Thursday, January 24, 2008

Coco’s Corner to San Felipe

January 24, 2008

The little sleep I did get last night was interspersed with praise for my sleeping bag. That sleeping bag has saved me numerous times and became my comforter in virtually every motel I slept in, and for this night, my saving grace. Almost all of the budget (and you know or can imagine what budget means in Mexico) motels I stayed in had thin blankets for covers. And of course they would: it’s usually hot even at night. But this winter has been a cold one and my bag has been a key, key addition to my gear list.

Everyone stayed at Coco’s last night and I awoke to Coco saying something about the gringo – obviously ribbing the fore-mentioned daughter about me. Everyone by night’s end last night was rolling their eyes, “Oh, Coco loco…” This guy really is loved by many people and his colorful personality (those who have met him know what I’m talking about) only adds to the warmth.

It was a dark morning, threatening of rain but no rain came. So after sitting back in Coco’s trailer and sharing coffee, I took some pictures and headed out. I didn’t know what was awaiting me on the 65 mile section remaining of the dirt highway to Peurtecitos. So I got a jump on it and headed out a little before 8am.To go into any detail about the next 4.5 hours of my life, or describe the ecstasy and pain I experienced, would be pointless. Cascading mountains of lava rock pouring into azure seas and the relentless – relentless – beating of large rocks and washboards, all fused into a single experience of the Mex 5. It was a brain-schlosher, and a sense-filler. The road just spilled on and on, and I rode into it. How, or when, I finally got to Peurtecitos, I don’t remember. But when I had the strange sensation of smoothness under my tires, I knew I had to pull over and inflate my tires to road pressure. To go above 1st gear was a weird sensation.Heading up the paved road from Peurtecitos I passed many playas and “for sale” signs, beaconing gringos to buy a little piece of paradise. I noticed little else of that section, save for the radical “vados” – dips in the road, usually to allow creeks to run during a rain. But in this section, the first 20 kilometers north of Peurtecitos, the vados were deeper and shorter than usual. So much so that I had to significantly slow down and even then they fully compressed my suspension and I could see that drivers unaware had lost suspensions, transmissions, etc. It got so bad that some gringo had painted in front of one in large, white letters, “Oh Shit, Dip!”

I got into San Felipe in no time and tiredly waited outside the oficina of the Posada de Sol Hotel. Finally checked in, I off loaded the bike and took a hose to it, finally, for it had collected days of dirt, sand, dust and grime. Having rediscovered – or uncovered – my bike, I went for a stroll through San Felipe and enjoyed some tacos de pescado in this seaside, tourist town.
Since coming here, I have really felt my proximity to the States. Much of the signage is in English, there are many more gringos walking the streets, and most people speak English. I am coming to accept that it is an unavoidable necessity – that my time in Baja is coming to a close and I will have to re-enter my North American country, culture, life. Not that this is bad. I love my country and my life in the States. It is simply the sadness that naturally comes with any ending, particularly one that has been this stupendous. And the loss of a way of life I have come to greatly appreciate. This traveler's life is compelling and I understand it much more now than ever before - what draws so many people to take up a lifestyle of transitoriness. There is a wonderful, open life in it. And my taste of it has been a good one.

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