Tuesday, April 19, 2016

*Baja~ Connecting with "Lady Luck" & the Locals

Feb. 17, 2016
I have been waking up & getting out of the van exceptionally early these days, which to me is about 6 a.m. I am loving the time to myself, Jamie is still sleeping and the dogs don't want to get out of the warm covers that early so it's just me, the water and the Sunrise...it's awesome. I have always felt that I was meant to live on the water, either by house or by boat. Growing up in Florida, I lived close to the ocean and was there every chance I got, also being a surfer, swimmer & water polo player I was always in some sort of water. It's my happy place!

The early morning provides some grounding and centering time for me and my mind which I've needed for some time now and it's just so peaceful out here, I wish I could bottle this up and have it with me forever. At this time of the morning I will either do Yin Yoga, read or write and I'm always taking in my surroundings; the birds flying in the air or diving for fish in the water, the waves or (today) small ripples coming into shore, the peacefulness of no motors on the sand or in the water, the crabs scurrying across the sand trying not to be eaten by the hunting birds, the butterflies suckling the ice plant leaves....it really just doesn't get any better than this on these early mornings.

It's a little strange, I call it Divine, others would say it's ironic or coincidence...whatever you believe, but lately I've been talking to the Universe a lot more than usual and asking for some kind of change. It's a long story. I know this life, all life, is always ever-changing but right now I need a big change, something so totally new and different. As soon as I even start to think this, on this certain morning I was walking down the beach by myself, talking to myself, in less than 20 minutes I saw 6 Butterflies, 4 of them different than the one before. I know from past experiences and research that seeing Butterflies are a reminder that there is always change in the world and seeing them in 'flocks', many at one time or many different ones in a (small) moment in time means that a big change is upon you. I'm always one for looking at signs...especially when I was just talking to the Universe about it! 

Once everyone was up and the bed was made and put up, I was sitting in the van with my legs propped up, just chillin'. I was thinking of what was going on this morning; mind, body, spirit-wise and something caught my eye. What I saw was so small I was surprised that it even caught my eye. I looked at it from my viewpoint, then looked at it outside of the van...it was a Peach Ladybug on the weatherstripping of my door jam. Obviously, Ladybugs are a sign of luck but they are also a sign of change, a sure sign of bringing blessings of abundance, and a symbol of taking action of your dreams.

Even looks like a little heart on it's right wing!!

I take signs seriously and was pretty stoked that I had not only seen one small sign, say one Butterfly or something of the sort, but I had seen 6 Butterflies (most of them different) and now this Ladybug that wasn't even the color of Red and Black, like I'm used to seeing! I know something big and maybe even scary is on the way but when you ask for change, change is what you're going to get!
Moving on....

Every morning around 6:45 I see a man coming to the only trash can on the beach, he spends about 25 minutes here and then leaves. It seems he either works for the condos or lives there and picks up trash on his way to the trash can, then takes whatever trash is in the can and takes it with him back to the condos (I'm guessing). 95% of the time he is on foot, but sometimes I see him on an ATV, that makes me think he may work there. 

I did however meet the guard that tends the gate at the soft, sandy road we came in on. A day or so ago, I was sitting outside doing one thing or another and a man rode down the soft sandy road on an ATV, drove over to the van, (he was dressed in a security guard type uniform), so in my thought process I was thinking he might ask us to leave. The man approached the van with a big smile on his face, he asked me if I spoke Spanish, I told him very little. We had a conversation in broken English and broken Spanish, laughing with each other that some words we just couldn't grasp. The man is the security guard at the gate for the condos, his name is Luis and is such a nice guy. Our conversation ended up going like this: After seeing how little or how much Spanish I spoke and providing names, he asked if we were camping here... I said that we were and waited for him to say something. He said he was the security guard for the barrios (neighborhood/condos) down the road and he had no problem with us camping here for as long as we wanted, for, to him, we were more eyes-on & security of the beach and the people in the condos, as well as anything else that seemed suspicious. I thanked him and he took my hand in his, put his other hand over the top of my hand, looked at me and said, "Now, we are friends." I said, "Si, si Amigo!" I can't help but just love it here. Everyone we meet is just like this and see us as help more than a problem...can't beat that!
Now, every day I see Luis on his ATV about 3 times a day, we wave and smile, it's pretty much like being neighbors...it's kind of cool!

I have yet to ask him what this trap type thing is by the trash can. I thought maybe for crabs but it's just so random and odd...if anyone wants to leave a comment on what you think or know it is PLEASE leave a comment...I'm dying to know what it is! 


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*Baja ~ The first few days on the Dune beach

Days 8, 9 & 10
We have been parked on this beach just North of La Paz for a few days now and couldn't be happier with our choice to park here.
The first couple of days we got settled in, relaxed and laid out in the Sun, getting some good base tan. I can take a lot more Sun and element than Jamie can, so I think I was in the Sun most of the day, for 3-4 days straight, before I needed a bit of a break.

The tide comes in and out as usual, but doesn't come anywhere near the van, so that was a great thing to figure out and know after a few days so we wouldn't have to lay awake at night wondering if we were going to get sucked into the water! haha (Yes, I have quite the imagination...but you never know).

 I love walking the beach at Sunset with Chili Moon. My littlest one is a very curious gal and is learning about the water, waves, birds and all of the different smells for the first time...it's quite amazing to watch her grow, especially at her age (6 y.o.).

This is a sand dollar. They start as round "balls" that turn flat within time. Sand Dollars are actually Sea Urchins!!!
Mama and the Moon

A little bit at a time...she goes in a little deeper every day!

I am learning that with the tides coming in and out, and probably due to storms, there is a lot that washes up on this shore...mostly dead stuff, everything always fascinating to see. With that, I apologize that most of my pictures may seem morbid but it's what is washing up and what I am seeing daily...the circle of life!

Seal. Curious to know what that perfect circle hole is on the body...??

A lot of coral washes up every day with the tides

A dead Blow Fish has Chili Moon very curious
Shell. Feathers. Big dead fish.

A very brittle skeleton of a Manta Ray....I think!

There are boats coming and going all day long, but mostly between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Some of the boats have company names on them but most look like locals that are taking visitors out to snorkel. We have seen some really nice boats out here and for some reason, they all seem to motor right in front of where the van is parked....we're going to have to figure out why, I know it's definitely not because of the van, even though we do seem to get oogled at! haha 

At the times where I seem to not be able to find anything to do (I know, I know I'm on vacation), I am tanning, wading, wire wrapping, coloring, reading, working out, learning some tricks with my hula-hoop & taking long walks with Chili Moon. 

Making jewelry on the beach

 About the 3rd day we were here, I put my wet suit on to go for a swim but once I got out & under the water, my goggles started acting up. I didn't think this was a problem since I'm a swimmer & brought 4 other pairs of goggles but out of all 5 pairs, not one pair would work in the water, due to bad rubber, breaking straps, leaking or the lenses being too scratched . I had to go without, which made the experience much less enjoyable and wrote goggles down on the next shopping list.

Ready to go...will the goggles work this time!?

I'll let you know how it goes in the next post!


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Monday, April 11, 2016

*Baja~ Valentine's Day a different way

Day 11
  Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers out there!
We don't celebrate Valentine's day but we did go shopping so it kind of seemed like a celebration to us. We got a few things to make a nice big breakfast, so the morning of the 14th I cooked us up a great big fatty brekkie that was to die for!

We had bacon (which was much thinner than what we're used to but very delish), farm fresh eggs, I chopped up a fresh white onion along with some amazingly fresh, thick Chorizo (yum) with half of an Avocado, mix that in with some Dirty Chai on the side (brought from the States) and you have yourself the "Breakfast of Fatties"!!! I don't think I did much for a couple of hours after that one!

A little later on in the day, we decided to go for a swim. To catch you up on the things around camp, first though.... In the mornings right after sunrise, I am usually out reading while I make Chai or coffee. I see the same two guys walking the beach collecting trash that has washed ashore the night before. We started talking due to the trash collecting, because I have been doing the same thing during the days and it became a conversation piece when they saw a huge chunk of the beach didn't have trash on it anymore. I met them (Peter & friend, retired Canadians) and every morning we would meet-up around coffee time and talk about different things. Yesterday I asked Peter if he knew why all of the snorkeling boats come right to the water in front of the van, he said, "They come out here because this is where the Whale Sharks are." You could imagine my excitement as I heard this and now was even more totally stoked to get in the water to see one of these amazing beasts! They grow to about 40 feet long and feed off of Plankton, so they are totally safe to be around since we don't become part of their food chain. With this information, NEW goggles for both of us and a now digested belly, we decided to get in the water and go for a little underwater sight-seeing.

 I put my wet suit on but Jamie doesn't have one so he went in with just his board shorts. The water was a little chilly at first, but once you get used to it it's not too bad, plus it was a pretty hot and sunny day so that always helps. 

We stayed in the water for about 30 minutes but didn't see anything more than each other and a Blow Fish that I scared the crap out of when I swam over it. We had fun though and got some pretty good exercise in, so that's always a plus!

Something strange was captured on film that day!

As we dried out, it was still pretty early in the day so Jamie decided it was time to switch the tire on the back of the dirt bike. He learned when he went for that ride with Al & Tom in Mulege, that before he rode it again he would need to change the tire to a more suitable tire for the terrain. The old tire was a Shinko Hybrid street tire that he changed to a Sedona, we brought the tire with us so we wouldn't have to try to find it in Mexico or have it shipped if we ended up needing it.

The rest of the day was pretty much laying out, relaxing and watching the boats cruise North and South as well as watching the birds scream at each other and dry out their wings. 

There are so many different kinds of birds around here and they are always yelling and screaming at each other, some dive bomb other birds in the air while some run after them on the shore...it's quite entertaining!

As the Sun started to set, Chili Moon and I went for our nightly Sunset stroll and I noticed the water is starting to get really choppy and rough, so there may be a storm coming through. 

Grumpy Blow Fish

Not sure what this was, but it was big

That dead Seal from a few days ago

When I got back, I started making dinner and went to take a picture of the lights lighting up around La Paz...but my camera lens wouldn't come out. I tried 3, 4, 8, 12 times, I couldn't get it open at all, it wouldn't even turn on. I knew the battery was full so I started to panic and the evening was starting to turn very sad all of a sudden. I asked Jamie if he could try to get it to work and since he's "The Fonz" and all, of course he got it to work! I have always had problems with electricity and anything that has to do with power, whatever I can't get to work in a hundred tries, he or anyone else will try once and it works like nothing is wrong at all. Jamie says this is due to my 2 near death experiences so I'll just go with that, either way, we seem to always have success in the end....and now that my camera is working again that's what counts right now!


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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Day 7 *Baja~ Tecolote. La Paz. Beach Camping

February 10, 2016
If this life is anything...it's ever-changing!
We woke up this morning and the wind was just as strong if not stronger than when we arrived last night. The sky was nice, clear and the bluest of blues, so we didn't think anything of a storm coming through. 


I couldn't even make coffee or breakfast outside due to a few factors, the wind being so strong I couldn't keep a flame burning if I could even get the stove to light at all and sand was being blown everywhere. I would have just made everything inside but after hanging out for about a half an hour, while feeling out the area and discussing options once again & what our goals were, we decided to pack up and scout out a different spot.

Playa Tecolote

We thought maybe the wind was so strong because of the side of the water we were on or maybe there was a storm coming, maybe the wind wouldn't be so bad on the other side of this hill....? There is a hill that is at the end of the peninsula where a house sits, there are a couple of roads that go up and around it. 

Last night, I had gotten up due to a bright light shining inside the van at 4 a.m...I thought someone was shining a flashlight into the side window, it was soo bright it startled me awake. I got to the front seat of the van to look out and saw the brightest light and thought to myself, I don't remember a Lighthouse up there...but it was kind of dark and I was driving. 

After sitting and looking at it for probably a half an hour, seeing it move around, I figured out that it was a 4x4 truck with Baja lights on it...man those things are BRIGHT!

After telling my story to Jamie about the hill, we pretty much threw everything back in the van that we had to take out last night, and started driving to the other side of this hill, sans breakfast and coffee.
The views from the hill are just spectacular. We probably would have just camped where you see the van parked in the picture below, but there is a little house there that comes right to the road that wraps around the hill, so that wasn't possible. 

Once we started driving around the hill, it pretty much just turns into an ATV/off-road trail, but it looked easily passable for any vehicle. There is a small inlet looking area, where you could camp but there was an RV there and certain parts of this area were caution taped off, so we just kept on driving, not knowing if the RV and area closure were related. Driving on down the dirt trail, up ahead we could see some nicely built, big houses. We came to a guarded gate in front of a humongous house (I think it was a house), the guard came out to talk to us and pleasantly told us we would have to turn around to get back to the asphalt, we could not pass through this area....must be some high rollers in there! We turned around and went back down the trail but instead of going around the hill, we drove through the dune trail, until we were back on beach sand.

There seems to be a couple of restaurants and a bar here at Tecolote, none of them looked open but maybe it was the not so great weather and no one was out...but definitely looks like it could be a fun place if the wind had died down just a little bit. 

It also seems that they might do Whale Shark, snorkeling, Sea Lion and Island Tours by boat from here as well, as they had signs up promoting this.

From Tecolote we drove back to La Paz, the GPS taking us down a different road than the one we drove down last night. We saw a couple of more spots that we may have been able to camp at or at least make for an overnight spot, for they seemed to be popular spots and not that big of an area, but definitely beautiful. 

 As we drove, we started coming into big industrial areas and the Baja Ferry sits right in with these areas with a lot of Semi-truck and Federale Traffic, so we decided against coming back to camp around this area.

Back into La Paz we were, although it kind of feels like the U.S. with the Burger Kings, Office Max', Office Depot and Sears!!
We were able to drive down a few streets that were blocked off when we drove in due to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), although the fair rides and tents were still up, the roads weren't all closed. 
 We needed to get online to check some things and update family so we went to where we thought the best, fastest internet would be...Burger King! Plus, we needed to eat since we were running low on blood sugar at the moment. We parked in the parking area for Burger King which is free to patrons but if you want to use the restroom it costs 20 pesos!

 The food seemed the same, although I couldn't relate what mustard (mostaza) was at the time (I didn't want it on my Whopper but got it anyway) but the soda was flat and even a little warm, but we didn't get sick, so that's a plus! The play area was the biggest play area I've seen since I lived in Orlando. 

After eating, I walked outside to get some pictures of the beach and boardwalk and thought it was funny that the cashier from Burger King was getting food from one of the Festival vendors!

The Burger King internet was pretty good it was definitely better than the hour we paid near Santispac! We decided after checking everything and updating everyone to go find a place to park, not only for the night but probably for at least a week or two. We left La Paz Centro and drove back North, where we came in from Hwy 1, and from there took a paved road that forked more toward the Gulf than inland at a Pemex station, to a really long washboard dirt road (probably 7-8 miles). 

Once you get toward the end of the washboard road, there are trails that lead everywhere from the beach to a more marsh-like area to what seemed like a private Ranch but could be a neighborhood. We decided to keep going toward the water and rode up a hill that either leads straight to the water or you can drive another 10+ miles on the graded dirt road to the South. 

The first time up this road, we went straight to the water. We could tell there is a lot of traffic through this area by the way the soft sand looks but, and it is very soft sand, so without our tires aired down, we punched through it and got to the sand down by the water which is a bit harder and easier to ride on.

We drove down the beach to the South about 10 miles, turned around and drove back North to the entrance, then another 10 miles or so. 

The North end of the beach doesn't seem to get as much traffic due to the "moving dunes" and rockier areas, that at high tide cut the dry sand out of the equation completely. 

After not really finding any good places that we felt secure enough to set-up camp, we turned around and went back out where we entered the beach area then drove down the washboard road another 7 miles South (toward La Paz) until we got to a gated area (this area leads to the condos). At this point, we thought we had wasted a whole bunch of time on a beach that we can't camp on, due to the tides coming up too close to the dunes, but when we got out to walk around and stretch our legs we found a really soft sandy road that drove right along the fence line. We figured we didn't have anything to lose to try it so, we turned down the road and drove. This road wasn't graded, nor washboard, it was a super soft, soupy, sandy road...I'm not sure the van had ever been on such soft sand before. Joon did pretty good until we got to a certain point of the road where it got just a little bit hilly and she started to have maneuvering issues. 

Airing down Joon's tootsies

We now stopped, aired down the tires to about 15 and went on with the drive...she now drove the road like, "What's the problem?"
  We arrived back on the same beach we had just left but the tide didn't look like it was coming up too high for us to park, so just in case, we tucked up into a dry area of the dunes with not too much leveling to do and turned her off for the day.

The dogs were sure happy to be out of the van, to run and play and smell all of the new smells! We were happy too, to be in a place we could (hopefully) park for a little while. 

All giddy

I think she likes it!

My happy babies

The place we are camped is great, doesn't seem to get much traffic and is pretty close to La Paz for supplies and our favorite word...FREE!!!!

I'll let you know how it goes. 

Until then...