February 08, 2010
BC is Baja California, Mexico's western most state, just like it's northern cousin, British Columbia, or BC.
One of the reasons I went this way is that I was hoping to get away from the depressing sameness of urban North America. In Ensenada I encountered a large shopping area with the usual big box stores, it could have been South Edmonton Common. However that proved to be the exception that proved the rule. I was not disappointed in finding something different.
The towns are interesting.
Apparently everyone takes a pretty light hearted view of building codes and standards. (click on the next picture if you are electrically literate)
The only pavement is highway one, the town roads are sand. Houses and buildings are painted bright vibrant colours and are typically surrounded by a high cement or stone wall with iron gates, or as near they can get using found materials.
Day two (Feb 6), it rains all day. I don't get very far, just to the town of Vincente Guerrera, less than 200 km. Highway one follows the coast at first, and the towns are only about 20 km apart. The maximum speed is not clear, it may be 110, or it may be 'go as fast as you like', but when entering a town the speed limit is 40 km, and there are plenty of speed bumps to remind you. I let the locals set the pace, big trucks come to a complete stop at the beginning of a town, cars slow down to about 25 for the speed bumps, the KTM can float over them at any speed, but I am thinking that could be hard on Gringo Mexican relations. Between towns I let an SUV show me the way. Just like anywhere else I have been, SUVs and new pick up trucks are the fastest most aggressive drivers. Seems that if you are not going 120 you will be run over.
I am learning Spanish from road signs, 'No Tirer Basura' means don't throw out your garbage. Judging by the roadside, the locals either don't read or don't care.
Every so often there are check points manned by soldiers. They want to know where you are from and where you are going, at one check the soldier wanted to look in my saddle bags, and whether I was carrying drugs or guns (pistole), I had told this guy I was coming from San Diego, so maybe he thought I was a USian. Next time I will tell them I am coming from Canada, then they will want to know whether I have undeclared maple syrup no doubt. It is interesting to see the differnt role the military has in Mexico. Mexico's constitution forbids the Mexican military from fighting outside of Mexico, so their role is all internal, defense, and apparently they also share some responsibility for maintaining law and order, which in Canada is not a military responsibility.
Highway one meanders inland for a while, no more towns. Here the road climbs through desert with plenty of 'Curvas Peligroso', which means fun on a motorcycle in Spanish.
This desert is no Sahara. Cactus grow everywhere along with a bizzare tree that is mostly a trunk with very short branches and tiny leaves. Some of the saguaros are 40 feet high. It is like a scene from star trek when the crew from the Enterprise land on a strange planet, I am thinking it probably WAS the strange planet(s) Kirk and Spock visited.
At the end of day two I stop in Jesus Villa Maria, I have gone maybe 700 km altogether, and looking on the map I see how far I have gone, (not very). I knew Mexico was big, but as usual, I failed to grasp HOW BIG just by looking at a map. This is going to take a while.