Mike and I had packed our bikes the night before, so all we needed to do was take down our tents. Peter preferred the idea of getting something to eat first and we figured he’d catch us further down the road. Mike and I set off and before long we’d split up. I got over the few rolling hills and stopped at the first shade, a small dusty store by the side of the road. I pulled out my Kindle and waited for Mike & Peter.
Peter turned up, and Mike just shortly after. Mike was getting frustrated as his chain was skipping, which made any climbs with trucks even less enjoyable. We found he had a stiff link which Peter tried to loosen, but while it improved it, it wasn’t smooth. Mark, the owner of the place we had camped at the night before turned up to collect water, and offered Mike a lift back to his place to relax and find a lift. Mike was demoralised and decided he wanted to take the offer so told us to keep going. I would have been willing to sit round and try to fix the chain, but I wasn’t going to try to persuade him otherwise. It was his choice and I’d been there for over an hour and it had started to heat up.
Peter and I set off, knowing that there wasn’t much by the way of services before Loreto. During my time in Baja, I’be been constantly asking about the road ahead. While the information about hills is usually pretty atrocious from non-cyclists, knowing about places to get water is very useful. My preference is to carry no more water than I have to, although that’s probably because I know that in the worst case I could wave my bottle at vehicles and get something.
The ride from where we left Mike to where we stopped for lunch flew by as Peter and I talked the whole way. The joys of riding with someone new is finding all about them. He was let go from his job and the next day went out to buy a bike so he can ride to Guanajuato. His father, who spent some time teaching in Guanajuato, passed away last year and so Pedro wants to take his ashes there.
We weren’t that hungry when we stopped for lunch, but we were really glad later on that we ate. Even though I’d been told of other places, the only other stop was 30 km outside of Loreto and he had 3 bottles of overpriced water and a large amount of beer.
Being in the sun so long, and the lack of services, meant that we would have run out of water, but for the kindness of a stranger. We stopped at a signposted restaurant which was closed. There was a guy parked outside in a pickup truck who noticed our lack of water and re-filled a bottle for each of us.
Outside one of the many closed stores that we stopped outside, was a kitten. It looked like the store had been abandoned and being an animal lover Pedro wanted to look after it. He figured that the best thing was to take it with us to Loreto. He emptied his handlebar bag, cornered the kitten and grabbed her and placed in his bag. What followed was the most ridiculous event of the trip as he tried to take the very vocal kitten to safety. She was putting her head out of the bag, and Pedro was scared that she might try and scratch him, so was only riding one handed. He wobbled his way up a hill while a truck tried to pass him, and was glad to see a slightly less abandoned looking building 500 metres down the road, where he let the kitten out.
The day ended fighting my first headwind in Baja on the final climb and drop into Loreto. We made it into town, found some water and then set off looking for a place to put up tents. Pedro was happy to stop at an RV park and pay the $5-10 each, but I at least wanted to try asking for help first. After some cycling round, we met Jim, from San Francisco, walking down the street. I asked him about places to put up tents and after a few minutes he said that we were more than welcome to camp in his yard. A successful end to what had been a challenging ride only tainted by discovering that I’d somehow misplaced my Click-Stand.