Joshua Tree National Park is a treasure. From our first visit two years ago the memories of the spectacular scenery has stayed with us. As the plan for our route north diverged, as they tend to do, the parks of Utah were not to be this time around but that didn’t mean we were going to miss out on Joshua Tree.
It all started with an ottoman. A broken brake fiasco south of Mulege had us pulling into Playa Santispac rather than our beloved Playa Coyote beach. We generally think of Santispac as a place for “big rigs” and all of those who want easy access to Mexico 1 rather than those seeking a bit of peace and quiet. No matter. A night on any one of the scenic beaches of Bahia Concepcion is a dream.
We decided to leave the brake fix until the next morning and then I saw it. The tall blond woman in the RV just down from us had an ottoman. A real life, straight out of a living room, ottoman that she was resting her feet on while reading her book next to the sea. A wave of envy washed over me.
As we prepared to leave Los Barriles northbound we started asking THE question that was a concern for all of us who wintered south of the border; Return to the United States on Mexico1 – that narrow hell of potholes the size of VW Bugs, speeding truck drivers, and winding miles, or take on the as of yet still unfinished Mexico 5 where 22 miles can take hours?
I think I’ve lost track of how many such posts I’ve done. These past 27 months have found us in dozens and dozens of campgrounds across Mexico and the Western United States and feature everything from boondocking beach camps to $100/night RV parks.
We had planned on heading north via Arizona and Utah. Well, plans changed and Oregon was on the radar but we knew what we didn’t want to do was repeat the same route that we have traveled too many times over the last couple of years. By taking the border at Mexicali and heading down some back roads we effectively missed all of the dreaded San Diego/ LA/ San Francisco traffic. We also made a point of trying out some new spots along the way. Camp CDA research and all 🙂
Last week raced by in a blur of activity. Dave & Anne, two of our VERY favorite peeps and our most frequent visitors arrived in Baja. Although they visit the fancy resorts of Cabo often, this was their first trip to Los Barriles and the week was packed with a variety of activities highlighted by wine and waterfalls.
Life in Los Barriles is moving along as expected. We chose this spot for our winter adventures in part because we were looking to decompress after a lively and evolving 2017. As we have continued to morph into our best lives, we understand that we require our work and play to interact, becoming simply joint elements of a single life lived well.
For the last three winters, we have driven past, through really, the tiny town of El Triunfo nearly a dozen times. We have stopped exactly once and that was only to buy a bag of veggies from the ladies on the street corner and snap a quick photo of their church. We always said, “we’ll stop next time”. Well, next time finally happened as we headed there for our Photo Field Trip of the week.
Two years ago yesterday we drove away from Jim’s parent’s road to drive the Pan American Highway. Two years. Three Countries. Tens of thousands of miles. And yet we find ourselves back in Los Barrile on Baja understanding more than ever that the road of life is rarely certain and even less often a straight line.
As we headed south towards Baja we knew we wanted to do some campground research along the way. Although we have camped on five continents, it never hurts to view other campgrounds with open eyes when planning improvements for Camp Coeur D’Alene.
With this in mind, we specifically chose to stay at some vastly different types of campgrounds to experience each end of the spectrum, checking out bathroom facilities, camp stores, and pricing options. While we didn’t garner any huge new ideas from what we were already thinking it sure was fun!