We headed to Guadalajara. It was cooler there than at the coast but it was still pretty warm. Cycling from the bus station into the city centre was interesting and a little challenging but we were rewarded by one of the main streets in the centre being closed to cars. On Sundays in Guadalajara certain streets become traffic free and are then full of cyclists pedestrians and rollerbladers. We made our way to the Casa Ciclista. This is a very unique place that offers discounted bike repairs, a workshop and a place for touring cyclists to stay. It is run by volunteers who are all active in campaigning for better bike infrastructure in the city.
They are a great bunch of people to hang out with. A Brazilian couple we met in La Paz, who are cycling around the world, were also staying as well as a world tourer from Spain.
Badge has steadily recovered from his illnesses but is still very weak. During this time off the bikes we have taken some time to reflect on the trip so far and to ponder on the road ahead. To reach Ushuaia within the given time frame would mean alot of pedaling on main roads. The highlights of the trip so far have been when we have sneaked off onto the back roads or taken the lesser travelled roads. The heat has really zapped our energy and it is currently hurricane season through central america. So we have decided to head to a cooler climate and to seek out some quiet dirt roads in the mountains. Quite a change in the proposed trip route but a decision that reflects what we enjoy most. So, we have flown to Lima, Peru.
After watching the surfers on the beaches in Lima, we tackled the city traffic (cunningly chose a Sunday for that journey) and are now heading for the Cordillera Blanca. We have over 3000 metres to climb and can’t wait!
Once we had gained out Mexican travel permits we were ready to head off southwards. We left Rosarito with the aim of reaching El Sauzal that night. To leave Rosarito you had the choice of the old road or the toll road. We took the old road, which was closer to the sea, and much quieter. Unfortunately, part of the toll road had fallen away half way along our journey so both roads were brought together for half of the day’s ride. Unfortunately this was on the old road which has no shoulder and twists and winds its way up and over to Ensenada. This made for some interesting riding alongside large trucks. The temperature crept up as we headed southwards. We stayed at Maria’s excellent hostel in El Sauzal that night http://www.ensenadahostel.com
Due to the traffic and heat we thought we would catch a bus to get us to a quieter section of road. The buses on Baja are excellent and were happy to transport bikes as well. Unfortunately I had a bout of ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ and the temperature went beyond what we could feel comfortable cycling in. Hot, dry, desert conditions and 38C in the shade was just too much for the Hynes. We decided to catch a bus down to La Paz. Initially we were reluctant to do so but we have now accepted that cycling in that kind of heat is just no fun for us.
In La Paz we decided to hit the beach to try to cool off. The sea was like bathwater. All very beautiful and I am sure some of you will be saying ‘but it looks like paradise’. However, paradise is great if you are drinking margaritas on the beach, not so much if you are trying to cycle in it! We were melting.
We had a great warm showers host in La Paz, Glenda and her son Glenn. We also met David from Norway who is in the last few months of his round the world trip and Karla and Andree who have been on the road for 2 1/2 years now. David joined us for the ferry crossing over to Mazatlan and we parted there. Baja was beautiful with its amazing array of cacti and stunning mountains. A place to return to at a cooler time of the year.
By heading over to Mazatlan we crossed the Tropic of Cancer meaning we are now officially in the tropics. Our first night also coincided with Hurricane Norbert which meant very heavy rain and strong winds. Luckily it was mainly overnight and we were inside watching it. The weather has changed to hot and humid which is not quite as intense as the desert heat but still fairly hot. Heading off southwards from Mazatlan we noticed how different the landscape was now and everything is so green.
Our furry friends of chipmunks and squirrels that chased us along the road have now been replaced by lizards and iguanas. Roadkill now features tarantulas and snakes. I really hope not to see either of those two live. Police and military presence is high. They regularly pass us in pickup trucks, several men standing in the back armed with large guns. The police wear balaclavas to hide their identities.
Once on the mainland it was now time for Badge to suffer ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’. Unfortunately we got back onto the bikes too soon and Badge suffered heatstroke and a violent return of the ‘Revenge’. We have been holed up in a hotel in Acaponeta whilst he recovers. Hopefully he will be back to good health very soon and we will be back on the road again. We are contemplating getting a bus to Guadalajara where it is cooler (at a higher altitude). After seeing the effects of heatstroke, this seems like a fairly sensible idea. Mexico is not being kind to our bodies so far. Retreat to the hills!