One year on the road

Having left Cerritos on Friday, we wanted to be in town for Monday morning to check the post again and from there we would head to Nine Palms. Not wanting to go far for camping, we decided to try La Pastora again, now the only campers here we got a nice spot to the side of the beach. Hopefully we could stay here undisturbed for the weekend. 

On the way we stopped at the vet, Aimee had developed a lump a few days after the dog attack on Cerritos and we had taken her to the vet who proclaimed it to be an abscess. She had given us some medication and shaved the area. She told us it was going to explode. Great. Over the next few days we had watched it and thankfully it hadn’t done that yet. The vet asked for an update after three days and while it was smaller there was still quite a lump and we thought the vet should check it again. She refused to take her antibiotics, foaming at the mouth and spitting them out all over the floor. Trying to put it in food was no better. Perhaps why it was only slow going down. 

Chico also needed to go, as he had developed a bit of a limp. Hanno and Kiki made an appointment, and we tagged along. Chico had an infection, probably from getting something in his foot, no doubt one of those nasty spiky little balls that are everywhere. A few straightforward pills would sort him out. The vet didn’t mind us just turning up with no appointment again, she push and prodded the lump and tried to suck something out of it with a needle. Aimee was pretty tolerant. She said maybe it was a cyst, we were to keep an eye on it and let her know. No, she didn’t need any money for a quick consultation. Again it was a time when it was hard not to draw parallels between life here and life at home. There’s no way that would fly in England. Fortunately, it now seemed unlikely that it was going to burst as she had previously predicted which was rather a relief. I didn’t feel like having exploding cat pus all over the camper van. Aimee now just had a silly shaved patch all over again and the possibility of needing the lump removed it if didn’t go away. We weren’t too worried and neither was she.  

After stopping in town for a few bits, we headed to La Pastora. It is always odd coming back to this beach. The first time we were there we were surrounded by campers, it was the van life gathering after all and the beach was packed out. The second time, Coronavirus was a serious thing. The US border was closing in 24 hours and our little convoy of nearly a month split up for good. Now we were back again, the beach was empty. 

We spent a quiet night, enjoying the lack of passing traffic that we had been experiencing in the car park at Cerritos. We were alone. That was until the following night when another camper arrived. Parking up a little way from us he soo came over to say hello. Walking into our little spot the first thing he said was, “English plates!!” This was how we met Mike, a fellow Englishman, who had been on the road for 4 years now and his dog Biscuits. He stayed for much of the evening and it was nice to meet another person who was still out here travelling. He was also a useful source of information in regards to travelling further south, as he had already been there. 

That night we had blackened Dorado, which is probably one of my favourite fish and the following evening was Cochito fish tacos. Here you can buy a kilo of fish, and nice fish at that, for about £4. The only downside to whiling away the weekend here was that there isn’t much to do on the beach. You can’t really swim, the current and waves are very strong, and you can’t really surf either. We settled for a nice walk down the beach one evening to pass the time and cool off. The sun now back with a vengeance. It also happened that today was the 28th of August, marking our one year anniversary on the road.

On Monday morning we packed up early to make it to the post office again. We had stayed up a bit late the night before and bemoaned our lack of sleep that morning. The parcel’s not even going to be there, we moaned, this is going to be another pointless trip. Still we wanted to try, as with our sights still set on mainland it would be a shame to go and leave the illusive post behind, lost for good. 

At the office, Kiki was up first. She handed over her name and tracking number and much to everyones surprise, five minutes later was holding a parcel. It had arrived! I was happy for her, but couldn’t help being a little miserable myself. There was no way mine was here, they had probably lost it. The post office man had now been galvanised into action however. I think he realised that my parcel had been sent before Kiki’s so that it really should be here. He disappeared into the back room for a long time, while I stared morosely at the stacks of post. It was therefore much to my surprise when he returned with a parcel. I stared in shock, it was here! When had it arrived, we asked. Friday, he stated confidently, like he said. Somehow I couldn’t help but disbelieve him, I think it had been there for weeks buried in the back. It didn’t matter now though, we had it. We could finally leave for the mainland, nothing tied us here anymore. It was a great start to the day.

We also had a few more items of post to collect from the other office, the one that doesn’t open till 4pm. Now having rather a lot of time to kill, we set off to the nearest beach parking spot to wait. Staying in town ends up being an expensive thing to do, inevitably you buy some tacos, then you have an ice cream and then you want to round it all off with a beer. It’s not much in the scheme of things, but we really wanted to reign our budget it. We also wanted to be able to let the cats out as it was very hot. 

Dropping off the laundry en-route, we picked a spot on the map, and drove out there. It turned out to be next to some kind of sewage treatment plant with the beach still a walk away. It didn’t matter though, the cats could be let out safely and I spent some time making cinnamon rolls and kombucha. We also found a free water tap nearby and filled up our tanks. 

As it now might be the last time we are in Todos Santos, we decided to go to the brewery one last time. We said goodbyes to Liz, the owner who had always been nice to us throughout our time in the town. We got some last fancy beers and with some time still to kill until 4pm, headed to our new favourite bar. This serves Peyote, a favourite beer for the boys. After checking with the bartender, we brought Aimee in to avoid the hot camper. She promptly disappeared into the bar’s garden, just a lead sticking out of a bush. At least she was cool here though.

Soon enough it was time to get moving. Kiki and I went to the Papeleria to print out our Mexican proof of insurance in preparation for mainland. The boys went to get some more fish and pick up the post and laundry. We met up outside the post office, our package was there, but something Hanno had ordered wasn’t. Always a bit irritating. Still there wasn’t much we could do now, so we headed out of town to camp at the birthday beach for the night. Then, the next morning we would go to Cabo and do a big shop before heading towards Nine Palms. 

This plan was only slightly disrupted when it turned out that Hanno’s parcel had arrived late that evening. So instead of us both heading for Cabo the next morning, they waited to collect the post and we left. We planned to meet on El Tule that evening. After stocking up with most things we needed, we went for the beach. They had successfully collected their parcel and were not far behind.

Turning off the main road, aptly named ‘the tourist corridor’, we were back on El Tule. The beach had changed somewhat due to the hurricane, a clean up mission was underway and a lot of sand had been pushed up the shore, making it impossible to park were we had previously. Still, there was plenty of space, especially in the evening when everyone had left. We moved over and positioned ourselves on the side of the parking lot. A security car did the rounds, driving slowly past us. We waited to see if they would tell us to leave but everything was fine. They drove past regularly, but were unconcerned that we were clearly staying the night. 

The next day was a hot one. After some deliberating, we had renewed our Costco membership the previous day. We had got the membership with two cards and offered to sell one to Hanno and Kiki if they wanted. They thought it would be a good idea, so we went back to set up the account. The previous day, Ruby had developed a bit of a misfire, so while we waited at Costco I had a quick check of the engine bay. It turns out our oil leak into the spark plugs was back, the HT lead coming out dripping with oil, not that you can really tell from the photo. I gave it a quick clean in the car park, it would need more attention later.

When Bruno arrived, the boys went it to sort the membership. A while later Lee returned. Despite having gone shopping yesterday, we had bought more things. He also mentioned that there was a drone for sale in Costco, it looked like not only our budget was out the window that month. 

Hanno came back and after discussing it, he returned to get the drone. They had now finished their shopping, but we had a few things we couldn’t find that we needed. We said we’d meet at Nine Palms and headed off. After a few stops in San Jose, we had our water filled and I had managed to buy a new spray bottle, apparently an elusive item but very useful for extending how long your water lasts off grid. We headed for the coast road. Previously we had gone a different route, warned about the road being barred off. This time though we found a shorter detour, a much nicer drive on a paved road for the majority of the trip.

The desert around us was now a green jungle and it was a pretty drive next to the bright blu sea with the mountains of the Sierra de Laguna as a backdrop.

Before, we had driven an alternative route to avoid a supposed road closure, but this time our route was far easier and before too long we were on a familiar coast road, approaching Nine Palms.

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