The Big Sur adventure was the beginning of the last chapter of the journey through the state of California in the United States. The coast around Los Angeles and San Diego is very populated and here I would have less chance to do peaceful wild camping. The price for a spot in the state’s campgrounds rose from $5 in Oregon to $15 in southern California. The breaks at the beachside restaurants were mostly symbolic as a meal quickly amounted to $20. That’s just not a smart thing to do with my travel budget, although I took a coffee every now and then to be able to sit somewhere for a while.
The beaches were beautiful, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Long Beach and Newport Beach often have a bike path that sometimes winds over the beach, which is great for cycling.
What I really liked to experience were the community bike shops. A concept where you can do maintenance on your bike for a small financial contribution and that’s how I was able to replace my cracked rim in San Francisco. I was very unlucky because in Santa Barbara I found out that my rear axle had broken in this just repaired wheel. I heard a strange creaking and couldn’t place the sound at first, but immediately knew it was trouble. The axle was completely broken inside and I should have done maintenance earlier. Fortunately, I was offered a donated new wheel for $60 at the community shop Bici Centro of Santa Barbara. It was the solution to all my problems at the time.
I had a sweet encounter at a seafood restaurant on the beach near the Los Angeles airport. It was Oliver and he turned out to be a pilot with a German airline. He told me extensively about how he learned to fly a new aircraft in a simulator. We got into an interesting conversation and he then offered me lunch. That turned out to be a delicious fish soup that I took with me in my Food Jar to munch on later on Long Beach. That same day I also met Roy, who had sent me a message through this site. He invited me to Newport Beach for a nice dinner and we had an interesting conversation as well. He followed my journey already when I journaled my adventures cycling from Rotterdam to Singapore. I asked him what his thoughts were on my writing now compared to that journey. He told me that I had found more balance in how I saw and experienced things along the way, which I liked to hear very much.
It wasn’t long before I arrived at the US-Mexican border. I was prepared for a hectic transition. A law, “title 42” introduced with Trump’s controversial policies furiën the covid pandemic, was lifted in May. As a result, thousands of immigrants flocked to the border in the hope of seeking asylum. The physical border is a visible example of the tragedy of the separated worlds of the United States and Latin America.
Pollution is also a big problem. Tijuana, the border city, is higher, causing pollution from the water that flows from Tijuana into the United States. Mexico has fewer resources than the United States and also struggles with a lot of corruption to deal with this pollution efficiently. That makes it complicated. There are several border projects that attempt to bring the worlds closer together, often initiated and funded by the United States.
Strangely enough, it immediately felt good to be in Mexico. It is more chaotic and everything is happening on the street, like the famous carts that make tacos, a meal for the price of a coffee in California. Everything works differently in a way that is very similar for me to Iranian and Thai culture. It seems to me that people live more from out their feelings and that may make the culture less efficient but a lot more lively.
How lucky I was to meet the wonderful Warmshowers host Ix Chel so soon after the border.
“She is a legend and offers a place of friendliness and tranquility after the hectic frontier,” Jonathan, a Belgian cyclist, sent me on social media.
Ix Chel has created a hippie place for herself in Rosarito overlooking the sea and regularly hosts cyclists in her garden. She shared that she had a dream to have a shower outside for her guests. I had done the border crossing with Louis, with whom I had also cycled in Big Sur, and we decided to help her with a little concrete shower place. Off to the hardware store for concrete mix and a drain. It was nice to do something other than cycling for a day or two.
“Send me a picture of the first person to use the shower,” I asked her.
“That will be me!”
She replied smiling.
I have finally arrived in Mexico and now Baja California is on the program. A beautiful but challenging journey through the desert and just like in Iran eight years ago, I, off course ended up in a desert at the hottest time of the year.
The plan is to cycle to La Paz, south in Baja California, in June. From La Paz I sail over to Sinaloa and get on the bus to Mexico City to finally meetup again with my dear girlfriend Lisa, who has been so supportive of me in this months-long solo journey. Together we will continue cycling from Mexico City in July and August towards the center and south of Mexico. That will be a very nice twist to the journey that I’m very much looking forward to.
Things haven’t always been going well in the last few weeks. In Santa Barbara I had to replace my wheel and a few weeks ago I had to replace my photo camera due to a broken screen. Also an expensive repair to my phone, with which I do all photo and blog updates, was necessary.
I’m therefore all the more grateful to all readers who make this journey possible with a small donation. Without these donations I might have run into some trouble when it comes to my estimated budget. Fortunately, in Mexico, the last part of this wonderful journey is a little more affordable.
If you still want to make a small donation, you can do so here. Thank you so much!