A Long Way Home

Here is a post primarily written by me (Hector) for a change. In our last post we talked about visiting the baby gray whales as our “last” stop in Baja.  Well that was not exactly true.  Scammon’s Lagoon and Guerrero Negro is a LONG way from the border and is still in Baja California Sur.  It was still a long way home. Well over 1000 miles in fact.

We needed to get going though because our moving plans had a timeline and we had basically used up the time we allocated for our Baja explorations.  There was to be NO dilly dallying as we made our way home.  That is not to say no fun was had along the way.

After one last stop for the best tacos in Baja (therefore the world) at the Tacos el Muelle taco truck in Guerrero Negro we left Baja Sur and bee lined it for the border. Fish tacos are ruined for us forever.  Those were THE best.

After Guerrero Negro you enter the most remote part of the peninsula. There is a “gas gap” of about 235 miles although at the midpoint there are some guys in pickups with gas cans for any unfortunate folks in need.

This is also where the road hits peak terrible.  Narrow, potholed, no shoulders, with giant trucks barreling through. Traffic is light and you can see them coming a long way off but I never could get used to it.  5 seconds of terror / concentration …

But this area is also one gorgeous stretch of desert.  Similar to the beautiful desert surrounding Tucson, Arizona but with even larger Cardon Cacti and some other endemic plants as well.  Almost completely uninhabited.  A great place to 4WD and hike although caution would be in order.

Since both Island Time and the intrepid Coqui had some serious grime from two+ months on the road we stopped in Ensenada to have them washed and to replace the broken window from the smash and grab in La Paz. Both way cheaper there than in the U.S.

First a quick rear window replacement.

Then we had an appointment with Javier at El Carwashito, a mobile car wash service.  He was to come to our campground and wash the car one afternoon and then the RV the next day.  When Javier and his son Javier showed up right on schedule I pointed to the Subaru and told them to go to town.  I had no idea what I had unleashed.

After a few minutes of putzing around in the RV I decided to go check in on the progress outside.  OMG.  They had disassembled the inside of the car!  Seats, rugs, everything was sitting on the ground and the car was stripped to the metal inside!!!!!  I freaked a bit but it was too late to say anything so I thought “ok, this is new”.

Best car wash ever in the history of carwashes (and way cheap!). That car hadn’t looked that clean and shiny since it came out of the dealership. They spent about four hours on this small car. Even the engine looked brand new.

The next day Javier did a similarly excellent job on Island Time. Wow!

Our first visit to Ensenada years ago was with our friends Michael and Gloria from San Diego. And this time they drove down to meet us there for a day. We had dinner and brunch together and then poked around the fish market. Michael and I tasted each and every one of the numerous smoked marlin offerings before deciding on the winner. We were so happy to see our good friends even for such a brief encounter.

Michael is a mechanical wizard and offered great advice on the phone while we were having our RV troubles down south.  It could have turned into an expensive disaster.  But it turns out we had nothing more than a clogged fuel filter.  So Island Time had no further troubles and has run perfectly since.  Having the wizard as an advisor was such a huge comfort.

The border crossing was a giant nosebleed. It took HOURS to get through the border.  A giant waste of resources and time.  Our southern border situation is a disaster and I can’t help but get the distinct impression that the government is making it a pain on purpose. With all money being spent they can’t open a few more lanes? Ridiculous.

But we eventually made it through … and our irritation was quickly replaced with joy because our next stop on the trip home was a quick visit to Tim and Becky (and little Chloe) at their home in Yuma.  More fun with friends but just a super quick visit though … no dilly dallying. Homeward!

On to Tucson!  We love Tucson so much.  It is gorgeous there and we get to visit great friends. Jean and Jerry live there, we were introduced to them by Scott and Mary from Denver and we became friends. Then they introduced us to Nancy and Bill, Nancy is Denver Scott’s sister, and it turns out our visit coincided with Scott and Mary’s visit from Denver. They were visiting other old Denver friends of both of ours, Russ and Vicki who recently bought a second home in Tucson.

Got all that?

Anyway, hilarity ensued at a wonderful dinner at Vicki and Russ’s house. So great to spend time with so many folks that we miss very much.

We’ve known Scott for years and have also hung out with his sister Nancy but we’ve never been with them together. Fun to see the family resemblance up close.

Tucson was great fun and we even got a little hike in.  But the giant project list for our upcoming move was pressing on us so after a way too short visit we made the final push for our little adobe casita in Corrales.

70 days and 4,151 miles later we arrived safely home and our absolutely wonderful Baja adventure was done.

Next up, some tips for those planning a Baja visit.

Timing note from Brenda since we’ve been so slow to post new updates on our travels: We completed the Baja trip last April. Since then we’ve put our furniture in  storage, moved out of our home in Albuquerque and moved to Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo, Mexico. More on that later…

16 thoughts on “A Long Way Home

  1. Nice to see you back on my blog list! We go to Baja – San Felipe, Tecate, Tijuana – and friends often ask advice. We do not have your experience, looking forward to your travel tips!
    Congrats on your new home!

    • Thank you, Jeff. We just posted our first tips post, and are working on at least three more. Now that we’re living in Mexico (the Yucatan), I feel more comfortable writing the tips.

  2. Congrats on the move. We want to travel into Mexico next summer so will be looking forward to your tips! Maybe we can visit your way (we’ve been to Playa Del Carman but want to go to Merida). Alaska buddies, Karen & Jack

    • Hi there! We wrote the first tips post and it looks like we’ll have about three more. Merida is a bigger city, and we don’t know it very well (been only once briefly), but hope to visit a couple of times in winter (it’s a three-hour drive). Believe it or not the first thing people where we live say when you mention Merida is how hot it is, and we’re in the jungle! But since Merida is inland they don’t get the ocean breezes we do, and also their temperatures reach the 100 mark in summer (ours are usually low 90s). It’s definitely worth a visit though and of course you are welcome in our home, we’d love to see you. Keep us posted.

  3. Ah, WONDERFUL! And you’re in Playa del Carmen, which I haven’t visited in..um…20 years? Cannot wait for your Baja tips. We’re well versed from TJ to Santa Rosa, but haven’t driven beyond that. Just flown. A teardrop trailer may be in our future, so all your campgrounds are a goldmine. Thank you!

    • I hear Playa’s changed a lot in 20 years, of course people lament the growth and miss the “old days” here. Which is true of many places, and we never knew it then. Anyway, we just wrote the first tips post and have about three to go. We plan to go back to Baja in the next few years, it’s so beautiful!

    • Miss you too! Baja was incredible and we hope to return in a few years. For now, we’re enjoying the Yucatan, come visit!

  4. Great to see you two again! We all hope you’ll continue to show us the beautiful places you see in your “new life” south of the border!

    • Hi there. We got way behind as you saw, it has been a busy few months but we’re finally (almost) settled. We do hope to post about life here but have a few more posts about Baja that we want to get to before winter so hopefully they will be helpful to some RVers headed there. I see you’re about to head west, have fun!

  5. Awesome blog! You two are so much fun and so adventurous! In late January we will be driving from Calgary, Canada to Los Cabo’s where we have places rented in Todos Santos and San Jose til the end of March. Hope we find decent and safe places to stay en route down the Baja. PS I love Playa! Stay safe and have fun! 🙂

    • Good for you! I highly recommend going to see the gray whales and also a visit to Loreto (lovely little town) and La Paz (not as pretty as San Jose, but it has a beautiful malecón (boardwalk). We wrote individual posts about the places we stayed, and have posted our first tips. About three more posts to go. And don’t forget to use compendium.com, they have a lot of reviews. Let me know if you have specific questions about route etc. Excited for you!

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