Before we headed back to the interior, however, we would cross the peninsular on a peninsular to the Gulf of California. We eventually decided to take our lunch on the beach under the shade of our tarp. We were entertained by what was presumably a migration as we watched line after line of brown pelicans fly past in formation. No fewer than 200 went by before I gave up count – I was, perhaps understandably, rather excited!
Lunch over and having cooled off briefly with a dip in the sea, we got back on our way, only to be totally drenched in sweat within about ten minutes. Despite being next to the sea, it was about 40C and pretty draining. Having pulled into a coastal settlement to buy a few supplies and drink several cold drinks each, we turned inland and found some flat land to camp on on an abandoned road next to, but just out of sight of, the new one.
Reflecting on the heat of the day, together with our tightening schedule, and the prospect of it only getting hotter as we rode inland to the ‘Missions’ section of the route, we reluctantly made the decision that we’d finish our Baja Divide the next morning and jump onto the highway down to Loreto to take a few days break before moving onto the next stage of our trip. It was a tough decision to make, as the Missions section is meant to be fantastic but we consoled ourselves with the fact that Baja had really hooked us both and that we’d leave ourselves a great section to ride at some point in the future! We will be back.
It was a short way to the highway the next morning and was a bit of a wrench to ride past the dirt-road turn off to the Missions, but a few hours later we arrived in Loreto and found ourselves a great little apartment for some well overdue R&R.
A few days later, we caught the bus down to La Paz. It was interesting to speed past landscapes that we would otherwise have been riding through. They looked so inhospitable and barren – it was a wonderful reminder of how different it is to travel by bicycle at a speed where you can take in all the details, all the sights and sounds of an environment that is bristling with life.
From La Paz, we took a boat ride out to the Isla Espiritu Santu. Whilst it wasn’t the right season to see whales or whale sharks, we were lucky enough to come across massive schools of mobula rays that we watched repeatedly jumping out of the water and snorkelled with. We also snorkelled with sea lions.
Back in town, we acquired some bike boxes and set about the lengthy process of packing up the bikes for flight. Part of this process involved replacing our worn rear tyres. We had been running tubeless tyres on this trip – rather than using an inner tube, you just add a little liquid (generally latex-based) sealant when mounting the tyre. This sealant not only ensures that the tyre mounts in an air-tight fashion but also seals holes if you suffer a puncture (within limits, of course). The system is so effective that it’s common to suffer a puncture without even realising it, with no perceptible loss of pressure. I had noticed a number of thorns that I had accumulated in my tyre (8 to be exact) but it wasn’t until we removed the tyre that we saw the size of the things and were truly astounded by the brilliance of tubeless!
And, like that, the Baja leg of our journey was over and a new leg beckoned… Vamos a Colombia!