Thank you, Glenda, our WarmShowers host in La Paz. We are so thankful for the network of people who host cyclists passing through their hometown. We typically use WarmShowers in larger cities. It takes a lot of stress out of arriving in a city when we know where we’re staying. Many hosts have toured by bicycle as well, others have not, but have an interest in travel or just a good heart to host the weary traveler. Now that we’re outside the US it’s also a good opportunity to practice our Spanish.
La Paz’s Malecón
We’re taking an overnight ferry across the Gulf of California to Mazatlan. We left at 5pm and will arrive tomorrow at 11am. The ferry only runs three times a week. Our Mexico guidebook said to buy the tickets weeks in advance. We’re never really sure about our itinerary so we just showed up at the ticket office yesterday at 4pm and crossed our fingers. $228 dollars later, we had our passenger tickets, tickets for our bikes, and a private cabin! We were really lucky they still had a cabin because the on-line reservations said they were full. Otherwise our trip would be spent in seats that are in-between those of a movie theatre and an airplane.
Going through security at the ferry terminal with the bikes was a bit of a cluster. They sent us through the passenger checkpoint rather than the vehicle security. It was a similar setup to airport security, except we didn’t have to take off our shoes. Imagine us rolling our bikes up to the baggage scanners, removing the bags from the bikes, pushing the bikes to the other end of the scanner belt, and then putting the bags back on the bikes as they reappeared. The area is very small and there’s no place to stand off to the side to disassemble and reassemble ourselves. Meanwhile we’re holding up the entire line of passengers because there’s only one scanner. I’m not exactly sure what they were looking for because we got through with two MSR bottles of gasoline, multitools and a knife, among other threatening things, like two boxes of juice and an unmarked bottle of shampoo exceeding 3.4 ounces.
The cabin is the best $40 ever spent. We don’t know where we’d have put all our stuff otherwise. I’m pretending we’re on a cruise. The room is tiny, but has beds and a sink. Toilets and showers are down the hall. We had to leave the bikes down below with the vehicles, which necessitated carrying everything else with us to the upper decks lest it be carried away by someone else during the trip. I’ve never had to carry all my gear in one load. What the heck are in these bags, anyways?! Snacks. Lots of snacks. This is in addition to the dinner and breakfast that’s included with our tickets. We’re going to be away from land for 18 hours (8 of which we’ll probably be sleeping). Apparently we plan to spend the other 10 hours eating.
As the ferry pulls out of the harbor we bid farewell to Baja and watch the sun set over the mountains we were in, just a day ago. I’m excited to get to the mainland, it feels like we’re starting a new chapter of our journey. I just hope my body considers the gentle sway of the ferry to be soothing. Those enchiladas I had for lunch aren’t going to look any better the second time around. I hope we don’t regret not packing dramamine.
postscript: The shower on the ferry had the best water pressure and was the hottest I have had in Mexico! And I’m glad to report there was no seasickness – team WanderWheels has good sea legs.