The 189 km ride to Playa El Paraiso, just north of San Felipe, wasn’t the most exciting highway ride, but I was still giggling with excitement about actually being in Mexico. The thoroughfare took me past mountains and eventually to the Sea of Cortez. About two hours after departing from Mexicali, I saw a giant sign for Pete’s Camp, pulled off the main road, let some air out of the tires, and rode down the somewhat packed sand trail to what seems like a gringo retirement community.
After setting up my tent, I sipped a beer at the bar and wandered back down to the beach for a nap. That evening, I met a couple of Canadian fellows named Joe and Kevin who had hauled their KTM dirtbikes down for their own adventures. They convinced me to join them for some swishy sand riding the next day to Jose’s bar. It promises the coldest beer available in the desert.. but Jose has neither a refrigerator nor any competition out there.
The Canucks’ toy hauler was a safe place to store my side cases and rotopax. We gassed up and turned down a road which started as packed sand and eventually became much deeper than I was prepared to ride in. After gently dumping the DR650 a couple of times in the deeper sand, I was told that the road was only going to get worse, and we had a long way to go. If I had better sand riding skills or a smaller bike with more appropriate tires, I like to think I would have kept going. The idea of limping this bike back to camp and possibly breaking myself before I was even a week into my trip was unappealing. Instead, I opted for frio cervezas y tortas con cebice de camerones y pescado back in San Felipe. Joe and Kevin scrapped their plans for a hard-earned, lukewarm desert beer and came along.
The fellas and I eventually returned to camp for hot showers, swigged beers and laughed into the night. The next morning, we snapped pictures of each other and exchanged contact information before parting ways.