Set off the next day into the centre of Baja through different landscapes. Large cactus in arid hills. Climbing higher into a more rocky terrain, before a more open plain. There are very few settlement here but we stopped at one for a cup of Nescafe (don't seem to do real coffee here) and a pastry. They had just relocated the gents, digging a hole and placing the outhouse on top. Very clean and sweet smelling. As I mentioned earlier there is no petrol station for this stretch of 210 miles but at some of the settlements there are people selling petrol from the back of pick ups. They drive to the nearest station and fill up 50 gallon drums, and then charge a premium for their trouble. If you need petrol any premium is going to be cheap.
At Guerreco Negro we cross into Baja California Sur and changed time zones. Instead of getting dark at 1730 it now gets dark at 1830, a great improvement. All the way down the MX-1 there are military road blocks that are place in the middle of the road sending you off to the side into the rough gravel and sand. They are made of tyres, cemented together, with tin roofs. They are manned by very young soldiers, in dessert khaki, fully loaded, who don't seem to be that interested in us and let us through without any trouble. All the way along this road (and it is the only major one in Baja) we have been seeing pick up trucks with off road cars and bikes on trailers coming back from the Baja 1000. Apart from the lorries that has been most of the traffic.
The scenery changed again into rather boring flat dessert, with dead straight roads that finally took us to San Ignacio and our resting stop for the night at the 'Rice and Beans Motel' where we laid our heads for the night. We met Ollie and Alex, two Germans giants who even made me feel small, travelling from Alaska to the bottom of South America on a GS 1200 and a KTM 990. The KTM got through rear tyres every 4000 miles, chain and sprockets every 10000, had to have fully synthetic 10W50 oil that was nearly impossible to find, and took 45lts of fuel to do the same as the GS did with 35lts. Despite all these financial drawbacks Ollie said it was fun to drive.
We had spent the last 6 days since leaving Big Sur moving on every day, nearly 1200 miles of moving on. It was like we were running away from the states and the Mexican boarder, afraid to stop in case we were attacked by drug smuggling banditos, so we told ourselves that we needed to slow down and enjoy what Baja had to offer, so spent the morning looking round San Ignacio. There was a very nice camp site on the way in off the highway, set under date palms by the river, and the square with the church was beautiful. Here is the history and the alter piece. I liked the Cherub hanging from the dome and the shaded tree lined square outside.
Here we met David and Heather from Belfast NI who were on their way back from competing in the Baja 1000. David drove a rented Honda 450 in the solo class taking 39 hours of non stop driving. This was the 4 time he had competed, the first time took him 54 hours and he lost all his finger nails on his right hand due to vibration, this time he thought he might get away with loosing only 2. Heather his wife and back up team wasn't quite so enthusiastic about the adventure, wanting new fascia boards on the house, which next year she might get.
We also met Michael and Goorst from Denmark who were riding on bamboo bikes
from Alaska to the bottom of South America for www.cycleforwater.com. While having a coffee we started talking to Boris and Nina from Germany who had brought a van in New York for $1000 and spent the last 6 months travelling around the states and Baja. They gave us some useful tips on Baja Sur which was much appreciated.
Finally leaving the square we headed to Santa Rosalia which was built by a French mining company and had some very pleasant architecture. We also found the prefabricated Church of Santa Barbara, being restored at present, designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1874 and constructed in 1887. It left Paris in 1879 and found it's resting place in Santa Rosalia in 1895. Don't know what happened to it between times. All made of pressed steel panels with stained-glass. Having found out information about the ferry from here to Guaymas on the mainland in case we wanted to go that way, (Motorbike 1350, adults 605, leaves Tuesday/Wednesday at 0900, Friday/Sunday at 2000) we headed down along the Bahia Concepcion, an inlet of water off the Sea of Cortez to find a camping place, as we had been told that camping on the beach here was possible. 11 miles south of Mulegé we saw some houses down a track so followed it to Playa Los Nananjos where we rented a cabaña for the night by the sea, watched a striking sunset, and then the moon rise before settling in for the night.