El Centenario, BCS to La Paz, BCS

10.7 mi / 10.6 mph / 145 ft. climbing
Home: Emmanuel’s AirBNB

Only a small coda remained as the cap to our successful Loreto-to-La Paz push, so we enjoyed a relaxing morning at our courtyard-connected suite of rooms at our suburban AirBNB. Except that a fifteen-minute segment of guilt and shame dumped my heart into my feet and shattered that relaxation.

The courtyard at Casa Cardon.

When Rett was on the phone with her recovering-from-surgery dad, Ian (who lives upstairs with his wife and young daughter) came anxiously to our kitchen doorway: “have you opened the gate? I saw it has been open.” I looked over my shoulder and saw that, yes, the big rolling gate in their walled property was wide open. WTF? We hadn’t opened it. Except…I reached in my pocket and pulled out the remote control that I had taken with me (for no good reason) when we went out last night. I must have accidentally pushed the button when I leaned against a counter. That was embarrassing, but the worst was still coming: “have you seen Cookie?” Cookie was the family dog, who had been obsessively following us each time we entered the courtyard to change rooms, including this morning. But suddenly she was gone. That’s when my heart really sank into my feet. Ian immediately jumped into his car, pausing only long enough to curtly decline my offer to join in the search.

Luckily Rett was distracted talking with her dad, so she didn’t really understand what was going on. Baja street dogs necessarily have a good understanding of traffic and “home”, but Cookie presumably lacked those street-smarts. Last night, Rett’s full water bottle had mysteriously disappeared from the courtyard table where I had left it. It took twenty minutes to learn I wasn’t crazy, when Cookie brought me a toy from near a bush in the yard, which sent me with my headlamp near that bush where I discovered that Rett’s bottle had been added to Cookie’s collection. I was trying to imagine how that sort of behavior would work out on the streets, and couldn’t imagine anything good. Only when I couldn’t take it anymore and told Rett that I was going to take my bike out to join the search, did her dog-loving heart sink at least as deeply as mine.

But then, suddenly, there was Cookie, right back in the courtyard, trying to nose her way into the kitchen! Luckily our hosts had their phone numbers posted right on the refrigerator, so I quickly called Ian and told him the good news that he could call off the search. He said that she must have been at the neighbors on their back side, and that had been the first thing he’d checked, but he’d been unable to reach them. So it had obviously been safer to operate under the assumption that she’d gone out the giant gate my dumb ass had opened.

Phew. Our hearts were able to resume beating and slowly inched their way back up to where they belonged. I still felt like an ass though for leaving the property unsecured and opening the potential for Cookie to get lost (or worse). We apologized as profusely as we could to Ian when he returned, and with his heart also returning to its normal position, he was very generous in accepting my mistake and making me feel like less of an ass than I deserved.

Yes, I would in fact bicycle down the Baja…I’m curious how many readers of the “Gringo Gazette” would though! This paper (out of Cabo San Lucas) was in our AirBNB, and seemed pretty useful for stupid gringos like us! The “Ask A Native (Mexican)” section’s question for this issue was “do you pay police officers a bribe when they pull you over?” Answers were about 50/50, ranging from “no, never, that just encourages their unlawfulness” to “it depends how much of a hurry I’m in”.

Once we got going, our decision yesterday to stop short rather than push on another ten miles felt correct. Traffic on the now-multi-lane road (including interchanges) was much busier and more-stressful than anything we had experienced in a long time, so doing it at the end of a long day might have been a bit too much. But Rett still impresses me with how quickly her urban riding instincts return, holding her own in this capital city.

La Paz!
Yeah, this is almost the same photo as the previous one, but I really need to highlight the clever design: “La Paz” (“The Peace”), a city on the Sea of Cortez, has a logo that can be seen as either a dove or a whale-tail.

Shortly after entering La Paz proper, we made a long-awaited stop at…Wal-Mart! Funny how a store that’s fairly undesirable to us in the U.S. is a big draw here. But it actually was much nicer than many of its sister locations north of the border. Starting with the shade canopies covering the parking spots (but no bike racks), and continuing to the clean and well-organized interior, it contained nearly everything we were looking for. A bag of Hershey dark chocolate chips (a snacking/dessert standard to me that tasted so good to me after a long absence), hummus, an excellent produce section, goat cheese, and other cheeses that led us to decide on doing a charcuterie tray for dinner.

A (curb-protected!) bike lane that parallels the main drag a couple blocks to the north. Haven’t seen anything like this since Ensenada (a statement that can apply to a lot of things in La Paz).

We picked up some pre-made sandwiches to eat on the Malecon (waterfront), and then headed inland for a mile, first up an extremely steep hill for a block, and then across atrocious pavement for the rest of it) to our out-of-the-way but inexpensive AirBNB where we will set up for five nights until our kayak expedition starts!

Rett and our bikes on the Malecon, which the bike path leads to/along, and is filled with benches, bike racks, and sculptures; again, civic infrastructure that was hinted at in Loreto, but feels like a different world than most of Baja.


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