Tuesday, January 25, 2005

leaving san felipe

Jesse said "go forward" but I counted the turns and it was 5 turns going forward and 3 turns going back and I was sure backing out of the camp would be easier than going forward, but by the time we were ready to go there were about 20 people milling about watching the fun and I think bets were being taken.  The crowd seemed evenly split as to whether or not we’d get it out.  We were a little rusty not having hitched up for 3 weeks but with Papa and Tata "helping" and taking picture after picture (no pressure there!) we managed to get van connected to trailer.  Under Jesse’s expert guidance, I moved the trailer forward (with inches to spare between the roof of the palapa and trailer) and pivoted that puppy around the first curve.  Jesse and Dad walked out the length and figured I had a foot to spare.  Oh goody.  Maybe they could simply engineer the trailer out of the space.  :)  With turn #1 under my belt, #2 was easy and we were on our way.  Looking at the trailer in our spot, I never would have imagined how easy it was to get it out.  Course, without Jesse’s guidance, I’d probably STILL be there.  :)

It was bittersweet to leave camp; we’d made so many friends and it was so easy living there.  As we headed down the road we decided to try just ONE last taco stand.  I’d seen a stand at the Pemex station (that sells diesel) on the roundabout (directions for Tata and Papa) occasionally.  Sometimes it was there (always at lunch) and it seemed to disappear after that.  It was the best we’ve found.  It rivals that of Jamie’s find, so Papa and Tata; you can decide which is best.  :)

I lost count of the number of military checkpoints we passed through; sometimes it is better to profess "no English" because when they find out you speak (albeit limited) Spanish, they are off to the races, chatting and chatting.  I figure the cultural exchange is both ways though, and we must present quite an interesting opportunity for them.  Twice, Ellen has been sleeping and they’ve been somewhat respectful of her.  Mostly they are interested in how we’re financing our trip, where we’re going, where we’ve been and why.

Today we traversed the spine of Baja.  Living in San Felipe, you can see mountains in the distance, but they are grey and rocky, but today we climbed pass after pass and found the green desert.  We traveled some teeny tiney, unspeakably narrow mountain roads, some without a line down the middle (almost as though the road builders acknowledged the narrowness by omitting the dividing line).  We were surrounded alternately by green spiny cactus and prairie weeds.  Yellow daisies and purple sage blanketed the roadway.  I kicked myself repeatedly for leaving the camera in the trailer.  Some of the passes reminded me of Peruvian mountain passes; the mountains were gigantic; the hills were green and the mist ebbed and flowed.

We made it into Ensenada and after some run-arounds getting on the right highway, we headed up MX1 to MX3.  I can’t describe the absolute beauty of MX3 across the Baja; it is simply indescribable.  Heading up MX3 towards Tecate, we found the Rancho Sordo Mudo and the most beautiful dump station we’ll ever find.  The picture doesn’t do it justice (I should have gotten on top of the rig), but the view from the dump (where you dump your sewer (black and grey) tanks) was that of beautiful hills and an immediate vineyard.  Jamie’s ass ain’t too bad either.  :)

Rancho Sordo Mudo (Deaf Mute Ranch) was inter-planted with orange trees and the kids delighted in picking ripe (and unripe) oranges.  All were put to good use, though, as I expected we’d have to dump our chicken at the US border (even though it was purchased at Trader Joe’s in the US).  I roasted the chicken in orange juice and garlic.  YUMMMM!!!  I’ve read that if the chicken is cooked, it is less likely to be taken (unless the Customs officer has a hankering for chicken, I guess…).  We left Ensenada with the sun low on the horizon and I was pushing the limits of safety trying to make camp before dark. 

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