We were in Los Barriles. Still. We ended spending more time there than anywhere in Baja, for several reasons. But right then, as much as we were enjoying the town, we were searching for solitude.
Throughout our journey so far we are often inspired by Erica & Sam from Song of the Road. Not only did this talented two-some invent the fantastic ioverlander app, but their photos are second to none. And one of our favorite posts of theirs was of a crescent shaped beach on the East Cape, empty except for their camper set among a row of palapas.
We packed up and headed out, ready to traverse the crappy road of washboards to Los Frailles. In typical fashion, the part of the road that actually WAS paved, the 10 mile stretch out of La Ribera, was impassable. Oh the irony of bumping along at 8mph with a fully loaded truck and camper a mere 10 feet from the freshly paved wonder to our right. 🙂
We made our way slowly past Cabo Pulmo and continued along our way, intent on finding THAT beach, that lovely stretch of sand we had dreamt of for so long. Our GPS led us into an arroyo devoid of much of anything except cactus, spiny thornbushes, and a dozen or so haphazardly parked campers. WHAT? This could not be right. Yes, the sea looked lovely and the sketchy fishing village was there but where was the idyllic scene we had gazed at a picture of so often?
It was hot. Really hot. And I have to admit, in what was not my finest moment, I had a bit of a meltdown. I stood, near tears, after a 3 hour journey going a mere 35 miles or so in disbelief. WTF. Seriously? This was what had become of this site?
I was ready to get in the truck and go back to Cabo Pulmo, where the camping looked more appealing. I was even ready to just say screw it and head back to Los Barriles. Jim, trying to make a bad situation better suggested we just spend one night and see how we felt. Well, I damn well knew how I felt. I felt like spending not one second longer in this place.
I was just done. Travel weary. Hot. Sick of spending hours on bumpy roads to not find what we were looking for. If I was someone prone to stamping my foot I think it might have happened then and there.
We decided to get in the truck and head a bit further south. Perhaps, just perhaps, our coordinates were slightly off as they had been at Gonzaga Bay. Perhaps the beach palapas we were looking for were just around the bend.
Alas, they were not so after 10minutes or so we re-entered the coordinates in the GPS and headed back to “spend just one night”. Imagine our surprise as we rounded the hill back towards the unappealing arroyo and saw them. Just on the other side of the fishing village. A white sand beach with a row of palapas. Empty except for one lone truck camper.
We made our way down and through the fishing village and to our home for the next several nights. We spent hours playing in the surf, walking the beach, reading, playing cards, watching for whales and snapping pictures of the flying mantas. Much of the time we simply took in the view.
Rested and refreshed but out of food and fresh water, we dug ourselves out of the sand, re-aired our tires and air bags, and headed back into civilization.
I admit we never wandered down and asked those other campers why they didn’t head out onto the nice beach instead of camping in that ugly arroyo. The goal had been to escape people, not go in search of conversation. I can only presume they either didn’t have the means or the desire to air down/ air up their tires to avoid getting stuck in the deep, soft sand.
Lessons are learned on this adventure nearly every day. What we learned this time around was that sometimes you don’t need to just settle or “make do”. Sometimes, it’s well worth it to force a course of action. While telling this tale, mid-story one listener offhandedly commented that I just needed to chill out. Well, perhaps. But if I had we would have most likely spent “just one night” and left. Sometimes situations are such that you just deal with it and move on. But sometimes, by just saying no… this isn’t going to work for me, you end up going a step farther and finding that deserted beach you had been dreaming of.