Baja day 2

Woke up around 6:30 and the lake was really beautiful. As expected, packing the bike took about 9 hundred hours. So much cinching involved. Good news- I found my spoon! Some rowers came out on the lake. After breakfast, I was already hungry again. The major hurdle of the day was a big ass hill climb that probably I’d be walking. Only 26 miles to Tecate!

The trails around the lake were totally too hard for me, especially just starting out. Walking wasn’t any easier on those rocky scrambles and skinny trails. Maybe in a month I’ll be ready for that.

Then came the hill where I died all day long. Once a black helicopter flew right over me. Border Patrol trucks passed me on the dirt roads. On one I noticed a tiny mirror on back bumper. I read those are for looking for footprints and tracks.

Lael and Nicholas’s guide say that was the biggest single climb of the trip so nice to get that out of the way. Plenty of walking. It’s hard to get started on an uphill so a couple times I pushed up to the next flattish spot. I could feel all those unused bike muscles getting woken up. It felt good but like I’d probably be feeling it later on.

The turnoff to get back on the paved road was blocked by a locked metal gate. The only way around was through but I had to take off half the bags to get my bike light enough. Probably with two people I could’ve done it without unpacking.

I really like that this trip starts so close to where my last trip started. Seven months ago I started walking the PCT in Campo. It pleases my mappy brain to keep drawing my line south from the same start point.

At first riding on the road wasn’t bad at all but later I got on a super busy highway. People driving really fast and as I went on, less and less shoulder. Plus another big ass climb, doubly unfun with all the cars. At least I wasn’t tempted to stop and take in the view. Also I was getting nervous about light. It was a few days before solstice and the sun set was annoyingly early. That last hour was a misery but then I was at the border. There were plenty of people walking into Mexico so I joined them. I stopped at the immigration office to get my tourist card. Even though I was sunburnt and rattled from the ride, I managed some passable Spanish conversation. After I left, I got my bike stuck in the spinning gate. The big kind where you’re locked inside a cage. These two nice guys helped me extricate myself. So that was my super cool entrance to Mexico, sort of like 007 on a bike.

I rolled down the block, no pedaling necessary as it’s downhill. I came to a plaza and then some hotel signs. I doubled back around the block and spotted two gringas walking around. They smiled at me like they knew a good cheap hotel nearby. I pulled up and said hi. One asked if I was riding Baja Divide and then they said they were too! I asked for their names and immediately forgot both. But hopefully I will run into them later. Just knowing that there are other woman riders out here makes me very happy.

Maybe the name of my hotel is Colonial but I could be wrong. The lady at the desk was nice and patient. She took me to a downstairs room and handed me a remote control with all the numbers rubbed off. There was just enough space next to the bed for my bike.

The shower felt divine. I hadn’t even noticed how much dirt was getting onto my legs. But still I hurried because I wanted to get back down to the taco place I’d seen. Luckily they had a short, easy to understand menu. I gobbled down those three meaty tacos, much too fast. Slow down maybe, I kept telling myself. Nope.

I called my mom and she said I should take a day off in Tecate, to recover from my first two days of riding.

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