Tag Archives: Baja

Scenes from Mexico

15 Feb


Since we’ve been in Mexico for almost 3 months, we figured we should share more pictures of daily life in Mexico.

Baja was a lot of immaculate beaches.


La Bufadora


San Isidro

San Quintin

San Quintin

Bahia de Los Angeles

Bahia de Los Angeles

Once you stepped off the sand, there were rocks, mountains, sand dunes, fields of farmland, desert, and even a date oasis.



Punta Santa Rosalilita

Steve Zissou in Punta Santa Rosalilita

San Ignacio

San Ignacio

Mainland Mexico has been quite different. Driving is a complete trip! No one can give proper directions, even the Americans-turned-Mexican. Everything is “just up there.” There are vendors set up on the side of a major highway so not only is it super dangerous for them to be there, you’d be insane to stop to buy something (though we have). And it’s not just one stupid person trying to sell something. It’s a looooong line of 25 vendors all selling frescas con crema or mamey. Solid lines mean nothing, blinkers don’t exist and stop signs– they might as well not even be there.

“Topes” or speed bumps appear in the middle of a steep declining turn without warning and occur throughout entire cities. Actually, wherever there’s a road, there are 5 topes, half of which are unmarked. Because you have to slow down at a tope, people stand at them selling goods (usually crap) or ask for donations.




Maps are deceiving and the GPS is semi worthless. You think you’re arriving at a major city because the map shows a big bolded name but really it’s a village of a few hundred with a market and maybe a gas station. And since the market is really just a corner store or temporary set up, the GPS doesn’t recognize it exists.

The coast has been beautiful and the mountains quite dramatic as towns appear in the valleys.San Blas 

San Blas

San Blas

The markets are fantastically packed with any item you could dream of–lots of food (prepared and raw) but also clothing and household goods. But you don’t even have to go to a market to shop. Food vendors are often set up on the streets and in town squares. Ladies push carts of produce and homemade treats for under a dollar and guys pedal garafones of water through the streets. It costs a dollar for a 5 gallon jug of water. It’s impossible to go hungry here.


delicious gorditas in San Miguel

delicious gorditas in San Miguel


Patzcuaro market

Patzcuaro market

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live birds for sale

live birds for sale


nothing beats a fresh churro!

Street performers are everywhere! Some, literally, in the middle of the street juggling fire, breathing fire, or doing acrobatics with a missing arm as you wait at a stoplight.


mariachi men
mariachi men

 And then you just see this happening on a random Tuesday…

quience photo shoot


We’ve started to see a lot more balloon vendors, especially in the main squares of big cities. There will be like 10 separate people each with dozens of filled balloons all lined up right next to each other. The only people carrying the balloons, however, are the vendors. I have yet to see a child, or anyone else for that matter, carrying a balloon.

Random thoughts/ month 8

26 Dec

About this time last year, the Key West Citizen, our daily newspaper, published an article about our upcoming travels (https://adventuresinskyhorse.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/article-in-the-citizen/).  It’s hard to believe that now, one year later, we are 8 months into our adventure.

This month we:

+ spent practically the entire month with fellow travelers Toby and Chloe and their dog Tia. After we met them on the streets in Guerrero Negro, we all just meshed so well and have been traveling together since. It’s been great experiencing this bizarre lifestyle with other Americans our age and sharing in the highs (and the lows) of life on the road.

+ were in San Roque for Thanksgiving and the days leading up to it.  While we were camped at Jack’s Baja property, we met Ken. Ken told us we must visit Bahia Asuncion and look up his friend Shari. We found Shari at her B&B who generously gave us a mountain of fresh fish and allowed us to camp on her San Roque property. San Roque is a teeny tiny village that offered gorgeous views and sunsets and extremely friendly locals (who gifted us lobster on Thanksgiving!).


Looking down on San Roque


Swarms of pelicans


Thanksgiving dinner, plus the unpictured “Thanksgiving miracle” pumpkin Dutch Oven cake

+ braved a horrible 11 mile washboard road at night to awaken in gorgeous Punta Chivato. Although the water was chilly, we had miles of beach and shells to ourselves. I was in shelling heaven!

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Saving the starfish

+ well, Hani really, has become a fire-building master. Since meeting up with Toby and Chloe, they have taught Hani their skill of creating and keeping the perfect campfire. We have had a LOT of awesome fires in the past month.

gathering firewood

gathering firewood


+ celebrated our first wedding anniversary on December 1st. Coincidently, that was also the day of our first blow out. Luckily, we had a new full spare and Toby was there to help. We spent the day walking around Mulege, changing the tire off the side of the road and Toby and Chloe cooked us a delicious dinner. It was definitely a first anniversary we will never forget!


+ relaxed in Bahia Conception for 5 days. The campground that had been recommended by other travelers was really packed so Toby and Chloe scoped out this fab free private beach for us all to camp. We kayaked a lot (mainly in search of firewood on other islands), explored the surrounding beaches, and swam/kayaked with a pod of dolphin.



Moby and Skyhorse down below


+ will never forget San Lopez Mateo. (See 13 hours post if you don’t know what I’m talking about)

+ stayed at Chloe’s family friend’s house in El Cardinol for a while. The dogs all had a ball lounging around the house and we loved sleeping indoors, cooking in a REAL kitchen and taking nice long hot showers. Thank you Susie and Mark!


+ snorkeled off Los Frailes beach in Cabo Pulmo, another free picturesque beach but with an aquarium below the surface. I snorkeled 3 times one day. It wasn’t Key West-lighthouse quality snorkleing, but pretty darn beautiful.


+ found the Walmart in La Paz. It. Was. Fabulous. 🙂

+ blew through Los Cabos (so touristy) to get to San Pedrito, an awesome surfer’s haven between El Pescadero and Todos Santos. We could have easily spent weeks there but we had already reserved our ferry ticket so all we got was a few days. The beach had such a great vibe between the people, sunshine and waves. I think this was my favorite beach in Baja.

ocean dotted with surfers just after sunrise

ocean dotted with surfers just after sunrise



+ ferried from La Paz, Baja to Mazatlan in mainland Mexico on the 21st. To board the 16 hour ferry, we had to drive in reverse up a narrow ramp and wedge ourselves between huge trucks. It was quite a feat and totally impressive that the workers are able to fit all the vehicles in perfectly with just enough room to squeeze by. These guys would kick my butt in Tetris.

Where's Skyhorse?

Where’s Skyhorse?

+ have been in Mazatlan for 4 days, including Christmas. The city is pretty big and packed with tourists. We stayed at our first legit RV park and that’s been expensive interesting. The antithesis of our beach spot in San Pedrito, the RV park is filled with giant RVs that haven’t moved in at least a month and will stay that way for the next 5. Our first night in town, we saw Catching Fire (the 2nd movie in the Hunger Games series) and had a fantastic experience! Not only were tickets $2 each in a comfy massive theatre, they sold freshly popped carmel corn–YUM! Christmas Eve was a different story. We thought that since Mazatlan was a big city, there would be a lot of events going on for the holiday. The old market, street food, and oysters fresh from the ocean (the guy was literally walking out of the water with a bag) were great but we wanted a cultural blowout for Christmas. That didn’t happen. We walked the streets for several hours looking for something–anything! We caught the end of the totally packed Christmas Eve mass, a lame street fair, and loads of silence. Dejected, we headed home and stopped in at a bar that looked fun, but ended up being weird and American. Ha! Not what we had in mind, but nevertheless, an experience. Christmas day we all went to Stone Island and soaked in the perfect weather.



Hani’s new toy: a spiderman parachute-kite

+ are continuing down the coast of Mexico to hopefully catch some more wonderful weather and surf just in time for 2014! 

13 hours

9 Dec

13 full hours. That’s how long it took to get Skyhorse out of the mud. That plus 2 friends, 3 cops, 7 locals, a front loader, a Dodge Dakota, a garbage truck and a semi wrecker. Oh and $533.

After being in the Sea of Cortez in Bahia Concepcion for a while, we wanted to quickly visit the Pacific Coast one last time before heading to the big cities in southern Baja (La Paz, Los Cabos). There are a few small fishing towns on the Pacific side off the stretch of highway between Loreto and La Paz, one of them being Puerto Lopez Mateos. There’s practically no information about this small village in any of our books but we decided to go anyway.

Caravanning with Toby and Chloe, we arrived in the town around 1pm and started looking for a beach to camp at. We had boondocking suggestions, but one was a nonexistent beach and the other was a rundown old parking lot. Feeling adventurous and craving a sunny beach day (it wasn’t sunny by the way), we followed a road we shouldn’t have in search of a beach to camp. There was no beach. Neither Skyhorse nor Moby (Carpe Viam vehicle) had any problem going out to this secluded muddy area but coming back was when shit hit the fan.

We were following Moby and saw them get stuck in the mud so Hani maneuvered Skyhorse down a different set of muddy tracks. Next thing we knew, we lost traction and slide off the path and sunk in muck.

That was around 2pm. The four of us spent an hour pointlessly attempting to free both vehicles. There was nothing around to give us traction as we slipped and slided in the mud. Not a soul was in sight either. Hani ended up dropping the motorcycle and, armed with a Spanish dictionary and photos of the truck and our location, we headed to town to the police station. They were BEYOND helpful and got a front loader (co-driven by a 10 year old) out to Skyhorse and Moby right away.

Moby was freed pretty fast.


Skyhorse was a totally different story. Not only were we so wedged in, we landed in the softest part of the muck.


The front loader kept getting stuck and had to be pulled out while completely tearing up what was left of the dry road. Before we knew it, we were all ankle deep in muddy water, completely filthy and freezing. With every teeny tiny step forward in freeing Skyhorse, we were set back ten fold by some dumb move on the part of all these cops and locals trying to run the show.




By nightfall, the garbage truck arrived (after approval from the town hefe) only to get immediately stuck in the mud.


I think at this point, the local guys realized they needed reinforcements. Since it was Saturday well after 5, there was no one else in town that could help. The other front loader’s driver had left for the night and taken the keys with him. Somewhere. It was either wait for him to return on Monday or drive to neighboring towns with a local guy Felipe until we found someone to help us.

At 9pm, Toby and I rode with Felipe down narrow dirt backroads in the blackness to 2 neighboring towns hoping the town bosses/front loader owners would have pity on us and come to our rescue. One guy made up some lame excuses and the other few weren’t home. We ended up driving an hour to Cuidad Constitucion, a bustling city. Felipe’s uncle, Rafael was our hero that night. He promised to meet us with his giant semi wrecker in Lopez Mateo. Toby, Felipe, and I picked up dinner (at 11pm) and made our way back, with a detour thanks to the lovely cops of Cuidad Insurgencia. We were thisclose to having our driver Felipe thrown in jail. Apparently it’s ok in Lopez Mateo to drive around with busted taillights and no license but not so much elsewhere. That would have just been the icing.

Surprisingly, we beat the wrecker back to the scene and waited another 30 minutes. As soon as the wrecker arrived and hit the soft mud, it got stuck. Now we had to wait for the front loader to come back and get the wrecker out. No joke. At 1:30am, the freed wrecker was finally hooking up its winches to Skyhorse.

Thus began the painfully slow process of pulling Skyhorse out of the mud. It took until 3am but it happened! And amazingly with no damage. The joy of our freedom was swiftly crushed when everyone and their mother started asking for money. We ended up paying $500 for the tow and $33 to Felipe for gas. Toby took care of the front loader and gave some more to Felipe because that guy was seriously the man. He drove us all over the place and he really didn’t have to. I think we all now need to name our first born Felipe.

The next morning (well, afternoon), we cleaned off the layers of caked on mud and plant-life as best as we could and returned to the scene of the incident. This area is completely impassible. I am shocked the police didn’t fine us for tearing apart their land. Thank god it wasn’t a preserve or anything but it was left pretty horrible shape.




So that was our Saturday. How was yours??

A day of thanks

30 Nov

Thursday morning was tough. It was the first day I really felt homesick. Yes, I know, home is where the heart is. But my heart was stuck somewhere between Miami and Key West. It was the first Thanksgiving that I hadn’t spent with my parents in Miami. We were missing the cooking, the laughter, the ordeal of setting the table and choosing the right wine. The turkey, the homemade cranberry sauce and my favorite dessert: my dad’s pumpkin pie.

The day before we had received emails from two friends in Key West with updates on everyone’s happenings. I was so happy to hear what’s been going on but at the same time it made me miss Key West and our life there. Since we’ve left, a few friends have bought homes, 3 engagements and 2 weddings have been celebrated, and 5 babies have been born with a few more on the way. I am beyond thrilled to hear about all these joyful occasions but sad I can’t be there in person celebrating. And I feel like an email, text or Facebook message doesn’t adequately relay my excitement but unfortunately it will have to do for the next few months. And while we are celebrating in spirit, we can’t wait to celebrate in person at some point in time.

Our Thanksgiving day was very untraditional but a lot of fun. We spent the day in San Roque parked at a new friend’s house with Toby and Chloe of Carpe Viam.


We explored the coast on the motorcycle, walked the beach and collected firewood for our evening cookout. We feasted on gifted lobsters and fish, veggies and baked potatoes, our favorite wine, and even managed to bake a pumpkin-bread-oat thing accurately named the “thanksgiving miracle”.


In all, it was a fabulous day with wonderful new friends. We truly have a lot to be thankful for today and always.



Random thoughts/ month 7

26 Nov

This month we:

+ drove in the madness that is LA. We made the mistake of going from Redondo Beach to Pasadena and back then to Burbank and back again. Highway after freeway and accidents and traffic. Hell. BUT it was worth it to see friends and Hani’s cousins.

+ babysat identical twin 2 year olds, changed a few poopy diapers, fed several bottles and discovered a new found love for p-juggie all thanks to the Goodstadt clan. My best friend from high school, Jana, settled in Redondo Beach and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to play with her twins and 2 month old baby for a few days. We had a great time with all of them and the boys loved chasing the dogs around their house. I was even included in their family Halloween costume as the Village People. Fab time.



+ were visited by my parents who traveled “with” us for a week. They stayed in hotels, rented a car and followed us on the highway going a steady 50mph from landmark to landmark. It was amazing spending time with them in Newport Beach, Del Mar, San Diego, Yucca Valley and Palm Springs. After being away from home for so many months, it was a nice change of pace to have home brought to us. We went to the San Diego zoo, had some great meals together, and celebrated our anniversary early with them. Round two in a few months?


+ hit another national park–Joshua Tree. This park was a different experience for us, as we camped outside the park at my parents hotel instead of staying inside. The park was quiet and simply a gorgeous barren desert. Completely the opposite of all other national parks we’ve been to.


+ spent an embarrassing number of nights parked in the San Diego zoo parking lot. It was safe, dark and no one bothered us. And we got 3 free passes for being the coolest vehicle in their lot.

+ are supporting Movember in honor of our good friend Kevin’s father, George, who passed away from prostate cancer 3 years ago. Hani is growing out a rad (ridiculous??) mustache that I’m sure is the envy of all Mexicans. You can donate to this wonderful cause at http://www.mobro.co/hanidemetrious. Last year, our Key West team, the Southernmost Sellecks, raised almost $10,000 and are well on their way to surpassing that this year. Thank you to all of you who have already donated!


+ had our friend Jaime meet us in San Diego for a weekend. After my parents left, we headed back to San Diego to catch up with Jaime and explore more of the city and surrounding areas. It was great to reconnect and decompress before crossing into Baja.

+ are hopelessly addicted to Breaking Bad. Though we never got into the show while it was on TV, we bought seasons 1 and 2 in a thrift store in Alaska. After getting hooked, I ended up buying 3 and 4 on amazon and had them shipped before we left the states. Last week, season 5 finally came out for purchase and I. Need. It. Now the question is, how the heck do we get it sent to us down here??!! Suggestions??? I’ve resorted to rewatching the previous seasons but can’t wait the 5 months until we’re back in the states to see the finale.

+ crossed into Baja California 11/13. Now that makes 3 countries we’ve visited so far.

+ have never seen so many stray dogs. I want to bring them all home with us and so does Olivia, Shae wants to eat them and Hani wants to feed them. Great.

+ spent a number of nights camped along the beach, a night camped in the desert, ate all kinds of tacos (beef, pork, fish, lobster) on the cheap and are finally staying on budget! Why didn’t we come to Baja sooner?


+ arrived at Jack’s other place a few days ago. Our camper twin Casa Azul’s owner Jack has a magnificent piece of land on the beach on the pacific side where north and south Baja meet. It’s off an obscure dirt road, extremely remote (no water, stores, fuel…nothing) but surprisingly home to a bunch of people and a surf camp. We spent 4 days walking the beach, shelling (there are tons of sand dollars and pearlescent giant conchs), exploring the sand dunes on the motorcycle and just taking in the breathtaking views.



+ met a Spanish speaking dog. There is just something hilarious about a dog obeying to “siéntate”.

+ bought tasty (and cheap) lobsters off a fisherman. Not the same as catching our own but since we missed the Key West mini season, this will have to do.

+ stopped at 2 military checkpoints. The guards did a very basic search of us, just the same as other vehicles. They were polite and curious about seeing the ins and outs of Skyhorse. They never asked to see our passports, vehicle info or any documents on the pups.

+ entered Baja Sur yesterday and ran errands in Guerrero Negro. While filling up our water tanks, we saw Toby and Chloe of Carpe Viem! It’s always such a treat to randomly run into people you’ve only known online. We had an awesome (fancy) dinner with them and are off together for the beach then continuing south toward La Paz. Hopefully we’ll be meeting up with some other travelers who are a few days ahead of us.


25 Nov

We crossed into Baja California almost two weeks ago, opting to enter in Tecate, just west of Tijuana. Everyone had told us that Tijuana is confusing and just a big bad city. Tecate, on the other hand, is much quieter and significantly smaller. So much so that we were the only vehicle crossing at that time. Had I not asked where we get our tourist visas, we would have simply entered the country none the wiser. The whole process took less than 10 minutes and $50 and off we were.

The day before, I was scrambling to do last minute everythings: get special food, stock up on truck parts, call our credit card company, unlock our cell phones, update our Garmin, top off the propane, buy car insurance and print the policy. And on and on. By nightfall, I was still on the phone finishing these last details right up until we lost signal 15 miles north of the border. It was such a fitful day, I didn’t really sleep well, thinking there was more we needed to do before we left the states. I hate being rushed, especially for the unknown.

But the morning came and the uneventful border cross left me feeling even more unprepared. Typically, we drive until we find a scenic spot to park for the night. We park for free and try to avoid campgrounds. Since we don’t need to hookup for water or electricity, it’s pointless to pay for a less beautiful spot we could find for free. In Baja, we were advised not to boondock and to park at night in designated campgrounds. We bought this awesome book that is basically the bible on camping in Mexico. I neglected to crack it before we started driving.

So we hit Ensenada, the first major city south of the border with a long list of to dos (food, get SIM cards and pesos, do laundry…) and no planned place to sleep. We settled that night last minute in a beach campsite in La Bufadora, just south of Ensenada, for $10.

We ran our errands the next day (marveling in clean laundry that someone else did for us) and stayed in La Bufadora but moved to a cliff site spot for $6 a night.


Baja requires planning.

Our daily goal is be parked at a site well before sundown. You never know if the roads ahead are under construction (read: impassable) or if you’ll find an actual grocery store in the upcoming teeny tiny town or just a corner store with canned goods. I realize how horrible my Spanish is and it’s frustrating not being able to communicate. Hani barely speaks a word of it so he relies on my Spanglish to get by. And it’s definitely an adjustment paying to camp nightly and for water. We heard that it’s difficult to find propane but well cross that bridge when it comes.

On the up side, it’s gorgeous down here. We’ve been trying to hit as many beach campsites as possible, finding long stretches of ocean, sand and shells. Maybe there’s another camper at a site but usually we have the area all to ourselves. The dogs have loved being off leash and exploring with us.

As soon as you set foot off the beach, you are in the high dry desert packed with insane cactuses of every variety. Towns are very remote and run down, which I wasn’t really expecting. I thought, after everyone saying they vacation in Baja, it would be one big packed beach and towns built up. The Baja 1000 race just happened and I am surprised that more people didn’t stick around. But I guess that’s the draw to Baja, the remote seclusion you get being the only person on a beach.