Mexico, Part 13: Todos Santos, Sea Turtles and a Fellow Pinzgauer Nut!

Heading South One Last Time

After Pablo and Anna's presentation at La Ventanna we headed south one last time. We hadn't seen Todos Santos, and many people told us it was a cool, artsy town with a lot to offer. I'd had experiences in both the US, China, and Indonesia that led me to believe that "artsy" was a clever cover for tourist trap, but there was a turtle sanctuary nearby that Chelsea desperately wanted to visit, so we went. Who can say no to baby sea turtles? Surely, not us.

On our way we drove right past a beautiful mission in El Triunfo, and had to stop. There are many neglected missions off the beaten path in Baja, old Spanish missions well on their way to becoming earth again, but there also roadside churches that have been given new paint and longer lives, and while perhaps they lack some of the "authenticity" of a ruined structure that has been untouched for centuries, the maintained beauty is no less striking.

 The mission at El Triunfo.

The mission at El Triunfo.

 Inside the mission at El Triunfo, holes in the roof let speckled sunlight in.

Inside the mission at El Triunfo, holes in the roof let speckled sunlight in.

 Many of the living missions we have been to on this trip exhibit breathtaking wooden ceilings. 

Many of the living missions we have been to on this trip exhibit breathtaking wooden ceilings. 

 Outside the mission at El Triunfo in the afternoon light.

Outside the mission at El Triunfo in the afternoon light.

Todos Santos

We made it to Todos Santos later than we wanted to, but had a pretty good line on some free camping. We found a deserted beach a few miles out of town, crawled out onto the sand, and parked for the evening. In the morning we were greeted by gently crashing surf and limited visibility. We were back on the Pacific!

The turtle sanctuary releases baby turtles on a nightly basis during their hatching season, but all the releases happen at sunset, so we had a full day to play around in Todos Santos. The town is touristy - after all it is only a short drive from Cabo San Lucas - but not terribly so. There are very few overt tourist traps. Instead, the town offers a handful of legitimate art galleries, and some very nice handicraft stores. Foreign style bakeries and coffee shops are everywhere, but if you leave the main drag you'll find little taco stands offering killer carnitas and chicharrones and that's where the locals are. All in all it's a nice blend of tourist, gringo, and local. A cute, artsy town that has sold out a little to the white folks, but hasn't lost it's own flavor and identity.

 Morning fog moving in to envelop us.

Morning fog moving in to envelop us.

 Flags flying over the streets of Todos Santos.

Flags flying over the streets of Todos Santos.

 A magnificent bench in a coffee shop.

A magnificent bench in a coffee shop.

 Peering into one of the many open workshop galleries in Todos Santos.

Peering into one of the many open workshop galleries in Todos Santos.

 One of the many handicraft stores in the town center.

One of the many handicraft stores in the town center.

 Some beautiful street art in Todos Santos.

Some beautiful street art in Todos Santos.

Wanted: Turtles, Dead or Alive

After spending the day waiting for sunset, we headed out to the turtle sanctuary, which turned out to be a simple greenhouse structure surrounded by a chain link fence. Inside the green house are piles of sand, decorated with little signs bearing some vital statistics, and surrounded by their own little chain link fences. And under those piles of sand lay many, many hundreds of sea turtle eggs.

Turtle sanctuary volunteers collect the shells from sea turtle nests during the laying season, and re-bury them in the protected green house. Months later, when the eggs are hatching, the volunteers dig them up and release them into the sea. This practice keeps the eggs safe from a big threat: humans with trucks. A truck or possibly even a motorcycle bombing down the beach runs a big risk of crushing whole nests.

We were very excited to see the turtles, but, alas, the turtles were not excited to see us. The volunteers dug up about 100 empty turtle shells, the equivalent of 100 still-born turtles. According to the nice volunteers, this could have been because the mother's age (immature or too mature) or perhaps bad health. But, they told us there might be more eggs tomorrow. Most of the crowd was dejected, but we had the freedom of the road on our side, and decided to camp in the parking lot and wait for another day. We camped, spent another day wandering Todos Santos, found more cool arts and crafts, and ate more killer chicharones and waited for more sea turtles.

 The sea turtle sancutary was a simple affair.

The sea turtle sancutary was a simple affair.

 "See this here? It is a blue line. And this? This is another line, but it is red," said Christian, as he explained the graph.

"See this here? It is a blue line. And this? This is another line, but it is red," said Christian, as he explained the graph.

 The greenhouse structure acts as a large, passive incubator.

The greenhouse structure acts as a large, passive incubator.

 Volunteers removing eggs from the soft sand.

Volunteers removing eggs from the soft sand.

 Chelsea trying to get a good shot.

Chelsea trying to get a good shot.

 All of the infertile eggs were removed, incase some turtles were trapped at the bottom.

All of the infertile eggs were removed, incase some turtles were trapped at the bottom.

 Over 100 empty eggs.

Over 100 empty eggs.

 Our parking spot became a magnificent camping spot. The photo below is what I was capturing.

Our parking spot became a magnificent camping spot. The photo below is what I was capturing.

 A pano of Chelsea taking a photo of me, taking a pano of her! Magic!

A pano of Chelsea taking a photo of me, taking a pano of her! Magic!

 Some of the handicrafts being made in Todos Santos.

Some of the handicrafts being made in Todos Santos.

 Real exquisite stuff. 

Real exquisite stuff. 

 It was difficult to not take one home with us, but our home is so small!

It was difficult to not take one home with us, but our home is so small!

The next evening was a busy evening at the turtle sanctuary. Perhaps it was just the rhythm of the tourists, or maybe everyone who was let down the night before came back with more friends to check out the event, but either way there were many more people at the sanctuary. The volunteers do a great job of taking care of the baby turtles, and they told us a little about what was going on, but it was very apparent that public education was not their purpose.

A large bowl of maybe a dozen sea turtles was laid out on the sand, having been dug up earlier in the day. Small, white, American children immediately surrounded the bowl, and stayed there for over an hour, initially interested in the little aquatic dinosaurs that time forgot, but eventually losing interest and fighting over the use of their parent's iPhones. Out of a crowd of over 50 people, eight or so children dominated any viewing space of the turtles. Older children (as in, older than nine years of age), teenagers, honeymooners, parents, and the elderly were all kept away, and kept silent, by the very powerful hesitation to criticize both someone else's child and someone else's parenting.

Chelsea and I both really love seeing kids get out into nature and learn about the beauty of this world. As a raft guide and an educator, I understand the value of hands-on, experiential learning. Young children should have the first and best chance to see stuff like baby sea turtles, but not the only chance. Everyone wanted to be a part of the moment with the critters, and the moment stretched for over an hour, but because some of the parents (we're not talking about you, Danny and Kassie) refused to see the world past their children, a lot of folks were left out. Parents: your kids are the center of your world, but they are not the center of mine. Please be considerate.

Eventually we peeled away a few of the children from the bucket, and Chelsea got to take a few photos of the turtles, but we were already bitter and the magic of the experience was fairly well ruined. We watched the volunteers release the turtles into the sea, and it was actually kind of funny to see the little sea turtles get battered by the large surf, and struggle to get into the ocean. Actually, it wasn't funny to see that, it was scary and heartbreaking, but it was funny to see the cookie-cutter tourists realize that the world isn't perfect.

 Chels, getting pushed even further back by the crowd of mothers edging in to make sure their child gets a front-row seat.

Chels, getting pushed even further back by the crowd of mothers edging in to make sure their child gets a front-row seat.

 Sea turtles surrounded by an impenetrable wall of six year olds. The wall didn't move for over an hour.

Sea turtles surrounded by an impenetrable wall of six year olds. The wall didn't move for over an hour.

 I'm sure parents would have started glaring had Chels stayed too long in the "circle of children."

I'm sure parents would have started glaring had Chels stayed too long in the "circle of children."

 The critters were quite adorable.

The critters were quite adorable.

 Many people didn't have a chance to observe the beautiful creatures because a few parents wouldn't move their kids.

Many people didn't have a chance to observe the beautiful creatures because a few parents wouldn't move their kids.

 I WANT OUT.

I WANT OUT.

 Being a baby sea turtle is super tough.

Being a baby sea turtle is super tough.

 Releasing the turtles into the surf.

Releasing the turtles into the surf.

 Their journey was just begining. The dots are baby sea turtles.

Their journey was just begining. The dots are baby sea turtles.

 Getting ready to do battle with the surf.

Getting ready to do battle with the surf.

 Nothing beats watching baby turtles crawl into the sunset with 50+ other tourists!

Nothing beats watching baby turtles crawl into the sunset with 50+ other tourists!

During the two days that we spent killing time in Todos Santos and waiting for sunsets, we were parked on the side of a busy street, using the shade of a tree as a sort of "day camp" as we wandered the town. We spent a lot of time looking at art, window shopping, and writing blogs, but we also spent a lot of time sitting in or near Little Foot, and we had many, many visitors. One such visitor was Mr. John Brown, the owner and operator of Shut Up Frank's, a popular local restaurant and watering hole. He was very much unlike all the other gringos on the street that stopped and gawked at our rig. He knew all about Pinzgauers - he was once a Pinzgauer owner, just like us!

John Brown is one of those guys that found paradise at the right moment. Now he is a Todos Santos local with an amazing spot right on the beach at a secluded surf break. He made the right move at the right time, and he's got a thing for cars as well. At one point, there were 14 vehicles on the property, including a Pinzgauer 710M, the 4x4 soft top model. He showed us around his property, which is mostly mangrove and a few small houses. We "helped" him clear a few items out of his storage container, including a few Pinzgauer manuals and two aluminum water tanks that we're planning on bringing back to our friend Mauricio in Ensenada. Meeting John Brown was great, and I kept asking him, "Please, stop living my dream."

We left John Brown to keep living his dream on the beaches of Todos Santos, and chose a dirt road that looked like it would take us through a ghost town and out to the highway, instead of returning through town. It was all fun and games being back on a dirt road in nowhere, until our clutch started acting funky! More on that, next time.

 John Brown has a thing for cars.

John Brown has a thing for cars.

 Walking through the Mangroves to his house for a property tour.

Walking through the Mangroves to his house for a property tour.

 John is a successful guy with a simple beach house. No need for extravagance.

John is a successful guy with a simple beach house. No need for extravagance.

 Leading the way to the Storage Shed.

Leading the way to the Storage Shed.

 Pinz stuff! Gold!

Pinz stuff! Gold!

 Driving on a beautiful sandy road without much of a clutch! 

Driving on a beautiful sandy road without much of a clutch! 

Mexico, Part 12: Meeting up with Pablo and Anna in La Ventana

For a couple of weeks we had known that our friends Pablo and Anna (of Viajeros4x4x4 fame) were scheduled to give a presentation at a kiteboarding camp in La Ventana, a town 150 kilometers north of the San Jose del Cabo/East Cape area. We were a little torn about the option of tracking down the traveling Spaniards. On one hand, we really enjoy Pablo and Anna's company, we love hearing their stories, and time spent with them usually produces valuable lessons. On the other hand, we had already been to La Ventana, it wasn't on our planned route back, and we wanted to head to Todos Santos, which was on the opposite side of the peninsula. After some hemming and hawing, we decided to track down our favorite heroes and go support them at their talk.

We spent a night at a campground while en route to the presentation, and made time for a little Sunday morning Bible study before continuing on to our destination. Arriving in La Ventana, we still didn't know how we would find our heroes in the town, as it was mostly made of winding back roads and beach encampments that resembled refugee camps for surfers. We were parked, using some free wifi, when out of nowhere the bedraggled purr of a Japanese turbo diesel alerted us to their presence. We didn't need to find them, they found us! There are many benefits to owning a highly recognizable vehicle.

We followed Pablo and Anna to Baja Joe's, a multi-service, multi-purpose beach resort in downtown La Ventana. Baja Joe's is part hotel, part cafe, part bar, part kite school, and most importantly, part community meeting place. Pablo and Anna had met and subsequently been adopted by Kevin, a Canadian who blurs the lines of gringo and local, and he set up the lecture with the folks at Baja Joe's. Kevin's connection with Pablo and Anna? He's a Mitsubishi Delica owner as well. Remember what I said about highly recognizable rigs?

Pablo and Anna packed the open air cafe and bar with their lecture/talk/slideshow. They presented 17 years of excellent pictures, and talked the audience through the successes, failures, and adventures of their life on the road. Folks were engaged, and many questions were asked and they were all answered. We felt like the event was part lecture and part stage show, as Pablo and Anna have an amazing rapport, especially considering the talk was given in their second language. We assumed they had given talks very similar to this in the past, as a some of their dialogue was so quick it felt practiced, but they told us later that it was the first of this kind that they had delivered. I suppose their stage presence is a byproduct of travel, produced in the white-hot cruicble of the cockpit of La Cucuracha.

 Studying the Bible while Loulou considers her escape.

Studying the Bible while Loulou considers her escape.

  Did they see us yet? Maybe they didn't see us. Maybe we can still escape.

Did they see us yet? Maybe they didn't see us. Maybe we can still escape.

 Pablo and Anna preparing for their talk, and mostly waiting for the sun to go down so the projector could be useful.

Pablo and Anna preparing for their talk, and mostly waiting for the sun to go down so the projector could be useful.

 Pablo and Anna packed the house at Baja Joe's!

Pablo and Anna packed the house at Baja Joe's!

The next day we spent the morning looking for a mechanic's garage to perform an oil change on Little Foot. We had the filter, and we had the oil, and we had the wrenches, but we needed the bucket! We don't carry an oil pan with us because oil pans are dirty and oily, so we had to search one out, as well as some uninhabited dirt upon which to do the work. My timing on the oil change was a little early, but I had been unable to find an SAE30 oil in Baja, and Little Foot likes to burn and leak a little oil, so we were running low. Most stores carry 20w50, and Little Foot is happy with that, so a preemptive oil change let me relax knowing that surplus oil is available at nearly every corner store.

After the oil change we went for a walk on a short trail that boasted interpretive and educational signs describing the local desert flora. Rumor has it that the very American upgrades to the town, including this nature walk and the local maze of mountain biking trails, were products of generosity from Alice Walton, Sam Walton's daughter. Possible!

The nature/interpretive trail was fantastic. Usually the desert brush surrounding the large cacti is so dense and unforgiving that folks don't get a chance to walk through the dry forests. In La Ventana, the trail winds through a stark, beautiful grove of cacti, some over 20 feet tall. Small signs gave us a little information about the local plants, their flowering and fruiting seasons, and common uses.

 Changing the oil at a closed tire shop.

Changing the oil at a closed tire shop.

 Petting the cactus!

Petting the cactus!

 Checking out some of the interpretive signs on the nature trail.

Checking out some of the interpretive signs on the nature trail.

 A close up of a cactus.

A close up of a cactus.

 Some of the cacti were just huge, with many limbs.

Some of the cacti were just huge, with many limbs.

Kevin, the Canadian local/gringo that was hosting Pablo and Anna, extended his hospitality to us as well, and we spent a couple nights camped out in his driveway. He's an avid kite surfer, and loves to instruct and talk shop about the sport, although he'll tell you he doesn't know how to teach someone to ride. We had a chance to head out to a local beach while the wind was up to learn how to fly a trainer kite, the first step to kite surfing.

We watched some folks launch from the beach, and got a general idea of the basic maneuvers of the sport. The kites, which vary in size from 6 meters to 13 meters, are super powerful - there is a lot of air being caught by the kite structure, and a 10 meter wing can easily pull a human through the water. Kevin taught us how to lay our lines for a kite, go through a pre-flight check, and prepare the inflatable structures of the kite's wing. It was a real day of learning! Eventually he launched for a ride, and we got to play around with the tiny-by-comparison trainer kite. 

Generally it took two people to launch the trainer kite, and one to fly. Once up, the rainbow wing required constant attention, needing to be powered and de-powered to maintain a stable rhythm of arcs through the air. Too much turn one way, or too little power at the wrong moment sent the nylon wing plummeting to the sand, and the helpers sprinting out to the beach to relaunch.

The whole experience was fantastic - just flying a kite is great fun, and Kevin's friend had developed a two part control bar that made flying a small kite more difficult. You'll see it in some photos - the bar furthest from the harness is the standard bar, and bar closest to the harness was added later as an auxiliary bar, and interacts with the main control bar through two rubber bands. Essentially, the auxiliary control bar adds a degree of lag to flying the trainer kite. Its like driving a car with lots of play in the steering wheel.

In addition to flying the kite, Chelsea and I got to ride in La Cucuracha on the way to the beach! And we got use the van's best party piece - the stand-through expedition-worthy sun roof! It was excellent.

 Riding in La Cucuracha.

Riding in La Cucuracha.

 Expedition worthy sun roof!

Expedition worthy sun roof!

 Sun roof beach action!

Sun roof beach action!

 Watching a kite surfer body drag before standing up on his board.

Watching a kite surfer body drag before standing up on his board.

 Kevin, describing the basics of flying a kite.

Kevin, describing the basics of flying a kite.

 Laying out the lines on the trainer kite is as important as laying out the lines on a big kite.

Laying out the lines on the trainer kite is as important as laying out the lines on a big kite.

 Attaching the harness to Pablo.

Attaching the harness to Pablo.

 PRETTY RAINBOW KITE!!!

PRETTY RAINBOW KITE!!!

 Anna and I preparing to launch the kite for Pablo.

Anna and I preparing to launch the kite for Pablo.

 Difficulty launching. At this point, the little wing is alive with power.

Difficulty launching. At this point, the little wing is alive with power.

 Kevin teaching me about the basics of preparing an inflated kite.

Kevin teaching me about the basics of preparing an inflated kite.

 Fixing... something.

Fixing... something.

 Pablo with his hands on the auxillary control bar, which slows down the control of the kite.

Pablo with his hands on the auxillary control bar, which slows down the control of the kite.

 Pablo, launching the kite for me all by himself.

Pablo, launching the kite for me all by himself.

 Pablo and Anna launching the trainer kite for me.

Pablo and Anna launching the trainer kite for me.

 Chelsea flying the trainer using the main bar.

Chelsea flying the trainer using the main bar.

 Chelsea flying one-handed on the auxillary bar! Look at the girl go!

Chelsea flying one-handed on the auxillary bar! Look at the girl go!

 Still flying one-handed on the lower bar. The is an advanced beginner move, made easier if you bite your tongue.

Still flying one-handed on the lower bar. The is an advanced beginner move, made easier if you bite your tongue.

We celebrated our successful day of beach flying with some fish frying! There was one shop in town with fresh-ish fish, and Kevin bought a bunch of sea bass to batter and pan fry for the whole family. His hospitality was absolutely incredible, and he just wouldn't let us leave the next day without putting us on his paddle boards for a morning ride. The wind had kicked up by the time we launched and we barely had to paddle as we were pushed downwind to our destination.

By the end of the few days in La Ventana, we were quite happy that we had chosen to track down Pablo and Anna once again. The town, while gringo-heavy, is a fantastic destination in Baja, and definetly worth the attention of anyone remotely insterested in wind sports.

 A rare dual-Delica shot.

A rare dual-Delica shot.

 Paddling on our last morning in town.

Paddling on our last morning in town.

 We couldn't stand as the wind was too high! We were being blown way too fast while standing, so kneeling it was for our downwind paddle.

We couldn't stand as the wind was too high! We were being blown way too fast while standing, so kneeling it was for our downwind paddle.

Mexico, Part 11: Surfin' Safari on the East Cape

Camping on the East Cape

After leaving Santiago and Miraflores, we were a short drive from San Jose del Cabo. The greater Cabo area is where the Baja Peninsula ends - from here it's east to the East Cape or west to Cabo San Lucas and Todo Santos and then back up north. We had planned on some more beach camping, and the East Cape looked to be prime with public access arroyos and sand beaches.

We resupplied in San Jose del Cabo at the fantastic Mega supermarket…home of everything any American could ever want while in Mexico. While there we dined on some legit Chinese food. Chelsea and I were starved, and for $7USD we ate a lot of rice, egg rolls, fried pork, etc. (I lived in China for two years, and the food there is beyond amazing. Chinese food in the states isn't the same, primarily because OSHA won't let the cooks get their woks hot enough. Down in Mexico, however, folks are allowed to turn the propane way up, and darn near real Chinese food is the result.)

After the resupply we hit the road for the East Cape. The pavement soon ran out, and we slowly motored our way to an empty arroyo. Whales were swimming and breaching in the near distance, the view was fantastic, and the price was right. After setting up camp we began to diagnose what seemed to be a failing water pump in our camper - our water pressure was unusually weak and the pump was making far too much noise while in operation. Everything had to come out from under the bed to access the pump, and I had to get inverted in the small crawl space. We lowered the pump to help it access water, but to no avail. Stumped, we piled our gear back into the rig, assuming we'd be purchasing a new water pump in the near future.

We were joined that evening by Riley and his dogs Stinker and Stevie, three individuals that make quite a rag tag team of beach-dwelling travelers. Riley is a surfer and has about a million stories that all needed to be written down and published. Stevie the German shepherd is a dropout from police dog school - she's smart and she knows it and she doesn't care what you think. Stinker the Boston terrier is an intrepid adventurer who is unaware she lives with cerebral palsy. She goes anywhere Stevie goes, but a little slower, and at slightly more of a diagonal angle, because walking forward is tough. 

That night Chelsea and I made bread, a large chunk of which we delivered to Riley. His appreciation was palpable, and we spent the next day snorkeling for lobsters, of which we found one. Riley added some steaks and we added some veggies for a proper beachside meal. Over drinks and meats we discussed the coming swell, and Riley convinced us to meet him at 9 Palms, a local beach down the road, to learn how to surf. He had a longboard that he had left in San Jose del Cabo, and he was willing to pick it up if I was willing learn to surf. This sounded like a great plan, so we headed back to the city to re-resupply and then back to the beach to settle in for a few days of surf and sun.

 Chinese Food tastes better in Mexico.

Chinese Food tastes better in Mexico.

 The beaches of the East Cape.

The beaches of the East Cape.

 Attempting to diagnose a problem with our water pump. Working in the storage space is possible, but cramped.

Attempting to diagnose a problem with our water pump. Working in the storage space is possible, but cramped.

 Cooking with free fuel.

Cooking with free fuel.

 Our first beach camp spot On the East Cape

Our first beach camp spot On the East Cape

 Bread baking in the dutch oven, and water boiling in the old MSR pot.

Bread baking in the dutch oven, and water boiling in the old MSR pot.

 Discussing Lobster and surf opportunites with RIley.

Discussing Lobster and surf opportunites with RIley.

 Heading out to find some Lobster.

Heading out to find some Lobster.

 We only got one but it sure was pretty! Stevie was very interested.

We only got one but it sure was pretty! Stevie was very interested.

 Loulou was not interested in much

Loulou was not interested in much

 Stinker the Boston terrier with cerebral palsy. Everywhere she went she kicked sand. Everywhere.

Stinker the Boston terrier with cerebral palsy. Everywhere she went she kicked sand. Everywhere.

 Riley, waiting for me to follow him out of the surf. I know it looks calm, but i just got beat down over a reef filled with sea urchins. 

Riley, waiting for me to follow him out of the surf. I know it looks calm, but i just got beat down over a reef filled with sea urchins. 

 The mobus rays were jumping! they were pretty far out, but chels managed to get a shot of one that was semi decent.

The mobus rays were jumping! they were pretty far out, but chels managed to get a shot of one that was semi decent.

 Meat and Lobster, cooking away.

Meat and Lobster, cooking away.

 Surf and turf excellence.

Surf and turf excellence.

 Contemplating the next few days of surf-ability.

Contemplating the next few days of surf-ability.

Teach a Man to Surf...

After the re-resupply we moved to 9 Palms, a known surf spot on the northern edge of a string of surf spots that dot the East Cape. We pulled into our spot near Riley, and set up camp. We put up a shade tarp, moved some unnecessary items to the front seats, and partially unpacked our storage compartments, freeing up access to the wetsuits and snorkels. In the process, I wanted to check the feed tubes for the water pump - I had a suspicion that one of the tubes was sealing around a wall of our water tank, creating a vacuum and placing undue strain on the pump. I wasn't too far from correct; while the tube was free and clear of the wall, it was the inline filter that was degrading and being sucked up into the tubes when the pump was pulling water. We flipped it around, reversing the flow of water through the filter, and got our pressure back! Thankfully, it meant we didn't need to order a new pump.

When we arrived, it was just Riley, Chris the full-time hermit/local, and ourselves, but that would change. The swell was one of the first of the season, and the greater Baja surfing community was well aware of its imminent arrival, so the beach blew up. First, Riley's close friend Mac showed up and camped with us, and then eventually the beach was lined with a few dozen trucks, vans, and rigs, many of which were jumping back and forth between the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez to chase the waves.

Riley graciously ran into town to fetch his longboard, an accessory of his trip that he'd chosen to ditch because he wasn't using it, as he mostly road his short board. He started with some lessons on the sand, specifically teaching me that the paddling position on the board was a key to standing up in the right spot, and that standing up didn't mean standing up - a crouched position to keep mass low was preferable.

As a trade, I taught Riley how to make and bake simple white bread. My ingredients are flour, sugar, salt, water, and instant yeast, and I do not measure anything, other than the yeast which is in a single use packet. While kneading, flour is added by feel until the right texture is achieved, then the dough is left to rise, then shaped and placed in a deep steel pan we use as a dutch oven. To bake, we pile coals between some rocks, then set the steel pan on the rocks, and cover the lid with coals. Coals are added as needed, and when the bread smells ready, looks ready, and feels ready, we eat it. We rarely have any left over, because bread should be eaten fresh.

 Just two rigs on the beach for the first few days.

Just two rigs on the beach for the first few days.

 Riley ran back to town get his Longboard just for me! What a guy. Also, in this picture you can see what happens when you run your camper into a low roof.

Riley ran back to town get his Longboard just for me! What a guy. Also, in this picture you can see what happens when you run your camper into a low roof.

 Surfing 101.

Surfing 101.

 Surfing was much drier than i thought it would be.

Surfing was much drier than i thought it would be.

 I'm killing it! Surfing is not that hard.

I'm killing it! Surfing is not that hard.

 Describing the basics of bread.

Describing the basics of bread.

 Hands on practice.

Hands on practice.

 The bread after the second rise. I tend to let my breads rise twice.

The bread after the second rise. I tend to let my breads rise twice.

 Piling coals on top of the dutch oven pan.

Piling coals on top of the dutch oven pan.

 ooooooh its getting there!

ooooooh its getting there!

 More excellent steaks on an excellent Baja beach.

More excellent steaks on an excellent Baja beach.

Surfing Safari

The surf picked up over the next few days, although to me it seemed inconsistent. Sometimes the swell would arrive a little more from the south, causing predictable waves to break over the reef. In these instances, a deep paddle channel existed that allowed surfers to paddle back into position. I would try to catch waves right on the shoulder of the deep water channel, mostly because I was afraid of eating a face full of rocks and sea urchins in the case of a fall. My plan worked great, until the swell decided to come in a little bit more from the east, and then the deep paddle channel turned into wave-break city, and my poor tired body would get tossed and buried in 5 foot waves. It was great. I temporarily quit after 3 days of trying.

All the while Chels was reading and lounging, Loulou was sleeping, Riley was coaching, and Stevie and Stinker were running around the beach like captains of their own paradise. I didn't feel bad for Stinker, she's got a great life and an owner that loves her and a big sister dog to watch out for her, but I couldn't help but feel something for the poor thing as she'd cut diagonally across the beach, looking forward but walking sideways, sand flying everywhere as her legs kicked with every step. She'd suffer through 7 or 8 seizures a day while we were on the beach, each one more heartbreaking than the last. She'd fall over, seize, then wrestle to get back up and limp out of sight trying as hard as she could to keep up with the other dogs, all the while our hearts breaking for her - then she'd come back, a big slice of white bread clutched in her mouth, a smile ear to ear after just raiding some neighbor's beach camp kitchen. Stinker, aptly named, needed no one to feel bad for her. I'll bet she's happier than you, and probably nearly as happy as Coco.

The swell came and the crowds came, and despite my initial worries that I would get in someone's way or spoil someone's wave, everyone was real nice and mostly left me alone. I was very thankful for the use of Riley's board, because a similar experience at a surf camp would have cost us a lot of money. In the end, it was great to get out on the water and try surfing once more. I had caught a baby wave or two while in Bali, but that barely counted as I had someone lining me up and pushing the board forward for me. In the end, I was beat, but I was happy I was beat and satisfied at my attempt. Surfing another day? Probably, but probably not on this trip, specifically.

 Stevie looking adorable in her bow. It was a leash until she decided it was better as a scarf.

Stevie looking adorable in her bow. It was a leash until she decided it was better as a scarf.

 Stinker the dog who doesn't know she has a disability.

Stinker the dog who doesn't know she has a disability.

 Stink resting after a big day. The Hammock is a 150 thread brazillian style sling woven by inmates in MerIda.

Stink resting after a big day. The Hammock is a 150 thread brazillian style sling woven by inmates in MerIda.

 MAC'S RIG JOINING THE BEACH - ONLY THREE AT THIS POINT.

MAC'S RIG JOINING THE BEACH - ONLY THREE AT THIS POINT.

 OSPREYS ARE ONE REASON WE DON'T LET LOULOU WANDER AROUND WITHOUT HUMAN SUPERVISION.

OSPREYS ARE ONE REASON WE DON'T LET LOULOU WANDER AROUND WITHOUT HUMAN SUPERVISION.

 CONTEMPLATING WAVES.

CONTEMPLATING WAVES.

 I CAUGHT ONE!!!!!!

I CAUGHT ONE!!!!!!

 I CAUGHT ANOTHER!

I CAUGHT ANOTHER!

 Trying my best to pose like a magazine model.

Trying my best to pose like a magazine model.

 Watching other people catch waves I can't catch.

Watching other people catch waves I can't catch.

 Trying to catch waves.

Trying to catch waves.

 The beach eventually got PACKED.

The beach eventually got PACKED.

 Tents and umbrellas took over and we eventually lost our view of the waves. You can see Little Foot tucked back in behind the crowds. (At least we had privacy in our spot.)

Tents and umbrellas took over and we eventually lost our view of the waves. You can see Little Foot tucked back in behind the crowds. (At least we had privacy in our spot.)

 It was quite a pretty places to camp for a few days.

It was quite a pretty places to camp for a few days.

 Most of the time, Loulou couldn't be bothered.

Most of the time, Loulou couldn't be bothered.

 WE EVENTUALLY LEFT THE EAST CAPE BEHIND, AND... BEGAN HEADING NORTH??!?!?

WE EVENTUALLY LEFT THE EAST CAPE BEHIND, AND... BEGAN HEADING NORTH??!?!?

 RAIN CHASED US AWAY.

RAIN CHASED US AWAY.

Mexico, Part 10: The Fresh Springs of Sol de Mayo and the Boca de la Sierra

Sol de Mayo

Chelsea and I are suckers for natural springs. In the US, we loved the hot springs of Idaho and Colorado, but in Baja Sur the weather pushed us towards the natural fresh water springs of Sol de Mayo and Boca de la Sierra. These two springs are found on the eastern slope of the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range. They are served by the communities of Santiago and Miraflores respectively. There are some hot springs in the area as well, but the near tropical temperatures of Baja Sur had us sweating too much too seek out a hot soak.

Santiago is a small, beautiful community that boasts impressive agriculture for being in the middle of a desert. It is a true oasis, as you'll see from this blog's first photo. A large freshwater lagoon sits right at the center of the community.

Sol de Mayo, an eco-lodge offering casitas and camping, sits at the entrance to the canyon that is home to the springs. The site is popular with day users driving up from the Cabo area, so expect a crowd that thins out later in the day. The walk from the campground to the springs can't be more than a kilometer, but there is a steep section of stairs hewn from the rocky cliffside. Bring a bottle of water and a towel; you'll probably find you don't need much else.

 The view of Santiago from the road to Sol de Mayo. A real oasis!

The view of Santiago from the road to Sol de Mayo. A real oasis!

 Commuter traffic on the way to the springs.

Commuter traffic on the way to the springs.

 The main pool of the springs from above.

The main pool of the springs from above.

 The stairs down to the spring.

The stairs down to the spring.

 Two happy swimmers!

Two happy swimmers!

 There are a handful of places to jump from, but swim in your landing zone before you launch to make sure it's deep enough!

There are a handful of places to jump from, but swim in your landing zone before you launch to make sure it's deep enough!

 Sun bathing on the warm rocks was as appealing as swimming.

Sun bathing on the warm rocks was as appealing as swimming.

Camping at Sol de Mayo was around $15USD a night, and that included spring access. We enjoyed our first day, then headed back to the rig for some reading and dinner. There were a few other campers at the spring, but not many. The facilities included a pit toilet that didn't smell at all and spring fed water spigots scattered around the parking lot. It is a simple, although relatively shadeless, affair.

The next morning we loaded up a backpack with some snacks and snorkeling gear and headed off on a small walk to some pools above the main pool and waterfall. The pools above the falls were more shallow but less crowded and we enjoyed the walk up the canyon. The whole area is rather accessible and a great spot for adventuring. We could have gone much further up the canyon, but decided to go swimming instead. After a few dips in the upper pools, we headed back to the main pool for a little snorkeling. After spotting a large, broad-headed snake swimming in the shallow reeds, we decided we'd had enough of the idyllic springs for one trip.

 Loulou was disappointed that we didnt pack a book for her.

Loulou was disappointed that we didnt pack a book for her.

 Surveying the pools from above.

Surveying the pools from above.

 The cascading upper pools of Sol de Mayo.

The cascading upper pools of Sol de Mayo.

 Hiking with flippers through the desert.

Hiking with flippers through the desert.

 The whole place felt very "jurassic park".

The whole place felt very "jurassic park".

 Chelsea's back was hurting, hence the lack of smile.

Chelsea's back was hurting, hence the lack of smile.

 While beautiful, the upper pools were too shallow for much good swimming.

While beautiful, the upper pools were too shallow for much good swimming.

 The Oasis and the desert.

The Oasis and the desert.

 There wasn't much vertical gradient in the upper pools, so our raft stayed on Little Foot.

There wasn't much vertical gradient in the upper pools, so our raft stayed on Little Foot.

 Snorkeling by the Falls.

Snorkeling by the Falls.

 The water was remarkably cLear.

The water was remarkably cLear.

 I'll Catch You!

I'll Catch You!

 The view from the upper falls. I was told, and I agree, that jumping here is probably safe if you do it correctly, but I didn't try.

The view from the upper falls. I was told, and I agree, that jumping here is probably safe if you do it correctly, but I didn't try.

 Chelsea kept yelling "NO!" (Chelsea here… I'm all for adventure, but sometimes taking risks that could cut your adventure short if there's an injury just isn't worth it!)

Chelsea kept yelling "NO!" (Chelsea here… I'm all for adventure, but sometimes taking risks that could cut your adventure short if there's an injury just isn't worth it!)

Boca de la Sierra

On our way to Miraflores, the gateway town of Boca de la Sierra, we crossed the Tropic of Cancer, officially putting us in the tropics! Finally, we had a way to rationalize the heat. The 23*26'13.4" was marked by a large globe, which was ripe for picture taking.

We had read that the springs at Boca de la Sierra were less developed, and therefore free. They were also unmarked, and we drove around the sleepy town looking for water while we roasted in the front cab of Little Foot. Sylvester, a fantastically generous local, flagged us down and explained that we could camp on his family's camping property by the springs. After many unsuccessful attempt to explain, and then draw the location of his camp, he offered to ride with us a few kilometers up a dirt road to the spot, and then walk back. We were floored, both by his property's location and by his generosity. We stayed on his land two nights, and he came to check in on us both days. Mexico is full of great people, and Sylvester is certainly one of them.

A last note on Sylvester: he's a successful but modest farmer. He has a family, he has a farm house, and he has fields that produce tomatoes and other crops. When we met him he was dressed in unassuming clothes fit for working on a farm, and when I met his wife the next day she was driving a 15 or 20 year-old SUV with peeling paint and signs of wear; a good vehicle but by no means showy. They are Mexico's middle class I assume, and Sylvester is rightfully proud of the fact that his crops are of export quality - most of his produce is bound for the US. While the success of any farmer is greatly decided by variables outside his control, be it rain or crop markets abroad, Sylvester is looking into the future with a furrowed brow. With imported Mexican goods facing increased tariffs in the US, Sylvester's crop prices may not be able to stay sustainable. It is important to remember that national choices can greatly impact others, and that all Americans are global citizens, whether we want to be or not.

The springs offered excellent swimming, fewer water moccasins, and almost no one else to spoil the spot's tranquility. One evening a group of young people arrived in a truck playing loud music. They walked down to our camp site, introduced themselves, offered us a beverage, offered us help and a tour of Cabo if we were ever in the area, wished us luck and blessings, then walked back to their truck, turned off their music, swam, and left peacefully. We love Mexico and we love Mexicans.

 The tropic of Cancer!

The tropic of Cancer!

 Chelsea touching a spot on a globe that many other people have also touched.

Chelsea touching a spot on a globe that many other people have also touched.

 Sylvester helping us get to his family's camp…and commuter traffic.

Sylvester helping us get to his family's camp…and commuter traffic.

 Little Foot parked at Sylvester's Camp.

Little Foot parked at Sylvester's Camp.

 Jumping over streams.

Jumping over streams.

 A natural water slide that stained my board shorts with worm guts. Eww. (I'm  still  trying to get the stains out… - Chels)

A natural water slide that stained my board shorts with worm guts. Eww. (I'm still trying to get the stains out… - Chels)

 The water was shallow, but refreshing at Boca de la Sierra.

The water was shallow, but refreshing at Boca de la Sierra.

 A huge black snake? (No, just a water pipe!)

A huge black snake? (No, just a water pipe!)

 The spot was so good that we stayed for two nights.

The spot was so good that we stayed for two nights.

 Preparing a campfire to cook steak and veggies.

Preparing a campfire to cook steak and veggies.

 RESPECT THE STEAK!

RESPECT THE STEAK!

Mexico, Part 9: Nearly Deserted Road and Nearly Deserted Beaches

Nearly Deserted Roads

After leaving Agua Verde all four sets of couples (Jan and Diana, the Spaniards in the Windstar, Pablo and Anna, and ourselves) went separate ways at separate speeds. At Agua Verde, Mexico 1 cuts across the Baja Peninsula headed west, and very nearly hits the coast before turning southeast and heading back to the Sea of Cortez. Between the coasts we spent a few nights at an RV park to catch up on blog posts and enjoy some hot showers before hitting the road again. Leaving civilization, we had our eyes on a dirt road adventure along the Pacific Coast, but were turned back when the locals told us the road on our map didn’t actually exist.

We poked around unsuccessfully, looking for more adventurous side roads, but as the afternoon shadows grew longer we eventually settled on driving to a Pacific surf spot that was listed as a good area for free camping. 10km into a 20km drive down a sandy track, we gave up and stopped for the night. We weren’t going to surf at the beach, the road was deserted, the view was great, and there was no reason not to stop.

The next morning we enjoyed coffee while gazing out over the forest of cactus that laid like carpet over the rolling hills that lead down to the beach, nature’s hand only interrupted by the continuation of the sandy track that had led us to our impromptu, roadside camp spot. Everything was silent; we were alone, stillness laying ahead of us for miles to the sea, except for one tiny puff of dust that soon became a small cloud, and then a trail of flying dirt and diesel fumes furiously kicked up by nothing other than a green and silver Mitsubishi Delica! Pablo and Anna and their van La Cucaracha (of Viajeros4x4x4 fame) had found us again!

We flagged them down and exchanged pleasantries, and both agreed that the nature of Baja, for the traveler at least, is very much that of a town with a single street. We were separately headed for La Paz, the big port city in Southern Baja, and planned to meet up at a Tecolate beach, a popular free camping spot for long distance travelers, to celebrate Chelsea's birthday. The one-street-town nature of Baja had us accidentally bump into each other two more times before the beach. The Peninsula is small when it wants to be.

 A beautiful sandy track surrounded by cactus.

A beautiful sandy track surrounded by cactus.

 Our lazy, halfway camping spot on the side of a road.

Our lazy, halfway camping spot on the side of a road.

 The forest of cactus that laid like carpet over the hills.

The forest of cactus that laid like carpet over the hills.

 Testing the six wheel drive - front axle engaged (green lever), rear lockers engaged (middle yellow lever), and front locker engaged (far right yellow lever). Only test on soft straight roads!

Testing the six wheel drive - front axle engaged (green lever), rear lockers engaged (middle yellow lever), and front locker engaged (far right yellow lever). Only test on soft straight roads!

Tecolate Beach

We didn’t really enjoy Tecolate beach, but we did enjoy the company we found. While we were there a strong norte, the northerly winds that ran Rod out of Agua Verde a day early, kicked up, throwing light silt into every crevasse of our rig, and rendering the shoreline unusable for swimming or relaxing. As we sought shelter from the wind we ran into our friends Dani and Kevin, the nice folks we met in Mulege, traveling in their Iveco Trakker with their dog Mali. Finding them made the windy beach more bearable. Eventually we met up with Pablo and Anna as well, and goofed around for Chelsea’s birthday, taking some funny photos in the operating but nearly deserted beachside restaurants.

 Sunset at Tecolate with Mali, Dani and Kevin.

Sunset at Tecolate with Mali, Dani and Kevin.

 Tecolate restaurant deck. Half the restaurant was deck, the other half was a beached ship cememented into the ground. No joke.

Tecolate restaurant deck. Half the restaurant was deck, the other half was a beached ship cememented into the ground. No joke.

 Tecolate beach restaurants and Chels looking a little discouraged and windblown by the thwarted birthday beach day.

Tecolate beach restaurants and Chels looking a little discouraged and windblown by the thwarted birthday beach day.

 Pablo nailed it.

Pablo nailed it.

Nearly Deserted Beaches

The next day we shook off the night’s festivities and headed to a possibly deserted beach. We followed a windy road of immaculate asphalt out to some beaches just south of La Paz. La Cucaracha and Little Foot dove off the pavement and onto the dirt at the first possibility, a decision motivated by the hand of God more than the mind of man. We navigated a washed-out decent that caused some Japanese steel to meet some Mexican rock (the Austrian steel was unscathed) only to find a lonely little Volkswagen sedan and a helpless young man at the bottom of the hill, with the car backed up into a berm, and two wheels off the ground. God had sent us down the hill to perform a rescue!

The gentleman had been driving home from the beach the night before and took a wrong turn. As he nosed up to the hill we had just descended, he realized he had made a mistake. While attempting to make a three point turn, he reversed with too much enthusiasm and got stuck on the berm. He had been there all night! We broke out the shovels and muscles and dug him out, and after a short chat we realized that he knew our friend Mauricio (of @Ensenada fame), and the world of Baja got even smaller.

We spent two nights on the beach with Pablo and Anna. It was our first sighting of mobula rays breaching and splashing in the water, as if they were clapping with their entire body. Dolphins splashed in the distance, and a single lonely sea lion sat on a rock and sang to us for hours. Other highlights included baking bread over the campfire, and trying some of Pablo and Anna’s fantastic salted cod spread. There is a recipe he published in Overland Journal out there somewhere, and I’ll try to find it for you. We also collected and steamed crabs, continuing the theme of Pablo and I killing animals and eating them.

 A rescue! I was hoping we would need to pull him out but four extra people pushing while Chels revved the gas was enough.

A rescue! I was hoping we would need to pull him out but four extra people pushing while Chels revved the gas was enough.

 La Cucuracha chasing me down!

La Cucuracha chasing me down!

 Getting ready to tread some sand.

Getting ready to tread some sand.

 Our deserted beach.

Our deserted beach.

 Prime crab hunting territory.

Prime crab hunting territory.

 Crab hunting with Pablo.

Crab hunting with Pablo.

 Crabs!

Crabs!

 Tasty crabs.

Tasty crabs.

 We were surrounded by 360° of beauty. That forest is huge cacti.

We were surrounded by 360° of beauty. That forest is huge cacti.

 Prepping bread. We baked it in coals, not on the burner.

Prepping bread. We baked it in coals, not on the burner.

 The beach, with some of the cleanest and clearest water we've seen yet.

The beach, with some of the cleanest and clearest water we've seen yet.

 Pablo and Anna brought a kayak from Ensenada and chased down some mobula rays.

Pablo and Anna brought a kayak from Ensenada and chased down some mobula rays.

 Consulting maps.

Consulting maps.

A Bad Road and a Rocky Cove

After Leaving La Ventana and the comfort of a few days doing nothing on the beach, we set our eyes on more beach and more nothingness as Pablo and Anna headed inland. Our goal was a specific isolated rocky cove that had earned our friend Mauricio the cover shot of the 2016 Rovers North calendar. Two route options presented themselves: a short drive up and over the mountains that lay between us and our beach, or drive south around the mountains and then turn and drive back north again along the coast and through some small towns to our destination. The second option felt laborious and dull, but more importantly we have three locking differentials and nearly 35” mud terrain tires and we need reasons to use them. We filled our tanks and headed to the hills for what we thought would be a mild dirt road, After all, Google maps said we were only 56 minutes away!

What ensued was a stiff climb up a large hill that featured exposed cliffs, off camber turns, a handful of ledges, and loose granite scree. At times my navigator was crying, and at other times her terror rendered her mute, a silence that was quite unnerving. We parked in places to get out and walk, to scout lines, and to weigh options. We shoveled loose gravel into piles in hopes that some of the ledges would toss us a little less. Two hours of the drive was spent out of the vehicle. At times Loulou was even buckled in.

In the end it was a great drive, if a little jarring at times as Little Foot trundled down washed out slopes. Driving a challenging road with your home on the back of your truck definitely lowers your comfort level, but we made it, and the rocky cove was worth every tear and whimper.

We spent two days at the rocky cove, again doing not much. Highlights were reading books, snorkeling, and baking bread over the fire. Loulou chased hermit crabs on the rocks, which was probably a trip highlight for her. On the second day, Sabrina and Henning (of TrailGypsies fame) and Jan and Diana (of steffens.live fame) found us, driving up to the road we had just come down. They weren’t looking for us or the rocky cove and we hadn’t made plans to meet up, illustrating once again that Baja can be small when it wants to be.

While we were camped at the rocky cove Chelsea and I did a little unpacking of the rig, only to find that some moisture, likely sweat, had been trapped under our fantastic IKEA futon mattress and had started to mildew! Luckily we had the sun on our side, so out came the mattress to bake in the warmth after a thorough bleach-spray session as I fired up the drill and added some breather holes to the plywood that forms the base of our bed.

The problem of mold and mildew makes sense – mattresses need to breathe because we are wet, disgusting animals. While building out Little Foot in Montana we had toyed around with the idea of using a slatted platform to support the bed but had decided on a single sheet of plywood to help with weight, strength, and simplicity. I hadn’t really revisited the problem until now, and I expressed my woes to Henning, who promptly told me that they take their mattress out of their rig at least every few weeks, and drying mattresses is just part of extended car-based travel. I mention this only to show how helpful it can be to talk, at length, with other overlanders, or really anyone in your trade or niche activity. The BS sessions between overlanders aren’t just competitions or mental floss – often both parties gain valuable insights into the shared and unconventional lifestyle.

 The start of the drive.

The start of the drive.

 Things getting steeper.

Things getting steeper.

 Parked in a good spot as we scouted and shoveled.

Parked in a good spot as we scouted and shoveled.

 Loulou buckled in, and the rear diffs engaged!

Loulou buckled in, and the rear diffs engaged!

 One of a few spots we piled up rocks to limit Little Foots rolling.

One of a few spots we piled up rocks to limit Little Foots rolling.

 Just a little light road construction.

Just a little light road construction.

 Note from Chelsea: I took this photo after all the scary stuff was over. The technical section was so scary that the idea of taking photos or video just seemed wrong…if something truly bad had happened, I would've been racked with guilt over having been recording instead of helping. Instead, I walked ahead in the line where we had decided the driver's tire would be and used a walkie talkie to communicate any other directions Christian might need. I took this photo as Christian rounded a bend above the scary section to wait for me to run up and jump in. I'm including it to show the angle of Little Foot as it climbs around a slight curve. What scared me the most was being on sections of this road that were so narrow that when Little Foot would pitch like this, it was directly over a steep cliff. So, please take my word for it when I say, it felt much scarier than it looks! 

Note from Chelsea: I took this photo after all the scary stuff was over. The technical section was so scary that the idea of taking photos or video just seemed wrong…if something truly bad had happened, I would've been racked with guilt over having been recording instead of helping. Instead, I walked ahead in the line where we had decided the driver's tire would be and used a walkie talkie to communicate any other directions Christian might need. I took this photo as Christian rounded a bend above the scary section to wait for me to run up and jump in. I'm including it to show the angle of Little Foot as it climbs around a slight curve. What scared me the most was being on sections of this road that were so narrow that when Little Foot would pitch like this, it was directly over a steep cliff. So, please take my word for it when I say, it felt much scarier than it looks! 

 The road was as beautiful as it was exciting.

The road was as beautiful as it was exciting.

 The rocky cove with dinner on the fire.

The rocky cove with dinner on the fire.

 Loulou the hermit crab hunter.

Loulou the hermit crab hunter.

 Bread baking.

Bread baking.

 The rocky cove at sunrise that earned Mauricio the cover of the Rovers North calendar.

The rocky cove at sunrise that earned Mauricio the cover of the Rovers North calendar.

 Little Foot looks good from every angle…at least we think so…but we're a little biased!

Little Foot looks good from every angle…at least we think so…but we're a little biased!

 Mold and mildew. More like mild-ewwwwww.

Mold and mildew. More like mild-ewwwwww.

 Planning my holes to add at least a little air flow. Don't worry…we thoroughly bleached and scrubbed all of this off.

Planning my holes to add at least a little air flow. Don't worry…we thoroughly bleached and scrubbed all of this off.

 Drilling.

Drilling.

 Commuter traffic! Even the main paved roads aren't without obstacles!

Commuter traffic! Even the main paved roads aren't without obstacles!

Los Barriles

Los Barriles is a tourist town, end of sentence. Its been taken over by Americans and Canadians and has lost a lot of its Mexican charm. We ran into town only to seek out WiFi, update the blog, and run some errands. Otherwise, we stayed on yet another deserted beach and enjoyed more free camping, more fires, and more nothingness. 

We were so turned off by the rampant Americanization of the town that we chose to avoid viewing the Superbowl. I really wanted to watch the Patriots, they are my team, but I just couldn't put up with the foreigner bars, and therefore I missed what my little brother told me was "The greatest game of football ever." Instead we found solace in our weekly Bible study, because Superbowl Sunday is still a Sunday!

 Loulou: "Guys, maybe I can go for a swim?"

Loulou: "Guys, maybe I can go for a swim?"

 Snorkel everywhere.

Snorkel everywhere.

 Chelsea doing dishes.

Chelsea doing dishes.

 Many of our dinner are simply guacamole.

Many of our dinner are simply guacamole.

 A beach well above Los Barriles, kitchen of course facing the ocean.

A beach well above Los Barriles, kitchen of course facing the ocean.

 Getting a fire going dinner.

Getting a fire going dinner.

 Chicken from the fire this evening.

Chicken from the fire this evening.

 Our Sundays are always spent with a weekly podcast from Barabbas Road Church (Chels' old church in San Diego) that we follow along with while going verse-by-verse through the Bible.

Our Sundays are always spent with a weekly podcast from Barabbas Road Church (Chels' old church in San Diego) that we follow along with while going verse-by-verse through the Bible.