We are 300 miles into a 1,700 mile trip. We are down to 2 people for a short bit. Malcolm headed back up north and will shortly be joined by another Alaskan, Amy. Below are some picture and musings on the adventure so far. I hope to organize my thoughts in a more clear fashion for future posts, but this is what you get for now.
We started the Baja Divide last Wednesday. After Danny and I finished up our abbreviated version of the Stagecoach 400, we met up with Malcolm in San Diego. After a rest day in town and a quick stop for supplies, we started out towards the Baja Divide from our friends Alev and Niki’s house. We were able to sample some of the great single track between San Diego and La Mesa as we worked our way southwest. Once on route we stocked up at Trader Joe’s for the day and headed towards the border.
We roamed through neighborhoods finding our way out of town before riding some flowing, urban single track around a lake. A quick section on the highway brought us to a big dirt climb up Otay mountain. The climb itself is around 3000 feet of elevation gain, which we had perfectly coordinated to ascend in the mid day heat.
After slowly making our way up the steep mountain road by hopping from small shady bush to small shady bush we were rewarded with a huge descent off the other side. We eventually made our way to the Barrett Junction Cafe where we slept out back after some fries and chocolate milkshakes.
The Tecate border crossing was quick and simple in the morning. $30 bucks and we are allowed to stay for 6 months. Sweet! You can even buy hot sauce or honey from the customs agent (we politely declined both). Once into Tecate, the first order of business was to get some Mexican cash. Everyone got cash alright, but the ATM ate Malcolm’s card. Nothing to be done but keep riding south, we headed to the store to get food for the day.
We meet a fellow cyclist at the grocery in Tecate, Gram. We ride with gram for the day swapping stories and sweating in the heat together. We spend the night just off the road in some brush and Gram is gone before we are up and moving.
We continue riding further into Mexico for the next several days in unseasonably hot weather, following Grams tire tracks, camping in the dirt and sand, carrying lots of water and eating untold bags or chicharron. It is good to be wearing shorts and not much else. It is good to be getting a tan. It is good to be sitting around in the dark with friends and drinking tequila and eating cold burritos. We get tacos almost everywhere they are available. They are as delicious as you would expect them to be.
The route thus far mostly follows dirt roads, ranging from well graded to chundery, cobble-strewn two-tracks. The riding is interesting and the scenery is often excellent.
Buying some beer to combat the hot sun.
Misty morning camp site on the Pacific.
Seems like a safe place to live.
Danny Fights his way up a steep and loose section as we work our way through the rolling ridges.
We arrive into Vicente Guerrero after 6 days of biking. We are dirty and ready for a day off the saddles. First things first we find tacos and sort out Malcolm’s bus ticket. We eventually find a hotel to crash in for a night or two and spend the afternoon eating tacos and decompressing from the last 300 miles. It’ll be good to get back on the bike soon though. Danny and I eat 1o tacos a piece on our first day in Vicente Guerrero; shrimp, fish, asada, and adobada. They are all fantastic. We drink tequila and Tecate.
My friend Danny and I completed our condensed version of the Stagecoach 400 yesterday. We ended up cutting it short to make it back to San Diego for a rest day before starting the Baja Divide (tomorrow). Below are some pictures and random musings I wrote down today and while we were out on the ride:
Danny and I arrive at the San Diego airport eight minutes apart. I have come from Anchorage and Danny has come from New Mexico where he was visiting his folks.
Our friend Niki meets us at the airport. She is driving a Chevy Cruz. We have two bikes and all our camping gear. We quickly realize that we aren’t going to be able to get this all in the car, so we make a plan b. Niki grabs most of our heavy gear and takes off in the car, Danny and I will bike to their house from the airport. Off we ride through San Diego.
We have come to San Diego to ride the Stage Coach 400 (and subsequently the Baja Divide). Luckily the stagecoach route passes right by the airport, so we take this new found opportunity to jump on the route. We end up getting in a nice 30 mile ride, with some stellar single track. It is a nice way to start of our trip, and feels better than it may have to not have ridden from the airport.
On day two one thing becomes clear to the both of us, it is hot here. When I left Anchorage there had already been snow on the ground for over a week, and I had grown accustomed to wearing a jacket. We sweat our way through the climbs and try to stay hydrated. It is nice to be back on the bike again. I have lost some fitness over the last month or so sitting in Anchorage, but that will all come back. It is nice to sleep outside and look at the stars. I wish I knew more constellations.
Biking through a lonely arroyo we found Hollywood and Vine.
Since those first couple of days we have gained fitness and figured out how to ride through sand. Oh the sand. I am finding that my 29 inch tires do alright in the sand if I play around with the pressures as the sediment gets loose. I am rolling and 2.6 Nobby Nic in the front and a 2.6 Purgatory as the rear tire. I had hopped to run two specialized 2.6 inch tires, because I am a big fan of their tire patterns and price points, but when I finally got the tires they are not as wide as advertised (2.4 inches, what give spec?). I thusly resorted back to the plan of running and Nobby Nic in the lead.
On Monday we wake up by a picnic table on a fairly busy trail just off I-15. We make our usual coffee and eat hostess powdered doughnuts. Eventually we get packed up and start the roll down the road. The day ends up being short as we end up at the Pacific at about noon and decide that we should swim and hang out rather than pound through the city in the sun. The ocean is colder than anticipated, but it feels nice to finally get the dust and dirt that has been covering out bodies for the last five days off.
Our friend Malcolm arrives in Sand Diego today and will ride to meet us. Tomorrow we will start onto the Baja Divide for the next while. I’ll keep posting here when I find time and wifi and you can see smaller snapshots of our trip on Instagram; @akschmidtshow and @dresherdan.