The answer to the question of “what we would do in the summer months?” was always kind of a vague optimistic response. From the very beginning of this adventure we knew that coping with the intense Mexican heat from mid July – mid October was something we would have to face. That and how we would manage the tropical storms and hurricanes that continually threaten the region from June – October. Steve and I pondered many options. Traveling and exploring inland Mexico, renting a furnished apartment either in the states or Mexico, traveling to other places by various means? At the end of the day our first choice was to stay on Pablo in the Sea of Cortez, as many folks do.
We had a plan (snort) to stay cool and get ourselves to safety when storms were approaching. The first of these tasks was somewhat doable as expressed in Summer in the Sea of Cortez. The latter we realized was not so simple. We only encountered one tropical storm, which really turned out to be a non-event, but we learned a lot from the experience. For one we were not anywhere near our first choice location of La Paz when TS Javier came upon us. And two, storms develop almost weekly and build very quickly, becoming erratic and unpredictable. Most spin off into the Pacific, but a few skirt the coastline and threaten the Baja peninsula. These two things really got us to thinking that perhaps staying on Pablo in Mexico was not the best place for us to spend summer. I mean, we could have done it, we could have made it work. Like I said a lot of folks do it. But why? We are on an adventure of our own choosing. We can go and do anything we want (within financial constraints) so why sit and suffer with extreme heat and worry about every storm that kicks up the coast.
Along with our newly formed reasoning about summer and Mexico came the plain fact that we were traveling back to Santa Cruz more than we had anticipated. We also found that lodging and car rental costs were proving to be way out of our budget. Not to mention the inflexibility experienced when traveling by plane, dealing with hotels, Air BnB’s and rental cars. Which made being present and available when friends and family really needed us difficult. I mean hey, sometimes stuff happens and you want to spend a few more days. Looking into your daughters tear filled eyes and saying “Sorry kiddo, I have a plane to catch but we’ll text when I land.” is just not the answer.
Enter “Pancho”! Our 24ft class C motor home.
We found this cutie on Craigslist, did some research, took a drive to Lodi California and bought it. We then drove our empty RV to a lovely park called Smithwoods in Santa Cruz where we are getting her outfitted as our second home. Most things RV are like boat life. You have a self contained vessel with holding tanks, propane run equipment, water conservation when needed, small space, tight storage, etc… The few things that are beyond our knowledge and new to us have been easy to get answers for. The lovely people here who host the park have held our hands and helped us figure out a variety things. Like how to open and close the sun awning. Should be simple, but it’s not. The local resale and discount stores have been able to provide everything from bedding, dishes, and coffee makers, to camping chairs and BBQ equipment. Therefore the transition has not been difficult.
We miss Pablo and the water, the gentle rocking that sends us off to sleep each night. I miss the freedom afforded by the sea and the ability to drop anchor most anywhere, free of charge. We miss Mexico and the simplicity of our life on there. However, I don’t miss anchor alarms, high winds that threaten to cause our anchor to drag, and having weather rule my life. There are certainly conveniences that come with the RV; I can run to nearest store to get butter, something not so easy when at an anchorage far from town. In either case we still embrace the beauty of nature that surrounds us and in the years to come we will have the opportunity to move between both worlds.
The decision to purchase Pancho has already proven to be invaluable. We originally scheduled a two week trip to Santa Cruz for the purpose of celebrating one of our sons’ wedding. Shortly after arriving in town we discovered that one of our daughters is pregnant with complex circumstances and another was scheduled to have a hysterectomy the week after our scheduled departure. Suddenly, we became very aware of the need for us to stay for an extended visit, something that would have been extremely costly without a residence and a vehicle (yes, we had to buy a car too!). So the new plan (haha) of getting an RV and driving to Mexico just as the hurricane season was ending has changed to a new, new plan that has us staying in Santa Cruz through January.
So, here we are. At first it was disappointing that we were not returning immediately to Pablo and doing our planned (did I actually use that word again?) trip to Puerto Vallarta where we intended to spend winter. But once we stepped outside our disappointment and realized our value to those we love we felt gratitude. We are grateful that we are able to be available to our family when they need us. What a blessing to be present in ones time of need.
Funny how poetic this all is. We decided to get away from Mexico for the hurricane season so we would not have to deal with the unpredictable chaos. And here we stand in the storm that can sometimes be life. Oh well, Mexico and Pablo will still be there when this has passed. And this time spent in Pancho, weathering the difficulties with our family is all just a part of our Grand Adventure.