Southwards we go, armed with a list of places and things to see courtesy of Dan and Nancy! Our trip is like a scavenger hunt! Today we've been recommended to try to make it to Santa Rosalita for the night, only 400 kms away, but since we we're leaving LA Bay after a late breakfast (again, courtesy of Dan), we would probably arrive just before the sun sets.
The ride down Mex-1 was more of the same scenery - beautiful blacktop, twists and turns around the mountains and the ever present cacti along the side of the road cheering us on. Our journey was punctuated by the odd military checkpoint. Soldiers with machine guns stop us and ask about our destination. They're courteous to us despite our lack of Espagnol, and they are all so very young, and very curious about our motorcycles and our trip. These stops are meant to catch drug traffickers, and quite interestingly, we have heard that this effort is partly subsidized by the US government!
Riding into the port town of Santa Rosalia
Santa Rosalia is just south of the Baja Sur (Baja South) border. We lose an hour because of a peculiar time change because this timezone crossing is latitudinal, not longitudinal, placing Baja Sur into MST. This means the sun is still up at 5PM when we arrive at this port city on the shores of the Gulf of California. The outskirts of town are a mixture of industrial buildings and shacks along the roadside. We are tired and hungry and the sun is setting fast, so we book into the first nice (but relatively pricey) hotel and walk into town to find some food. We really do have to make an effort in finding some cheaper accommodations. Baja is a lot more expensive than I thought Mexico would be...
Something smells good in Santa Rosalia!
Neda y nada de gringos
We bypass a few restaurants because there were too many gringos in there. We're really looking for a "local" experience, and we find one with a Mexican family eating inside. When we're seated, the waiter hands us a gringo menu in English. *sigh* BTW, in the picture above, Neda is sipping on a "Michelada". It's a delicious beer/lime/salt concoction and was recommended to us by Yaw, who was our host in Seattle a couple of months ago. Wow, I can't believe we spent two months roaming around the western United States!
The rest of the evening we spent walking around the very small centros area, and we found ourselves hanging out with all the local families and teenagers in the town square watching some people set up a stage presumably for a concert this weekend. Too bad we wouldn't be sticking around, as Neda has just arranged for us to start Spanish classes in La Paz for next Monday morning. The curse of "a schedule" strikes again! Everytime we have to be somewhere at a certain date or time, my chest starts to constrict a little and my heart rate goes up. Or maybe it's just that spicy enchilada we had for dinner...
Retail therapy in Mulege
Our next destination on the way to La Paz is Mulege (pronounced Moolah-Hey), also recommended by Dan and Nancy. This is a quaint town full of neat places to window shop for local arts and crafts and boutique-y restaurants and hotels. As we approached Mulege, the desert flora transformed from cacti to lush, tropical palm trees, courtesy of the Rio de Santa Rosalia. The whole town is in the river valley and was subject to bad flooding in recent years due to the hurricanes in the area.
Flowers in Mulege
Lunch in Mulege
We stopped for lunch in a great hotel/restaurant where we met a whole bunch of gringos from Canada! Penticton, BC specifically. One couple was here on a scouting vacation, looking to move to the area. Apparently, there is a lot of ex-pat interest in Baja Sur.
Ater lunch, we hit the road and ride past some great looking beaches
WTF?!! I wish somebody had told us there was sand in the Baja!!!
Loreto is only 200 kms away from Santa Rosalia, so we arrived early enough to find a great (and by great I mean cheap) motel right near the centre of town.
These cute dogs live on the roof of our hotel
We walked around Loreto the whole evening, wonderful looking town!
Some other gringo bikers parked outside the more expensive hotel in the centre of town
The Mission in Loreto
Mission of Our Lady of Loreto is considered a historical monument
We heard some music coming from inside the Mission, so we sat in on some musicians and singers at the front of the church. We stayed for quite some time, enjoying the sounds of Spanish hymns sung softly in reverence. We are having such a wonderful experience wandering through Baja Sur.
Shops at nighttime near the town square
Christmas soon! But first, the Mayan Apocalypse...
The town squares are always the centre of activity. Here we watch a dance class underway lit by streetlights
And then off to finish the night with my favorite beer, Negra Modelo!
Getting ready for bedtime in Loreto
We are all set to push onwards to La Paz in the morning. On our farewell ride through the town square, we notice quite a lot of people gathered in the courtyard. And horses! Just like bikers meeting up at parking lot to go riding, these horse riders were getting together to ride to the next town. They gathered quite some attention!
In the motorcycle world, this would be called "posing"
All little girls want ponies...
But glad to be back on her own pony