San Ignacio is the land of delicious empanadas. Dates! So yummy! Perfect bike food because they are made of sugar and you can spit out the pit.
After gifting Othon the tool I’d been carrying for hundreds of miles, I ate breakfast at one of the stands next to the highway. Then I headed back through town to join up with the route again. At the grocery store next to the big hotel, I bought as many empanadas as I could stuff into my bags. Then I got on the big empty paved highway. The strong winds were fortunately at my back, and they shot me down the road like a rocket. I barely had to turn the pedals at all. The landscape turned flatter and browner, less cactus and more scrub. Then the pavement ended but the road was still hard packed dirt. I didn’t have to slow at all.
In the west there were wide shiny patches of standing water and salt flats. I was approaching the Pacific side. This part is all lagoons, important birthing waters for Gray Whales. You can take tours and see the whales. And baby whales. At one time, the whales almost got hunted to extinction. They’re protected now. The lagoon that used to be named for the man who started the slaughter has a new, less murder-y name.
I came to Laguna San Ignacio. There were eco-cabins (fancy shacks) for the whale watchers. Old trailers and regular shacks for the locals. The wind boomed like a canon. Some of the houses had mini turbines whirling away. It was all very pretty and stark.
After that, the wind rocketed me into a surreal landscape. White salt flats stretched to the horizon. I followed tire tracks over a crust of dried lake beds. Occasionally the tracks would veer around a puddle, and I could feel the mud threatening to grasp my tires. What if it turned to quicksand? I was right out in the middle of it.
As long as the wind was behind me, it was an easy ride. But the track meandered around recent floods and wandering sand. The few times I faced the wind straight on were flashbacks my ride across South Dakota. As the afternoon pressed on, I mentally prepared for camp. How to set up my tent without it getting shredded in this relentless wind? I couldn’t see any sort of protective landscape at all, no bluff or trees to hide behind. Then I spotted a small box on the horizon. As I approached, I decided it might be abandoned. To the south were straight lines of poles topped with osprey nests. The abandoned building was a place to get out of the wind, even if it was a little creepy.
This sounds like the beginning of a scary story. It was a cement room with a few windows bricked in. Some tufts of toilet paper but no poop. I set up my bed against one wall. The only things that bothered me were some really aggressive moths. Every time I turned on my headlamp, they bombarded my face. Usually I don’t squish moths but I made an exception.