Three months of driving the roads of Baja condensed to three and a half minutes.
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We've been driving around southern Baja trying to figure out where to stay when the parts for our truck finally come in. We've checked out quite a few beaches, the mountains, and several cities and towns. We even considered renting a house or apartment, but realized it wasn't quite in the budget.
The parts are here!! After such a long wait, it's hard to believe that we can finally take the truck to the shop and start the repairs. But that means we have to remove the camper. I've done this dozens of times since we bought it, and, while a little time consuming, it's usually a pretty simple process. This time though there are several complications.
A fellow traveler we recently ran into equated meeting other overlanders to speed dating. After the first 10 minutes of asking the easy question of “What did you do before you quit your job, hopped in a vehicle and decided to drive around the world?” is out of the way, the not so easy question of “Why?” is usually next. This seems to quickly lead to a much deeper discussion of people's world views or a personal life changing event.
There are several things that I didn't even realize that I've been missing on this trip; mountains, fresh water and quiet. As you traverse Baja, the mountains are ever present in the background and you even cross them a few times on the highway. But so far we've hopped from beach to beach all the way down the peninsula without stopping to really check them out..
We've moved to another camping spot on the beach, because that seems to be the thing to do in Baja. We're hidden between two hills and from the road behind us.
This is my favorite spot yet. I say this every time we come to a new beach camp, but this time I mean it. We're tucked in behind head high bushes that block the wind and give us a fair amount or privacy. The people before us, or before them, built a fire pit using a wheel well. There's a makeshift alter; neatly stacked rocks topped with a candle and covered with smaller rocks and shells added by the camp's various inhabitants over the years.
The elusive Sipac has arrived in La Paz! After over a month of waiting for this form; it took all of two hours to take it to the other driver's insurance company, have them issue the paperwork we need, go to a shop, have our car looked at by the mechanic and get the parts ordered.
White sand beaches, periwinkle water and 70 degree weather is fantastic, but it didn't really inspire the holiday spirit in us. Being thousands of miles away from our family didn't help either. We were both rather unenthusiastic about the impending holidays.
Everything is just a little harder when you're in a foreign country. Going to the grocery store, the laundromat or the gas station all present their own challenges at first, but eventually you become accustomed to how things work. Getting in a car wreck and dealing with the aftermath are in a league of their own.
“Are you coming back out?” I heard our neighbor (who we had not met) say to Pete as he was reentering our camper.
Pete apprehensively: “Uh...... I'll be coming and going”
Neighbor: “Well good! Because I want to know what the hell you guys are doing!”
We are ¼ mile down a dirt road parked feet from the turqiouse water of Playa Escondida on Bahia Concepcion. There are no alarm clocks, no name badges or uniforms, no one calling my name to tell me someone needs me or that I have a phone call.
I feel a little naive, but I never bothered researching what the climate of northern Baja is like in the winter. It's cold. Not cold like Minnesota, or even our home in East Tennessee. But when you're expecting to be wearing shorts and a t-shirt and it's in the forties (farenheit) at night, it can be a little jarring.
As difficult as it was to leave our new friends at Live Different, we were a little anxious to be on the road again. After spending the morning getting our camper door pounded into shape by Carlos, we got a late afternoon start so we didn't really make it very far...about an hour down the road.
It's taken us a long time to try to write this post. This one really needed some thought. How do you eloquently put into into words the kindness of strangers? Not only do they work for the non-mission based, humanitarian relief organization, Live Different, but Andrew, Dawn, and Anthony randomly stopped to check on us after our wreck.
It starts out as another normal day on the road. We have a nice short drive planned; about 3 hours or so down to San Quintin. We're already dreaming of the crab we'd planned on having for Thanksgiving dinner when we come across a jeep stopped in the middle of the highway. I have to brake pretty hard to avoid running into him and the first thought through my head is, “I sure hope there's nobody behind me”.
As we leave our southern California camp spot at 8 am I feel a little nauseated...I'm nervous this morning. We keep hearing negative things about the Tijuana border crossing. Countless people have told us we would be better off crossing at Tecate. Countless more people have told us that we need to get away from the border as fast as possible. I usually don't take heed of such warnings, but there's been so many of them that its starting to wear on me.