Thursday, 1 November 2007

Still heading down South; with dry, but puffy, eyes!

Phew! I almost expected a torrent of comments after my last blog entry, I'm glad there wasn't. It was so good to be reminded how hard I found it when I first set out from Ojai. There were days of enormous insecurity, miles of tear laden road, and an overwhelming desire to turn back and be with loved ones. I guess some things will take a long time to change, my grief over losing Cai will never change; I'm sure it will become more bearable though, as it has for much of the time already. For the support I received I am eternally grateful, all points made rang so true. I would feel a failure not to continue at this stage, the only reason being emotional desperation. I realised, to stop now could well mean an inability to continue at a later date. I need this for myself, to feel capable, competent and strong. I have no desire to punish myself, but that is only a state of mind; which I should be capable of controlling!

As there is only one main highway down through Baja that's been the route taken, we've had our little detours, as always; nothing is straight forward with me, eh? Since leaving San Vicente we've stayed three of the four nights at beaches, each has had it's distinctive points. Our first night away we travelled a dirt road, the intention to reach a beach with gorgeous sand dunes and miles of empty sand. We made it to the sand, no problem; it was getting through the sand that proved difficult. David got stuck in his camper, sunk up to the wheelbase. When signalled not to follow him I promptly got stuck myself, I bit of a push was all I needed; poor David had to jack the slug bus up and repack underneath the wheels. At least by the time he'd finished I had supper on the go, we made an impromptu camp in the dark and settled down for the night. Whilst I tried sleeping I suffered the scourge of the tropics, known here as, "el poquito mosquito bastado". Hence how I ended up looking like elephant man, bitten on both bloody eyelids and below the eyes. Gaddamn!

Our mileage has been fairly low, our travel quite slow. I'm content to follow the slug at about 50-55mph, slower for problematic occasions. we needed to blow the bus tyres back up after reducing the pressure after the beach episode, all the way back into San Quintin; at least we refuelled at the same time. Only got about ten miles though before an unscheduled stop, David could smell petrol in the cab, a fuel pipe had given up the ghost. No problem, gallant Sir Les to the rescue! I rode to the next town, 25 miles away to get a replacement. Why the next town? Simple I would have been too embarrassed to return, yet again, to S.Q. The ride forward was brilliant, lovely curvy roads, gorgeous views and a chance to spot another good campsite. We stayed a mere ten miles further on, atop a small cliff, overlooking a lively stretch of coast.

One of the most relaxing sounds is that of crashing surf. To sit and watch a myriad of birds is delightful, it doesn't matter whether you know what the hell they are; the pleasure is still immense for me. And what pleasure, the sun setting, Pelicans gliding mere inches above the surf, waders feeding at the water's edge and hot stew cooking on the camp stove. I think there is little that could have settled my mind better than this combination, it does take some beating; it certainly made me glad of the experience.

Isn't it strange, after so many experiences of wildlife in North America the sight of very common birds can still enthuse me with so much joy. But to watch these Pelicans in flight and feeding was truly delightful. In the morning I watched them flying in formation, synchronised, skimming the ocean. As the lead bird ceased flapping so did those behind, as he started to flap his wings again they would follow suit. Amazing how such simple observations can fill me with delight, bring on a tranquility to carry throughout the day.

The whole of the Baja peninsula is desert really, but by no means is it even vaguely boring. No two area are quite the same, each day has seen a vastly different landscape; even from one hour to the next. For some reason when we think of desert we think sand, maybe some rocks and cacti, the odd snake or lizard. Pah, it's incredible just how much variety there is to be found. We had a long stretch of scrubby desert, tinder dry,blowing as tumbleweed along the highway. The earth was a browny mud/sand mixture, very course, interspersed with the odd cactus. As we travelled the number of cacti increased, and the soil disappeared, replaced by a jumble of rocks for as far as the eye could see. And today we were treated to the most amazingly beautiful soft sand, and jungle of immense cacti. This had a back drop and mountains, large and crystal clear on the horizon. Yes, I am alive, and very glad of it too.

The size of the cacti increased with the numbers, and the variety. The height of some were magnificent, easily 40 feet of more, and the girth was incredible. They are bigger than the average tree at home, how old they are is beyond my imagination. Cultured areas I thought were maybe for export, then discovered it is part of the local staple diet; though there are none on the menus I've seen in the restaurants. Its been a shame there are so few places to stop at the roadside, most edges have a drop of at least six inches, into steeply sloping loose sand. It's too dodgy to stop on the road itself, the first truck will flatten you, they don't stop for anything, except the Federales.

Here is yet another geodesic dome, it was a desert museum showing the flora and fauna of the local desert. It made for a brief respite while wondering what was wrong with the camper, it would appear they are more common than I would have thought. This one was a bit tatty from the Santa Anna winds, the struts were preformed metal bolted together. Hopefully our donations will help them recover the damage, though in Mexico it will always be, "manana" before anything is done.

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