Friday, August 3, 2007

Summer Trip to Baja 2007 (Asuncion to San Bruno)

Tracy had not seen the coast south of Bahia Asuncion so I decided we would head out that way. The route goes along the coast through San Hipolito, La Bocana, and Abreojos before heading back to Highway One. The beaches are breath-taking but the road can be's always a risk/reward scenario.

We decided to stop along the way for some breakfast with Tita, Juan's sister who lives in San Hipolito. We had met her last summer at Juan and Shari's and recalled her to be very jovial and entertaining. Her smile is worth a thousand words. She and her family live on the ocean and have a million dollar view. Tita made us some wonderful fried fish with all the fixings. We give her a tip and continued on with full bellies.

Unfortunately for us, the coast was covered in a light fog. But the drive was still enjoyable and the road wasn't too bad. We explored the grave yard just before La Bocana and were surprised with all the children there. The graves were very intricate and quite beautiful.

We continued on to Abreojos. This is a very popular village for surfers and fisherman. I've met many people who swear by the place. Every time I've been there it's been incredibly windy. We drove through town and looked at the houses. Also of interest was the new malecon. On a sad note, though, was evidence of the on-going red tide. I've heard mixed stories about how long the tide has been in bloom but regardless it has not been good for the lobster or abalone.

After poking our noses around a bit, we decide to hit the pavement and head east towards Highway 1. We still are uncertain as to where we'll end up. But the first thing we need to do is get gasoline in San Ignacio.

We arrive in San Ignacio to find that there is no gas at the Pemex station. (This reminds me of a trip in 1997 when I was stranded at the same gas station for 3 days but that is another story.) The attendant tells us the truck is on the way and should arrive in a "couple of hours" which means nothing in Baja. We decide to walk around town and might camp here for the night.

I've always thought about camping in San Ignacio but never felt very comfortable. It's not that I think the town is dangerous, dirty, or peculiar. I wouldn't say the people are overly friendly, though. But I always find a reason to move on. So I figured maybe this was a good time to stay here. Tracy and I checked out a few camp grounds and decided on the one on the right just as you cross the lagoon heading into the town.

The camp was empty and we knew someone would come by asking for money sooner or later. We weren't certain about staying or not. So we cracked open some beers, grabbed our magazines, and enjoyed the lagoon. After about 15 minutes, a car rolled into the campground and parked next to our palapa. Out rolled a large Mexican family and soon we were surrounded with kids playing everywhere. I was not in the mood for kids. We finished our beers and decided to wait at the Pemex.

I'm usually pretty good about covering my bases when traveling in Baja but I was about to get fleeced. And, it was all my fault. Shortly after parking, the gas attendant walks over and tells us he has a few gallons of gas for sale. That would more than enough to get us to Santa Rosalia where they had gas. Tracy and I agreed and say okay to the gas. As the young man is pouring the gas into my tank from a gas can, I realize my mistake. I forgot to ask him "cuanto?" before he started pouring. Total cost for 2 gallons of gas: 120 pesos or about $10.50 total. He got me but we were on our way. As fate would have it, the gas truck passed us about 10 minutes into our drive.

I wanted to check out a beach that I had read about many times called San Juanico. Unfortunately it was getting dark and we couldn't find the turn-off. Instead, we opted for a beach located north of Loreto called San Bruno. We turned at the military check-point towards the beach, went through the cursory inspection and proceeded towards the beach. On both sides of the road were barbed-wire fence with no trespassing signs. We also noticed guard stations along the way. Our minds were tired from the long day and we couldn't grasp what the fences were trying to keep in or out.

As we pull into the beach area, we notice a group camped to the north end of the beach. We couldn't determine if they were fisherman, kayakers, or what. No problems, we found an open spot to the south. I get out of the truck and realized we were in trouble. The "Toyota" Home had been dislodged! I tell Tracy and she panics and cries about the same time. I was a bit nervous and upset but knew I couldn't let her know of my uncertainties. I do my best to calm her down. I decided that we would take the tent off the truck and put it on the ground for the night. I'd deal with it in the morning. I do just that and Tracy decides that she has had enough of Baja for the day and goes to sleep.

I need to unwind after the long day of driving and events. I put on Sirius Blues, open a cerveza, and take in the Sea of Cortez under the stars. How could I have any worries in the world now? How? Well, I start to think about putting the camper back on my shell in the morning. It's going to be very difficult lifting problem...I'll get the guys camped nearby to help. Bigger issue, I don't know if I have an allen wrench...if I have to drive to Loreto in the be it. I tell myself...relax and I do.

The next morning I'm up early. The sun is just starting to rise and my mind is refreshed. I realize our neighbors are Mexican fisherman. I was confused by the tents. They get the pangas ready and head out. I decide now is the time to look for an allen wrench. As it turns out, I did plan ahead and actually had two of them in my glove box. This seems like something I would do....I'm glad for my predictability.

Tracy and I now face the daunting challenge of lifting the Toyota-home on to the shell of my truck. It probably weighs 140#s but is awkward. Tracy is a bit apprehensive about lifting the tent and I end up doing so alone. We finally situated the tent back into place, tightened it down, and were good to go. There was some paint damage to the shell but nothing too serious. We eat our breakfast, break camp, and head out for a new adventure.

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