“Una pachanga en el desierto” (a party in the desert) is how Hector described our experience in Anza Borrego State Park to his mom on the phone the other day. So I couldn’t resist using those words as the title to this post.
The word “pachanga” today is Spanish slang for “a lively or very fun party”. But the origin of the term is the name of a dance in Cuba; a fusion of charanga (which itself is a fusion of a couple of other types of music) with trumpet-based Latin band music. Which is quite appropriate for the fusion of people here in this desert.
We arrived at the Clark Dry Lake Bed in Anza Borrego almost a week into the New Year, and found a community gathered here. We saw our old friends Polly and Curtis. We met Byron, Sam, Emma, Frances, Moose, and Kiki here. And those are just the dogs and one cute cat.
We had the opportunity to reconnect with “old” friends and meet many new ones:
Nina and Paul (Wheeling It) their dog Polly and cats Taggart and Rand in their Class A motorhome, the Beast. Nina is famous for writing the best RV blog ever. We first met them just a year ago at the “Q” after following their blog basically forever.
Leigh and Brian (Aluminarium) and their dog Curtis in their Airstream. It is hard to believe we only met them for the first time last summer in Oregon. We feel like we’ve known them a really long time.
Iain and Kate (The Scenic Route) in their Airstream. We met this delightful pair originally from the UK at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta last fall.
The famous Cherie and Chris (Technomadia) and their cat Kiki in the Zephyr, a vintage 1961 General Motors bus which they have extensively renovated and modified. Their highly informative blog and RV Mobile Internet Resource Center have been most helpful to us. It was great to finally meet them.
Seth and Drea (@sethkhughes, @dreaknufken) and their dog Emma in their Airstream, an adventurous, funny and creative couple. Seth is a photographer so Hector was happy to have a chance to talk some shop.
Todd and Russ (Wandertopia, @toddmb, @haynieruss), and their cute dog Frances, in their awesome vintage Bluebird Wanderlodge with a George Jetson interior and incredible cockpit with a million gauges.
Kerri (@solojourner) and dog Byron in her Airstream. I really admire solo women travelers.
Glenn (To Simplify) in an extensively modified camper van. He is another pretty famous blogger and really nice guy.
He left soon after we arrived so we look forward to seeing him down the road.
Vince and Spencer in an Airstream. We met them at Grand Teton National Park last fall. Vince just began his full-time adventure after retiring from a career as a doctor.
Pam and John (Oh, the Places they Go), in their class A motorhome. We’ve been following each other’s blog for over a year. They arrived towards the end of our stay and we’re so glad we finally connected with these two avid hikers and retired educators.
We really enjoyed the great energy of the group.
There were doggie dates, group outings and group gatherings day and night.
We joined the group for Taco Tuesday twice at a local Mexican restaurant in town.
We caught a bit of Karaoke night, but apparently left too early and missed some fabulous performances given as the night wore on.
Paul and Hector as two (the only?) Cuban American fulltime RVers always have interesting stories to exchange and we have fun comparing notes about about Miami. Our visit this time was too brief, but we hope to be seeing them again soon.
We hosted a happy hour with a Caribbean theme and rum drinks. Where we discovered that Chris and Cherie know more about Caribbean cocktails than we do. Those two are full of surprises.
At another gathering there were some moments of panic when Iain and Kate were accidentally locked out of their Airstream. After much hilarious effort, we discovered that it’s not possible to break into an Airstream (without breaking a window that is). But they found an extra key and all was well.
One day there was a “dumping exodus”, when several Airstreams drove out to empty and fill their tanks and returned to exactly the same spots in the desert, pretty funny.
And love was in the air – Angel was quite smitten with Scout, a much younger dog who belongs to Kelly and Mike. Scout, so handsome, gently responded to Angel’s persistent, playful teasings. Angel is pretty fierce. And we are thrilled that she continues to be going strong.
All of this fun and social time has taken place in the midst of a spectacular setting in the desert, surrounded by mountains on three sides. We eagerly awaited the sunset show every night, some evenings subtle and others electric.
And, as we neared the new moon, the endless night sky has become more and more stunning.
We love the desert.
And una pachanga en el desierto is a great way to begin our New Year.