La baja parte de Baja California
Hello friends, family and those we've met on the road! Welcome to the ninth edition of our newsletter, this time penned from the La Paz-Mazatlan ferry and Mazatlan, having completed our riding on the Baja peninsula.
We last spoke from San Ignacio, a beautiful town with a historic mission and shady plaza, which was a first for us in Mexico. Since then, we have ridden through more desert, of course, but we have also been enchanted by the beautiful towns of Loreto and Mulege and even the slightly slapdash nature of La Paz (with a population of 250,000, it's the big smoke here).
And it was on our exit from Loreto that we completed one of the most rewarding climbs of Mexico so far. It proved a highlight of the whole peninsula, along with more nights spent on the beach, under powerlines and behind restaurants. It's continued to be muy caliente, and we've also continued to meet generous people willing to let us sleep in their car ports.
Soundtracking this section has been more laughter with friends - this time Jeanne, James and Carla, a Québécoise (who we first met in Alaska), Englishman and Kiwi respectively. Brief hellos turned into nearly two weeks of camping together in the evenings, poking fun at each others accents, moaning about the incessant heat and discussing our trips thus far. As with every group we've ridden with, we learned a lot from our new pals - mainly how to throw ourselves into wild camping for consecutive nights, which the presence of the hiker-biker sites in the US delayed.
We are now pros at asking to buy filtered water at a random bolthole on the side of the road and executing a 'bare essentials' wash in a cactus field. Partly a money saving exercise, but mostly just due to a lack of services, while wild camping we've learned that mosquitos and a lack of a shade are actually small prices to pay for the peacefulness that can be found a few hundred metres from the highway. The heat also means we can camp without the rain fly on our tent, thus insuring a pretty spectacular view of the stars. It's a hard life, eh?
After pedalling into La Paz, our final stop in Baja California Sur, we met with a motley crew of cyclists that we've been overlapping with, here and there, throughout the last month, for a night of delicious vegan tacos, ice cream and a couple of beers on the malecon - aka the seafront. It was a lovely evening, and we were full of gratitude for the fact that Baja has been a far from lonely experience. Many cyclists proport to see no one on this stretch, and the fact that we had company from the border makes us feel very fortunate. Thank you to Rolf especially for offering us his sofa bed in Loreto, and also to Rhyss and Chris for the invaluable info about camp spots (and excitable dogs) which they sent back to our peloton.
We'll miss the sandy scenes of Baja California and Baja California Sur, but we're excited to experience the mainland too. We know it's considerably more populated, hilly and, at least after we climb 2,000m, cool. We've decided to take a route known as the Trans Mexico (you can see it on Bikepacking.com), which will undoubtedly prove a challenge for our little legs. As well as the climbing, it will see us venture onto dirt roads for longer periods than ever before. Our bikes should carry us well, as we have decently chunky tires and apparently an appetite for punishment. A day exploring Mazatlan's old town, meanwhile, has left us feeling as bright as the city's colourful streets. Please wish us well as we venture towards Durango and beyond.
Toot or boot
The need to stay hydrated prompting our cold drinks budget to go through the roof BOOT
The proliferation of 'Paleterias' selling delicious and cheap ice lollies TOOT
Numerous items of clothing getting holes and tears BOOT
How easy it is to find a seamstress in any medium-sized settlement TOOT
The ferry to Mazatlan being 17 hours long BOOT
The fact there are two entertainers employed to sing their hearts out TOOT
Thanks and shoutouts
Phil and Debi
Tuly, Luis and Gaby
We are Edwin Foote and Suzie McCracken - thanks for signing up for our newsletter! Edwin is from England and Suzie is from Northern Ireland and normally we live together in Deptford, south-east London. We arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska, in May 2022 and are attempting to ride our bicycles the length of the Americas, hoping to finish in Argentina in 2024. If you have any recommendations of things we should do, people we should meet or places we should stay, we'd love to hear from you! Please reply to this email, or follow us on Instagram (ed_win or _suziemccracken).