“Don’t panic. Jesus did some of his best work in the desert,” a friend assured me, as I prepared to cross the barren Baja peninsula by bicycle in the middle of a Mexican heatwave.
Fifteen months into my round-the-world bike ride, I was flying high. The finishing line, the Atlantic coast of Mexico, was in reach. I had cycled easily across the continental United States, and I had acquired a new companion for the final stretch of my journey.
Trey, an Oklahoman just two months into his attempt to cycle to Argentina, was 19, wildly enthusiastic, and possessed – in total – half a toothbrush (he had chopped off the other half to save weight) and one change of clothes. We planned to cycle the length of Baja, a desert peninsula that extends into the ocean south of the US state of California, then cross the Sea of Cortez to mainland Mexico from its southern tip.