After hrefueling in Calexico and getting blasted by an oil hungry CBP diesel truck , I set west through the open expanse of land toward the distant mountains in search of cover. The southern crosswind blew my bike all over the lane and tendrills of sand slithered across the asphalt. I was happy to be wearing my hi-viz vest as night closed in and I rode toward the darkening stormy horizon. The highway ends at the interstate and I'm forced to ride 8 miles climbing 3000 feet along I-10 on the shoulder into the blackness. Bands of vehicles come in waves but I slowly make progress up the hill at 15 mph cresting near the desert observatory and turning onto the old highway. Wind driven rain begins to fall when I coast into Jacumba Hot Springs and I'm not energetic enough to set up camp. The library has a front porcheck awning where I park the bike and lay out my bag beside it. The strong line of storms rages eastward and I smile at my fortunate dry location. A sign in the parking lot says I'm being watched by cameras but the Customs and Border Patrol SUV's that idle past don't seem to notice me right out in the open. It's a bit tough to sleep though beneath a row of fluorescent lights.
The following morning was foggy and cold cresting the 4500ft mountain but I was happy to be back in California
On the north side of Borrego Springs stands a public art display with hundreds of metal sculptures dotting the landscape. The unpainted metal has oxodized in the desert and slowly begins to take on a copper hue. Below is an elephant which dwarfs La Tortuga.
As the sun began to set, a rainbow materialized behind me over camp leading to a most impressive natural spectacle. Nearly every visitor in Arroyo Salado was standing on hilltops admiring the unusual low angle light and stormy clouds.
It was a blue sky day heading out from Bahia De Los Angeles to Hwy 1. Arriving at the junction near Punta Prieta, I sat at a crossroad both literal and figurative. I had considered spending a month or so down in Baja but felt like I had satisfied my beach-bum desire. Further south was a continuation of desert driving for days and the arrival in La Paz. The warmer waters of the southern beaches are nice but something kept pulling me to ride to an unexplored corner of the peninsula. Considering my phone no longer had the saved apps for GPS and navigation, photo editing or audiobooks would make beach camping a bit boring, I decided to head north toward the next larger town of San Felipe. It felt right following my heart to a new place and new experiences rather than the same roads
Turning at Agua Leon, the wide rocky dirt road is dusty and rutted. I eat the dust of a tractor trailer before quickly passing it in a sandy ditch paralleling the main road. This route was once a rough trail which led through a mountain range and to the Sea of Cortez and then improved for truck traffic. After many years, the government has begun construction of a paved highway to connect the east and west coast of the peninsula at this southern point. Progress is slow going and the many highway worker camps dot the rough washboard gravel. In this photo below, large diesel tractors and backhoes push truck-sized boulders down the hill in crashing dust clouds. It looks as dangerous as it sounds but the operator sucking the diesel and dust doesn't seem to mind.
Located about an hour from anywhere is the desert home of Coco, an 80 year old man who operates a desert cantina, rest stop and place for weary travelers to rest. Years ago he became a fixture stop among the desert racers and off-road community. Complications due to drinking and diabetes forces the amputation of Coco's legs nearly 20 years ago and yet he still has built this home and destination in northern Baja.
Saying Hello to Coco, I bought a beer for $1 and hung out as he reveled the gathered crowd with stories and his affable presence. He was witty and confident in his home rest stop, his notoriety and legless curiosity endearing. The ingenuity of his construction efforts and the creativity of his coping with the handicap to operate an Eagle 4wd wagon or his quad was admirable. There was much laughing as he had the only female ride take a seat on his lap for a picture. Heck, I even got a shot with the Baja legend.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.