04 Nov Cycling to Ensenada, Mexico. Our First Few Days Cycling in Baja California
Our First Full Day of Cycle Touring the Baja California, Tecate to Ranch Sordo Munro Campground, 35 miles
It’s been somewhat of a restless night. Since the campground is near the road we had quite a bit of traffic noise at first. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the traffic to quiet down and eventually we didn’t hear any cars anymore. Unfortunately, the peace and quiet was frequently disturbed by all the neighborhood dogs barking throughout the night.
We wake up early, before sunrise, thanks to another cacophony of dog barking and the traffic picking back up. Sleepy, we crawl out of our tent and make our morning coffee. Shortly after sunrise we are packed up and ready to roll…a personal record on this trip so far. We must be excited to continue our cycling tour to Ensenada.
We stop at the groundskeeper’s hut to say goodbye, but nobody is answering. Just as we are about to push our bikes up to the road, he comes walking through the gate with a big smile. Apparently, he was already out getting his breakfast.
After a short chat and saying our goodbyes, he tells us to stop at the red car, just a few yards down the street, to pick up breakfast. At first we thought, the red car must be a landmark so we can find the building where breakfast is served, until we realize that the red car actually is the place to buy breakfast.
A lady and her son have their red car parked in the bus stop area. The back hatch is open and there are a few coolers inside. A hand written sign outside the car advertises burritos. When we ask to buy some burritos she even gives us a choice of, ham and egg, chorizo and egg or beans. We pick a few and stand nearby to eat while we watch several people stop to pick up their breakfast for work. The burritos are delicious and the price is right. We are sure, we are going to love having breakfast in Mexico already.
Happy and with full bellies, we head out of the small town, but not before picking up another cup of coffee at the OXXO—or as Ron calls it: the hugs and kisses store.
For the next few days we’ll be following the Mexican Highway 3 to Ensenada. The road is in excellent condition. It is smooth and wide with a wide shoulder that also doubles as the “slow lane” when cars pass each other. For the most part, traffic is very light.
As we reach the end of town, we enjoy a nice long downhill. Followed by intermittent easy climbing.
The scenery has not changed much during the last few days, but we like the view of the arid rocky mountains.
It’s an easy ride and we take occasional brakes to get a cold coke and a bite to eat. Eventually, we find ourselves riding through more farmland and vineyards. To us, it feels like we are actually bike touring again.
Although, we only rode 35 miles and it’s still early, we decide to stay at a quaint little campground near the road and hang out and relax for the afternoon.
Later that day another bike touring couple on a co-motion tandem arrives and sets up camp next to us. Greg and Jill started their journey up north and also followed the Pacific Coast Highway. Their plan is to ride to the southern part of the Baja where they have friends and then store their bikes to go travel on the Mexican mainland.
Across the road from our campground, we can see a few vacation cabins strewn on the side of the mountain. From what we heard they can be rented for 400 bucks a night, so we feel we got an excellent bargain at the campground for 20 bucks. Especially, with the campground owner, Lewis, offering to take us to get water and some wine for the evening.
We spend the evening exchanging travel stories and enjoying Greg and Jill’s company over a couple of glasses of local wine, before crawling back into our tents.
Heading to Ensenada, 26 miles
Surprisingly, we wake up before sunrise again. Quietly, we slither out of our tent to cook up our morning coffee. We try our best not to wake up our camp neighbors. However, Greg and Jill appear to be early risers as well and get up shortly after us. Greg is still trying to fix a couple spokes before heading out and appreciates Ron’s help with the issue. According to them they’ve been braking and replacing several spokes already on their newly built tandem, and so far none of the bike shops have been able to give them a good reason why this keeps happening. For us it is kind of nice to know that we are not the only ones with occasional bike troubles. We have been having a few issues with Ron’s Rohloff hub leaking, which was the result from a couple sheared off screws, which are stuck and prevent the casing from sealing well. Fingers crossed, we hope to get the screws removed in Ensenada and try to find some replacement screws.
Since it is only a short ride to Ensenada, we are not in any rush. After helping out with their wheel and exchanging information on where they stay in Ensenada, we head into the next town to stop at another OXXO for coffee. Across the street, we spot a young man selling breakfast burritos out of his car…perfect.
The 25 miles into town consist of mostly downhill coasting. Only the last few miles become a little bit more hectic as we lose our nice shoulder and traffic picks up as we cycle closer to town.
Soon we find our way to Greg and Jill’s Air BnB. Unfortunately, the place only accepts online reservations and we are unable to get on their website. Luckily though, right next door is a very nice, quaint looking motel. It looks like it used to be a small old mission in its former life. We stop and secure a room for the next couple days. To our surprise and fortunate for us, it cost nearly half of what the neighbors charge for a room. The universe works in mysterious ways!
After settling into our room, we meet up with Greg to go to the local bike shop in hopes to get our wheel fixed. Unfortunately, the mechanic informs us, that he does not have the tools to remove the screws. At least he is able to give Ron an address of a local machinist, who is hopefully able to help.
But that has to wait until tomorrow since it is already late in the day. So what else to do than spend a great evening with our new friends and have an amazing dinner and a couple good beers at the local restaurant.
You can follow our journey from Alaska to Argentina on YouTube as well