We Made It!

Loreto – or more precisely, Puerto Escondido! We started earlier this morning, after a quick peanut butter and bacon sandwich in the camper, hitting the road around the same time the other two RV’s left for their destination South. We waved and turned left, they waved and turned right.  Say What???? we still don’t know where they went, but eventually they caught up to us.. later in the day.

Just read the Baja Legends books which actually includes the owner of the place we stayed at on the first night – the Malarrimo RV park, and the restaurant which is considered to be the best between Ensenada and La Paz.. and that is saying a lot. It was in fact very good! Glad we stopped there! We will hit the gift shop the daughter owns, on the way home. 

Also learned from Lawrence ( because he actually reads these books and remembers all of them) Guerrero Negro is there for the salt mines, and is a company town.  Tourism has entered into the equation with the whale migration – which would explain the many hotels on the main drag. 

Anyway – the downside of being on the coast and leaving early? Fog. 

Lots of it. So we had no wind but the fog put a damper on things for a while. However, early meant not as much traffic… which was great. Overall, it was a good day! The road stayed put, until Loreto, we had several more inches of shoulder than we are used to, which came in handy during part of the drive.

The day took us through some absolutely spectacular scenery, as we left Guerrero Negro and headed south,  angling inland at El Rosario and therefore eventually losing the fog – driving through the Desierto de Vizcaino, to San Ignacio… fuel up, go through a checkpoint.. and back on the road towards the Inner coast of the baja.. the Sea of Cortez.

We wound our way through more of the Vizaino Biosphere Reserve, driving between what seemed to be the leavings of some great eruptions – to the north there is the Volcan las Tres Virgenes, and beside us were the dark lava flows all crumbled up, curling like fingers down towards us. It was absolutely amazing! Then a few twisty turny roads, and I mean twisty turny, and we popped out onto the Coast… where damage from the hurricane was still apparent in the poorly repaired roads and total washouts. It was pretty depressing, to think that there is still not enough money to bring the road back to its original state,and that everyone who lives here has to put up with it.

Santa Rosalio is the site of an old copper mine, which was started up by the French many years ago. Also, like all the other places around here, there are wonderful old missions – and the church in Santa Rosalio was designed by Eiffel ( of Eiffel tower fame) .. the town was built along the lines of a French town , the copper was discovered in 1868 – and now it is totally different from any other Mexican Baja town on the coast.  We just scooted through, avoiding the main part of town as they ticket travellers with long RV’ s who take up space and time and get stuck. Not that we EVER get stuck! We hope to return in the boat in the next few weeks and get a peek at the town. 

After we left Santa Rosalia we were absolutely mesmerized ( I was, Lawrence drove) by the coast, as it came in and out of our line of sight. We loved the Sea of Cortez from the boat, the colour of the water and the sand.. from land, it is just as beautiful. But different. Very cool to be able to do this trip two ways!

Down through Mulege, which was a very cool town, and along the Bahia Concepcion, again – very gorgeous – and everything is green here. The water is turquoise and the land is green – there was even standing water and it looked absolutely glorious.

We stopped for a quick lunch at a roadside cafe, when we went in there was one small family at a table- when we left it was full.  and the fish tacos were FABULOUS! That was when the fifth wheel from the Okanagon cruised past us, honking as they went by… heading to Cabo, I don’t think we will see them again.

Thus fueled, we continued the trip down to Loreto, which we bypassed, and into Puerto Escondido.

One of the things that amazes me along the Baja Peninsula is the rugged mountain range that runs like a backbone down North to South – we see it from the water, and it is spectacular. Today we came down  to it by land – Sierra La Giganta is an absolutely fabulous  mountain, marching down the spine of the Baja and just overwhelming everything around it. 

We found a spot at Tripuli, ( after a little one way issue at Puerto Escondido but I am too nice to mention it so I won’t… thank you nice mujere from the restaurant at the marina who helped unhook the trailer and turn it around so we could get out of a dead end.. but I’m not saying anything else)

Tripui Rv park is a resort where, now that we are parked, I can see that many gringoes come to spend the rest (and the best) of their lives.  The houses are adorable, all packed in, there is room for RV’s and boats.. and we know the restaurant is good because we went there last year. Also, as the sun set, the aforementioned mountains came alive, and the trees around us became crazy with bird song.  The whole area is a sanctuary, and tomorrow I am going for a walk!

And that is our day. We have the air conditioner on because it is hot and muggy outside, there are nasty bitey bugs around but I don’t care. 

And to review yesterday – boojum trees… the crazy Dr. Seuss cacti that an entire section of the Baja is devoted to maintaining and saving… “Valle de los Cirios”… now I know what they are! And they really are worth saving… 

with that – time to review photos and then maybe talk someone into taking me for dinner.

Have to conserve water, you know… and if I make dinner, dishes must get washed!

Oh – and a few notes from today.

During our drive through the fog, although yesterday we saw signs reminding people to use lights in case of fog… not many do… and those that do, generally only have one light.  Which is better than none I guess.

And my other observation today that the highway is marked two ways.  They have Km markers every Km. And just as many personal memorials, which is very sobering.

And vultures.. lots of vultures.. we almost had one plaster itself on the front of the camper, as we disturbed a good two dozen feasting on something right on the road – the last one, the greedy one, wouldn’t fly  fast enough and the last we saw he was about two inches from our windshield, heading into the bow end of the camper.

Didn’t look at what was on the road, I was trying to get vulture pictures. 

OK, now it is time to go.  

Saturday? time flies when you’re having etc etc etc

we have made it to La Paz – after another rather gruelling day yesterday! It started on a very positive note when we walked to the beach first thing in the morning, where my nephew’s in-laws make their winter home, along with numerous other camping types… what an amazing set up! Totally private and protected from the neighbours, a short shuffle to the beach and all that entails – fantastic! Had a quick coffee and accepted their offer of a ride back to the RV site… so we had time for breakfast at  Tripui before we headed out. The drive alternated between 80 – 100 K perfectly adequate road ( to call it a highway is still a stretch). And then… the detours. Miles and miles of basically non existent road, where the trucks and buses and crazy cars still try to pass you at 60 even though you are  thumping along as best you can and the dust is so thick you can’t see what is coming at you.

Two of them. But we survived, the truck and camper were amazing, the boat and trailer hung in there – and around 430 in the afternoon we cruised down the Malecon of La Paz!!!! Into Costa Baja, where we found a spot to drop the trailer and boat for the time being, parked the camper just overlooking Northern Ranger and all the marina… put on our bathing suits and headed to the pool to meet up with Kim and  Cam for a swim, a drink, and some much needed R and R. The boat had to wait until today for us to go and open her up, check her out and declare her fit and sound and ready for action! Aside from all the ceiling panels that fell down over the summer, but those are easily fixed.

Now we can transfer what needs to go to the boat, empty the fridge on the camper and fill the fridges on the boat – and I have a load of laundry that the really nice ladies at the laundry service here will do for me… and then a trip into town for the start of our provisioning.

The weather has been hot here, upwards of 35,

but it was a bit cooler yesterday  , more around 30 – whew! We should really be up early and working now… wait.. we did get up at 630 and we did start working.. what am I saying??? Our guests come tomorrow late afternoon and so we have all day today and tomorrow to do some of the chores, and hey, if the boat isn’t ready, we have the Guesthouse! aka the camper…maybe we should leave it here and rent it out as an Air B and B!!!!

So the first part of the trip is over – and no matter how people look at us as if we were nuts ( and I sometimes wondered) I cannot believe how fun it was and how quickly the days passed. We saw an amazing amount of the Baja that we would never have ever seen just from the boat – and they do say you are supposed to do one thing every day that scares you, just so you can stay young? and feel alive?  Well, I feel pretty alive right now, I tell you!

The trip home? well, that will come soon enough, although we were ruminating about leaving the boat down here so we could use it on our next visit, but I’m not sure that will happen. Too many variables enter into the equation, like, when would we drive down again to bring it back up? So we know what we are in for, and can plan accordingly – and I am looking forward to stopping in a few places we didn’t stop in on the way down. 

 Now for part two –