The Second Law of Thermodymexico
When you stop putting effort into your hygiene, you will eventually look like a hobo after a bar fight. If you put up stop signs and add lines to a Mexican road, the population will eventually learn to ignore them. Our driving habits, like my attention to my appearance, are only getting worse.
Over the last few days we’ve been doing a lot of driving. It’s not what we envision for the entire trip, but we’re eager to get past the Baja peninsula. It’s not that we don’t like Baja, but we’ve already done the trip this year and are stoked to find our way Southward to places yet unvisited. Tomorrow we’ll be off to Mazatlan by ferry, and that will signal the beginning of unmarked territory for us. Besides swamp ass and hemorrhoids, all of the week’s driving has given us a new appreciation for Mexican long haul truckers, and has caused my attention to traffic laws to become more, shall we say, relaxed.
We made a long push in a single day from Bahia de los Angeles, through Geurrero Negro, and across the peninsula to the Sea of Cortez. We rolled right on through the French mining town of Santa Rosalia and into Mulege for an early taco dinner. Over the last week we’ve kind of overdone it on street tacos, and ended up ingesting way too much carne asada and pork. The resulting acid reflux reminded us that we really ought to diversify. This is Baja California, and the fish taco is king, so in Mulege we ate tacos de camaron y pescado.
We carried on and finally came to a stopping point at Bahia Concepcion. Usually this bay is calm and warm, so we figured we’d stay for a couple of days to relax. We made our way down a rocky road to a small cove and pulled up to a palapa on the beach. I still hadn’t landed any fish, so I planned to do some surf fishing off of a small island near our campsite.
As luck would have it, we woke up to high winds and cloudy skies from a storm that was rolling across the peninsula. I decided that instead of fishing, it would be a great idea to go paddle boarding. The winds were strong like bull, so I ended up paddling to the island and exploring it on foot. Sheena gave the paddle board a try and ended up falling off for the first time ever after being swiped by a rogue wind gust. The water was only waist deep, but I still basked in the sweet satisfaction at seeing her plunge into the chilly water, ending her eight month streak of not falling off. We rounded out the day with shark tacos and the first bottle of Nate’s World Wide Quadrupel, which were both great, and made the decision to cut our losses and push on the next day.
When we awoke our minds were already on the road before we emerged from the van to find calm weather and a glassy smooth bay. All signs said Stay Put, but so early in the trip we haven’t been able to shake our sense of urgency. Urgency to do what, I’m not sure. We lifted anchor and set off on the tortuous road once again on our push to get through the desolation of Baja California.
Our goal was to make it to Loreto, our favorite town on the peninsula, for breakfast before heading on to La Paz. We rounded a bend on one of the mountainous sections of road along a ravine and came across a full sized 18 wheeler that had tried to take the corner too fast. Its back end had skittered off the side of the road and both rear axles were suspended over the edge of a cliff. Its young driver sat on the side of the road with a shocked look on his face while a tow truck driver assessed the daunting work in front of him. I asked Sheena to take a picture but her pity for the driver made her unable to press the button. Like watching a hobo lose a bar fight and then taking his picture, it’s hard to kick someone when they’re down. No matter the entertainment value.
We made a quick stop at Loreto for breakfast of eggs, cactus, and chilaquiles and continued on. Really putting the “Drive” in Drive Nacho Drive. By evening we made it to La Paz, the capital and cultural center of the state. Cabo San Lucas may be the cruise ship, tourism, and college spring break drinking capital, but La Paz is a real city with real history and culture. After a dinner of stuffed potatoes and beans we parked and spent the evening strolling along the waterfront malecon. Entire families walked up and down the boardwalk late into the night, kids rode their bikes and rollerblades, a group of young people took turns dancing to a radio, and a young girl in sparkly red shoes pushed a stroller with a doll in it. Unbelievable. You know, the fact that Paris isn’t the only place left where people still rollerblade. The happiness of La Paz’s people wore off on us and we decided then and there that we would eventually settle down in a place where our children can enjoy the kind of community and outdoor living that we found in La Paz.
After another regretful night spent camping on the beach at Pichilingue next to a truck pumping polka music into the wee hours of the morning we bought our ferry tickets for Mazatlan, ate our breakfast sitting in folding chairs on a white sand beach, and then pointed Nacho south toward Cabo Pulmo. We passed a man grazing his goat on a leash in the median of a busy roadway, we emptied the contents of our library on the floor after hitting one of Mexico’s ubiquitous topes too fast, and I rolled through stop sign after stop sign in 2nd gear. In one case we rolled through a stop sign in front of a cop. I didn’t care. He didn’t care. The lines and signs are just a remnant of good intentions ignored.
Great story!!! Glad you are both still safe and having fun!
Comment by Pat Van Orden on January 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm
Ah, La Paz. I’m guessing the stuffed potatoes were at Rancho Viejo? Just so you know, I eagerly await every update from drivenachodrive. Amy and the girls are fine. NAU starts classes today. Back to the grind. But it’s only 159 days until Lisbon.
Comment by Jeff Rushall on January 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm
La Paz sounds marvelous! When you settle down there with your kids, be sure your living accommodations include a room for when Grandma visits! So are you at the point where you don’t want to look a taco in the “face” for a while? Sounds like you are getting your fill! Ah, if I could only have such a plight. Sigh.
Comment by Mom on January 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm
If you need a nanny for your kids in La Paz, sign me up!
Comment by Cindy & Harper Johnson on January 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm
So glad you took a minute to mention La Paz. I spent 4 days there once with my soon to be wife and had a wonderful time. It is a beautiful city with a lot of color and culture. Cabo on the other hand…
I’m anxious to hear how your ferry ride is to Mazatlan. I’ve always wanted to do that.
Comment by charlie on January 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm
you must really like LaPaz, that is a big U turn.
Comment by Ernie Wieber on January 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm
Whoa there, don’t get the wrong idea. We won’t actually be moving to La Paz. We’ll be eventually settling down in a place that has similar traits to La Paz. Where families go out in the evenings and play in the outdoors instead of being couped up in their tract homes watching TV. La Paz is nice, but not a future home for us.
Comment by Brad on January 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm
Not to be gross or anything, but I am a nurse, if you have any baby power apply to your sitting region and that will help with the swamp ass. I just don’t want to see your great blog hampered with the syndrome we all get from sitting/ riding in your van. I got your medical back! Keep the stories and pics flowing, I can’t wait to see what you guys have been up to.
Comment by Mike on January 18, 2012 at 4:22 am
Haste being the case, please remember to go slow for those of us who are vicariously involved, man! I always look forward to your writings from the road.
keep it safe.
Comment by Gnome on January 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm
Hi Sheena and Brad, Thanks for the pics Sheena, they were great. Love, Gramie
Comment by Grammie on January 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm
Your trip is our trip, good times.
Comment by Gabe McCarter on January 20, 2012 at 2:56 am
La Paz is awesome, and yes Mexicans still rollerblade. I clowned on Lauren so much back in the states she gave it up, but seeing all these guys cruising on the malecon has ignited a new vigor, shes thinking about picking up some new bladez (yes, thats blades with a z, you gotta make them cool somehow…)
Comment by James on January 22, 2012 at 3:00 am
@James: we’d love to meet up with you guys if we manage to cross paths. We’re in Mazatlan now and are going to San Blas next. Looks like we’re right behind you, but not sure how fast you’re moving. We’ll keep an eye out and see if we can make it happen.
Comment by Brad on January 22, 2012 at 5:04 am
Watch out for the no-seeums in San Blas, we figured the guidebook was exaggerating. It was not. Clear out from the beach come sunset!
Our blog is a week or so behind, were actually in the Yucatan peninsula now headed towards Cancun. We plan to spend at a month or so in Guatemala doing some spanish immersion so we will definitely cross paths there!
Comment by James on January 22, 2012 at 5:11 am
@James: After reading your comment about Lauren and her Bladez, Sheena confessed that she too thought they were super cool and was thinking about renting a pair tomorrow to go strut her stuff on the Mazatlan malecon. Maybe in Guatemala the girls can go shred on the Bladez. It would make a great photo.
Comment by Brad on January 22, 2012 at 5:25 am
We have been thinking about you a lot, enjoying the updates. Sorry you’ve had so many technical problems. Better luck with the fishing! We’re doing well and we love you.
Uncle Rley and Aunt Sally
Comment by Sally andf Riley Rice on February 6, 2012 at 3:34 am
Looks like you guys stayed at Daggetts too! We had a blast there, except the guy was pretty rude to us.
Comment by Brenton on July 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm