Our little vacation at Don Eddie's ended with the sad realization that we had to get back on the road, specifically the dirt road of our nightmares. Luckily, this time we knew what was coming, the general level of frustration was kept to a minimum. We were thrilled to rejoin with the highway (asphalt!) and soon realized that we were most definitely headed away from the Pacific and into the desert. It being Monday, there were hardly any cars on the road. For long minutes on end we rode along with barely a sound, just our legs pedaling and our chains squeaking. Barren landscapes all around, mountains to the left, brown dust to the right, all in all a very different world from what we were used to.
So here's a little summary of how we made it into Mexico. Alex and I flew back from Germany on the morning of June 1, over London and into Los Angeles. So far, so good. What was not so easy was the fact that I am officially without a visa, which can make it pretty tricky to get back into the country. Now we've heard horror stories (read: the internet) that people in my situation have been sent back home after being suspected of trying to sneak into the US. “Oh, you're traveling with your girlfriend, are you trying to marry into the US? Forget it, buddy, back to old Deutschland with you. I see you used to work here, are you trying to snatch a job away from a hardworking American? No chance, fancy pants!” That's why we decided that I would continue on to Tijuana by plane, and thereby prove that I am indeed not trying to sneak back into the US.
Fresh off the train from Santa Barbara, we arrived in Los Angeles and were picked up by our friend Katie. That is, Alex was picked up, I navigated both of our bikes through two miles of dense urban landscape to the nearest bike shop. In the meantime, Alex and Katie shoved all eleven of our bike bags into Katie’s car, and accomplished some sneaky maneuvering out back of the Amtrak station to acquire two cheap bike boxes. We rendezvoused at a bike shop downtown, dropped the bikes off for a tune-up and box-up for our impending trip, and crossed our fingers that nothing would go wrong. What trip, you ask? Well, sit tight and I might just tell you later on.
Bikeless (and seemingly weightless), we then arrived at Katie’s apartment, freshened up, and pretty much immediately started feasting and drinking. Hooray for good friends and alcohol! But seriously, a huge thank you to Katie for being a great hostess, able-bodied chauffeur, much needed wine provisioner, and in general helping us tie up a lot of loose ends.
(The past few weeks have been a little crazy, what with several flights, border crossings, weddings, and the like. We’re a bit behind on the blogging, but long stretches in the deserts of Baja will help us catch up. In the meantime, we want to give a shout out to a few friends who are embarking on adventures of their own: Annie and David, who are heading to Chile to teach English for a year, and Laura, who is enjoying a summer backpacking trip in Europe. Enjoy!)
Monterey was but a distant memory when we left town on the famous 17 Mile Drive, a beautiful patch of land right along the water on the peninsula. What makes that sweet ride somewhat bitter is the sight of hundreds of old white dudes in dumb baseball hats and even dumber khaki pants playing golf on what could be one of the prettiest places along the California coast. We’ll show you the pretty parts, without the golf carts: