Baja: Coast to Coast
In the month that we have been riding the Baja Divide (yes, it’s been that long), we have completed just 39% of the route. That is 1062 km. Of that distance, the last stretch, which took us from the Pacific coast at Santa Rosalillita to the Sea of Cortez at Bahia de Los Angeles, has so far been our favorite. Regular readers of this blog may recall that at several times I have made mention of the fun:suck ratio, the ratio of time spent doing enjoyable things while boating to that spent working on unpleasant tasks, frequently maintenance and repairs. When it comes to the Baja Divide, I think it needs to be adjusted a little. Instead of fun:suck, it should read fun:suffering. Fortunately, this last stretch, coast to coast, included almost all fun and very little suffering… my kind of riding!
We left our tiny Santa Rosalillita motel room at 6:00 AM and immediately set off down the coast. After an hour of riding, we had our breakfast, including hot coffee, right by the ocean. We then followed that up with an epic 7-mile ride down a perfectly flat beach. It was so flat that I almost started to make peace with my butt again (our relationship was severely strained during the previous day’s bumpy journey).
No surfing this time of year!
Super flat riding.
No better place for breakfast.
Almost ready to leave the beach.
Even though the following section, a 10-mile track from the beach to Rosarito, was described on the Baja Divide website as both sandy and rocky, two very true statements, we both still enjoyed it. It may have been rough and rocky, but it was rideable. Interestingly, that one stretch showed us why we made a good decision to have our bikes set up tubeless with sealant. Up until that point, we had managed to avoid picking up a single thorn in our tires, but on that stretch, we both picked up a number of them. The goatheads and thorns were so abundant that it was impossible to avoid them. Our Stan’s sealant worked like a champ though, and the air remained inside the tires where it belongs.
Impossible to avoid.
I didn’t see this one!
We really don’t want to run over this!
Love the color contrast.
Rosarito, where we ended the day, is another small highway town with a couple of restaurants, a motel or two, and a small store. We once again managed to secure a cheap motel room, but with nothing much else to keep us there, we pushed on the next day.
Many of these towns have no cell service, and get internet via satellite.
As has happened several times on this trip, we began the next day riding in fog. We have recently taken to riding an hour or so before having breakfast, and it took me all that time to just begin to warm up. Our initial goal was Mission San Francisco de Borja, a little over 35km to the west. We had been promised “high-quality dirt roads” and the promises largely held true. Interestingly, we were climbing almost all the way to the Mission but the grade was so subtle that it was hardly noticeable. If you have to climb, that is the way to do it!
Another early start.
Our initial goal.
Fog is just beginning to lift.
Rebecca showing off her Bully Market sticker.
Amazing variety of flora.
My favorite type of tree here.
And the fog is gone.
It looks as if the one on the left is giving orders to the other three.
We arrived at the Mission at 11:30 AM and found a shady spot beneath one of the nice palapas to park our bikes. We spoke with the caretaker and arranged a tour for later in the afternoon. For once, with real shade to shelter us from the mid-day sun, Rebecca and I were going to be able to take a real siesta!
The perfect place for a siesta!
Rebecca joins in eventually.
After lunch and a great rest, we took a walk around the Mission. Even though our tour was conducted in Spanish, I think we were able to glean many of the important details. The care that is being taken to look after the structures, and to restore them, seems evident. Once rested, rehydrated and better educated, it was time to set off riding again. Our goal for the day was to split the distance between Rosarito and Bahia de Los Angeles, so we had another hour or so on the road before looking for a spot to set up camp.
We knew nothing of the mission before arriving.
Some of the basics.
Our tour guide was born here 70 years ago!!!
Surprisingly, just before stopping for the day, we were passed by a couple of Baja race vehicles. I say surprisingly because while we saw many racers further north, we have not seen any for a couple of weeks at least. In fact, we hardly ever see anyone on the trails!
Next goal: BOLA
Another Dr. Seuss tree.
We could hear them coming.
Get out of the way!
And then he’s gone in a cloud of dust.
Not far behind his friend.
We’re always on the lookout for these guys!
For the second time while camping in Baja, we were inundated with bees. They seem to be attracted to the water, and so to keep them away from us, I set an inch of water in each of these cups. The cups eventually attracted hundreds and hundreds of bees but by morning they, and the water, were gone.
Good night, Sunshine!
Yesterday, we repeated our break camp – ride for a bit – stop and have breakfast routine. Although we were not surrounded by fog as we were the day prior, we did have to wait for the sun to rise above the mountains before the air started to heat up. As I mentioned, we spent much of the previous day ascending, and we continued to climb for the first couple of hours in the morning too. But since we were heading back to sea level, that meant that, at some point, we’d be due a downhill stretch, and what a descent we got. After reaching the high point at approximately 2000′, we started going downhill, and I bet we didn’t have to pedal for almost 7 miles!
The downhill stretch should begin soon.
Our guide suggested that we would reach the MEX1 highway with 8 miles remaining to BOLA (Bahia de Los Angeles) but we actually ended up there 5 miles earlier than expected. Even though the final bit of riding was spent on a shoulder-less highway, we still loved it. Traffic was almost non-existent (perhaps because it was Sunday morning?), and when we were passed by a car, they gave us a wide berth. The asphalt was smooth, and after another almost-imperceptible climb, we had a wicked 8 mile descent down to the Sea of Cortez. As I said, almost all fun, very little suffering!
Our Tumbleweed prospector can ride itself!
Just for the photo. That’s actually the wrong direction.
The scenery along the highway was beautiful too.
Good to hear.
Our first view of the Sea of Cortez. We could smell the water miles before this point.
Welcome to Bahia de Los Angeles.
I had been craving a burger and fries for weeks, and I finally found one. Happy days!
- Santa Rosalillita to Rosarito: 33.8km, 4:24 hours
- Rosarito to Wild Camping: 46.6km, 7:18 hours
- Wild Camping to Bahia de Los Angeles: 46.6km, 5:00 hours