I’m drinking coffee trying to decide if I should just hit the road and get to Todos Santos, a little over 5 hour drive without borrowing trouble. Or I could wait for the tire shop to open and see if they have 2 new tire rims for the bent ones. The car drove fine yesterday. Believe me I went slow and paid very close attention. I could deal with getting new rims in Cabo once I’m in Todos. It might be nice to get the car unloaded and then deal with the rim. So I’ll let you know what I decide once the decision is made.
I got my car all packed up, ready to eat some breakfast when some people in their car appeared to be wanting my attention. They yelled, “Did you know you have a flat?” The first flat I handled without stressing out too much. But wasn’t sure I was ready to handle a 2nd one just the day after the 1st one. Again, I was lucky in that it was early and I was still at the hotel. One of the gentleman from the hotel called for assistance. I went ahead and got some breakfast at the hotel while waiting for the repairman. I was hungry and already the day was showing it’s challenges. I cried over breakfast. Stress can bring up what’s at the bottom of most of my sadness these days, the loss of my connection to my daughter and my grandchildren. That pain will never leave, but I am learning to manage it better. This drive to Baja is part of the management plan!
The second flat showed a bent rim as did the 1st one. They were on the same side, so obviously the damage occurred when I hit the pot hole yesterday. The tire was repaired. I will need to get new rims once in Todos Santos. For here, until I get there, I will be driving slow and with more alertness than before.
Made it to San Ignacio, a small, sleepy palm oasis with a nice new motel, La Huerta Hotel I strolled around the square, visited the Mission San Ignacio got a fish taco and a few pictures before bed.
The good thing about camping is you go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun comes up. Normally, I like to sleep in a bit and be lazy in the mornings. But being forced to do it differently, I got to experience the morning differently, a sunrise on the beach with coffee. The fish were jumping and the birds were diving. Walking on the beach, I found some beautiful quartzite rocks and got some pictures of the pelicans, sandpipers and oystercatchers. Maybe I should become a nerdy rock hound and bird watcher. Something to consider. Packed up and headed back to town for breakfast at the ole standby from yesterday, Costa del Sol. The chef did not disappoint. The shrimp omelet was perfectly cooked. The day was looking good so far. My goal was to make it to San Ignacio, a small colonial town set in a date palm oasis.
The first “town” I went through on highway 1 was Villa Jesus Maria which consisted of 3 buildings, a small store, gas station and tire repair shop. I had noticed this section of the highway was particularly populated with pot holes. I drove carefully and not too fast. About 5 miles from Villa Jesus, I hit a sneaker pot hole. Pop and air gauge light goes off. It is difficult to pull off the highway, the shoulders are high with no hard flat ground off the road. I drove off the road and immediately realized I was stuck in sand. A very nice middle-aged gentleman pulled over to assist. We tried pulling the car out with a rope tied to his truck with no avail. We were both at a loss of ideas when a school bus full of young men stopped. About 20 men jump out of the bus and run to my rescue. They raised my car, replaced the tire with a spare and had me on my way. So who needs AAA anyway! The circumstance for having a flat tire could not have been more optimal. It was early in the day, I was 5 miles away from the tire repair shop in Villa Jesus and a bus load of young men happened to be driving by and stopped. Noel at the tire shop repaired my tire. There was no puncture, only a bent rim, so the tire could be put back on and secured. By 2:00, I was back on the road. However, because nightfall happens at 5:00 I stopped for the night in Guerrero Negro. From the Moon travel guide-book, I chose Malarrimo Motel. It was nothing to write home about, but had a bed and shower. There was still enough day to take a drive out to the old lighthouse that is surrounded by marshes that attract 95 different species of birds (again another opportunity to try out the idea of becoming a bird watcher). It was worth the drive. I saw osprey that may have come from Montana like me, pelicans, sandpipers, cranes and herons along with a beautiful sunset.
Back at the hotel, I started to watch the 2nd season of The Crown on Netflix. I made it through maybe 10 minutes before being sound asleep. Between not having slept well the night before and the excitement of a flat tire I was wiped out.
Hwy. 5 going to Bahia de los Angeles turns into a dirt road for about 20 miles with forks in the road and no clear signs. I went with my gut on which fork to take. The car behind me seemed to have faith in my choices. Luckily the forks got us onto paved highway eventually. It was slow going. Thankfully, I had downloaded a few podcasts to keep me company. The Moth Radio Hour, The Vietnam War was next in the queue on my play next list. Any chance of feeling sorry for myself or a bit afraid of this unknown territory of a dirt road in the middle of Mexico was erased. As I listened to each story and what these people had endured, I was taken back to this era. The entire time, thinking of my older brother, and the devastating events he witnessed and more as a lieutenant leading his platoon in combat. Crying almost hysterically, I bumped along.
Back on a paved highway 5, I turned east towards Bahia. Found a sweet spot to camp at Campo Archelon for $8. (Very nice to have recycling and compost on the premises) I camped next to a nice Canadian family and felt very safe. I was tired from the drive and tears on the dirt road. Before bed, I drove into town for a bite to eat at Costa del Sol Hotel and Restaurant. The fish was delicious and the broccoli soup served before was to die for. With a full tummy, I drove back to camp just in time for a sunset viewing. Without internet or cell service there wasn’t much else left to do but settle in for some reading and sleep. Didn’t sleep great but woke up an amazing sun rise, birds and more. Stayed tuned because the drive on Friday is an adventure for sure!
As a traveler, I am taking the prerogative to change travel plans in the event a place deserves more time or not as much time as I had planned. Woke up this morning and did not want to leave San Felipe just yet. My room is too lovely, right on the beach while clean and spacious. I offered the manager a deal and he accepted. It has been so nice to relax, wash clothes, take a couple of walks on the beach, and walk around town. Now early to bed and early to rise.
Next stop will either be Bahia de los Angeles or Guerrero Negro. Stay tuned.
Arrived in San Felipe around 2 this afternoon. Went straight for the fish taco. For about a $1.60 I got one of the best fish tacos I may have ever had. Located on Malecon, Maria has been serving tacos for nearly 30 years, at Taqueria y Moriscos Adriana. I drove south of town a bit to check out a few beaches. I ended up with a room at the San Dollar just south of town. It is clean with a gated parking lot and right on the beach.
Drove back into town for dinner. Probably should have gone for another fish taco. Instead tried Mariscos La Morena, known for their coconut shrimp. I give it a 3 star for food, a 5 star for personal service. My waiter and I struck up a conversation. He spoke excellent English while encouraging me to learn some Spanish words. He is from Cabo so knows all of Baja quite well. He pulled out a map and helped me decide where to go each day on the way to Todos Santos. The plan is to make it to Guerrero Negro tomorrow night. A spot known for it’s whale watching. However, it’s just a little too soon for them to be in the area. He also warned me to ask for a certain amount of liters of gas. If you ask to fill up the tank, some attendants will hit a reset button when you are not looking. This continues to add up the cash amount without putting in more gas. Good to know. So I made my first friend. May have to get one more of Maria’s tacos before headed out in the morning.
The Mexicali border line was a long wait. Didn’t want to drive in the dark. I’m staying the night in Calexico at California Suites. It’s right between the police station and the Lady of Guadalupe church. I think I’m safe & sound. It is cleaner than the Motel 6 I stayed last night. Plus has a frig and coffee maker which Motel 6 did not. I made it without a coffee maker since I brought my camp stove along. That worked beautifully for my drip cone morning coffee. I know how to take care of my coffee needs!
Tonight I’m chill’in with HBO, watching Get Out , trippy and good. Really looking forward to spending tomorrow in San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez and finally eating that fish taco. “Northern Baja is the original home of the fish taco, with Ensenada and San Felipe in a constant argument over which is it’s true birthplace.” Moon Baja Travel Guide Tomorrow is the Day of the Virgin Guadalupe (Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe). It is a popular Catholic feast that celebrates the belief that a man encountered the Virgin Mary, Mexico’s patron saint, in Mexico City on December 9 and 12, 1531. I might get to see some parades or other festivities.
I’ll be crossing the border tomorrow after taking care of some business. Luckily, my Baby Bell vintage camper sold just in time. I’ll be able to have the title signed off and notarized in the morning. The buyer is very excited about repairing the outside damage. He offered to send pictures throughout the restoration. That will be fun to see. Many thanks to Wendy for housing Baby Bell and showing it to buyers.
The plan is to then cross at Mexicali and make it to San Filipe. This time tomorrow night should be sitting on the beach eating a fish taco.
Wednesday night, arrived in El Cerrito, CA. Marian had pasta on the stove to meet me with. It didn’t take long for her to get out the map to see what my trip to Baja entailed. She eagerly pin dropped my stops along the way. Hence the completed map, you see featured on this blog. I think she’s got the travel bug now. Maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to see her and Tupelo down there at some point.
Made it to San Mateo Thursday night for a stay with my nephew, his beautiful wife and nearly one year old daughter. I just got to meet my new great-niece the day after Thanksgiving when they were in Eugene. She is absolutely precious with her 1/2 Italian and 1/2 Mexican blood. They live near my niece in law’s parents who are lucky enough to be invited over to say goodnight to their granddaughter most nights. Hard to fight back the tears, seeing this ideal world of grandparents being in their grandchildren’s life. This is how it should be. So happy for them and further confused about why I am no longer in my grandchildren’s life. Traveling through the heart ache today.
U2’s Walk On from the album All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring…
And love is not the easy thing….
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can’t leave behind
And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong
Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on…
Stay safe tonight
You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom
Walk on, walk on
What you’ve got they can’t deny it
Can’t sell it, can’t buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight
And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on
Home, hard to know what it is if you’ve never had one
Home, I can’t say where it is but I know I’m going home
That’s where the hurt is
I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on
Leave it behind
You’ve got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
All that you scheme.