Archive for November, 2008

From the desert to the Sea of Cortez

Sonntag, November 30th, 2008


San Ignocio – Santa Rosalia

73 km

We left San Ignazio at 9:15 am after a short stop at the grocery store. There was a strong headwind blowing and we had to climb quite a bit. A long time before we passed the Volcan Las Tres Virgenes we could see it already. We didn‘ t make much progress and when we stopped for lunch at a taqueria in Mezquital we still had almost 40 km to go. The taqueria didn‘ t look very welcoming on the outside but surprised us with a very clean and european-style interior. Eckart showed us the pictures of a big tarantula he took along the way!

A few km later we had a great downhill ride and an awesome view looking back to the vulcano. Rolling hills brought us to the next summit. From there we had a great view down to the Sea of Cortez. A fast downhill ride on a curvy road followed (we stopped several times to enjoy the view, it was amazing) and suddenly we were on the bottom of a canyon what meant that we had to cycle uphill again!

Another climb and one downhill later we cruised the last 8 km along the coast and reached Santa Rosalia, a former copper-mine town, with the last daylight. We checked into the Motel Del Real, took showers and walked into town to find a place to eat dinner. There we met Kristel from Belgium again, a backpacker from Belgium whom we already met several times since Guerrero Negro. We had dinner together at a restaurant that looked a bit touristy, but the food was really good.

A short walk led us passed the mission that was designed by Gustave Eiffel (you know, the guy the Eiffel Tower got its name from) to a mini-market, to the town plaza and back to our motel.

CU Anja

Guerrero Negro – rest day

Donnerstag, November 27th, 2008


Today we stayed in Guerrero Negro for a rest day. We did our laundry in the lavenderia next door, had lunch in a small taqueria, die grocery shopping and uploaded some pictures on the internet. I couldn‘ t write all the journal entries I wanted to – the day was just too short. When we came back from lunch we saw 2 bikes standing outside the room next to ours. We walked over there and met Dave from Canada and Eckhart from Germany who are also travelling south. Tomorrow we‘ ll try to cycle together. Things are going well here in Baha California, the people are friendly and welcoming and we even experienced rain in the desert!

Hasta Luego


The desert – a big playground!

Sonntag, November 23rd, 2008


Sacraficio – Catavina

After a great night in the tent under a sky full of stars I got up at 6:15 am and we were on the road by 7:50 am. The temperature was comfortable 16 degrees C. The terrain was a lot easier than yesterday. At an altitude of about 500 m the road was going a bit up and down, there were some nice rolling hills but no long climbs.

When we reached El Progresso we were very glad that we didn‘ t go on yesterday because there was nothing there, no place we could have stayed.

After passing San Agustin the scenery was quite boring for about 10 km but then it became incredible. There were plenty cactuses and many rocks, small and big ones. Sometimes there were even huge piles of rocks. It looked like a playground, like manbuild. I took tons of pictures today, I just couldn‘ t stop.

Mario, a guy on a motorbike, passed us and stopped a while later. He lives in Santa Barbara now but is originally from San Salvador. He gave us his address and said we should contact him if we go there and have any questions. It was very nice talking to him.

Just before we arrived in Catavina we wanted to look at the cave-paintings. We stopped and Sara and Sebastien looked for the cave while I watched the bikes. They came back after 45 minutes and I thought that it would have been very interesting – but they couldn‘ t find the cave! When we were back on the road we saw a sign somewhere up in the mountain while they looked for it in the valley. But we were all too tired to go back again…

We stopped at the first motel in Catavina but there was nobody around. At the other motel, the Desert Inn, they wanted 88 US $ for a room for 3 people!!! We decided to get some groceries at the small store, which was very disappointing because their selection was very poor, first. On our way over there we saw Uli and Vera at a Café and chatted with them for a while, they stayed at the Desert Inn. After getting some groceries we cycled 2 more km to Rancho Santa Inez (1km south on the main road, 1 km off road) where they wanted to charge us 100 Pesos per person for a bed in a dormitory which wasn‘ t very inviting. Instead we decided to pitch our tents for 30 Pesos each, with a cold shower though.

Around 7pm we wanted to get some food at the ranch but everything was dark there. So we had to eat the food we could find in our panniers – I had another Nutella-Banana-Burrito;-).

Cactuses – they are huge!

Samstag, November 22nd, 2008


El Rosario – Sacrificio

48km, 3:40 h, 12,2 km/h, total 4835,8 km


We had a pretty slow start, as usual, and it was almost 9 am when we sat on our bikes, the thermometer showed 20 degrees C and there was no cloud in sight. Since we would cycle through the desert and didn‘ t know if there were any places to buy water along the way I carried 7 l of water.

Leaving El Rosario many dogs barked at us and followed us a bit but it seemed as if they stopped when Sebastien used his whistle. Before entering the desert we passed a small stretch where it was really green. Many climbs between 1% and 11% and 32 degrees C in the shade without any shade were exhausting.

Soon we saw the first cactuses along the road and at my first discovery-tour I found out that they really had pricks. Dry green grass turned into yellow-brown sand. Then I saw the first HUGE kaktus!!!

That was amazing. The whole scenery was pretty incredible. I was just waiting for a cowboy on his horse!

After 45 km we started to look for a good place for a roadside-lunch. Suddenly, after another short climb, there was a small loungeria in a town called Sacrificio (which was on none of our maps and probably consisted only of this loungeria). Great!!!

We sat down and each of us ordered 1 Quesataco and a soda for starters (because of the heat we weren‘ t too hungry and we thought that we would just order more if we liked it). While we waited for our food we obeyed a young boy who lookes very serious while he tried to catch a baby-duck. He could‘ t catch it though, it was very entertaining for us. After a while each of us got a plate with 3 Tacos and Beans. We were 100% positiv that we only ordered 1 each but we ate them anyways and they were really good.

We were really stuffed and didn‘ t feel like getting back on our bikes. So we asked if it was possible to pitch our tents next to the loungeria – and it was. It was a great place to camp and we had the chance to catch a glimpse of the real mexican life. They even had showers there!

Sunset was already at 4:42pm!!! We hang out in our tents for a while, went to the loungeria again to have some dinner and were really happy that we didn‘ t push it today but made an unexpected early stop.

Easy cycling

Freitag, November 21st, 2008


San Quintin – El Rosario

66km, total 4787,8 km

In the morning we spent some time on the internet and didn‘ t get going until 9:30am. A few km later, in Lázaro Cárdenas we stopped at the ATM and at the grocery store. There we met Nadine who cycles around the world with her friend. They already started in 2003!!! After exchanging some information about the road ahead of each of us we were finally on our way around 11am.

The wind changed it‘ s direction constantly. The fog along the coast kept the air pleasantly cool at a temperature of 21 degrees C and dispersed a mystic mood. The car- and truck-drivers were again absolutely considerate and passed us carefully. After some easy rolling hills we had good a climb at the end of the day. It was in a construction area and it was the hardest climb of the day. The flaggers who worked there were very entertaining, though. They cheered for us, asked if we were ready for the next Olympic Games and made some funny moves. The climb was followed by an awesome downhill-ride into El Rosario.

There we met Uli and Vera at the Motel Sinhai where we squeezed us and our bikes into a small room for 300 Pesos. After a refreshing shower we had dinner with Uli and Vera in the restaurant at the Motel. I had Enchiladas con Pollo but didn‘ t like it too much, the others enjoyed their meals though.

San Qiuntín

Donnerstag, November 20th, 2008


San Vicente – San Quintín

103 km, 17,9 km/h, 5:42h

Sara, Sebatian and me left the Valentino Motel around 8am. It were only 16 degrees C when we started, but the following climbs made me feel warm soon. After 40 km we reached Colonet. At first I thought there was a traffic jam but then we saw that there was a parade going on. We passed all the cars and trucks that passed us earlier and watched the parade. Since the road was still blocked we enjoyed cycling without traffic for about 6 km. Leaving Colonet there were a some nice rolling hills and we made good progress. There were many possibilities to buy food or cold drinks today, but the didn‘ t seem to be where my map said they would be. The km shown on the map weren‘ t very accurate, either.

The last 20km there was a lot of traffic and we puched hard to reach San Quintín with the last daylight. There we met Vera and Uli again at the Uruapan Motel. I‘ m sharing a room with Sara and Sebatien. We had good Tacos and Quesatacos at a Taqueria at the other side of the road for dinner.

It‘ s hot!

Sonntag, November 16th, 2008



Rosarito – La Fonda



When we started around 7 am it was already very windy and warm. We tried to find a place to eat breakfast but they weren‘ t open. After a while we found a Hotel that offered breakfast. They had an american menu and american prizes but we didn‘ t want to waste more time looking for another place. My bacon didn‘ t taste too good but the pancakes where great.

It was already 9:15am when we hit the road again – too late when in this weather conditions. There wasn‘ t much traffic on the hilly road which had 2 lanes in each direction most of the time. We cycled right next to the Pacific and had some awesome views and even saw some whales.

It was very interesting to watch the waves coming from two directions at the same time, I never saw that before. The temperature rose up to 34 degrees C in the shade – but there was no shade most of the time!

When we arrived in La Fonda we only wanted to make a bathroom-break and buy something to drink. Then we found out that there wasn‘ t much between there and Ensenada (at least nothing affordable). It was only 12:30 pm and we wanted to go on for a while, but the wind was so strong that we couldn‘ t make it to Ensenada. Finally the five of us took a big room with four beds and a great balcony with an unbelievable view of the ocean. I never thought that I would stay at a place like this – for only 10 $ per person!

We relaxed for a while and enjoyed the half day off. Later Uli and I took a short bath in the ocean. It was cold but very refreshing! For dinner we walked down to the restaurant of the motel and were surprised when we got a bean soup, a salad and even a “mexican coffee” (coffee with kahlua) for desert together with the meal we ordered. It was a touristy place that seemed as if it was made for US-weekend-travellers, but they had good food.

Now we are all back at our room, writing our journals and learning spanish. It makes it a lot easier that Vera speaks good spanish, my spanish is still … let‘ s not talk about it!


Take care,


Mexico – hablo espanol?

Samstag, November 15th, 2008


 San Diego – Rosalita

58 km,

Uli, Vera and I left the Youth Hostel in San Diego at 8 am. At 8:30 am we met Sebastien and Sara and cycled together towards the mexican border. We stopped at Wal-Mart to stock up some last supplies – just in case;-). When we arrived at the border we followed the bikepath which took us to the crossing for pedestriens where our bikes didn‘ t fit through the „turning-gate“. Then we took the freeway and crossed the border together with the cars. Noone really cared and we had to cycle back a bit to get our tourist-card. We are allowed to stay in Mexico for 180 days. We didn‘ t get a stemp in our passport, though.

After almost 2 hours we were on our bikes again and cycled through Tijuana. The roads were very busy but the drivers were careful and waved and honked at us a lot. After a long climb we enjoyed a great downhill-ride to Rosalita where we decided to end the day. We found a motel which cost 9 $ for each of us. After a refreshing shower we went to the taqueria next door and ate all different kinds of mexican food: mulas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas… Tasty food at the end of an exciting day!


Last day in the US

Freitag, November 14th, 2008


San Diego

Two days ago I arrived here in San Diego, by train. It was a great surprise that Uli and Vera picked me up at the Amtrak-Station. Together we cycled to the Youth Hostel where I checked into a 10-bed-room for 3 nights (I want my tent!!!). Yesterday we cycled to an outdoor store and then I went to a bikeshop to let a „specialist“ take a  look at my bike since I was worried because of all those broken spokes lately. The guys at the bikeshop where great but unfortunately they told me that I needed a new rim (with new spokes of course). Well, I just hope that it‘ ll work!!!

Today I cycled 16km across San Diego, through a canyon, to get to REI, another outdoor-store. There I bought a new pair of long pants, a shirt, a water-filter and some other things. Later I stopped at the bookshop to get some maps and books about Mexico and Middle America. Then Vera, Uli and me had dinner at a Thai-Reataurant. The food was ok, but the Thai-Food I had in San Francisco was a lot better.

Tomorrow is the big day, we‘ ll meet Sara and Sébastien, a french couple, a few blocks away from the Youth Hostel at 8:30am and then we‘ ll cycle to Mexico together. We are all pretty excited.

 I spent almost 4 month in the US now. I had a great time but I  think I‘ m ready to go. Later I might write more about it, maybe a short summary. But now I‘ m looking forward to cycling in Mexico. I‘ m curious, don‘ t really know what to expect and I don‘ t speak any spanish, yet. It‘ s gonna be an interesting time!!!

Last time from the US,


Short day to San Luis Obispo

Dienstag, November 11th, 2008


Morro Bay SP – San Luis Obisbo

40km, total

After an oatmeal and coffee breakfast I replaced my broken spoke and hoped that it would hold for a while. Instead of taking the short way out of the State Park I circled around it what made me have to climb a small hill for starters;-). I didn‘ t do it on purpose though, I just couldn‘ t find the other way. It was a nice ride that took me through Los Osos, away from the busy Highway. At 11:20 am I already reached San Luis Obispo.

At the Starbucks I enjoyed a Java Chip Frappucino and checked my e-mails. I was very surprised when I read an e-mail from Uli, one of the two german cyclists I met in Oregon and who are going south as well. They will leave San Diego to cross the border to Mexico on saturday. I expected them to be cycling down the Baja already;-). They are still waiting for 2 other cyclists to join them and asked me if I would make it. It wasn‘ t an easy decision, but I ended up staying in San Luis Obispo and purchasing a ticket for the Amtrak Surfliner for tomorrow, wednesday. The Surfliner is a train that leaves in San Luis Obispo at 6:45am and goes all the way south to San Diego where it arrives after about 8 ½ hours. The train has a bike-rack and it isn‘ t necessary to box the bike.

I guess there are 2 ways to look at it: 1) I‘ m not cycling all the way, that‘ s cheating! 2) It‘ s a pretty smart idea to cross the border and cycle through Tijuana together with other cyclists and not alone. I decided to stick with the latter.

On my way back from the Amtrak Station I cycled through Downtown San Luis Obispo. It’s too bad that I missed the Farmer‘ s Market which takes place every Thursday. It‘ s right downtown, they close down the streets and there’s a lot going on. I bought a map of Baja California and 2 books since I didn‘ t know if I can get english books in Mexico – and since I don‘ t even speak spanish, yet, I won‘ t be able to read spanish book for quite a while;-).