And We're Off!

WAYPOINTS

TECATE

SAN FRANCISCO                                                                                        

CAÑON MANTECA

EJIDO SIERRA JUAREZ                                                                                  

OJOS NEGROS

77.1 MI, 124.1KM

On Saturday December second, we finished cleaning up our room and packed our friend Sally’s truck with our remaining belongings. Sally, Kevin, Reel and I hopped in the truck and started our trek towards Tecate, Mexico.

Our first stop was Lotaburger for Kevin and I’s last green chile hamburger, at least for a very long while. Second stop was Flagstaff, AZ to visit our friend Jake who lives out of his camper in the woods. Here we organized our belongings and decided to leave extra stuff behind (theme #1).

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After a comfortable fire and a good night’s sleep in the cold, we had a light breakfast, Jake sharpened our knives, and off we went. After a long drive with good music and delicious picnic food, Sally dropped us off on a hill overlooking Tecate. Here we camped under the super-moon.

The next morning we rode downhill towards the border. We crossed with no problem, ate some tacos with coca cola (theme #2), purchased some cycling gloves and continued on toward San Francisco. On the outskirts of Tecate the night overtook us as well as the wind. We ended up camping beside hills of large boulders below sparkling Colonia Mirador. The next morning the fierce wind continued. As we began to fully wake a couple came to visit, Narcio and Maria. They invited us into their home for coffee, which lead to delicious pan dulce, then to a couple of bowls of warm posole. We conversed about God, Love, and extraterrestrial life (Narcio saw a space ship in the deserts of Arizona). Narcio told stories about his own travels, meeting Maria, building the house and the love they have for their plants. They have fruit trees, grow chile, and raise doves for their caldos. We left happily with our bellies full.

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Getting out of Tecate was a relief; we were now away from the city and continued into the quiet desert. We camped in the Cañon Manteca area and had soup for dinner with goat cheese tacos. The surrounding hills and boulder fields are endless and feel like New Mexico with a hint of ocean air. The wind continued and was rough day in and day out. There were moments we would be pushing our bikes up large hills with dust devils and gusts of wind threatening to topple us over, bikes and all. We’re glad the wind didn’t take Reel away, as she was also struggling up the hills beside us with her ears pinned back by the continuous gusts.

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We miss calculated the amount of food and water we needed for the three nights we took to arrive at Ojos Negros. We had miss read our route guide, there was no re-supply in Ejido Sierra Juarez, but a kind rancher allowed us to re-fill our water bottles. The night before arriving at Ojos Negros the wind storm increased and caught us in a very sandy section of trail. Setting up the tent was hell. COLD.

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We were hungry, cold and afraid the wind would take away the fly and or break the tent poles. The next morning we awoke caked in dirt, packed up in the wind and off we went for the last stretch. On the decent to Ojos Negros I had my fist wipeout and later met two German bike packers who looked comparably much cleaner that the three of us.

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The first thing we did at Ojos Negros was eat at La Rosita:

Paloma – Three burritos de Asada and half a donut

Kevin – Torta de carne Asada, quesadilla, and the other donut half

At the restaurant we met Norberto and his sisters whom we ended up visiting and eating with at their family reunion the day we took off toward Uruapan. We stayed two nights in Ojos Negros to recover from the hunger and dehydration. This route is difficult yet beautiful and rewarding. Several lessons were learned during the first section of the Baja Divide:

1.      Pack more food than you think you’ll need

2.      Send back/ditch extra clothes/misc. items

3.      When it gets tough, acknowledge the negative thoughts but recognize the reality of the adventure

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