Day…. ummmmm, something… La Ventana, Kite/wind surfing paradise of the World!

What a day… On one hand I am bummed to high heaven and miss Diana, and on the other, I sailed a kite today, my first time, and, according to DJ Guacamole, I am now ready to move on to the water.
Kite Surfing, never thought I would do it, learning to use the kites was super fun and insantly reminded me of the Japanese fighting kites, so powerful as well, one kite was over a meter, the other was 2-3 meters and drug me down the beach!
I was given a ride to a sweet training grond, well, it looked sweet, but upon learning what was really going on there, turns ot the “lake”, is actually the last stop for all runoff in the area, and is a healthy mix of fertilizers, acids, chemicals and no seeums for days.
I looped the kite in figure 8’s left to right and right to left, stalled the kite and saved it, drifted it along the waters edge, avoided the cacti and basically had a blast.
Now I am cooking beans, apparently adding salt to them doesnt allow for them to soften, so I will have to do some googling when I get a chance and see the truth in that.
Salsa class tonight, but, Im over it.
I just want my beans…. at least I hope to get them before the gas runs out!
What else, no real flashes of insight or deep thoughts, I mean I have had, but in all honesty, a flash of depth for me is more than likely a puyddle in your lives so why subject you to it here=]
Im tired, the winds have been between 15-30knts, thats alot, though I cannot say what it would e in Kph or Mph, the tent felt as though it was gong to come loose from its moorings and head into no mans land with me as a passenger, hopefully tonight will be tame…
Im surrounded by people but am lonely. Most conversations I eavesdrop on, dont judge, you do it as well, most of them I wouldnt care to be a part of, I saw a guy catch a scorpion last night only to toss it in the fire… That really pissed me off, but then, stupid is as stupid does and lord knows we got some stupid for dinner in America! I say that as almost everyone down here seems to e from the States or Canada.
The real esatte boom is about to egin in La Ventana for any speculators out there, you can come on down and help destroy another beautiful area, drive up the prices, increase the garage flow and make room for GMO veggies!

Day three, 16-17th, I moved camp from The free camp spot to a yoga retreat and had my first tai chi class this morning – 7 people! Now, the night prior, last night, I was invited with my host family to go to a handmade pizza night, very cool, all the local, nay, super uber local kite and windsurfers, it was hanging out with pro’s which is always a cool thing, to see ninjas in thier relaxed mode.
The pizza was exemplary, big brick over, crust cooked on stone and of course – VEGAN PIZZA! It was there that I met most of my Tai Chi class which I had this a.m at 8, of course NINJA!
I was then invited to go stand up paddle-boarding with SUPLV – suplv.com and, Super Ninja, we are now partnering together!
I am an official global front man for SupLv as I travel the world, I will be paddleboarding in every place I go. So sweet. I had always thought it would be easy, my last experience being in Hawaii with a retired windsurf board from the early days of windsurfing, falling off of it was actually quite difficult. This paddle-board on the other hand was light as a feather, my paddle was so light at times I was unsure it was there [carbon fiber].
So intense, so very ninja, no other way to describe it, it was sweet! Suffice to say i did NOT get any waves today, BUT, this is only day one, I will be ninja on patrol, now pedaling and Paddling for peace. I was also told by the gentleman who runs the yoga retreat that based upon my presentation of myself, he is seriously considering taking me out kiting – CHEEEEeeeeeeHHHHHOOOooooooooo! AIEEEEEEE!
If I had a dollar for every cool person who was genuinely sweet, caring and rad here in La Ventana, I would never want for cash again. Truly, this whole town is like a big family, no one steals here, Its mind bending to say the least=]
My bike ride yesterday was epic, I went to the start of the “Hotsprings” race which includes a very large stretch of offroading, and now I am reminded exactly why I love my bike.
You see, when I was at Interbike in Vegas, I had convinced myself that I needed a Salsa Fargo, and it is a very rad bike. We talked with the owner of Salsa and he was amicable enough and then, shocker, he disappeared off the map, never heard from him again. Bummer really for the simple fact he was a nice guy, bike be damned, anyway, no Fargo=]
Now, after yesterdays ride, to the hotsprings and back to the other end of town, not only was I able to beat offroad vehicles and full on trucks, you know, with dualies, big machines, with the flying mapache [specialized tri-cross, MY BIKE], but I was able to do it with a very high degree of style.
If you are looking for a rad touring bike, I may have stumbled upon, with the help of everyone who donated and helped to frankenstein it out, the ultimate road touring bike that, once in an area, you can rock n roll=]

What a day… On one hand I am bummed to high heaven and miss Diana, and on the other, I sailed a kite today, my first time, and, according to DJ Guacamole, I am now ready to move on to the water.

Kite Surfing, never thought I would do it, learning to use the kites was super fun and insantly reminded me of the Japanese fighting kites, so powerful as well, one kite was over a meter, the other was 2-3 meters and drug me down the beach!

I was given a ride to a sweet training grond, well, it looked sweet, but upon learning what was really going on there, turns ot the “lake”, is actually the last stop for all runoff in the area, and is a healthy mix of fertilizers, acids, chemicals and no seeums for days.

I looped the kite in figure 8’s left to right and right to left, stalled the kite and saved it, drifted it along the waters edge, avoided the cacti and basically had a blast.

Now I am cooking beans, apparently adding salt to them doesnt allow for them to soften, so I will have to do some googling when I get a chance and see the truth in that.

Salsa class tonight, but, Im over it.

I just want my beans…. at least I hope to get them before the gas runs out!

What else, no real flashes of insight or deep thoughts, I mean I have had, but in all honesty, a flash of depth for me is more than likely a puyddle in your lives so why subject you to it here=]

Im tired, the winds have been between 15-30knts, thats alot, though I cannot say what it would e in Kph or Mph, the tent felt as though it was gong to come loose from its moorings and head into no mans land with me as a passenger, hopefully tonight will be tame…

Im surrounded by people but am lonely. Most conversations I eavesdrop on, dont judge, you do it as well, most of them I wouldnt care to be a part of, I saw a guy catch a scorpion last night only to toss it in the fire… That really pissed me off, but then, stupid is as stupid does and lord knows we got some stupid for dinner in America! I say that as almost everyone down here seems to e from the States or Canada.

The real esatte boom is about to egin in La Ventana for any speculators out there, you can come on down and help destroy another beautiful area, drive up the prices, increase the garage flow and make room for GMO veggies!

Day three, 16-17th, I moved camp from The free camp spot to a yoga retreat and had my first tai chi class this morning – 7 people! Now, the night prior, last night, I was invited with my host family to go to a handmade pizza night, very cool, all the local, nay, super uber local kite and windsurfers, it was hanging out with pro’s which is always a cool thing, to see ninjas in thier relaxed mode.

The pizza was exemplary, big brick over, crust cooked on stone and of course – VEGAN PIZZA! It was there that I met most of my Tai Chi class which I had this a.m at 8, of course NINJA!

I was then invited to go stand up paddle-boarding with SUPLV – suplv.com and, Super Ninja, we are now partnering together!

I am an official global frontman for SupLv as I travel the world, I will be paddlebaording in every place I go. So sweet. I had always thought it would be easy, my last experience being in Hawaii with a retired windsurf board from the early days of windsurfing, falling off of it was actually quite difficult. This paddleboard on the other hand was light as a feather, my paddle was so light at times I was unsure it was there [carbon fiber].

So intense, so very ninja, no other way to describe it, it was sweet! Suffice to say i did NOT get any waves today, BUT, this is only day one, I will be ninja on patrol, now pedaling and Paddling for peace. I was also told by the gentleman who runs the yoga retreat that based upon my presentation of myself, he is seriously considering taking me out kiting – CHEEEEeeeeeeHHHHHOOOooooooooo! AIEEEEEEE!

If I had a doallar for every cool person who was genuinely sweet, caring and rad here in La Ventana, I would never want for cash again. Truly, this whole town is like a big family, no one steals here, Its mind bending to say the least=]

My bike ride yesterday was epic, I went to the start of the “Hotsprings” race which includes a very large stretch of offraoding, and now I am reminded exactly why I love my bike.

You see, when I was at Interbike in Vegas, I had convinced myself that I needed a Salsa Fargo, and it is a very rad bike. We talked with the owner of Salsa and he was amicable enough and then, shocker, he disappeared off the map, never heard from him again. Bummer really for the simple fact he was a nice guy, bike be damned, anyway, no Fargo=]

Now, after yesterdays ride, to the hotsprings and back to the other end of town, not only was I able to beat offroad vehicles and full on trucks, you know, with dualies, big machines, with the flying mapache [specialized tri-cross, MY BIKE], but I was able to do it with a very high degree of style.

If you are looking for a rad touring buike, I may have stumbled upon, with the help of everyone who donated and helped to frankenstein it out, the ultimate road touring bike that, once in an area, you can rock n roll=]

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Little Road Trip vacation with Jeff

This is vastly different from Westphalia and the Baron’s castle. Had our friend Pangloss seen El Dorado he would no longer have said that the castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh was the finest upon earth. It is evident that one must travel.”
Candide – written by Voltaire

My friend Jeff arrives to town while we are drinking fine beer at a closed bar session at Old Mission Brewery, next day we cruise to hot springs where he lets me drive back to Ensenada in his toyota FJ Cruiser, of course we hit insane speeds on ragged dirt roads whilst blasting rad music [Royksopp – What Else is There] after midnight with a crescent moon to light the way, as to my state of mind while driving on the back roads=]

Day 1 of our mini road trip found us at la Gringa beach in Bahia de Los Angeles… beautiful, woke up and jeff was sitting in chair, saw coyotes when I hiked a small peak, did a downhill run on my bike, and my lips swelled up again and started the whole agony over again, now one month of scabbie lips cycle!

Day 2  found us in Mulege which was wiped out from flood, but seriously wiped out, houses down, the rstaurant we had the best rice and beans ever was washed away… Pam, of Pam and John whom we met when riding our bikes through the area, her shoulder is all good due to my acupuncture.  That was a wild one, one of the few people to pass out from my needles, but, all good in the end, looks like I hit the root of it! Mosquitos, mosquitos, mosquitos…. scabbing of my lips has begun…. again, third time now, just kill me.

Day3 La Paz we stayed with coushsurfers Frank and Susy, I stayed in for the first night as my lips were giving proper pain and I cant open my mouth ergo not drinking, actully, even if this clears up i will not be drinking for some time…. at any rate, Frank and his roommate are doctors, very interested in my condition, may have a plan. They went karaoking, I saw Juan of the Dead,  It may be one of the smartest, funnest zombie movies i have seen to date.  I just remembered a book you may dig –  Zombie Haiku, oh, id you know that the CDC has a zombie preparedness plan?  My lips are fully scabbed over.

Day 4 cannot open mouth anymore, amazing how much this has changed me and my outward mood.  I have often heard that all you have to do is smile and eventually your day will turn around.  The opposite appears to be true as well, I feel more somber than ever, I havent really laughed or smiled in a month as everytime I do my lips would crack and it would hurt, so here I am, a month later all serious….
Got a message from Diana that a raccoon came in her window and took the raw chcolate….  Woulda loved to have been there for that!  Lulus Raw Chocolate!

New music…. for me:
Knife- Heartbeats, Pass this on
Royskopp- What Else is There, Alpha Male, Go with the Flow[remake of Queens of the Stoneage]
Pink floyd – High Hopes
Sasha y Digweed – Northern Exposure, Airdrawndagger

Day 5 – Todos santos is ridiculous sick cool, went for a run on the beach, out ran and out manuevered puppy dog, didnt surf, lips are healing, now taking Prednisone and cortico steroids for lips… scabs slowly falling off…
Matthew 12.25: Every Kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
Ask yourself on this day, what is the aim of our nation and our nationalism if not formthe betterment of all mankind as it was stated in the beginning, ask yourself what is the aim of my life as a man or a woman if not to better the life of our progeny and that of our neighbors. Once you have asked and answered these questions in silence and a most profound observance of solemnity, one must come to the idea that action is the only recourse left to us in these times, our world is on the brink as it has been many times, we shall wage peace or we shall continue to wage war, not only against our brothers and sisters of different race and creeds, but, regrettably, on our very dinner tables and sadly.
I whole heartedly entreat you to meditate today, not only on the state of our world and the planet which is founded UPON, but also upon your own small slice of “happiness” and to what extent you will go to protect it from the misguided machinations of those who would continue the long standing tradition of SLAVERY for wealth.
There are sheep who are led to slaughter, and there are sheep that climb the highest mountain tops, ask yourself what you wish for your life and then realize that it is wholly within your power to make it happen. One need only act accordingly to what one wishes to see in the world and so shall it be.

It isnt whether or not man is deluded, it is more a question of what man is deluded by.  A man can be of the persuasion that all is as it is and he can do nothing, or, that he can do anything.  For our times it is an apt observation that man is deluded by the sinking feeling that war and slavery are cornerstones in our civilization or, that peace is just around the corner.  As a mans mood may change from moment to moment, so may a nation.

Day 6 – Cabo Pulmo, beautiful, got a big handful of wacky tabacky from Dive guide, yay bonfires on deserted beaches!  Bummer was searching the beach for wood, finding a good piece and then getting stung by a Yellow Jacket, or a Wasp, or a Hornet, whatever they are, i always have trouble telling them apart since they all look like overloaded military heavy vehicles… That fly and cause extreme pain to the point that they draw blood and make you feel like you got plugged into a million volts…  But then I was thinking, when bitten, do they mark you with a chemical scent [pheromones]? I ask as i was at this point numbly stumbling around looking for wood and I found myself getting close to the same area where I was stung and lo, two of them slowly rose in the air and started coming my way…. hmmmmmmmmmmm, no se.
Did some Tai chi on beach barefoot, difficult as it was on river stones…
If you are an eco tourist you simply MUST com here, but I am appealing to the real deal eco tourists, the ones that actually want to save the areas and not stay in 5 star hotels that destroy the area.

Interesting, you can almost see what kind of person you are by what, where and how you choose to vacation….

Guy pouring liquid fire drink for table on veranda totally enthralls me.

The cook makes me a vegan meal of Beans, guacamole, fries and salsa….

Bon fire and pot tea – wow

A sky like no other, mind boggling how beautiful nature is, should be mandatory for people to look at it, daily.

Flying down deserted beach in Jeffs FJ, middle of No where southern Baja, music is screaming Pink Floyd.

Regretting lack of surfboard just prior San Jose del Cabo, deserted beach with incredibly long breaks…. sigh….

So many butterflies
So many mosquitos… Why did you leave the tent door open?

Day 7, missioning back to Ensenada, checked on our bikes in San Jose del Cabo at Raices y Brazos, YAY!  Untouched by the tropical storm, who is the ninja tarp setter upper!!! =]

A sad note… had to toss wacky tabacky lest the military check points find reason to treat me unfavorably, I hadnt been searched once, but I had this feeling come over me, tossed everything to the land that produced it, and lo, the next checkpoint was there in 10 minutes and this time they did a very thorough search=]   NINJA!

Day 8 – Camped at Playa Coyote, got literally destroyed by mosquitos and two other biting insects I could not identify.  Am now semi addicted to Skeptics Guide to Universe podcast.  Barely made it back to Ensenada as no one would accept Jeffs credit card, he now hates his bank and thanks god for good gas mileage, well, he thanks Toyota, I thank God…

Day 9 – typing stuff to you and doing laundry, back on our bikes in a week and some change=]

No pictures were taken on this trip cause I couldn’t be bothered=]

Vayamanos a Limpiar La Lagunita! October 20th 2012!

La Lagunita!

Join us for a truly rad day! Start with a beach bootcamp work out which Chris promises to shake your shaker OR yoga, or both! Then we Clean, we clean for our souls, for the 17 species of endangered birds, CLEAN WE MUST! While cleaning, do feel free to fill your personal re-usable bottle with homemade Sangria!
La Lagunita!

Vegas is gone, welcome back to the real world…

During the week we were at Interbike nine people were murdered in my hometown (that I know about) and a friend of mine is missing… Welcome back home, right?

I have no idea how many times we were asked during this massive convention about our motivation for riding around the world on our bikes, having no home, spreading the word of an ideal for having peace in this world. Surrounded by hardcore cyclists from all over it actually sounds like the most obvious thing to do: leaving everything for living the dream of cruising around on a bike, can any cyclist out there think of anything better?

However, in that ambient of passion and adventure, it’s easy to focus only on the bright side, on the thrill, the challenge and the fun. While that is definitelly a major motivation and it IS incredibly fun and exciting, Pedaling for Peace is for me a desperate measure.

Better said, a measure not to become desperate.

When I joined this adventure I received all kind of comments from my friends and family. Many of them, actually, not very encouraging. They were scared and worried imaging little me riding across wild Mexico. I was scared and worried too. I am.
One friend told me that it is not possible to create peace by riding a bike, that if it was so easy the world would be different… Hmm…

Well, I know that. I never thought otherwise.
But I also know I can’t sit still and carry my everyday life while people are killing eachother on a regular basis for money and pride. Let this be my tool for rebeling from a society where disfunctional is normal. Let this be a peacefull mean for change, so while most likely we won’t get to experience peace in the world, maybe we get to find peace within ourselves.

I am not there yet. At all. I am angry. I am scared. I think about my missing friend and am filled with impotence. And the biggest challenge, the most important one is snapping out of it. I refuse to feed this masive state of fear that covers the world.

So we post our little recipes, we smile to people around us while riding, letting them think we’re silly, we plant a garden here and there and maybe at the end of the day, we can sleep knowing we did something. Because as far as I’m concerned small actions matter. And I believe the biggest change can be done with the small action of being happy and at peace.

I believe a smile is more powerful than a gun.

International Beginners Guide! Baja Specific Bicycle Touring… for the Ninja at Heart=]

super ninja map of baja california mexico

Welcome to the very first “International” section of our Bicycle Touring for Beginning Ninja guide… wow, thats a long title… The reason I reckon it is one of the most important additions to the International Sections to come is due to a few factors.

A. This is the only country you can get into without showing an ID,  until you try to come back of course thats a whole different story…

B.  It is one of the most misrepresented countries in our U.S. culture, and therefore, it should be personally visited by us if we are to ever grow as humans.

C.  It is rad and has some of the most amazing sites, tastes and feels of anywhere I have travelled in my life.  Mega Chef Anthony Bourdaine says, “…Ensenada is the next Tuscanny…”, Sammy Hagar of Van Halen has made this his home, Al Capone hung out with many a former president and dignitary here, it has a richness and magic like no other place.  The natural beauty is beyond imagining, the people are so friendly, warm and welcoming….  Do yourself a favor, come south of the border and see whats really going on.

D.  It happened to be the next stop for me outside the U.S.=]

IMPORTANT NOTE!  We are riding bikes that are not your 4×4 style, they are very strong bikes, yet they would not be the best for off-roading for extended periods.  We have been following Route 1, this is the South of the Border section of the Pacific Coast Highway you may have been cruising in California.  Some of the best attractions here in the Baja are off the beaten trail so to speak.  You will not find them on Route one, nor close to it.  Please do your homework, send us an email, do whatever it is you need to do to ensure you have the best trip possible based on what love in addition to bicycle touring… because it truly is all here!

There is a reason why this is first, it needs to be dispelled as it is the foremost thing people were warning me about….

super ninja map of baja california mexico

Policia – Police

– Prior to my departure across the border, re-phrase, whenever I would tell people of my plan to travel the world, everyone was most concerned about what fate I might encounter upon arrival in Mexico.  Full on war happening in other places, but, watch out for Mexico… HA!

Most people were very quick to assure me that my fate was sealed as a future drug mule, hostage victim, sex slave and most definitely I would have to watch for the police as they would take great pains to extract money from me and beat me every chance they got.

To date, a year of having been in Mexico, I have had the following encounters with police…

1. I have been offered a place to stay twice on police property so that I can have no worries.

2. Have been given a ride with my bike in the back of a police truck to a school to speak.

3. Given a ride to a restaurant in the back of a police truck.

4.  As part of a critical mass ride, was blown away that 26 riders would get a truck and two motorcycle police whose job it was to leap frog and stop all cross traffic for us.  Later I would find that this is common practice all over the country.  Depending on the city, the request must be dropped off anywhere from 2 weeks to the very day of the event.  How does that work exactly in the States?

What I am writing holds to the Baja Peninsula, I have yet to step foot on the mainland of Mexico, so I will not speak to it, until of course we travel through it and then I will speak a lot about it.

Whenever you are talking about police and dealing with them, it is always good to remember this one, very simply maxim… If you are doing “bad things”, be prepared for bad things to happen if the police find you – in any country. If you get caught speeding and the cop tells you that you can avoid the ticket if you give them 50 bucks, would you, A. Tell your friends how corrupt the local police are, or B. Tell your friends how stoked you are that you didn’t have to go to court and pay a 200 dollar fine… Thats one of the problems with stories and the people that tell them, most people would rather bitch than praise. They wont take a moment to reflect on the fact that speeding is speeding all over the world if there is a sign on the side of the road with a number on it that says this is the limit for the vehicle you are driving in. Further, most would rather blame the police for busting them, than accept that they were going fast?!?! Now you’ve got a bitchy gringo spinning yarns about corrupt police when really they should be stoked!  Know your source for the travel you are asking questions about!

Restaurants and Food

They are a bit different here in the way you may be used to…

The classic restaurant will have a menu, fixed prices and usually A/C if the surrounding area warrants it.  That being said, most of the places we ate at on the ride would be more open air, and the price you pay for your food depends on whos working and what they think of you, it is still cheaper than a restaurant, and I’ve found you can ask for seconds! It’s more of a temporary “Your Mom’s Kitchen” type deal if that makes sense.
The ice and water is safe contrary to gossip, it is made from purified water and you can drink water from a bottle or from a glass as the glass will be filled with purified water as NO ONE drinks anything but!
The entire country [very slight exaggeration] drinks bottled water in two forms, with or without sugar, either way you will be paying Coke or Nestle. Mexico represents ten percent of Cokes’ earnings globally…. They sell in 190 countries, so that means, GOOD GOD!

If you like meat, you are set.  If you are vegan, a little more care will have to be exercised, especially when it comes to the beans.  At times they will be cooked with lard.  Even if you ask for vegetarian, lard will not be factored in, many times fish will not be either.  This is a heads up, don’t judge too harshly as how many wars has Mexico started in the last one hundred years, not to mention, this is what the cosmopolitan Europeans were buying and selling in relation to lard at one point and I would say its a far cry healthier than what is being pawned off on the general population these days! I digress…
lard ad by the european lard commision
Being Vegan, veggie, or some derivative thereof… If you are vegan or vegetarian and are very strict, this could be a difficult ride for you for many reasons if you do not plan well ahead.  If vegan, you will be relegated to beans, rice and salad.  Salad will be iceberg lettuce and will then have one or more of the following – olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and avocado.  If you are very stict, you may not be able to eat the beans OR the rice depending on how they are prepared.  I have decided to not ask how they are made.  This is a choice each person must make.  Should you not want to risk prepared food, it will be imperitive that you set aside room in your gear for cooking and carrying food.

Important Note regarding your beans! If you are cooking them from the dried state i.e., you got a bag of beans from the store [mercado], be sure to go through them on a flat surface to look for stones.  You will find many.  You’ve been warned=]

Ensenada will be one of the best places for food and spirits [wine/beer/margaritas] on the Penninsula.  The Guadalupe Wine Valley is by far one of the best places, are you ready for this… In The World… for wine.  It is also one of the hottest and fastest growing areas for international cuisine.

wine-baja-map guadalupe valley

There is currently a rennaisance in artisenal beer [microbrews] happening.  There are many artisan beer makers appearing and the results are FANTASTIC.  The main 4 in town are Old Mission Brewery, this is for us, hands down the best.  Not only does he, the Brewmaster is Paul from Boston, have a Smoked Maple Porter that for me is one of the best beers I ever tasted, but, the hops are then used to make bread and pizza crusts!  Then we have Distrito Barro, Pelicanos and Wendtland.  To give you an idea of Old Mission Breweries prowess, whenever the other artisan pubs don’t have their brew, they always have OMB!

Points of Interest/Things to do

hmmmmm, well, the ocean is a great place to start as is the food and wine ideas put forth above…

Cave Paintings – the really old rad kind that make you think about life beyond paying bills and what the neighbors are doing…

Old Churches and Missions – To this day I have no idea why these buildings have such a hold on me.  In Santa Rosalia you can see the church by Mssr. Eiffel, the same guy that made the tower in Paris that always gets blown up in the movies by the aliens.  Lots of very cool historic religious buildings which are rad even if you arent religious!

Whales, Dolphins, Whale Sharks, coral reefs, lagoons, endangered and soon to be extinct birds and animals, deserts, tropical forests etc. – This is a great place to see them before they are all gone!

Great Food – we already covered this a few times, but just so we are clear, great food here.

Baja 1000 – This is the yearly race, usually at the end of November so the participants dont die from heat exhaustion.  Below is a video when My good friend jeff came to visit from the start in Ensenada.

Outdoor Sports – rock climbing, swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving [both from shore and charter], trail running, cycling.

Live music is abundant – from Punk Rock, Banda, Nortec, Strolling minstrels to string quartets.

CICESE, drawing students from around the world for some of the most in depth and rigorous scientific training to include an observatory.  Very cool people, global mega intelligent community!

Local history abounds, the main hotel turned convention center in Ensenada was formerly owned by Al Capone.  Numerous Presidents, Heads of State and other important figures from all fields, Political, Scientific, Industrial, Athletic etc., have made the Baja Peninsula a place to get away from it all.

SURFERS!

If you’re looking for surf, You’ve found the spot!  From the moment you get into the Baja you can start finding surf, as with anywhere, season and skill make the ride.  There is a lot here, quite literally too much to mention, so I wont, there are spots upon spots upon spots to surf. San Miguel just outside of Ensenada, Todos Santos [50 foot waves!!], Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, many places to rock out on huge waves and plenty of nice small ones.  Do your research and have a blast!  Some waves will require you to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, actually, a lot of them will, so keep this in mind while doing your surf homework.  If you plan on surfing just south of the border, San Miguel is a great spot, BUT, bring booties as I shredded my feet here, you’ll also need a wetsuit for a lot of the places until you get down south…

Sleeping – Camping, Hotels, Side of the Road….

Where to sleep is always a question to be sure. There are hotels but these will more often than not get you a pricey accomodation with not a lot of amenities as you may be used to.  You can also follow our path, camp at the restaurant you ate at!  What ever path you follow, when it comes to the quiet hours, always try to be somewhere close to others, there is a safety factor that is wise to try to follow, but dont let yourself get worked up, the USA has equally high, if not higher crime rates, and if you aren’t involved in the illegal transport of narcotics, you really don’t have much to worry about.  Again, if you do bad things, you get in trouble, not rocket science!

Hydration

Water to carry…  lots of water.  In fact we have a rule, if we ask one another one bottle or two, we get three.  As you get to the very southern portion of your ride, the frequency of places to get water will increase and you wont have to haul as much.  Change out your bike waterholders to simple Cage style [pic] if you dont already have them.  These will more easily fit the long

basic water bottle holderwater bottles, the 1.5 liter kind that work out a whole lot better as, A.  No cleaning as with your typical bike bottle.  It wont be so easy to find places and situations to clean your bottles unless you get a hotel every time, even then, there are many times where there will be no hotel.  B.  You need such epic amounts of water that the typical bike bottle is not enough.

When to Ride

To ride or not to ride, that is the question, well, not really, of course you’re going to ride, its just a matter of when.  We decided to ride at the height of Summer – July/August, I do not recommend this to anyone unless you are ninja training and are prepared for extreme heat conditions 24 hours a day.

The heat is often times beyond belief and very dangerous if you are not aware of your body, the signs it sends you and how well you work in hard core weather.  There were times where when breathing in, it felt like I was breathing in fire.  A breeze would be nothing more than hot water mixing with hotter water…

We ended up with a fairly serious case of heat exhaustion which had us bedridden for three days.  Heat exhaustion as with nuclear radiation, affects you at the cellular level and in studies done with professional athletes signs of damage were detected from liver biopsies over four months after the initial instance!  If you get it, you will want to be careful for at least a year following the incident as you will be predisposed to it!

Heat Sickness Symptoms to watch for – 

Profuse sweating, rapid and yet light pulse, confusion/disorientation [very bad while riding obviously], general weakness, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, low grade fever.

Signs that things are getting very serious would be – NO sweating, extreme confusion/lack of orientation, seizure, high fever [very bad], inability to move much…  these are obvious signs, yet, given the amount of people who die per year from heat related illness, we must state them to you. As you are riding and being strong, you may want to overlook things as a weakness and decide to power through, that works for math problems and relationship issues, not this, not ever.  Always stop, you are made of water, if that balance is far out of whack, bad news is quick to arrive to YOUR doorstep.

If you have one or more of these symptoms pull off the road and seek shelter, if you are in the middle of no where, set up your tent BESIDE the road so that you can flag down assistance if you do not begin to get better.  Know that the tent will be hot, but hey, you need to get out of direct sun, do not set up under large Cacti.

This is serious and kills people every year, don’t be fooled or take it lightly.  You need to replenish your fluids immediately, and keep in mind, this damages the kidneys, so you may find it takes a day or three of drinking A LOT of WATER before you really start to keep the water in your system!  You will also want to mechanically cool your body during this time either through cold water and ice bath, air conditioning, whatever you can do with where you are at, and if it gets bad, if you dont see improvement and feel scared, see a doctor.  It took me three days of cold water bathing, A/C, Emergen-C packets, True Blood episodes [when conscious] and so much water it was insane!  I almost went to the hospital which for me is huge.  Dont play with your life.  You are riding a bike, not saving the world!

Temperature Extremes! – Can wreak havoc on you!  be ready for them, you are riding in a desert, so while it may be super hot by day, it will be just as cold at night.  Once you have it figured out, you move 400 miles and now its just hot all the time.  So be ready and really take time to rest.  You may have hard nights sleeping, so have easy days riding.  Lack of sleep is the beginning of bad times.  Everything is affected by it from immune function to concentration.  Do not underestimate sleep.  I emphasize as I had no major problems prior to this portion of the trip.  Take some melotonin with you but use it sparingly as it is strong and can be habit forming!

Now we know what to watch for if we ride in the summer.  Please do be very careful and aware if you ride at this time!  Now, in the Fall, late August through October, you can, not always, C A N, get very high winds.  That these winds cause cars to pull to the side of the road, you can imagine what it does for you, especially considering how people drive in Mexico, if it stops them, it is serious indeed!

October through May is a potluck of goodness.  Generally we are led to understand the late October through December is the time to ride.  There can be rain during these times, you’re lucky if you find it, know that the main season for rain is January, February and March.  This is a general rule which is being disproved as I write this due to changes globally in weather patterns.  I am not trying to be coy or lazy in research, it simply is a fact.  Blame it on who or what you will, it makes no difference and isnt really a huge deal.  In some countries when the rainy season hits, it never seems to end, not so here, so no worries.

Recapping, the best time to ride is early winter and spring, summer is simply mind numbngly hot and autumn you may get the sciroccos [desert winds].

The Roads…

One of the first things beyond the seemingly confused and hectic way of driving, lots of quick speeding to red lights with hard braking, is the lack of shoulders on the roads.

I was told that in a money saving mission, the primary road, Route 1, was made with the minimum possible extra paving on the shoulders to save x millions of dollars.  What that means for you is that you will have some ninja times ahead of you.  There will be many places where you can visibly see how the road was literally scraped from the land to the right and left.  You are now being an Extreme Athlete, anyone that tells you otherwise has never ridden here.  When your choice going down hill at 30mph is the speeding truck beside you, the 2 inch white line below or the sheer 400 ft drop to the right or left of you, at this point you are now born again ninja, or dead.  Yes, it is like that, so be aware and do be ready to dismount and walk.  No fool has ever told a story of high adventure and wonder…

Many times when on a basic roadway section, the road has been scraped from the laft and the right o a 3 foot height above the surrounding area.  The shoulder is inches wide, if you go off the side it will be large, sharp rocks and cactus.

Many times you will need to make the decision of taking the lane of getting off the road all together.  Do not be scared to take the lane until you feel safe.  No one here will try to kill you purposefully, this only seems to happen in Europe and the United States, so take the lane and then get off the road when you can.  You may get beeped at, no big deal, half the beeps we get that we think are upset people turn out to be the ones that wave and smile the most.  So focus on keeping you safe, its really all that matters.

If you find that you have to get off the road quick, get up in your saddle to help absorb shocks and get ready for a ride!

There are a lot of blind corners, hills etc.  If you learn to factor in other vehicles and truckers, giving them hand signals to pass you etc., you will get some good street credibility, truckers have CB radios and everyone seems to know each other on the peninsula, so don’t be an ass at the very least.  if you can actually help out other vehicles, it will pay off.

Foot Gear and Pedal Setup:

Many people do this ride in all sorts of set ups, so DO NOT take my word for anything.  My feeling about this section is simply to go with the basic pedal set up as you may want to get off the road AND your bike quickly. For us nothing to lock us into the pedals at all.

First aid

I carry the same as with the kit described in the First Aid section of this guide.  I looked into rattlesnake and other anti venoms but they require refrigeration making them pointless to carry.

Part of your first aid kit will turn out to be toilet paper.  Always carry a roll as many places will not have paper.

Dinero – Cash

Expect to spend near what you would in the states, you get the gringo menu, even if you speak fluent spanish and are from another part of mexico, you get a different price then the locals, it works this way the world wide…  Dont be upset, be happy you have the opportunity you do have!

You can expect to pay the following as of 2012.  1-2 dollars for a beer, plate of beans/rice/ensenalada – 3 – 8 dollars.  Water is from 1 to 5 depending on the size.

Power, in the literal sense…

Electricity is not a guarantee here, charge ’em whenever you have access and be sure to ask before you plug in.  Money is tight for some people, electricity is not free.  Be an ambassador, not a leech.

Places that we feel you would do well to know of…

Ideas on – Places where you can stay depending on how you roll and a little about each place that was for us memorable, and some stuff to look out for… These are suggestions based on our trip.  Use them as guides only and feel free to send us any suggestions you have so that we can make this as nice a guide as possible for people!

1.  Tijuana – Be prepared to ride like a ninja.  You will be getting your first taste of road driving and it can be intense.  More than likely you will want to check out the town, you do this by crossing the main road towards the Bus Station, going through the mall at the plaza and then over the walking bridge to the Tijuana Arch.  TJ is a big city, so we recommend you check in with the TJ Couchsurfing crew or warmshowers.org hosts to get your bearings.

2.  Rosarito – I didn’t stay here so have no recommendations of where to stay, BUT, they do have a nice little bike shop=]

3.  Ensenada – This is the promised land for great food, wine, surfing, hiking, and very cool people.  If you are new to the area, chat with the Ensenada Couchsurfing crew as they are active and ready to help, there is also a warmshowers.org house specifically for bikers!

4.  Roadside camping coming out of Ensenada, 1st night, felt sketchy….  new rule, try to always find some place that has other people to camp at…

5.  Mi Ranchito restaurant –  Camped in the back of the restaurant and had a great time.

6.  Camalu – We stayed in a police impound lot.  Also had first Bike Shop we found on since leaving Ensenada!

7.  San Quintin – Hotel Uruapan, 200 pesos for travelig cyclists, A MUST, well, it was a lifesaver for us=]

8.  El Rosario – Mama Espinoza, best salsa so far and if you are nice, they will let you camp in the back.

9.  El Sacificio –  is the name of a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, if you find yourself wondering where everything is and then you come upon a restaurant, you’ve found it!  24 hours open, camp in back or to side, we were in front, bad move, lots of light, drunken people talking to us through the tent and being, in general, asses…  There will be two more places f

10.  Cataviña – police warehouse, crazy night, I ended up looking for ghosts naked with a bottle of water as my weapon…  very cool people in the town, very helpful.

From here we were stranded in Chapala, you SHOULD be able to stay at the restaurant if you speak to Youghyes, not sure if that is how it is spelled, but it sounds like YOU YES, if not, I dont know what to tell you but ride on, we got lucky and got a ride to Bahia de Los Angeles, where we stayed at Garretts, which is a oceanside camp spot and then got a ride with the same rad Germans in their Renault Prössl (pfhgrooosssille) to….

11. Guerrero Negro, here we stayed at Malarrimo Hotel in their Red Cross Station [we’ll try to get the owner, Antonio, to make it an official room for Bicycle tourists!]

12.  Vizcaino was cool especially when we found the pizza place at end of town,  and they let us camp in the back.  Ride all the way through town and it will be on your left hand side, it was orange when we ate there.

13.  San Ignacio, this is the oasis, and you will be so happy to have found it!  We stayed at and recommend – Patates, campground on the lagoon, showers, free canoe/paddle boat, rad owner…  Using it as your base, you can cruise up to Rice and Beans Restaurant for a big old plate of the name sake and use the wifi if you’re so inclined…  Your things will most likely be safe at the campground un-attended.  When making fires here, be very aware and diligent as every so often all the palm trees catch at the same time!

14.  Santa Rosalia is RAD, stayed with a freind of a friend, kick ass town…lots of places to stay, bigger town, used to be a copper mining/smelting community owned by a French outfit called something or other, anyway, you can pretend you snuck in to the old facility and see what ghost you can scare up, there is actually no fence, hence pretending to sneak in, which is surprising as it is a serious abandoned factory with many places for things to go awry… Compangie du Boleo was the mining firm…

15.  Mulege, what a super sweet spot!  The restaurant you want to find yourself at is Casa de Pancho Villa, best rice and beans, from there, let the magic take its course….  If you are lucky you can hang out with ex CIA agents at the former presidential retreat, guys who race trucks and mysterious French men from Belgium who speak Spanish=]

Playa Row [beach row] starts with Santispac a.k.a. Concepcion and goes south with many many beaches to Punta Tasajera, take your pick, Santispac has a restaurant, closed on wednesday (of course subject to change with zero notice from us:)

16.  Playa Burro – Restaurant open daily, rad people…

17.  Playa Buenaventura –  decent place to recharge you stuff and get food, just watch out for the Greedy Gringo!…

From here we kept at it and ended up with a sweet case of Heat exhaustion in Loreto…  Cool little town, very hot when the Baja is in hot mode…

Ciudad Constitucion – restaurant from hell and the first time we saw a Pepsi advertisment, until then it was 100 percent Coke… they own Mexico.

Aqua, not beer or coffee, I say this as I contemplate getting another cup of coffee…..  STAY HYDRATED!

We are now back in Ensenada making some dinero to move forward, our bikes are in San Jose del Cabo and will finish out this section upon our return, in the interim, email with any questions should you be coming this way!