The final leg to La Paz

The ride out of the town of Constitución was as uninspiring as the ride in as the town sits on big open plains west of the mountains. We took an alternative route to avoid the city dump but it was a mistake – the long stretch of sand and corrugations of the re-route was way worse than the 3km past a burning dump could ever be!

Fortunately road conditions improved and the scenery gained a third dimension, we were back into the hills. We passed a plethora of churches from a large mission iglesia, small town/ranch iglesias and even palapa style open air churches. This combined with roadside sanctuarios or shrines made us think that Catholicism was alive and well in the mountains.

We found a sweet camp spot beside inviting pools of water. Our camp cooking reached new heights with baked potatoes cooked in the embers. One wouldn’t normally carry potatoes bikepacking but you either carry hydrated food or you carry the water to hydrate the food.

The next day we carried on climbing gradually up onto the dividing range. Around the middle of the day we stopped at a small pueblo to ask about a store and we were directed to a property over the way. The only cold bebidas in the fridge were 2 Tecate cervezas and we couldn’t resist skulling one.

The shop keeper and madre of  the house offered to cook us up some food and we enjoyed sitting in their kitchen conversing as best we could. We were ready to keep biking after a coffee provided a needed caffeine hit.

Alan suggested sleeping high that night in order to get a good mountain sunset and sunrise and we found a spot not far from the summit with plentiful views. Of course in the wee hours of the morning the plentiful wind kept us awake and necessitated a pre-dawn start to get down out of the wind for a breakfast cuppa.

The previous day Alan had kindly given his old red helmet (which you may have noticed he seldom wore) to a biker travelling north who had left his helmet at a ranch whilst getting water. We called in to the ranch and after explaining the story we were able to retrieve the helmet. The road that both takes and gives.

We carried on up to the next high point of the range before a long descent down to the Sea of Cortez. The wind was still very strong as we turned into it to reach the beautiful bay of San Evaristo for a great fish lunch at Lupes Sierra and Maggie Mays restaurant and cabañas, happy to have a half day rest.

Lupes assured us the road was good heading south but in typical Baja Divide fashion we were treated to more sand, washboard and some 15% gradients along with great coastal views and amazing colourful banded geology of the steep faces of the mountains rising out of the sea. We camped by the ocean, not far from the high tide line as it turned out.

We woke to a beautiful sunrise before tackling the final stretch to La Paz – the official end of the Baja Divide route. We only had 20km of gravel/sandy road before 60km of paved road into the big city. It was a shock to bike the busy Mex 1 into the city centre and the Malecón – La Paz’s waterfront strip. It was even more of a shock to arrive in the middle of a massive 4 day carnival scene.

Accommodation was scarce but we  were kindly invited to share a house with 4 bikers from Rhode Island for our first night before we organised our own accommodation. In contrast to the peaceful beach camp the previous night we found ourselves later that evening in a scary jam packed mass of people trying to make our way back home past the most popular soundstage (of many). Luckily people were calm but it was easy to see how things could go terribly wrong pretty quickly with that number of people – the crowd management was absent despite a large presence of police.

Moving house, eating and carnivalling occupied our first rest day. The afternoon street parade was pretty outrageous and fortunately crowds were smaller when we ventured out in the night after the best pizza and (only) tiramisu of the trip.

Sadly time is running out for us but we still have a holiday from our holiday planned at La Ventana before the final stretch to the airport at San Jose del Cabo, so there is more to come – stay tuned!