Shaken, if not stirred would sum up our arrival in San Quintin after a relatively short (40 mile) ride from Colonet this morning. Thank heavens for Ortlieb’s fantastic pannier attachments which kept our luggage firmly on the bikes despite the shocking road surface and the frequent need to scoot off onto the adjacent dirt track. This section of Highway 1 is fairly narrow, with one lane in each direction and is virtually devoid of a shoulder. When two trucks or buses are passing each other the only safe thing to do is bailout and bump along the dirt. The road runs dead straight for as far as one can see, which rather adds to the speed the traffic goes and is oddly soul destroying to cycle.
Vineyard between Santo Thomas & Colonet
Sadly the scourge of modern living in the form of plastic bottles, bags and broken glass festoon the sides of the roads and the towns; there is litter everywhere. Trying not to cycle on the glass shards is almost impossible.
The people are very friendly though and go out of their way to be helpful. After a hilly but less heavily trafficked ride on better roads, mostly with a shoulder, we arrived at last night’s delightful little hotel (Hotel Paraiso), a couple of miles out of Colonet. To our dismay it was the chef’s night off and the restaurant was closed. The manager, Manuel (no sign of Basil, Sybil or Polly) not only drove us into town and back, but also negotiated the purchase of a rotisserie chicken, rice, salad and salsa from a family on a roadside stall, and introduced us to the delights of authentic Mexican street Tacos – we shared a beef one as a starter. Very good it all was too.
Strawberry Pickers in action Colonet – San Quintin
Our ride today passed miles and miles of strawberry farms with lines of pickers brought in by bus. Stopping nearby to take off some layers and don the suncream, a young picker came over to ask us where we were from and give us each a couple of the most delicious, juicy fruits just bursting with flavour.
It has been quite cold at night and first thing, then warmer and sunny as the day wears on. However things should improve as we head ever south, both in terms of temperature and the volume of traffic which we are assured gets less further on.
The combination of a generous slathering of suncream, top-dressed with roadside dust results in us looking like a right pair of ragamuffins and very grateful for hot showers at the end of each day.