What a Birthday!Thank you all so much for your lovely wishes!!! I really had a great birthday. Sascha woke me up at sunrise with a kiss and a coffee. A big plate of fresh mango was waiting for me already and later on he prepared a delicious breakfast with bacon and eggs. From Pam I received a wonderful shirt out of her great shop-collection.It is not naturally having all that happen on a journey so I really appreciated the location and Sascha’s effort – I love you my dear! For the dinner we prepared a delicious fresh fish together and enjoyed the sunset view on Pam´s terrace with a glass of wine.
The lovely time with Pam in Todos Santos ended with a great day swimming, packing and a dinner in a place with Cuban live music – it was time to say good bye…
On Monday the 27th August we left Todos Santos and drove to La Paz to take the ferry which should bring us to the mainland of Mexico. We reserved the trip via telephone and were curious if everything will turn out right. The Ferry (TMC) guys were all very professional, spoke fluent English and were extremely friendly. Very quick all the required documents were done. We had to go on an scale and WOW we were surprised how heavy we are: Sascha and the bike 430kg and Kerstin and the bike 330kg! Holy sh…!!!
The ferry is a cargo line; only people with a vehicle are allowed. Therefore it was packed with truck drivers and we were the only foreigners. The ferry left at 6pm and we knew the trip would take about 16 hours. Everybody was nice and super super friendly. They even provided us cool drinks and introduced us to the cantina (dinner and breakfast is included in the trip). The weather looked calm and the sea flat – perfect as we would need to find a spot on deck to sleep. With the sunset we saw some dolphins playing around and a big turtle before it turned dark. We found a spot in the wind shade which looked perfect to us to set camp and sleep. So we settled, had one or two sips Tequila and watched the stars. We dozed when we recognized dark silhouettes of some sea birds floating in the sky above us and we thought: wow how wonderful is that!!! But I needed a last pi before real sleep and when I went up I recognized that the whole platform and of course as well us, our mattresses and sleeping bags were full of bird shit!!! Sascha went to research if there is maybe a better place and so we moved everything in the middle of the night. At least we had some sleep. We woke up with the sunrise and could see dark clouds and lightning at the horizon above the mainland but luckily it stayed dry where we were. We went up to pick a coffee and breakfast, pack our “shitty” stuff together and having a shower (yes they do have warm showers!) when we recognized all the dolphins jumping around and diving under the boat. All in all we had a very good time on the ferry. Everything was clean and in a good condition and all the people has been friendly and helpful. As scheduled we arrived in Mazatlán at 10am. We packed the bikes and were sweated in a second and we left the ferry while gesturing `adios´ to everybody as quickly as possible.
We left Mazatlán towards east into the mountains driving the old Ruta 40d. What a difference! Suddenly everything was sooo green and mellow. The road was in a good condition and was climbing up the mountains passing little pueblos, villages, with friendly smiling and waving people. The air became more and more fresh and it was the first time since a looong time that we were not sweating anymore while driving and even not when we were stopping – how pleasant for a change. The Ruta 40d is called as well `El Espinaco Del Diablo´ (The Devils Backbone) and is a real pleasure for motorcyclist cause it is providing awesome views and the 2000 turns are magnificent. The road lies almost entirely over 2.000 meters above the sea level and goes eventually above 3000m. And the best we were driving it nearly entirely alone!Somewhere in the middle at about 3pm we crossed once more one of the several police or military checkpoints. So far we cannot say anything negative about them. They always have been friendly often even smiling and were waving us through. From time to time they are asking where we are coming from and where we are going to but not much more. Usually I am driving in front with Pepe as a pillion (you remember the Teddy bear we found in Canada) with open helmet and saying `!Hola! Buenas Dias/Tardes!´ with a big smile! It seems to work J and if they start to ask more I am just saying `no intendo – hablo un pocito espaniol solo´ with a bigger smile (if possible).
Now the sky became dark and suddenly it started to rain. It seems every day at around this time thunderstorms are coming up here in the mountains. Brrrr… the first time since a long time we started freezing and had to search for additional cloth. In a little village called `La Ciudad´ (the city!) we stopped with lightning and thundering all around us. We found a place renting out cabanas and negotiated a price for the night. When the rain stopped we had a look around for food but have been unlucky – maybe it was too early or just the wrong day of the week, who knows we dint find anything…. Anyhow the next hard rain was coming in and we bought some beers and went back to our cabana. There we cooked delicious pasta with chili tomato sauce and parmesan. Sitting under the shelter of our terrace we enjoyed our food and beer while watching the lightning. Knowing we will sleep dry and warm under heavy wool blankets was a big advantage… what a change! Early morning we woke up to continue. The clouds were still hanging low in the mountains but after having coffee the sun came out.
After a nice ride through the mountains at around 3 to 4pm thick clouds came up and rain hit us again; so we skipped the plan to camp in El Parque Nacional Sierra de Órganos. A little bit further on the `Pueblo Magico´ Sombrerete is located. We checked in a Motel and spend the rest of the day exploring this beautiful place. We walked around, found a real good foot place and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere until sunset; just when the next thunderstorm came in we were back and had a good and DRY sleep.
The next morning we were not really sure how to continue. We used the possibility of an fast internet connection and booked a Airbnb in Zacatecas. Not so far away and made a contact for Couchsurfing in Guadalajara. In Zacatecas we negotiated a good price for two people in an old amazing villa. When we entered the building we could smell the history… and we moved into the suite with a gigantic balcony overlooking the whole town… WOW! We enjoyed the rest of the day walking around and visiting as well a beautiful church `Temple of Fatima´ where the priest welcomed and invited us hearty to visit it.
Close by is La Quemada an archeological site situated and we took the chance to leave all our valuables at the AirBnB and went there the early morning. We were the only visitors at arrival. The site is made up of numerous different sized platforms built onto the hill and it is one of the places visited by the Aztecs in their migration to the basin of Mexico, where they left their elderly and children. We spent about 3 hours climbing the mountain and the hundreds of steps and adoring the views and the peace of this place. For that day we caught enough sun and we used the afternoon to clean our mattresses and sleeping bags from the bird shit which we got on the ferry ride. The evening we walked around downtown and found a Mexican restaurant full of oddities. Later on we joined the musician groups on the streets – funny smiling singing dancing people all around!
The road going south to Guadalajara is a big straight red line on our map. We only have a map with a very big scale and we had no idea how the road would be like. We expected these 370km will be pretty boring but pretty soon it turned into a beautiful winding road through the mountains and we really enjoyed the ride. Just before we reached the Guadalajara a gorgeous view on the `Salto del Nogal´, a 105m high waterfall welcomed us.
We stay with Ernesto, a Couchsurfing place. He is a fabulous guy and living with his German shepherd dog in a little flat at a spectacular place. Such a Buena Vista, outlook!!! One evening we explored the city and we can tell you with the sunset the whole city becomes a `theater´; everywhere artists, dancing groups, musicians and smiling and laughing faces – a fantastic atmosphere! Ernesto and his friend Eva took us to a Mexican breakfast. It had a breathtaking view to the valley with the Rio Santiago. They introduced us all the traditional Mexican breakfast specialties. We learned a lot and that is actually the reason why we love Couchsurfing from time to time. You are with the locals and you learn so much about tradition, culture, food, language, the location, fauna and flora… Today we will meet another friend of Ernesto, a motorcyclist who travels a lot as well. We are curious to hear about his experiences. He can give us maybe good advice and suggestions where to go and what to see… Once again we do not have a clue yet where we go next J sooo many beautiful places around…
Until then we are `working´ on the update in our office with this unique breathtaking view surrounded by all kind of birds, many hummingbirds, butterflies and iguanas
We stopped at a lake in Canada and throw the rod out… had some beers. Somebody was passing by and brought some more beers… Suddenly we heard a sound, we thought a drone is passing… looked around till Kerstin shouted YOUR ROD!!!! LOOK AT THAT!!!!
Oh Oh, ;)
It was delicious ;) One of the best meals we ever had! Can´t get any fresher than that!
As we could work out a great deal with Bonny and Paul and helping them we were able to stay 4 nights in San Ignacio (thank you both again for that opportunity!). The last day we discovered the spring of the river with the kayak, we were visiting the Chaa Creek Natural History Museum (don’t miss that if you are around – just knock the door if it is not open) and had a great dinner together.
During our stay there we had the great pleasure to meet Pam and Maria. They are friends for 36 years and have been on a road trip bringing down Pam´s car from California to Todos Santos. Maria is from Tijuana so it was easy to pick her up on the way down. They are both lovely persons with big hearts and great humor and Pam invited us to pass by her place when we come to Todos Santos – so that´s where we are at the moment!A really beautiful spot and we love to spend the time here together with Pam. Even now in the off season the town has a really nice spirit and as Pam is living here since 25 years. She knows the place, people and the surrounding very well. Pam is running an exclusive cloth shop here in Todos Santos, “El Taller” (@el_taller_todos_santos) which is right in the center on the plaza. They sell unique clothing out of handmade/ woven fabrics from tribes of India, Vietnam and Mexico. She takes us around to gorgeous beaches, hidden fishing spots and places where you get the best food. She knows not only where to get the best fresh fish but as well how to cook it – so yummi!!! Unfortunately Maria had to leave but we do have the best teacher from now on chatting with her in Spanish all the time; even though it is still challenging us (muchas gracias Maria Maria jajaja ;)
With the arrival here in Todos Santos we tried to find out which ferry is going when to the mainland. Not as easy as Baja Ferry seems to have an issue with maintaining their boats and therefore currently not going to Mazatlán. The other option would be Topolobampo which is nearly 500km to the north. But we found out that TMC is running a cargo ferry to Mazatlán. It will take about 17 hours, they do not have cabins but that´s actually the one we reserved with Pam´s help via phone for Monday the 27th. We will see if it will works out when we get there…
So long Pam hosts us in her very nice guesthouse and we try to give her a helping hand wherever is needed. She is such a great person and knows many interesting stories to tell… With her it never becomes boring! For sure it is a real great pleasure meeting her and as well Maria. Aside we practice our Spanish in the tacorias or with her gardener Ricardo (a real character!).
The summer time here is the season of hurricanes and thunderstorms. So far we were lucky more or less. On the way down here we recognized many times that it is off season; places look like ghost towns, camps are closed and beaches are empty except some locals to have a cooling jump into the water. The desert looks fantastic with the uncountable giant saguaros cactus and a high variety of succulents. But it is incredible HOT and the weather can change in a minute. In Loreto the camp which is usually visited by overlanders just closed down for the season and on the other campsite we have been the only guests. At least we did not need to worry to bother anyone while just sleeping on the tables.
The original plan was to stay on one of the beaches at the famous Bahia Conception. But there an sudden upcoming thunderstorm made us leaving the place after a refreshing swim. One of these days we headed direction east coast with the plan to stay at the the El Chorro Hot Springs. On the way we stopped in El Triunfo, a little old mining pueblo (village) where we bought real good sourdough bread with walnuts and cranberries. Marc, from California is famous for his bread and imported even a professional oven from Italy to enhance his business further. When we left the highway and drove down the gravel road direction mountains we could see the first lightnings already. But we continued and shortly and before we reached El Chorro the road became a river and a real thunderstorm came up. After an hour waiting in the pouring rain it still looked not like it will end soon and the thunder and lightning did not stop.So we decided to get back and skip the springs. At least we got delicious bread and had a nice day riding. Inland we can see nearly every day the dark clouds and can hear the rumbling of the thunder storms. Cross fingers we will not have one of these storms when we take the ferry as they do not have cabins and we have to sleep on the open deck…
If you are on a long-term journey you are not able to be in all places at the best season of the year. That’s how it is and you have to make the best out of it. So far we crossed the Baja North and entered Baja Sur already and we stranded in an real oasis in this desert terrain: San Ignacio. It is a large grove of lush green date palms by the river and village next to an eighteenth-century Jesuit mission. We stay at `Ignacio Springs Bed & Breakfast´ (https://www.ignaciosprings.com/) run by the Canadian couple Bonny and Paul. They just took over this place in May this year and looking after it very well. The yurts are airy, clean and cozy and the breakfast is one of the bests we ever had on our journeys. We do feel like in paradise here in this big palm-garden, kayaking with the sunrise and jumping into the river for a swim. The village has a charming plaza with huge shady trees, little cozy restaurants, bars and cafes. This is definitely a place to settle back; especially after riding in the summer heat through the desert of Baja California.
When we left San Diego and said good bye to Randy & Doc we reached the border at Tecate in the late morning. (By the way – if you do love travel, dogs and or motorbikes please support Rad ‘n Doc Travel the World´ and like their Facebook page so they might get a sponsor for dog-food on their future travels). We almost entered Mexico, when we recognized we haven’t done the checkout of the US and we turned the bikes. This action was not really liked by the border police of the US and they seriously censured us. We had a little dispute that we were looking for the US border and that they do not have any sign there where or when you are leaving the country and as well that we would need an exit stamp that we left their country with our bikes. In the end we left the States without any proof by them and we crossed over to Mexico. There they just waved us through and suddenly we were in the middle of the town…??? Nobody wants to see our passport? Nobody wants to know who we are and what we are doing here? A little bit confused we turned back once more and parked in front of a little shop. While Sascha was walking to the customs with our papers I stayed with the bikes and started a chat with the family who runs the shop. I bridged the time refreshing my memories of Spanish with the kids and the family invited me to stay inside the shop to escape the heat while waiting. After about 1 1/2 hours Sascha was done and I had to go to finish the import of my motorcycle. Everybody was friendly and polite but it took a pretty loooong time; all together it took nearly 3.5 hours and we were completely sweaty.
The scenery of Baja is rough. The desert, the sand dunes, the cactus and the beaches are having its own spirit; but at this time of the year it is incredible HOT and unfortunately not the right time to see any whales. We mostly remained on the coastal roads if possible. As well we do not go on long sandy off road trails with this heat. We will need to come back one day to explore the Baja more intensely for sure. Inland of Baja had quite a lot of rain within the last days and we had some flooded roads to cross as the dried earth cannot absorb the water quickly.
The Mexican foot is just after our fancy as we do love spicy food and our first Margaritas cooled our dusty throats. We try to work on our Spanish and we are curious to see more of this big country rich in history and culture…