I had a final short day before the longer riding began. It took me along a combination of the free road and toll road as had been suggested by a Warmshowers member that I’d been in contact with. I switched over as the free road headed inland and went with the flatter, more scenic option of the toll road. I missed the actual turn off and got to take a diversion which involved a couple of km of dirt road and then lifting my bike over a wall, which definitely made it feel like more of an adventure.
During the peak season, I imagine the toll road can be very busy, but I had just a few cars and trucks passing me. I left it as it terminated just north of Ensenada to the confusion of a security guard who stopped me, but didn’t seem to know what to do and so waved me on. From my research, it seemed that traffic in Baja seems to have three main destinations, Ensenada, El Rosario and then all the way down to La Paz & Cabo. The further south you go, the lower the traffic load. The slight catch being that down to Ensenada traffic has two options, the richer (and rule-breaking cyclists) can take the toll road while others are forced onto the free road.
Juan, my host, had given me some landmarks to look out for to locate his place, but I’d ridden straight past them and so he had to come and find me and direct me back. At his place, I met his wife Diane and dropped my things off before heading into Ensenada to grab a bite to eat. We went to a large restaurant with plastic tables and very much got the local experience as we sat at the counter and ordered up a couple of delicious dishes, the joys of going with a local!
We parted ways as Juan had to go back to work and I walked around downtown. Being a touristy place, I got plenty of touts trying to entice me in to their shops for all manner of products and services, but just shook my head and kept on walking. It felt very different than any of the small towns I’d been walking around in the US and after visiting a number of the small stores I found a place to sit and catch up on some reading until it was time to meet Juan and Diane for a relaxing evening at home.