About sunscreen and ice cream – Baja by bike part 1

Cycling to Ensenada

Cycling to Ensenada

About sunscreen and ice cream – Baja by bike part 1
Country
: Mexico
From Tijuana to Ensenada
Lesson learned: Apply sunscreen before sweating
Laughed about: Mexico and Australia aren’t that different after all
Most wonderful miracle: History lessons from first hand
Greatest challenge: Finding out whether those legs are still okay for biking
Days on the bike: 1 1/2
Kilometers cycled: 124
Average kilometers per day: 82.66
Total kilometers cycled till Avila Beach: 26,015

Cycling Southern California. Missed the last entry? Here it comes: Winter break in Mexico
Blog auf Deutsch: Eispause und Sonnenbrand – Baja California mit dem Fahrrad Teil 1

Our panniers were packed and we were finally ready to get going. The women and men from the COTUCO team (Tourism Tijuana) wanted to see us off themselves. We expected a few team members and some handshakes, but what expected us were a red carpet, several sponsors, a lot of important people, music and even the police.

We will certainly miss Tijuana

We will certainly miss Tijuana

It was quite an event with print and TV press (newspaper entries about this day here under “Spanish”) and it’s understated to say that we were quite impressed. Even the police force on bikes joined us for a while!

Bye Bye good friend Tijuana (picture by Diario Tijuana)

Deeply impressed by all of this! (Picture by Diario Tijuana)

We were 15 meters in the ride and Roberto’s bike made funny noises. Another three blocks later we checked out the next bike shop. The bike was all fine on the way down here, and it wasn’t a big deal to fix it, but it’s awkward to start a ride like that with a visit at the bike shop.

Wonderful ceremony in front of the Jai Alai. Now we were full of motivation for the trip! (picture by Diario Tijuana)

Wonderful ceremony in front of the Jai Alai. Now we were full of motivation for the trip! (picture by Diario Tijuana)

Some of our friends who had accompanied us on the way from San Diego to Tijuana in November, had returned to bike a few blocks with us. One of them, Flor, even rode with us all the way to the main highway that would lead us out of town. Two kilometers later I was glad there was nobody around us anymore to see me sweat my slow way up the hill. It was only 277 meters to go. I’ve never been a confident cyclist and after all those years I’m still scared of hills, it’s ridiculous. After 5 ½ months break I was afraid I wouldn’t make it, but due to the daily hour of sport, the climb wasn’t too bad at all. The last days had been cold and windy, but today was a hot and sunny day and on top of that hill my face was red and my shirt was wet.

Ice cream break

Ice cream break!

Traffic wasn’t fun, but that’s just how city traffic is like everywhere. Nevertheless most drivers were very respectful and gave us our space. I decided it was time for a break when we reached an ice cream cart on the side of the highway. It had only been ten kilometers but the yummy ice cream was totally worth the stop. And why should we hurry? Today’s goal was Rosarito, Tijuana’s very neighbor town.

Cat on my bike

So that’s the reason why the bike felt so heavy

In Rosarito we stayed with Katyna’s friend Armida. Armida lived in a very beautiful house with a big garden, together with her husband, her mother, her sons Adrian and Hector, as well as Hector’s girlfriend Lisa. The garden was home to two dogs and six cats. I spend half afternoon cuddling them all (except two cats that didn’t like cuddles). I already missed not having Katyna’s dog Chispa around me.

Welcome to Rosarito, Baja California by bike

Rosarito number one! A bit further down south there would be another village by the same name

If you think we’re slow cyclists you haven’t seen us working during the ride. Due to the project that we were arming together with the Baja California Tourism team, we stopped again and again to ask for information. Eventually we made it out of Rosarito and biked through several villages along the sea.

Fruit Stand in Baja California

So many fruit stands all over the place!

While the freeway followed the coast, our highway continued a bit further inland. In La Mision, a picturesque little village, we couldn’t resist the smell of delicious tacos. And then the climb began. Clearly the tacos were far too heavy stuff to eat just before a climb, but then again they were delicious and a mistake I’d probably make again. It was a windy ride through the rough rocks but the drivers were friendly and only overtook when there was space enough.

Windy road in between two rocky walls

Windy but pretty climb

When we finally made it up the plateau, we were surprised by a completely changed landscape. Suddenly we were surrounded by yellow fields and eucalyptus trees. A warm wind blew and we felt like we were transported back into Australia.

Rosarito by bike

Rosarito by bike

We were so busy enjoying the view that we never noticed how we had committed a beginners’ mistake and forgot to fill up our water bottles before the climb. Now we were a bit thirsty, but thankfully we soon reached “La Pasadita”, the only shop up here, where we bought water and had a chat with the owner, who had seen many and more cyclists riding through, stopping for a drink, or even spending the night.

In between Tijuana and Ensenada

In between Tijuana and Ensenada

Many of them were on the way from Alaska to Patagonia or the other way round. What impressed her most was the amount of people who took their children, toddlers and even babies along with them.

Viewpoint Ensenada letters

View down from Ensenada’s hill to the letters of Ensenada and the sea.

We were just entering Ensenada, when Flor drove past us again. We had already seen her in the morning, and now she was on the way back home to Tijuana. Her mother and aunt had to be driven to Ensenada for some paper work and the three of them decided to turn around again and shoot us some seafood tacos.

Cactus forest on Ensenada's hill

Cactus field oon Ensenada’s scenic hill.

Flor’s mother is like a walking history book. Her family had been in Tijuana when the city was flourishing. They had seen a couple of ranches turn into what is now known as the city center and Avenida Revolución. They had seen the golden era when the Hollywood actors went down to Tijuana to drink cocktails during the prohibition.

Great dinner and great talks with Flor, her mother and her aunt

Great dinner and great talks with Flor, her mother and her aunt

So we just slurped our Micheladas, chewed our shrimp quesadillas and listened carefully. It doesn’t happen often that you even meet someone who was born in Tijuana, but it’s the first time for us to meet somebody who knows all the history first or second hand!

A Tijuanense in Ensenada

A Tijuanense in Ensenada

It was getting dark, when we reached Dora’s house. Roberto’s friend Jorge had invited me and my friend Ann-Cathrin to stay with his mother Dora a couple of weeks ago and she had invited us to return whenever we wanted. Well, here we were. Dora loves Ensenada, especially her wonderfully quiet neighborhood very close to the center and yet right next to the nature.

Cycling the Baja California #bajabybike #bajamitdemfahrrad #bajaenbici

A huge map for map fan number one: Annika.

Dora teaches biology and has a great talent for gardening. She grows papayas, bananas and even had a little pineapple! Her parents live nine hours further South in Guerrero Negro, so she drives down there on a regular basis. Every now and then she sees some whales on the way!

With our lovely host Dora and my lovely mother-in-law Katyna

With our lovely host Dora and my lovely mother-in-law Katyna

Her sister, their girls, and her daughter live just around the corner, which is great, because they were around the house most of the time.

Ensenada's best Tostadas in La Guerrerense

Ensenada’s best Tostadas are sold in La Guerrerense

Roberto and I only realized how much we hurt, when we finally tried to sit on a chair. We were simply not used to sitting on those bikes anymore. Furthermore our arms and faces were sunburnt, even though we applied sunscreen three times a day.

... and everybody seems to know!

… and everybody seems to know!

It was weekend, so Roberto’s family came to visit us in Ensenada. What was a day and a half on the bikes for us, equals to an hour and a half in a car for them. We spent a great day together, but it was sad to see them head back home again.

Héctor and Shimamoto from SECTURE (Baja California's Tourism) give us plenty of tips, brochures and ideas. Shimamoto knows his state very well and has even cycled quite some parts of it!

Héctor and Shimamoto from SECTURE (Baja California’s Tourism) give us plenty of tips, brochures and ideas. Shimamoto knows his state very well and has even cycled quite some parts of it!

We wouldn’t stay much longer either. We were going to ride east, over the mountains to the Sea of Cortez. And we were curious and excited.

Here’s the next part of our travels through the Baja California: Desert, wind and a salt cloud – Baja by bicycle part 2

 

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