A lot of birthdays are taking place in Mexico for this band of travelers, with Sylvie ringing in her sixth and Leonie treating us to the majesty of The Ocho, and a few days my own clock turned over for the forty-fourth time, which is sobering.
As of May first, my lovely wife finds herself attached, for better or worse, to a grey-whiskered forty four year old man badly in need of a haircut, some new shoes, and a freshwater shower.
My birthday was a Mexico classic, combining travel through a wind and dust storm so bad we were losing sight of the viciously unimproved road to Coco’s Corners (Coco himself seemed concerned about our ability to continue), followed by a fabulous beachfront celebration at Gonzaga Bay, in the company of brand new friends John and Cheryl, and their two lovely dogs (in turn, pounced on by our two lovely girls).
It provoked a decent amount of reflection, of course, as a number like 44 places you squarely in the back half of your life, but tough to find many regrets to dwell on when you’ve spent the last nine months enjoying the company of your wife and your kids, seeing places and things that certainly the girls, to this point, could only have dreamed about.
More detailed journal entries to follow as we process our time in Mexico (over four months!) but we crossed back into the US yesterday, decamped to a little hotel in Phoenix so we can resupply (we badly need things like shoes, and shirts) and will make our way north with the ultimate goal being to attend the Overland Expo in Flagstaff in the middle of the month where Red Beauty will be a featured vehicle and we’ll get to mingle with fellow overlanders, which we’re very much looking forward to.
I want to take advantage of the high speed internet here at the hotel, so here’s a gallery of the past few weeks:
This is what we left behind, with no small amount of difficulty – our absolutely lush, picturesque encampment at the East Cape Resort in Los Barriles.
Bobby and Dianne, seen here with their adopted grandkids.
Sylvie and new pal Luka getting their laps in. Leonie, it should be noted, decided that she was tired of being left out when it came to biking and buckled down and learned to ride a bike, practicing every day for three days until she had it down.
Sylvie referring back to her packing checklist, apparently having forgotten “pants”.
The beach at Tecolote, north of La Paz. We took an afternoon break from our trip northward here, it was glorious.
Ankle deep, bathwater warm, and a couple of yachts moored in the background reminding me that, every now and then, it would be nice to be rich.
Tecolote again, Dad cooling his toes.
The interior of a little gift shop in Loreto, where we were acquired several key items, including Don Puerco, our good-luck dashboard pig, and a bottle opener.
Sylvie was crushed to learn that the baby Chihuahua was not on the list of available items at the gift shop.
Old school selfie, where you actually had to have a mirror handy. Future generations may never know this lost art.
Dad wrestles a bottle of water onto the roof. The desert is pretty good at returning humans to their natural state – spending four months worried about water and shelter for your family tends to reorder your priorities.
Back to Playa Escondida, where we were all alone and it made us miss, hungrily, all of the friends we had stayed here with back in February. Note the seagull keeping a keen eye on Val while she does the dishes, angling for a scrap.
Sunrise, Playa Escondida. You can see why we wanted to go back for a few days.
Early morning Leonie, before joining me for a cup of coffee and a game of MasterMind.
Can’t keep the ladies out of the water these days. They saw stingrays, dove for starfish, and while I couldn’t catch up with it, had a huge whale shark cruise off shore one morning while Val and I were enjoying our coffee.
The north end of the beach is sheltered by this tall rock point of scaly, crumbly stuff – totally unsafe to climb.
So, of course, Leonie immediately climbed it.
“Will you get the hell down from there?” he said. “Why? I can climb it just fine?” she said. “It’s not that you can, sweetie, it’s that I can’t!” he said.
The only other camper on the beach.
The girls may be sending me a message here with their clay artwork.
The mission at San Ignacio.
On our way out to Laguna San Ignacio we passed acres of these little piles, which we couldn’t make out at a distance but upon closer inspection we realized they were shells.
Closer look. The mud flats in the Laguna obviously make it an incredibly fertile spot for shellfish.
We set up camp here, at dusk, with the tied going out and exposing the flats of the Laguna. Had we been here just a month earlier, we’d be watching whales calve just offshore.
The girls, off in the distance while we set up camp.
Sylvie took over the camera to catch happy hour.
Waiting for the sunset over the Pacific.
Mom in a state of extreme relaxation.
Here’s the sun coming up over the mountains that surround the Laguna.
Girls still fast asleep.
They saw a whale skeleton the next morning, and while we struck the tent they packed water and hiked out to it.
Living here, if you are at all a Christian, would pretty much cover all your bases.
So here we are, pulling into Coco’s Corners. The wind was so bad it blew the shovel off the roof of the truck, and the road was so bad it vibrated the Hella lights loose from the bumper.
You should be able to clearly see a mountain range in the distance, but you can’t, because of clouds of dust.
Sylvie got this shot. I think it is incredible. This is what the dust storm looked like at dusk.
Who’s 44 today? Dad is!
Who’s happy to be out of the car?
We made friends with the folks next door, John and Cheryl, and the girls immediately took advantage of their two big, friendly dogs.
Dad, putting on a clean tee shirt in celebration of his birthday.
Sylvie eating crab soup (I caught the little guy while doing the dishes).
Leonie, collecting away at Gonzaga Bay. We waited out the windstorm here, and were handsomely rewarded for our patience. Just a lovely little spot.
No crab is safe.
Sylvie’s last night in Mexico… we slept on the beach, no tent, and fell asleep looking for satellites and watching the big dipper turn, slowly, upside down over the North Star.