Saturday, April 25, 2015

La Jolla Beach, Ensenada to Mama Espinoza's, El Rosario

Met a great guy, American, at La Jolla Beach while getting packed up in the morning. He’d been all over Baja and gave us a bunch of tips in terms of places to go that are a little more ‘off the beaten track’. We then had a great breakfast at a place right in front of the campground – the first of many servings of Huevos Rancheros.

We hit the road, Mexico 1, heading south not really knowing where we’d stop/stay. We’d heard about this ranch we could go visit and stay at, but we were also super keen to get further south as everyone has been telling us the ‘real’ Baja is ‘down there’… although interestingly everyone also agrees that there’s no point going further south than La Paz because it’s all been fairly Americanised for tourists down there. They’re talking about Cabo etc. We’ll see…

Did a lot of riding today and almost ended up staying at this amazing house out by a lagoon, which a guy living next door said we could have for $100 USD a night. It seemed too good to be true – and it was. The owner, rung on the phone by Pablo, the dude we’d bumped into, was an American and wanted a lot more money than that. He got shirty on the phone with me and told me “this is NOT how you do it, just showing up and expecting to stay”… I tried to explain that we were just exploring, met Pablo, and heard about the house… blah blah blah, and could see it was going nowhere. We apologized to Pablo, and hit the road again.

And I’m so glad we did, because we ended up spending the night at Mama Espinoza’s in El Rosario. This place was great! I’d heard about it before we came, and so we sorta knew it was there. This is one of the first stops on the Baja 1000, and a lot of the racers eat and stay at Mama Espinoza’s. We got a room straight away and hit the bar/restaurant where I had some of the best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten, washed down with a few beers and a jug of margherita for dessert. Mama Espinoza’s daughter and grandson were running the place, and apparently Mama is still alive at 108 years old!!! They were really great people, and looked after us well. We got T-shirts and there’s been a lot of concern since about who got what colour and who can wear their T shirt when.

It’s tough on the road.

Joshua Tree to La Jolla Beach, Ensenada (Baja)

This post covers two days... leaving Joshua Tree and heading south to the Baja Peninsula, Mexico. The first day we rode through Palm Springs, which was crazy hot, then into the mountains and down into San Bernadino County, where we stayed the night at a place called Julien. Had a really good feed here at a funny looking little joint. It looked crappy but the food was hi-end like you'd expect in NYC or something. Finally had a decent sleep here – I hadn't slept properly for about 3 nights now. It had cooled down considerably riding south, and we woke up to light drizzle the next day... the first moisture we've seen in a week! Was surprisingly nice to see/feel after a week in the desert.

We did our best to head south early as we wanted to make the border at Tecate and get south of Ensenada the first night. We've kinda ended up doing a bunch of things we were warned not to – like crossing the border at a small town like Tecate. BUT... Tecate was great! Because it's small. There was no waiting around or nothing. A very brief, cursory "search" and we were off...

In the end we didn't get much past Ensenada at all and decided to go check out La Bufadora. Had drinks and a feed there, and then headed back to find a campground... in the dark. Another thing we were warned not to do! All good though, found a pretty sweet little place at La Jolla Beach and set up our tents in the dark. Even Darren got his shit together pretty decently as were all getting to know our tents etc very well.

First night in Mexico and things are looking good...

Big Bear to Joshua Tree National Park

Well shit it's been more difficult than I'd expected getting opportunities to update the blog here! We're actually in Mexico now, but the hotel we're at has wi-fi that works if you sit in reception, so I'm gonna make a nuisance of myself and sit here all afternoon posting photos of where we've been etc...

This post follows on from the last, it's our ride back from Lake Big Bear in the mountains, down into the desert again and over to Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree is totally amazing and if you haven't ever been there you should go. It's stunningly beautiful and quite surreal. I had scenes from 'Roadrunner' going through my head the whole time too. Wyle. E. Coyote and his Acme toolkit. Anyways we found a campsite and set up prior to dark. There's specific camping areas you have to go in so there's other people around, which was kinda a bummer. We had some kids from LA next door and they kept us up all night. Darren and I went to bust their chops at about 2am and they were dancing round the carpark with glow sticks etc. Looked fun but we were too wasted to join them!

Woke up early next day and hit the road once Darren made peace with his tent. Headed for the border now, kinda winging it and avoiding Interstates at all costs!