Tales From the Road – “The Good, The Bad, and The Baja”

Hello from one of the world’s top ten beaches!

Well, it’s been a long time since my last post – unfortunately, gorgeous beaches in the middle of nowhere don’t tend to have internet cafes. Let’s see, the last post was from Estero Coyote, on the Pacific and we had just arrived…

We hunkered down, determined to enjoy ourselves despite the uncooperative weather, and fun was had by most. Between the sickness and the funk, my time at the estero was spent mostly in the cabana reading or sleeping. Still, I did drag myself out for dinners of fresh oysters, clams, prawns, and lobster. Yes, it’s a rough life. The Fullpots (Robyn & Glen) had a blast kayaking the estuary, which was positively overflowing with birds this time. The Elder Challenge Team (Meg & Dennis) kayaked and hiked the beach. Prez lamented the lousy fishing but was quickly pacified when the manager gave him several lovely Corvina he’d caught. Good fun.

The highlight of that camping trip was probably the big “Rock Paper Scissors” competition waged to decide who should get the last of the oh-so-yummy prawns. Prez had good kung-fu form but Meg was ultimately the majority winner.

After four days we were ready to point our various wagons toward the Sea of Cortez, Posada, good friends, and (hopefully) good weather. We were all amazed at how green and lush the desert is this year. At one point the desert floor was purple as far as the eye could see; flowers bloomed everywhere.

I’m always happy to pull into Posada, this year I was especially happy. All-In-Jim and Miss Sue were putting us up in their splendidly warm and comfy casa, and, believe me, this Princess was overdue for warm & cozy! Mom II & HQ spoiled us, as always, with big dinners including Prez’s favorite, “Twice Baked Potatoes”.

We were glad to see Mulege had recovered well from the big flood in October but dismayed by the sad state of Santispac beach (recently sold and all the residents in permanent structures booted out) and the site of our old hangout, Ray’s Restaurant, no more than a circle of ashes. The Mulege rumor mill is, naturally, churning out dozens of reasons why Ray’s burned down. One camp claims Ray did it himself, although that seems strange to me when there is no insurance money. Another camp firmly believes it was an accident – possible. And yet another group has said that Ray was way, way behind on his rent and the owners gave him a Mexican eviction notice – 5 gallons of gasoline and a lit match. Who knows what is true, all I know is we had some wickedly good times there and now it’s gone. This, by the way, did not help to alleviate the funk.  

Prez was itching to get camping again; he’d planned a big trip over to the cave painting canyons and a full day’s hike. I was still not 100%, so I kissed him farewell and spent two and a half days reading, fiddling on the computer, gossiping with Mom II, and watching the Australian Open…heaven!! (Hooray for Serena Williams, she kicked butt!) The gang returned from their trip just in time for Mom II’s semi-surprise 74th birthday party. The Flying Powers hosted a grand affair, complete with roasted turkey, gravy, and stuffing for 20 people, if you can believe it. I like the irony of the fact that we ate cabbage rolls and pork tenderloin for Xmas and came to Mexico for turkey dinner.

Next day, on the road again for more camping. True, I was not feeling very “campy” yet, but the funk and the cough were fading and I was really ready to start my vacation. So off to San Basilio we went – crossing all of our appendages that the Elder Challenge Team, in their low-rider van, and the Fullpots, in their big, beefy camper, could make it in on the bumpy & overhung road. Once again, our mouths hung agape at the verdant desert. I, however, was not so thrilled by all the bees that come with such verdant-ness!  

Now San Basilio is one of those rare gems – a beach just hard enough to get to that it keeps the visiting population to a minimum, but stunning enough that, once there, you want to stay forever. The bay is a favorite anchorage for sail boaters, as well, and there are usually a few there at any given time (which makes for lovely sunrise photos). The wind, in Baja, is your winter nemesis. San Basilio is nice because it offers a fair amount of shelter, but you can usually count on that pesky wind showing up at least 60% of the time. Somehow we must have appeased the weather gods because what wind there was came from all directions but north and was relatively mild.

Anyhoo, we set up camp. By the time All-In-Jim & Miss Sue, Chef Wendy & Jake the Grape arrived by land, and the Flying Powers by sea, we numbered twelve. There were other campers on our beach but they were gone within a few days. (Explain to me why men from Oregon and Arizona are camping on a Baja beach wearing kilts??) The sun shone, the fish bit, and my cough stopped. Could this be the end of my bad mood? I pondered as I kayaked the glass-calm water, spying on the multi-coloured fish beneath my boat.  

I wish I could say it was but this trip just doesn’t seem to want to give me a break.

The ever-grouchy, North American Carpet Panther (aka Emily) was finally starting to enjoy herself, too. One of our party, unfortunately, has a dog that is not so cat-friendly but we worked out an arrangement whereby dog ran loose all day while cat was locked inside tent, then cat ran loose all night while dog was tied up or locked inside. This worked very well until the cat, who is too clever for her own good, pawed her way out of the tent one morning. Long story brief: there was a scuffle, cat fought hard but dog definitely got the upper paw, Prez happened to be in the right place at the perfect time and averted certain disaster, cat was not in good shape and neither was her human. She is healing and will be fine (luckily the vet in Loreto was only an hour and fifteen minutes away) but the whole incident just put me on the express elevator down to Misery Land again. I’m on my way back up, again, but the elevator going up is always so much slower than the one going down.

Ironically, it would be bad weather that would cheer me up.

Yesterday morning looked like it was setting up to be the PERFECT Baja day – hot, sunny, not a drop of wind – and then the clouds appeared. Out of nowhere, our sky turned from blue to dark grey. Then the winds arrived. They blew from all directions, confused. Soon it became obvious that we were in for some of that wet stuff that falls from the sky and campfire time would be soggy. Guess we know why the desert is so darn verdant this year. “Let’s have movie night!” I suggested to the Prez. And that’s how it came to be that eight people clustered in our tent, passing around chocolate and cookies, and laughing at “Finding Nemo”, which was playing on Dennis’s laptop computer. What a hoot! When the movie ended and we all untangled ourselves from the origami positions we’d folded ourselves into, we found the night sky clear, the wind gone…so we lit a campfire and yakked until sleep arrived. Best of all, I laughed a real laugh, more than once, and felt happy inside.

Today, Prez and I kayaked; it felt good to be making the ol’ muscles earn their keep. It looks like we may be spending one more day here to hike a really, really cool canyon, and that’s OK. I may not even go on the hike but that’s OK, too. See, I forgot to mention that Prez is my big hero. When Emily was in trouble he ran and jumped so quick to save her, he split the top of his head open. It’s just a surface wound but quite big and it bled like a son of a gun. I know he wants to spend one more day here and hike that canyon; if that will make him happy, we stay. Besides, I don’t think it’s physically possible for my hair to get any oilier or my armpits to smell any worse, so what the heck.  

Don’t you just love camping?

Until the next time I hit civilization, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

The Princess

p.s. – The canyon hike WAS worth staying for…more on that next week!!

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