Saw a cardinal popping around in the trees this morning. And dozens of vultures drifting on air thermals.

There was plenty of traffic on the road. One truck was carrying a load of folding chairs. Maybe people were headed into town for a party. Every single person waved to me. I passed more ranches with windmills, solar panels, goat herds. Then the roller coaster started. Steeper hills leading to a quick saddle and just as steep descent on the other side. I’m slightly more confident riding up, but soon I was walking both up and down the rocky cliff road. I saw a man on a horse. The horse spooked a little but we worked it out. The cowboy was a handsome rugged sort and I wouldn’t have minded a chat if his horse hadn’t been so freaky.

Then I heard a “hello” behind me. Thought it was another horse, but no, it was a bearded shirtless guy on a yellow bike. He said his name was Nick and I asked if he was Nicholas Carmen. Yup. Despite starting in Tecate weeks after I did, he’d already caught up with me. He knew my name too. We talked about plans for Mulegé and then he zoomed off ahead, leaving me star struck in a little poof of dust.

The road flattened out and I could see power lines in the distance. Civilization returns. The roller coaster became washboard ruts and I rattled all the way to town. Just before the highway, I passed a sad circus tent. I slowed down to look at the goats and mini horses. Behind the petting zoo fence, a man sat on the ground cradling a squeaky monkey. I asked him, “Es tu chango triste?” Yes, he told me, his monkey was very sad. Poor thing.

I bumped back onto the highway, right next to the Mulegé arch. It’d been 20 years since my last visit, but my muscle memory took me right to Hotel Hacienda.

One thought on “Baja 36

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