Ruta 1 km 87 to Ruta 1 km 187: On a horse with no name.

Statistics for today
Distance 102.13 kms 63.38 miles
Climbed 234 meters 768 feet
Ride time (hours) 6.84 -
Avg speed 14.9 kph -
Avg climb 2% -
Max grade 10% -
Statistics for trip to date
Distance 23,044.65 kms 14,319.50 miles
Climbed 246,846 meters 809,862 feet
Ride time (hours) 1,647.98 -
On this page

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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Morning fog
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Last night's trash is a hit with the local flies.

My breakfast plans are dashed when I discover the two avocados I was counting on have turned to mush. Tacos de Nutella are plan B. I carry all my stuff out of my hiding place and start riding. I check the tires every couple of kilometers in disbelief that I didn’t get a flat tire after camping in the heart of cactilandia.

I come upon a crossroads round about kilometer 97. There is a small restaurant where I get a coffee from a nice old woman who invokes Jesus and Mary when she sees that I’ve come by bicycle. Her husband is a surly type who eyes me suspiciously while polishing his 1980’s Cadillac. I continue riding through nothing but desert. The headwinds fire up about 10am. I keep my head down and just bang it out. The French expression “avaler des bornes” (literally: swallowing mile markers) feels appropriate; I am being force-fed a huge dish of desert. The navigator on the VDO reads 68 kilometers exactly when I pass the welcome sign to Viscaina, as if to mock me for questioning the skill of the Mexican road sign crews. I think they put in a correct one now and again just to keep me off balance. Vizcaina is a sorry looking place but it has a coffee shop and a supermarket, the two things that I’m after right now. At the coffee shop I play dice with the owner’s 8 year-old son. I try to convince him to tie his shoelaces but he’s not buying my carefully constructed arguments. At the supermarket I buy food for lunch and dinner plus a 5-liter jug of water.

I ride for another hour then start looking for a spot to have lunch. The vegetation has thinned out considerably, there are still big cacti but no scrub trees for shade. The wind has turned itself up a couple of notches. I’m so hot, hungry, and sick of the wind that I opt for a culvert; it meets all of my needs: shade, shelter from the wind, and privacy from the road. I occasionally wonder what it would be like to do a tour like this as a couple. I mentally scroll through the list of girlfriends I’ve had in my life, trying to think of one who would eat lunch with me in a culvert. I draw a blank.

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I'll do anything for shade and a break from the wind. Care to join me? It's romantic!

The wind gets stronger and stronger as the afternoon wears on. Despite the near-perfect flatness of the road I can only manage 11 kph at times. I try with limited success not to fall into the vortex of negativity that headwinds tend to bring on. The landscape of cacti and volcanic rock gives way to sand and scrub brush. It’s getting late and now I’m in a pickle: where to camp in such a place? Eventually I spy some sand dunes in the distance. Not a great spot but it will have to do. I slide the bike under a barbed-wire fence and drag it across half a kilometer of sand. There will be no cover from the wind but at least I will be out of sight from the road. Setting up the tent is comical. I soon learn that I will be chasing across the sand anything that I’ve neglected to weigh down with something else. I’m discovering the downsides to my new tent. Like I suspected it is not great in the wind. I make dinner in the alcove for the first time. It’s a learning process. Dinner comes out relatively unscathed but my coffee ends up full of sand.

What a day. A lot of effort for a mere 100 kilometers.

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Desert supplies.
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Non-optimal stealth camping terrain.
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About the only thing going for this campsite is that it's out of sight from the road.
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Tent cuisine.