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Our top priority for the day was to sort out the tyre situation. Advice from Victor, the waiter at the Desert Inn, was that there would be a much wider range available and at better prices in Santa Rosalia than at San Ignacio. As the patched up tyre had held out well enough yesterday, we decided to hop the 29 miles to Santa Rosalia and get the tyre all before noon when it seems that Mexico starts to enjoy a weekend of leisure. The choice of tyre places in S.R. was indeed overwhelming, but only for second-hand tyres.

We kept on being sent further south and eventually found the place every one recommended for new tyres. Great. Except that they did not have new tyres in the size that we needed. After much searching, they found just one good second-hand tyre for MN$ 800 (about GBP40) and this was good enough for us. The patch tyre is now our spare and the second-hand tyre is on the back.

So, we could now make some plant stops, one (S894) prompted by Pachycereus pringlei (where exactly does it change places with P. pecten-arboriginum?) in advanced bud. Some of the buds were on the point of opening. Is it a night flowering plant? Pachycereus (Lophocereus)
schottii was also in advanced bud, with some flowers apparently closed to avoid the heat of the midday sun.

We went into Mulege, as Eunice was getting frustrated by not having a mobile phone, despite having paid her service provider in the US for a contract extension that would enable her to call the US from Mexico. And on for the magical ride along the Bahia Concepcion, with idyllic sandy coves with RV’s and tents, rocky hillsides with Echinocereus brandegeei and silver stemmed Ficus palmeri.

We reached Loreto and made straight for the hotel where Alain and I had stayed on the way back in February. ‘Sorry, we’re full up!’ There seemed to be a kayak event on in town which, on this Saturday afternoon was buzzing with people. We tried another half-dozen hotels – all full. Eunice rang the Desert Inn in Loreto – also full. So let’s carry on south, to Nopolo. According to the Rough Guide, this was an attempt to build another tourist boom town along the lines of Cancun, but one that failed when one investor pulled out and was followed by others. We went to look around but apart from some very smart private houses at the entrance to the town, it was a modern-day ghost town with empty shells of houses scattered around and some lost cattle grazing in the reservation of the main road.

Back on MEX1, we carried on south, towards Ciudad Insurgentes. Wow, Loreto had done us a favour – we witnessed the most incredible sun set as the sun set over fields of tall Cardon cacti.

We searched Cd. Insurgentes for a hotel and finally pulled into a Pemex petrol station to ask directions – No hotels here, came the answer. Fortunately I remembered that its twin town, Ciudad Constitucion, some 20 km further south had plenty of business style hotels from where I’m writing today’s Diary report, still stuffed from the Chinese that we enjoyed 3 blocks from the hotel. Despite protestations from Eunice, we walked to the restaurant and back.

Today’s drive south means that we are now ahead of schedule, but also aware that things are likely to get more crowded as Easter approaches. On to San Carlos tomorrow!

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