We are, of course, always “home”. When you live in a tiny house on wheels, home is, literally, wherever you park it. However, among all of the amazing places we have visited around the world, Puerto Vallarta is our most often visited, and one place we really feel like we are coming home to.
Well, I’m going home, back to the place where I belong
And where your love has always been enough for me
I’m not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong
I don’t regret this life I chose for me
But these places and these faces are getting old
So I’m going home, well I’m going home
Our re-entry into Mexico, via the tiny Sonoyta border crossing, was a breeze. In less than five minutes we were back in the land of street tacos and $1.00 beers, and our spirits soared. Even the previous evening, spent in the gorgeous Organ Pipe National Monument in Arizona, saw renewed enthusiasm from all of us. Excitement over heading back south of the border.
We didn’t plan on spending much time in Sonora and Sinaloa. NOT because of all of the bad press, but because we had toured the area last year on Jim’s surprise birthday trip and we were ready to head south, searching for jungle.
The days were a bit of a marathon, completely contrary to our normal tortugua pace of travel. Day one found us back in San Carlos, a town we stopped in last year as well. The next long driving day had us bypassing Los Mochis, and the Copper Canyon RV park, after too many bad traveler reviews. Our initial idea to marathon it to Culican seemed like a good idea at the time, but a long, hot drive commenced and had us questioning our plan. Luckily, the Church’s Mexico book came through in spades, bringing us to one of the more unique camping experiences we have ever encountered.
Outside of Culican, we snaked down quiet country lanes for a few miles, wondering what we might find at Jardines la Rinconada Balneario. Imagine our surprise to find a large, albeit empty, water park, a few dozen rental casitas, a gorgeous lake, and multiple pools, water slides, play areas, and BBQ palapas. As it is off season, we had the entire park to ourselves, a bit of an eerie feeling as I almost waited for the music to a horror movie to start playing. After a minimal set-up, we spent over an hour wandering the grounds, a bit surprised to find ourselves in such a place. No zombies to be found!
We somewhat reluctantly hit the road the next morning with Mazatlan in our sights. The Mar Rosa RV park is in the Zona Dorada and on the beach and seemed a perfect spot for a two night respite from the road. Mazatlan hasn’t been in our travel plans since we last vacationed here over 20 years ago, but once again we did appreciate the fantastic beaches and excellent seafood.
With nearly a week before our apartment was ready, and Baja friends Bruce & Jodi (with pups Rasta and Rose) and Nathan & Renee and their brood in Sayulita, the tropical beaches of the Riviera Nayarit was calling. Leaving Mazatlan Jim suggested we stop at a bank. I poo-poo’d him, sure that even with the toll roads we had enough pesos. Lesson learned…. get money next time. Although the previous days seven toll booths had cost a mere $20 USD, by the third toll booth of the day we were out of money with no options. As another booth loomed, I swerved towards the exit heading towards the town of Ruiz, praying we would find an ATM on a Sunday afternoon.
A terrible, three mile detour along old cobblestone streets had us bouncing and jarring along, with Jim repeatedly telling me he told me we should have gotten money. I focused on ignoring him, intent simply on not taking out any of the low hanging power lines or side windows on the narrow streets. What had appeared as a dusty backwaters town from a distance, turned out to be pure Mexican magic. The streets were packed full with families, vendors, food booths and stands. Adorable children in their Sunday best played in the shadows of the church as fathers got their shoes shined. We simply sat in the truck in awe of the revelry.
I did hit the streets and found an ATM and, gassed up, we hit the road once again but this time on the free roads, meandering our way through farming villages along the country road. Yes, a slower route than the toll road, but an apropos reminder of why we need to stop hurrying to our next destination, and appreciate each moment for what it is. In our hurry to get south, we had somehow forgotten that the magic is found on the back roads.
We arrived in Sayulita to find the gang at a perfectly lovely campground. Sayulita Trailer Park sits on a stunning beach and is walking distance to anything in town. With good facilities and a jovial owner, it was easy to see how the others had managed to wile away over three weeks there.
Alas, we only had five nights but it was five nights of long beach walks, good times, a few spirited games of Mexican Train and sunset perfection. Sayulita is touristy, to be sure. We haven’t seen so many tourists since Cabo, and we were shocked to see a lower than bank rate exchange listed next to the ATM’s dispersing USD. And yet, there is something charming about this place. Perhaps it is the feeling of escapism with the jungle cascading right down to the beach. Perhaps the humidity muddles the brain. Whatever the reasoning, we loved our week there.
Finally to Puerto Vallarta, a place we have been to over 20 times. The site of our very first Mexico trip back in 1994. A place we have vacationed with friends and family. A place we ran to when needing to soothe my soul after my moms death. Home.
Be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it all
You just might get it all and then some you don’t want
Be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it all
You just might get it all, yeah
We have rented an apartment on the malecon for three months. The entire wall of the living room opens up to the desk giving a true feeling of the open air lifestyle. That same deck looks out over the Pacific and we fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the malecons walls. Well, we fall asleep to the waves after the nightlife noises subside!
Our small, two bedroom abode is ideally located for our upcoming visits from Jim’s parents and, later, Dave and Anne. It will be the perfect place for us to explore, in more depth than previous vacation weeks have allowed, the back alleys and architecture of the lovely old town. The perfect place to get some work done.
Aspen, never comfortable in the studio rental in San Diego, is embracing life here. Multiple beach walks each day, coupled with the ability to really take her with us nearly everywhere, has put her at ease already. A true fan of the outdoors, the huge, open air, terrace is her favorite place to hang out.
These next few months will be about discovery. Discovering some paths to on-the-road income. Discovering more of our adopted, for now, home town. Discovering the joy of life in Mexico.