Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Road to Gonzaga Bay

Saturday, the 28th, was the Baja that I have been waiting for, it was a near perfect day. 

I didn't get out of San Felipe until about 11:00, my usual early start time. The first 40-miles of riding would be on paved road, but south of Puertecitos, the pavement would end and the remaining 40-miles would be on dirt. 

The rocky road required constant attention in order to avoid the larger and/or sharper "protrusions". Many people have blown out their rear suspension on this road and I didn't want to be another. There were numerous detours due to all the new road construction (more on that later). The route hugged the coast and was absolutely beautiful! The weather was perfect. The beaches were dotted with palapas enticing one to stop and pitch the tent under the palm frond huts and stay for a week. This day was the perfect cure for whatever funk I was in the last two days. 

During the course of the ride, I ran into several groups of riders coming from the road ahead, and was able to get a sense of what was coming up. I was comforted knowing that others were on the road with me. 

I had received two different recommendations to stay at Alfonsina's in Gonzaga Bay, and that was the day's destination. It was accessed by this road, local dirt airstrip, or by boat. The turnoff was easily located and I rolled in about 4:30. I was exhausted! I was welcomed with a, "Corona or Pacifico?" Easy enough question. I agreed on the $50 a night price, and parked the bike by the hotel entrance, and sat on the beach with my beer. 

I fell in love with the place right away. Unpretentious and basic, it sat 20-yards from the water's edge and offered picturesque views of the entire bay. The perfect reward after a hard day of "work".

The next morning after breakfast, I set out for long walk to the other end of the bay. I felt silly asking, but thought I should try and lock my room's door before heading out. I saw the owner and told him I had never been given a key. "We do not have any keys. The only bad one here is me, and you are with me, amigo!" I didn't give it a second thought, this place was so remote, and the staff is like a big family, I felt like I was staying in someone's home - which I was. 

The walk in the sun and sand was a good stretch for the legs and to get my long dormant vitamin D production process back in gear. It was another great day, and I could feel myself getting more and more into the trip. After the two hour walk and brief siesta, Joaquin, the owner asked if I wanted to ride with him to deliver a cooler of beer to some workers at the opposite end of the bay. They had gotten their bulldozer stuck on the beach, and had been trying to pull it out all morning. We made the delivery, and afterwards he gave me a tour of the bay through the network of desert trails in his 4WD truck. We drove over a set of hills on a road that had just recently been built - before that it had be almost entirely untouched. It was one of the most serene and private spots I had ever seen, truly special. 

It was here that we decided to lock the keys in the truck. With no one to call, no cell reception, and miles to walk, there was only one option - I smashed what we guessed would be the least expensive window to replace. It was worth a few laughs, and the cooler wasn't entirely empty yet, so not a terrible ride back. 

Back at the hotel I had some of the freshest and best tasting ceviche I have ever had, and then called it quits. I was hoping for an early start in the morning. I was going to hopefully meet the famous Coco of Coco's Corner. 

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