30 Nov Cycling Along the Dreaded Mexican Highway 1 to Guerrero Negro
Chalapa to Ejido Nuevo Rosarito, 63 miles
We are up as soon as the sun peeks over the mountain. We roll up our still sand covered tent and push our fully loaded bicycles up on the restaurant porch and step inside to have another very delicious Mexican breakfast.
We thank the owners again for their hospitality and head back out on the road. It’s going to be a 65 mile ride today. According to Google maps it’s downhill for about two thirds, followed by several good size rollers. On paper it looks like the perfect ride. Unfortunately, the wind has shifted and we are still pedaling a good amount throughout the day into the wind.
The dreaded Highway 1 is very narrow and has no shoulder. In deed there is just enough room for two oncoming trucks to barely pass each other without rubbing side mirrors.
The scenery however makes up for all the extra effort. Our route twists and turns as we half coast, half pedal down the mountain. The desert is full of live and at times the valleys look lush and green. The amount and variety of giant cacti is astonishing. This is also the only place where the Dr Seuss looking Boojum Tree (aka Cirios Plant) can be found in abundance. We stop several times to check them all out out.
The temperature rises quickly as the day goes on. Also we hit many more steep rolling hills and feel our legs tiring quickly. The air is so dry that my tongue feels like sandpaper. Luckily, we filled up all of our water bottles and we brought some electrolyte drinks to stay hydrated.
As we climb the last long ascent for the day another truck is passing me by, he is super nice, gives me thumbs up and moves all the way into the other lane. Just as he is about to overtake Ron, who is a few hundred yards ahead of me, another truck comes head on around the curve to descent. The first truck veers back into his lane quickly and comes to a screeching halt right before he reaches Ron and then continues on after the oncoming traffic passed.
The truckers along this route are amazing!
Hungry and parched, we arrive in the little town of Ejido Nuevo Rosario where we find a small cheap hotel. To get the key for the room we have to go to the adjacent restaurant. The young lady behind the register seems annoyed that we disturb her internet session, but is happy to rent us a room. After a quick shower, we head back over for dinner. There are only two other men in the restaurant to eat as well. We order our food and drinks and wait for dinner. Suddenly, all the lights go out. Luckily, our food just finished cooking as the electricity went out, and we are able to have dinner at candlelight…how romantic.
In the morning we meet another cycling couple. They also have a room at the hotel to take break. Apparently, the two young cyclists are traveling off road along the Baja, but find it difficult at times, since many trails are torn up and very sandy from the Baja 1000 race. We chat for a moment before heading out. The plan is to make it to Guerrero Negro today
Ejido Nuevo Rosarito to Guerrero Negro, 54 miles
It is a pretty uneventful ride today. The wind has calmed down a little bit and we are making really good time to our destination.
There are a few rolling hills to start out with. Initially the scenery is quite interesting. We spot a canyon off on the left and a few plateau looking mountains off in the distance. Otherwise it continues on with the dry desert, some cacti here and there.
The road winds its way around some smaller hills and eventually turns into a mundane, long, straightaway for miles and miles. Occasionally, we are being spoiled with a few miles of having a shoulder, but for the most part the Mexican Highway 1 continues to be narrow with either a soft shoulder or just about a foot drop right next to the pavement. Luckily traffic is light and all the drivers are very easygoing. Everybody is very patient and waits way behind us if there is oncoming traffic and then gives us plenty of room as they pass.
Whenever we see a truck in the distance coming at us and we can hear or see another truck behind us in our rear view mirror, we go ahead and pull off the side, since there is barely enough room for two trucks to pass each other without rubbing mirrors.
As we get closer to Guerrero Negro, we see a huge flag and wonder if it marks the airport or maybe the border to Baja California Sur. The flag seems like it is only a mile away. The road is straight and flat, it should only take a couple minutes to find out. Apparently flat and straight roads can be very deceiving and it took us a few more miles than anticipated to reach the flagpole and the crossing into Baja California Sur.
The road splits and appears to lead us pretty much through a military caserne, which is located right on the Baja California Sur border. However, there is no checkpoint, so we ride on through. Only a few miles further down the road we finally reach Guerrero Negro, where we take a right into town to find a place to call home for tonight and tomorrow.