Yesterday we awoke at dawn to leave Santa Rosalia hoping to make it to Ciudad Insurgents. Keyword – hoping.
The man working our hotel’s front desk struck up a conversation with me on the patio about our motorcycles and mentioned that it was going to rain; I thanked him for the information and as Nathaniel and I rolled up our motorcycle covers and slipped our clothing bags into our panniers someone else wandered by and said it was already raining where we were going.
Getting up early and watching the world wakeup is one of my favorite parts of travel. In the more touristed parts of the world I think it helps you connect with the soul of a city and gives you a wonderful sense of optimism about life.
So, with the news that we were riding into a rain storm I was grateful for the information but I wasn’t ready to hunkerdown over a maybe.
After a quick stop at PemMex we rolled out of Santa Rosalia about and hour after dawn with me in the lead. Since I am the only one of us capable of reading street signs other than ALTO I’m usually in the front.
Everyone says Santa Rosalia is gorgeous but for me it totally lacked charm. It’s on the coast and has a beach but do you really want to go swimming or eat seafood in a town that is two miles south of a coastal landfill? No. No you don’t.
If you make a similar trip through Baja I suggest stopping in Mulege (about 50 miles south of Santa Rosalia). Mulege is beyond adorable, it’s on the coast near the desert but because it’s located in a canyon it has greenery worthy of a rainforest just a few miles from never-ending cacti.
As we rolled through it, I was envious of Mulege, and in a minute we were past it and driving down a perfectly paved coastal road, desert hills complete with Looney Tunes Cacti to our right, broad beaches and docked fishing boats to our left. Overhead loomed threatening clouds but even the sprinkle of rain couldn’t mask the movie quality scenery we were speeding through.
Then – the rain really got going. And it kept coming.
Nathaniel and I rode about 120 miles yesterday and all but the first twenty of them lacked rain. Sprinkling, dollops, mist, pitter patter, deluge… I think we experienced every kind of rain you can experience except for hail. It wasn’t cold but if you get wet even the mid 70’s can feel pretty chilly.
We stopped in the city we had pre-determined and started to look for our first meal of the day. It was almost noon and we were soaked. We have gortex gear but it’s still not a substitute for true rain wear. We literally had to wring out our gloves before putting them out in the sun to dry today.
Being unfamiliar with the town we decided to grab food at a local supermarket and in the parking lot Nathaniel fell over (he says his kickstand was up) and hit the car next to him which was unfortunately a nice car AND occupied with people. I got off my bike as the guy got out of his car and in my mind I was already deciding how much money I though it would be worth to make this problem go away. Mentally I decided on 500 pesos and started to apologize to the man as he got out of his SUV.
He was actually very nice about the whole thing but he explained that it wasn’t his car, that he didn’t know what it would cost to fix and said that he didn’t want to call the police to ding Nathaniel’s driving record. After some casual chatting I asked him how much he though it would cost to fix and he thought for a moment before deciding on 200 pesos ($15 usd). I thought that was an incredibly honest answer and was feeling some white person guilt that we were able to pay our way out of a problem like that.
So I told the guy: “Si, gracias señor. Eres tan amable pero es su culpa y pienso que el necessita pagarte mas que eso.”
Translation: “Yes, thank you sir. You are really nice but it is his fault and I think he needs to pay you more than that.”
In english I asked Nathaniel to give the guy 500 pesos ($38 usd) and we all left happy the incident ended so easily although Nathaniel told me I am the worst girlfriend ever.
After we bribed the gentleman in the SUV Nathaniel watched our gear as I ran inside and bought us tamales and Pan Dulce for brunch. We stood under a plastic tarp eating tamales and weighing our options. We were already wet so riding another 100+ miles didn’t seem that terrible, but there was no guarantee we would be able to get through any wash-outs in the dessert road we were about to cross.
We sat there a while hoping the rain would let up and it never did. Today at breakfast I overheard one tourist telling another it had rained for 24 hours and dumped almost 4 inches of rain on the area. Judging by the level of our hotel pool this morning, I wouldn’t doubt it.
We ended up staying at ‘Hacienda Suites’ for $80 USD a night. Normally we would try and find a hostel for half that but we were kind of desperate. Riding through town yesterday the foot pegs on my bike were fully submerged at times and I was constantly afraid of riding into a pothole. The final drama of the day was when the hotel agreed to let us park in the patio and I fell over trying to ride up the water slicked ramp of the front steps.
The front desk clerk ran outside and told me he thought it would be easier for us to ride in the back gate… and it was.
In the morning we discovered the roads were closed in both directions so we decided to spend a second night in Loreto and enjoy ourselves before doing a little bike maintenance. Tomorrow we hope to make it to La Paz although at this point we are shooting for the Thursday Ferry to Mazatlan.
Overall – I’m glad for the rain because it forced us to get to know an adorable town that we otherwise would have blown through.