Tag Archives: Snow Birds

Mexico 2.0: Neli’s Trailer Park Adventure

Me and Jason watching the sunset in Kino Viejo.

Me and Jason watching the sunset in Kino Viejo.

Now that Victoria and Jason had decided to skip the ferry ride to the Baja and drive north through the mainland instead, we had a LOT of ground to cover. In case you don’t have one of those map thingeys, Mexico is like, really big. Even after all this time spent in a very cool country, we still hadn’t seen the whole top half! Though driving days are a snooze, I was kind of excited to check out all this new territory.

We had a quick breakfast, packed up and left the Pemex Inn in the rearview. Our first stop was to be a town called Guaymas, and it looked like it was going to be quite a drive. To my dismay, the beach was nowhere to be found, and I started to wonder if I would ever see it again. We spent hours driving through farms covered in carpets of bright green, followed by deserts dotted by scraggly cactus, twisting roots and tiny, red and purple flowers. When we finally got to Guaymas, Victoria and Jason looked around in dismay. Giant RV park after giant RV park, and not much to see as far as nature is concerned. We still had loads of daylight left, so My Family decided to drive on. A bit further down the road I caught sight of the water. We were headed back to the beach after all! We drove through a really pretty town on a hill called San Carlos, wound our way along the coast and finally found a place to set up. Totonaka RV Park was HUGE, filled with hundreds of humans and tons of us dogs. We settled in next to a cement patio and got all set up. It wasn’t right on the beach, but I could smell the ocean on the air. An improvement.

RV Park life: not very adventurous...

RV Park life: not very adventurous…

We spent several days here, and I wish I had exciting stories to share with you about that time. But I don’t. We recharged our batteries, Jason worked, Victoria read and enjoyed the sun, and Maya and I were stuck on leash. Yep, one VERY big problem with these trailer parks is the leash law. There’s no frolicking allowed for the dogs. People get to do basically whatever they want, and we basically have to sit there and watch the fun. We did get to go on some walks, and taste some of the delicious fish one of our neighbors gave Jason to cook, but otherwise the hours slipped into days that felt basically the same. We had one sort of fun night, hanging out with the nice human couple from Alaska named Chris and Jessie. Alaska is way far in the north, and they told us a how in the middle of winter it never gets light, and in the middle of summer it almost never gets dark. How crazy is that? The dark time I could do without, but a whole day of sunlight to play in? I thought it would be paradise, but after overhearing them talking about the temperature up there, I decided maybe I wouldn’t like it that much after all. Maya tried to snag the caribou jerky they brought over, so they were just fine in her book.

We left Totonaka and kept heading north, through more hours of farms and desert. I don’t understand how so much green stuff can grow out here! I guess the Mexican people are pretty good farmers. We turned off the highway and found our next destination a town called Kino Viejo. The town itself was kind of sad, quiet, and mostly empty except for the loads of sad dogs that looked like they could very much use a big meal and a comfy bed to snuggle up on. This trailer park, however, was super cool. Islandia RV was small and sandy, not covered in gravel and cement, and Jason pulled us up in a spot right on the beach. Finally, back in my happy place! Every human we met there was so nice, and the dogs were pretty cool too. After unpacking, the leashes were finally taken away, and Maya and I were free to dash about.

Finally, a beach to run on!  What more does a dog need?

Finally, a beach to run on! What more does a dog need?

Although it wasn’t planned, My Family decided to spend a couple of nights here. We had a great spot, with a palapa to shade ourselves under and a clear view of the beautiful water. There were shells everywhere, and My Family wandered the beach, picking out some of the best to keep for souvenirs. Maya LOVES shells too. She doesn’t seem to care what they look like, as long as they smell tasty. Jason wasn’t too thrilled with this development, and spent hours dragging shells out away from Maya’s seeking tongue. Other than that, Bahia Kino was super cool. Long days, really pretty sunsets, and very nice snowbirds (still without feathers). I don’t really understand why some snowbirds stay in their giant RV’s all day long (like in Mazatlan), while others sit out, go for rides, play games with their neighbors and have fun parties filled with music and delicious smelling food. I guess these snowbird creatures are just as varied as us dogs. Like how I’m not afraid of anything, and Maya runs away from plastic bags?

Seems like My Family's favorite thing to do is watch the sun go down and drink alcoholic beverages.  They never share...

Seems like My Family’s favorite thing to do is watch the sun go down and drink alcoholic beverages. They never share…

I was sad to leave Islandia, but after a couple of days we had to keep moving north. The next leg of our Adventure entailed hours and hours (AND HOURS) of driving through the desert. Northern Mexico is very pretty, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be stuck out there without My Family! The road was also getting pretty treacherous. Jason had to speed up and slow down all the time, swerving from one side of the road to another to avoid the potholes. There was one stretch I thought would never end, and Maya was getting seriously green. She wouldn’t lay down, but just stood in the back seat, head lowered, tongue lolling across the towel she lays on. Not a happy camper on this day. When we got to Puerto Penasco, My Family was less than enthusiastic. Yet ANOTHER giant RV park, made all of gravel, filled with giant vehicles. This one at least was on the beach, but that didn’t seem to comfort Victoria or Jason at all. Apparently, the internet was bad and you had to pay extra to take a shower. Given how My Family was smelling these days, I really hoped they could come up with the extra cash.

Shelly beach.  Not great for running on...

Shelly beach. Not great for running on…

… but I managed just fine :)

… but I managed just fine 🙂

We spent a few days at the Playa de Oro RV park, and Maya and I were again relegated to our leashes. Jason complained that the view was particularly uninspiring, while Victoria was grumpy about everyone speaking English and paying in American dollars. I guess this Mexican town isn’t that Mexican? Victoria found out that where we were now was only a two-hour drive from the United States border, so all these people from the state of Arizona come down for long weekends. Quite a change from all the great Adventurers we had been meeting, who were all off on long country-crossing trips. I didn’t mind them that much. Everyone was pretty nice to me, and these folks do a lot of grilling! We weren’t going to stay long enough to make any friends, though. Victoria and Jason were eager to set off again. We were now the most northern we had been since first entering Mexico (more than fifteen months ago!), and had almost finished our crossing of the top half of the country. Our next drive would take us back onto the Baja, and what I hoped would be an endless array of empty beaches, ready and waiting for my paws. The trailer parks we had been staying in weren’t bad. We always met nice people, and had comfy places to sit. However, it’s not much of an Adventure. Hey, after all the places we’ve seen, I’ve got high standards! And back at the very beginning of our journey through Mexico, the Baja sure delivered.

PS: To see My Family’s photos from our time in the RV Parks, head over to Facebook.

Feb 2015

Mainland, Mexico


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!

Nov 2013