The Sand Trap

For an adventure…aside from walking the beach, renting a SUP, or a sea kayak, there is always driving. Although 4WD is not a must… I’d say it is a definite suggestion. We rented a “small compact car” at first, then decided to upgrade to an SUV. Number one for the extra clearance but secondly for the off-road capabilities. Of course an SUV in Mexico is NOT the same thing as an SUV in Utah. Do not assume the SUV is 4WD or AWD!

The second full day we ventured out to explore all the east cape of Cabo had to offer. It’s only about 40 km from our Hotel into Cabo Pulmo proper. Along the way is the Sonoran desert landscapes, prickly cacti, windy sand roads and beautiful vistas that constantly changed around each turn.

There are many camping villages on this stretch of sandy road. Huge motor homes line the edges of the many arroyos…there is an entire makeshift tent city right on the beach. We chose to drive out to investigate and soon found out that our SUV was in fact a RWD NOT an AWD! Now being from Utah we have learned to navigate through sandy tracts… but we normally have a vehicle that all four wheels are doing the driving. Of course we could air down the tires…but we would have no way to get them back to the proper levels when returning to paved roads. We proceeded with caution and on our journey helped free some Europeans in a 2WD Ford Ranger, who had somehow managed to get themselves buried deep in the sand sideways across the road. They had little knowledge of driving in this terrain. We helped get them free and they sped off thinking driving faster would keep them from getting stuck again.

We found our way off the beach and back onto the sandy road and proceeded into Cabo Pulmo.

It has been about ten years since we found this little town and like all little things, the town had grown to accommodate the thrill seekers, fishermen, and kayakers. There were shacks lining the road to the beach all vying for the business of the tourists who braved the road to this destination. We ventured out onto the beach and played with Gandaulf in the surf for a while, enjoyed a cold beer and headed into the old part of town to find some food and internet. A small pizzeria caught our eye so we chilled out for a while, caught up on news from the outside, posted on our blog and FB, had some incredible guacamole and shrimp quesadillas, then headed back out.

The road back to the hotel was just as dicy, especially if you need to pass a huge dump truck. Yep you guessed it…we pulled up off the road to let the truck pass, went to get back on the road and we instantly were buried up to the rims. No biggy. A few minutes later we had dug ourselves out and backed onto the road and began our sand surfing all the way back to VidaSoul.

It wasn’t until the next morning that we found our good fortune…a screw had punctured our rear tire and in the morning it was totally flat. Had it gone flat on the sandy road, we would have been in a world of trouble.

Kinda funny, the manager was all worried and said he’d get one of his guys out to change the spare. Of course Chris and I… being the strong willed women we are, beat him to it and had the tire all but changed by the time Miguel came to help out. We graciously let him finish the job and tipped him $20 USD in gratitude. Yes and thank the stars we had a full size spare and tools.

The Baja California Sur Adventure

The nicest thing about coming to The Baja is the closeness and direct flights available from Salt Lake. In less than four hours, you can be digging your toes into the warm sand, sipping a salt rimmed margarita and watching the waves.

It’s pretty easy to get Gandaulf into Mexico so he gets to vacation with us. He’s such a great traveler. He steals everyone’s heart and I never tire hearing people taking his picture or listen to them comment on how cute he is. He just prances on in his service jacket, ears pinned back, taking care of his mom, always alert. When we get to the beach, it’s all about the ball.

We got to Baja on Sunday. It’s a quick little battery recharge vacation. We spend the day bouncing from the waves to the pool and back again. We found the quaintest little Hotel in Cabo Pulmo called VidaSoul. It’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It’s about an hour drive across the east cape of The Baja. The drive itself is part of the adventure. The directions consist of a few pictures and some approximate mileages of where to turn. It was quite easy to get off track, or miss a turn because in the desert, things are in a constant state of change. A windy day can push a pile of sand to the other side of a turn and the picture may not look like what is actually there now.

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We ended up in the city dump, literally, and I had to use my best Spanish to try to get directions from an old Mexican guy who apparently works there. We missed one of the turns because it no longer looked like the picture or a sign was missing. We made our way back to the correct road and were off again.

The road was a sand wash for the most part and the closer we got to the arroyo it was evident that storms from the past summer had washed out huge sections of the surrounding area. Coming over the rise we could see the hotel was an oasis sitting atop a sand dune and visible from almost anywhere. It’s white and grey exterior poised high atop a pile of sand with the arroyo about 400 yards away. It is right on the beach and very private.

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They call this place The Crossroads. It’s origin was a dream of an expat and her son. This monolith came about from a small shack on the beach with a thatched roof. The owners son designed the whole Hotel with not a detail missed. All the cement was mixed by hand. It took nine years to complete. It has a grand staircase that goes down to a uniquely designed pool which is quite literally a hole dug in the beach. It is surrounded by sand, a few beach lounges and some material strung between some poles for shade. The pool has a bar in the center. In order to get to the bar, the bartender must wade out to the pit in the center. The bridge idea never materialized.

From the pool and the restaurant you can gaze out across the water and watch the whales spouting and playing. You can watch the Mexican hand fishers in their little skiffs. You can take in the crashing waves and the sea breezes. The staff is very attentive and your glass is always topped off, a fresh bottle of water, or a little something from the restaurant. Whatever it was we ordered it never disappointed.

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Chris and I just don’t like the crowds or touristy areas much anymore so VidaSoul was the perfect getaway. Being in the middle of nowhere, they have made a concerted effort to use solar power and keep it eco friendly. They do have a generator that runs most all night in order to keep the AC on and give its guests a comfortable night sleep.

The rooms are quite spacious. VidaSoul offers meal plans that help offset the meal costs. The portion sizes are huge. The bartender makes the best margaritas. The food was fresh and delicious and the drink pours were more than fair. We aren’t in Utah baby! We would highly recommend a visit to this oasis if traveling the road around the coastline of the east cape.

Life on Life’s Terms

The saying, “the best made plans…”, finish as you would. Our lives have taken a slight U turn.

About five years ago, we made the decision to sell off All we own, buy a plane ticket to Ecuador, and “retire”. We worked really hard to save all our pennies… set up ourselves to retire with means enough to live comfortably. We put our business on the market in January 2017, started selling off the “stuff” we have accumulated over the last 25 years and started planning our escape.

At first we had planned a getaway to a nice country, hoped to secure a long term rental then travel out from there. That soon turned into a road trip in a 1998 Land Cruiser we picked up cheap. We spent the next 9 months rigging it up for Overlanding. Again those plans were laid to rest after a quick trip to Iceland, where we rented a VW Krafter van converted into a rudimentary camper van. The focus switched to buying a Sprinter or Transit van and converting it into a camper. Let’s face it… we are a bit older than most who are Overlanding in an SUV. Small things like being able to stand up, get out of the weather, and the ability to cook inside when needed, became key needs.

That brings us to this current year 2018.

The business sale never materialized, even after a young man came in a couple times a month for six months, promising us we would close by the beginning of the year. The beginning of the year came and went. Every attempt he made to secure financing fell away. We were forced to resign ourselves to the fact this could be harder than we originally anticipated. He’s now a salesperson for us.

We did find a great deal on a 2015 Ford Transit van with the eco boost engine, which will give us similar gas mileage to the diesel Sprinter yet we won’t need to worry about any of the diesel emissions garbage they throw on the Sprinter. We were still proceeding as if we would be leaving for our adventure, even though the future was uncertain at best.

I was devastated when I realized that I was bound to Utah for another winter. I really wanted to believe that “the kid” would come through and buy us out. I feel as if the dealership is a means to an end, but also could be my end. The stress levels of being a business owner are sometimes insurmountable for me. Chris is my rock. She always picks me up, dusts me off, and convinces me everything will work out as it should… just get the hell out of the way. If you keep trying to stick a square peg in a round hole, eventually something is bound to give… that something is usually my mental and emotional health.

So today, I am sitting at a small metal table, in the middle of no where, on the east cape of the Baja of Mexico. I dream that this will someday be a big part of our lives. We are watching the whales breach just a couple hundred yards off the beach, Gandaulf is resting with his head on my bare feet, the smell of the salt water and the sound of the waves, lulls me into a trance and rests my uneasy soul. It’s hard to accept life on life’s terms.