Sometime back in civilisation

After having such a great time the night before, it felt heart-wrenching to have to leave due to a lack of water, food and booze. David and Katy needed supplies as well, so we all said goodbye to Pete and Julie, hoping that our paths would cross as we all weaved our way down to the south coast. We almost made it back to the main track, but hit a deep section of sand on the beach, reuniting us with our new British friends sooner than we’d hoped.

A quick push later and we were moving again, following the same track we came in on a couple of days ago, past the grand expensive house. Soon we were back in the main highway heading to Mulegé, which was only forty five minutes from where we were parked.

We pulled up to the town and drove under an archway, leading to the main town centre. We all desperately needed to do some laundry, and so we made the launderette our first destination. Pulling up to find it shut. In our haste to leave, we forgot that it was Sunday, and so all of the launderettes were closed for the day. Unable to clean our stinky pants, we drove round the corner to see if the water point was open. It wasn’t.

Heading into town

Getting a bit desperately, we chance our luck on the other water filling point, delighted to find a portly gentleman sat in the window. At least that was one useful job complete.

Water refilled, we stopped off at the local craft beer bar. Yes… An actual bar dedicated to craft beer. We knew that we were definitely in a proper ‘Gringo’ town!

David and Katy went off to see if they could top up their Mexican sim card, so we got in some beers and called home, to check in with our parents. It seemed that we had passed the signal blackspot we had hit between El Rosario and Guerrero Negro. The bar had a Sunday special. A beer and a slice of Pizza for $150pesos. So we felt it would be rude not to take them up on the offer. David and Katy eventually joined us and ordered themselves a whole pizza and some soft drinks. In my mind, I tried to weigh up who was being more sensible. Us for only having a slice of pizza, but with a pint, or them for devouring an entire pizza but with soft drinks. After hearing them grumble about all the excess cheese on their pizza, I knew we had made the wrong choice. We should have bought a pint and a whole pizza. Maybe on our way back up.

My kind of Sunday

With the day slipping away, we made our way to the beach, stopping off for some groceries on the way. We pulled up to row of palapas, just next to the lighthouse. We had concerns about the spot, as the had been comments about loud noise in the spot, and for some unknown reason, Sunday seemed to be the locals day to party in Mexico. Parked between to sporty looking cars, we decided to move away from the palapas, pulling up next to a pickup truck blaring out mariachi music. A peaceful night’s sleep was not looking promising!

Not long after, a camper pulled up and a couple from Québec came over to speak to me. They had been camping across the bay for the past couple of weeks and they came to warn us about the local parties which were about to commence. They informed us that it was calm across the bay, and that we would be free of the neverending local music. A quick discussion later, and we were all on the move to the vacant area across the water.

Pulling into the beach, we saw a couple of other campers who had already made the bay their home. Wanting a bit of privacy, we followed behind David and Katy as they drove further down the beach, hoping that they would locate any potential problems. As we followed behind, I could feel the rear wheels losing traction, just as they had previously when we got stuck. Suddenly, our friends stopped abruptly and dived out their van waving their hands. It was too late!

As soon as we stopped, we knew we were not moving again. Ruby had already succumbed to the depths of the sandy track we were resting upon. At least we had our friends with their 4×4 right?

There was no way we were pushing Ruby free this time, so we grabbed our tow rope out of the cupboard. By this point, the gentleman from Québec had joined us.

“You were never going to make it down there!” Was his verdict on the situation.

Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t very helpful in that moment. He did go fetch his actual tow rope, which was far more useful than the rope we had acquired when go stuck on the Isle of Skye.

With the rope attached to both vehicles, David attempted to pull us out. His van desperately trying to seek some traction on the fine sand we we’re currently stuck in. It clearly wasn’t going anywhere, so he attempted to pull us backwards, managing to get us halfway towards solid ground, before we both lost traction once again.

Whoops

“I wouldn’t have gone that way.” Quipped the Canadian once more. Once again not helping the situation.

Running out of options, David dragged us closer to the water, onto wetter compressed sand. He then positioned his van behind Ruby one last time, and dragged us up the far embankment onto solid ground.

“So, here’s good!” We all agreed.

Fearing getting stuck elsewhere, we parked where we were, no one would be driving down the road late at night on a Sunday.

We escaped the Sunday beach party

As we settled down for the night, we watched as car after car arrived across the bay. Occasionally, when the wind blew in the right direction, we could hear the faint mumblings of mariachi music. Validating us moving in the first place.

Exhausted from freeing the van, we threw together something quick to eat and enjoyed a quieter evening than the night before.

On Monday morning, we drove back to the launderette in Mulegé, thankfully it was open, so we could finally wash our dirt laundry. Clean underwear was becoming very sparse by that point. Whilst the clothes were in the machine, Willow downloaded some episodes of Doc Martin, an English drama that she was keen for me to watch. I wandered down the road and picked up a few groceries and then used the launderettes WiFi to upload some blogs. I had come to Baja with the hopes of catching up with events, but all our recent socialising had set me further back than when we arrived.

With the laundry completed, we scouted out a local taco stand, five minutes down the road and went for some lunch. Sampling more delicious tacos. I changed things up a bit and went for shrimp tacos for a change, and was pleasantly surprised by how succulent they were. They sure beat shop bought, frozen shrimp hands down.

The plan was to continue heading south, aiming to drive around Bahia Conceptión, we had picked a spot to the south of the bay, as it seemed all other points had become popular destinations with the ‘Snowbirds’, and now required you to pay a fee for the privilege to park there.

We followed the highway, as it ducked and dived around the bay, at time ascending up through the surrounding cliffs, to be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the beaches down below. All of which were packed with monsterous RVs, most accompanied by all sorts of additional off-roading vehicles. Clearly the people down below had a bit more cash to splash.

Our free spot, right of the south of the bay was accessed behind a barbed wire fence, pulling up alongside it, I jumped out and carefully opened up, from there, we just had to navigate a short but steep and uneven track, which had been weathered away by rainstorms long ago. Since our previous off-roading experience, we made sure that we were extra careful when maneuvering tricky road situations. Safety down, we scouted out a shelter spot, hidden behind some sand dunes. The weather had been some what temperamental of late, and once again the coast was being beaten by strong winds. Neither of us fancied sleeping on the rock’n’roll bed, so we were grateful to find another spot which sheltered us from the worst parts.

Shortly after, we were joined by David and Katy, who had gone off in search of a Telcel shop after Joe’s Taco shack.

Bahía Concepción

We went for a brief walked along the shore, admiring the drift wood and puffer fish carcasses which had washed up in the strong tides. With not much left of the day, we settled down once again. We were now all desperate to reach the southern part of Baja, so we could once again find a spot to park up at for more than an evening. We were now pretty close, and would just have to get past Loreto in the morning.

Loreto was the biggest town we had arrived at, since we drove through Ensenada on our first day in Baja. Big town’s don’t really appeal to me. I tend to find them overly touristy and as a result, drives tend to be higher than the small towns. Living in Ruby, we are limited on storage space, so we’re not really in a position to buy souvenirs or clothing, which are some of the main reasons for visiting. What Loreto did offer us however, was a decent sized supermarket. An opportunity to stock up on items such as yeast, cat litter and any other items that we couldn’t find in small corner shops.

Pulling into the car park, we were approached by a lady who asked if we wanted Ruby cleaned. We had completed a couple of hours of Spanish lessons on the drive, so I felt confident I could tell her it wasn’t necessary.

“No gracias. No lo necesito.”

Ruby definitely needed cleaning but first of all, we preferred her to look ‘scruffy’, that would hopefully deter potential thiefs. Secondly, the roads are so dusty, she would mostly likely be filthy again by the time we parked up in the evening. Lastly, we tight bastards and would have do it ourselves to save ourselves some money.

It felt strange to be in a large, air conditioned store once again and upon entering, you could tell Loreto must have a large proportion of Americans and Canadians living in town. The store was packed with American groceries, and as a result, the store was also packed with Americans.

The store was definitely better stocked than what we had become accustomed to, but as much as I hate to say it, it wasn’t as diverse as Walmart. Finding most items on our list of hard to find items, we paid and headed back Ruby.

As it turned out, the car park attendant had completely ignored my remarks and so we returned to find a guy, wiping away at Ruby with a cloth. As you can imagine, not doing the best of jobs. It would take a lot more than a bucket of water and a cloth to clean weeks worth of dust off of her.

Smiling at the random man, we packed our shopping away and returned the trolly. Half tempted to just drive away, we decided that Ruby did look slightly better and so offered the guy $50pesos. About £1.75.

Another town meant more taco opportunities. David and Katy had found a cheap taco stand on iOverlander and so we arranged to meet them after we’d refilled our water.

As it turned out, the taco stand was incredibly cheap. Unfortunately, it only sold mixed meat tacos, so we located a vegan and vegetarian shop five minutes down the road. We said goodbye to our friends and hoped to meet up at our next spot later.

Although still windy, it was incredibly warm and we were mainly protected from the harsh winds by the buildings. As we walked to the restaurant, we passed a house with workshop full of bay windows and beetles. Good to know incase we suffered any problems nearby.

As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by two overly enthusiastic English speaking Mexicans. Once seated, we were brought a menu, and then stared at as we contemplated what we would eat. The restaurant was very hipster, with images promoting veganism on one wall, and messages (presumably from guests) on another, praising the vegan lifestyle. It was a bit intense for my liking, but it was unusual for us to have a whole menu of options to choose from, and so we persevered.

Twenty minutes later, two vegan burritos and two smoothies we delivered to our table. Normally we like to order two different plates and then share them between ourselves, however that wasn’t really practical with burritos!

Sneaky Devil fruit

The food was clearly all freshly prepared and had a zingy taste to it from some fruit which I was unable to identify. Almost finished, I complemented to guy who had prepared the meal and enquired about the fruit.

“Oh, it’s pineapple.” He replied.

His response made me physically sick. Anyone who knows me well, will know that I believe pineapple to be the devil’s fruit and that eating it will kill you! This stems from a bad childhood experience, which has haunted me ever since. And here I was, not only eating it, but enjoying it!

“I did suspect it was pineapple, but I didn’t want to say anything.” Willow informed me.

The mind can often work in illogical ways. I knew I had just been enjoying my burrito, but upon hearing it was pineapple, I was instantly transformed into that fussy ten year old child who’d had the bad experience with pineapple, and all of a sudden, it no longer seemed appealing to me. I wasn’t going to let my mindset ruin the last of my meal though, and so finished off the last couple of mouthfuls, pineapple included. Surprisingly, I didn’t die at the end of the meal, but I wasn’t quite prepared to alter my perception of pineapple just yet.

Not happy

Our bills was a lot less than it should have been, so I wasn’t surprised when one of the guys came charging out of the store after us. As well as the burritos, we shared a vegan hot dog and he forgot to charge us for it. After giving him some more, we still felt as if he undercharged us, possibly forgetting the smoothies we also had. But, he didn’t return again, and so we walked back round to the van to check on Aimee.

Before leaving Loreto, we walked down to the sea front, observing all of the building work that was currently happening in the area. The town was full of modern buildings, some completed, the majority still being erected. We had heard that Cabo and La Paz had been overrun with people north of the border and clearly Loreto was on it’s way to being conquered next. Eventually succumbing to the modern world, with local taco shacks being replaced by global corporations such as McDonald’s and Burger King. Deep down I prayed that Baja could hold onto it’s identify, because part of it’s charm had been it’s simplistic originality.

Loreto Harbour
The Gringos are moving into town
Modern architecture

Done exploring, we left the town behind us and headed for a beach spot thirty minutes away, at Juancalito Beach. We pulled into a magnificent bay, driving pretty much onto the beach. At the far end, we spotted some Palapas and carefully drove down, assessing how accessible they were.

For the most part, we felt like we could make it, but without our safety net of David and Katy, we thought that it would be better not to risk it. Painful memories of Mulegé fresh in our minds.

After finding a suitable place to park, we ventured back down the beach on foot. Checking out the other campers that were parked up. Noticing a particularly interesting one, which resembled a garden shed on the back of a pickup truck. It had Alaskan plates, so clearly it was sturdier than it looked.

Juancalito Beach

Fed up of continuously driving, we returned to Ruby and started researching small walks or hikes that we could do whilst in the area. We were near a small mountainous range and the idea of strenuous hike really appealed to us at that point.

Locating a small trail hike, ten minutes down the road, I drifted to sleep that night, dreaming about previous walks. Standing above the clouds, watching the world pass below me. The walk in the morning wouldn’t compare to those walks, but it sure would beat endless driving.

Settling down for the night