White knuckles & a shake down: Loreto to Todos Santos
December 18, 2014
(by paula. photos by John)
Today marks one month on the road for us. It seems like we just left; yet we have seen so much. After Playa Coco, we spent 3 nights in Loreto at the Riviera Del Mar campground. It was a perfect place in town to camp. I had been on a kayaking trip out of Loreto 15 years ago and while it has grown, it is still a quaint overgrown fishing town with good restaurants and a clean, pretty waterfront. We did laundry, shopped for groceries and spent practically a whole day online. We are slowly getting into a groove living on the road. Getting water has been relatively simple at the Agua Purificada dispensaries, once we learned how to ask for a long hose. We aren’t sure why, but no matter how much it takes to fill the tank it always costs us 50 pesos, which is about $3. Fresh tortillas at the Tortillaria are .80 cents for 10 and they are delicious. We had 2 weeks of laundry done (including sheets and towels) all folded and ready the same day for $9. I’m sure things will get more challenging as we go farther south but we feel like we are figuring things out.
Riviera del Mar Campground - Jackie and Dino next to us were at Playa Coco too.
Mission in Loreto
Laundry - right across the street and same day. Wish we had this at home!
After Loreto we headed for a remote village on a little bay called Agua Verde. The road down to the village was a little slice of hell for me. It was a narrow, winding dirt road with a drop off of about 1,200 feet down the canyon. I hate these roads. I feel panicky, can’t breathe and have to have a death grip on the door handle. There are several small shrines along the road for the people who have died making this journey. So, let’s be serious…there is SOME cause for concern. John has no problem on these roads - navigating our big (top heavy) rig around tight corners where the road in front of us seems to disappear. It took two and half hours to get down to the bottom but the canyon and bay views were spectacular. What I saw of it when I opened my eyes anyway. The bay sits at the base of the Sierra la Giganta Mountains, with deep blue waters and sandy beaches along the coast. The beach we ended up on was just ok, but it was late so we camped for only one night and made our way back out of the canyon in the morning. I kept my eyes closed the entire climb out until we rounded a corner and saw a family at one of the shrines. As we came up to them, they asked for water so we stopped and filled a big bottle for them. There were three adults, four kids and a little baby sleeping in the truck bed. The thought of having to travel that road with small children and no water made us happy we could help. Once we hit tarmac, I let go of my death grip. I just hope I’m ready for the next one.
The road takes us through these mountains
Finally at the bottom
Agua Verde Beach - all by ourselves
Agua Verde Beach
Ocean creature traps
Stars at night on Agua Verde
Help with agua at the shrine on Agua Verde road
From Agua Verde we headed south, and in a farming town called Ciudad Constitución a motorcycle cop stopped us. He had been following right behind us and as soon as we made a right turn he pulled us over. He was a big round guy on a small motorbike with a red light at the end of a long thin pole on the back. The full package looked like a clown bike from the circus. He told us we had made an infraction and we had to pay right there or it would be more money at the station . We knew from reading other blogs that is illegal to make us pay on the spot so we asked him over and over to take us to the station and we would pay there. He spoke no English and we only understood every 10th word he said. Finally, he realized he wasn’t getting money out of us on the street so he said we could go. And just before we pulled away he asked for a soda or water. We didn’t have anything in the truck cab but John offered up some nuts sitting on the dash. That gave him a big laugh and then he waved us on. Victory! We survived our first Mexican police shake down. We heard from several other travelers the same story of being pulled over in these towns. It is certainly a shift for us to be the subject of random traffic stops as we are now the minority.
We cruised into La Paz for one night to get our ferry to the mainland sorted. We now have our temporary vehicle import permit and ferry tickets for the 6th of January to Mazatlan.
Street tacos for lunch in La Paz
From there we headed to Todos Santos and are camped at the Pescadero Surf Camp. It’s not really set up for a rig like ours but they found us a spot and we have been here for four days. Todos Santos is a cool little artsy town with good surf, restaurants, and shops. We did a little surfing yesterday and yoga today. There isn’t much reason to leave so we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.
Pescadero Surf Camp
Pescadero Surf Camp...ocean on the horizon
This one too.
Todos Santos Bike Ride
Good day on the waves
John's surf instructors
Packing up after a great day at the beach
We have also met some great people. We have time now to chat and get to know people. At home, we frequently felt there wasn’t time to stop and talk. Not with our neighbors on our street or running into friends in town. Not until we quit our jobs did I feel there was more than 5 minutes where I wasn’t looking at my watch and saying I had to run. We find that we frequently don’t get on the road early in the mornings because we end up chatting with our camp neighbors and making new friends with interesting stories. In Playa Coco we met Jamie Ramsay (Jamiesrunning.com) a Brit who is running from Vancouver to Argentina. Averaging a marathon a day. In Loreto, we spent an afternoon and dinner with Heather and Chris (www.crazyguyonabike.com), grandparents in their 60’s who are biking from British Columbia to Nicaragua. They are averaging 60-80 kilometers a day. All on these crazy roads. In La Paz, we woke up to find the exact same rig as ours parked next to us with Bob and Kim (www.1RdTrip.com) inside. They are also on their way down to South America and we hope to run into them again. Yesterday, we hung out at the beach talking waves all day with our new surfer friends, Shane and Dakota.
Jamie - crazy, amazing running dude.
Heather & Chris. Poor Chris was sick :( ...but we really hope to see them again on their bike ride south.
Our new surf buddies, Shane and Dakota
Travel opens up so many stories from people who would otherwise never come into your life. And we are richer for the experience.