Baja California

Our first state, Baja California, gone just like that. So far, in Mexico, we have spent every night in the camper. Compared to our usual tent camping, this is the tops, a deluxe apartment in the sky. Each campground has provided anything our camper lacks (hot shower, toilet, wifi). For an extra five to ten dollars we could sleep on someone else’s bed for the night since most campgrounds are connected to a motel or hostel, but we greatly prefer The Beast.

The road from Cataviña to San Ignacio was a breeze.

Driving with a camper does not pose much of a problem as the speed limit is 50 miles per hour max (80KM, we are still getting used to the conversion) throughout Baja. We have shucked enough junk already to get our weight to an acceptable payload limit. Maybe that duffle bag full of shoes was not necessary after all.

Baja itself is a vast expanse of untamed country. Coming from a place where you can hear your neighbor sneeze and each square inch of land is accounted for, Baja is refreshing change of pace. The rural towns are as varied as the terrain. Fluent English is not widely spoken and political candidates still campaign via mobile loudspeakers circling dusty town squares. Even as we stumble through faulty translations, the people of Baja, always quick with a smile, make time to answer questions, correct our spanglish, and inquire on our travels.

A lone vaquero strode through town as we chowed down on enchiladas and tostadas.

Without saying so, we both privately anticipated the luxury of sleeping in but we have found our days begin with the sunrise. A few months prior, 7AM was a dreadful hour we felt sure was reserved for the elderly and insane. These days we no longer need an alarm to shatter the dream state.

A wild forest of palm trees surrounds the desert oasis of San Ignacio

Elderly couples make up the majority of travelers we encounter. Their existence here mocks the notion that this is a pursuit reserved for the fearless. Even so, our numbers are diminished, each campground maintains about 25 percent capacity. The full timers we have spoken with have many theories. None of us still on the road care much about them.

For now, our days are filled with people watching, surfing, hiking, photography, writing, reading, and lengthy discussions over Tecate and tacos. Everything from the gas ($2.71/gal) to the beer is cheaper than we had hoped.  We are left searching our heads as to why it took us this long to explore a land so close to home.  While we will refrain from complaining about spending over two weeks exploring a single place, one thing is certain, we will return to Baja.

Founded in 1728, Mision San Ignacio is one of the oldest missions still holding regular mass.