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  • Writer's picturevanlafaxine

week 9: baja california sur I

day 55: guerrero negro to san ignacio

Amy: We started the day as dog parents watching Penny, our new friends' cute terrier they adopted in Mexico, while they did a whale tour.

After the others finished their tour, we moved onwards together to San Ignacio. We camped in a cluster of palm trees on a lagoon - a lush green paradise compared to the hot desert and sandy beaches we've been camping on. And we finally set up the hammock! After a few drinks, we walked into town - a quaint village clustered around an old mission. We all got margs and shared a delicious meal!

bill: we decided to move along to mulegé (about 4 hours) but moving in a convoy is very slow so we only made it to san ignacio. we needed to stop at an autozone since it seems the van is burning oil. she's old, she's allowed to, just needed a top up. it is finally starting to get warm here; so far the wind has made it sweater weather most of the time. we walked into town to check out the old mission and town square and ate at a restaurant, on the way home we stopped to pet one of the street dogs (a very cute, very friendly, very short-legged wirey haired lab mutt) and he followed us the whole 25 minutes out of town back to the campground, we tried to turn him back towards the town but he wouldn’t give up. it was very hard not just adopting him right then and there. when we all went to bed he stayed in the campsite and barked all night. oof.

day 56: san ignacio to mulegé

bill: our friends were very content to stay longer in the tropical palm oasis but we wanted to get moving since we have limited surfing time and that doesn’t really exist until we hit the most southern part of the baja, so we said our goodbyes and headed out for the bahia de concepcion. i rode the bike which was extremely fun: the drive is full of intense uphills, downhills, “curva peligrosa”, and switchbacks through the mountains. so rad. stopped in mulegé for some agua purificada. mulegé is another very cute town, very old, also based in an oasis, full of lush palms. we got some tacos then went for a quick walk and immediately ran into other friends of ours who had split off earlier. the baja is a very small place. we chatted for a bit but we needed to get going since we had another half hour to drive to get to our destination before dark which was rapidly approaching.

there is an unwritten rule here; do not drive at night. not because of the cartels or crime or anything, it’s because of the cows. the free ranging cows are drawn to the residual heat on the highway at night and lay down on the road and the collision will kill you (and the cow), we saw three roadkill cows on our drive today. that and you can’t see the potholes and the police don’t really care about drunk driving here. so we said our goodbyes again and headed out to playa de coyote right as the sun was setting. the road there was more switchbacks and curves, with the sun setting over the bay illuminating the turquoise waters and turning the black mountains pink, it was a surreal drive.

Amy: We said adios to our friends and drove all the way to Mulegé. By the time we arrived, we were tired and hungry, so we parked right downtown and explored a bit. We bought a rug to keep sand out of the van, then hit a local taqueria in the town square, which was filled with gorgeous flowering fuschia trees. After our meal, we stumbled upon a cock fight (the busiest venue in town) and spontaneously ran into other friends! We caught up, then headed for the beaches on Bahia de Concepcion. The drive at sunset was gorgeous. We crested hill after hill, each with a spectacular view of coves and bays, tranquil azur water, little rocky islands and sailboats moored off white sand beaches. We pulled up to a beachfront camp spot at Playa El Coyote and watched the moon rise.

day 57: bahia de concepcion

bill: we camped right on the beach in a beautiful bay called playa el coyote.  the water is turquoise and still as glass. we woke up at sunrise and looked out the window to see a pod of dolphins coming into the bay. we got out of bed and hopped on our surfboards to paddle out to swim with them, but unlike the whales, they wouldn’t let us get too close . very, very cool. it is finally warm and we can finally have a proper beach day; we read our books, we sat in the sun and snorkeled. met many other gringos, again all canadians, mostly retired. it seems a lot of people from b.c. just park on this beach for 6 months of the year. people say that b.c.s. stands for “british columbia sur”.

Amy: What a surreal morning paddling with dolphins! A whole pod entered the bay at sunrise and hung around, swimming back and forth, jumping and playing in the shallow waters. We spent the rest of the day soaking up the warm sunny weather. The water turned a brilliant shade of turquoise as the sun climbed higher and higher into the sky. We sat on the beach until the moon rose again, bathing everything in its luminescent glow.

day 58: playa el coyote

bill: beach day.

Amy: we woke up with the sunrise again. The view from our bedroom window is perfect.

Every morning, vendors come by to sell various goods: blankets, hats, tamales, empanadas and fish. This morning, I decided to buy some fresh fish, and we made an awesome fish taco dinner. This is the life! To wrap up the day, I made a cup of tea and did some yoga by moonlight.

day 59: playa el coyote

Amy: This morning we watched the sunrise come up over the bay, made breakfast burritos, then explored the marine life around the bay. We spotted manta rays, little striped fish, and pelicans nose diving for a meal. Starved, we headed to a local joint for TACO TUESDAY! We tried all 6 tacos on the menu (coconut shrimp and goat cheese black bean were winners), and a slice of mulegé lime pie! The restaurant was full of expats and decorated floor-to-ceiling with fishing trinkets, old posters, and various items that had washed ashore on the beach (turtle shell, driftwood, skulls etc). There's a huge sense of community down here, everyone knows everyone, and we were welcomed in with open arms.

bill: borrowed a kayak and a sup from some friends we met because of their impeccable taste (also driving a roadtrek with a dirtbike in tow), went out on the bahia, very nice to be out on the placid water, paddling in the winter is a lovely treat.

i fucking love the baja. for someone like me, the baja is a paradise. everything i love to do is at its ultimate here; motorcycle riding, fishing, surfing, paddling, drinking beer in the sun all day, hanging out with your friends around a campfire every night. endless stretches of curving mountain highways, endless backcountry dirt trails, community everywhere you go, perfect weather. an overwhelming surplus of raw untouched natural beauty. mountains, volcanos, oceans, desert. everybody is fixing something all the time. i have had more conversations about carburetors in the last 2 weeks than the rest of my whole life.

day 60: playa el coyote to la paz

bill: did the long drive from bahia de concepcion to la paz. it is finally starting to get hot, like 31 degrees hot.  stayed at an rv park run by a torontonian who left canada because “pierre elliott trudeau is turning canada into a communist country”.  there is a lot of that down here.

Amy: We are heading south! Put in about 6 hours of driving and made it to Carlita's campground in La Paz. It was a quiet night - showers and laundry.

day 61: la paz to el pescadero

Amy: Now that we're back in civilization, it's errand day (dumping, Home Depot, groceries etc). We also got the motorcycle hitch welded for a very reasonable $50 (it was really sagging in the middle under the weight of the bike), and Bill made friends with some local dogs. With a stocked up van, we drove out to a camp spot on San Pedrito beach. We were surprised by the number of rigs here - about 50 vans, buses and campers! We parked right by the beach and immediately headed out to see the Pacific. We were greeted by whales that were blowing and breaching right near shore. We watched the sun set over the ocean as surfers ripped up and down the waves.

high quality $50 weld job

bill: finally in a bigger city we needed to run some errands, including a trip to the first walmart on the baja we have seen, immediately ran into our friends from earlier again. ran our errands and got on our way to todos santos because it is finally time to do some surfing! camping is dwindling around here because they are shutting beaches down after a big festival brought 1000+ vans down to la paz, so there were limited options, we ended up driving 10-15 minutes down an arroyo (riverbed/sand wash) to a point.  unlike other places we have camped which have been mostly retirees, this spot is full of other young people, surfers, lots of dirt bikes, we have finally found our people! there is a good point break off the arroyo but it is very rocky and a bit too tough for our level so we will drive into cerritos beach in the morning.

san pedrito

day 62: el pescadero

bill: went surfing at cerritos in the morning, it is a sandy beach break with pretty big waves at times (mostly chest high but it gets up to overhead and piping), so we got pretty pummelled, i also got a very sunburnt face, but it felt very good to get up and riding waves again! amy wants to take some lessons. got back to camp and worked on trying to lash surfboards to the bike so that we don’t have to drive the van to cerritos everyday, but it may be a bit of a death trap between the boards and the loose sand road of the arroyo. met a lot of the people at our camp, went down to the beach bar, then had a fire until well past real midnight (‘baja midnight’ is 9pm), turns out one of our new friends is a surf instructor so we will get some group lessons going on sunday. turns out there are also some climbers in the group so we may go explore some of the granite near the camp tomorrow.

Amy: we spent the morning chatting with folks and getting to know our neighbours, then headed down to Cerritos beach, which is supposed to be a good place to learn. The waves ended up being very rough - we got a few serious dunks and nosefuls of salt water. BUT we both stood up a few times, so that's something! We ended the day with a few drinks at the beach bar near camp, followed by a campfire with new friends!

the deathtrap

no video this week because i am too busy drinking tecate on the beach, next week's will be a banger though i promise





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