Ensenada to Guerrero Negro – 8 days, 432 miles

December 21st, 2005 by David

   The past week has been a long ride through northern Baja, camping on roadsides in sparsely populated places.

Departing Ensenada
Jesus, Mary, and roadside trash

   Leaving Ensenada seven days ago, I charted a course east across the peninsula to avoid traffic on the main highway. As I biked across Baja’s mountains, I was struck by two items ubiquitous on the roadside: crosses marking where a driver has lost his or her life, and trash. A strange, common site is a cross with trash littered at its base. The trash is disgusting, but the crosses make me uneasy, and I watch every car that passes me in the rear view mirror.

Future San Felipe Development
View of San Felipe

   After two and a half days, I arrived in San Felipe, a small town on the Gulf of California that is a strange mix of a Mexican fishing village and an American beach-front real estate market. Signs proclaim, in English, new lots for sale or under construction while most people in town speak no English. The people I talked to said they liked the influx of Americans, as they said it provided work. I cooked my dinner on a vacant lot overlooking the sea, and, when the near-full moon rose, took off south again on my bike.

Juan, Eloy, and Brando on their first tour
Campsite the next morning

   Amazingly, I soon ran into Brando, Eloy, and Juan, three teenagers from San Felipe on their ‘first ever’ bike tour. With backpacks they had purchased two days ago and bikes they borrowed from one of their fathers, they were out to camp for the night. I tried to convince them to ride to Argentina with me, but they decided to stop only a few miles down the road, where we camped, built a fire, and taught me Mexican slang.
   The next three days, south of San Felipe, were slow hard days on a poorly maintained, little used road along the rocky shore. The second of these three days, five cars passed me, and I camped with a hitchhiker from Ohio who failed to get a ride and had walked all day. The third day, only one car passed me as the road climbed into the mountains. On the second and third day, I averaged 5mph.

The road south of Puertocitos
Sunrise from camp
Bumpy road in rear view mirror

   Rejoining the main highway, I have coasted two easy days south, enjoying pavement and a tailwind. I am now in Guerrero Negro, in the state of southern Baja California (‘Baja California Sur’), where I have just washed my clothes and enjoyed a shower.

Roadside crosses, north of Guerro Negro
Accident last night, everyone was ok, north of Guerrero Negro

8 Responses to “Ensenada to Guerrero Negro – 8 days, 432 miles”

  1. Zach says:

    Dave,

    Looks like your three bike-touring buddies were dressed for winter in Amhearst yet you have a pic of nothing but bike shorts and a t-shirt. What gives? Is the weather cold this time of season on the beach and in the desert and you are just extremely tough? Nah……

    Enjoying these entries immensely. You should write one of them in Spanish…and throw in some of that newly learned slang!

    Zach

  2. David says:

    RESPONSE TO ZACH: Well, the temperature depends on the time of day…In the middle of the day, it is t-shirt and shorts weather. At night, the temperature drops down, often below 40 degrees F, and it is quite cold.

    This is because….water vapor is a greenhouse gas! When it is coudy at night, it is warmer because water vapor reflects infrared radiation back to earth. Here in the desert, there is almost no water in the air (which is nice, because ther is no dew), so the temperature drops significantly at night.

    There is more water vapor in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, yet it is carbon dioxide we worry about for moderating the world’s climate. This is because the temperature affects how much water the atmosphere can hold (warmer air can hold more water). By comparison, there is not a strong effect on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by changing the temperature. This is complicated, and probably the toughest part of getting climate models to work.

  3. Looks like the trip of a lifetime. Which doesn’t by any stretch mean you should be limited to only one. ;-) Look forward to continuing tracking your progress…great stuff!

  4. Jen Burney says:

    hey you! told you that road sucked :). glad to hear you are up and cranking. we miss you lots! love, jen

  5. Anna says:

    Wow – what an amazing and inspiring journey! Thanks for the mini-lesson on water vapour as a greenhouse gas – I had no idea.

    All the very best wishes for you and your incredible mission.
    Anna in Birmingham, England

  6. Beth Carney says:

    Hey David! I just found out about your trek from Care2 and I am learning so much reading your entries. I am only sorry you didn’t come through Lompoc and talk at some of our schools…I know, a bit out of the way. Well, I will certainly share this with my boys, and even though I now drive a little car, I will be checking out the carbon credits. Still have tons to learn!
    Keep safe on your journey and have a blast! Thanks for doing so much more than your part to change the impact we have on this beautiful planet!
    Beth

  7. Jennie Boatman says:

    I learned about your trip and your commitment to the environment on Care 2’s Take Action. I’m encouraged to see that you are literally Putting your beliefs into Action. Halfway through a recent movie, I realized it’s message was that there are no environmental issues – they have all been created by a conspiracy on the part of environmental activists exaggerating the problem holding “mock” conferences to present figures they know are “lies.” Yet I can look around the area I live and see the pollution and the environmental impact on the wildlife, for example, of unplanned, overdevelopment for profit. With nowhere to go, they end up in backyards. Yet people don’t seem to understand that because of our greed, animals have been deprived of a place to live, food resources, etc. Everything we do environmentally, no matter how small, has consequences. Bravo for you – going on the road for what you believe – talking about what you observe, sharing your knowledge of the environment, to help children and others understand what is happening and how they can make a difference. Thank you for taking a stand. Keep up the environmental “lessons” that all of us can learn from, too. What a cool legacy you are creating! Jennie

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