We’ve spent the last month in Baja. We drove down the entire peninsula (1100 miles) in 5 days to arrive in Jose Del Cabo. After a few months on the road, we’ve learned that not everything turns out as planned, evidenced by our zig zagging across the country to work on various projects. However, this part of our trip actually worked out super well for us, because our real estate client actually hired us to film a property in Cabo the same timeframe we were planning to make this drive. So the first two days we got to Cabo, we filmed a very luxurious home in the community of Palmilla. What Blake and I didn’t know before getting to Cabo was that there are some very ritzy areas of Jose Del Cabo, where a lot of celebrities and executives have multi-million dollar homes. And a lot of these homes are in resort style communities where they have staff to take care of everything; private night clubs, restaurants, and yacht clubs so they never even have to leave their community. It was hilarious driving the camper around this exclusive community. We didn’t fit in any of the streets, and we had to explain ourselves wherever we went. All of the caretakers told us no, no no, you cant be here, because of privacy issues, but we explained to them we were filming for the owner of the entire community, and just got our job done before anyone really complained. We filmed inside the exclusive Club 96 and filmed their staff making recipes from their menu; fancy pizzas and tacos and drinks, which of course we then got to sample afterwards. When we film a property, we always film the lifestyle in the area too, which for Cabo, includes deep sea fishing, kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling. We filmed all of these activities at this club, and then after making friends with the Activities Staff (whose jobs are to entertain rich people’s kids), they wanted us to also participate in the activities, so they invited us out to snorkel with them, stand up paddle, and told us if we come back another day they’d take us out sailing. We definitely took them up on the offer because these guys were so nice and went out snorkeling with them when we were done filming.
We found the perfect spot to camp while in the busy city of Cabo; on an empty beach lot right between two fancy resorts, otherwise known as a “desert reserve.” We call it Dreams because it’s right next to the Dreams Hotel. A few guys park there in the morning with horses to try to sell horseback riding tours to tourists, but other than that the lot was empty, and we stayed probably 3 nights. Cabo is so much busier and touristy and pricier than the rest of the Baja peninsula, so we didn’t plan to stay in the area for very long.
So after our long drive to Cabo, and a couple days of filming- can you believe this- we actually hopped on a plane and flew back to San Diego, leaving our camper at the Cabo airport for 4 days, to film another property in Rancho Sante Fe. This was a project that we took on right before starting our drive south, but just due to timing and weather, wasn’t able to get finished before our drive like we had originally thought and had to be finished up the week after. This is where we really appreciated that Jose del Cabo is highly developed and ritzy, so that we didn’t have to worry quite so much about leaving our camper at the airport with everything we own locked inside. The parking lot at the Cabo airport was tiny, and we were lucky to find a spot that actually fit our vehicle. One of the rows of cars was about 5 feet higher than the row behind it, and our bike carrier had to literally hang over the second row of cars, probably 10 feet off the ground. At least this would make it extremely difficult to steal the bikes that way! After 4 days back in San Diego, we thankfully got back to the camper with no issues, so we could resume our trip.
For the next ten days, a very kind friend of ours offered for us to stay at their beach house in Cerritos Beach, which is an hour north of Cabo. After the airport, we headed directly to the beach house. Three bedroom house with real kitchen, shower, wifi, laundry- what a treat. We had 4 days at the beach house before Blake’s family and two of our friends were planning to meet us, and used this time to knock a few of our editing projects off our plate. We also spent one of those days getting on the dirt bikes to scout out the trails for when our friends arrived so they could ride with us. The owner of the house recommended a local guy, Irby, to take us out, and he took us on a half day ride on a dirt jeep road through the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. I couldn’t even believe how green these mountains were as I’d expected most of Baja to just look like desert.
Blake’s parents and brother, and our two friends Sean and Ian, were visiting us at the beach house over the next week. We planned activities for the whole week of their visit, but the problem was, we didn’t do a very good job coordinating everyone’s flights, and since the beach house was an hour away from the airport, we ended up spending a lot of time during their visit figuring out logistics of transportation. This gave us a very good lesson for the next time we hope to have anyone visit us! The first day, Blake, Sean, and I kayaked to the arch in Cabo. (Side note- last time that Sean, Blake and I had a camping weekend, it included a side of the road brake job on our truck, a monstrously hard trail where Blake had to pretty much ride all three bikes, Sean needing a stitch behind his ear, and 3 flat tires on our trailer- one of which resulted in me and Sean waiting on the side of the road in Grand Junction, Co with the trailer while Blake had to drive to get a spare for our spare. So we seriously needed to redeem that weekend!!) We didn’t start off so well- when we got out the inflatable kayak we found a leak, but luckily we were able to patch it pretty quick. Even though our kayak says it fits 3 people, we’ve only done 3 people in it before when its two small girls and Blake, so fitting me and two boys was not very comfortable, but we made it work anyway. I got to fit uncomfortably in the middle and not paddle. The ocean waves were a bit stronger than we’d guessed, and a bunch of bigger motor boats kept going past us taking people on tours to see the Cabo arch. Anytime one of these tours went past, we had to position ourselves in the kayak to take on the waves perpendicular so that we wouldn’t tip, and often each time kept losing our progress. We eventually made it far out enough to get a view of the arch and even risked getting our phones out for a pic, but the waves were raging us and we needed to get closer to shore to get out of the way of the bigger boats. We made it back without tipping, which I consider to be a win.
After Ian and Blake’s parents arrived that afternoon, we went to meet them at the biggest grocery store in Cabo to stock up for the week because we knew that there would only be small little markets closer to the beach house. Blake and I had previously been to this grocery store, and had parked in their parking garage with surprisingly tall ceilings. This time however, we approached from a different side of the street, and pulled into a different entrance to the garage. We were running late to meet his parents, so even though Blake, being responsible, told me to jump out of the car and check if we were okay to enter, I egged him on to just drive in because we’d been there before, and he listened to me. SO DUMB! Never making that excuse again! We hit the top of two of our crates on the ceiling, and ended up having to back up and inspect the damage. We were just glad we didn’t hit the AC unit, and only one of the crates was completely ruined. Luckily nothing inside the creates was damaged either.
After successfully gathering all of our visitors and groceries, we headed to our beach house, and to the local pizza spot (surprisingly good pizza for Mexico!) at the complex we were staying at. Irby, who previously took Blake and I dirt biking, was supposed to have bikes to rent for Sean and Ian, so we had planned this for the next day. Unfortunately, he canceled last minute, so the boys took turns riding my bike and Blake’s bike to a few of the neighboring beaches. In Mexico, the beaches are all owned by the government so they are considered public land and anyone can use it, so a lot of people drive right onto the beaches. However, some of the beaches are designated as turtle hatching areas where you aren’t supposed to drive. All Blake talks about in reference to Baja is ripping through sand on a beach, so we made sure they all got to do that at a different beach further from the house.
Cerritos Beach by our house was more of a surf beach with heavier waves, and it was actually quite shady and even cool while we were there, so unfortunately we weren’t very inclined to actually get into the water. We did just enjoy walking and people watching on the beach and watching all the surfers which I’d never really seen before. There were quite a few great surfers there, and we saw maybe 15 foot waves in the evenings, but also a lot of locals trying to sell you hats, blankets, surf lessons, etc. On one of our coordinated trips to the airport for Ian to fly home, we took everyone back to the Cabo beach where we made friends with the activities staff, and they took all of us out sailing. It was probably only 70 degrees and cloudy, so not the best weather to want to get in the water, and Sean and I unknowingly sat in the front seats of the catamaran and got pounded with waves the entire time. The water was actually warmer than the air, so we ended up being okay with it. The friend who took us on the boat kept pointing out spouts of water he was seeing in the distance from whales, but didn’t see any up close. (Winter is whale season in Baja and we’d hoped to see some while here!).
The next day Blake’s brother Clinton, arrived to Cabo for his portion of the visit, and Blake orchestrated a one of a kind airport pickup with help from Irby. We learned while riding with him the first time that the jeep road he took us on actually goes all the way to the Cabo airport 60 miles away, so Blake organized that we would all ride in the morning, with Sean on a rented bike, and show up at the airport right when Clint got there. Blake’s parents would drive the car and meet us there. I would return with Blake’s parents so that Clinton could ride back to the house. We packed extra gas and a couple hours later we showed up just 5 minutes after they’d picked him up, and the surprise worked. Blake told him to gear up because he was riding home. Clinton’s reaction was priceless. Blake made the sacrifice and rode my small bike home.
We had such a great time with family visiting. This was our early Christmas, since we didn’t plan to go home for Christmas this year. On the last night of everyone’s trip, we had the most amazing sunset.
We dropped Clinton off on the morning of the 20th at the Cabo airport. We had taken the toll road from our beach house, and realized we were low on gas right after getting on the toll road, but calculated we would be fine to get gas at the airport. Right after dropping him off, we made it to the Pemex and filled up diesel. Two minutes into our drive away from the Pemex, the engine dies and we sputter to a stop on the side of the road. Blake thinks it can only mean that we got bad diesel or need to change our fuel filter. People had warned us that the diesel in Mexico has a higher water content and that we need to carry extra fuel filters, and we one up right away after hearing that warning. Problem was, we didn’t realize the bolt to the fuel filter was an odd size that we didn’t have in our tool kit. Before we even really had to think about how to possibly solve this issue, two other pickups pulled over- one with two local guys, and one American who lived in Cabo- to see if we needed help. Blake explained the issue and that he was trying to unbolt the fuel filter, and the local guys grabbed their tool kit which had the size we needed. They helped Blake replace the fuel filter, but the truck still wasn’t starting. So these crafty locals went and syphoned gas from their pickup to act as starter fluid, and poured that into the airfilter of the truck to ignite it. Blake has explained to me that running out of diesel is fatal to a diesel engine because it ruins the fuel injectors, but we didn’t think this was an issue because we didn’t actually run out. However, we think at sea level, maybe we ran it down more than we were used to and air got in the line. Luckily we didn’t have any long term damage and these guys stopped to help us and the truck fired right back up. This could’ve been a lot worse and even though we already had a plan to always fill up gas at half tank, we are even more so going to stick to this plan.
After all our visitors were gone, we had a new gig come up planned for Phoenix right after Christmas, so we were sticking around the Cabo area for a couple more days while we were figuring out our next plan. While waiting, we had to finish those editing projects we were working on before family arrived. There are actually at least two Starbucks in Cabo, and we took over both of them. Why both? We showed up to the first Starbucks and it was under construction. A lady pointed us across the street to the other Starbucks. We couldn’t believe that there are two Starbucks within walking distance of each other in Cabo, but this was also the ritzy area of Cabo we had mentioned while we were filming that house the previous weeks. We drove over to the other Starbucks, and turns out they had a low hanging entrance and exit sign that we surely weren’t going to fit under. Not wanting to repeat our experience from the grocery store parking garage, we quickly bailed, but really needed to find some wifi that day. A lady watching us back away from this low hanging sign told us there was a separate entrance for trucks on the other side of the building. We had to pull about 4 u-turns to get over to the other side of the store but were finally able to make it inside to get Wifi. We spent the next three days finishing up our work using their wifi and tables and buying one coffee a day and also camping at our same Dreams desert sand lot. However, at some point, all of the electrical plugs in this Starbucks stopped working (which we need for our harddrives), so we tried to switch back to the other Starbucks. It was no longer under construction, but the wifi there ended up being completely useless. We tried to work in the camper but we actually had used down a lot of our solar power recently because we had been forced to park in the shade all day at the previous Starbucks, which we ended up going back to again when their electrical plugs worked again. We looked like such gringos going in and out of Starbucks with our 24 TB RAID hard drives and computers, but we do whatever it takes to get the work done!!