After getting off the rest day, we were eager to start riding our bikes again! The first days ride was going to involve riding to El Rosario and stalking up with lots of supplies in order to make it through the long stretch of desert with very, very limited resources to restock on food and water. After dropping into the valley where El Rosario resides, Tommy started having some issues with his drivetrain. His derailleur wasn’t functioning properly and after stopping at a mini mercado to post the blog from last week, he ended up snapping his chain. A total bummer, but not too worry, we have the proper tools and extra chain links to make it a quick and easy fix. As Tommy was fixing his chain, Bradie masterfully found us a place to stay for the night!
An ex-pat named Duffy saw us as he was driving by and offered to let us stay at his ranch. He enlightened Bradie that he often hosts bike tourists when he sees them. Duffy said his place was just outside of town on the right, it was called Rancho 23! The Rancho was everything we needed for the night: fruit trees, a flat spot to set tents, and the self proclaimed “best bathroom in Baja”. It didn’t have a door to the shower. Duffy said ” If your modest you can open the bathroom door to the shower to block it off, but I didn’t want a fuckin’ door”. After cleansing the sand off, Duffy treated us to a delicious dinner of cowboy beans, rice, and some homemade coleslaw. Dinner was sooo good, the coleslaw really brought us back to home with some classic country cookin’. Duffy was a real character and an overall generous, caring soul. After listening to his stories of ‘Nam and his asshole neighbor, we retired for the night. In the morning, Duffy treated us to some coffee and some morning FOX news. It was interesting to see what was going on up north, even if everything FOX says is complete bullshit, haha. Before getting too sucked into the kush lifestyle of tv, we packed our bags and said our goodbyes to Duffy. But not before snapping a couple photos of him and us at Rancho 23.
~Our rigs sittin in front of Rancho vientitres (23)
The next few days ahead of us were sure to be grueling. Having to carry three to four days worth of food and water would be tough, especially with the first 50 km of it being primarily hill climbing. Maybe not for the faint hearted, but no worries for the Rangers and crew! The desert hill climbing was awesome! After Tommy had been nicknamed the mountain goat for his mountain climbing abilities, Ike was determined to steal the reigns and be the next top climber. We took a lunch on the side of the road, setting up Hen’s rain fly as a shade shelter. It’s hot out here in the desert! Getting honks, left and right as we took lunch! Its amazing how kind the vehicles have been to us thus far, getting waves from everyone and 90% of motorists move over to the other lane while passing us. After getting the hill climbing done for the day, we entered into the Valle de Los Cirios. The Cirios are a desert tree that can only be described as vegetation straight out of a Dr. Suess book. The valle was beautiful…Huge Cirios trees and Saguaro Cacti forested the valle on either side of it. As the day was ending, we made camp out in the desert in a dried out water drainage, seeking shelter from the wind that had just started to build. And it was this wind that would prove to be our nightmare tomorrow!
~Seeking shelter from the sun during lunch~
The next day was the HEINOUS CROSSWINDS of 2013! Waking up Tommy was feeling a little stuffed up. Getting a little sick from living in the dirt and exhausting our bodies all day, everyday. However Bradie has a stronger immune system it has proved and hasn’t seen the sickness,yet. Around 10 am, the wind really started whippin! Getting wind speeds of over 40 mph with gusts stronger than 50 mph. Every single pedal was a push to survive. Not only were we trying to trying to pedal our bikes forward, but also fighting to keep ourselves right side up. The passing traffic, primarily trucks, would create a vortex as the blew by, sucking us into their trailers and spitting us out onto the side of the road. It was nuts! At one point Bradie was thrown right off the road from the vortex, and that was when we decided when truck traffic was coming, we had to stop and wait for them to pass. It was grueling, morale crushing, and hard to keep going, but we were 30 km from Catavina (the next resupply spot), and had to get there. So we put out heads down, tried to stay positive, and pedaled through the heinous crosswinds of 2013!
The Rangers in front of an ancient looking Saguaro…
Making it to Catavina by about 3pm, we got some supplies, re-upped on water, and slammed a well deserved beer in the hot sun before pedaling a couple km out of town to an rv campground to camp for the night. Tired and beaten down, we set up camp, and took a shower, in the most disgusting, excuse for a shower anyone had ever seen. It was a cold trickle out of a pipe into a pan that didn’t drain well, allowing for bugs and dirt, and God knows what else to collect. But it did feel good to wash off a hard days work and relax in camp knowing what all four of us accomplished and rode through the strongest winds we’ve ever experienced on a bike and the hardest day of riding we have ever encountered.
~Survived the HEINOUS Crosswinds of 2013…Red team always wins!
The next day proved to show that the universe was on our side and thanked us for the efforts that we gave the day previous. Agreeing that we needed to pedal at least 80 km in order to make it to Guerrero Negro by the 10th, we started pushing up a small hill, with THE WIND AT OUR BACKS! After a warm up 15 km, feeling strong surprisingly after yesterday, we all agreed today was going to be the first day (of hopefully many) that we put down 100 km. Because when the winds at your back, thank circumstance, and hope it keeps blowin’ your way! We pushed hard, flying down the road. We stopped at a boulder field, to send the project and climb some rocks. We needed some different pastime besides riding bikes. After climbing, we set the goal of putting down 20 more kilometers to put 50 km behind before lunch. With the wind whippin’ behind us, we did that with no worries or struggles. Taking lunch was great, finding some shade underneath a tree, we had a bomb lunch. Afterwards, we just kept crush in distance, putting a serious dent in our goal of 100 km. It was about 3:30, we were riding in the pace line, hauling ass! We put down 12 km in 17 minutes, meeting our goal of 100 km. Hootin and hollering’ for a brief minute to celebrate, then back to gripping the bars. We road another 20 km to finish the day.
The next day, we rode hard again. We had 130 km to get to Guerrero Negro. As the days start blending together, to make a long story short we put another 90 km down to put us in Villa Jesus Maria, only 40 km from G. Neg to finish off the next day. We camped at the beach that night, which was great, except for the dogs that came into our camp in the middle of the night, barking right at Bradie’s tent! We all thought he was gonna get eaten! But alas, we all survived and lived to tell the tail (no pun intended)?
We made the final push to get to G. Neg and spend a well deserved rest day or two there. The final stretch was tough. We were exhausted, dirty, and hungry but we did it! Guerrero Negro is right over the border of Baja Sur, it felt pretty ground breaking crossing states.
Crossing into Baja Sur…Holdin’ the line!
Its time for some rest before hittin’ the saddle again. Lookin’ to see what G. Neg has to offer. Stay tuned for the next episode of bike tour!
-Ranger B.Koz and Ranger Tom