Monthly Archives: June 2011

It’s Hot…Milk Was a Bad Choice!

Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico (2,700 miles)

Apologies from the ConBigotes squad for not getting anything to our trusted 7 readers sooner, but we can’t get a damn wifi signal coming out of these Baja desert oven cacti.  It’s been umm, warm to say the least as we headed inland and southward towards the official division of Baja Norte and Baja Sur.  Ryan loves it and would probably say I exaggerate, but lugging my lardass around out here gets taxing and i overheat like a camel that is spent from walking tourists past the sphinx.  A bit of relief today as we rest in the bustling whale watching and salt producing pueblo of Guerrero Negro and treated ourselves last night to the first hotel of the trip for a steep 225 pesos.  My overheated and over-itched skin says it was well worth it.

South of Ensenada has proven to be an interesting array of desert landscapes mixed with significantly underdeveloped pueblos with little more than water, some local veggies and some dusty plotches of ground to lay the tent.  Other than San Quintin, where we were treated to intrigued children in the town park who helped us set up our nightly tent home, let us name their bikes and proved true to their word by bringing us breakfast tacos the next morning, interaction has been few and far between over the last week.  It’s made for a good strong push of riding through Valle de los Cirios (unconfirmed translation = valley of boulders and cacti) and other sweltering desert mesa views.  I’ve lost just under 112 pounds and Ryan’s beard grows exponentially with sun, the lucky bastard. 

Baja Norte has come and gone as we’ve graciously as well as courageously fought through desert winds and sands.  It’s decision time for the team as we will soon lurk towards the Sea of Cortez and potentially even warmer weather, but better beaches.  Crossing over to mainland Mexico will come in either a few days by ferry in Santa Rosallia to Guaymas or further south into the Baja kiln at La Paz bound for Mazatlan.  We will be sad to leave Baja and its sometimes lonely charm behind, but it has been good to us.  It’s eased us into riding with zero shoulder and closing your eyes to pray that the 18-wheeler barreling down gifts you 2 inches and also blessed us with hours upon hours of seeing nothing other than heat waves radiating over the crumbling asphalt.  Food rations have gravitated from copious amounts of pbj’s to tortilla wraps mixtures of tuna and/or refried beans combined with sometimes not so fresh cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and the key ingredient of lime.  The 8-speed trusty steeds are holding up swimmingly to the elements.  I’ve gone through nothing more than 3 chains and Ryan’s horse continues to prove worthy.   Having just typed that I am locating any wood to knock on as i’m sure ive just cursed us significantly.

And that should about do it for the time being.  Sorry to all who don’t read any of this and only glance at our amateur pictures, but seems this internet cafe computer doesn’t like to do that sort of thing.  Speaking of which, you all have cost us 27 pesos (slightly more than $2) for this post of no visual beauty so please expect to be recieving an invoice in the mail.  Miss all of your musks and here’s to hoping the Brewers hammer the Yank’s this week.




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Tights Shorts and Helmets in Baja

Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico (2,190 miles)

As we walked our bikes across the border from San Ysidro into Tijuana we were not bombarded by bullets or chased and shaken down by the Mexican mafia, as some might expect.  The most difficulty we encountered in Tijuana was in navigating the broken sidewalk on the wrong side of the toll road as we struggled to pedal west towards the coast.  Finally on the right side of the highway, we crested a hill and could see San Diego in the haze just a few miles north.  Goobye USA!  On to bigger, better, drier places.  A man with a badge and a whistle eventually kicked us off of the toll road, on which no bicycles are allowed (woops!) but luckily, the free road runs parallel.  After crashing a party full of ex-pats, we arrived in Primo Tapia to stay with the one and only Larry.  And despite eating the thumb off of Ryan’s glove, his pooch Tierra was sweet too.  A home-cooked Mexican breakfast and a cup of coffee on the porch overlooking the ocean was a great way to start the next day, and only about 40 miles stood between us and our next stop in Ensenada.  When tacos and beer are as plentiful as they are here in Baja, those 40 miles were not as quick as they could be, but we certainly were never hungry.  Here in Ensenada, we are proud to be guests at La Casa Del Cyclista, which is filled with pictures, books, and travelogues of inspiring stories and adventures which make our journey seem quick ride across town. 

A few days ago we surpassed the 2,000 mile mark of our trip, and we celebrated the feat with a cold beverage.  Although six weeks and all of those miles have passed under us, it feels like the trip is finally just beginning.  We’ve left the comfort of the West Coast of the United States and are now in territory unknown to the both of us.  When travelling internationally, you’re reminded how far from home you are, even if home is just north of the border.  We’re looking forward with much anticipation to the next weeks and months here in Baja, then mainland Mexico, Central America and beyond. 



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Hasta el Proximo, USA…

Los Angeles, CA (1,950 miles)

We had to unglue ourselves from the city of San Francisco and get back on the bikes after three days of falling in love with the city and its orgasmic scenery. Fortunately, the Big Sur coast was there to cure such heartbreak. It was slowgoing down to Santa Cruz as rain and wind hammered against our sails and challenged the integrity of the tent poles and waterproofing. The first semi-major equipment snag added to the festivities as Ryan’s rear rack didn’t feel like making the journey any longer and snapped clean off. With two years and about 7,000 miles under its belt, the rack had lived a full life, and even stuck it out a few extra days thanks to a couple of hose clamps and zip ties. Luckily we were able to get a new, bomb-proof rack from our friends at Old Man Mountain in Santa Barbara.

Rolling into Monterey proved entertaining as the hiker-biker site at Vets Memorial Park was bustling with folks on their way north or south along the coast. Beverages, stories and a few healthy games of “telegraph” were exchanged. Strong tailwinds whisked us through Carmel into the north end of Big Sur as the sun and number of riders on Highway 1 seemed to increase exponentially. While barreling down towards the largest logistical challenge of the trip thus far, we still couldn’t get any relevant information on the extent of the massive landslide that had crippled the road just south of Gorda. Ryan and I pushed on as the sun went down and we persuaded the Caltrans workers to let us pass in exchange for a bottle of booze and a gentlemanly swap of hard hats for bike helmets. Fortunately, not a whole lot of convincing was necessary as we rode on and tried to find a place to rest before too much more climbing in the dark ensued. Some of the best riding of the trip came the day after due to the road closure and absolutely zero car traffic on one of the prettiest stretches of road in the country.

Ryan gave up the old wheels which also had two years and over 7,000 miles on them for a sweet new setup from Alan at Cambria Bike. Apparently it was clear we’re on a long sojourn and a hamstrung budget as we were given the significant touring discount barely having to ask. Bike shop experiences like that earn you a button on the blog side bar. After a long day into and out of San Luis Obispo, we bumped into the familiar faces of Vicky “vickshow” and Gwen “gwendo” who provided 2 days of laughs, strong riding and persuasion into the still freezing water of the Pacific instead of a $1.00 state park shower.

The ConBigotes squad crawled into Los Angeles Friday afternoon with mild hangovers and marginally sun drenched skin. We blame the LaVere’s in Ventura for a fully loaded liquor cabinet and the best goddamn home cooked meal of the trip. In any event, a celebratory Mike’s Hard Lemonade (that’s all that was in the fridge) was necessary as we’d made it Los Angeles and the old apartment on Glenville Drive.

I’m sitting here staring at that number. 1,950 miles. I remember when Johnny and I drove “Carol”, my 1990 Corolla, just over 2,200 miles back to Madison thinking “Jesus, we’re going to have to bike over 5 times this amount to get to Ushuaia.” Truth is, as much seemingly monotonous time as we spend peddling though the ups and downs of the passing road, it all goes by in a blink and it’s hard not to want to have it all back. To share a beer and a hug with all of the folks, riding or not, who have etched their own part into our memory banks and induced smiles along the way. It is hard to say goodbye to all of them along with the US coast, but we fully anticipate more to come as we head towards the Mexico border and the barren coastal desert inferno of Baja that we’re sure to encounter.

-ConBigotes (Longtime supporters of spf 50 sunblock and varied jam flavors)


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Chronicles of the “Oreg-ornia” Coast

San Francisco, CA (1,488 miles)

It’s been a long two weeks and we’re long over due for a post or 6. Sorry to those who do give a damn about us for the lack of blog related communication, but internet is hard to come by when you live in a mobile tent. Anywho, currently in San Francisco thanks to the Ashley and Ryan McCalley residence, we have exactly 54 minites at the local public library to attempt to update you all on our whereabouts and recent goings on.

Sad to leave friends in Portland after a few days R&R we shot west towards the Oregon coast for some of the better trip scenery thus far and healthy tailwind. There, unbeknownst to us, we cought up with other swarms of riders on the Pacific Coast Bike route and moving State Part to State Park down the coast became life for a while. Kevin “don’t call him Robert” Hurst and Dan Zlotsky had the misfortune of riding with Ryan and I for a while. Kevin, a 52 year old 25 year old with better stamina then us all, was heading home for the Weaverville, CA area after a quick 2 week jaunt and Dan’o, a Brookl’onian dressed tastefully in all black attire and a freshly purchased Surly LHT, was headed down to LA. I could go on for days about the joys of these two gentleman, but to sum it all up, they were damn fine men and more often then not, put up with our shit.

The ticking clock of 31 minutes remaining at the library internet is bearing down on me like a black bear after our breakfast sausage, but thankfully even if we had a decade to explain how incredible the coast of Oregon and Northern California has been, we still couldn’t do it justice in times new roman font. Cruising through towns like Bandon, Newport and Yachats, Oregon along with Ferndale, Mendocino, and Bodega Bay, California is a healthy reminder of what quaint small town life would be like and damn near tempting enough to get off the bike and plant some roots for a lifetime. Along the way Ry and I crossed both the 1,000 mile mark and the geographic mid-point of Vancouver to the Mexico border which drove home the realization that “jesus this trip may actually be possible.”

You get into a rythym of sorts being out here where life essentially becomes a seemless combination of sunscreen, stretching, massive caloric intake and finding a place to throw the tent on a nightly basis. Seems we dont even have to tell our legs to churn out 80 mile days anymore and time goes by like the passing cars. It’s a unique existance and difficult to put it into words, but the spiderwebs on the map are the only guidelines and they show the future and the past.

The pseudo home of Los Angeles is next if we can navigate our way through the seemingly and unfortunately closed section of Big Sur. We promise to overload you with way too many pictures to explain along with calming your nerves about heading across the border into Mexico once we don’t have a time bomb ticking down for internet accessibility.



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