By Larry and Joan Dolinski
So here it is about 2 weeks into our trek, and we are enjoying a well earnedday of relaxation in a villa like atmosphere, in a small town (Mulage) welldown into the Southern Baja. After many days of chugging up and downmountains, passing through regions supporting various species of cactus,riding by a volcano and its lava field and on through some of the remotestlandscape we have ever seen, the surroundings now betray a somewhat tropicallook We are now on the Sea of Cortez the place is like something out of aHemingway novel, complete with an ex-patriot American community.
Our trip began at the Rose Bowl parade, with some degree of chaos. Someover-anxious parade official began us about about three minutes early, at thehead of the entire parade. Because of that, we apparently did not get pickedup on TV. Although that was disappointing to all of us, the parade was awonderful interactive experience. We were warmly greeted and cheered for allsix miles of the parade route, by a very supportive crowd, which had beenbriefed over the radio and by a PA system as to what we were all about.
Crossing into Mexico, at Tijuana, brought its expected confusion. We had tolift our bikes through narrow turnstiles, but we helped each other out and allgot through. Immediately, the sights and odors of our surroundings werenoticely different. The odors were more ripe, the roads more narrow withabrupt drop-offs at roads edge of 1 to 4 feet. Litter is a way of life downhere. The entire outdoors is a recepticle for trash. That's difficult enoughon ones sense of aesthetics, but included is an abundant quantity of brokenglass on the roadways...resulting in a high flat tire rate (The two of us havebeen blessed...neither of us haver had a flat while riding, although Larry hadtwo flats in camp one morning while preparing to depart).
As we travel south in the Baja, the landscape becomes more and more remote,services become infrequent or non-existent and even the roadside litterdiminishes somewhat. The people are extremely friendly, supportive andcourteous Big rig truck drivers all wave or at least return a wave. The busdrivers are rude and so are those who drive for Coca Cola & Pepsi; the AmericanRV drivers are the worst.
Services in the Baja are sparse. Toilet facilities are few and toilet paperpractically non existent so we must carry our own. Of course, because theplumbing is crude, we are instructed never to put the used toilet paper inthe toilet, but rather to place it in a basket nearby.
The biking has been very challenging. The distances are long, the terrainrugged and the days short. When sunset comes it gets dark abruptly. One daywe got overtaken by darkness and stopped by the side of the road to await arescue from one of our support vehicles. We had to wait over an hour and ahalf for the pickup in extremely cold temperature (The desert can be very hotduring the day and frigid at night). We were "adopted" by 3 lovely children.We shared our snacks with them and they built a fire to keep us warm. When wefinally got picked up there were hugs all around as well as tears. Needlesssay all communication took place without traditional language skills.
Our destination on the Baja is the resort community La Paz, whence we are dueto fly by charter to San Jose, Costa Rica.
We'll close this update for now with warm regards and good wishes for the newyear.
Continued on Update #3
Please send corrections, additions, comments and praise to
© 1997-2002 CRW, Inc. All rights reserved. Revised: