Today I took a road trip (meaning, in this case, that I left my gear at the hotel and went off for the day) to San Ignatio. Actually I took a trip throughout the Laguna San Ignatio peninsula and had another epic adventure.
San Ignatio is an oasis in the desert, a valley filled with date palms from the 1700s where the missionaries sought to bring farming and trade to the indigenous people. Of course they needed the help because they hadn't done just fine on their own for hundreds of years, but that´s for you to read about in the history of Baja California. I got into this unique town around 10am and after taking a few pics, decided I would continue on to the Laguna San Ignatio - one of the best whale migration routes in the Pacific. I wasn´t sure if I was going to jump on a boat with some gringo tourists or just keep riding solo, but I ended up just riding. And then cleaning.
The route to the Laguna, an inlet of water that is flanked by mainland Baja and a peninsula of land that juts out into the Pacific, is about 70 km (50 miles) of dirt road. The road is washboardy at times and slightly washed out in others, but all in all it's a nice ride. There are even solid stretches of well graded dirt, so I got the bike into 4th gear in spots. That´s hauling in terms of what typically goes for speed on these roads.
I reached La Laguna, a small town on the water, after much desolation and flatness. But getting to the Pacific when I had left the Sea of Cortez just hours before was a unique experience. So today I rode from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific and back. Not many times in my life will I get to say that. But I hope to again at least a few...
So, not wanting to just sit there, I got back on the bike and kept heading southwest to see how far out on the point I could get. Ten miles or so of "exploratory" riding and my GPS was telling me I was getting close. So as I looked up from my map at a very near ocean, I thought, "yes, I´ve made it." And that´s when I hit a section of the road that looked solid but was 8 inches of mud and suddenly found I was inadvertently crash testing my suit (It performed brilliantly, of course). I flung over the left handlebar at about 30 mph and rolled once or twice and instantly got up and went back to the bike. Now mind you, I'm way out there and have no idea as to the nearest human being. So I got it back up, slung a rooster tail of mud 20 feet, and got to an open area near the ocean and parked.
Mud was caked everywhere, including me. So I did the only thing someone in my position would do and found a nearby burn/trash pile and scavenged for something to start stripping mud off with. A rusty piece of metal bar did the trick and I started with the engine and worked my way to the tires. When I got the larger chunks off, I went back to the engine to get mud out of the grooves (the engine is air cooled and needs the grooves to stay cool). But the bar was too thick so I looked around and found...an oyster shell. The guys in SF will appreciate the irony in that. So after cleaning up, taking a break, and taking some pics, I headed back.
After stopping at a small fishing village, getting a Fresca and chatting with the guy there about the bike and the San Francisco Giants, I headed back the 50 miles to San Ignatio.
San Ignatio is a place I'd like to return to and get to know better. The Iglesia/mission is incredibly beautiful and the plaza is frozen in time. Unfortunately I had to return to Santa Rosalia before I could visit the museum that holds some replicas of nearby cave paintings. But I did walk through the church, the plaza and the main town area. If I have time and opportunity, I'll stay in San Ignatio on the way back.
Being so far out in such a desolate place, all alone, and certainly after having dumped it the way I did, gave me a real appreciation for my own sense of adventure and self-confidence. Not that I always know what I'm doing - quite the contrary. It's believing in yourself and that within yourself you have the resources to do what needs to be done. That is a fortunate thing. And I am grateful I have it to the degree I do. I can't say that I feel such confidence all the time, but being put in situations like these give me windows to see good things about myself. And those are gifts.
Tomorrow is Mulege. Beach, sun, water and cervesas.