Trip Diary
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01/03 -Beautiful, beautiful rides along the ocean yesterday and today.

-We had our first big hill climb yesterday. One of the tandem couples, Al and Steve, live in La Jolla. Friends of theirs painted several "Welcome" messages on the shoulder that kept us going on the climb. What fun!

-Spent the night in San Diego at Campland by the Bay. Lisa's ex Jeff, is the news director of one of the local stations there. He and his crew met us at Campland and gave us great local coverage on the ten o'clock news.

-Today we crossed into Mexico. Border crossing no problem. The half-bikes went in with the pedestrians. We, and our tandem, went across with the big guys -- the autos, trucks and busses.

-We spent the night in our own king room overlooking the beach at the Rosarita Beach Hotel. Great place! They put on a big feast for us, followed by a pretty fancy floor show. Even the mayor turned out to greet us -- and invited us to come back in 2001.

-Love to all, L & D

01/05 -Fifth night. Freezing at night. Bike in shop having the rear wheel rebuilt. Hit a hidden, 3" high, concrete lip across the roadway. Rear wheel wrecked. Lisa almost wrecked from the impact. (Not really, just very sore.)

-Actually, we're both fine. But we're still trying to get organized and more efficient.

-Telephone service VERY difficult in Mexico. Hope you get this, and hope we can send more before leaving La Paz.

-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/07 -The night of Jan. 5, we were hosted by the whole town of Colonet. They have a central park with GRASS! (A rare commodity in Mexico.) They let us camp in their park, and the local women's club (kinda) prepared excellent and plentiful food for us to eat in their small, one-room school house.

-The Mexicans, all of them, are very friendly, kind and helpful. The drivers have almost all been very friendly. Most oncoming drivers toot their horn and/or wave. The drivers coming up from behind always wait for room to pass, and then give us plenty of space.

-Last night we camped in the dirt parking lot of a 14 room motel and RV Park in El Rosario. It was a beautiful day with many "character building" climbs.

-Another freezing night. We're glad we have two people in our tent to help warm it up. (No, not the way you might be thinking. After 137 kilometers of mountains, neither of us has any energy for extracurricular activities.)

-More challenging mountains today. Several crests -- each one higher than the one before.

-The scenery looks like high desert. Lots of barren, brown hills with lotsa cactus and other prickly things. We saw our first Giant Saguaro cactus today. Also "Boojum" cactus.

-Had lunch at a LITTLE restaurant along Highway 1 that's in the middle of nowhere. But then, everything down here is "in the middle of nowhere." I've never seen so much barren (but beautiful) landscape. The only thing that is plentiful is bicyclists. In most places, there're more bicyclists than cactus.

-Tonight, Jan. 7, we will get to camp INSIDE. What a treat! (For the uninformed, "camping inside" means we get to throw our sleeping bag on the floor--but it's within four walls and a roof. Even without a heater, it will be warmer than in a tent during 30 degree nights.

-Sorry for the lack of messages. Like I said before, we have not been able to make a phone connection to the US.

-Love to All, David & Lisa

01/08 -Kick back day! NO biking! YEAH!!!

-After 7 days of riding -- a welcome break.

-Again, I have to say, the Mexican people are very friendly. Though we don't speak their language, we have had very few problems communicating.

-Last night we paid for a private room. We did a full load of bike clothes laundry in our sink. We discovered that I lost (misplaced --probably forever) my bike gloves. I also confirmed that I left my shoes and belt home. I guess I'll do some shopping at the next big town.

-The landscape has changed a little. Still barren. Still beautiful. But now there are huge rocks and rock piles spread amongst the cactus.

-Catavina has one gas station (I don't know if it's open), three Mercada's - ranging from very, very tiny, to very, very, small. Lisa took my picture with the shop owner in the larger one.

-Now, we're sitting in the sun at the back of the inn. Think I'll join Lisa in reading my book.

-Love to all, David & Lisa

01/09 -Fairly short and easy ride today. No mountains to go over. The scenery is either high desert WITH cactus, or high desert WITHOUT cactus.

-Ate lunch at a tiny cafe called Rancho Chapala. GREAT huervos ranchero!

-We're told it will get REALLY remote and primitive tomorrow. That's hard to imagine. It will be much longer, though.

- The first rider uprise happened today. There are ten showers for 250 riders. The TK&A method was, just wait in line until a shower opens up. The riders decided to give out numbers for showers so people waiting can go and do other things instead of just standing in line for an hour.

-Massages were also a problem. Another case of "wait in line for your turn." The riders decided to have sign-ups for that, too. Again, it saves waiting in line. Time will tell how everyone will be able to get their share of massages.

-There's been a little attrition already. One rider broke his hip will getting ready for the trip. Another rider left after two days because he wasn't prepared to camp so much. Still another left because she realized after three days that she wasn't in good enough condition. And yet another had a hip injury from a fall.

-We're still going strong. Very tired at the end of the day, so we sleep well. --Love to all, David and Lisa

01/10 -140 Kilometers today -- mostly into the wind. Most of our ride in Baja has been into the wind. We expect more of the same tomorrow.

-Still meeting wonderful people in every store and restaurant. One even helped me fix a flat. I couldn't find a small leak in a tube. He led me over to his rain tub so I could check for bubbles.

-We crossed into the Mountain Time Zone today, so we lost an hour.

-Dinner last night in Parador Punta Prieta was outside, so it was really cold. But it was prepared by a local family who cooked all day in preparation for us. Then they stayed up all night preparing our breakfast.

-Tonight we ate in a local restaurant. A sit down dinner, no less. Then the Mayor, the local newspaper editor, and a representative from the Governors office greeted us. Then we danced a little. Now to bed.


-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/11 -155 Kilometers today. A long day. David bonked. Had to stop for more food and drink. Then we finished all right -- even through two, VERY steep hills.

-Had pancakes for lunch at the Restaurant La Huerta in Vizcaino. First non-Mexican food since we left the US.

-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/12 -Mulege (pronounced Moo-la-hay) is 147 Kilometers from San-Ignacio. We were so beat from yesterday's ride (and from not eating enough yesterday) that we decided not to bicycle today. We got a local with a mini-pickup to give us a lift. He charged 600 Pesos (about $60) to drive six of us with our five bikes into Mulege. -It was well worth it. There were some pretty big climbs on the route. Since tomorrow is a layover day, we'll have two days of rest before starting again.

-To further help us enjoy our time here, we rented a room in the Hotel Serenidad -- a beautiful resort located where a river meets the Sea of Cortez.

-In a walk along the river today, we met a man from Vancouver BC who comes here every year for the winter months. He told us a lot about the area. Tomorrow we'll explore the town. (Maybe we'll find a pair of sandals for me, since I forgot to bring any shoes other than biking shoes.)

-We had Pina Coladas today at the resort. The came in HUGE flat glasses, and they were W O N D E R F U L ! !

-Dinner tonight was also at the Hotel Serenidad and it, too, was very good.

-The days are getting a little longer, and the weather is getting a little warmer. Still freezing cold at night though. (Glad we have a room with a fireplace.)

-Well, Lisa has fallen asleep and my head is nodding.


-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/13 -This was a "kickback" day. Washed and hung our clothes in the morning, then laid down to take a 15 minute nap before heading into town. Awoke two hours later. Must of been tired.

-We walked to town -- about two and one half miles -- longer than we thought. Mulege is another cute little town. It has the obligatory town square. It even has cross streets.

-No, we didn't find shoes for me (David), but we did find a fantastic bakery. The owner -- an American expatriate -- said it's the best bakery in all of Baja. From the sampling we had, we believe him. We asked him how he became a baker. He said, "I'm not a baker. I'm an auto mechanic. I couldn't buy bread in town, so I set up a bakery." Quite a character.

-From there, we went to an ice cream parlor and had some really delicious home made ice cream. Then to a little store for a few necessities, then headed back to our room.

-We hitched a ride with an investment broker from Oregon. Found that he was semi-retired and was visiting his brother-in-law who has a place on the river. This was his first time here. He usually vacations in mainland Mexico.

-We spent the rest of the day laying by the pool, reading and chatting with other riders,

-Had another fantastic dinner, then back to our room. I (David) was not feeling too well. I'll try to get lots of rest tonight.

-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/14 -I (David) was sick all night last night. Two hours of the runs, then two hours of barfing, then six hours of aching and no sleep -- so we rode the SAG to Loretto.

-It was a beautiful route -- much of it along the Sea of Cortez. It was curvy, mountainous and very scenic. We were both sorry we didn't get to ride the route.

-Staying at another La Pinta Hotel tonight. Third one. This is what TK&A calls "indoor" camping. We can set up our tent in open, outdoor, hallways -- or on the grounds. It's quite a sight to walk down the "halls" and see wall-to-wall tents.

-Because I've been so sick (I even barfed during the SAG ride here), we have rented a room. We are right on the beach and have a view of the sea, as well as a small cruise ship anchored offshore.

-In spite of that, Lisa and I are going to lie down and take a nap, since we're both tired from last night's ordeal.

-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/15 -Another long day -- 148 Kilometers. The first 40 followed along the Sea of Cortez, the next 40 turned West and we climbed the mountains to some 1,300 feet, the next 40 were downhill with rollers, and for the last 28 we turned south and INTO THE WIND. The last 28 were the toughest. (Since I was so sick yesterday, we only rode the second half.)

-The route was VERY barren and remote. Remember those small, tiny, and very tiny stores I wrote about last week? Well, today there were none -- of ANY size.

-Speaking of sick, many of the riders were sick yesterday. We think it may have been something in the food. Probably only in one batch, though. That would explain why everyone didn't get sick.

-Something I have forgotten to talk about so far is the dogs. There are lots and lots of dogs in every town but they don't chase bikes and they don't bark -- except at night. Late every night they have a very animated conversation for about two hours. (I make good use of the CSDA earplugs. Thanks you guys.)

-The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer -- both welcome events. In fact, this evening is absolutely balmy.

-I just heard that "the older lady with blonde hair," Cheryl, turned 65 today. Way to go, Cheryl!

-Tonight we're camping in an RV park just outside of town. It's run by an German couple. They run an Austrian restaurant out of their kitchen during the high season. (I think that means high-heat season.) It's not open now.

-So where do we get all the good food? It's always catered by some local family or group.

-Shorter day tomorrow, we're told -- and a totally remote camping area.

-Love to all, David and Lisa

-P.S. Thanks to all for the (short) messages. It's nice to hear from the home front.

01/16 -Today we KNOW we're in the desert -- and we know why Mexicans take a siesta from 1 to 3 every afternoon. At 1 p.m. today it was 108 -- and 200 crazy Odyssey riders were still on the road -- including us. We may be crazy, but we're not stupid -- at 2 we were sitting in the shade enjoying a Cervasa.

- Did I say yesterday that the "canine serenade" lasted two hours? WRONG! They start at night-fall, go strong for at least two hours, then intermittent for most of the night. Not to be outdone, the local roosters start their song about 2 a.m. Oh well. I guess that's life in the desert.

-We have an interesting fellow who has been with us on our trip down Baja. He lives in Mulege but he joined us in Ensenada. He is a 60-year old, former bicycle racer who lost one leg and one eye in an accident. He makes the trip from Mulege to Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas and back to Mulege every year in his makeshift (five cogs-seven gears), three-wheel, hand operated bicycle. He says (in Mexican) he has traveled all over Mexico in his "hand-cycle." He has nine children and 19 grandchildren.

-La Paz tomorrow. Hopefully the end of rice and beans for awhile -- and camping in the fine-textured, sandy, deserty dirt.

-By the way, in case you're wondering, we are still having a wonderful time.

-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/17 -Last night, in the elementary school grounds (where we camped) in Las Positas, we had a Birthday Party for everyone for the year. (I know, it sounds stupid, but It was fun.) Everyone contributed a gift into a big box, then we sang happy birthday to everyone, then we each drew something from the potluck box. We scored big. Lisa got a new bicycle tube and I got a jar of PEANUT BUTTER -- a scarce commodity around here.

-The ride today was 123 KM's. It started with gentle rollers. Then we had a long series of climb-and-flat, climb-and-flat, climb-and-flat. Finally we topped a crest where we looked down on the town and bay of La Paz. That was a beautiful sight -- and the start of a beautiful and long downhill into town.

-It was a good riding day, but we're a little sore. Guess we're not quite "seasoned" enough yet. We'll get there, though.

-When we pulled in today, we will have traveled about a thousand miles on Mexico Highway 1 -- and we have reached the end of the first stage of our Odyssey.

-We have to say that all the Mexicans that we have met in the small towns, the small restaurants and the small stores -- and most of the drivers on Mexico Highway 1 -- have been extremely helpful, friendly and courteous.

-Tonight we have a private room on the fourth floor of a luxurious resort hotel in La Paz. Our room looks west over the bay, so we see the beautiful sunsets, and looks down on the two swimming pools. It's a nice place for a break -- and tomorrow is a rest day.

-Tonight we found that the hotels provided by TK&A in San Jose, Costa Rica, and in Panama City, Panama, will be three to a room. Since we prefer to have a private room whenever possible (our roommate in Burbank was a loud snorrer), we arranged with two other couples to sign up for a two rooms. Then, when we arrive at a place where three-to-a-room is the standard, we'll rent one more room, and split the cost three ways. Then each couple will have a private room.

-We've met lots of nice people so far. Of course, there are a few jerks, but we just don't mix with them.

-Good thing tomorrow is an open day. We need to buy a few things. First is shoes or sandals for me, since I didn't pack mine. Next is new bike gloves for me, since I left mine in a restaurant about a week ago. (Been wearing winter gloves through the desert of Baja.) And finally, perhaps a Coleman air mattress to replace our leaky one. (We can't find the leak, but after about four hours, we find ourselves lying directly on the ground. One rider suggested taking the blown-up mattress in the pool and looking for bubbles. We may end up doing that. I'll let you know tomorrow.)


-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/18 -Kickback day. Strolled around town. Bought a few necessities. Bought a few non-necessities -- all edible. Did the laundry. Reorganized our stuff for the next leg of our journey.

-Tomorrow at 6 a.m. we pedal to the airport to catch a flight to San Jose, Costa Rico.

-Remember the sixty-year old, one legged man, Antani, who has been riding with our group since Ensenada? Well the group took up a collection during the last-few days. Tonight at dinner, we presented him with an Odyssey 2000 shirt, jacket and helmet -- and the promise of a new hand-driven recumbent bike. He was sure happy -- and there were many tears of joy from the riders.

-Got to go now. There's a must-attend group meeting starting soon where we'll hear about getting out of Mexico, getting on the plane with our duffle bags, our carry-ons and our bicycle, and getting into Costa Rico.

-Love to all, David and Lisa

01/19 Somewhere Between the Marina Hotel in La Paz, BCS, Mexico and the Best Western Iruzu Hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica, South America

-Before I forget, let me tell you what happened as we pulled into the outskirts of La Paz:
We stopped at a traffic signal. A man -- looked and talked like he could be an American tourist -- asked if Lisa was "Judy Montage" or if we knew someone by that name. He gave us a note to give to her. It said, "Judy Montage - I won you in a poker raffle at Los Arcos." (from her husband last night, he said) "Call Alfonso. 4 2733"
Weird, huh?

-10 a.m. -Since this is our first flight, I want to record the details on how goes. Tim, Karen-Ann and Brit-Simone are operating in their usual manner of extreme control and micro-management. Last night they told us: breakfast from 5 to 6; all gear loaded in the gear truck by 6:15; don't leave for the 15 KM ride to the airport before 7 (leaving us time for a 45 minute nap); the first plane will leave at 8:30, the second at 10:30; and read us the names of who was assigned to which plane.

-This morning, most riders left around 7 and arrived at the airport in about an hour. Of course, there was total chaos at the airport. TK&A had us separate into groups according to their list. Then we stripped our bikes of everything removable and turned the handle bars. Then we got our baggage together for checking in. Then someone found out that the airline (Miami Air) has their own passenger lists, and, of course, they are different. So, the word of the day (and the trip) continues to be -- be flexible.
-Now it's 10:30 MST. It sounds like they're making the last call for the first plane. Many riders are still loading their baggage for the second plane. Lisa and I have been reading for about an hour.

-Noon. The first plane just took off. Then Tim came in to say that some the bikes (including the tandems) and most of the support equipment wouldn't fit on the two 727's. He will rent another plane and come down tomorrow.

-Due to the late departures, we don't expect to reach San Jose before dark. Tim is trying to rent busses to pick us up at the airport and take us into town.

-1:30. We're off.

-3:15. We've landed in Acapulco, Mexico, for more fuel and food.

-4:00. We're in the air again.

-7:15 CST. Landed at San Jose, Costa Rica. It's a balmy 74 degrees outside.

-8:00. We're outside loading our gear and what bikes came onto trucks for transport to the hotel. We will catch busses and taxi's.

-9:00. Arrived at the hotel. Time to find out if our plan lodging worked. (The plan is simple. Since most lodging TK&A provides is three to a room -- including here -- we agreed with two other couples that, officially, the three couples would take two TK&A rooms. The first of the couples to arrive at the hotel would try to rent a third room, for which we would split the cost 3-ways. That way, each couple would have a private room at 1/3 of the cost of renting one separately.)

-It worked! Since Al and Steve (short for Stephanie, I think), were here first, they rented a third room -- so we each have a private room for the three nights here at 1/3 the regular cost.

-The hotel provided a nice welcome for us. They provided T-shirts printed with "Odyssey 2000 - Riding through the natural beauties od Costa Rica in the new millenium" along with a picture of a bicycle riding thru a rain forest. They had a couple teens ready to do a trick riding demonstration. And they had music lined up. Unfortunately, our arrival was about 4 hours later than anticipated, so we missed it. We got the shirts, though.

11:15. Checked in, picked up our baggage, and finally got to our room. Long day!

Good night.
Love to all, David and L

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