Riding together, for a bit - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

December 10, 2018

Riding together, for a bit

To somewhere short of Loreto

This photo (and many of the other higher-quality images featured during the ensuing posts) was taken by Tom. For more of Tom's high-quality images and the story of his trip, check out his polarsteps journey here: https://www.polarsteps.com/TomYost/958283-andale-vamos-a-panama
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This is a very similar photo, taken by Dea, of much the same thing.
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As you may have guessed from the photos, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise on our beach, Dea and I having slept in our tent, the three boys under the palapa. None of us were in too much of a rush to get started and we played a little bit in the sea and ate breakfast together. The young Swiss Nathan, having already staked his claim to be the slight oddball of the group with his miniature cooking pan and cycling-short-braces, added further evidence by putting half a bag of brown sugar on his muesli. While he was still devouring that Dea and I made a break for it, trying to get a headstart in order to keep up with our new friends. We still assumed they must be faster than us - everyone is faster than us - and yet once again they failed to catch us up until we stopped for our first break of the day after 20 kilometres.

Looking down on our beach from the road as we climbed up the cliff. The boys are visible next to our palapa.
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Looking further along to the right and the RVs.
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It was some more beautiful coastal riding on a pretty quiet road.
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As we sat taking our break the three amigos arrived in stages. Tom was the first to appear, followed a  few minutes later by Nathan, and then finally Ciaran. Dea and I had been musing upon the theory that they perhaps weren't faster than us after all,  but this theory was soon disproved when we resumed cycling together, remaining together for approximately about the time it took to take the below photo, before Dea and I were riding alone again.

"Maybe they aren't faster than us..."
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"No, wait, they are, they're just slow getting moving."
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The road left the coast and climbed up into the desert, a little too much up and down if you ask me, but at least the road was quiet. And it turned out that we had not even lost our friends, for we found them again ordering lunch in a little restaurant that miraculously appeared in the desert at lunchtime. We sat down and also ate lunch here, and a successful lunch it was too, for a herd of goats appeared in the road and when I went out to photograph them I noticed a very nice 'H' for my collection of desert plant letters.

Goats.
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The green-roofed restaurant.
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And a very nice H.
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It was a relaxed atmosphere sitting in the restaurant over a long lunch, and when Tom said that they were still hoping to make it to Loreto by the end of the day I at first thought he was joking. It was two in the afternoon, it got dark at half-five, and Loreto was still 70 kilometres away. But Tom wasn't joking, and Dea and I were soon riding by ourselves again. But the reason the guys were so keen to get to Loreto was that there was a brewery they wanted to visit, and with this in mind we had put forth a plan to camp close to Loreto, get up early, and rendesvouz with the others in Loreto the following morning as they made their slow, hangover-laced start.

We saw some strange fires, perhaps controlled burning as there was some ranches around.
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Dea and I made it to within 25 kilometres of Loreto before stopping. Fences were now lining the road and we took our chance to get through a rare gate. There was nothing but desert on the other side but I thought it prudent not to advertise our presence if this was private land, so after we'd pushed our bikes a little way past the gate I went back and kicked away my tyre tracks. I felt very proud of my work, until we looked back and saw the very obviously man-made zig-zag pattern in the sand that I'd replaced my tyre tracks with. 

Merry Christmas Bill.
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Bill ShaneyfeltThat's a tough one! From what I can find, I think it might be strawberry cactus. Spines look so much like barrel cactus, but they are not laid out on ridges, but rather on humps.

https://www.cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Echinocereus&species=brandegeei

By the way, did you notice the dirt-encrusted spines in the upper left? That is what termites do to get to various kinds of woody tissues above ground.
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5 months ago
It was nice to be camping together in the desert once again.
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Today's ride: 82 km (51 miles)
Total: 1,083 km (673 miles)

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