The internet was spotty in Valle de Guadalupe and we needed to get some work done so we hit up a cute little joint just outside of Ensenada. If you’re in the area you should swing by Estacion Uno, it was a nice spot with a cute eating area and good food. Plus the internet was great. 🙂
Our next few days were spent hopping around from campsite to hotel. About an hour south of Ensenada is a natural wonder called La Bufadora. It’s a super cool blowhole in the rocks and when the waves come in it shoots water up and out of the hole. We didn’t go see it, instead we camped for the night and then hit the road early to make it through the Catavina desert.
After a comfortable night in the Burro (our first night camping BTW) it was on to the Catavina Desert, over 100 miles of dry desolate land. On the edge of the Catavina is a small town called El Rosario. It’s a popular spot due to the fact that it contains the last gas station before you enter the desert and a semi-famous restaurant called Mama Espinoza’s. Mama Espinoza’s is the first check point for the Baja 1000 and has been since the very first race in 1967. The food was delicious, I had fish tacos and Jamie had bean, avo and cheese burritos. We basically swallowed our lunch whole without even thinking about it and then hit the road.
Up until this point we had actually been cold at night and comfortable during the day, we’d even joked that we wish we had brought our puffy jackets. This was not the case now…once we started into the desert it got hot, like real hot. Not only was the sun beating down on us hot but the wind blowing though the windows was blazing. I will say that the desert is beautiful though, it is so easy to just stare out the window and get lost in your thoughts. About halfway through our drive we entered into a part of the desert called the Catavina Boulder Fields. It consists of miles of boulders rounded and smoothed by years of sandpaper wind blowing through the valley. We stopped to get a few pictures but it was too hot to get much. I would love to come back during the winter to hike around a explore a bit more.
There is an actual town in the desert called Catavina. In town there are a couple “tiendas” or people selling random things out of their house and two motels. It was about 3pm when we rolled into town and 3:05 when we almost rolled out of it before turning into the parking lot of Hotel La Mision. In the parking lot we had one of our debates that goes a little something like:
Jamie: “Should we just stay here tonight?”
Me: It is 3pm. How far is it to the next town?
Jamie: About 4 hrs.
Me: So, we’d be pulling into town right before dark? Reina’s hot
Jamie: I’ll go in and see if dogs are allowed.
Me: Ok, if thats what you want. (in my mind: hahaha the dog gets him everytime!)
So, we checked in to Hotel La Mision for the night and it was a lovely little oasis in the middle of the desert. There are beautiful gardens with cacti and succulents, a pool, restaurant and bar. The first thing we did after checking in and turning the AC on, for Reina of course, was jump in the pool.
We had noticed a rig parked out front with California license plates and surf boards on top. It was easy to tell that the family we were swimming in the pool with belonged to that rig and we got to talking. As it turns out, the are from Cardiff and Jamie had gone to school with the woman’s brother! The Reynolds family was awesome and because they were heading to Scorpion Bay as well, we knew we’d be seeing more of them.
Breakfast the next day at the hotel was, interesting. I ordered oatmeal and ended up with what tasted like rice pudding. Now, i’m always down for dessert but normally I enjoy it after dinner (or lunch 😉 ). Jamie’s was good, simple eggs, bacon and toast and the coffee was as strong as ever! After breakfast it was time to head into more uncharted territory.
The second half of our journey through the desert was mostly uneventful until we were about 30 minutes north of Mulege. We had closed the windows and turned the air on about an hour into the drive to help Reina cool down. Everything seemed to be working great until a light came on alerting us that something was wrong with the charge. At the next stop Jamie hopped out and checked the battery. It appeared to be fine, we were still moving. As we started back on the the road we turned the AC off and decided that it was an old vehicle so it must be just a glitch in the system.
Famous last words. Glitch. In the. System.
We were just about to start one of many climbs over the mountains that run along the eastern side of Baja when the Burro died. That’s right, the Burro bit the big one. The radio was still running along with the lights but we had no power and just enough momentum to bring us to a stop on the side of the road.
Uh oh. What to do now? We were, once again, entering uncharted territory. In the year we spent driving through Mexico & Central America 3 years ago we didn’t have one issue with the truck (other than the flat tire we got while parked at an RV Park in Northern Mexico the day before we crossed back into the US). I guess it was bound to happen eventually and apparently it was happening when we were all alone in the middle of nowhere.
Stay tuned to hear how we got the Burro back up and running and made our way to Scorpion Bay!