by Shane Hutton
I love third world countries. I'm not sure what it is, if it's the smells, the chaos involved in every situation, the simple lives people lead, the strange foods or the fact that you just generally don't understand what everyone is saying
I love the fact that in these places you can go to a restaurant with no English no menu and no understanding but using charades get yourself hopefully a descent meal. There is always a big smile and definitely a few laughs from both parties.
Mexico from the minute we entered has been nothing but amazing. We had an amazing warm showers host cross the border into San Diego to accompany us back across into Tijuana showing us the back streets to ride and how to best avoid any major queuing and traffic issues. Sandra was just a saint giving us a place to stay for the night and directions on how to get on the right road to continue South.
We have cycled down the Baja Peninsula going through places like Ensenada and then avoiding the major tourist route we cycled over to the sea of Cortez side and followed that down. In Ensenada we had another fantastic warm showers host Jorge who took us all over town to see all the major things. Another legend who we are now very happy to call a friend.
We cycled around where the Baja 1000 race was to be held spotting many trophy trucks, dune buggies, dirt bikes & ATV's all getting geared up for the race. These are some serious machines that have some serious horse power.
We camped in a hotel Carpark with the owner not even giving it a second thought when we asked giving us a nice safe and secure spot for the night. We met a genuinely great American guy named Chad who was bending over backwards to help us in any way possible.
From a place called Ojos Negros to a deserted beach called Gonzaga bay where we met another fantastic couple from Oregon who are touring on their motorbike. We have since shared campsites and played leap frog with Richard & Robin the whole way down the coast. We then met Kevin who was another person we are now happy to call a friend who gave us a few beers and shared his tales of travelling the Baja Peninsula for the previous month and then decided to buy us dinner. What a fantastic guy.
After a bit of deliberation it was at this point Richelle decided she wanted to take another break and was going to get a bus or hitch a ride to a place nearly 600km away. In the bizarre world we live in we met Kim & Jeff whilst having dinner with Kevin. Turns out they were heading south to a secluded beach near Mulege the very next morning. So R scored a lift with them and proceeded to spend the next 4 days with them. Another couple that have adopted us.
These 2 people are one of gods gifts absolutely amazing. Helping R out with a lift and then buying her lunches and dinners whilst I was busy riding down to meet her. We have since played leap frog with these 2 and I am really hoping to some day meet up again.
I cycled some 560km over the next 4 days, camped in a police station,stealth camped stayed in 1 very cheap motel. I met up with another guy doing a tour named Jose. He had been living in Ensenada for 3 years and now was heading home to Monterrey. We rode together for 1.5 days and with him leading on a road bike were able to push out some ridiculous speed.
Jose is another genuinely nice guy. After talking for many hours whilst riding and over a few beers he has expressed to me how he feels sorry for how the world must view Mexico. He apologised to me if I feel " unsafe ". I had to explain that I do not feel unsafe here at all. Unfortunately the propaganda that is spewed out from our media devices on a daily bases is extremely biased and I have never felt anything but warmth and kindness here in Mexico.
R and I spent 2 nights in Mulege where on the 2nd night Jose arrived. We left the next morning and it was to be R's last 111km on the bike to Loreto. After a long hot day In the saddle we arrived in Loreto. As we rolled along the Malecon we bumped into Jeff & Kim hahaha small world.
We had another rest day there as it was my birthday and then R caught the bus to La Paz 360 km further down the road. I jumped on the bike the next day and did 155km. It was hot and dry. So dry but the cactus and grasses and mountains where amazing. The next day I set off with the intention to try get the 215km done.
I rode into a solid headwind all day but managed to knock it over in 12 hours. I met R for dinner and then we went back to the little guest house she had found. By this time I had started to run a fever. Damn guess I pushed a touch too hard hahahaha we had a few days rest in La Paz before I felt well enough to go snorkel with the WHALE SHARKS.
WOW R & I were the only people out there with 5 whale sharks. The boat would literally drop us almost on top of these huge creatures. Where we would swim next to them for as long as possible before they would give a kick with their tail and be 5 metres in front of you. So we would get back on the boat catch back up jump over and repeat the process.
We felt so fortunate to be able to swim with these animals a definite highlight and at $25 each it made it even better.
R then caught the bus another 110km South and I rode my bike down to a small place where I am writing this. It's called Los Barriles and is known for its kite surfing and wind surfing. Beautiful beach but after 1 day we are ready to move on. Unfortunately it's full of Gringo's and a lot of places the menus etc are all listed in US $$$$ this is NOT the real Mexico.
In summary I would recommend everyone to come to Mexico. Experience the warmth and genuine hospitality of the people. The food is amazing the beaches are to die for and its pretty quiet here there is a distinct lack of tourists due to the bad wrap the media gives this place. The drivers on the roads have been fantastic. I would say 99% of the time they give you a very wide berth and all the truck drivers are always waving to you.
Richelle has had a semi trailer come to a complete stop behind her and wait until she finished climbing the hill until he decided it was safe to climb the hill and pass her with a huge wave and grin. I have watched as 1 semi has locked up its breaks and waited for another semi to go past me before then driving around me waving out the window. It's a far cry from a lot of asshole drivers at home. Again another minority giving people a bad wrap.
There are most certainly places of danger that should be avoided but you will soon be told well before you get near them. They are also a tiny fraction of this country. This place is so diverse, from Mountains to desert to crystal clear turquoise beaches. Everyone has had a smile and a polite Hola.
I have literally been asked for money once in almost a month a far cry from the states where I lost track after an hour. I feel a lot safer than a lot of the areas around the continental divide during hunting season. Don't judge it till you try it.
Still going South
I am an ultra runner, Mountain biker, Packrafter, Climber, Ironman, Endurance Athlete