Monday, February 23, 2009

La Carretera de perros muertes

South of Ensenada the land opens up to a wide open agricultural plain. The road flat and long and lined by dead dogs, small, dusty farming villages, too much traffic. Just before El Rosario the road turns inland and we caught our last glimpse of ocean for several hundred kilometers. Spend a night at El Consuelo, a little secluded beach right where highway one turns inland for El Rosario. Bathed in the cool blue of the Pacific ocean and watched the sun set over the waves. Didn´t want to leave, but when you can only carry 8 liters of drinking water at a time, sometimes concessions must be made. Heading east, we climbed steadily for what seemed like a full day or two. Into the high deserts, Cirio (boojum) trees appearing slowly, then more frequently as we headed east. Cholla cacti, sagebrush, creosote and the acient Seguaros covering the land to the mountainous horizon. Spent the night on a small dirt trail just off the highway (out of sight behind a small rise). Kept up all night by the semis jake-braking into, then grinding out of the valley. A sprinkling of rain, but woke to clear skies and pushed on. The land changing again from rolling hills to wide fields strewn with giant boulders (most near the highway covered in crudely painted graffiti). Absolutely incredible. Made CataviƱa that night, a small town in the middle of nowhere consisting of two motels, a market, and a man selling gasoline from cans out of an old trailer. Jason wanted a might off and foot the bill for a motel. Good thing. Woke to rain and howling wind and clouds to the horizon. No one argued when Jason suggested we stay and see if the weather broke. Around 3, the sky lightening, fueled on coffee and hours of inactivity, we all three walked out into the desert. finding the largest Hill and making for the top. About a mile in the sky broke open, soaking us through. Pushed on for the top,scrambling over boulders and dodging 100 different species of spiky plant. Just as we crested the peak the sun broke through the clouds, drowning the valley below in golden light, casting two rainbows across the endless rock gardens. Mountains in the distance glowing red in the twilight. Two more nights in the desert. Leaving the rocks and cacti for a rainswept steppe, fighting headwinds and rain and the ubiquitous mexican truckers for mile after mile. Camping under a near full moon in the shadow of a thirty foot, 200 year-old Saguaro. Finally turning south again and blasting into Guerrero Negro at 23 miles per hour, the sun shining and the wind full at our backs... Tomorrow we ride back into the desert. Heading east again for the Gulf of California. Can´t wait to feel that cool water on my skin again.

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