Day 289: Amazing people of the road
Mexico: Santo Tomas to Colonet (then got a ride to Camalu 30km away)
Distance: 77 km
Time on board: 6 hours 13 mins
Average speed: 11.8 kmh
Ascent: 770 m
Descent : 879 m
Cumulative distance: 11, 213 km
You realise when you are out away from usa and Europe is when dogs chasing you. The memory of horrible dogs chasing me everywhere in Asia is back again. Unleashed and stray dogs chased me once again In Mexico. I am suspecting this will persist on all the way till Argentina. To deal with dogs, I carried small rocks in my pocket to scare them off when they get too close to comfort. At yesterday's campsite, the 2 resident dogs kept harassing me for food. One even peed on my longboard to mark his territory. Be sure to check for dogs at every campground before paying.
Last night's attempt to cook rice was a success. Put less water for cooking. The rice finally tasted like rice. Even fried an egg. The first ever. My parents will be so proud. I am becoming a master chef. Increasing my repotire of food means i no longer have to eat pasta soup with instant noodles every day as used in USA.
Today destination is estimated to be 80 km. With shortened daylight hours, sun setting at 4.30 pm, leaving me less time to skate before dark. What is more, today route isn't flat. I am passing through san Qunintin Valley which gives you the idea of the terrain. Woke up real early at 5.30 am. Planning to set off right at the moment of day break. However, I forget to account for the time taken to push up my loaded pushcart the steep slope in the campground. My wheels got stuck in gravel and toppled over to the side. Had to pick pieces by pieces and bring each piece to other side of road to reassemble. Found the screw on left side of my pushcart to be missing. Returned to the site of carnage to search for screw. Found it and attach it back. Ready to go at 7 am.
First 7 km was long gradual uphill which I never noticed until I started to push with some resistance. Fine as long as I didn't have to walk. Next 5 km or so, I have to walk up which takes me an hour or so. I studied the elevation chart the night before. This is the one big hill I must conquer. Bid my time to conserve energy, knowing once this is over, I will have massive downhill to make up for lost time. In life, don't frown if you are slow in the beginning. Once past the summit, you can make up for lost time.
Indeed at 12 km, a long downhill awaits me. A 15 km long subtle downhill that I need not to control much with brakes. I was cruising down at 22 kmh, easily making up for lost time. Only at 27 km, I have my first break, preparing for next climb. Back to cruising mode, til San Vicente at 38 km where I had to stop at Oxxo store for food. I never know when I will see the next oxxo store on the road. Target is to hit 50 km by noon. I was way on target. 38 km at 10.30 am. But better to take precaution to eat first. While having my hot dogs outside oxxo, Frank on his dirt scrambler pulled over to chat with me. He was heading to the mountains for some Adrenaline downhill biking off road action. Though Baja 1000 rally is over last weekend, the action still persist.
Checked the elevation chart, I am expecting 3 remaining summits. First is a tiny climb followed by 2 more big climbs. Each climb accompanied by a long downhill. I figured out how to tackle the hills. On the downhill before the climb, gather as much momentum, before I start to lose energy going up, I start pushing as fast as possible catching the momentum to ascend as high as possible.
On the last hill, stopped for another break. Spotted a figure looming near on the horizon, it was pietr the Italian cyclist I met yesterday. I expected him to be way ahead. This time, he didn't have any flat tires to slow him down. He made his way up the hill way faster than i could walk. Once at the last peak, it was all downhill for me till colonet. Along the way up, spotted a water slide in the middle of nowhere. Who would have thought to build a water theme park in the middle of nowhere.
At 67 km, while having a pee stop, a motorcycle with side wagon pulled over and start waving at me. I wondered why would anyone be interested to watch me pee. Apparently they met Jack Smith in Morro Bay and he told them about me. They are the girls from Ride4love travel. Stephanie and her companion is riding on motorcycle to Argentina. Not having to wager that they will be much faster than me. Finally get to meet them. While chatting on the road side, we can feel the dangerous situation we place ourselves into when monstrous trailers truck came zooming. We can feel the gust of wind and hear the roaring thunder made by these monsters of the road. Surprisingly I don't feel the threat when skating on the road. They usually gave lots of leeway for me cos I occupied the entire lane, forcing the traffic to divert to the next lane to overtake me.
Arrived at colonet, a dusty town. Sought to find accommodation for the night, either camping or a motel. There isn't a hotel I could afford. The only hotel is rather expensive looking. A old rusty Volkswagen pulled over. Daniel and Perla asked me if they could be of any assistance to me. I asked if they knew any place to camp or cheap hotels in this town. They immediately offered to invite me to their home in Camalu 30 km away. Only 1 hour before sun set, I could not make it for sure. They wanted to give me a ride but fitting my pushcart was an issue. That is why I never bother to ask for a ride ever since. What is more, theirs is a tiny rusty Volkswagen from the 70s. To my bewilderment, my pushcart did managed to fit in their car. So ya, for the first time since Ajchara in San Francisco, I got a ride. Before driving me back to their home, they had to settle some matters. Daniel's parents are pastors in Camalu. They are helping the church in running a project constructing a day centre for kids and single mothers. On the top of the hill, I could view the shanty built town. It was amazing how Daniel old Volkswagen could easily maneuver up the hill.
Once at his home, his parents made me typical Mexican dinner. Rice with mole, cactus, beans. Amazing people. If I persist on completing my record, I wouldn't have to meet all this amazing people. I would have just bull doze my way through, missing all the adventures and stories i ever experienced. Tonight i can sleep soundly in the house of God. Thanks to Daniel and perla.