Died and Gone to Heaven

On our stomachs we lie in the 88 degree water of the Sea of Cortez. “Felix,” I say sitting up. “I think we died in that storm.” I hear a pop and watch Felix pour the amber liquid into a frosted mug. “Salud,” he toasts in Spanish. Our glasses clink together, “We’ve earned it, amigo.” We slowly sip, attempting to savor, but it’s of no use. The beer is too refreshing. The last week too hot. Our mugs are soon empty.

I stand and walk through the powdery white sand and into the restaurant. A gentle breeze passes through the open windows cooling my wet skin. A television covered in stickers, like the rest of the bar, broadcasts Two and a Half Men. “Dos mas cervesas, por favor.” A green parrot on the man’s shoulder whistles in reply. He hands me two more bottles of Dos Equis and new frosted mugs. I reenter the bathwater, as my dad called it, and watch the blue sky transition to orange, red, and violet.

That was last night. And if I thought I was in heaven then… Yeah, it’s another night in paradise (the third in a row). But first, we had to leave the comfortable beds of the hotel where we weathered the storm and ride to Mulege. Like the rest of the cities we’ve been through recently, it was in rough shape. Muddy, dirt roads have replaced paved ones that were washed away. Whole palm trees littered the landscape and yards a like. Even with the damage, Mulege defines Oasis. It is absolutely gorgeous. We hung out at a restaurant sipping soda in the heat then moved on.

The road swung back to the bay. The sun began to set. We searched for a campsite and found one for future memories. We had to cross a swamp to get to it, but this only added to the appeal.

In some places, the mud wasn't to bad. This is not so bad...
In some places, the mud wasn’t to bad. This is not so bad…
Felix stares off into the water contemplating life.
Campsites like this are worth any effort. Almost.
Campsites like this are worth any effort. Almost.

In the morning we woke extra early to watch the sun crest the mountains that formed the bay and bathe the driftwood strewn beach in it’s golden splendor.


Then, with the sun full in our faces, the heat had us hurry. We packed our bags and pushed our bikes back through the mud. The thick and viscous substance oozing through my toes felt incredible. The mud also oozed between my tires and fenders making the slippery task slightly more difficult.




We made it back to the road and in less than a mile found our next campsite. We only intended to stop at the sticker strewn restaurant for water. However, we could not resist temptation. Full water bottles soon turned to full bellies from  ham, bacon, and egg sandwiches. Then, too full to ride, we took a dip in the bath-like waters and before we knew it, the sun was setting as we drank from our frosted mugs.


The view of the sunrise through my front window.
This dog, a great pyrenees mix, stood gaurd beside my tent as I slept.
This dog, a great pyrenees mix, stood gaurd beside my tent as I slept.

The ride from the restaurant at Buenavista to Lerato, the next day, was challenging. For 50 miles there were no water or food stops and our supplies were seriously depleted. Baja loves to dot the map with towns that are not towns at all; merely single homes that sell beer and potato chips. This section fooled us. There were many of these dots between Mulege and Lereto (Buenavista was one). We figured one must have a full service mini mart. Nope. So, we rode the 50 miles on what little water and food we had.

We arrived in Lereto and guzzled liters of cold water each along with a half gallon of Breyers snickers ice cream! Then, we received an even better reward: an all-you an average person-can-eat Italian themed dinner for 95 pesos each. In the light of the fool moon, we listened to the gentle, foreign sounds of a live band while we feasted on three kinds of pizza and pasta with three choices of sauce. The table, covered in cloth, came with fancy-folded, linen napkins and more silverware than we knew what to do with.  Unfortunately, our time ended before we were finished eating. “Lo siento amigos. No more comida,” the waiter said. Perhaps he had done us a favor. We were both absolutely stuffed, but were not yet in pain. And, we already consumed an absurd amount of food. Thanks for treating Felix!! Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures – I was on break (and busy stuffing my face).

A blood moon rises over the Sea of Cortez.
A blood moon rises over the Sea of Cortez.
The view of Lereto from our camp.
The view of Lereto from our camp.
Watching the sunrise in Lereto.
Watching the sunrise in Lereto.

And now? We slowly ride La Paz. We have a week to kill. My Mom and Dad are treated us to a week in a resort in Mazatlan!!!!!!!! A welcome vacation as we close out the Baja chapter of our trip and tackle the Mexican mainland.


7 thoughts on “Died and Gone to Heaven

  1. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing !
    A vacation resort sounds awesome ….just what the dr ordered and well deserved . That gives you great insentive to proceed …I await the next chapter 🙂

  2. Hey Ryan, just searched your blog during a tedious day of school and I’ve been thoroughly entertained. Great to see how far you’ve made it, looks like an epic trip! Feeling inspired after reading this.

    -James (I rode with you between Standish Hickey and San Fran)

      • Hey! Doing good, two months into my Nursing program up here in Canada and loving it! I guess you could say I’m following in the foot steps of our older friend Charles.
        Good to see how much you’ve seen/done since I last saw you in San Fran — those were good times!
        Where are you now? How you doing?

  3. Ryan, you are quite a biker and traveler and a terrific writer! Vaya con Dios. Your Uncle Bill (in Maryland)

    • Uncle Bill! Thanks! I am using the mirror you told me about. I won’t ride without it anymore. I like it so much that I carry an extra one.

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