Wow, that was a lot of washboard road

Before leaving Ojo de Libre, we spent the morning sipping tea, watching whales swim around the bay, just like the Americans had told us the day before.

I sent Steve over for a better view, and spent a couple of minutes following a mother and her baby, whilst another whale poked it’s head out of the water. We had not had to pay for our second night, and so we ended up paying $50peso per night. Not bad to be able to watch whales whilst drinking your morning cuppa.

A different perspective

None of us had received signal since we were last in Guerrero Negro, so we all agreed to head into town for laundry, groceries, WiFi.

As we had already done our laundry on the last visit, we stocked up our water and met up with David and Katy at a restaurant. Apparently the WiFi was terrible, so we just used our phone signal to check in with family and friends. As it turned out, our ‘roam further’ package with EE was really starting to be a good decision. Well, at least when we were in spot that received signal.

With our chores done, we made a group decision to make a big of a detour to Bahía Asunción. We both had points saved here on our GoogleMaps, but none of us actually knew what was there. As we weren’t exactly in a rush, we made tracks in a small convoy. The drive to Bahía Asunción was a couple of hours, so we target a spot down a dirt road just off the highway, next to a giant salt flat.

As we arrived at night, there wasn’t much to see in the way of landscape, but it was a clear night and so the sky was lit up with hundreds of dazzling stars. Definitely not a sight we were used to seeing back in Birmingham.

We joined David and Katy in their van for a few drinks. We hadn’t spent much time Socialising with them since the fire when we first met them. It was nice to be able to spend a bit of time on journey, sharing our experiences with other people. We had made many friends in the VW community during our time in America, and it seemed we weren’t done befriending other VW owners, even if their’s was a VW/Toyota hybrid.

As we were parked in the middle of nowhere, we also felt comfortable letting Aimee out after dark to enjoy a bit of freedom. We had noticed that she was always more restless in the early hours if she hadn’t been given time to burn off her crazy kitten energy.

In the morning, we took some time to appreciate the strange beauty of the salt flats. Which when the sunlight caught them at just the right angle, sparkled, like a sea of glittering diamonds.

Someone pass me the salt

Well rested, we hit the road again, working our way to the town of Asunción. Not sure what we would find when we arrived there.

The drive took a little over an hour, and our arrival seemed to cause quite a stir with the locals. I don’t suppose they get many classic VWs with English plates rock up with a monstrous sounding Subaru engine!

We were all craving tacos and after a quick search on iOverlander, we realised that we only had two choices in town for food and one of them was not open yet.

As we made our way to Loncheria Mary, we passed an old VW Beetle, which was stuck in a sand bank. The driver seemed very relaxed as locals tried to free him, waving enthusiastically as we passed.

Pulling up to the restaurant, we were all disappointed to find that it looked closed. But just as we were about to get our phones out to search for other options, a kid in a trucker hat approached and asked if we wanted to come inside.

Deri, the owners son

As it turned out, his mother owned the restaurant, and was busy preparing food, he was happy to let us use the WiFi however and served us some cold beverages, which gave us a chance to update our social media. Our new friends had introduced us to an app called ‘Polarsteps’, an app which tracked and recorded your journey. Annoyed that we hadn’t heard about the app sooner, I had spent the last couple of days, manually inputting out journey from New York. I had almost completed it by this point, and so all that was really left was to publish it, so that friends and family could follow our illogical path across the States.

We learned that the owners son was called Deri, and he was very attentive to our happiness. First bringing us out two portions of nachos to nibble on. After asking us whether we liked muscles (half of the group didn’t), he later returned with four bowls of clam broth, specially made by his mother.

I ate away merrily, whilst the others picked at the bits they found enjoyable, Willow scouping the unpleasant items into my bowl. We knew he would try and charge us for the food, but there was something about his hospitality, which made it hard to be angry with him.

Eventually, we all grew tired of being glued to our devices, and paid up (He charged us for the nachos AND the broth). Ruby freeing Ruby from the sandbank that we had apparently gotten ourselves stuck in, we decided to head back to the main highway south, taking a detour down the coastal road.

There were warnings on iOverlander stating that the road was 80km+ of pure washboard roads, but there were more options for camp spots, so we decided to risk it.

The road off the main road quickly became unbearable, so we pulled over to deflate the tyres, which thankfully improved the drive experience, although not by much.

Our first of two camp spots before hitting the next town of Punta Abreojos, was called Punta San Hipolito, and was just under two hours away on our SatNav.

The drive down the dirt road was tough, and we made slow progress, barely able to drive about 15kmph. But we were not prepared to be beaten by a sand road.

Almost at our spot for the night, we passed through a small village. It was hard to imagine that the locals had to pass this road on a daily basis. They must be bonkers!

Punta San Hipolito was a small spot, off a separate track, which lead right down to the sea front. The weather, which had been overcast, had cleared slightly, and so we were able to park up and relax, letting our bones recover from the relentless vibrations they had just had to the endure.

Worth the drive

We parked between some sand dunes and so had some shelter from any potential wind which might try to disturb us in the night.

With nighttime fast approaching, we had a quick stroll around the beach, me searching for a glimmer of fresh sea food, whilst Willow continued on her quest to fill Ruby with unnecessary sea shells.

We scanned the shore again the next morning. There was still only lobster carcasses on the beach, but we did spot a small octopus! However, neither of us fancied trying to catch it, let alone try to cook it. Willow was having far more luck with her shell collecting, and I caught her sneakily trying to fit her new finds underneath the passenger chair.

“Don’t you think you have enough now?” I asked her, knowing full well what her response would be.

“You can never have too many shell!” She offered in her defence.

I started to worry that at some point, I would be left on the side of the road, to make room for her excessive shell collection.

Eventually, we decided to move on to our second camp spot before hitting Punta Abreojo. David and Katy wanted to try driving further along the sea front, Hopi g to save time not having to back track onto the washboard road.

Nervously, we followed behind, knowing we did not have the luxury of 4×4, and within minutes, David stopped and jumped out of his van to warn us… But it was too late!

We knew the minute we stopped, that the sand was too deep. Throwing the van in reverse, Willow desperately tried to edge Ruby back, but to no prevail. We were stuck for the first time since arriving in Baja. An experience that almost every visitor most likely experiences during there time here.

1…2…3…PUSH

After a bit of digging, we were fortunately able to get Ruby moving again, and decided to retreat back the way we had come. Leaving David and Katy to plough on ahead in their properly equipped off-roading vehicle. Agreeing to either meet them back on the road, or at the next spot.

After missing the track back onto the main track, we had to backtrack a little further before we could rejoin the road. But eventually, we started heading back in the right direction, on the horrendous washboard track once more.

About twenty minutes down the road, we hit another small village and passed round the few streets looking for a grocery or taco store. Finding neither. We continued making our way towards Bahía San Hipolito, once again slowly creeping along the washboard.

Eventually, David and Katy caught up with us, they had waited for us on the main road incase we had gotten ourselves stuck again. They were now driving along the side of the road, on a track, which some locals must have made the avoid the atrocious main track.

Joining them, we started to make better progress, and quickly reached a section on the journey which was marked as ‘hard to pass’ on iOverlander.

Bad weather has seemed to washed away most of the road, but we were able to creep over the rocky remains that were left by the heavy rainfall.

With this section complete, it was a fairly straightforward drive to the camp spot. A piece of land, hidden behind sand dunes, next to a gorgeous beach front.

Hiding from the wind

Not fancying getting stuck again, we all parked behind the dunes, and set about making a camp for the night. I grabbed some rocks to make a fire pit and then set off in search of fire wood, finding a large collection of wood ten minutes from the camp.

David and Katy joined me, just as I had gathered a large collection of drift wood and pallets. To make the trip back simpler, we built a stretcher and attempted to carry it back in one go. Walking along a dried up arroyo.

With a fire assembled, we sat outside enjoying our dinner in the warmth of the fire. The temperature had dropped massively, so the warmth was a comforting relief in the cold night air.

We still had one last push in the morning, to reach Punta Abreojo. And so geared ourselves up for one final drive down the demoralising dirt road. It was roughly 12km to the next big town, La Bocana, which hopefully would provide us with better roads from that point on.

Following David’s lead, we made our way carefully along the washboard one last time, quickly reaching a fork in the road, where it seemed locals had started their own route off of the main track.

After a shrug of the shoulders from David, we decided to take of chances with the new track, deciding that it couldn’t be much worse than the main one. Which it wasn’t. It was actually a lot more pleasurable, with is only hitting one spot, a dried up river, where one of us had to get out and check that we didn’t smash our oil sump again. We didn’t! But we did dig the front of our bumper through the sand as we climbed back up.

Easy does it

From here the last our the dirt road improved massively, and we were even able to drive close to 30kmph! Winding down the windows to enjoy the cold breeze.

Finally some better road

Soon enough, we let out a sigh of relief as we hit La Bocana, and finally rejoined some tarmacked road. We completed the drive to Punta Abreojo in luxury compared to the rest of the drive. What a novel idea smooth roads are!

As we failed to get fish tacos in Bahía Asunción, we all had one thing on our minds as we arrived in Punta Abreojo. With our petrol tanks refilled, we set off to the first taco store we could find on iOverlander… It was closed!

We then drove to the next nearest taco store… Closed as well!

Panic starting to sink in, we drove to a restaurant, banking on them selling cheap quality fish tacos. Gratefully, they were open. And better yet, they had cheap fish tacos on the menus. All of a sudden, our perilous drive felt justified.

As our food arrived, we tucked in to what was the tastiest fish tacos we had tried during our time in Mexico. Although, we’ll never know if the journey had added that extra flavour.

Made it all worthwhile

With petrol and food located, we stopped off at a water point and then head to our next camp spot. We deliberated driving further, but decided on a spot ten minutes from the town. That way we could stop by for more tacos the next day if we suffered withdrawal symptoms.

We once again had a delightful spot, right next to the sea. Unlike our previous few nights, there were a few other campers here and there was a sign prohibiting people from collecting sea food.

Glad to have made it past the washboard

“It doesn’t say I can’t collect shells.” Willow pointed out enthusiastically. Not willing to be obstructed from her new mission in life.

A semi-permanent camper informed us that sea food poaching is prohibited, as lobster traps often wash up on the shore, and the locals are funny about you stealing their profit.

Fairly understandable, but it wouldn’t stop scouring the beach in the morning in hope of making a delicious lobster brunch!