Tag Archives: Baja Sur

It’s Baja Baby!

Where does time go? Seven months have whizzed by. It’s been a pretty low key travel year so far – Winter in Indian Wells in Southern California, spring in Charleston, South Carolina and now summer in Northern Nevada.

However, we’ve been so busy there’s often no time to breathe (except when in yoga).

If you recall we sold our Baja house three ago but retained a parcel that’s now been in escrow for two years.  Closing time is slowly approaching – the lawyers needed paperwork signed/delivered and we needed an excuse to leave the country…

So – hello Baja! It’s so exciting to be back.

We rented a car and took the new “bypass” road that runs from the pay road near the Los Cabos International Airport into downtown Cabo and then 4 miles north to the Cabo San Lucas International Airport to pick up our friend Clint who flew in from Puerto Vallarta. I wasn’t familiar with it but Bill flew there on private planes many years ago. It’s small and has only one commercial carrier that only flies domestically. Not sure why International is in its title. Perhaps it suffers from Napoleon complex.

Did I mention it was so good to be back?

We drove the corridor back to SJD to pick up Barb – stopping for photos, coconut in lime juice, dominos, and alcohol.

We headed to the East Cape staying at the Palmas de Cortez in Los Barriles for three nights.

Palmas sponsored the first all women’s fishing tournament and we arrived on its last day.  It was surprising yet exciting to see tables full of women at dinner. Apparently, the seas had been rough and the fish scarce but good times were had by all. They were already planning for next year’s tournament. Normally, fishing season is all about middle-aged, gray-haired, potbellied men. (click on photos to enlarge)

The fishing Gods blessed us with calm seas and hungry marlin. Each of us had a turn at exhausting our reeling muscles as the fish were plentiful. Like Pac-Man the guys were bumping into each other when three marlin were on the three different lines at the same time. It’s quite thrilling watching them jump in and out of the water.

With all that excitement I’ve determined that fishing is like skiing. Three hours and I’m good.

The sunrises, sunsets and moonrises were stunning.

And animals rule!  One of my favorite things about Baja. Unfortunately, we missed the burro pack.

What a difference to be in our old stomping grounds as a non-homeowner. Not a care in the world. To cure any remorse we might have conjured up about selling required a quick visit to our old house. While standing outside the fence, admiring the huge pool the new owners installed – the pool boys arrived and dumped an empty yogurt container full of chlorine in the pool and drove away. No vacuuming or scrubbing the sides.

Off to Clint and Barb’s old family house to see an even less cared for pool. Obviously no chlorine there!  When the owners are away…. its the Baja way.

Mañana doesn’t mean tomorrow. It means just not today!

Onward, an hour drive south to Cabo Pulmo for two nights. It’s a little piece of heaven possessing a UNESCO World Heritage site/Marine Park – a haven for scuba divers and snorkelers. It’s a dusty little town with no electrical service – running on solar power and generators.

We hung out with our favorite divemaster and longtime friend Pepe who runs Pepe’s Dive Shop and Pepe’s Pizza (y otra comida tambien) Restaurant. Look up Pepe if you make it to Cabo Pulmo. He’ll take great care of you!

Lastly, we stayed in old town San Jose del Cabo. The quaintness, walkability and dining options make it a super special place to be.

It was bittersweet having to leave. We didn’t get our fill but know it’s there for next time.

The Rodents in my Life

Stay away and the rodents play…

It started with firing up the old Jeep on the first day in Baja after a 4 month leave.  Upon opening the glove box to discover a fluffy nest, opened ketchup packages and shredded napkins a loud grinding sound belched out from the air conditioner – a glutenous meal had by the fan.

An eerie silence followed… dead fan equals dead rodent.

 

The poor mouse – once fat and happy – belly full of ketchup – slipped to an untimely death.  Good news though – maggots were fat and happy.  Fan now working.

We use Vonage (internet connected telephone) when we are in Baja – it allows unlimited phone calls to the USA for a low monthly price.  Calls since arriving were sketchy at best.”I can’t hear you.” “Are you moving around?” “I only hear every 3rd word.”

lemmling-Simple-cartoon-mouse

I picked up our local phone to call the internet provider for assistance and the phone line was dead.

The Telmex service man checked the box at the street and found the telephone line had been completely sliced in half and the internet line was dangling – fluffy nest in the corner of the utility box. No ketchup packages. No nada.

 

Victory for the local phone – internet still sketchy.

DSC_7843

We headed South to the quaint pueblo of Cabo Pulmo, host to the biggest protected coral reef in Baja, to go diving.  We gathered up all of our gear – BCDs, regulators, dive computers,snorkels, masks, fins and wetsuits.

 

IMG_9082

A struggle of sorts always ensues when getting into these tight thick neoprene skins – the tighter the warmer.

Creature of habit – I started with my right foot – unbeknownst to me the bottom of the leg was turned inside – a lazy “put away” job from the last dive. White knuckled and red in the face I pushed my foot firmly into the leg of my wetsuit.  After a few moments of struggling my foot shot out of the leg surrounded by….. all at once…..a mouse nest.

Panic ensued followed by giggles.

Would you like them in a house?
Would you like them with a mouse?
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
Dr. Seuss

Cave paintings???

Road CowA glorious Saturday had us heading north on the obstacle course for cars which we refer to as the new road.  It was built several years ago, headed straight to nowhere and quickly it fell into disrepair, ridden with pot holes. Diminishing pavement sucked up undermining road base and a sprinkling of cows for good measure. We were told it had been improved and around each corner we waited for such.  Low and behold some repairs had been made  – a treasure hunt for our doubting minds.

Boda del Alamo totem pole

We met up with our primos and headed out on the Razor toward our hike to the “cave paintings” in Boca del Alamo – thought to be around 800 years old and painted by the first inhabitants of Baja Sur.

Boca del Alamo

Boca del Alamo

The caves were visible from the road and near the top of a steep mountain. We were in for a long climb. I thought, “This will be fun – the view will be endless – bring it.”  Hiking in Baja is an obstacle course in  itself – the terrain is craggy, dry and rocky and you have to be on constant alert to dodge the sinister stickers on trees, cactus and brush –  a defense mechanism bred into everything that grows here.

Craggy tree

A quick 15 minutes later we came upon a boulder the size of the casita. We’re here?

But wait… aren’t “cave paintings” in caves?  Does this mean I don’t have to hike up the side of the mountain to get to the cave?

Low  and behold the underside of the rock revealed paintings of people, animals and marine life – fading away but still quite visible.  What a discovery!  What a canvas!

Pictograph

 

So maybe pictographs or rock art might be more appropriate terms, but avoiding the hike straight up the mountain to the caves was a pleasant surprise!

Sticky stuff

We took photos and crawled through the brush to get a better view of the sea.

Scrubby trees

Brazil tree - I think!

A lunch at the classic seaside Mexican resort Punta Pescadero rounded off the day with boundless views and potent margaritas.

This time we took the one lane seaside dirt road back home.

Un buen día fue tenido por todos.

Photo of the Day 96

Day 96

Day 96 #2

Day 96 #3

Day 96 #4Ok…. today is photos of the day.  I was mesmerized by these 2 vultures gliding gracefully thru the sky this afternoon. They were not looking for food but enjoying the lift from the winds, cruising without a care – stopping for a break to clean themselves on our power pole then off to cruise again.

 

Cruising Highway 1 Down Baja

Tecate

Tecate

Northern Nevada south through California where spring brings green vistas and blue skies.  Our  goal – 1600 miles away near the south end of Baja California Sur.

We prefer to cross the border into Baja, Mexico through Tecate. The wait time is mostly nonexistent and the excitement of the Ruta del Vino is a good start to any road trip.

We expected the border crossing might be congested this time. The December landslide north of Ensenada had people who would normally cross through Tijuana using the Tecate border but to our surprise we were the only car there!

The Mexican immigration officer waved us over to the inspection area (the last time we drove down the immigration officers failed to show up at all) and motioned for Bill to open the back of the Jeep.  Seeing that our car was stacked like sardines with household items he less than enthusiastically decided that asking if we had cigarettes would suffice as a job well done.  With a quick “no” we were on our way.

It felt to so good to be back.  Back where the edges are a little rougher and life more colorful.  Back to reaching into the depths of my brain to find the correct Spanish word. Back to “real” harina tortillas and pico de gallo like no other.

Harvesting

Harvesting

The north brought fields of crops ripe for the picking and 18 wheelers bound to parts unknown.

In Mexico not an ounce of asphalt is wasted – shoulders are a luxury known only to the neighboring country to the north.  There’s barely enough room for 2 trucks to meet at the same time on the same patch of pavement without the occasional loss of a side mirror – it is imperative to pay attention.

Traveling up a narrow curving turn – a hill on one side and a drop off on the other we encountered an out of control 18 wheeler headed in our direction – in our lane. The driver skillfully maneuvered the cab of the truck back into his lane only leave his container on our side sliding towards us, ready to roll over and wipe us off the map – we had no where to go – slow motion…

Since you are reading this you know that by the grace of God we narrowly avoided being wiped off the map. Bill said that he hoped the container was full of watermelons.  Not sure if that was to lessen the blow or for us to have the sweet taste of watermelon on our lips.

El Cirio

Los Cirios

Green farm land turned into my one of my favorite parts of the drive the Valle de Los Cirios – thousands upon thousands of funny trees – some standing straight and tall, some crooked and sprawl, some ready to fall – straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” ― Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Cataviña

Boulders of Cataviña

Next beautiful stop Cataviña (the middle of nowhere) for a photo op.  Rocks bigger than the car spread all over like marbles on a sidewalk.  I, with my camera in hand, tip toeing over cactus plants trying to find the perfect shot as the car begins to screech from the loss of power steering fluid.  Hours from a gas station.

Portable Gas Station

Portable Gas Station in Cataviña

 

Gas Attendant

Portable Gas Station Attendant

Let the good times roll…  You’re not in Mexico if you don’t have a situation that you have to figure a way out.

A few bottles of transmission fluid later (duct tape wouldn’t work this time) we lost the power steering.  Bill  muscled the remaining 1,000 +/- miles and got a good work out.

Baja

Bahia Concepción

North of Loreto are the turquoise sleepy bays of the Sea of Cortez – RV’s and old fish shacks line the shore.

Baja Bay

Bahia Concepción

Road Construction

Road Construction

Road construction beyond road construction south of Loreto – white out driving through the dust.  We guaranteed this when we stopped to have the power steering fluid washed off the car an hour earlier.

Barren Baja Sur

Barren Baja Sur

Then the barren nothingness of the sticky, flat, rocky, thorny, dry terrain until we reached La Paz where the city bustles to life.

A short drive thru the sleepy town of El Triunfo to San Antonio, San Bartolo and homeeeeeee………

4 days later and undoubtedly $$$ at the Jeep dealer in Cabo – life is good.

Oh, and the 88 degrees with calm seas aren’t bad.

Cataviña

Hotel Mission Cataviña

Barrio

Barrio

Pacifico

Cruising Baja Sur

Cruising Baja Sur

Cruising Baja Sur

Cruising Baja Sur

Cruising Baja Sur

More Cruising Baja Sur

 

Baja Sur

Natural Baja Sur Beauty

Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido

Out Puffed

Out Puffed…

Home....

Awww Home…

Perfection