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July 30, 2016

Bahia Los Angeles to Tijuana

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in the Hacienda Del Mar Hotel in Tijuana, in the state of Baja California Del Norte, Mexico.

This is roughly the route I took today.

Starting Odometer: 43,582
Ending Odometer : 44,028
Miles Driven Today: 446

I wake up this morning in Bahia De Los Angeles in an unairconditioned motel. I manage to leave without paying.

And, honestly, I'm not sure what to do. First, I decide to drive around and see Bahia De Los Angeles while I'm here. I find a sand road/path leading down to the beach and I take that. A few times, the bike slides, but it never goes down. And pretty soon, I'm out at the beach. Like...in Mexico, people build houses at the end of sand roads and, so long as they're on the beach, who cares right?

So, I park my bike and then I walk down the beach a bit. There's a lighthouse just here at a point. And a map explaining all of the islands. THere seem to be countless islands, and also, I'm certain of it now, I can see across the sea of cortez to the other side. My guess is that I'm directly across from Kino Bay. Or maybe San Carlos. But this is just a hunch.

I swim in the Sea of Cortez for a bit. It's not nearly as cold as the Pacific, but still refreshing. ANd the waves are much more gentle. You don't feel like you're getting gang raped like in the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific.

Now, I drive north as far as I can go and at some point, the road just sort of ends. But I wanted to explore a little while I was here.

Now I have to drive back across one of the driest deserts on earth. And of course, you have to wonder why you came down here. You have to question your sanity for wanting to drive across that beastly desert. I am not looking forward to crossing that freaking desert again. And yet I must.

I go to the Pemex station, but they have only verde. No roja. So they direct me to another Pemex about 200 yards down the road. So I go there, but still only verde. No roja. I really want "roja" (Premium), to get back across the desert. But I fill up with verde (regular), get some Jumex, and set off into the Punta Prieta desert.a

Now, yesterday, I thought for sure that I would never survive crossing the desert. It was hot, and the ride was long. But today, I get up and leave much earlier, as the desert is cool in the morning. So, by 8:30 a.m., I'm rolling.

The cacti are taller than the telephone poles, They're between 20' - 30' tall.

On this road...there are no other cars. This road is basically not used. Everyone in Bahia De Los Angeles flew into the airport. I'm sure of this.

It's about 45 miles to Mexico 1, where I turn north. There is apparently someone who sells gas here occasionally, but he's not at his truck for wahtever reason. So I just turn and head north into the desert.

The next Pemex station is in El Rosario.

I try to drive fast across the desert, to make the trip seem shorter. But the trouble with this is that the roads are not very straight. They follow the terrain, and that means frequen winding cuves through mountains. And, sure, in the straights, you can run 90 mph, but then the mind tends to wander, and suddenly I'm going into a sharp curve going 84 mph, so you sort of have to try to drive fast, but pay attention to the terrain.

Occasionally, I blow through a small herd of free range cattle. This is surprising to me. Yes, sure...I do see the signs for them...there are free range cow signs, but how on earth can they live out here in the desert? Where do they find water?

I see birds that build their nests in the cacti. Why? How? i mean...I guess if that's all you have, then you go with it, right?

Now, I should mention here that the motorcycle has an issue, that's undiagnosed. Occasionally, for reasons that are not clear to me, opening the throttle causes the bike to choke down, and pretty much stop. WHen this happens, if I turn off the key, and turn it back on, while I'm riding, the problem usually goes away.

On the drive down, this issue happened 3 times.

Now, it's happening more and more frequently as I cross the Punta Prieta desert.

I pull out to pass someone, open the throttle, and the KTM just sort of bogs down and chokes and won't accelerate.
This problem goes on all day, getting worse and worse, until I'm barely able to go 40 mph at times.

"Fuck...If I get stuck out here in this desert...that's going to suck in a big way."

80 miles south of El Rosario, at Catavina, I see my buddy in the desert, and he sells me 2 gallons of gas for $80 pesos a gallon. The gas is verde, not roja.

Now, I'm rolling north again. I'm about 80 miles from Rosarita, and the problem is as bad as ever. I'm scared to try to pass someone, because every time I try to open the throttle, then engine bogs down.

I'm not clear if I will make it out of the desert this time. Damned this cursed desert.

I have liquids on me...plenty of water and Jumex, and 2.2 gallons of gas in my spare gas can. But the bike is acting so funny that I'm not sure I will make it out.

Now, I pass two women broken down on the side of the road in the punta prieta desert. They're desperate for help. They're both looking at me and waving their arms madly. But I do not stop. I can't help these women. I'm no mechanic. And they're both fat. And not very cute. I'm afraid they could die out here.

I keep going. Eventually, I roll into El Rosario. Immediately stop for gas, and have them fill it up with roja (premium). The bike instantly runs better, but it's also cooler here on the coast.

I try to follow a dirt/sand road down to the playa. But at some point, they tell me it's another 12 kilometers. And I'm like fuck that. The road is really bad. Just sand, really, and I'm sliding all over the place, so I turn around and go back to El Rosario.

Now, I'm heading north again on Mexico 1.

I don't really have a plan for where I'll end up tonight. I'm sort of tentatively heading for Rosarito.

But a few places South of Rosarito look interesting enough that I stop and check them out, but everyone has the same story. We have no rooms.

So, I'm not clear what's going on, but I figure I'll head to Rosarito, and they've got plenty of rooms. But when I get to Rosario, all of the hotels are booked solid. I think it's sort of the last weekend of summer, and the kids are starting back, so people are all trying to get out and celebrate summer, and they just happened to pick the same weekend that I was out rolling around.

I stop at some hoitey, toitey place...some country club place north of Rosarito, and they tell me that they have a room, but it's not air-conditioned. And I'm like...Oh fuck that. Like, I slept without A/C last night. I may as well just crash on the beach.

"Doesn't any place around here have a room for rent?"

"You might find something in Tijuana," he sort of half-snickered.

So, I keep heading north. I really don't want to cross into the USA for a variety of reasons. I'm not through with Mexico, really. I'd like to spend the night in Mexico, if only I could find a room.

Now, I decide that I'll go to Tijuana and see if I can find a room. So, I roll into Tijuana, and I see a sign that says "Tijuana Playas", so I head that way. Now, I'm rolling west and I see a sign that says "Hotel", and I immediately pull in and get a room for the night. It's like $70, and it has a pool, A/C, and internet.

Now, I decide to go look for dinner, and I stumble onto the Malecon. I never even knew this place was here. My hotel is right next to the bull fighting arena. I've seen this before, but it's been a long time.

So now, I'm eating dinner overlooking the Malecon. A cop is driving down the beach for reasons not clear to me. Crowds are dancing, playing music, swimming. The place is a circus. Somehow, I never even knew this place was here. I order a carne asada, a margarita, and a beer. I give her a $50 bill, and she brings me back $40 and change.

I'm starting to think that I could like Tijuana.

Posted by Rob Kiser on July 30, 2016 at 10:50 PM

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