Category Archives: Baja

Bye Bye to the Baja (and Mexico!)

Some days are lazy days. I am totally okay with that.

Some days are lazy days. I am totally okay with that.

The last time I wrote to you guys, we were beating a hasty retreat from the beaches of Bahia de Los Angeles. Beautiful to be sure, but seriously lacking in the internet services that Jason needed to get through the week. So after a nice run on the beach, Maya and I were packed back into the car and off we drove, down a twisty turny highway and headed south. Our final time driving south on the Big Adventure!

We left Baja California behind and entered Baja Sur, passing the gigantic Mexican flag and the town of Guerro Negro. We pulled into a hotel on the highway and settled in. Kadekaman was a nice little place, with enough room for a couple of campers, a bunch of orange trees, and a sweet dirt lot for Maya and I to run around in. Other than that, I don’t have much to report about our time there. Victoria and Jason went out for a couple of delicious meals, but we didn’t get to come along. The highlight of my week was bath time, so that pretty much sums it up. Not so adventurous. Not so much fun.

Behind our parking lot campsite were all these orange trees! It smelled awesome.

Behind our parking lot campsite were all these orange trees! It smelled awesome.

I was more than happy when My Family packed us down to head back out to the beach. Jason was done with work for the week, so we were off to greener pastures. We got up super early and left the highway behind, for a long drive through the desert. As we drove, a dense bank of fog descended over the road, and all of a sudden there was nothing but white out the windows. I’d never seen a foggy desert before! Although there wasn’t much to see for the next hour, the smells were amazing. The fog finally rose, and we saw the blue of the ocean ahead. This was the tiny fishing town of Bahia Asuncion, and Campo Sirena.

My view out the front window from my perch on Vic's lap. Creepy.

My view out the front window from my perch on Vic’s lap. Creepy.

Thankfully, Campo Sirena was a HUGE improvement. A big sandy lot, sprinkled with nice campers and super friendly dogs. My Family had a ton of fun hanging out with the other travelers, while Maya and I got to know Fuss, Princess, Bonz, Luna and Rosie the Puppy. After several days of sitting next to the car, locked to our leashes and staring at a boring building, this was heaven. The beach was just down a cliff, and we spent most of our days frolicking around with our new doggie friends. Luna started following My Family around, and one day we dashed around the beach together while the humans collected shells. Maya likes collecting shells too, but Victoria won’t let her chew on them. I guess that’s pretty good advice, even though they smell delicious.

The campground was covered in these sparkly flowers. They are S U P E R sticky on your paws if you walk on them.

The campground was covered in these sparkly flowers. They are S U P E R sticky on your paws if you walk on them.

Rosie the Puppy. Maya was afraid of her. Typical.

Rosie the Puppy. Maya was afraid of her. Typical.

Luna begging to come into the camper. I don't think so, chica!

Luna begging to come into the camper. I don’t think so, chica!

At Campo Sirena, we also had maybe the best meal of my entire life. My Family went out for tacos one night, and met a nice man who offered to sell them fish. Apparently, the fisherhumans in this town weren’t allowed to sell their fish right off the beach like in other places, but had to ship them out of town. So one night, Jason’s new friend snuck him over some fish. Actually, A LOT of fish. Jason’s not the best negotiator in the world, so instead of buying one fish like he thought, he ended up buying TEN! Well, his mistake was our gain. The whole campground got together for a big barbecue! All the new human and dog friends cooked up the fish, with rice, french fries, and all the fixings. There was so much food that I got more fish tastes than I think I’d ever had in my entire life. It was awesome!! Even better, the next day was my birthday. I turned five years old, so yeah, I’m a grownup. I got some extra delicious treats, including a big serving of bacon that Jason cooked up fresh. Baja Sur was pretty rad.

Maya and me running on the beach! It's our happy place.

Maya and me running on the beach! It’s our happy place.

Doggie heaven.

Doggie heaven.

We finally had to leave, so we said goodbye to all of our new friends and headed back up that foggy road. I was pretty bummed when we pulled back into Hotel Kadekaman. I knew My Family liked it, because the humans there were nice, and the bathrooms had hot water, but to me it was snoozeville. Luckily, we only stayed for one night. We spent the next morning doing chores, and then headed for a place called Ojo de Liebre.

It was only a quick trip up the highway, but the road from there took a LONG TIME. It turned to dirt pretty quickly, and then wound through all these salt flats. My Family thought it was pretty awesome, so I was nervous we were going to camp there. All that salt on my paws? No thanks! Luckily we kept going, and came to a stop at a massive campground at the edge of an inlet. There were other campers here, but it was a wide open space, and we got a palapa all to ourselves. There was TONS of room for Maya and I to run around, and we weren’t the only creatures there. My Family said there were whales in the water. I’d never seen a whale, but I could smell them, great big things that blew saltwater into the air as they breathed. I couldn’t believe there were animals that actually wanted to swim in the water, but I guess whales like it. To each their own. I was perfectly content to chase Maya around the sand dunes and lay out in the shade of the palapa. That night My Family had a fire, which scared the heck out of the puppy dog. I told her we were totally safe inside the camper, so finally she relaxed and we called it a night.

Looking down on our campsite from up the hill. So. Much. Room (for running)!

Looking down on our campsite from up the hill. So. Much. Room (for running)!

Turns out palapa roofs are perfect for chewing on!

Turns out palapa roofs are perfect for chewing on!

My rad pink hoodie smelled like campfire for days after this.

My rad pink hoodie smelled like campfire for days after this.

The next day wasn’t nearly as fun. My Family went off to go hang out with those whales, and Maya and I were left behind. Super duper boring. Thankfully, things improved from there. Maya and I got to run around like crazy, and My Family was bursting with stories about the momma and baby whale they had played with. That afternoon we met Bill and Sanda, a super nice couple from Oregon who were traveling in a truck camper like ours, but a much bigger one. They shared their delicious Eye-Pee-Yay beer with Victoria and Jason (which made Jason SUPER happy), and the humans traded laughs and stories well into the night.

Our new friends Sanda and Bill!

Our new friends Sanda and Bill!

I was pretty sad when we packed up the next day, but there were big rain clouds in the sky, so I guess there wouldn’t have been much more running around anyway. My Family had done the math, and it appeared we were heading north again. We didn’t spend that many days in Baja Sur this time around, but we had a ton of fun, and our time in Mexico was soon coming to an end. So we got back on the highway and headed for the desert. There’s a huge open space in the middle of Baja with almost nothing but desert in it, and Victoria really wanted to stay there for the night. However, it poured rain on us for almost the entire drive, and nobody wanted to camp out in the desert in the rain. By the way, what’s up with these deserts? Fog and rain? I thought the desert was supposed to be dry?

Anyway, our quick drive turned into a LONG drive, as we kept heading north to try and get away from the dark skies. We finally pulled into the campground behind the hotel Cielito Lindo. This was actually the second place we camped in Mexico during our way south, more than a year ago! We met a nice camper there, a human who had ridden his bicycle all the way from New York! Other than that, nothing much to report. Victoria and Jason had a nice dinner for a human holiday called Valentine’s Day. Not sure about that one. Who’s this Valentine person, and why does he have a holiday? All I know is, dogs were not invited, so I grumbled to Maya about the unfairness of my existence until My Family finally came home and put us all to bed.

Super friendly camp dog at Cielito Lindo. She wanted to hang out with us all the time!

Super friendly camp dog at Cielito Lindo. She wanted to hang out with us all the time!

The next day we got on the road again, driving north to a town called San Quintin, and an RV park called Don Eddie’s. It didn’t look like much to me, but as soon as we pulled in I smelled friends. Sure enough, Rufus was there, with his family, Krista and Paul! They only stayed for one day, but we had a blast hanging out with them, and us dogs got to run around together off leash at our camp site. Pretty cool.

We stayed at Don Eddie’s for a few more days, and it was so boring I literally have nothing to say. Jason worked, Victoria took care of the chores, and Maya and I wrestled around on four feet of leash. Yeah, not much of a Big Adventure around these parts. Maya had a bit of fun, walking with Jason to the store one day, but I didn’t get to go. So yeah, this is the sound of one paw with no thumb clapping.

Even Maya was bored at Don Eddie's...

Even Maya was bored at Don Eddie’s…

I practically did a dance when we packed up camp to hit the road. Whatever was ahead, it couldn’t be worse than the yawnfest I just had. We had another pretty quick drive up the highway, then down a bouncy dirt track that hugged the coast, to the parking lot outside of Coyote Cal’s Hostel. What a view! We were hugging the edge of a cliff, staring out at the beautiful ocean. It was so nice being there with the breeze and the delicious smells. We were stuck on our leashes again, but I didn’t mind so much. Things got even better after My Family made some new friends, two nice humans named Nate and Noah. Noah had spent the afternoon collecting mussels, and he shared that deliciousness with My Family. All of a sudden the camper was full of the smell of the ocean and its creatures, exactly what I love to roll around in on the beach. Even better? Us dogs were given ‘the beards’ and ‘the feet’ to nom on. A M A Z I N G !

This is more like it!

This is more like it!

We only spent one night there, packing up yet again to head to Ensenada, a big city in northern Baja. We were super close to the border now! The plan was to go out to the Bufadora, a cool little slip of land south of Ensenada where we had spent our first night in Mexico. We spent hours driving from campsite to campsite, and even attempted to camp at one place that had literally no place flat to park on. We were all getting super tired, and Victoria was laughing so much I thought she needed licks on the nose, so Jason decided to give up on Bufadora and head into Ensendada. Jason had a work week coming, which meant camping with a little less effort was required. My Family decided to stop at the Estero Beach Resort, a massive place just outside of Ensenada. As our friend Sarah would say “que fancy!”. There was a huge grassy field behind our camper, with trees to sniff and plenty of sticks for Maya to carry around. We had a bit of off leash time (don’t tell anyone, I think it was against the rules!), and a couple of nice walks along the estuary that lined the edge of the resort. Although it was comfortable enough, I could tell Victoria and Jason weren’t that happy. They seemed really on edge about everything, and even Maya’s big sloppy kisses weren’t helping out. I guess everyone was getting a little bit sad about leaving Mexico behind. I thought it was pretty silly to get upset about something that wasn’t happening in the moment. After all, anything can happen between now and five minutes from now, you know? Humans don’t think the same way as us dogs, though.

Maya was excited for the big grassy field to run around on!

Maya was excited for the big grassy field to run around on!

I'm still pretty cute, right?

I’m still pretty cute, right?

After Jason got done working, we packed up and headed away from the city, down a long, bumpy dirt road and across a bunch of rivers. The place we ended up was called Rancho San Carlos, which was recommended to Victoria and Jason by our friends at Coyote Cal’s. What a pretty place! There were all these hot pools that were pretty stinky, but Victoria and Jason seemed to like floating around in them very much. Even when they left us in the camper we were pretty content. There was one creepy moment, when all the camp dogs ran up to the big truck and started barking and snarling at us. Victoria did everything she could to try and get Maya and I to be quiet, but I wasn’t about to let them shout at my home! They eventually went away, and we had a great night under a ton of stars.

One of the pools. Luckily, Victoria didn't even try to make me go swimming. Winning!

One of the pools. Luckily, Victoria didn’t even try to make me go swimming. Winning!

When we left Rancho San Carlos the next day, My Family was in much better spirits. We took our time packing up, and drove away from Ensenada into the wine region. Wine is a liquid like water, but much darker, and humans always smile when they drink it. We didn’t get tastes of anything, as Victoria and Jason hauled us from one vineyard to the next, leaving us behind in the car as they enjoyed their day. So lame! I think sometimes they forget this is “Neli’s Big Adventure”, not “Victoria & Jason’s Big Adventure.” What did they think, we’d greet them with kisses after being left in the car all day? Sheesh! When they finally were done with their shenanigans, we ended up at a boring campsite on the edge of the highway. No people or dogs to hang out with, and only a few minutes of running around before it got dark. When we woke up the next day, it was pouring rain! Instead of staying snuggled up under the covers like a smart dog would, Victoria and Jason dragged us into the car, wet and grumpy. Again, the humans wandered around having fun, visiting vineyards, eating delicious foods and drinking that stupid wine stuff, and AGAIN we were left behind in the car. What the heck is going on here?! When we finally drove north to the next campsite, I was pretty fed up with My Family. These past few days were just stupid, and they didn’t even seem to care!

One of the rare moments when we were let out of the car. Grey skies, closed food trucks, no treats. Snore.

One of the rare moments when we were let out of the car. Grey skies, closed food trucks, no treats. Snore.

My life is one big snoozefest lately. What happened to MY Big Adventure?!

My life is one big snoozefest lately. What happened to MY Big Adventure?!

We camped at Rancho Ojai, a very nice campground pretty near the border. I overheard that this was going to be our last night in Mexico. I couldn’t believe it. The Big Adventure was almost over! We stuck close to the camper that night, but Victoria and Jason pretty much ignored us. They were sharing stories about the trip, something they called ‘reminiscing’. Something else that’s pretty pointless if you ask me. I just sat and watched them do it, though. I guess at some point you have to let humans do what they want to do. They’re not as resilient as us dogs, after all, and it takes a lot more to make them happy when they get sad. I mean, if Maya’s sad I can roll over and bite her face and she’s wagging her tail again. That doesn’t work on Jason. We had spent an awful long time in Mexico (almost six months in human time!), and I guess it had to come to an end sometime. Hopefully that doesn’t mean the adventure’s over, though!

PS: To see the photos My Family took during this time on the Baja click HERE and HERE.  They had a MUCH better time than I did!

08
Mar 2015
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja, Mexico

DISCUSSION 1 Comment

Back on the Baja, Baby!

Finally back on the Baja, baby!

Finally back on the Baja, baby!

When last I wrote to you guys, I told you how excited I was to finally get back to the Baja peninsula. It had been a long time, and on our way south the Baja was nothing but fun. Well, clearly My Family was just as excited as I was, because the alarm went off before the sun was up. Maya groaned and turned over, dragging the covers back over her head, but I knew we wouldn’t have a long morning of lounging around ahead. I watched Victoria and Jason stumble around, swig coffee, and finally pack us away for another long journey. This was the day we were leaving mainland Mexico behind, and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it.

I leapt in the car as soon as Victoria opened the door, and even Maya seemed okay with getting back on the road. The RV parks of northern Mexico were full of nice people, but there wasn’t much action for us dogs. In fact, we hadn’t been off leash for a good long time, and I was hopeful that was about to change. However, we had to get there first. There were pit stops for water, gas and groceries, as well as two military checkpoints that slowed us down. The men in their weird, splotchy outfits were super nice to my family, but Maya didn’t like them at all. As soon as one would step towards Jason’s window, a growl would build from way deep down inside of her. It was pretty scary! Victoria was laughing, even as the military men would take two big steps back. I guess they can’t tell she doesn’t have any teeth.

It took quite some time to traverse the desert and finally loop back onto the peninsula, where we stopped for the night at a place called Kiki’s in the town of San Felipe. Practically the first thing we did when we got there was head directly for the beach, a beautiful, empty stretch of sand where Maya and I were allowed to roam free. Yep, brighter days were ahead of us. After a good long run, things got even better. We met a bunch of nice people from a land called Canada, which is on the other side of the United States. Jamie, Ian, Michelle and Rodney planned to stay on the Baja for several weeks, driving around in their VW buses. They were all super nice, and of course, loved me immediately. That first night was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. My Family stayed up late with our new friends, sharing stories and listening to music, and us dogs were around to hang out the whole time. I did my usual, bouncing from lap to lap, while Maya made sad faces at Michelle and Ian, hoping for some of their grilled chicken. I’ll bet you can guess which one of us got our wish that night.

Our palapa had two floors! Que fancy :)

Our palapa had two floors! Que fancy :)

Doggie heaven.

Doggie heaven.

My Family had so much fun with our new friends that they decided to stay another day. Kiki’s was a nice park, with other dogs who were all super sweet and usually were allowed to roam around. There were big palapas for shade, and of course that great beach to scamper around on. There was even some sort of dead animal buried in the sand that us dogs kept nosing around at. It smelled delicious, but Jason wasn’t having any of it. Luckily, that second day we did get tastes of some even better food, and enjoyed another night hanging out with all the campers. I don’t know if it was the nice people, the beautiful beaches, or simply getting away from the gravel-filled RV parks, but we had an absolute blast. The next day Victoria and Jason got us packed up, and even though I was sorry to leave our new friends behind, I was super excited for the next stop in Baja.

Me hanging out with my new friends Jamie and Ian.

Me hanging out with my new friends Jamie and Ian.

Just me, running on the beach. What dog could ask for more?

Just me, running on the beach. What dog could ask for more?

Seriously? She's so embarrassing.

Seriously? She’s so embarrassing.

I thought we’d be up and out at dawn, as had been our habit lately, but Victoria and Jason were taking their time. Coffee and fresh tamales at camp, and then several stops in town for more gas and flea and tick medicine for Maya and I. All the stopping and starting was getting Maya seriously grumpy. She hates driving as it is, and the bumpy dirt roads weren’t making it any better for her. She was practically quaking by the time we left San Felipe behind, and Victoria and I had to calm her down while Jason focused on the road. The next drive was pretty quick, straight down the beautiful eastern coast of northern Baja. Nothing but white, sandy beaches as far as my eyes could see! We turned off the highway and jounced along a trail to reach a camp site on Gonzaga Bay. Wow, what a spot! First off, the lot that had palapas and bathrooms for the humans was super wide, and had almost no traffic on it at all. That meant our leashes were basically left in the car. Secondly, a steep, fun beach with birds to chase and plenty of sticks for Maya to gum up, and more new camp friends! Karly and Steve were also from Canada (What is up with that country? Is everyone from Canada awesome?!), and they had two big dogs that Maya was terrified of at first. One of them was also named Maya! How’s that for a coincidence? Their Maya was part wolf, and wasn’t scared of anything, so they’re pretty easy to tell apart. Tripp was their other dog, and he was super mellow. The humans cooked dinner while us dogs wandered the beach and hung out by our Big Truck. More stories, more music, and more tasty bites of human food. Yep, this Baja place is where it’s at!

Another Baja day means tons of room to run. I heart the Baja!

Another Baja day means tons of room to run. I heart the Baja!

Beachy goodness.

Beachy goodness.

The next morning, Victoria and Jason woke up in time to watch the sun rise. They were pretty excited about it, while I was far more focused on catching another snooze before they whisked us off again. Yep, we only had one night on Gonzaga Bay. Jason’s work week was on the horizon, and even though this place was pretty special, we just couldn’t stay any longer. We said goodbye to all of our new friends, packed up and hit the road.

We were forced to wake up before the sun was up, but even I can appreciate how beautiful the sunrise is!

We were forced to wake up before the sun was up, but even I can appreciate how beautiful the sunrise is!

The drive to Bahia de Los Angeles was long and pretty intense, which is basically Maya’s nightmare. After a couple of miles driving south the pavement disappeared, and the rocky dirt road twisted into the desert. It was a super pretty drive, surrounded by giant boulders and cactus, but the road was crazy bouncy. Jason even had to stop to let some air out of the tires! Maya hung her head and tried to look as pathetic as possible, while I had my nose to the window, waiting for my next sniff of the ocean. Finally it came, as we left the desert behind and made it to the bay.

Bahia de Los Angeles is super pretty. My Family took a ton of pictures, and those will probably do a better job of describing it than I could. Our campsite was a place called La Gringa, and it was OUT THERE. We left the town behind, then bounced down a wide dirt road, then turned onto a narrow dirt road, then kept going on what basically looked like a random trail. When we arrived at the head of the bay, we found a shelly beach with just a couple of other campers, and a pretty sweet view. It wasn’t the best for running on with small paws, and the wind was blowing pretty hard, so we stuck to the camper and watched the sun fall under the water. It was nice and peaceful here, with no sound but that howling wind, and nothing to do but snuggle up with My Family. Pretty cool day.

Que linda!

Que linda!

Me, waiting for the wind to die down so I didn't get blown away into the bay!!

Me, waiting for the wind to die down so I didn’t get blown away into the bay!!

We packed up the camper fairly early in the morning to head back into town. Bahia de Los Angeles is a small, sleepy community, but Victoria had heard there were other campsites more in the middle of things where Jason could get his work done. We pulled into one place, a sweet camp site right on the beach called Guillermo’s, and talked to some nice Australian boys. Apparently, the internet there wasn’t working. Jason spoke to the owner, who was really cool, but she didn’t have a solution for him. So we drove to another hotel which also was supposed to have internet. They didn’t either. Jason started talking to more folks, and found out that the internet in this whole place simply came and went, blowing through as hard as the past day’s wind, and then disappearing just as fast. Jason was officially in trouble. He did find a little market that had internet, but it was barely good enough to check email. After more than a year of traveling through Mexico and Central America, Jason officially struck out on internet for the first time!

While he was off attempting to work, Victoria, Maya and I hung out on the beach at Guillermo’s. It was the perfect spot for a little doggie play session, away from the highway and all to ourselves. Maya and I ran ourselves silly and Victoria got in the action too, throwing sticks and begging Maya to bring them back. She did, sometimes. By the time Jason got back from his internet mission, we were all tuckered out, laying in the sun and catching a nap.

The super blue water in Bahia de LA.  I was super bummed we didn't get to stay here another night...

The super blue water in Bahia de LA. I was bummed we didn’t get to stay here another night…

As much as we would have loved to stay on this pretty beach, the whole no internet thing is a huge deal breaker for My Family when it’s time for Jason to work. I enjoyed having them to myself (well, myself and Maya, I guess) all weekend, but Jason had to get back to his mobile office, and it didn’t seem like that was going to happen in Bahia de Los Angeles. So with much regret, My Family packed us up once more and left this town behind. They weren’t entirely sure where we we going to go, but it looked like we had one more trip south ahead of us!

PS: To see some of the photos My Family took during our quick trip through Baja Norte, head over to Facebook.

16
Feb 2015
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja, Mexico

DISCUSSION No Comments

Guest Post: Victoria & Jason – One Year On the Road

Today marks one year on the road! We thought the whole trip was going to be six months, and now it looks like it’ll be more like a year and a half. You can plan for almost everything, but you never really know how long things will take, where the road will lead you, or how much you’ll love the adventure. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d take over Neli’s blog for a day and share some of the details with you.

Here’s a quick and dirty number breakdown: 365 days, 7 countries (with two visits to 5 of them so far), almost 10,000 miles, spending an average of $75 a day (which includes absolutely everything, from import permits to doctor’s visits to ferries, dog food to gasoline to souvenirs). That’s about $2,280 a month, which is basically what we were paying in rent back home. We spent one night sleeping on the deck of a cargo ferry, 30 nights in hotel rooms, 1 night in an 8-bed dorm room, 60 nights housesitting in Costa Rica and 38 nights in a rented house on the shores of Lake Atitlan. The rest of the time was spent sleeping in Bliss Island, our trusty camper.

It’s worth mentioning that we never made it to Panama. That was obviously not the plan. The trip was supposed to end in Panama City, but after we spent two months housesitting in Costa Rica, we ran into a snag in the rules regarding temporary vehicle import permits. Basically, we ran out of time, and were wary of getting stuck in Panama for three months. We’re disappointed we never made our final destination, but you know what they say about the journey…

It’s really hard to explain what this year has meant to us, with more new experiences, new friends and beautiful beaches than we could ever count. We’ve had ups and downs, but far more ups, and we can easily say this is one of the most amazing things either of us have ever done. We do have some standouts though, so here’s a quick look at some of our favorite people, places and things from our year on the road.

Food: If you know us, you know any recap HAS to start with food. We’ve loved trying the local fare in each country, stretching our palates while always hunting for cheap, delicious street carts. The fresh fruits and vegetables, while sometimes limited in selection, are always cheap and tasty. We had a ton of fun shopping in local markets at every stop.

Cooking on your own is one thing, but cooking together with friends makes everything taste that much better. We’re pretty sure that our friends Marcia and Andre thought we timed our ‘accidental meetings’ to coincide with lunch or dinner. Marcia also taught us how to make real deal Brazilian rice, our go-to at least once a week. Kenny and Jenn‘s carnitas could win an award, and inspired us to attempt recreating it. Sam and Erica made us curry, and now that we know how to do it it’s become our go-to for cleaning out the veggie box. We were also lucky enough to share Christmas dinner at Overlander Oasis with Calvin, Leanne, and a bunch of new friends. We’ve had fantastic homemade sushi with Sarah and Hani, and a sliders party with Chloe and Toby. In general, we try to prepare two of our own meals a day, but here are some of our favorites we’ve found along the way.

Mexico:

  • Random ceviche stand in Baja: the owner kept feeding us (free!) dishes we couldn’t recognize, but loved all the same

  • Roadside fish soup: we stopped to gas up and Victoria braved a roadside stand where the flies seriously outnumbered the people. Jason chickened out and ate a bag of chips, but the fish soup was outstanding, and Jason was seriously jealous.

  • Cracked crab at Ceilito Lindo Motel and RV Park: we slept in a dirty parking lot just so we could try this legendary cracked crab. It was worth every sleepless minute that night.

  • Il Vizietto in Sayulita: we returned several times to eat the homemade pasta and sauces, and to sit at the swing bar

  • Buffalo wings in San Miguel: The Beer Stop had killer chicken wings, offering a welcome taste of home

  • Taco stands: we ate at countless roadside taco stands in Mexico, and were never disappointed. Especially if it involved Tacos al Pastor.

Belize:

  • Pizza from Pizza Caulker: Caye Caulker has tons of restaurants, but this pizza was the real deal. You also have the option of cooking the country’s favorite hot sauce right into the pie.

  • Hot Mama’s: Speaking of hot sauce, we all love Marie Sharpe’s, but after stopping for barbecue in the middle of the country we discovered Hot Mama’s, which is now our all-time favorite.

Guatemala:

  • Barbecue night at El Retiro: We stayed in the town of Lanquin before heading up to Semuc Champey. They offer a killer barbecue once a week.

  • Mucho’s Gastropub in Antiqua: We stumbled upon this place on Valentine’s Day, and it has become one of our top dining experiences ever. Mucho’s would be at home in any major city, the food and drinks were ridiculous and beautiful.

  • Cactus Tacos: Also in Antigua, Cactus has an inventive and imaginative taco selection, including wasabi tempura shrimp tacos. Say no more.

  • Pappi’s BBQ: Yep, in Antigua as well. Pappi’s had a bbq sandwich that’s as long as your arm, and worth the struggle to eat every last bite.

  • Croissants at Idea Connection: The best cafe on Lake Atitlan, their croissants are the real deal.

  • Pop-up Indian: There’s a pop-up Indian restaurant at the cultural center near the Santiago dock in San Pedro. We’ll be making this our last meal in San Pedro.

  • Smokey Joe’s BBQ: Yep, we love barbecue. And Smokey Joe’s is the best we’ve found in Central America. Every Sunday at the pool in San Pedro, it’s everything you could want and then some. We never walked away without leftovers.

El Salvador:

  • Pupusas! Ranging anywhere in price from twenty-five to seventy-five cents a pupusa, we could (and sometimes did) eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Tunco Veloz: This pizza restaurant in El Tunco was incredible, with a staff to match. Try every pizza on the menu, but especially the PPP.

  • Rancho Clemente: We spent one night at this restaurant/campsite close to the Honduran border. There’s no menu, it’s just what they caught that day, and what’s left by the time you get there. We had shrimp and a whole fried fish, and left full and blown away.

Nicaragua:

  • Street meat in Leon: It sounds weird, but it was incredible. Right outside the main market every sundown, the vendors cook delicious meats of all shapes and sizes, and you can pile your plate high.

  • Dessert at Imagine: We had mango bread, with chocolate fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream at this tiny, artistic spot in Granada. Sounds simple enough, but it was mind-blowingly good.

  • Cha Cha Cha: This San Juan del Sur restaurant offered great ambience and live music, but the Korean steak tacos won the night.

Costa Rica:

  • Campground cookies in Monte Verde: We spent a few nights at a beautiful farm called La Colina Lodge. The cookies they sell at reception are spectacular.

  • Pizza Cahuita: This unassuming pizza place on the Caribbean was maybe the best pizza we’ve ever had, not just on this trip.

  • Bamboo Taco: A taco truck outside of our vet’s office in Uvita. Two Americans cooking killer tacos.

  • Fresh mangos: Jason pulled fresh mangos out of the trees at our campsite near Uvita, with a bamboo pole that must have been fifty feet long. For whatever reason, they tasted extra delicious.

Drinks: Chances are if we’re eating, we’re probably drinking as well. Nothing beats an ice cold beer at our campsite after a long, dusty, bumpy, stressful driving day or a homemade sundowner on the beach while wild camping. There have been some amazing finds, however. Here are our standout drinks.

  • Mexico: Baja Beans Coffee served espresso drinks that made us feel like we were back on Abbot Kinney, with prices to match. Prior to visiting San Miguel, we thought Mexican beer consisted of Tecate, Corona and other flavorless, semi-alcoholic brews. We were happy to discover there’s actually 40+ amazing Mexican brews, and we tasted several of them at the Beer Stop. The corn-based Atole is the perfect warm drink on a cold night, though Victoria didn’t like the strawberry one. Mezcal is made in Oaxaca, and is so much tastier than tequila.

  • Belize: Even though the bottle is small, Belikin Beer was our favorite Central American brew. Try both the ‘beer’ and the ‘stout’ for the full experience.

  • Guatemala: The spicy margaritas at Cactus Taco are the best we’ve found so far. Coffee-wise, it’s a battle between Coffee Loco in Panajachel and Idea Connection in San Pedro, so you might as well try both, and more than once. Our new friend Oliver learned to make Super Splits while bar-tending in Peru, and brought them to Mr. Mullet’s in San Pedro, where they quickly became everyone’s favorite. We’ve duplicated the recipe many times at home. Thanks Oli!

  • Nicaragua: Flor de Cana, Flor de Cana, Flor de Cana. Enough said.

  • Costa Rica: Lake Arenal Brewing Company is the real deal. Try an IPA and let the awesome owner bend your ear for a night. We also loved playing mixologist with our friends at the Big Jungle House in Costa Rica. Two of our favorites were Lydia’s ‘Everything’s Coming Up Wellner’ and Heather’s ‘It Looks Nice At the Beach’!

Places We Loved: This is a really tough one, as we found something to love in almost every place we stopped. There are some standouts, however, places we thought we could potentially never leave.

  • Mexico: The entire Baja Peninsula is incredible. We can’t believe we lived three hours away from here and never visited. Can’t wait to go back! We were also surprised by how much we loved the interior, as we thought we’d spend all of our time in Mexico by the beach. We couldn’t get enough of the mountain towns, however, especially San Miguel de Allende. We’re going back this November!

  • Belize: It’s not a standout, because we would never want to go back, but Belize City is the sketchiest place we’ve ever been. It’s the one place we felt concerned, even just driving on the road. We loved our time on Caye Caulker, but it was very short (and not particularly dog friendly). Would be a great place to go back for a fly-in holiday.

  • Guatemala: Semuc Champey is one of the most stunning and magical places we’ve ever been, especially as we had the park to ourselves. We also loved San Pedro la Laguna on Lake Atitlan. The laid back vibe, great Mayan culture and incredible food make this the hardest place to leave in Central America.

  • Nicaragua: Laguna de Apoyo is a gorgeous crater lake with the best weather and water temperature we found anywhere. The kind of place you go for a night and end up leaving a week later. Playa Maderas is a little beach community north of San Juan del Sur. We could have spent months had the internet been better. Between here and Playa Gigante, we saw the most incredible sunsets of our trip.

  • Costa Rica: The entire Nicoya Peninsula is stunningly beautiful. We wished we had a ton more time to spend here. The mountain town of Monteverde is gorgeous, with a great ex-pat community to match. It’s one of the places we would consider living longer term. We spent two months in the Big Jungle House, up a mountain south of Uvita. We felt like we were living in a dream, in a 3,000 square foot home with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and it gave us the opportunity to spend time with friends we hadn’t seen in a year (or hadn’t met in person yet).

Relationships: You would think spending 24 hours a day together, living in the square footage of the bed of a pickup truck that our relationship would have been sorely tested. We don’t know if it’s because we lived in such a tiny house before or if we’ve just had a blessed trip, but we really never argue. The trip has brought us closer together, both literally and figuratively, and beside a couple of grumpy, long driving days it’s been smooth sailing.

We’ve also found that our definitions have changed drastically. Our definition of ‘clean’, for example, is much more relative now. Both concerning ourselves and our environment. Bathrooms that would turn your stomach back home have become an oasis down here. We’ve gone from showering daily in the US to questioning whether or not we smell after the third day on the road. Cheap vs. expensive has been totally redefined: if a beer costs more than $1.25, that’s expensive. Sleeping in late means getting up after the sun has risen. 7:30 is super late. Staying up past RV Midnight (9:30) is often a challenge.

Our lives have become much simpler. We sold 90% of what we owned, and still feel like we have too much stuff. When we were leaving home, Victoria sold or donated over 75 pairs of shoes, most of which had only been worn once, if at all. Running water is a luxury. Hot water is an even bigger luxury. Toilet seats are miraculous, though we still don’t understand why they seem to be optional in many places. Gas, electricity and internet are not basic human rights, and often take some hunting to track down. Jason has spent many frantic mornings riding in the back of pickup trucks trying to find WiFi that can handle a Skype call.

Money Matters: We thought we had budgeted six months, but at this point we’ve stretched it to over a year. The fact that Jason works while we travel, something we hadn’t counted on, really helps. It changes the trip significantly, but having money coming in definitely takes some of the stress out of the picture. Victoria also got a job at a hostel while we were in San Pedro. She made a whopping $1.50 an hour, but that often paid for a special meal or two out on the town each week, and the bar tab and free laundry were major bonuses.

Friends: Obviously we miss our friends and family from home dearly. We were lucky enough to have several visitors while on the road, including Victoria’s parents (twice!), Heather and Karyn (Venice peeps), and Lydia (one of our favorite NYC gals). We hope to have several other visitors as we make our way north, and always look forward to sharing the trip with the people we love. In addition, we’ve made a ton of new friends on the trip. There’s a unique, basic connection with other travelers that turns relative strangers into BFF’s almost immediately. It’s a shared experience and set of values that unites people from different backgrounds and cultures, creating the backdrop for some incredible nights and lasting memories.

Would We Do It Again? Absolutely! Look, it hasn’t all been legendary adventures, the ‘living the dream’ ideal that many people might think it is when we tell them what we’re doing. There’s a great deal of stress, of making do without things you used to take for granted, of dealing with sick dogs, sick people, dangerous roads, unmet expectations, car trouble and scam artists. Yet we wouldn’t trade this last year for anything in the world. Traveling always expands your perspective, and traveling slowly by car gives you the opportunity to see a country through the eyes of the locals. It’s not always about the major tourist destinations as much as the unexpected detours through tiny villages you never planned on seeing. Thriving in the unexpected is a skill, and there’s no better way to learn it than by traveling slowly. There are a ton of sacrifices inherent in a journey like this, but what you gain along the way is both hard to describe, and absolutely priceless.

We head back to Mexico in a couple of days, where we plan to use all 180 days of our visa, exploring parts of the country we missed on our way south as well as returning to some of our favorite spots. We hope you’ll all continue to follow along with us, and maybe squeeze in a visit!

01
Oct 2014
POSTED BY Neli
DISCUSSION 5 Comments
TAGS

One Year in the Life of an Adventure Dog

Napping on the beach is one of my favorite things to do!

Napping on the beach is one of my favorite things to do!

Today is the 364th day since we packed up the Big Truck and left the Wee Blue House behind. That means tomorrow will be one whole year away from home, exploring Mexico and Central America on my Big Adventure. Humans like to count things. They’re always marking time, noting dates and celebrating anniversaries. Since my blog is probably read by humans for the most part, it seemed like a good idea to note the occasion. After all, a year is an awfully long time. That’s like 20% of my life so far! Although I probably would have been content to spend the last year with our friends in Venice, laying in the sun and snuggling up in my favorite home ever, it’s certainly been an amazing experience. We’ve had ups and downs, but overall I couldn’t have asked for a better human family and a more interesting life.

Instead of going on and on about all the cool stuff we’ve done, it seemed like a good idea to let the pictures do the talking. We’ve spent the past year exploring California, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and we’ve got thousands of pictures that tell a better story than I ever could. I hope you enjoy reliving our adventures as much as I have!

 90291, baby! This is me right before we left the Wee Blue house and our life in Venice.

90291, baby! This is me right before we left the Wee Blue house and our life in Venice.

Before we crossed the border into Mexico, we did a quick 2-week tour of California. This is me and Jason taking a break on one our hikes in the Sequoia National Forest.

Before we crossed the border into Mexico, we did a quick 2-week tour of California. This is me and Jason taking a break on one our hikes in the Sequoia National Forest.

Turns out not all of California is as warm as Venice. Here I am snuggled up in bed in my favorite American Apparel hoodie. You know what they say, you can take the dog out of LA but you can't take the LA out of the dog...

Turns out not all of California is as warm as Venice. Here I am snuggled up in bed in my favorite American Apparel hoodie. You know what they say, you can take the dog out of LA but you can’t take the LA out of the dog…

One of my favorite things about the Big Adventure is all the empty beaches we camp on. Even better than an empty beach? I don't need to be on-leash! Here I am stretching my legs on the Baja.

One of my favorite things about the Big Adventure is all the empty beaches we camp on. Even better than an empty beach? I don’t need to be on-leash! Here I am stretching my legs on the Baja.

Another awesome thing about the Big Adventure? All the new friends we have made along the way! This is me getting some love from our Canadian surfer buddies.

Another awesome thing about the Big Adventure? All the new friends we have made along the way! This is me getting some love from our Canadian surfer buddies.

Me running on the beach in Baja.  Life really doesn't get better than this!

Me running on the beach in Baja. Life really doesn’t get better than this!

My friend Olivia and me playing in the water on the Baja. I miss you Olivia!

My friend Olivia and me playing in the water on the Baja. I miss you Olivia!

I get so many tastes of human-food on this trip! This is me and Vic shopping for croissants in Sayulita, Mexico. Yum!

I get so many tastes of human-food on this trip! This is me and Vic shopping for croissants in Sayulita, Mexico. Yum!

I don't especially love the time we spend in cities but even I can admit this is a pretty cool view of Guanajuato!

I don’t especially love the time we spend in cities but even I can admit this is a pretty cool view of Guanajuato!

Family holiday of snap of us in San Miguel de Allende.

Family holiday snap of us in San Miguel de Allende.

I get left in the truck. A LOT. I spend most of the time waiting for My Family to come home...

I get left in the truck. A LOT. I spend most of the time waiting for My Family to come home…

Leanne and Calvin, the owners of Overlander Oasis near Oaxaca, got me my own special Christmas present just in case Santa couldn't find me. I loved aardvark so much but My Family left him on an island in Nicaragua :(

Leanne and Calvin, the owners of Overlander Oasis near Oaxaca, got me my own special Christmas present just in case Santa couldn’t find me. I loved aardvark so much but My Family left him on an island in Nicaragua :(

Here I am waiting while Jason gets his boots shined in Oaxaca. It took forever but Jason was very happy with the results!

Here I am waiting while Jason gets his boots shined in Oaxaca. It took forever but Jason was very happy with the results!

Me and Jason hanging out in the (frigid) pools at Hierve del Agua.

Me and Jason hanging out in the (frigid) pools at Hierve del Agua.

Vic and I out for a bike ride on Caye Caulker, Belize. It was just like when we used to go for rides back in Venice!

Vic and I out for a bike ride on Caye Caulker, Belize. It was just like when we used to go for rides back in Venice!

This is me the first time I heard Howler Monkeys, near Tikal in Guatemala. Don't like.

This is me the first time I heard Howler Monkeys, near Tikal in Guatemala. Don’t like.

Victoria' parents, Lorna and David, came to see me in Antigua, Guatemala. I love them so so SO much!

Victoria’ parents, Lorna and David, came to see me in Antigua, Guatemala. I love them so so SO much!

Me and David sharing a beer on Lake Atitlan.  He's not a very good sharer but I managed to sneak in a lick or two!

Me and David sharing a beer on Lake Atitlan. He’s not a very good sharer but I managed to sneak in a lick or two!

The first time we went on a water taxi on Lake Atitlan I thought I was going to be sick. Not cool at all.

The first time we went on a water taxi on Lake Atitlan I thought I was going to be sick. Not cool at all.

This is me snuggled up with one of the Christmas presents Lorna and David got me. Thanks guys!

This is me snuggled up with one of the Christmas presents Lorna and David got me. Thanks guys!

Victoria and Jason took Spanish classes in San Pedro, Guatemala. I went to class with them most days, but I didn't learn that much.

Victoria and Jason took Spanish classes in San Pedro, Guatemala. I went to class with them most days, but I didn’t learn that much.

Oh yeah, the puppy. You can tell how excited I was to learn she was staying with us forever...

Oh yeah, the puppy. You can tell how excited I was to learn she was staying with us forever…

Another day, another beach run. This is me shaking off after a run along the beach in El Tunco, el Salvador.

Another day, another beach run. This is me shaking off after a run along the beach in El Tunco, el Salvador.

Here we all are sitting on the wall in El Tunco. Look how tiny Maya is!

Here we all are sitting on the wall in El Tunco. Look how tiny Maya is!

Me running on the beach in Nicaragua. I really do love an empty, seemingly endless beach!

Me running on the beach in Nicaragua. I really do love an empty, seemingly endless beach!

Me and Vic on our friend Andrews island in Lake Nicaragua. Yup, we're friends with people who own their own islands!!

Me and Vic on our friend Andrew’s island in Lake Nicaragua. Yup, we’re friends with people who own their own islands!!

Maya finally got big enough to join me on beach run in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. Here we are tearing it up together.

Maya finally got big enough to join me on a beach run in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. Here we are tearing it up together.

Our first (of many) stops in Costa Rica. This place was full of monkeys and sloths, none of whom really wanted to play with me.

Our first (of many) stops in Costa Rica. This place was full of monkeys and sloths, none of whom really wanted to play with me.

This is me relaxing on Vic's lap on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. I love relaxing.

This is me relaxing on Vic’s lap on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. I love relaxing.

We spent 90 days in Costa Rica.  N I N E T Y  D A Y S !

We spent 90 days in Costa Rica. N I N E T Y D A Y S !

Me running on the black sand beach in Cahuita, Costa Rica.  Note to self:  Black Sand gets way hotter than white sand.  Ouch!

Me running on the black sand beach in Cahuita, Costa Rica. Note to self: Black Sand gets way hotter than white sand. Ouch!

Reunited and it feels so good! We ran into our German friends Doris and Torsten in a Walmart parking lot in the middle of Costa Rica, what fun!

Reunited and it feels so good! We ran into our German friends Doris and Torsten in a Walmart parking lot in the middle of Costa Rica, what fun!

Me and my friend Heather hanging out by the pool in the Big Jungle House.

Me and my friend Heather hanging out by the pool in the Big Jungle House.

Heather came to see us all the way from Venice. Here we are again sharing a glass of wine at the BJH.

Heather came to see us all the way from Venice. Here we are again sharing a glass of wine at the BJH.

One of the great things about living in a house again was the couch! Occasionally, I let Maya share it with me.

One of the great things about living in a house again was the couch! Occasionally, I let Maya share it with me.

My friend Lydia also came to see us in Costa Rica. I was her good luck charm when we played UNO.

My friend Lydia also came to see us in Costa Rica. I was her good luck charm when we played UNO.

Oh yeah, I had almost forgotten about this. Victoria made me swim in the pool every single day. Not cool Vic!

Oh yeah, I had almost forgotten about this. Victoria made me swim in the pool every single day. Not cool Vic!

On our way out of Costa Rica, we spent a little more than a week going from beach to beach on the Nicoya Peninsula. Here I am running on the beach with Victoria right before the sun went down.

On our way out of Costa Rica, we spent a little more than a week going from beach to beach on the Nicoya Peninsula. Here I am running on the beach with Victoria right before the sun went down.

Me and Jason playing on the beach in Playa Maderas in Nicaragua.

Me and Jason playing on the beach in Playa Maderas in Nicaragua.

Every night on Playa Maderas, we would all go down to the beach and wait for the sunset. My Family would drink sundowners and then we'd all run around. It was one of my favorite places in Nicaragua.

Every night on Playa Maderas, we would all go down to the beach and wait for the sunset. My Family would drink sundowners and then we’d all run around. It was one of my favorite places in Nicaragua.

Me and Victoria after we were dancing on the street in Leon, Nicaragua. What fun!

Me and Victoria after we were dancing on the street in Leon, Nicaragua. What fun!

Our second trip through El Tunco, we went to a pizza place almost every night. This is me and Maya with Carlos, one of the waiters who liked us so much he bought us treats!

Our second trip through El Tunco, we went to a pizza place almost every night. This is me and Maya with Carlos, one of the waiters who liked us so much he bought us treats!

Lorna and David came back to see us in San Pedro, Guatemala. I heard they are going to visit us again in Mexico, I can't wait!

Lorna and David came back to see us in San Pedro, Guatemala. I heard they are going to visit us again in Mexico, I can’t wait!

Whenever Lorna and David come to visit us, they bring tons of treats for My Family AND me. This time they brought me this weird chicken pirate toy that Maya and I love to fight over, even though they brought one for each of us!

Whenever Lorna and David come to visit us, they bring tons of treats for My Family AND me. This time they brought me this weird chicken pirate toy that Maya and I love to fight over, even though they brought one for each of us!

Here I am hanging out in the Little Jungle House we rented on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. It's got tons of room for running around and a great deck overlooking the lake that always has a sunny spot for me to lay on.

Here I am hanging out in the Little Jungle House we rented on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. It’s got tons of room for running around and a great deck overlooking the lake that always has a sunny spot for me to lay on.

It was super hard to pick just a few pictures that tell the story of our amazing life on the road. So I might have overdone it a little bit in this post! I can’t believe it’s been a year already. My Family says that we’ve still got a little bit more time before we have to go back home, and I intend on enjoying every minute of it. Well, except for the times when Maya won’t leave me alone. She’s awful chewy. Can’t wait to get back to our adventures, and to share them all with you!

30
Sep 2014
POSTED BY Neli
DISCUSSION 2 Comments

Last Days on the Baja

Me, after being forced into the water once again.  I'm starting to like the water, but don't tell anyone, okay?

Me, after being forced into the water once again. I’m starting to like the water, but don’t tell anyone, okay?

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to write to you guys, but boy has it been a crazy time! We started our last days on the Baja Peninsula in the East Cape Casas & RV Resort in Los Barriles. This place was really pretty, and everyone there was so nice. First things first: snow birds aren’t actually birds at all! Apparently, this is what older people, people way older than My Family’s parents, are called. Snow birds don’t stay home like most people, instead they buy huge campers (way bigger than our home) and drive them somewhere warm to spend the winter. I don’t know if there was some sort of commercial for Los Barriles or what, but there were an awful lot of snow birds! Luckily, they all really liked me. There were plenty of trees to pee on, other dogs weren’t allowed to run off leash and get in trouble, there was a nice pool, and Victoria and Jason were pretty excited about the clean bathrooms and hot showers. Showers are terrible, so I don’t know why they were so happy about this. But I guess that’s one of the differences between dogs and humans.

Los Barriles was pretty quiet, apparently because most of the snow birds hadn’t come down for the winter yet. There were a couple of restaurants that were open, and My Family took me with them every time. The weird thing was, everyone there spoke English, even the locals! My Family thought it was pretty odd that they were handed menus in English, and wondered if they would forget all of the Spanish they had learned while staying in this funny little town, or if we would get bored. Luckily, our Brazilian friends Marcia, Andre and Olivia happened to be staying in the very same park as us! It was great to see them, and I even got to taste the lunch that Marcia gave My Family. We all went out for dinner together, which was a lot of fun, but they ended up leaving the very next day. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.

Our home parked at the RV Resort.  Victoria said they have they best bathrooms in Baja, but I wasn't allowed in so I have no idea what was so great about them.

Our home parked at the RV Resort. Victoria said they have they best bathrooms in Baja, but I wasn’t allowed in so I have no idea what was so great about them.

Jason started to feel pretty run down. He was sneezing almost every ten seconds, and sniffling into a pile of tissues. He thought that one of the Canadian surfers we met might have gotten him sick, and sure enough he spent the whole next week pretty miserable. That was tough, because he had to work almost the whole time. There’s nothing fun about being sick, and because he was so run down I didn’t get to do anything. It was SO BORING.

To make things even worse, we heard that rain was coming. There was a very nice couple staying right next to us, Pat and Don, and they came over to make sure we had heard that Tropical Storm Sonia was coming. Sonia’s a very pretty name, but I guess this storm wasn’t going to be nice at all. No one was sure how bad it was going to be, but Victoria was very nervous about the camper leaking. My Family had planned on going over all of the seals on the roof with something called caulk, this really sticky stuff that would keep the rain out, but with everything there was to do before we left the wee blue house, it hadn’t made the list. Now Jason had to pull himself up onto the roof and do the work, even though he was sick. Victoria said she would never get tired of making ‘caulk jokes’. I don’t know what’s so funny about that, and Jason sure wasn’t laughing. He managed to get the caulk over all of the seams on the roof, as well as his clothes and hands. Then we waited for the Tropical Storm.

Grapefruit.  They were growing right next to our house but I wasn't allowed to eat them because Vic said she wasn't sure if dogs should eat Citrus or not. Who's talking about Citrus, I just wanted to try the Grapefruit.

Grapefruit. They were growing right next to our house but I wasn’t allowed to eat them because Vic said she wasn’t sure if dogs should eat Citrus or not. Who’s talking about Citrus, I just wanted to try the Grapefruit.

The rain didn’t end up being that bad, but we still had a bit of a leak. Jason wasn’t too thrilled to discover that he had missed a spot, especially after all of the hard work. And we couldn’t do anything about it until everything dried off. That was probably a good thing, as Jason just started getting sicker. Even worse, Victoria started to feel sick too! I was surrounded by coughing and sneezing humans! Good thing I have such a strong immune system.

We ended up staying in Los Barriles for about a week. It was seriously boring. I got to go on a couple of walks, but only had one chance to run around the beach. Jason really liked the RV park even though he had felt so sick, but Victoria was more than ready to leave Los Barriles. Apparently, our days on Baja were numbered.

The drive to La Paz was pretty uneventful, and it ended with a long day of running errands. We drove up to the terminal where we were going to catch the boat, which My Family called a Ferry. It was so busy there, and Victoria was nervous about us having all the right paperwork and being able to get our Import Papers in time. Our truck was cleared to go, we found the right ferry ticket office and, after being told to come back the next day at one o’clock, we headed back into La Paz to do some shopping. We stopped at the supermarket (boring!), at Home Depot (Victoria set off the car alarm and everyone came out and stared at us), at WalMart (super duper boring!) and at Burger King for lunch (I didn’t even get a bite). Hours later, we got back on the road towards the ferry terminal to find a place to stay for the night.

Sunset at Balandra, even I can tell it was beautiful.

Sunset at Balandra, even I can tell it was beautiful.

Although My Family was talking about us going back to Tecolote, the great beach we had stayed at a couple weeks ago, they had heard there was another cool beach nearby called Balandra. It was just as close to the ferry terminal, so we’d have no problem making our boat on time. Balandra was really pretty, different from Tecolote in that there weren’t any waves, but the sunset was pretty cool. We even hung out with a group of photographers who had come to the beach specifically to catch the sunset.

The best part was, when we drove out there, who did we see but our Brazilian friends again! As soon as we showed up and said hello they invited us in for dinner. My Family laughed, because it always seems like they’re cooking for us every time we end up in the same place! But they wouldn’t take no for an answer. We had a blast having a delicious dinner with them, and I even got to hang out for most of it. Jason was starting to feel better, but Victoria was pretty run down with the cold. Andre said the best cure for a cold was Vodka. I don’t know what kind of medicine that is, but it sure made everyone laugh and smile a lot! Those guys are my favorite friends on the adventure yet! Happy and full of food, we settled in for the night.

Sometime after midnight, Victoria suddenly leapt up in bed and switched on the light! I could tell Jason was still asleep, and I was trying to sleep too, but Victoria said she could feel sand fleas biting her. This slowly got Jason’s attention, because Andre and Marcia had just told us a terrible story about a sand flea infestation they ended up with after staying at another beach. Jason thought it might have been Victoria’s imagination, but I saw them almost immediately. Sand fleas everywhere! They were on the bed, bouncing off the ceiling, and crawling over the walls. I tried to just go back to sleep, but My Family went into battle. Armed with nothing but paper towels, they set out to destroy any sand flea unlucky enough to get in their way. It was a bloodbath! I don’t know how long they were at it, but when they were done the ceiling, the walls and the sheets were covered with dead sand flea bodies. It was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. Victoria and Jason said they thought they’d never get to sleep again, but eventually they were satisfied that they had taken out the sand flea army, turned off the lights, and I was able to get back to bed.

Not a bad place to be forced to swim.

Not a bad place to be forced to swim.

The next day we got up early so we could spend some time playing on the beach before we left for the boat and it was super fun. I ran around in the water while Olivia pretended to be a pelican. Victoria made me swim a little bit more, but the water was so calm that I didn’t mind it that much. And Olivia likes to run around on the sand almost as much as I do! It was pretty awesome, but we couldn’t stay very long as we had to go catch our boat. Today was the day we were going to take the Ferry over to a place called ‘Mainland Mexico’. I don’t know what was so different about this than Baja, but I could tell that My Family was both nervous and super excited about it.

We checked in at the ferry terminal and got our ticket just before one o’clock, and found a place to wait right by the boat. The Ferry was a HUGE boat, and it was going to carry us, our truck, and a bunch of even bigger trucks to the Mainland. We spent a very hot afternoon waiting for our turn to board the ferry, sweating (My Family) and panting (Me) while big trucks sprayed dust, dirt and exhaust all over us. It wasn’t much fun. We did meet one very nice person, a guy named Chris who is riding his motorcycle all the way from Canada down to the tip of South America. He liked to talk and tell jokes, so that helped pass the time. When it was our turn to get on the ferry, Jason had to back our truck onto the boat, and then onto a huge elevator that brought us up to the top deck. It was pretty cool. We parked and then went up on another deck to watch the rest of the trucks load up.

That's our ride to the Mainland!  It was a long, dirty, bumpy ride but we managed to have fun anyway!

That’s our ride to the Mainland! It was a long, dirty, bumpy ride but we managed to have fun anyway!

There were lots of people on the ferry, all truck drivers also making the trip. The ferry was going to take us from La Paz to a place called Mazatlan, which apparently was going to take around sixteen hours! I wasn’t sure I would survive that long a trip. Once the boat was loaded and we left La Paz behind it started rocking from side to side to side to side. And we were surrounded by water, much deeper water than I had ever swam in. I was not happy! We had fun talking with Chris and hearing all of his travel stories, but once it got dark it got a bit more scary. There was nothing but stars and water everywhere you looked. I didn’t know any of the other people on this boat, and when I found out we were going to be sleeping right on the deck I went into high alert. I didn’t want anyone to mess with My Family, especially Victoria. Once it got really dark Jason blew up a couple of air mattresses and we set them up right there on the deck under the stars. Victoria and I snuggled up and went to bed, but every once in a while I opened my eyes and Jason was awake each time. I don’t think he was that comfortable on the little air mattress.

Jason woke us up right when the sun was rising. We were still in the middle of the ocean, but it was kind of pretty. Chris found us again, and we went in search for a way to get to the front of the ship. Victoria had heard that you could see dolphins playing around the boat if you caught them just at the right time, and My Family was determined to do just that. We tried to find a way to sneak around the big trucks and get to the front of the boat, but they were packed in so tight that My Family couldn’t make it. I could have gotten there easily, but I would never have left them behind. Luckily, by the time we made our way back to the top deck and My Family got their morning coffee, one of the nice people we met told us that dolphins were right there on the side. We got there just in time to see them, leaping and playing in the waves!

Dolphins are not only super fast swimmers, but also really difficult to photograph.

Dolphins are not only super fast swimmers, but also really difficult to photograph.

Soon after watching the dolphins, we saw land and pulled into port! Mazatlan is a big city, maybe the biggest we had been in so far, and My Family was pretty exhausted. The port was beautiful, the water full of fish and even some sharks, and the air packed with birds. We waited for our turn to get off the boat and finally, Jason backed up the truck, we went down the elevator, and a few minutes later we were set free in Mazatlan, ready to continue our Adventure on the Mainland.

PS:  To see some of the photos My Family took, head over to our Facebook page!


15
Nov 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja

DISCUSSION 3 Comments

The Baja – Part 2

Me at Playa Tecolote after Victoria made me go swimming.

Me at Playa Tecolote after Victoria made me go swimming.

The night spent in Ciudad Constitucion was relaxing and pretty quiet. No barking dogs and clucking roosters to keep us up all night, although I think I might have dreamt about them! When we woke up in the morning it got hot in a hurry. We were far from the beach, and boy could you tell! My Family had planned on getting us up and out pretty early, so we could get to a beach they promised me was going to be a lot of fun. But the owner of Palapa 206 RV Park & Motel wanted to chat. He was a really nice man from England, which is where Victoria’s family is from too. I bet they know each other. He wanted to talk about stuff Jason called ‘politics’, and from how quiet Jason was, I could tell he wasn’t sure if this was going to be a fun conversation. There was a lot of talk about people named Margaret Thatcher and ‘Di’, who both sounded pretty nice. I was trying to figure out if we had met them back home at the Wee Blue House, but since I don’t speak human I guess I’ll never know. Anyway, after a long talk we finally wrapped up and hit the road.

It took quite a long time to get to our next destination, a big city called La Paz. There were a lot of long, straight stretches, and then big hills that seemed to just go up and down forever. It was pretty, but it was also really really hot. By the time we got to La Paz I was panting pretty hard. I was more than ready for the beach, but I didn’t see one anywhere. We stopped at a supermarket, and then tried to find our way through town to a beach called Tecolote. It was supposed to be really pretty, but boy, was La Paz confusing! Victoria thought she had a map with a ‘shortcut’, but we kept getting turned around. All the while it just seemed to get hotter and hotter. I didn’t mean to, but I pooped a little bit on Victoria’s shorts. She was pretty upset, because someone named Lululemon gave them to her. I didn’t mean it! It all worked out, though. Victoria forgave me for the little accident, the shortcut ended up working out, and after a fun drive on a trucker highway we ended up far outside of La Paz, past the big ferry station, on the amazing beach in Tecolote.

Playa Tecolote.  I called it Dog Heaven.

Playa Tecolote. I called it Dog Heaven.

The road there was pretty crazy, which seems to be normal for Baja. At one point we were following a big construction truck that was literally digging the road as we drove. I’m glad our big truck is so good at driving on roads like that. There was a lot of bounces and bumps, but finally the beach was in sight. My Family was right; it was amazing!

We pulled up right on the sand and parked. All around us were other families, parked and playing on the beach. There were boats and things called jet-skis in the water, and kids were splashing in the waves. Even though it was already late in the day, I got to go off leash and play with the waves. I’m not sure I would want to swim like these people do; the waves are so big! But they are fun to splash around in. I like to bite the foam as it trickles into shore, and then dig at the wet sand that squishes between my paws. It was so much fun to run on the sand again I didn’t want to stop, even when it started to get dark. But we were all getting hungry, and luckily my Family took me with them to dinner. There was a string of restaurants on the beach, not far from where we parked, and we settled onto beach chairs. Jason had a margarita, and Victoria was super happy to ‘finally’ have something called a pina colada. I managed to steal a lick off the side of the glass before she moved it out of the way. While I wasn’t allowed any more of that, I did get a big share of the chips and the fish tacos we ordered. Let me just tell you, they were delicious! I played in the sand all the way home, and then we settled in for the night.

Even when the sun goes down, it's still my favorite place we've visited in Mexico.

Even when the sun goes down, it’s still my favorite place we’ve visited in Mexico.

When I woke up it was still dark. My Family was asleep, but I just wanted to look out the windows. Since we were right on the beach the sound of the ocean was so loud, louder than any traffic or anything we used to hear back home. My Family woke up too, and laughed about me looking out the windows. Hey, I’m just making sure everything is okay! Jason was telling Victoria how it takes him at least a day to get used to the new sounds in each place. I don’t know what the problem is, just go back to sleep! But they wanted to get up and go to the bathroom, and couldn’t seem to fall back to sleep after that. Ah well, it gave me the chance to chow down on my food. I can’t remember ever having breakfast that early before, but the ocean air seems to make me really hungry.

Although the day started really weird, it got a lot better from there. We went on a long walk down the beach, all the way to the rocks at the end. There were lots fish laying on the sand, with funny pointy bits all over them. Jason wouldn’t let me get near enough to get a good sniff, but they’re called puffer fish. Victoria was wondering why so many of them were laying around, but Jason didn’t have any answers. They did let me play with some funny colored balls on strings hanging out in the water. They’re called ‘buoys’, and later I saw that people used them to get in and out from the shore on their boats. I got to run around a lot off leash again, which always makes it feel like a holiday.

My Family kept saying how beautiful the sunset was here.  This is what it looked like over the mountains behind us.

My Family kept saying how beautiful the sunset was here. This is what it looked like over the mountains behind us.

The rest of the day was filled with holiday fun. We played at the edge of the water a bit, but I guess Victoria is determined to teach me to swim, because she kept carrying me in with her. The water was nice and warm, but I don’t think I like it very much yet. I was able to swim in to Jason on the shore a couple of times, and then I let My Family know I was pretty much done with that. So instead we sat in our chairs, played in the sand, and My Family read books. Jason and Victoria talked about how much they’ve been sleeping, and how beautiful and relaxing Mexico is. I have to say I agree!

That night it got really dark, and most everyone else on the beach started to leave. A big camper pulled in next to us, something Victoria called a ‘Winnebago’. It had people from Canada in it, which means they drove even longer than we did to get here. As it got even later we noticed that one car down the beach was just sitting there with its lights on. A Mexican man and his two children passed us by, carrying a small can meant for gasoline. He spoke Spanish to us, and it took My Family a while to figure out what he was saying. But eventually they figured out that his family had run out of gas and needed help. Luckily, before we drove through that big desert in Baja California Jason had filled up his spare gas can. My Family managed to pull it off the truck and fill the Mexican man’s can. He thanked us and was able to get his family off the beach. He asked Jason “Quanto?”, which means “how much” in Spanish. But Jason and Victoria didn’t want any money for it. The man was surprised, but happily went on his way. Jason said it was “good Karma”. I don’t really know what that means.

The next morning we woke with the sun, and it got hot in a hurry. We were ready to head south, and although we were leaving the beach, My Family promised me more fun ahead. We drove past La Paz a lot easier this time, into a town called Todos Santos. This place was really pretty. We had planned on stopping there, but it was Sunday and almost everything was closed. We still managed to find delicious lunch at a small restaurant called Tacos Barajas. They cut up the meat right there on the counter, and I was lucky enough to get a few bites. There were plenty of other dogs around that weren’t nearly as lucky as me. I wonder where their owners are, and when they get treats?

We drove out of Todos Santos towards a town called Los Cerritos, which had a beach club My Family thought had a place to camp. There was a beautiful club there, with a huge pool and everything. But the campground left a lot to be desired. It was basically a dusty field, and there wasn’t anyone else around to play with. My Family knew they didn’t want to stay there, but they didn’t really know where else to go. We stopped at a restaurant on the beach where My Family could get drinks. They were pretty grumpy, but a couple of pina coladas helped a lot. Those drinks seem pretty magical. The internet worked there, so Jason hopped online and they looked over their options. Apparently there was a place called Pescadoro Surf Camp that sounded pretty cool. We had passed it on the way down, so we quickly backtracked and pulled in.

Since Jason was working most of the time we were at PSC, Vic and I hung out out the pool.

Since Jason was working most of the time we were at PSC, Vic and I hung out out the pool.

The owner, an American from San Diego named Jaime, was really nice. He walked us past the pool and the cool outdoor kitchen and showed us where we could camp. There was good internet there, and showers for My Family to use. Victoria and Jason thought it seemed pretty nice, so we decided to stay there. Was that ever a good idea! The pool was pretty, and even though Victoria made me swim again I didn’t mind too much. There was a dog in the camp that really liked me. He kept coming around trying to sniff at me, and even whined at our door when I was in the camper. Victoria and Jason started calling him “Romeo” and laughing. These people jokes really don’t make much sense to me.

It was pretty quiet when we got to the surf camp, but within a couple of hours more and more people started to arrive. By the end of the day the camp was packed, and everyone was so nice! There were all these surfers there, most of them from Canada, and everyone loved me. I don’t think I’ve ever had more people who wanted to hold me, kiss me and talk to me. A couple of them even took me in the pool, and debated with each other how I wanted to be held. Really, I would much rather have watched from a comfy chair, but I didn’t mind too much.

These are lizards. Vic says I'm not allowed to eat them.  As if!

These are lizards. Vic says I’m not allowed to eat them. As if!

The next few days passed slowly, and were a ton of fun. My Family shared meals and drinks with all of the surfers, and I got a ton of attention. A couple of the nights we stayed up late, as the surfer boys had bought several bottles of something called ‘tequila’. This made them all pretty silly, but I still got a ton of attention. Jason spent some time working, Victoria read and hung out with me by the pool, and we had a lot of delicious food. We went for a walk into the town of Los Cerritos, where everyone was so nice. I got to stretch my legs a bit, and saw a bunch of other dogs and people. There was even a big blue box on one corner, which Victoria called a “taco stand”, where a woman made huge burritos for Victoria and Jason. They were pretty excited about it. We had a lot of fun hanging out with all of our new friends, and relaxing on the comfy sand. The only real problem was getting the camper comfortable. When we pulled in Jason didn’t realize how much of a slant we were on. The first night was pretty bad. My Family felt like they were going to slide right out of bed the whole time. The next morning Jason dug up a bunch of sand and set it under the wheels, finally getting us level. It seemed like sweaty work, and I was pretty happy that I didn’t have to do it.

I could smell in the air that things were different down here. It was hotter than where we had been before, and there were tons of palm trees like we have at home. I saw all sorts of little creatures, too. There were stick bugs that spent all day trying to climb up the table leg in the kitchen, tiny lizards that scurried along the edge of the roof, and more bugs than I could even try to catch. Apparently we had passed something called “The Tropic of Cancer”, which is an imaginary line humans have drawn on the planet. I don’t understand this that well, but I guess it means we were in a really different part of the world now.

Even though we never made it back out to the beach, this might have been my favorite place ever. I could tell that Victoria and Jason really didn’t want to leave. We even ran into our friends Andre, Marcia and Olivia again! They had spent a night at the terrible RV park on the beach, and  they decided to join us at the surf camp. It seemed like they had fun there too. After four days My Family decided it was time to move on. We packed up really slowly, because it was seriously hot. I was panting pretty hard, so Victoria and Jason forced me under the shower a couple of times. I don’t really like this that much, but I did feel much cooler afterwards.

This is Vincent.  I'm pretty sure he lives at the coffee shop.

This is Vincent. I’m pretty sure he lives at the coffee shop.

We drove for only a few minutes before pulling into a place called ‘Baja Beans’. This was a coffee shop, which I guess My Family desperately needed at that point. Anyway, they were really happy with the food and drinks they got, and I even got a little taste myself. There were a couple of nice dogs there, and the space was beautiful so I was more than content to hang out while My Family enjoyed their coffee.

After that we drove right back to the surf camp. I didn’t really know what was going on, until I saw Jason come back to the big truck with one of the surfer boys, a nice person named Steve. He had to get to a place called Cabo Pulmo, but I guess he didn’t have a big truck of his own. Jason and Victoria wanted to help him out, so they moved some stuff around and we left again, this time with another passenger! I wanted to sit in his lap to welcome him to the adventure, but Victoria made me stay with her.

We passed back over the Tropic of Cancer when we were heading to Cabo Pulmo. Still not sure what that really means...

We passed back over the Tropic of Cancer when we were heading to Cabo Pulmo. Still not sure what that really means…

We drove on from there, quickly passing through two big beach towns. My Family called this place ‘Cabo’, and even though it was really pretty it seemed like we weren’t going to stop there. Victoria said it was too expensive, and Jason said he didn’t want to stay somewhere so ‘touristy’. I don’t know, the beach looked pretty cool. Anyway, we left those places behind and headed up a really pretty road, with mountains covered in mist in the distance. We stopped once to fill up on gas, but the whole station was empty. I’ve never heard of that before. I know, I’m a dog, and I don’t know much about cars. But that seemed pretty odd to me. Anyway, we found gas at another place, then turned off on the road to Cabo Pulmo.

After a while the pavement stopped, and suddenly we were bouncing down a really rough gravel road. It kept going on and on, and I could tell Jason and Victoria had no idea that Cabo Pulmo was going to be so far away. Steve was really thankful for the ride, and I could tell My Family really didn’t mind. It was ‘part of the adventure’, as they would put it. Once Cabo Pulmo came into view, no one talked about the road anymore.

Cabo Pulmo: Worth the drive down the long bumpy road!

Cabo Pulmo: Worth the drive down the long bumpy road!

This place had one of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen. You couldn’t force me into that water, though. It looked really rough. But it was so pretty, and there was almost no one there. Apparently Cabo Pulmo is within a national park, and most people come here to go diving. There’s something called a live coral reef there, which I guess means there’s all sorts of fish and animals you would get to see. I knew my family wouldn’t be doing that, but they did really enjoy the tiny town set close to the beach.

It was already getting late when we got there, so My Family decided we wouldn’t be heading to Los Barriles as planned, but would spend the night here. We dropped Steve off so he could set up his own camp, and My Family found a nice lady named Nancy, who owned a restaurant where we could stay. We set up in their driveway, went for a little walk, and then went inside for dinner. It was really pretty outside, with a fire and candles on the tables. Victoria loved all the decorations for Halloween, while I think Jason was happy to have a nice dinner. The food was super tasty, and My Family started chatting with a couple of people from a town called Mexico City, which is also in Mexico, but pretty far away. Victoria was excited to talk to them, because she wasn’t sure if we should go there or not. That couple had traveled quite a bit, and after talking to them for a while they sounded pretty certain that we should skip Mexico City this time. Jason was more than happy to take their advice, especially after hearing about all of the other places they recommended. We thanked them and headed back to the camper for the night.

It was the end of a very long day, but it seemed the roosters wanted to stay up and chat. I was happily drifting off, but the roosters were crowing what seemed like every five seconds. My Family couldn’t understand why this was happening. These guys are supposed to talk during the day? Anyway, a couple roosters around there didn’t get that information, and kept chatting all night long. The next morning I could tell that My Family hadn’t slept all that well. We packed up pretty quickly and found a place for breakfast. The food was pretty good, and Jason liked watching the dive instructors all drinking beer and watching something called ‘football’ first thing in the morning. After breakfast we got back in the big truck and headed up to Los Barriles. It was a short and pretty drive, and My Family is pretty excited to spend some time in a real town. We found a nice RV park to stay in, where I guess we’re going to spend at least a few days. Victoria said the RV park is full of snow-birds but I haven’t seen a lot of birds yet, just a lot of older people who like to talk to My Family a lot. I’m not sure what’s to come, or if we’ll see any of the snow birds, but if it’s anything like the last week I’m sure I’m going to love it.

PS:  If you want to see some of the photos My Family took last week, they are on Facebook.


03
Nov 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja, Mexico

DISCUSSION 4 Comments

South of the Border

Me and Victoria on the beach near San Quintin. I got to run around off leash!

Me and Victoria on the beach near San Quintin. I got to run around off leash!

Today is the end of our first week in Mexico. It’s a whole different country, and it’s amazing. There’s something about it that just feels familiar, almost like I’ve been here before. Victoria says there’s even a town in Mexico called Chihuaha, so maybe that’s where I’m from? I don’t know, but so far it just feels like home.

Tensions were running high… Adios, America!

So, the border crossing: My Family was really stressed out about this. I know that Victoria had spent a long time researching the process, and especially what it was going to be like taking me across. We all stayed up really late the night before, trying to get ready. I was so tired, but my Family really wanted to make sure everything was going to be okay. Victoria thought about getting me ‘USDA Certified’, whatever that means. Jason thought that made me sound like a steak, which is a little concerning. Victoria decided it sounded like too much work so the plan was to try crossing without my USDA Certification, and then head back to San Diego if there were any problems.

I don’t really know what all the fuss was about. The border crossing took all of ten minutes. Yes, there was a big fence, and some scary men carrying big guns. But everyone was so nice. Jason said the Border Patrol Agents prayed over the back of our camper, and laughed at our ‘Perro Peligroso’ sign. Hey, I’m a lot tougher than I look! Even the ‘Red Light’ stop as we were crossing was super quick. Suddenly we were off again, into a whole new world. I could tell we were in Mexico, because things just smelled different. Victoria said this was a place called Tijuana, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. It was big and kinda dirty, but beautiful too. The locals burn garbage here, which smells kind of delicious.

Wonder if we'll see the King and Queen of La Bufadora?

Wonder if we’ll see the King and Queen of La Bufadora?

We drove right through Tijuana and got on a road called ‘Mex 1’. I think this might be the same road we’ve been on this whole time. But it felt a bit different. We drove on through some beautiful countryside, into a town called Ensenada. This is really more of a city than a town, which I know means there’s a lot more people, more buildings, and a whole lot more dogs. We stopped off here so Victoria and Jason could get a cell phone and an internet connection. Not sure why that’s such a big deal, but Jason was really happy about it. I mean, we’ve got our whole home in the camper. What would we ever need to call someone about? We drove on through Ensenada, and south of town near a place called ‘La Bufadora’ we found a campground right next to something called an ‘estuary’. It’s sort of like a river, but when we got there it was mostly just mud, with funny looking birds walking around pecking at things. There was also a castle on the campground, and I think the people who owned it live there. They must be the King and Queen of La Bufadora. There were a couple of nice dogs, and kids riding bikes all around. Victoria and Jason opened up a bottle of Vic’s favorite wine to celebrate crossing the border. Do we always get to celebrate something so simple? Does that mean I get a treat the next time I come when asked? Anyway, after that we snuggled up for the night.

The next day the muddy estuary was full of water! It was like a whole different place. We packed up the camper and got back on the road, headed for a place called San Quintin. It took us several hours to drive there, but the countryside just got more and more beautiful. We stopped along the way for shrimp and fish tacos, which of course I got to sample. There were some other Americans there, which people here call either ‘touristos’ or ‘gringos’. They were nice, and said hi to me. We kept driving, and ended up at a campground called ‘Cielito Lindo’. This was right near the ocean, but we couldn’t see it from our spot. We were basically in a parking lot, staring at the back of buildings. I didn’t know why we decided to stay here, until we started walking towards the beach.

Heading to the beach in San Quintin. I had no idea the fun that was waiting for me!

Heading to the beach in San Quintin. I had no idea the fun that was waiting for me!

We walked down a dirt road, and my Family let me off of my leash! I almost couldn’t believe it at first, but they just kept letting me run around. I ran circles around them, sniffed all sorts of things, and then I saw these amazing sand dunes, which were much MUCH bigger than me. We crossed those, and there was the ocean. And I was still off my leash! I couldn’t believe it. I never got to be off leash on the beach at home. We ran around for what felt like hours, and we were the only ones there. I even dipped my paws in the water, and played a game where I would bite at the foam that came up on the beach. It was turning into maybe the best day ever.

Our own private beach... no leashes necessary!

Our own private beach… no leashes necessary!

I knew it wouldn’t last. When we got back to the camper, Victoria and Jason left me inside so they could go out for dinner. I wasn’t going to get to try any of it! What felt like days later they came back, silly from Margaritas and praising the restaurant’s incredible crab and shrimp, and the super nice people that worked there. Turns out, the whole reason we were camped in the restaurant parking lot is because Victoria wanted to try their crab. To make matters worse… no leftovers. Yep, basically the worst night of the trip.

The next day we packed up to get back on the road. I’m glad we had plenty of food and water with us, because this ended up being one of the longer days we’d had. Jason and Victoria were talking about gas for the big truck, and wondering if they would be okay. It was going to be 200 miles between gas stations, which sounds like a lot. As we made our way towards a town called Guerro Negro, on the border between Baja Norte and Baja Sur, the view out the window kept changing in amazing ways. We drove through the desert, past a town called Catavina, and saw cactus, and this field of huge boulders, and funny trees called “Cirios” that I’d never seen before. Victoria said that it looked like Dr. Seuss did the decorating, whoever that is. We met a group of surfers who had driven from a country called Canada in a funny van, and they skateboarded down the huge hills, even with trucks around! We stopped for water and they chatted with my Family a bit, suggesting some spots to camp up ahead.

Victoria said Dr. Seuss must have made these trees.

Victoria said Dr. Seuss must have made these trees.

This is a cactus. Potentially painful to pee on.

This is a cactus. Potentially painful to pee on.

As the hours rolled by, we knew we wouldn’t be to Guerro Negro before we had to stop. My Family decided to just pull off the highway, find a beach and camp for the night. They call this ‘boondocking’, which is one of the sillier human words I’ve ever heard. We passed a bunch of roads off the highway, but My Family couldn’t decide which one to take and then Jason decided finally to just pick one, so we left the highway and drove into the desert!

We were now on the bumpiest road I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if you could even really call it a road. It was more of a dirt track, covered in rocks, with huge gaps we had to crawl up and down. Jason was pretty grumpy at this point. He hadn’t eaten lunch, and he always gets grumpy when he forgets to eat. I know the feeling! Victoria and I didn’t like the bumpy ride much, and I was standing as still as possible until it was over. Finally we found a place to stop. The trip was rough, but it was worth it. We were right on the edge of the most perfect beach I’ve ever seen. There was a hill of rocks, and then perfect, white sand. Our paw and footprints were the only ones you could see for miles. There was one more truck in sight, far in the distance, with a couple of men who were throwing the rocks aside. Jason said they were ‘crabbing’. Does that mean they were in a bad mood?

Our boondock beach paradise.

Our boondock beach paradise.

That night the moon was full, and the water kept rising higher and higher. The ocean was so loud, I didn’t know if we were ever going to get to sleep. Jason kept checking the water line with our big flashlight, I guess to make sure we didn’t get washed away? We were totally safe, and had a super comfy night under a ton of stars.

It was just us as far as I could see or smell.

It was just us as far as I could see or smell.

The next morning we packed up to complete our drive through the desert. We crossed another border, between the North and South of Baja, and the people there were really nice as well. The Border Agent asked us if we had any fruits or vegetables, and then if we had any “beards”. This made Jason really confused, and I saw him touching his face. After a bit of broken Spanish My Family figured out he was asking if we had any birds with us! He taught us the Spanish word, and we helped him figure out how to say it in English. It was pretty funny. We drove on from there, towards a place called Bahia Concepcion. We spent a couple more hours on some twisty turny roads, up and down a mountain, and finally came out on the whole other side of Baja! Oh, and I forgot to mention, when we crossed the border we also crossed into a different Time Zone. I know, I didn’t understand that at first either. But apparently people say it’s a different time depending on where they are. Baja Norte is part of what’s called ‘Pacific Time’, which is what it’s like at our old home in Venice. Baja Sur is in ‘Mountain Time’, which is like in Colorado, when we first picked up the camper. We drove through Guerro Negro and found a small town where we could stop for lunch. Victoria bought a delicious seafood soup from a stand at the side of the road, and I got to try some. I love how much food I get to try in Mexico!

The desert is covered in these tiny red flowers.

The desert is covered in these tiny red flowers.

A short drive later we left the desert behind and found Bahia Concepcion. This was definitely one of the most beautiful places we had seen so far. It’s a huge bay on the Gulf of California, with a bunch of small beaches for camping. We were headed to a place called Buenaventura Resort, where they had places to camp, a restaurant and free internet. Jason was pretty excited about this last part because he had more work to do. When we got there we found a bunch of people who speak English, all drinking and having a great time together. We had a delicious dinner, and I met a couple of dogs. More on them later.

Beachfront camping in Bahia Concepcion.

Beachfront camping in Bahia Concepcion.

We set up quickly and then hung out with this great American couple named Mike and Megan. They were in Baja to teach children to swim, and Megan grew up right around the corner from our home in Venice! It was nice to see some people that still smelled like our old home. We had a fire, and the other camp dogs hung out with us. There was Bo, a nice boy dog who really liked me, and Zora, a big dog who loved to hang out with all the campers. I knew this was going to be a nice place to stay for a while.

This is Bo. I think he might have been in love with me, ’cause he wanted to hang out the whole time.

This is Zora. I think she was in love with my Victoria and Jason, 'cause she kept snuggling into their laps.

This is Zora. I think she was in love with my Victoria and Jason, ’cause she kept snuggling into their laps.

Luckily, that was the plan. My Family said we were going to stay for a few days, so I wouldn’t have to get back in the truck for a while. Best of all, I got to be off leash almost the entire time! I ran around the beach, and Victoria brought me into the water a little bit. I’m not a big fan of that, but my Family seems determined to turn me into a ‘water dog’. We’ll see about that. We spent a couple of great days at the Buenaventura Resort, relaxing on the sand, running around with the other dogs, eating delicious food and enjoying a couple of conversations with other travelers. We even met a couple who have been coming to Baja longer than My Family has been alive. They even lived on a boat for five years! We heard some pretty neat stories, and really enjoyed our time here. We might have even stayed longer, but Jason kept crashing the internet trying to use something called ‘Skype’, so we left after two and a half days. Victoria was okay about leaving this place even though it was so beautiful because the sand fleas really like biting her. She it’s because she has “sweet blood” and that all the bugs like to bite her so really, anywhere we go she will get bitten. Since then she’s been spraying “bug spray” all over herself which makes her smell pretty terrible but she says it will make her a lot less itchy.

Right as we were packing up the car to leave, a man drove up in a truck selling all kinds of things My Family normally buys in a market. Victoria kept saying “No, gracias” to everything he was offering us until he said the magic words ‘Pineapple Empanadas.’ Then she was all “Si! Si!” and bought a couple and let me tell you, they are amazing. I’m not sure why they don’t make them in Venice but I’m hoping we get to have them all the time here in Mexico! Did I mention how much food I get to try here? Mexico is the best! Anyway, as soon as we finished our Empanadas, we hopped back in the truck as usual.

I'm starting to really like our new home, even with all the driving.

I’m starting to really like our new home, even with all the driving.

Thankfully, we didn’t have far to drive. Just a couple of hours later we found a town called Loreto. This is a pretty big city for Baja, with restaurants, banks, supermarkets, a town square, and some really pretty buildings. Victoria read in one of her books that this is one of the oldest towns in Baja, dating all the way back to the 1600’s. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but Jason was pretty impressed. We were headed to a place called Loreto Shores Villas & RV park, because we heard from some other travelers that we wanted to meet that this was a nice place. It was pretty cool, but was more of a parking lot near the beach. Victoria did some laundry and Jason caught up on work. There was a pool that looked pretty nice, but I got left in the camper while Victoria and Jason went for a swim. Just as I was getting bored our new friends showed up. Their names are Andre and Marcia, and their adorable little girl Olivia, and they are on their own adventure. They are from a country called Brazil and they speak the same language as My Family (English) and another one called “Portuguese.” They have a camper that’s like ours, but a whole lot bigger, and they are driving all the way to the bottom of South America. They invited us to a steak dinner, which was really delicious. I got lots of kisses from Olivia, and we heard all sorts of stories from their adventures so far. I know my Family hopes we’ll run into them again, as we’re all headed south.

We were all pretty happy to leave the next morning because, boy, is Loreto noisy. All night the dogs-with-no-homes were barking and howling and running all over town! And roosters were screaming all night even though they are only supposed to tell us to wake up in the morning. Ugh! We stopped for breakfast in Loreto on our way out and I got to try ‘Chilaquiles’ which is one of Jason’s favorite breakfast foods, and now mine too. We drove up into the Sierra Giganta (basically a big mountain) and the slowly back down through farmland. It was very pretty but now we are in Ciudad Constitucion in a motel parking lot. We are the only travelers here so it’s not that much fun, but Jason was getting tired of driving all the time and Victoria said it would be a good place to stop for the night. I can’t wait to get to the beach again!

PS: If you want to see some of the photos My Family took this week you can check them our on Facebook!

24
Oct 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja, Mexico

DISCUSSION 5 Comments