I'm going back to the border....
Nov 13, 2012
|Where my affairs, my affairs ain't abused
I can't take any more bad water
I've been poisoned from my head down to my shoes....
Here I am in La Paz, Baja, Mexico waiting around for a ferry to take me to the mainland. I figure I should take the time to do an update and wrap my head around the last month of travel. I've been all over the map, 1900 miles of driving in the Land Cruiser, from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, 6 flights, from Cabo to LA to Vegas to LA to SD to LA to Cabo. It's been a blast but none of it has been easy.
Let me jump back all the way to the day we were scheduled to finally get on the road from San Diego. My good friend Tim and I were planning on driving the entire Baja peninsula and seeing what trouble we could find along the way. The days before departure were crazy hectic for me and Tim probably thought we were never going to get out of town. He had got the Land Cruiser (from now on know as LC) all organized, packed and ready to roll. He was in my driveway with the motor running and all I had to do was lock up the house and away we go. Easy right? Hahaha... when I went to close my automatic garage door it jumped it's track and snapped a cable. So, 3 hours later and an emergency visit from the garage door repairman and a hefty repair bill we finally made it out of the driveway.
Next stop - Mexico!! I live only a few miles from the border and in less then a half an hour we were crossing over to Mexican soil. We had to get our "Tourist Cards" from Immigration and that proved to be a little interesting. Basically we had to drive the wrong way against 6 lanes of incoming traffic and park in a Red Zone. The Visa process was relatively quick but when we went to find the Banjercito for me to get a Temporary Vehicle Import Permit for LC we found out it had closed at San Ysidro about a week before. So, off we went to the Otay Border Crossing. Thank God for Tim! Tim is a native San Diegan and has been to Mexico and the Baja countless times in his life and has just enough Spanish skills to understand the directions we received, which were perfect by the way. Well, less then an hour later and after dealing with some of the nicest "officials" I have ever dealt with, we - Me, Tim and LC were totally legal in Mexico.
Our first stop was in Rosarito and my first purchase was a Nemo Piñata. It's a long, inside story with my Niece Danielle as to why I found it necessary to buy Nemo and fill him up with candy and hang him in LC to permanently stare out the back window but suffice to say I needed to shake off whatever weird voodoo vibe was following me around and Nemo was the answer.
We finished up the first day a mere 35 or 40 miles from where we began. Not a very far distance but a lot accomplished. We had a celebration dinner in Puerto Nuevo where Tim and I shared an 8 pound lobster. Mmmm.... It goes without saying that we both slept like the dead that night.
Refreshed and rejuvenated we set out to drive the Baja. Over the next 10 days we managed to put 1800 miles on LC. We stopped in Ensenada and went out to see the blowhole at La Bufadora (it wasn't blowing but we had some delicious clams that I'll never forget), we cut across the peninsula and stopped to visit friends in San Felipe. We spent a relaxing afternoon hanging out with a life long friend of Tim's - Richie and his Mom. Then we drove down to Santa Maria and watched the sunset with my friend Kent. We got really adventurous and drove the "dirt" roads to Gonzaga Bay (where we had to buy gas from some guy and siphon it into LC - "the Pemex is closed on Wednesdays"). From there it was 4 wheelin' the rest of the way to Coco's Corner (some extremely interesting dude with no legs who lives literally in the middle of nowhere) and then down to Bahia de Los Angeles, nestled along the coast of the Sea of Cortez.
Hurricane Paul narrowly missed us (we got a rinse of rain and that was it) but some of the roads from this point forward were a challenge - there were bridges missing, mud slides, rock slides and lots of road crews out trying to clean it all up. (My love and prayers and thoughts go out to all of my friends and family who weathered Superstorm Sandy and are still trying to get their lives back in order - I love you all!)
Us? We just kept on cruising. Criss crossing our way back and forth across the peninsula, stopping whenever we wanted and taking it all in. We spent a night in Loreto. Then a couple nights in La Paz where we went scuba diving to try to see the schools of hammerhead sharks out at El Bajo and the whale sharks in the bay. 3 tanks and no luck with the hammerheads. We tried hard to see the whale sharks with no luck either BUT we did manage to swim with dolphins and sea lions!
The best place we found, in my opinion, was a little town on the east cape called Cabo Pulmo. We drove in as it was getting dark and, according to the advice of my Lonely Planet, went to Nancy's to try to find a room. Nancy, a sweet older lady, informed us that the hurricane had damaged her bungalows so she had no rooms. She then went on to ask us if we want cinnamon buns? When we expressed an interest she said she bakes them fresh, using her famous recipe and if we want them, we have to order them. We took great pains in arranging a time - 2 PM the next day (there was no way she could have them ready tonight, breakfast was too early as she had to make the dough and let it rise, and 10 AM was no good for us because we would be out scuba diving, so Nancy informed us that 2 PM was the perfect time for cinnamon buns and she would have them prepared and see us then). Off we went to Baja Bungalows where we sorted a room and I fell asleep with visions of cinnamon buns floating in my head.
The next day we woke early to the most amazing little town. It was just a few dirt roads and lots of really nice bungalows hidden amongst the greenery. Down to the dive shop we went and out into the marine park we dove. We had 2 spectacular dives and saw a ton of fish life - moray eels, giant grouper, a school of jacks, it was awesome. Back on dry land, the sea water rinsed off, we gather up our gear, piled into LC and off we went to Nancy's for the much anticipated cinnamon buns. We walked in and there was Nancy, all smiles, we said good afternoon and Nancy proceeded to introduce herself. Then she said she bakes the best cinnamon buns from a homemade recipe and did we want some? We said, yes, that's why we were there to have cinnamon buns. She said well then we would have to order them! God bless Nancy but both Tim and I got the impression that for Nancy, it was her first time meetings us and that she was probably a few cinnamon buns short of a dozen herself these days. So, no cinnamon buns. We did not have the time or the confidence to place another order and hope for the best? We had to get moving, the next day Tim had his flight scheduled out of San Jose del Cabo back to San Diego.
So off we drove to Lands End. Cabo San Lucas. I have to tell you that for me it was a huge disappointment. It is basically a huge Marina and tourist trap on the tip of the Baja. Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful, the people are friendly, there is some of the best fishing in the world available and if you are into mega bucks hotels and golf courses it is all here for the taking. Me I dropped Tim off at the airport and hightailed it back to Cabo Pulmo!
I spent the next 5 days swinging on a hammock, reading books, working on my tan, getting my back healthy and chilling with the expat locals. The highlight of the entire trip so far though was a scuba dive I did where I dropped in on a huge school of jacks, saw some amazing rays (one I never ever saw before) and then floated over onto the reef past some giant grouper and then a baby (4-5 Meters) whale shark swam up on us and hung out for over 10 minutes. Woo hoo!! I could definitely spend some more time in Cabo Pulmo.
Eventually I had to pull myself away from the laid back life style and the hammock and make my way back to Cabo. As I too had a flight to catch. I flew from San Jose del Cabo to Los Angeles and then from LA to Las Vegas. I had my very good friends - Shanon and Kevin's Wedding to attend. Actually, I also had the privilege of performing my first wedding. Kevin and Shanon had asked me to do this for them and I accepted. This past summer, amongst all the other stuff I was trying to get done, I went ahead and got Ordained as a Minister from American Marriage Ministries. Then I had to jump through a few hoops to be legally able to marry a couple in Clark County Nevada. My part was easy though, I wasn't the one getting married.
Vegas was a huge success. I met up with Shanon and Kevin and lots of their family and friends. The night before the wedding the guys took Kevin out for his Bachelor Party. I can't get into that because there is a code that states "What Happens in Vegas, Stay in Vegas!" But I can say that fun was had by all. The next day found us all at the Little Church of the West for a 5 PM Wedding Ceremony. The Bride and Groom and all of the wedding party did a great job, but I do have to say that the Reverend was awesome! The couple legally married "By the power vested in me by the State of Nevada and American Marriage Ministries.com" the partying began! What an honor it was to be there and take part in such a special day and weekend.
I flew back to San Diego for a few days to tie up a few loose ends and once again Murphy was waiting for me at the airport. I managed to accomplish what I could and 4 days later off I went - at 5:30 AM to the airport to fly back to Mexico. The flight from San Diego to LA was delayed, due to maintenance issues, twice. They changed me to another flight, twice. Finally (third times a charm) they changed me back to the original flight and, overhead bins duct taped down, off we went to LAX. In LAX, Terminal 6, we were all ready to board the flight to Cabo when there was a bag found left unattended. So...everybody was evacuated, and the dudes in body armor, carrying machine guns, showed up. Finally all was good and they let us back in and on our plane. Whew! What a day of traveling.
Which leads to me to now. As I mentioned, I am now back in La Paz, Baja, Mexico and in a few hours will board a ferry with LC to go to Mazatlan on the mainland. From there? The world's my oyster. The adventure continues.....