The first couple months were the prologue, and now our journey is actually beginning. We crossed into Mexico and drove south for a couple of hours, stopping in Cuatros Casas upon recommendation from famous surfboard shaper, Jamie Murray. Directions were questionable but it turns out there’s now a sign on the main road showing the dirt road that goes there. It’s just south of Colonet and north of Camalu.
There are hostel style rooms or camping right on a cliff overlooking the beach. There are surfboard rentals, outhouses and nothing else. Except for a super cute Doberman puppy and many other doggies. And so many birds. I saw my first Western Grebe. I’ve been looking for him since Alaska, but he was down here all the time. There were so many others I haven’t even had a chance to identify yet. And I dreamed we saw an albatross. But we didn’t in real life. In my dream he was creepy with skeletor-like legs. The water temperature was like a swimming pool. The next morning I surfed in shorts and tank again. The only downside is increased by my lack of current surf skills: exiting the beach is a rocky, bouldery climb with waves crashing around you and the cliffs in front of you. Think 39th Ave in Santa Cruz at high tide. It was mildly sketch.
After leaving Cuatros Casas we got super tasty fish tacos in Camalu. My first official Baja fish tacos!
Unfortunately, we were only at half a tank of gas around then so we didn’t get more. But shortly after taco breakfast we started to leave civilization. It should have been obvious because on the map there’s a huge green area, but we haven’t learned our lesson about green bits on maps. We entered the desert and continued in it for over 400km. Even if we had filled up right before the national preserve and the end of Baja Norte civilization, we wouldn’t have made it to the other side. Thankfully, in the middle of this desert there is a dude with a truck and a bunch of jugs of gas. It was shitty gas and expensive gas but it was gas and we needed it. We were oh so lucky and did not run out of fuel in the middle of the desert.
I had chosen a place on the map to spend the night because a) it was on the map, and b) it had a paved road going to it from the 1. I had wrongfully assumed these two criteria would yield an actual town with food and lodging. In reality, Santa Rosalita (the one just north of Guerrero Negro, because every other town in Baja seems to be Rosario or Rosalita or some other iteration) is a few houses and two tiny markets. How the villagers even support two markets I do not know.
We decided against camping on the beach because it was windy, we didn’t have much food (neither did the tiny market) and sand everywhere sucks. The tiny market did have toilet paper which was very handy. But we drove back the 15k to the 1 and continued south, stopping at the first place we found that said “hotel.” Like the font size of Santa Rosalita on the map, this title was misleading. It could have instead been called “dumpy rooms”. There were three rooms in a small building, each with their own bathroom. Don’t get excited. The bathroom was scary. I can deal with the large bugs floating around down here (at least I tell myself I can even when making Chris deal with a particular one that is living in a location of which I don’t approve, like the large beetle in the bathroom upon our arrival), but I found it very hard to deal with the bugs that started crawling out of the shower drain when I turned the water on. I am telling myself I’ll get used to it, and that this dump is going to be all I’m staying in for the next four months so I better get used to it, but it makes me queasy to think that way and I really hope that this is one of the worst and not the norm.
In the morning we met a lovely couple who had been traveling for almost two years and they had lots of great info to give us. Check out their journey at Amsterdam to Anywhere. We then got back on the road and as far as possible away from that terrible hotel.
Coming up: Baja California Sur!