Cycling to Rancho Maria Teresa :: The Questioning

Hwy 3, suddenly lacking a shoulder and drastically deteriorating!

Our second day of cycling in Baja California was a tough one.  The nice wide shoulders of the day before quickly disappeared and traffic was fast and heavy.  Throw two mountain passes, a couple of military checkpoints, and a fierce headwind into the mix and you’ll have two frazzled cyclists on your hands at the end of the day.

Although the scenery was spectacular, I couldn’t take the time to enjoy it, my attention fully focused on my rear view mirror, anticipating each furiously fast driver to be the one that would take me out forever.  To make matters worse, the transportation department of Mexico had permanently cemented hard plastic reflectors on the edge of the lanes every three feet.  These seemingly harmless reflectors not only prevented us from riding near the edge of the road but they also guaranteed a dangerous and ungraceful exit off the edge of the road while in motion.  I’m normally one to take the lane when necessary, but after a few miles it became apparent that drivers did not think my being in the middle of the road was reason enough to slow down, even with oncoming traffic bearing down on us.  Reluctantly given a front row seat to the worse reality horror show ever, I watched the drivers play one game of chicken after another as they passed me, and after clenching my teeth and steeling myself for a horrific death one too many times, I began to lose my composure.  In fact, I became a blithering wreck, frantically pulling off the road any time I saw a vehicle zooming up behind me, which was about every 60 seconds.

Hwy 3 South, Tecate to Ensenada

A not so lovely riding experience.

At the rate I was travelling, we would never make it anywhere quickly.  So I gathered my wits as best I could and started incorporating a technique of sprinting up the road in between heavy periods of traffic and pulling off when I saw a menacing line of vehicles approaching, then sprinting back up the road again, trying to make as much headway as my temporary charge of courage would allow.  I can’t lie.  These sprints were interspersed with periods of mild panic, tears and an intense repetition of the question:  what exactly is the purpose of my being here, doing this?!  It was all so overwhelming, the difficulty of it all, the recognition of my own frailty in direct opposition to my growing stronger with each mile cycled, the raw and fleeting beauty of my emotions, of life, of everything around me.  I didn’t feel ready to face down days like this.  What good was I accomplishing by going through this?

But after awhile I got used to the manic style of cycling and as I calmed down a bit, I was finally able to take note of the spectacular landscape.  The clouds were dancing in a brilliant blue sky and the mountains were cradling us, some brown and boulder laden and some lush and green.  It was all so gorgeous.  And as we sat eating our lunch, looking out over the most magnificent valley, a silent answer came sailing across the wind:  This is why you’re here, doing this.  To recognize the beauty and power in everything, including yourself, and to learn how to embrace every fleeting moment with gratitude, even the difficult moments.

Hwy 3, Tecate to Ensenada

Boulder-strewn mountains.

Hwy 3, Tecate to Ensenada

Dancing clouds, trying to distract me from my imminent death.

Hwy 3 South, Tecate to Ensenada

Miles of breathtaking scenery.

Kai, Hwy 3, Tecate to Ensenada

Lunchtime, when the wind whispers encouragement and food offers us strength.

We rambled our way through the mountains and eventually caught a break, coming upon a few miles of highway work, where we took the lane closed to traffic.  We passed through two military checkpoints without actually having to stop, each time being waved through with a smile.  Late in the afternoon we stopped at a roadside stand to ask how much further our final destination was and were overjoyed to find out that our posada (hotel) was only a few feet further down the road.  We celebrated surviving the day by buying a cup full of locally grown green olives and filling two of our Klean Kanteen bottles with the ice-cold freshly squeezed orange juice that the gentleman at the stand was selling.  Orange juice never tasted so good!

Rancho Maria Teresa was a beautiful place, and we were lucky to get a room on a Saturday night.  Unfortunately, the only room available was on the second floor, which required multiple trips of carrying all our gear and bicycles up the stairs.  But the peaceful room made up for it, with its white walls and simple furnishings, and its nice, firm, bed.  After a quick tour of the hotel grounds, and a unsatisfying, costly, dinner at the hotel’s restaurant (the only restaurant within miles), we went back to our room, had our olives as a bedtime snack and then fell into a wholly deserved deep sleep.

Roadwork in Mexico, our own lane!

Our own lane!

Santa Maria Theresa Posada, Baja

Santa Maria Teresa : Posada Inn

Santa Maria Theresa Posada, Baja

Fancy Smancy grounds of the Rancho Santa Teresa

Cat at Santa Maria Theresa Posada, Baja

Meeting the cutest cat ever, patiently waiting outside the restaurant door for scraps.

View from our room at the Posada Inn

View from our hotel room.

Our room at the Posada Inn

How could you not feel peaceful in this simple room?

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2 comments to Cycling to Rancho Maria Teresa :: The Questioning

  • I hate those kind of roads, if theres no back road alternative this is often a good time to take a lift/bus, less stress, less flat cyclists.

    Last night a cycled the trans kalahari hiway in the dark for a couple of hours, it was great because I could see the trucks coming from 12km away:).

    Good luck!

    • Hi Shane!

      To be honest, I would rather cycle than take a bus, regardless of traffic. I feel like I’m going to die ten times over when on a bus! But, I did consider flagging down a truck and hopping on the back for a few miles. 🙂

      It’s been more manageable now that we’ve gotten off the main roads. Heading into the remote areas and dirt roads over the next few days so will really experience life without traffic.

      Riding at night sounds wonderful. Are you getting any video of that? Would love to see the moonlit road and hear your ranting, random thoughts being recorded for all the world to hear. 😉

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