What is the benefit?
How does religion, wealth or the corporate world impact society on short term or long term?
Here in Mexico you still see the impact of Missions started in the 17th century and current exploitation of large foreign cooperations or large family cooperations. Wandering through Santa Rosalia we see the old buildings from the beginning of the 20th century, when copper mining was exploited by the French. We stayed in the original French hotel, and see the positive impact of the restart of copper mining by a Canadian company as of 2010, creating more work opportunities. Although islands being bulldozered down to extract minerals for the needs of the ever growing world population is heart-breaking. Devastating is also to see the way Mexico is behaving with regards to waste. Landfill, burning plastic, throwing about waste whereever you are (Frank almost got hit by beer cans tossed out of passing vehicles).
On our way out of Santa Rosalia we enjoy visiting the church which was designed by Gustav Eiffel for the world exhibition in Paris, afterwards shipped to Santa Rosalia.
Impressive to see a church made from iron, built in Belgium, shipped in pieces to Mexico and then put together here.
We check if Ben and Michael are still at the fire station but they already left. I try my Spanish and find out that the 5 man crew works 24 hour shifts and then has 2 days off to start again.
Robert is joining us to ride to Mulege.We catch-up several times with Ben and Michael as they are challenged by multiple flat tires.
Frank and Robert give them a lesson in fixing tires.
What was supposed to be a short ride changes to taking time to fix tires or just sit and look at the scenery. It was no early arrival in Mulege but still in time for the start of the Superbowl.
Above two photo’s are some of the dry rivers we have crossed. Carved out during flash flood when it is raining.
As Mulegé is a cute little village close to the sea we decide to stay two nights. Do some sight seeing and spend a lovely evening with a long philosophical talk about life with Ben and Michael.
Robert takes off after one night and crosses to the peninsula across the bay to continue the off-road biking. We have learned our lesson and decided to continue to follow the road. Beautiful scenery to our camping at Playa El Requelson.
Beautiful beach and two very basic toilets. Friendly co-campers who offer us extra water or anything else we need. We even get the number of Roger’s brother in Matzalan, should we need anything, so sweet. What is strange and interesting is that as of Mulegé we see more and more US campers and nice houses owned by North Americans. Eric in Mulege is owning one of those houses: lease of the ground is $200 per month and he built a really nice house for $15,000. Considering the relaxed way of living, less rules, access to sea fishing and low cost of living I understand the switch to live here.
It was fun to camp again. Our morning view from the tent.
See the strech of sand below: this is where we camped.
After 30 km we almost biked past the only water and food source during this day trip but are very happy to order a great omelette with shrimps at 11:00 and continue the scalding hot but beautifull ride to Loretto.
Here the first Mission in Baja California Sur was established in 1697 because of the discovery of a steady supply of potable water. First established by the Jesuits, The church was ready in 1744 and is still standing. Also then there was severe competition between religions, first the Jesuits were expelled from Baja California and replaced by the Franciscans in 1768 and then by the Dominicans in 1773. Providing food to the local Indians was a way to convert them to their religion.
Through Bookings.com we are trying to find a place to stay but everything is either full or expensive. Also the hostel where most bikers are staying is full. Seems that carnival is this weekend and Loretto has direct flights from the US resulting in way more gringos and high pricing.
By recommendation of one of our road supporters (Carlos and Antony who cheered us on during the ride and whom we met on one of the streets in Loretto) we end up in a clean but “tired” hotel with our balcony looking at the Mission Church. Shabby it may be but the location beats any other place! Thanks Carlos and Antony for letting us know! And it is so much fun to be respected, greeted and cheered on by car drivers! Ben and Michael are staying with the crew of the fair who provided them a lift to Loretto when their bike broke down, as a thank you B&M helped to build up the fair, so sweet!
Up it goes.
From Loreto the climb over the watershed divide starts, lucky for us it is only from 0-500m in a short distance and the road is constructed for larger trucks so the grade is never more than 7%. Do you see the ocean?Proud of not having to push 😊. After the hill there is a small restaurant where we meet 3 strong, retired, Mexican teachers who are also biking. They have two support vans driven by their wives! Great concept. We spend a lovely time talking, and it is getting later, then two other bikers, Cindy and Erik from Prescott Arizona US arrive. We decide to stay and not look for any wildcamp spot. Did you know teachers in Mexico get their retirement at 48!
Happy to stay in one of the rooms: 4 walls, 1roof, 1 door, 1 concreet bed without anything else.
Stilll better than setting up camp. What a hard life the owners have, no running water, no electricity, only one solar panel providing some electricity for a few LED lamps. Then they also have Gilberto, a mentally challenged child, already 24, sweet but not able to do anything or live on his own. Theirs is the only house for at least 50 km in any direction. We are happy to stay here and provide some $ support to the local economy.
Next day reasonable early start after breakfast of quesadillas and frijoles (tortillas with cheese and refried beans). Saying goodby to the Mexican team and the nice local family.
We cover 90km! First through an area covered with cactus,when descending entering an area with a lot of agriculture. Not everything is cultivated though. On one side of the road there are still cacti and on the other side there are fields of oranges, asparagus and carrots. Where do they get the water? Same as USA: drill down to ancient water layers, some thousands years old.
We even see crop dusters, the cowboys of aviation!Cindy & Erik meet us for lunch and take off again, fast as they are.
Even if it is only established in 1940 it is one of the most important crossroad cities at Baja California and already has almost 45,000 inhabitants. We find the cleanest, newest hotel till now (for Mexico) and after a perfect evening with the best spareribs and a great night sleep we decide to stay an extra night to work on the blog and discover bit of the city during the day.
Taking photo’s from the tortilla bakery at the local super market and tried to chat with Adriana.
We are very impressed by Robert who arrived on Saturday after completing the two loops from Mulegé! He had a very scary time as in the middle of nowhere with no traffic and no other bikers the cassette of his bike got bent. He was still able to bike in a few gears but had to push more as he didn’t want to force it too much. With civilisation far away and no watersource he needed to keep going! Looking spent but very happy when he arrived in the motel. Well done!
At night we wander through town with Cindy and Erik.
The funeral/grave flowershop is still open and we try to start a conversation with Maria. Frank starts to be realy good in Spanish. Proud of him.
Will we cross to mainland during week 36? Stay tuned!