Distance – 127km
Total Distance – 338.4km
We hadn’t been able to get or BGAN satellite device to work, despite understanding how to work it, and WiFi in Ojos Negros was poor and intermittent. Eventually I managed to get an email through to Ground Control from whom I had hired it, and it turned out it hadn’t been activated – the result being that we should now be able to post information more readily and I haven’t been wasting my time lugging the device on my handlebars.
There are always bound to be issues such as this to solve to make these expeditions run more smoothly. As a result, we didn’t get going until about 10.30am, which put pressure for us to get to our next destination.
We rode out through some fertile farmland, gradually gaining altitude, one steep undulation after another. The vegetation started to change with more cactus plants and other succulents.
The route was again extremely rough and we had to deal with rocks and a lot of sand. Finally the summit topped out at 1042 metres and then we faced the most dangerous descent I have done. Lots of gully erosion, often filled with large loose stones and exceptionally steep – I fell several times (no damage though) and walked my bike for long stretches.
The mountains were absolutely spectacular all around as the sun sank behind them. Our route took us through barbed wire “cocky” gates (wire fence with a lever system to fasten the gate to the fence post.
Progress had been so slow as we could never get any speed up with thee tricky descents. As a result we cycled for about an hour in the dark, by the light of my powerful Black Diamond head torch. After passing through acres of vines – this is a good wine region) we were very pleased to finally reach Ejido Uruapan, a small village just off the main MEX1 highway (which runs the length of the Baja).
After asking around we were escorted up another steep hill to the town hotel, with no real ammenities other than a place to clean up, cook and sleep (very soundly).
Being a Sunday, nothing was open and we had to cycle 11km to get to the next reliable supply village, Santos Tomas. After refuelling and stocking up we set off up a series of switchbacks and worked our way towards the Pacific coastline for the first time. Nothing seems to be level on this journey so far – the mountains were changing though. More sedentary rock formations rather than the rugged stone formations of the first three days. Once we hit the coast, the road wound its way – rough stones and sand, (as usual) as we dipped down to sea level and back up maybe 30-50m.
Through all this, I have been having issues with the set up of my bags and load. The seat pack doesn’t really have enough clearance over my back tyre and even after repacking countless times and reducing the weight, I cannot seem to stop the tyre rubbing through the harness. Right now I have far too much weight on the handlebars and the higher centre of gravity makes handling in these rough conditions very tedious. I am working on it.