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2 In la paz/ the journal/ the life/ travel

Baja Road Trip: La Paz to California

In December we hit the dusty trail all the way up the Baja Peninsula for what we thought would be a two week road trip. Little did we know, this trip would lead to a long term change of scenery. (More on that later).

We rented a car and did our best to (over)insure ourselves as we knew we would be taking it into the States. We were honest about our intentions to take the car across the border, and we found Alamo in La Paz to be the most helpful and affordable under those circumstances.

A small portion of the drive was unpaved. Hurricane Odile damaged the highway and repairs were underway.

Only a small portion of the drive was unpaved. Hurricane Odile damaged the main highway and repairs were underway.

Leg One: La Paz to Loreto

Our first leg was a little over a four hour drive to Loreto. Loreto might be the most charming Baja town. Our digs for the night were at La Damiana Inn (for less than $40 USD). La Damiana is a small property of colorful, roomy casitas. The host (I wish I could remember his name!) offered us jamaica tea and cervesa when we arrived, showed us around, and gave us a great dinner recommendation. With that, we made our way to Orlando’s and filled up on margaritas, tortilla soup, and chile rellenos.

 

La Damiana courtyard

La Damiana courtyard

Leg Two: Loreto to El Rosario

We knew the drive from Loreto to El Rosario would be a long one, so we left at sunrise. The rule of thumb when driving the Baja Peninsula is to only drive during daylight hours. Cows are a hazard as they wander onto the roads at night.

Our dock neighbor in La Paz recommended the stop in El Rosario to make the final leg with the border crossing shorter. He also recommended we stay at the Baja Cactus Motel, (again less than $40 USD). Both suggestions turned out to be good ones. The hotel is also right next to the popular Mama Espinoza restaurant where Baja 1000 memorabilia covers the walls. We had a quick and tasty Mexican diner style dinner there.

Final Stretch: El Rosario to Tijuana

From El Rosario, we had a about a four hour drive to Tijuana. We arrived at the border around noon, rolled down the window to purchase short-term car insurance from one of the street vendors ($25), and were visiting with family in Southern California by 2:30 PM. Not too shabby.

0 In la paz/ mexico/ the journal

Muertos to Playa La Bonanza

From Muertos, we intended to head straight to La Paz, With a forecast calling for light conditions, we hauled up the anchor early to catch slack tide through the channel. We motor sailed along in the calm-as-predicted conditions, until out of nowhere the wind picked up to 15, then 20, then 20+ knots. Jeff was at the helm, and within minutes his favorite hat flew off into the ocean. Then the chop started to build. We continued to make progress toward La Paz even though the conditions were making for not-so-fun sailing. My handy (aka: poorly constructed) weather cloths blocked some of the splashes, but when Jeff started taking waves to the face, we decided to consider finding a place to call it a day. We could see Punta Morritos ahead, and with a little help from our cruising guide, we headed in to the white sand beach at Playa La Bonanza.

The 27 nautical miles between Muertos and Bonanza that took longer than we care to admit.

The 27 nautical miles between Muertos and Bonanza that took longer than we care to admit.

 

At anchor at Playa La Balandra

At anchor at Playa La Balandra

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and the water looked like this

The anchorage was completely empty when we arrived in the early afternoon. After the chop, the higher than expected wind speeds, and the much longer than expected day on the water we welcomed the calm turquoise hideaway. A few other boats arrived before sunset, but it was still a wide open beautiful anchorage. We went for swims, took showers, made dinner, and slept well that evening. The next morning we tried again for La Paz (and actually made it!)

 

Have we mentioned how much we love our solar shower

Have we mentioned how much we love our Nemo Helio solar shower?