Paradise, at last

Trip Start Dec 12, 2008
Trip End Jan 05, 2009

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Thursday, December 18, 2008

We left La Bufadora desperate to get out of the cold, driving rain. We continued south and the storm seemed to follow us. Everytime we thought we would see some blue sky, we would get enveloped by dark menacing clouds and heavy rain. Seriously? This is Mexico! Anyway, the night of the 16th, we rolled into Catavina, in central Baja. Catavina is in the middle of the desert but is beautiful as it is strewn with boulders as far as the eye can see.  We really wanted to explore the area for climbing routes but the weather was still not ideal. We stopped in at the only restaurant open, had some tacos and met some guys from California. They encouraged us to just keep heading south to reach the best parts of Baja and to find some good weather. We camped out on a ranch close to town and actually saw stars for the first time. We listened to some music, played some scrabble and went to sleep.

So much for the clear skies. The next morning we woke up to more rain. Jonesey was not pleased. So, we jumped in Ruby and kept heading south. The next part of the drive was actually pretty cool as we went through a protected area called Valle de Los Cirios. Cirios are these tall, lanky, Dr. Seuss-looking cactus that covered the landscape. This is one of the only places they grow and they are so cool...and weird.  It was also neat to see the desert in the rain. Everything was green and blooming, not the dry scrub brush we were expecting.

Another stop we made was in St. Ignacio, a little oasis of palm and fruit trees in the middle of the desert. There is an old mission and a museum of nearby cave paintings. We walked around a bit and got to feel sun on our faces for the first time. Finally!

We continued on toward the Sea of Cortez until we reached Mulege, a small town on the Sea. We got a room in a guesthouse, showered and went out for tacos and beers.

The next morning we woke up, and started our final push south. The drive was amazing! The sun was out and the views were awesome. The shimmering Sea of Cortez was on our left and the Sierra de las Gigantes rose up on our right. It was warm, dry and we were stoked!

We arrived in Todos Santos around sun down, picked up some food and beer at a grocery store and headed a couple miles south to San Pedrito, a Pacific beach with a surf break and free camping. We pulled up to the most beautiful camp site. We were right on the water, a sandy beach stretching to the south, mountains to the east, palm trees and crashing waves. Jonesey went down and felt the ocean water. Warm! No wetsuit required! All the stress of driving, the frustration of poor weather and the fears of being in an increasingly violent Mexico just melted away. We were so happy we were almost in tears. We turned on some music and sat down for our first homemade dinner of veggie tacos with fresh tortillas, avacados, tomatos and cheese.

We spent four days and four nights in this area. During the day we would head down to Los Cerritos, a good sandy surf break for beginners like us. We would take turns getting thrashed by the waves and then return to our beach spot to read, drink beers, sleep and  relax. We were suprised to find that there were not that many tourists on the beach, or, for that matter anywhere we went. There were some locals and some road trippers like us, but that was about it.

Surfing was fun as the waves were relatively gentle compared to the surf at Westport, where we had been going to practice. We only sustained minor injuries...Tim with a bruised or fractured rib, cause unknown, and Jonesey with a massive bruise on her leg from getting hit with the fins on her board. All in all though, we had a blast, learned a lot and just enjoyed splashing around in the warm water.

At night we would head back to our lovely camp spot at San Pedrito, watch the sunset, eat homemade tacos and go to bed early. One night however, we were lucky enough to hear about a demolition derby going on in town. A Mexican demolition derby? This, we had to see! Todos Santos is very small so the derby was held at the local baseball field, where the kids play. All the locals were there as well as a few travelers like us. At one point during the derby, a head on collision happened right in front of us and we were sprayed with mud and car parts. Awesome! Only in Mexico.

On the morning of the solstice,  while drinking our coffee and eating breakfast, we looked out to the ocean and saw breeching whales! The more we looked, the more we saw. They were everywhere! What a treat! We were so excited. I'm not sure how this place could have been any more perfect.

We did have one minor snag during these few days. We decided to check out a new beach and surf break, further south on the road to Cabo. We took Ruby out this dirt road to the beach. We walked around a bit, saw more breeching whales and then decided to head back to camp for some food. Well, Ruby had something else planned. After driving about 20 yards back toward the highway, Ruby's back wheel started spinning in the sand. Crap. Tim tried to dig her out a bit, but she just kept going in deeper. At one point, Tim tried to push Ruby out, while Jonesey drove. However, the wheels again started spinning and Tim said "No! No! No!" but Jonesey heard "Go! Go! Go!" and floored it. Oops. Ruby was up to her bumper in sand.

After, digging, strategizing, pouring water on the road and throwing plants on the ground ahead of the wheels, we were finally able to get her out. That took at least an hour. Tim make it about 30 feet before we got stuck again! Luckily a truck full of Mexican kids came by and helped push Ruby out. Disaster averted.

We went back to camp happy, tired and filthy from all the digging in the dirt. Tim had done all of this with his injured rib and was in a lot of pain. We washed up and went to bed early that night.

On the day of the 23rd we begrudgingly left our little paradise and headed south toward Cabo San Lucas to get Ruby some new ball joints, as the beach roads had truly brutalized her.

We will definitely be coming back here.
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