During the entire trip we had only two eight-hour driving days: one from Catavina to Guerrero Negro south, and the other Bahia de Los Angeles to Santo Tomas coming north. The normal process was to pick RV parks that provided electricity and water with an option of black water dumping. Going down it seemed we had hookups each night. Coming north the opposite in that we seemed to dry camp a great deal along Bahia Conception. Our beachfront locations, emerald blue Sea of Cortez, the company of other RVers, the sun rises and sunsets have completed a long awaited adventure for Glyn and I. In a number of dry campsites, local merchants brought us water, shrimp, fish, fruit, vegetables, tacos, propane, and on one occasion the fellow drove up with in excess of thirty 20 inch pizzas for sale.
?January 23, 2007
Playa 206 RV Park,
The owner is a Brit and hails from Waymouth England. He has divided the campground into two areas and they were very specific. The rear area was reserved for large rigs and caravans, while the area closest to Mex 1 was reserved for smaller groups, single travelers, or small rigs. All sites had power, water, and sewer. The facilities were clean, and his 8-year-old son was on hand after school to answer any questions or to assist in directing you to a campsite. His English was excellent and the accent identical to his father?s.
Of note: Arrived on Thursday and it was fiesta night at the restaurant. For $10 it was dinner, music, dancing, and the Tecate (beer) was cheap. Being very responsible, Mike closed the activities down at 11 p.m. and one could only hear the passing of trucks as they left Cuidad Constitucion.
If you want to go whale watching, see Mike, the owner. If you go into town to shop, you will notice Lays ? the Safeway or Extra Foods of the Baja. There was another Mercado one block further north with great prices. Don?t forget to stop along the side of the road at one of the many fresh orange vendors. A sack of fresh oranges can last two weeks. If you take along a juicer, in the morning while the coffee is brewing, a large glass of fresh orange juice with plenty of pulp will be a welcome start to your day.
No water, no hydro, no black water hookup, but due to RVers? efforts, it now has two cement encased pit toilets. Entrance to the boondocking beach area is the second road at Km 98 marker south of Puerto Escondido. The first road is for permanent residences and has no public beach access. Turning around can be a problem. We met another Canadian from BC who spends in excess of four to six months in the area. His fishing skills provide much of the fresh fish for the beach. The beach campground has a rear area suitable for camping if the beachfront sites are full, but care should be exercised as turkey buzzards invade the date palms each night to roost. One poor RVer, who did not heed the warnings, awoke next morning to turkey buzzards exercising their morning ablutions and with no fresh water, the results can be a mess!
No one came by to collect any fees and we stayed for four days. Bob and Kay loaned us their canoe and we paddled around the shore exploring the coves and beach shoreline.
On one trip, Bob and Kay returned most excited as they were surrounded by dolphins intent on inspecting this strange fish on the surface of the water.
In every town of significance we stopped, purchased the necessary staples, did our washing, and ate from the local sidewalk cookouts. Friendly, friendly, friendly, and very seldom did we pay more than 10 pesos for a great taco.
In major centres we stayed at RV Parks and had the use of their wireless Internet. Other places we drove into town and hooked up with the Internet, but then again at other locations we hijacked a wireless signal and logged on.
With regards to water: we filled up in San Diego, our morning coffee water came from High River (10 gallons). Prior to dry camping we would fill up our washing water. For Glyn?s ice cube water, we purchased from local merchants. Otherwise we had no problems whatsoever.
Everything was paid for in cash. The use of VISA was limited to two large grocery stores. Gas stations were cash only ? filling my tank easily drank up $50 to $60 (500 to 600 pesos) each time.
We bargained in stores for solid items, like jewellery, pottery, and clothes, but not for food. The merchants who came around to our campsite knew that others would be around or had been around and kept their prices fair. If it was too high, no sale.
El Requeson, Bahia Concepcion
No water, no power, no sewer hookups but the setting is breathtaking, and just to confirm it is a small world out there we found out our next door neighbour was Ron Carrier of Warfield BC who had just taken possession of a screen door from my son-in-law, Steve Knox of Rossland BC.
While in camp a tropical shower hit us and substantially improved the available fresh water for all vegetation. The mangrove forests were vivid in their greenery. The Organ Cactus had one to four vertical arms that were 10 times more green compared to their bases.
The morning sun cut through the fifth wheel each morning with its early morning wake-up call. To sit on the beach at 5 a.m. with a fresh brewed coffee and watch the sunrise over the hill, to listen to the life of the beach welcoming another day, and to see no one to disturb the morning except the sound of some RVer still sawing wood . . . how much better could it get?
The area north of El Requeson was ideal for any kayak or canoeing activities and had crystal clear water that provided an excellent location to observe the life below the surface. Here no one came around to pick up our nightly fees. Vendors did arrive but were mainly the same ones day after day who were selling rugs, blankets, T-shirts, etc. We had no food vendors while we were there.
Villa Maria Isabel Recreational Park, Mulege
Hurricane John, in September 2005 changed Mulege and its surrounding areas. Up to three feet of mud invaded the outskirts destroying many permanent residences, businesses and the Villa Maria Isabel RV Park. New management was attempting to restore the campsite to its former glory.
During our one night visit, the propane that heated the water for the showers was not functional and we felt very lonely as we were the only ones in camp. At $22 US a night, we felt the services were less than satisfactory.
Playa Coyote, Baja Concepcion,
107 km north of Loretto
This was a major enclave of BC RVers and Mexican RVers. Each RVer backs onto the beach, or moves in lengthwise. The entrance was hard to find, does require some careful navigation, as your rig has to clear what?s left of a rock face. Once camped, there is an ongoing plethora of activities, including swimming for the hardy, hiking along the beach, horseshoes, volleyball, desert golf, nine-hole golf, plus a daily procession of vendors with fish, fruit, juices, water, propane, vegetables, and some meat. Prices were reasonable as numerous venders had the same product to sell.
This was the only boondocking where someone came around and collected $6 US a night. We asked and received a receipt, therefore no thought of double paying.
The sunrises were spectacular. As the ball of fire rose over the hill, the pelicans were constantly diving and catching fish. The shoreline was active with numerous varieties of seabirds. Happy hour tended to start around 3 p.m. with drop-ins encouraged. Here we met Bob and Tanna Burrus of Campbell River BC who, like us, had a Kit Companion 5th wheel. Chris and Pearl of Maple Bay BC, a very warm couple, were the unofficial beach hosts and stopped by to welcome new arrivals, and helped in addressing issues. Glyn and I walked. I hiked. We met other BC RVers and later started to wonder who was looking after the store at home!
RV Park San Lucas Cove,
Km 181 south of Santa Rosalia
The campground appeared deserted. There seemed to be a number of permanent Californian campers who had taken possession of the beachfront sites. As new arrivals we were requested to occupy the campsites to the rear of the beachfront. There was excellent fishing and the local fisherman made a daily processional through camp. The campground was well-maintained with designated pull-thrus. We found the two showers clean, the water hot and fresh water was available besides. There was a common dumpsite with water to flush. A gent appeared about 9 a.m. daily to collect $8 US.
Malarrimo RV Park
Spent another night at the Park and enjoyed another dinner at the Bar Las Cazueles Restaurant. The seafood platter was absolutely excellent. We gave the cook five stars and enjoyed meeting the owner and his daughter who joined us for liquors.
Bahia de los Angeles,
135 km north of Guerrero Negro
on Mex 1 highway
Turn right at the junction and 66 kms later is the Port of Bahia de los Angeles. The town was in the pre-discovery tourist stage when we were there in 2007. Everything including food stores, hardware, restaurants, and electricity was limited. The highway to Baja de los Angeles is excellent, and future plans were in the works for a large private marina to the north of the town. Triple sails were being erected at the entrance to the town and the road was under extensive renovations to make it two lanes either direction with adequate parking on both sides.
For $2 US a night, and an excellent location, we chose Brisa Maria RV Park. It was primitive with sewers but no water, no power but an excellent view of the bay. Tony, the camp host, delivered fresh purified water whenever necessary. The RV site was an old abandoned Mexican government construction site. Tony and Arsula Thompson had become the official caretakers and any profit or donations given to the local schools was to help offset their expenses. Tony migrated from 100 Mile House south of Williams Lake, BC and spends his six months in camp before returning to Canada for family and government regulations.
No sooner had we made camp when Tony asked if I would like to go fishing. An hour later we were a mile off shore and using octopus as bait, we hooked into a continuous flow of sea bass. Within two hours we had 20 each, 14 inches, plus in the boat. To our surprise we were followed and checkout by a school of eight dolphins.
Back at camp Tony gave 70% of our catch to two local workers who were currently installing a cinder block septic tank. Their gratitude was obvious as the workers left at 4:30 p.m. with enough fish fillets to feed their families for at least two days.
An hour later a local pango beached itself and sold fresh scallops. They were the size of Tim Horton?s ?tinbits?.
That night after a dinner of fresh scallops, fresh asparagus, fresh baby potatoes, a great bottle of two buck chuck (Charles Shaw Merlot), we sat outside and watched the stars in all their glory. Could life be any better?
The next day Tony mentioned that butter clams were available down by the lighthouse across the town. In company with Ralph McDougal, and 82-year-old retired US Air Force officer, we trooped down at low tide, spent 65 minutes digging up clams and filled two 5-gallon pails full. Upon our return to camp, we split our efforts between five RVers. That night clams were prepared and presented in five different ways, and the surplus was steamed, shucked, and frozen. Back in Canada they would become part of a fish chowder for our vegetarian daughter and family in Rossland, BC.
On the afternoon of the 9th, word came into camp that a car was imbedded in the sand down by the lighthouse. The tide was coming in. Tony raised the alarm. His voice can project to the same pitch as a drill master sergeant. He offered his truck as did Torrey Pine, another BC RVer. The rescue mission departed in a cloud of three 3500 Ram Dodges.
Time was critical as the tide was only 10 feet from the imbedded car. Torrey used his 18-wheeler tie down straps and yanked the car out of the sand. Tony with 1,000 lbs of fresh water in his box, also latched on and two 3500 Rams dragged the stranded automobile to safety.
With mission accomplished, they escorted the once stranded vehicle to the main road where it took off with generous waves. The word of the rescue mission undertaken by these Canadians quickly spread around Bahia de los Angeles. In town the next day, Torrey, Mike and other RVers from the park noticed a greater number of locals saying, ?Gracias?, and ?Buenos Dias?.
From Bahia de los Angeles it was a long drive north to The Fountain of Youth with only one night stay at Las Canadas Campamento in Ensenada. Our one night?s stay was during a tropical storm so we did not take time to look around.
We were up early and traveled north from Ensenda to the US/Mexican border at Tecate and were basically waved through by the American Customs. Holtsville was our destination but instead we spent the night dry camping in the desert after a relaxing soak in the sulphur hot springs east of Holtville.
While making camp in the dry camp area of the Fountain of Youth in California, we heard a familiar voice. Around the corner and in the process of setting up his own camp was a former fellow teacher, Don with his wife Jean VanKleek from Roberts Creek on the BC Sunshine Coast. This was the second time we had crossed paths and spent two hours finding out news from the Sunshine Coast since the time that Glyn and I had left there for our home in High River, Alberta.
?RVers are just one big extended family. It?s like reading The RV Times ?Letters to the Editor? section. How much information and suggestions can be gained by speaking with other like-minded travelers! It was great to travel with Bob and Kay Abbey and we would repeat any trip at the drop of the hat . . . that is after we purchase our new 5th wheel, or travel trailer!
BY ROBIN (and GLYN) HETHEY
Part 3 of 3