A few minor projects

In the interests of keeping ourselves entertained, we spent the next month in our desert camp spot using our time to complete niggly little jobs on Ruby we had never had time to do. The list of these was pretty long, and the first thing we decided we should do was to put in an air vent for the fridge. The instructions for the installation of the fridge were pretty clear, adequate ventilation was required and we had not only got none, but had also insulated behind the compressor. Maybe not the best move. We had noticed that it got pretty hot around the fridge, to the point we had moved the gas cans out of the neighbouring cupboard to avoid any potential explosions.

We had never really intended to have so much hot weather, we thought we would have been in Canada long ago, thousands of miles further north and certainly not experiencing above 40 degree temperatures this far south. It was only going to get hotter too, so in order to keep our rather expensive fridge happy we decided to take some action.

I never fitted a vent as I like Ruby’s aesthetic as it is. You can’t really tell she is a camper as such, the sides are pretty clean and not covered in vents and power sockets which is nice. however, functionality is more important than looks and so I ordered a stainless steel vent of amazon to install on the side. 

It didn’t take long to arrive, and soon enough we had the toilet and fridge out and had removed all the insulation behind the fridge. It wasn’t a long job to cut a hole in the side, although it was a little scary to chop a hole in the side of the van.

Lee checks the test fit from the inside.

Before long we had our new air vent riveted in place, and I was pretty happy with the overall look. Sure, it’s not as nice as not having it, but it looks pretty clean and tidy. The fridge was also a lot happier and you could feel the hot air being pumped out the side. Maybe we did that just in time.

We were not the only ones going crazy with online orders. Hanno and Kiki had also got their fair share of Amazon orders on the go. While in La Paz to buy the frame for our solar panel, Hanno had picked up his newest order. A beer brewing kit. Still at a time where beer was not available to buy, he had decided to brew his own. Ironically enough, a few days later Tecate started appearing on the shelves of the local shops and before long beer was back. It’s not the same as making your own though, and the desert garage expanded to encompass a desert brewery. 

A few weeks rolled by, I spent a lot of time making use of access to a good toolkit and systematically tried to make our camper as good as it could be. Silly little things got sorted, loose screws and fixings. We rearranged our cupboards and managed to find a permanent home for the transformer, I hooked up a permanent solution for our fan as the nights were starting to get quite warm and we also made ourselves an awning out of a tarpaulin and some copper piping to give some shade.

A million other little jobs filled the spaces in-between. We wrote our blogs, tried to catch up on our YouTube channel and kept learning Spanish. Days blurred into one until the next notable point of interest arrived, Hanno’s birthday.

Now the third member of our group to enjoy his birthday in covid quarantine, it was a fairly relaxed affair. Kiki made a rather good cake, with some cream that was not willing to play ball in the desert heat. Despite looking a little melty it tasted fantastic.

We had a pleasant evening that turned in a very late night filled with alcohol, music and campfires. Soon the final member of our group would also have their birthday and we would have all had a rather different experience than the normal.

Aimee and Chico had gone from being indifferent to each other to becoming quite inseparable. The played together and slept together in one of our vans. It was nice to see them so close, and they were a constant source of entertainment as they chased each other through the campsite and wrestled on the floor. 

This brings us to July, the first of which is Canada Day. Not ones to miss a party, Dane and Sabrina invited around several guests and we joined them. It was a kind of potluck thing, with several people. Again it had the pleasant atmosphere of a normal gathering, although it wasn’t too long before most people had said their goodbyes and headed back down the lumpy route to town.

Poncho tried to convince me to reassemble the remains of his car engine that was in Pescadero, before disappearing for the remainder of the night. Dane and Sabrina enjoyed their celebrations to the point where I turned around and Dane was outside on the floor spooning on of their seven dogs. Clearly they were having a good evening! 

Taking this as our cue to leave, we headed back down the hill where we spotted Poncho who appeared to have passed out in the back of Randy’s truck. Mystery solved. 

Despite the fact that living on the ranch was infinitely more enjoyable than living in the casita in town, it was still beginning to wear a little thin by this point. We had now been here for 6 weeks and we were all missing the sea. The weather was getting noticeably hotter and I would have loved to be able to cool off in the ocean again. We were not the only ones. As Kiki’s birthday approached, we decided it was time for a day trip to the seaside. The beaches had been open for a few weeks now and we still hadn’t been, it was the perfect excuse.

A few days prior to this we were in town, and dropped into the brewery to fill up our growlers. It had been announced the day before that the beaches in La Paz had been closed again due to a spike in the number of cases. We had hoped that it meant specifically the beaches in La Paz they city rather than La Paz the municipality, but a conversation with Liz confirmed this was not the case. They had shut the area down again, just a few days prior to our planned beach trip. Typical. Still, it appeared that only La Paz was shut, with the municipality of Cabo still open. The border between the two districts is only around half an hour south of us, and so we found a likely looking beach and headed out anyway. At least if we got thrown out we had somewhere to go, unlike normal.

As we drove past Cerritos, the red and blue lights of the police at the beach could be seen from the road and we headed on, hoping we would be able to access our chosen beach. A short dirt track leads off the main road and down to a sizeable parking area on the beach. We were not the only ones by any stretch, it seems several other people had the same idea. It was Sunday after all, Mexican funday. Bruno pulled up easily on the side, while Ruby took a run up at the soft sand and just about made it. No doubt we would need a push to get out of there. 

It was lovely to be back at the coast. We sat outside the campers and ate birthday cheesecake, while the cats enjoyed the shade. Aimee wasn’t too bothered about being back on her lead again, and as ever, you didn’t need to worry about Chico going anywhere. 

The sea on this side of the peninsula can be pretty violent. The beaches shelve steeply with rocks and strong currents. There are not the best for swimming, or certainly not relaxing swimming anyway. I stood in the shallows and got repeatedly pushed off my feet by the crashing swell, while it wasn’t really swimming it was certainly nice to have the cool water close by and enjoy the sea breeze. It was the perfect day to read a book and enjoy the sun. Until an ominous popping noise was heard from the front of the van. 

It turns out that a bottle of beer we had in the front had exploded in the hot sun. conveniently the bottle had been in the cupholder at the front, which is part of the box where we keep all our electronics and also all our important documents. Now writing this in hindsight, maybe this is a design flaw but normally it’s not a problem. It definitely was a problem now though. Porter covered everything. We took everything out and took the cushions down to the sea for a wash. the projector let out a nice trail of dark brown liquid as we took it out of it’s case, hopefully it would be ok. We were halfway through watching Orphan Black at the campsite and that would really be a bummer. With everything cleaned and drying, I went back to my book. 

Soon enough, the beach began to clear out and we were faced with a decision. Should we attempt to camp for the night or should we head back to the ranch? It had been a long time since we had stayed on the beach, and the lack of passing traffic and presence of a cooling sea breeze was a tempting prospect. We hadn’t really packed for an overnight stay, leaving chairs and tables behind at the ranch, but we had enough to get by so we decided to go for it. 

We wanted to move around a bit so we were less on the road and more on the beach. After burning the clutch somewhat trying to get out ourselves, several friendly Mexicans stopped and gave us a push. We weren’t the first people to get stuck, we had helped push a local out of the soft sand an hour or so ago. Now free, we drove around to a nice looking spot. The sand here was also very soft and it took some shoving and adjusting to try and park how we wanted. The sun had set and we ended up not exactly where we wanted, and very stuck. However, it was time to eat so we left the van where it was and started cooking up some fish tacos. I made guacamole and watched while Kiki set fire to their gas stove with a butane bottle that wasn’t quite fitted right. Clearly we were out of practice at this whole camping thing. Still, without further incident we managed to get food on the table, well the floor, and enjoyed some pretty good tacos. Aimee enjoyed a new place to explore, while Chico followed a little more tentatively, it was his first time at the beach. 

That night I anticipated a good sleep. I had got used to falling asleep to the crashing waves on Baja and we had gone to bed late enough that we were pretty sure no one was going to come and move us on. It turns out that in the long period away from the beach, I had gone back to not being used to the noise of the sea and in actual fact found it rather loud and difficult to sleep despite the nice cooler temperature down here at the beach. That’s a skill I will clearly have to relearn. Regardless, it was nice to have a change of scenery and a cooler night too. One day of ‘freedom’ is great in how enjoyable it is, but then it has the negative effect of making you remember just what you are missing. 

We headed back up to the ranch the next morning after there was a little miscommunication with Dane. We weren’t aware that they weren’t happy to leave the ranch unattended, and were a little freaked out that we had left without telling them. It took us a little longer than usual to leave, as we knew from the night before we were quite buried in the sand. Fortunately, Bruno was on hand to rescue us again.

By the time we got back to the ranch that afternoon, everything was still in order, so no harm done. Hopefully soon they would find a suitable person to watch it in their impending absence. The road was definitely calling us again, travel restrictions or not. 

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