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Yipeeee!! We’re South of the Border

Wow – I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! Don’t worry. I won’t be detailing our travels over the last seven years since my last blog post (seven years – how is that possible??). But this was the year I was going to blog about our trip again and we’ve been on the road a month now with no posts to show for it!

Why blog this year when I’ve skipped the previous seven? Well, we are finally doing something really, really different – for us anyway. We are driving through Baja California from top to bottom and back to top. Because Mitch doesn’t trust my navigating skills we are with an RV caravan group call Baja Winters. And being smack in the middle of a line of 18 RVs with roads too narrow to U-turn is the only way I knew we’d make it south of the border!

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Our first campsite, El Rancho Surdo Mudo, from Mitch’s drone, tucked in between vineyards and wineries.

The first day on the road was short – about 65 miles from the border crossing at Tecate (yes – it’s a real town, not just a beer) to the wine country of the Guadalupe Valley where we stayed in a small RV park run by the deaf school.

My favorite thing about our first day was reading, hearing, and trying to speak Spanish again. I’d forgotten how much I loved the language (I majored in Spanish and lived in Costa Rica for a year) but hadn’t used it in cough-ehemm-twenty-cough-cough-two years. Out of the cobwebs of my brain vocabulary words began to pop into my mouth. Verb conjugations, on the other hand, are extremely stubborn. I’m afraid they’ve been eaten by the spider.

The next day we drove through the busy, sprawling city of Ensenada with its thousands

el-pabellon_camp

Is this campsite amazing or what?? This is south of Ensenada in a town called San Quintin. Mitch took this photo in the morning just before the cloud cover came in again. The campground is called El Pabellon. The showers were very clean and hot but definitely don’t drink the water here – it is salt water!

and thousands of stop signs and spent a chilly night on a beautiful, empty beach on the Pacific side. My favorite thing about the second day was my reintroduction to tamales. As a picky teen I’d labeled them “disgusting”. But thankfully, my eyes have been opened!

cirio

Cirio in Spanish means tapered candle. John (our wagon master) is giving us the run down on this crazy tree. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t show it but it has yellow flowers on the very top of it that look like flames. They can grow up to 30-40 feet tall.

Day three our truck got a work-out dodging potholes and traveling up and up through the beautiful, desolate mountains of the protected Valle de los Cirios. We camped at the Santa Ynez Ranch in Catavina where they served us a delicious bunkhouse meal. I have no idea what it was but we asked for seconds! A cirio is a tree, but one of the craziest trees you will ever see. It is a bizarre-Dr. Suess-looking creation that only grows in this one little spot in the world.

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Another cirio next to a cardon (looks very similar to a saguaro but it’s not!).

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MItch went on a great mountain bike ride at the ranch – sandy but beautiful views.

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Isn’t this hilarious?? A cutout of a soldier holding a machine gun to signify an upcoming military checkpoint. Nothing to be concerned about here!

About half way through day four we crossed into Baja Sur!

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Welcome to Baja Sur!

Yay! Away went the coats and shoes, out came the shorts and sandals! I guess it could have been a cooler weather system that went through, but really, it was as if going across that line brought the sun out and temp up. We covered a lot of desert again but camped in a true oasis, San Ignacio. It is really amazing to come across a tiny valley stuffed with an uncountable number of palm trees after miles and miles and miles of sand, rock, and cacti. The next morning we explored the beautiful mission church built in the 1700s before heading out on the road again.

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Our sparkling personalities cleared the room at the Rice N Beans restaurant in San Ignacio!

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The Mexican dogs are very interested in Taz. Hopefully not as a main course!

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Water in the desert is such a surprise!

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Sunrise over the Bahia de Concepcion out our front door.

And then, day five. After a short drive of about 100 miles we dropped (almost literally!) out of the mountains to the blue-green waters of the Sea of Cortez. We followed the coastline past a huge garbage dump (yes – in a spot with a multi-million dollar view sat a nasty dump) and a copper mine (ditto) up headlands through washes and small towns until we reached the Bahia de Concepcion to Santispac Beach where we dry camped (RV talk for no power, water, or sewer) for three days on an enchanting cove dotted with islands and packed with gringos.

OK – enough catching up for now. Enjoy Mitch’s photos while I pull up my piece of sand and have a little one on one time with the warm Mexican sun!

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