April 20, 2015 | Posted in:Mexico, Sinaloa

2/18/15 La Cruz to Fishing Hut
53 miles

It’s strange how much more boring it is to be on the highway than side roads through the same scenery. Our next day was one big yawn fest filled with flat tires and not much else. Highways are also bad for tires because of all the tiny pieces of metal wire from truck tires laying around. We had ordered Brandy a new Armadillo badass tire, but the bike shop got the wrong one and, due to it arriving later than we were told it would, by the time we were picking it up, we didn’t have time to make any changes and have regretted that.

Lewis riding on the highway as it stretches endlessly to the horizon.

Ok, the highway has its beauty.

We GTFO of the campsite quickly to avoid our ant friends and started our boring highway day with Brandy stopping a hundred feet from camp to check a noise, forgetting she was clipped in and toppling over on the ground. We had a nice breakfast next to the highway in an SOS bench, woo! The shoulder alternated between silky smooth new pavement and stretches where they hadn’t bothered to put the final layer on because, hey, it’s Mexico, why the fuck not? These stretches were nice and bumpy and strewn with pebbles. The bridge joints had been built with the anticipation of completed pavement, several inches above the unfinished level, so there were stiff speed bumps on bridges, ya know, generally at the bottom of a downhill, right before going back up. For the beginner cyclist reader, this is the type of place where one might wish to conserve momentum as opposed to slowing to a near crawl to hump over some useless bump without your shit flying everywhere.

It's probably difficult to see, but there is a small gap in the fence in the middle. That way you can park over here, run across the SB lanes, climb over the Jersey barrier, then run across the NB lanes to get to that restaurant. Note that there are no shoulders in the center.

It’s probably difficult to see, but there is a small gap in the fence in the middle. That way you can park over here, run across the SB lanes, climb over the Jersey barrier, then run across the NB lanes to get to that restaurant. Note that there are no shoulders in the center.

Endless tomato fields

I talk a lot about how much I love the access to fresh fruit and veggies in Mexico, but the farming practices are nevertheless dominated by massive mono-crop pesticide farming. What makes the food here good is the sheer variety of crops that can be grown within a couple days’ drive, hence more, fresher food. Sinaloa is the veggie basket of Mexico and the coastal plain is filled with green, irrigated farmland. I may not be sold on factory farming, but I do enjoy cycling through the green landscape. There is something about agricultural landscapes that is calming to me. Despite all of the tomato farms, the tomatoes seem to be out of season and have proven to be fairly mediocre.

After the miles of farms, the highway goes through a large nature preserve that was kind of pretty, although it’s tough to enjoy the scenery with big rigs barreling past every few seconds. We are getting more and more out of the desert as the vegetation changes to small deciduous trees and shrubs with fewer cacti. We did quite a bit of climbing in the hot afternoon sun, passing several signs for a parking area that would presumably be at the top. Brandy was completely prepared to lay down in the shadow under a truck, but the rest area more matched my fantasy of a modern rest area with cold water faucets, bathrooms and shaded picnic tables with expansive views all the way to the ocean at which you could enjoy refrigerated beverages sold at the adjacent kiosk, complete with beads of condensation rolling down the side. Oh yeah, the picnic tables were also a great place to change yet another flat on, yup, the Flak Jacket tire (conveniently located on the rear). This was a great upgrade from the dusty, mosquito-infested strip between the highway and an irrigation canal where we changed one the day before.

An expansive view out over flowering trees to the seashore.

It’s tough to get angry at a flat when it happens here.

The road continued to provide when I finally found a Guia Roji road map at an Oxxo. You’d think these things would be sold at all highway gas stations, but this is not the case. I have been chasing this map for about a thousand miles through Mexico. I finally got it, although nothing too comprehensive, just a folding country map.

It’s always amazing how the touring cyclist life is one of vast contrasts. You bounce around from amazing to horrific to boring to beautiful from day to day, hour to hour and sometimes even minute to minute. We have been fortunate enough to have almost every tough and/or lousy day end on an extremely high note. Today’s dullsville, puncture acres was no different. The road seemed to want to make up for throwing us so many flat tires and the lousy, bug-ridden camping spot the night before. Did I forget to mention that we had to climb over barbed wire to get to it? How about the fact that every single growing thing was spiky despite that we thought we’d left the desert behind. Yup, even the thick main trunks of the trees we were hanging our hammocks on had thick rows of thorns to puncture our poor flesh. Perhaps I also forgot to mention how we were positioning our bikes in the dark and Brandy said, “we should shine the lights down to make sure we don’t run over any loose barbed wire.” A good idea, I thought just before taking another step into a rusty strand of barbed wire that tore a gash in my calf. This was our camp the night before. What wonders would await us tonight?

I was picturing something along the lines of the crappy spot we had the night before, while Brandy was envisioning some easily-accessible covered place where we could have a fire, really, she wanted a miracle. Late afternoon found us riding through a large flood plain fed by several small rivers. As we crossed one we happened to notice a small hut just below the highway next to the bridge with a faint path to a fence gate. This is the dry period so this seasonal fishing hut was long vacant. It was perfect. We were hidden from the road, with a place for our hammocks, a fire ring and plenty of flood dragged driftwood, and we had arrived with plenty of time to explore the vast floodplain and watch the sunset. There were even baskets to hang the food! Never mind the spiders who were unhappy to make our acquaintance. Luckily for them, I do not squash their type.

The day had drastically turned around in our favor, much like the following day would.

Lewis pushing the bike into the well-worn fishing hut.

It may not be the Ritz, but it's exactly what we wanted.

It may not be the Ritz, but it’s exactly what we wanted.

4 Comments

  1. Anson
    April 20, 2015

    So glad to hear you both are doing well. The fortitude of you two is nothing short of amazing. Look forward to more your travels ………….

    • Lewis
      May 8, 2015

      Hi Anson! Glad to hear from you. We have a backlog of tasks from being away from the internet for a month, but there should be some updates coming up.
      How are the pups doing? Did you find a place to relocate to?

  2. Mom
    April 21, 2015

    Glad to get another installment from you. Sounds like some rough riding and then barbed wire and spiders and ants… yikes. Love you two… Looking forward to seeing you.

    • Lewis
      May 8, 2015

      Yup, that’s cycle touring. Lots of ups and downs and you can go from total crap to total luxury in a matter of a day.