For our third flight from Cabo, we went to New York City to film a music video. Luckily we were able to pack light for this one since we would be walking around NYC. Flying to NYC from Cabo though is a full travel day, and we didn’t get in until midnight, but we did find Chick Fil a in the Houston airport. (so that was the real excuse for traveling from Mexico again). First thing we did when getting to New York was find a pizza place still open at midnight and within walking distance of our Airbnb, and this was surprisingly easy. Wood fired NYC style pizza, and we ran there in 30 degree weather to get there about 10 minutes before they closed. Finding pizza was the easy part of our night though. We settled into our Airbnb, ready to sleep, and the radiators in the apartment started knocking as if someone was pounding a hammer next to your ear. Neither of us have ever dealt with central steam heating before, and it seemed no matter what we did with the dial on the radiators, they wouldn’t stop hissing and knocking. It sounded like the apartment was going to explode. It was past 2 am when they finally quieted down.
I’ve never seen New York City before, but Blake had been there once, but he went straight to the Trump tower to film and didn’t see any of the touristy stuff, so this weekend would be fun for both of us to see the city. It was a very cold weekend though, only getting about 35 degrees, but at least it didn’t snow on us. We filmed different scenes of the music video on the Brooklyn Bridge, on a stoop in Brooklyn, and throughout the city, it was a really fun project. We had total temperature shock going from Cabo to New York and then had a quick stop in Miami before heading back to Cabo.
Now we get two whole weeks to drive the peninsula north before needing to be back in the LA area, and based on how much our Baja experience had been interrupted, we wanted to make sure we did this part right. So we made a list of every place that was important for us to visit, and made a spreadsheet for the next two weeks (true accountant in me shining through!) including driving times, our daily activities, and where to stay. We stuck to the plan for about a week before it got completely thrown out the window when Blake got food poisoning (more on that later).
After arriving from the airport, we immediately went to our favorite Cabo grocery store, the Chedraui. Grocery shopping in Mexico hasn’t been our favorite activity, because, honestly, we’d rather just go out and eat tacos, but since we’ve been camping out on remote beaches and not right in towns, we only get tacos every other day. We haven’t had very much luck getting quality meats at the grocery stores, so we mostly have been buying veggies and packs of sausages that are really just hotdogs, and depending on making quesadillas or grilled cheese for lunch every day. The Chedraui in Jose del Cabo improved our grocery shopping experience at least a little bit because it’s right in the fancy part of the city, and has a lot of imports and food items we were missing after two months in Baja. They even had our favorite Tillamook cheese there which we couldn’t believe, and La Croix for all the gringos living in Cabo who need their flavored seltzer water. So we stocked up on food for the next two weeks and then started our drive north. We made a stop in Los Barailles to get our favorite shrimp tacos on our way to our first camp destination, a beautiful beach outside of La Paz called Tecolote known for super blue water. We weren’t sure how the experience would be because Tecolote is close enough to La Paz that a lot of locals go there on weekends and can become a loud party scene, but we were there on weekdays which was great. What we found though was that Tecolote was so crowded with big motorhomes and other RVs, and apparently the restaurant there was known for having exorbitant gringo pricing. So we investigated Google satellite and found that we could keep driving along the beach for miles and hoped we would find a place to ourselves. We don’t mind meeting new people, but we also didn’t come all the way to these beaches in Baja to feel like we’re at an RV park. We drove along the beach another mile and came to an awesome spot up on a sandy cliff overlooking the bay. There were still a couple neighbors, but with at least a quarter mile separation. And the beach was just as perfect. It always pays to just do a little bit more exploration and go the extra mile. We kept walking along that same beach road for about an hour to see where it goes, and only came across a couple other cars and a fisherman. We couldn’t believe how many dead fish we saw along the coast though, and mostly dead puffer fish. Back at camp, the low tide exposed a lot of the sand, and we could walk a hundred feet into the knee deep water. It was perfect blue color as well against the white sand. We planned to just relax at this spot after having a few long travel days on our trip to NY, so we just enjoyed having a camp fire and the view.
On the way out from Tecolote, we stopped at Balandra beach just a couple miles away. Balandra is a bay probably half a mile wide with beaches on every side, and at low tide the water recedes so much you can walk completely across the bay with water only up to your knees. We walked all the way along the coast and across the bay and also up the surrounding hills to get the overhead view which makes the water look perfectly blue. Balandra has been one of our favorite places so far.
We did a few errands in La Paz including finding a much needed laundromat, and then made a few hours of driving progress north before our next stop in Agua Verde. Agua Verde is a very unique experience. It is a small town of 400 people located 40 kilometers down a windy and steep dirt road. When we turned off the MEX1 we already felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, having driven an hour from the last town, so we couldn’t imagine how remote our destination would feel. The road was mostly graded the whole way, but the second half starts dropping down these magnificent canyons and becomes a steep shelf road winding around mountains, all while overlooking the ocean. We kept stopping every mile to take more photos so the 40 km took us three hours. The camper was rocking and rolling every inch of this road. We already knew the consequences of starting our nomadic life with such an old camper, but dirt roads like this really accentuate how bad our camper creaks and sways with every bump in the road. The part that extends over the cab is so saggy from water damage that it smacks down on the roof at every bump. It just feels like everything is going to fall apart at any moment. One of the first things we are doing stateside is installing Hellwig sway bars on the truck to minimize a lot of this sway. We eventually made it to Agua Verde, a very sleepy little town that looked a lot smaller than 400 people. There were two little shacks on the beach front that were restaurants, and a woman made us fried fish tacos and told us a little bit about the town and how it has changed over the years, with getting internet and telephones, but most people who live there have lived there their entire lives.
The road to Agua Verde turned off from the town towards a little isthmus where another resident had lived for 25 years. It looked really neat to explore, but the road down to it was so steep and off camber though that we didn’t try to make it this far, and instead camped right on the beach by the town. Unfortunately we had a lot of wind, which we are discovering is pretty common along a lot of Baja, but we hiked around the isthmus and along the coast, discovering a part of the coast that looked so tropical covered in palm trees and the water kind of created a lagoon.
On the way out from Agua Verde at about halfway back to the MEX1, there is a hidden hot springs that can only be accessible at low tide otherwise the road to the hot springs gets submerged. You can drive along the rocky coast to get there at low tide, but it would be too rough for our setup, so we hiked there instead. Its hidden in a bay you can’t even see from the road along a stretch of rock that gets revealed at low tide. A couple of pools have been dug out of the rock and the water is bubbling inside. These were unlike the hot springs we’d experienced in La Ventana because there was no fresh ocean water coming into the pool, so when we got too hot we switched to cool off in the bay before going back into the thermal pools. We were the only people there and couldn’t believe how beautiful the view was. This was an incredible experience and very much worth the bumpy drive. Probably our favorite spot in Baja yet.
After Agua Verde, we made more driving progress north towards Loreto. We stopped at a beach called Rattlesnake beach as an easy pull off for the night, and once again found that this beach had been taken over by part time permanents mostly from British Columbia and the PNW living there for 6 months. They had some very extensive palapa setups, and most had boats. I’m sure it was a great place to sail and fish, but we just keep wondering why all of these snowbirds choose to settle in one place for so long. We’ve been so amazed by all the different beaches in Baja that we have had all to ourselves, so we just wonder why they would all choose the same beach every year. We arrived to Rattlesnake beach right in time for the total lunar eclipse. The supermoon was rising above the mountains surrounding the Sea or Cortez right after a pink sunset and looked so spectacular.
That night caused a dead stop in some of our progress and exploration for a while because Blake ended up getting food poisoning and was miserable for about 4 days. It’s easy to blame the fish taco we had in Agua Verde, which was one of the more questionable tacos we’d eaten in Baja, even though we’d eaten that the previous day. It was more likely caused by a pack of hot dogs we had for dinner, and who know’s why I wasn’t affected as well. So our one night stop at Rattlesnake beach turned into a three day destination when Blake could barely get out of bed for 48 hours. On the third day he thought he could maybe drive, but we only made it half an hour to the town of Loreto before needing a break again. We parked at the end of a dirt road overlooking the sea and a 5 minute walk from town, and stayed there for 2 more days. So at least while Blake was still recuperating, I could go into town for groceries and explore the town a little. When he was finally feeling somewhat better but hadn’t eaten more than a few crackers and toast in so many days, all he wanted was a pizza, and luckily Loreto had a decent pizza place we could pick one up. Does this mean the end of the taco train??