Sunday, November 28, 2010

Desierto Central

The forecast was calling for more rain along the northern Baja coast.  We decided that we wanted to get to the warmer and drier southern areas a bit quicker.

So, after cycling for over 3,000 kilometers and across two borders we put our bikes on a bus.

Our first destination by bus was Cataviña.  From the bus stop we cycled two kilometers south of town to camp at Rancho Santa Inés (25 pesos per bike, less than $2.50 each).  Karen built a mesquite campfire using what was lying around.  The desert has some amazing smells.  We watched a colourful sunset and then the full moon rise over the desert landscape with its unusual cacti, called cirio, that looks like something out of a Dr. Suess book.

We spent the next morning exploring the desert around our camp.  There are an amazing variety of cacti and other desert plants including some found only in the Baja peninsula.  The Cirio is described as an upside down carrot.

Back in the village of Cataviña a homeless American regaled us with tall tales of his life as a child actor (the movie Tarzan, he was the boy), opening up a brewery when he was five, being advised by Marilyn Monroe and Mae West on property investment, and writing songs for Elvis, John Lennon, the Beach Boys, etc.  We had our fair share of experiences with people suffering from mental illness in towns and campgrounds along the US Coast.  There were men at the hike/bike sites who ranted to themselves all night in their tents. So much so, you'd think there were two people having an argument.  And the fellow in Carpinteria who spoke philosophically about society, reality and the animated film playing in his head that one day he'll make except he's been getting into trouble with copyright. 

But hadn't expected to run into someone like this in a small Mexican village.   

After enjoying another colourful sunset we slept again beneath the clear desert sky.

The 7 AM bus arrived at  8 AM.  While waiting we watched the American homeless man set up in front of the main store and beg for pesos from the Mexican truck drivers.  The man selling diesel and gasoline from drums along the side of the highway saw the bus first and helped us flag it down.  The bus took us past the 28th parallel into the state of Baja California Sur.  Next stop, San Ignacio.

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