26th -28th February
Distance – 281km
Total distance – 1585km
Days 20 and 21
Away from La Barrancas on the coast, we had a couple of days of dead straight roads. Once on to the La Purisima – Ciudad Insurgentes road, the asphalt did not deviate, it was arrow straight, bisecting one long rolling hill after another for 90km. Apart from the distant mountains to the east, the landscape was pretty featureless, extensive cattle ranchos being the predominant land use.
From about 30km out of Insurgentes, we entered an intensively farmed zone. There were irrigated fields of tomatoes, oranges, potatoes and many other fruits and vegetables. The region was bone dry and dust whipped off the cultivated fields, sometimes as willy-willies (mini tornadoes).
Insurgentes is a vibrant rural centre – plenty of activity, many restaurants and we found a good hotel with WiFi to catch up on communications.
Out of Insurgentes the straight road continued for another 80km; the big difference being that it rained for most of Day 21. From Insurgentes we rejoined MEX1, and the traffic became much heavier. After 28km we reached what seemed to be the twin town of Insurgentes, Cuidad Constitucion, which was a slightly larger rural centre.
Day 21 was a case of keeping turning the pedals, but remaining alert to the constant traffic. By 4pm we reached the end of the big straight at small village called Santa Rita. Wet and cold, we sought refuge and a snack in the only roadside cafe, feeling pretty over the rain at this stage. There were no signs of the weather abating, so rather than continue and camp in the wet, somewhere off the side of the road, the woman who ran the cafe offered a room for us to stay. We had no hesitation in accepting. It was just a free-standing room with a concrete floor, but it was a safe, warm place to camp.
The penultimate day was cool and overcast with a brisk tail wind. With 157km to go down the main road, if we really wanted to finish the journey, it would have been possible to get it done and arrive two days early. However we were in no great hurry and took our time.
Finding a campsite near the main road wasn’t going to be easy, so, after 77km we turned off the busy road and took a diversion towards the Pacific Ocean for one last time. The dirt road was sandy and corrugated as it wound a path over what would have once been sand dunes, 15km to the beach. It was a magical ride, such a contrast to running with the traffic along the MEX1. From the small lighthouse we headed south on a rough unmade dirt road, running parallel to the coast.
The campsite we have chosen for our last night of this tour is beside some ruins of a farmhouse, adjacent to a dry creek bed. Sheltering from the wind, I can just hear the waves crashing on the shoreline.
Tomorrow we will continue along this rocky, stony track, perhaps for about 6km, before rejoining a graded road for about 40km, and then finally back on to MEX1 and into La Paz.