Viva Mexico! We could hear it in the streets! Ahhhh the sound of people celebrating, children in costumes, high school bands lined up to join the parade, Caballeros mounted on well trained horses and dressed in authentic old time sombreros, boots, and the senoritas in beautiful dresses.We have arrived back in La Paz, BCS Mexico and it is the national Dia de Revolución celebration. The journey here was long but at last we have returned.
We had spent weeks traveling from Santa Cruz, CA journeying slowly south. We traveled in our little motorhome (Pancho) pulling our car (Cisco) behind us. Our last stops before getting to the border were Borrego Springs, CA to visit my dad and then a quick shot back out to the coast of California to visit with Steve’s brother Jeff in Venice Beach and our friends in Long Beach. We gathered hugs, shared laughs and spent precious moments with those we love. Now the time had come to prepare ourselves to drive to La Paz, BCS Mexico, which would be a roughly 1000 mile journey on rough unfamiliar roads in a foreign country. We filled the gas tanks, loaded up on some of our favorite foods that we knew we couldn’t find in Mexico, and collected all the boat parts we could imagine we needed.
We have been told many stories about crossing the border in a motorhome. Everything from it’s a piece of cake they just wave you through to the horrors of being stopped, searched, and having your food and possessions seized. So we really did not know what to expect therefore we planned for the worst and charged forward across the border at Tecate. One thing that was pretty clear from all accounts we had heard was that they would not allow us to tow our car across the border. So Steve passed through the gates first in the motorhome while I followed behind him in the car. Of course, they called him over for inspection and I pulled in right next to him. I expected an argument, but when I explained I was his Esposa they said no problemo. A young man asked to come aboard the Motorhome, he barely glanced around, he asked for our car registration, checked the VIN against the paperwork and then spent about 3 minutes looking at himself in the mirror. We assumed he wanted his boss to think he was being thorough. He said ok and adios and away we went, reconnecting the car to the motorhome once we were a few miles down the road. Whew! We had been so nervous about the crossing and it was all so easy at least this time.
The rest of the trip was something of a mad dash as I had a plane reservation to fly from Cabo San Lucas to Florida in a just over a week. We traveled that first day to the town of San Quintin (pronounced San Kinteen) and stayed in the RV parking area of an old hotel and restaurant. Not much to say about the place except it was cheap and it had water, electricity and a sewer hook up. We arrived just before dinner and we were out before 8 the next morning.
The roads in Mexico are insanely narrow. The highways for the most part are only two lanes with little to no shoulders and speed limits of about 90kph/60mph. When semi trucks pass you going in the opposite direction it’s all you can do not to just squeeze your eyes shut and pray. Add to that a military check point every day and the fact that you occasionally have to dodge roaming cows in the road. I found that after a few hours behind the wheel my hands hurt from holding onto the steering wheel so tight. And if the roads weren’t scary enough the drivers are crazy! I would swear that they waited until you were on a blind curve before they would pass. I found myself praying that they wouldn’t die in front of me, knowing I would never be able to wipe the image from my mind.
While the roads and the drivers may be challenging the scenery is mostly jaw dropping beautiful. While traveling from San Quintin to our next stop Cataveña we passed through the Cirios Valley. Cirios or Boojum trees are only found in two places in the world and one of them is the Baja peninsula. They are incredibly strange and fascinating. They are not quite like a cactus nor are they like a tree. I have nothing to compare them to and oddly enough the pictures don’t do them justice. It is something to be experienced.
Along with the trees in Cateveña were the cave paintings. There are many places both in Baja and the mainland were you can visit sites with petroglyphs left by the inhabitants hundreds of years ago and we have often wanted to see them. These were so accessible that we just had to take the time for a visit and we were not disappointed. The sight we visited is well maintained and respected and we were left with the feeling of wonder about the people who had left their mark on these rocks. What must life have been like for them and what did these symbols mean?
While in Cateveña we stayed at Rancho Ynez, which is nothing but a big open space with a few trees. We enjoyed the stars, sat in bemusement about our location on the globe and planned out our next leg of the journey. Tomorrow’s stop was San Ignacio, an old village with an old cathedral built from lava rock and the most beautiful old town square I have seen in Mexico to date. The beauty came not from the work of man but from the enormous canopy of old trees that intertwined overhead. It was so peaceful. I hope to come back in the spring and go out into the lagoon when the whales are birthing. I understand it is an event not to be missed.
Next leg of our trip shot us to the east side of the peninsula where we set our eyes on the Sea of Cortez. The waters of our last sailing journey and a place most dear to our hearts for all of the gifts it gave us during our time there. The views from the highway along this section of our trip are indescribable. One blue water cove after another on one side and mountains covered in lush vegetation mingled with desert cactus on the other. I have never seen such beauty with my own eyes. It is unfortunate that we were on a schedule or we would have stopped for a few days, weeks, or months to explore. I think we will have to put that into our future plans.
We arrived that evening in Loreto and stayed at the Tripui hotel just outside of Puerto Escondido. Our old stomping grounds from two summers ago. It was so good to be back in familiar territory. We saw old friends made a few new ones and spent a much needed rest day relaxing by the pool. The hospitality, service and the food were all just as we remembered them.
After a day off we had one more to go. One more crazy highway day and we would be back in La Paz. We arrived in the Aquamarina RV park around 2pm, hooked up the motorhome and scooted on over to Marina de La Paz. At last, there was Pablo. It was so good to see the boat. She looked tired and worn and most definitely neglected, but she was still our home sweet home. It took us a few days to get her cleaned and reorganized. We moved our belongings from Pancho onto Pablo and got the motorhome secured away in a local covered storage lot.
We have spent three weeks settling in with the exception of a trip that I took to Florida to spend time with my mother and extended family as well as joining in the celebration of my cousins 50th birthday. We are back to playing weekly darts with friends and attended a Blues Festival which was a wonderful evening of dancing and listening to great musicians. Steve is volunteering as a VHF net host once a week, taking a celestial navigation class and working on boat projects both big and small. I have been busy playing with my camera and got to attend the Dia de Revolución parade.
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with 206 gringos at a potluck hosted by our local “Yacht Club”, Club Cruceros. We have much to be thankful for; the health and happiness of our children and grandchildren, our health and safety, friendships from all over the globe, the opportunity to pick up were we left off over a year ago, love, blessings, and laughter.
It feels so good to be home. Viva Mexico!
And for those who enjoy the birds!