Breaking the Cycle - Baja Divide

Feb 26

San Ignacio to Las Barrancas

Published at 15:10
Dispatch created from email
23rd -25th February
Distance - 227km
Total Distance - 1304km

Day 17

San Ignacio is the town I?ve been most impressed with on this journey so
far. Leaving the waterside camp, we cycled almost 3km into the
impressive, leafy central square; ornate church at one end and several
cafes and various shops lining the square. People seemed more relaxed
than in other places and several stopped to ask where we were from and
all about our journey down the Baja.
We spent some time stocking up with what we need for the next 200km.
Travelling down the more remote west coast, there are a few villages
marked on the map, but after our previous experiences on MEX1, where
some of the villages marked were derelict, we took no chances. I set off
carrying an extra 7 litres, Chris the same.
Climbing away from the oasis town, I quickly felt the extra weight on
the bike! For the first 58km out to San Ignacio Laguna, a popular whale
watching venue, we enjoyed new asphalt road for most of the way. In
general, the road traversed several small valleys until we reached the
tidal flats. There the good surface ended abruptly. For the last few
kilometres of this section as we crossed stony, rough causeways over the
tidal flats. The causeways at one stage were flanked by stunning pink
saline ponds.
Turning to the south, we were thankful of the predominant tail wind
which enabled us to negotiate the sandy and corrugated road. It was very
rough so we reduced the tyre pressure to help cope with the soft
washboard surface.
The road tracks between the beach and coastal plain, and a spectacular
escarpment; the deep red stone, most likely volcanic rubble, was
contrasted by white limestone (or sandstone) beneath, making it appear
like icing trickling down the sides of a huge cake.
We chose a campsite between the road and the escarpment, behind a rare
thicket of bushes to protect us from the strong winds.
Day 18

Our tents stood firm through very windy night. The road continued
along the same vein, gradually coming together with the range. After
about 10km, we crossed a dry river bed and headed into a spectacular
canyon, all of the same type of stone/limestone as described in Day 17.
This is cattle country and at one point we had stop stop to open a
barbed wire gate.
Scenically, this was one of my favourite days. We were following a made
road, but it was very rough at times; corrugated so, stones and sections
of bull dust. We?d follow a broad valley for several kilometres and then
climb over a mesa and into another valley.
Three quarters of our way through the day, while traversing a high
plain, we crossed a part of the Baja Divide bike-packing route and met a
Frenchman who rode with us for six kilometres. Greg was carrying a drone
(a DJI Mavic, the exact model we wanted to take with us) and offered to
take some footage for us.
We bid farewell to Greg who turned away from the road at the base of
another beautiful canyon. Towards the end of the day, we descended
from the plateau to a small oasis village called Cadeje and passed a
rare airstrip. We had just enough supplies left to free camp a second
night on the trot. We had just 10km to go to reach the coastal town of
San Juanico.
Day 19

With about 470km to go in six days, the plan was to have an easier day.
The highlight was San Juanico, an idyllically positioned town set beside
a bay of the same name. We enjoyed a late breakfast in a cafe at the
northern end of the village overlooking the coastline. A kind of algae
had temporarily turned the shoreline red.
San Juanico was also where the asphalt started. We were just aiming to
reach La Purisima, a mission town our map said was 42km away, however
the new road had a different alignment. We ended up at Las Barrancas, a
small village further south of our planned destination and decided to
stop there. To go back to La Purisima would have added about 20km each
way to our journey - it wasn?t worth it. After asking around we were
shown to perhaps the only accommodation in the village and even managed
to have a warm shower, first time since Guerrero Negro.
After coming through the shock (to the body) of the first couple of
weeks, and got through a cold, I am now starting to feel much
fitter...the body is responding positively, which was one of the main
reasons for starting the series of expeditions in the Baja.


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