El Arco to San Ignacio
JT and I bid farewell to Greg and Guy and we turned our front tires for Vizcaino. Leading out of town is one small dirt road signaled by a hand painted and very faded sign. I glanced at the GPS and thought the 22 miles would go by fast as the road was very easy on our bikes. Not more than a mile into the trip, patches of sand began to appear. At first they were very short stretches and not to terrible. These sand patches began to appear more and more frequently, were of longer duration, and had deeper sand. I found myself gripping the bars tighter and tighter. The strain and discomfort in my muscles of my shoulders began to creep in and I felt like one large, knotted ball of fibers.
The only relief came when we would hit good stretches of road and I could relax a bit. On one of these, I was admiring the desert beauty when I hit a patch of sand, did the swerving thing several times as I tried to right myself, then slowed to about two miles per hour and lost control of the bike. I was pitched from the bike into the sandy road, luckily completely unharmed. I stood up, looked at the bike for damage (none), then looked for JT. All I saw was a dust cloud. The desert swallowed him up.
I quickly righted the bike and set off to find JT. We have a rule about trails. When one arrives at a fork, he is to stop and wait for the other. I arrived at a section that split off into three roads all seemingly paralleling the others. JT was not there. Which one did he take? Why didn't he stop and wait for me? Which one should I take? My mind raced.
In the Baja desert, it is very common for the locals to "make" their own side road so as to get off of the ruts, washboards, and deep sand. Maybe this was the case here? Nelson and Goldman were expert trackers and it is well recorded that their tracking abilities had saved their lives several times. So, thinking like them, I dismounted and set about to find JT's tracks. There were several other bikers on the road previous to us and we had marveled about how they were able to negotiate the sand pockets.
The tread patterns on our bikes are strikingly different, however, and it didn't take too long before I found which road JT had taken. It was the road on the far right. Interestingly, the middle and right roads did rejoin and that was the correct road to Vizcaino. If we had taken the road to the left, who knows where we would be.
It took a while, but we managed to get back to the highway and into Vizcaino for Kenny's Fish Tacos. We arrived at noon, just the right time for the best fish tacos in all of Baja. When we saw that Kenny's taco truck was not where it was always parked, we noted a new store and parking lot in its place. We set out to drive up and down to main road in town to find him, but struck out. He wasn't at his house either. Bummer!
We settled for tacos from another vendor nearby and made the decision to push on to San Ignacio. The wind was blowing at about 20 knots, dust was being kicked up, and we were tired. San Ignacio it was.
We found a room at the Desert Inn amid the beautiful date palms and lagoons. We needed a shower, means to charge all of our cameras and electronics, and to download and send data. Well, the power was out in the entire pueblo. No power to charge equipment. This also meant no water, since most of the town relies on pumps for their water.
We were saved several hours later and we proceeded to take care of business.