Mexico – Baja California Part 2
It was a long ride from Catavina to our next stop, Guerrero Negro. Almost 400km, but I can’t say I noticed the distance. My eyes were continually stimulated by the dramatic and ever changing surroundings and I was so enjoying the motorbike!
(I’m riding a BMW GS 800, with the most fitting paint job, it’s a guacamaya! It’s a fairly tall bike but the fuel tank is under the seat so I have no problem balancing it. It’s delivers power very quickly and it great off road and on.. I love it!)
Guerrero Negro is a pretty small and basic town, just over the boarder into Baja California south.
You cross the boarder and the temperature seems to go up about 20’c! It’s getting hot in the day… the night time is still quite cool though. I had no idea but here is home to the world’s largest salt plantation and guess who got to ride out onto the salt planes and see exactly how it all works??!
I grew up on a farm, tractors excite me so you can imagine my joy when I saw the largest machinery I’ve ever seen in my life!
The process is incredible. The salt looks like snow, it doesn’t taste the same though, perhaps having a ‘bite’ wasn’t the best plan…
The main road through Baja is simple (should you choose to stay on it, you can do the entire peninsula off road) it goes from North to South, there are twists and turns in the road, except for the section from Guerrero Negro to San Ignacio. There is a left turn on this section of very straight road though and we took it. To the Sierra San Francisco. Flat top mountains and stunning, stunning views lead us to our first section of off road and ancient cave paintings that date back to over 10,800 yrs ago!
The off road wasn’t too bad. I was nervous and happy to say that the bike that ended up on its side wasn’t mine!
After miles of nothing we came to a small collection of buildings and ranches.
The Mexicans have lived here for generations. The people we met here were open and kind. They live well off the land and their ability to make things was very impressive.
We stayed here for the night and the following morning we were up early to ride mules (not motorbikes!) to the bottom of the canyon to see some of the most treasured and historically important cave paintings.
Anyone ever ridden a mule down a steep, narrow, winding canyon path.. for six hours?! It’s…. different, a little bit daunting, quite funny! I’m used to doing this kind of thing on foot, carrying my own load so I did appreciate the mule, only after six hours you walk a bit like John Wayne.
Reaching the bottom of the canyon was like entering a secret paradise. Nothing like the dessert at the top, deep down there was water and an abundant and green oasis. The cave paintings were really amazing. I just couldn’t get my head round the thought that almost 11,000 years ago someone was there, right where we were (probably in fur knickers) doing paintings!
We camped in the bottom of the canyon. There was no natural light for miles around, the stars were incredible and the milky way was so bright. I felt at home in the tent.
The following morning we rode the mules back out of the canyon. I appreciated the mule, however, I was happy to get back on my motorbike!
We made our way to San Ignacio. On the road we passed a woman who was cycling. I thought as we rode past we would soon catch up with her cycling partner or maybe the rest of her team. We didn’t see any more cyclists. A few hours later the cyclist passed us outside our hotel. On talking to her, we discovered she was actually travelling alone. She was having a fantastic time! She was an American and had a few weeks between jobs so had jumped on her bike and was cycling down Baja. She hadn’t experienced any problems.
We’re only a few hundred kilometres in and Baja is full of surprises; stunning coastline, mountains, greenery, dessert, cactus, massive cactus, vine yards, huge industrial plantations, lovely people, canyons, mountains,cave paintings, great roads and glorious weather. Still not been mugged, killed or in fact in anyway at anytime felt at all threatened.