Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tour Log: Baja - Day 9-10

I got up early and took advantage of my 12:00 checkout time to wander the town and give my butt a rest.  I picked up a bottle of mexican wine, found some fine shrimp chiliquiles for breakfast and fish tacos for lunch and took a spin around the town looking for Evan but to no avail.  Then back on the road.  Two days more of desert riding and headwinds to Mexicali, or about the same to Ensenada.  Save it.  I'm kind of over this tour.  I want to paddle my boat and sit in company.  In being tired, I was thinking that if someone offered me a ride I'd take it.  I wasn't going to stick my thumb out just yet though it had crossed my mind.  Two seconds later on a construction detour a white truck pulls up beside me pulling a trailer.  They asked where I was going and then, "Do you want a ride."  I said yes.  I threw my bike in and climbed in the back seat of the cab to meet Alex, Luis, and Alberto.  These guys were part of a race team for the Baja series that was in San Felipe last weekend.  They promptly offered me a beer and I promptly accepted, and all of a sudden I was in good company speaking a mixture of English and Spanish watching the desert go by ten times faster now.  Before I knew it and about 5 beers later we rolled into Mexicali and parked in front of a high open roofed building with a chainlink fence and gate that Alberto was already opening.  Alex waves me inside and says "This is my shop," he's the mechanic.  Inside we found a slew of high performance race machines including a truck all danced up for the desert, a trike for Alex's son, Alberto's freshly raced (and broken) buggy and a handful of other cars and trucks, the usual tools, torches, compressors, welding equipment.  It made my inner teenager drool all over, and shop talk always works out better when you know what you're looking at.  We kept pouring back beers and bullshitting now in some form of spanglish.  We got to talking about kids and families and how during the Baja 1000 this fall Alex will have to fly back to Mexicali for his son's birthday.  He then told me his son's words for his own life, "Papa, No Paso Nada," and how those words were like my life as Alex saw it.  " Tu loco y no paso nada pinche Ricardo, pinche cabron."  No Paso Nada.  All of a sudden my wanderings in the desert had a theme.  Alex bought me a hotdog that I'd put over any in any other city...Chicago, Boise, anywhere, before driving me to the border and turning me loose on my home land.  Our brief encounter ended in a friendship that was much appreciated. 

I was planning on getting a hotel in Calexico since it was getting late and all, but my drunken sense got the better of that idea.  I found a street with three hotels and went to the third and asked the man how much.  He said $40 and my mind still operating in Mexico forgot the debit card option.  I only had $31 american dollars but more than enough in pesos (I remembered that grocery stores in border towns often take pesos--why wouldn't hotels do the same?)  I asked he took pesos to which he replied " I don't even know what pesos are."  Wow, you really should get out more, explore your back yard.  I went across the street and the next man said $40.  I told him I had $31 and some pesos to which he was offended and responded patriotically by threatening me "don't even make an offer like that in this country."  "Gracias Senor" I told him mockingly and walked out.  Who needs a cheap hotel anyway.  Not this cabron.  Ride on.  I found a small highway heading east out of town, how I don't know.  Celestial navigation maybe.  50 miles to Yuma, AZ.  After about 5 miles I spotted a tamarisk tree adjacent to some farmland.  My hotel for the night.  I was quite impressed with the sighting of it actually; Bike and I were very well concealed.

I got up before dawn hung over and still impressed with my sleep spot.  Today will be spent pedaling.  I ate my pan from San Felipe while pedaling and stopped only to change a flat and to necessitate.  My road ran out after 20 miles and put me on Interstate 8...ride on.  An exit to Blythe came 16 miles outside of Yuma and remembering the girls' trip in the fall too them through this town, and having no map, I took it.  Blythe marked about 100 miles of desert riding with fortunately favorable winds all on seven doughnuts, a very small bag of chips, a soda (orange, Sunkist), and a very large milkshake in the town of Palo Verde, CA whose local paper (a single sheet) boasted that "Church for Palo Verde may be a reality."  Whoa.  I stopped for a proper meal in Blythe and managed to hitch hike about 5 miles down Interstate 10 before pedaling off again.  The fire fighter that gave me a ride said there was a power-line road to the south that parallels the highway and would take me all the way to Quartzite, RV central, Arizona. [Two groups of people who I find to be particularly good with directions are firefighters and bicyclists.]  For some stupid reason (remember, I do dumb things) I took it.  The sun was down and it wasn't worth it to change my tires.  The road ended up being a rocky, sandy, steep gas pipeline and I'm riding what I can of it on my hundred pound pony on road shoes in the dark, avoiding border patrol encounters al to make it another 5 miles closer to home so tomorrow I can get up before dawn and do it all over again and be home in two days so I can raft the Salt river on Sunday.  No Paso Nada.  This is how I test my bikes.

1 comment:

  1. I was beginning to wonder how this thing would pan out. Sounds like an awesome tour with some cool characters. Have fun sunday racing off the mountain.