The afternoon of that first day on my trip to Mexico held even more surprises. We played enchanting native survival games including “dodge the road-kill,” “trick the truck driver,” and — my favorite — “don’t fall off the @#%*& cliff.”
I don’t know which was worse the end of that first day — my pain or my anger. Suffice it to say that marital relations were not even discussed upon retiring.
I jolted painfully to consciousness the next morning, ruefully remembering the brochure’s promises. “Awaken refreshed — to gentle semi-tropical breezes?” (in this case, gale-force winds carrying grit and spatters of rain) “–in anticipation of another lovely day of carefree cycling” (in anticipation of learning whether my legs would ever bend or bear my weight again).
Realizing the degree of my dissatisfaction (and, no doubt, wondering if we would ever have sex again after the way I treated him the night before), Stan was solicitous throughout the morning. We lunched and rested in the town of San Ymingano, which, translated, means “resting place for those with sore crotches.”
Kinks Get Worked Out
In spite of myself, the kinks did work their way out of my legs, and the afternoon was better. Better than what, I cannot say, but my mood and state of exhaustion were such that I was able to consume not one, not two, but almost three plattes de combinacion at dinner that night, before falling into an exhausted coma-like slumber.
The third day was my best yet, and I must admit Stan taking on a case of Montezuma’s revenge enhanced it. Of course, he continued to ride. I felt a more-than-appropriate surge of energy each time I saw him abandon his bike on the roadside and trundle off into the desert. Poor baby.
But alas, he was feeling chipper by Day Four, and not even the return of the “rain showers” (read: “flash floods”) could daunt his enthusiasm. By Day Five, I was staring at the varieties of local cacti, mentally gathering materials for a Stan Doll in which I would stick pins at the end of the day. Perhaps I would make one in the likeness of our ride leader, too.
The “quaint villages” blurred into an overlapping sequence of blips in the road with vaguely cerveza-sounding monikers like San Miguel and El Corona. But I was feeling stronger, and only rode in the sag wagon for half a day total (that?s all I could take — the taco-tossing bumps in the road were even worse from the interior of an airless, windowless, shockless van).
I never thought I would hate downhills more than uphills, but bicycling Baja changed my perspective. The grades were steep, the roads unbanked and shoulderless, and guardrails non-existent. In many spots, the crumbling roadway fell off to our right in a sheer cliff to the sea. Stan found these descents exhilarating; I knew death was near.
A Steep Descent
He looked like a dog with its head out the window, ears flapping in the breeze. I looked like the poster child for a brake manufacturer — “Our brakes can take constant abuse even under THESE conditions!”
The final day of this Adios Adventure, I awoke early, and gazed out at a breathtaking sunrise just beginning to grace the Pacific. The morning was quiet. I remembered the acres of flowering cacti we had seen the previous afternoon, and the little necklace Stan had bought for me when we stopped in Los Whatchamacallit.
At that moment (I didn’t yet realize that our luggage would be stolen at the airport and MY case of Montezuma’s was yet to follow), I reckoned it had all been worth it.
That golden sliver in time as the sun came over the water and my husband snored peacefully beside me, I realized that I was experiencing something — part good, part not-so-good — that most people would never experience. It was at that moment that I decided we would tour again. Something more flat, perhaps, and something less foreign, but definitely, something. The bug, as they say, had “bit.”