You never know what will happen... - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

November 20, 2018

You never know what will happen...

Desert camp to Casa Las Sirenas

"♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫"
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks to me like you ate the broccoli florets...
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4 months ago
Marian RosenbergTo Bill ShaneyfeltI think we need a "heart' option for comments...
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3 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Marian RosenbergChuckle!
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3 months ago

Another bright and sunny day waking up in the desert, and we set about trying to put in a more respectable distance and start making some actual real progress down Baja California. Dea made quick work of fixing her front derailleur properly this morning and we were soon on our way. We'd gone all of 500 metres when a car pulled over to talk to me. In it was a Portuguese man and a Swiss woman, and they invited us to stop for a beer. This didn't seem very conducive to us cycling a respectable distance, but it turned out that to take up the offer we would have to cycle to their home 30 kilometres further south, and now we had a real incentive to move, all the while trying to convince ourselves that 30 kilometres was a respectable distance.

How bad does this cactus want to be an electrical pylon?
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Heading south towards beer!
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This is the real "♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫". That other one was just the broccoli stalk from last night's dinner planted in the sand to try and confuse Bill. This cactus it the real "♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫" because of its very impressive and successful attempt at growing a Mexican moustache.
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like I was right about the broccoli... :-)

This one is a Mexican giant cardon or elephant cactus.

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

Before we'd made it the 30 kilometres the same car came past us again (they had been into San Felipe to do some errands) and once again pulled over. This time the occupants got out and introduced themselves as Roy and Jeanette, and the offer was extended not only to stop for a beer, but to stop for a couple of beers and to stay the night at their beachfront property. By this stage we'd long since convinced ourselves that 30 kilometres was a respectable distance, and we happily accepted the generous offer.

My Spanish still isn't good enough to make sense of this.
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Bill ShaneyfeltThe sand verbena is really blooming nicely!
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4 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltAnd those dark green bushes with tiny yellow flowers... Those are creosote bushes. They are found in the deserts of both North and South America! Very interesting shrubs. Best campfire wood you will ever find, and it is so dense, it does not float! Really hard, but I like it because when I carve something, I can polish it so that it shines like plastic, and if I put a thin finish on it, it maintains its rich golden color... For decades! At least, I have not seen it fade on some knife handles I made 30 or 40 years ago. Oh, and it may be the longest lived species on Earth...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larrea_tridentata
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4 months ago
"Look at that cactus Chris, I've found your "♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫"" Dea said. "But Dea, I've already found the "♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫" It had a Mexican moustache and everything!" "But Chris, look at this one's punk haircut!" Dea counter-argued.
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Bill ShaneyfeltTotem cactus. You are in luck! I just looked this one up for someone the other day!

https://www.cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Pachycereus&species=schottii
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4 months ago

If you want to help settle the debate, I've set up another poll. Click here to vote for the "♫ Cool desert plant of the day ♫". Your vote really does make a difference. Thanks.

After another hour or so we reached Roy and Jeanette's home and we were blown away by how nice it was. They had moved here some 20+ years ago and it had apparently just been desert when Roy had first found it,  but he'd built the most amazing property. A large octagonal house had been their original home, a design that Roy had apparently come up with on a napkin. After some years they then built three beautiful condos to rent out, one of which they now live in so that they can rent out the amazing octagon house. Dea and I were given the guest suite for the night, a smaller but equally delightful place to rest after our truly respectable 30 kilometre ride.

Our home for the night. We resisted the temptation to jump on the exercise bike.
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We joined Roy and Jeanette for a beer on the terrace of their condo and what a lovely place it was to sit and have a drink, with a view out over a beautiful sandy beach and blue ocean. We felt very lucky to have been invited to this special place. After our drinks, Dea and I went to the beach and played in the surf in our inflatable rings, then played games in the sand, until Dea said she might like to just relax and lie down for a while, and then I had to entertain myself, so I made a sand-mermaid.

This photo would have been better if I'd taken it before Roy and Jeanette went inside.
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Dea heading for the sea. The octagonal house is on the right, the three condos on the left.
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Catherine HastingsWhen you say 'our inflatable rings'.... you are also carrying these?!?

You are an inspiration! BTW - very much enjoying the regular updates. Just like old times!!!
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3 months ago
Chris PountneyTo Catherine HastingsThanks Catherine! Glad you enjoy! And yes, of course, we have inflatable rings. They pack down very small and hardly weigh anything. I found them in a gas station back in Montana and thought we should get them. Dea wasn't so sure we'd get much use out of them, but we have now used them a total of three times, so well worth it!
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3 months ago
Sure looks like fun, doesn't it?
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Oops! Watch out for those waves Dea!
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Look what I mer-made!
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Lots of fishing activities.
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They use their 4x4s for everything out here.
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It's a hard life, as I keep saying!
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The generosity of our hosts wasn't over, for they next served us a delicious spaghetti dinner and, in an act I was sure to regret, I even accepted a second beer. It was a lovely evening spent exchanging stories and hearing about their lives and their experiences here in Mexico. Roy told us about his service in the military and his career as an airline pilot, how he had found this place and built much of the property with his own hands and the various twists and turns of life. "It just goes to show, you never know what will happen..." he surmised, and it was an apt comment. We ourselves had no idea when we had woken up in the desert that we would be spending our evening in such company and such a location, but that's the beauty of travelling, that's the beauty of life.

Our generous and unexpected hosts, Jeanette and Roy.
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An almost full moon cast its light over the sea at the end of a wonderful day.
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Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 331 km (206 miles)

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