 2018

On the road to San Felipe

Desert camp to desert camp 100 kilometres later

It was a surprisingly cold night but we got up quite early as we wanted to ride a hundred kilometres today, and prove that life cycling down through Latin America isn't all about playing games and eating pizza, but actually involves some cycling. As soon as the sun hit us the day warmed up really fast. We were just going to follow Highway 5 south all day, and I thought it was going to be going through monotonous flat desert the whole way, but actually there was quite a variety of scenery. We had mountains on our right hand side that we dipped in and out of a few times without the road really climbing. We also came to a set of sand dunes at one point, proper dunes that we went into on foot to explore, and roll down. Then a little after that came large salt flats, big areas of white that looked like snow, but it wasn’t snow, it was a clue that we were almost beside the seaside. And after a while we saw the sea to our left, a thin line of blue on the horizon, the first we’d seen of the sea since riding out of Vancouver six months ago.

On the road early.
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San Felipe felt like a long way off, especially as this sign came about three kilometres after one saying: San Felipe 130.
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Into the dunes I go.
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Dea at the top of a dune. I suggested she rolled down it, like I had just done.
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I was a little surprised she did so.
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But she had great fun, look.
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Salt flats looking like snow, but it was actually rather hot.
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A stray dog joined us for lunch.
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Dea named him Raul.
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The road was pretty busy, mostly with pick-up trucks heading south. The Baja 1000, a big off-road race with categories for trucks, ATVs, and motorbikes, was taking place. We knew they were racing from Ensenada on the west coast over to San Felipe, and then around in a big loop back to Ensenada, and we guessed that a lot of this traffic was to do with this race. Unfortunately, much of it seemed to think it was already in a race and it was quite frightening how fast the trucks moved on this long, straight road. Fortunately, however, we had a wide shoulder to ride in for the whole day which meant we were actually pretty safe despite the speeding cars. Towards the end of the day we started to see clouds of dust coming from the horizon as we neared the racers out on the route, and we ended up reaching our 100 kilometre target very close to the race course. There was lots of dust and the sound of racing engines, and plenty of cars parked off in the desert, presumably spectators. We also arrived at the moment when a helicopter was taking off from the area, quite a sight to see. With all of this noise and commotion on one side of the road, we pulled off to camp on the opposite side, amongst some very interesting and amazing desert plants that we had to ourselves, and we enjoyed a pleasant evening, Dea doing yoga and playing ukulele, and me cooking dinner and practicing a Spanish phrase, ‘Usa el cinturon, salva du vida’. It means, ‘Use the seatbelt, save your life. I got it from a roadsign.

Too many speeding pick-up trucks, but at least there was a good shoulder.
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Dea was exhausted, but she quickly recovered after a little lie down.
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The dust in the distance is from racers in the Baja 1000.
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A helicopter!
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A helicopter lifting off!
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A helicopter in the air!
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A helicopter flying over our heads, much to Dea's delight!
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Evening yoga in the desert.
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Cool cactus.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltNice photo! Might be a totem cactus.

https://www.cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Pachycereus&species=schottii
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Bill ShaneyfeltAnd those gray bushes might be white bursage.

https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-taxon=Ambrosia+ambrosioides
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2 months ago
I thought about starting a new segment called 'Cool cactus of the day'.
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But this guy is not a cactus, and so I decided to extend it to 'Cool desert plant of the day' which this guy clearly wins.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesPossibly an ocotillo? Not a cactus, but a very common desert shrub.
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Steve Miller/GrampiesCorrect! :-)
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2 months ago
I think there will have to be a segment theme song. "♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫" or something like that.
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Today's ride: 101 km (63 miles)
Total: 234 km (145 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 1
Eva WaltersHi Chris,
We very much enjoyed your previous journals and have purchased two copies of your book, but we've missed reading about your travels on a day-to-day basis. Thanks for posting this new journal with the spotting lists and excellent photos. We look forward to following you and Dea through Central and South America.
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2 months ago