So many birds. Mourning doves cooing and something else cackling. Hummingbirds buzzing. I heard tapping, maybe a woodpecker? Is that what makes the holes in the big cacti?

The description of today’s ride was foreboding. Deep sand. Pretty much the worst. First I stopped at Rancho Piedra Blanca. Carmen cooked me a second breakfast and it was fabulous. With hot chocolate made with milk fresh from the cow.

Carmen told me that the donkeys in the desert weren’t really wild. When they need donkeys, the cowboys go and lasso them. She called them burros. I guess I thought they were different animals. Later I confirmed with my sister, my horse expert, that burros and donkeys are the same thing. So the babies are burritos and that’s really cute!

The road to El Arco wasn’t too bad. Around lunchtime I rolled through a town populated mainly by old rusty cars. I did meet two locals out for a walk.

There was a highway option from El Arco to Vizcaino. In hindsight, I sort of wish I’d taken it. It seemed so early in the day, I thought I’d have plenty of time, even if I did end up pushing.

Oh my god, that sand. I was off and on the bike all day. Sometimes I just kept pushing rather than even trying to ride, because it was so hard to get going just to have the tire swerve out in the sand. And interspersed with the sand were super sharp rocky sections. I know I’m meant to take the air out of the tires, but how much is too much? And then am I supposed to pump up the tires again over the gravel parts? That’s so much work. My pump is old. It works but it takes forever.

One thing I found was some bike tracks off the road, in the harder baked sand. Sort of fun to ride, with occasionally cactus side swipes. There’s one cactus that drops little bombs. Not exploding, but very spiky.

I kept riding after sunset, but it was so slow. I could see the city lights in the distance. Finally I pulled off, found a clearing amongst the cacti. I had two liters of water, not really enough but I could make it work.

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