1st March 2018
Distance – 83km
Total distance – 1668km
The final day started well; we packed up camp from our remote spot near the Pacific shoreline and did some filming before setting off.
The rough unmade track continued through sand and over rocky outcrops for a further 7km to La Aguja before we turned away from the coast on a better maintained gravel/sand road. We worked our way back towards MEX1, eventually picking up a newly surfaced asphalt strip from a village called Ley Federal de Reforma Agrarian No. Uno (sounded a very socialist name to me).
I had been managing with just the rear brake for about a week – the front pads had worn out. However over the last three or so days, the rear brake had been going and was now at a point where it too was virtually ineffectual. Travelling along the steep, rough tracks really wears out the brakes.
I didn’t fancy entering the busy traffic without being able to stop! I thought I’d brought along a spare set of brake pads, but by mistake I had packed a set that would have fitted my fat bikes. The brake shoe, where the pads attach to the unit was a different shape. Chris’s spare brake pads nearly fit, and by filing the part down with my Leatherman, he was able to fashion the right shape and fit the new set of pads. Nothing like a touch of bush mechanics on the last day!
Back on the road, it was a slow grind; into a brisk headwind, slowly gaining altitude to reach 280m. By this stage, I just wanted to reach La Paz, but there is always a sting in the tail. Eventually we reached MEX1 and cruised the last 38km into the city.
We worked our way through traffic and eventually along the famed Malecon, the well-kept promenade which seems to be the big draw card for tourists. By 6pm, the streets were buzzing with activity. It is a lively place, completely in contrast to our coastal campsite from where we started the day.
We had arrived a day early enabling us to have a rest day, enjoy taking it easy and sorting out the bus ride north to Tijuana. Our plan is to ride back across the border to San Diego (about 40km) and on to Bree and Crosby’s place, where we started. I will be flying out early on Monday morning; Chris will be heading back to Melbourne in the evening.
Chris and I are quietly ecstatic as to how successful this trip has been. Not only did we get to see and experience Baja California, it was also exactly what I needed to prepare myself physically and mentally for the year ahead.
The first two weeks were tough for me, to ride day after day without a break, on a loaded bike through rough, mountainous terrain. As with all of my previous longer journeys, it has been a case of biting the bullet and facing the challenge to get over the fitness wall. The cold did not help, but it was just another obstacle to manage and get through. With only 24 days, I could not afford the time to rest as I usually do to adapt to the new workload. I’m feeling petty fit now and hopefully won’t be starting from scratch fitness-wise for the expeditions to follow this year.