Woke up to old Cracker Barrel! Cleaned up and headed to a cool coffee shop I found online called Single Speed Coffee. If you are ever in Flagstaff, AZ I highly recommend it. Good food, good coffee, free Wifi and a cozy environment to get work done. I got my blog done by about 2pm and was pretty sick of filtering through photos and staring at my computer screen! So I picked up my things and Milou and I hit the road.
I had planned on driving through the Petrified National Forest but they closed 15mins before I got there.. Oh well, maybe next time!
I forged on and made it to the the New Mexico boarder and pulled over at the welcome center rest area. I had planed on continuing on but after going to the bathroom and chatting with a friend on the phone, I decided to just call this home for the night. Fun fact in New Mexico you can stay at rest areas for up to 24hrs! But no camping… I sure would like some lawyer to define “camping” as I am not sure there is a clear definition…
Woke up today to the wind howling. I got out to turn off the propane after breakfast and almost lost my hat and sunglasses it was so windy!
The plan today was to get to Taos and if I had time stop at the Bradbury Science Museum located in Los Alamos, home to the Nuclear science laboratory.
Well when I got to Santa Fe I was not feeling so hot and I was running late. So I bailed on the museum and pulled over at a casino for a nap. I love being able to pull over and in less then 30 seconds, I can be stretched out in my bed!
I pulled into our close friends Sandy and Suzie’s house at about 6pm. Their place is beautiful! A beautiful Pueblo home thats has a magical feel. It has a beautiful layout, gardens and outdoor space. I love the look of Pueblo homes, the earth tones and the over all feel is very welcoming. Sandy and Suzie gave me a quick tour and we had a cocktail before heading out to dinner. We went to a super cool local Mexican restaurant. The food was amazing, I love Mexican food and could eat it every day of the week! After that we headed home and chatted for a bit. Then I retired to Milou and did a bit of writing to try and keep on top of this!
Today was a down day. I did laundry, caught up on my hygiene, cleaned up Milou and fixed a compartment door handle that kept getting stuck.
Sandy got back in the afternoon and we hung out and did tours of our rigs. Sandy and Suzie have an amazing RV. All the creature comforts, all running off solar and all the storage one could dream of! It was fun getting into all the nitty gritty detail of our machines and how they work and pros and cons of everything.
After this I was off to go visit family friends I had not seen in a while! Dave and Trisha who also live in Taos! Unfortunately Dave had a big work event so I missed him. But I headed over to their house and had a great visit with Trish. She was so nice and made me a big batch of chocolate chip cookies for my travels! I will have to pace myself as these are extra delicious!! We had a great time catching up and filling each other in on everyone. I hope to see her and Dave soon, such great people 🙂
I then headed back to Sandy and Suzie’s. They were cooking an amazing dinner of Salmon and Rainbow trout! A true treat and very delicious. Before we knew it, it was time for bed. Lots of good discussions and I am learning lots of new things!
Today we are back to winter. Woke up to a cool morning and dawned my ski gear. Sandy and I were headed to Taos today. Some new snow fell last night and there was not a soul in sight.
I had great time skiing all morning with Sandy and exploring Taos. What a special place, has the feel of both a big and small mountain all in one. After skiing we gave Milly a quick walk before heading down the canyon.
We had a relaxing afternoon, watched a bit of the Masters, I did some trip research, then we headed to the garage.
Sandy showed me all the details of Suzie motorcycle and his. Both really cool machines, giving me spring fever and wanting to go buy another bike! We also spent a couple hours trying to debug a faulty neutral switch. I think we solved the problem but still need a part. With that sorted we headed inside and had another yummy New Mexican dinner and many discussions before turning in for the night!
Woke up today to another glorious New Mexican day! Sandy made some delicious coffee and eggs with Hatch Green Chilies. Soon becoming my favorite! Then we were off to see the Earthships. For those that don’t know Earthships are a type of off grid home, built out of recycled materials. They also run solely off rainwater, solar power, and passive heating. No more utility bills they say. This company started in New Mexico and is now world wide!
We headed off to the tour mid morning. The day started out nice but then turned cold and windy. I had a seen a documentary on these homes a few years back called Garbage Warrior and was excited to visit them in person. They have a “show” house that explained a lot about the building process and showed how all the systems worked it. It felt like being in a green house due to all the plants growing inside. It was very comfortable and very pretty and unobtrusive to the landscape due to the mound based structures. Although, a bit eccentric in the artwork, you really could make these look like whatever you want!
After the Earthship tour we headed farther into the desert in search of a plot of land Sandy bought a few years back at a real-estate auction but never visited. We had quite the time trying to find it due to the land was never developed and it was not really on a map. But perseverance and long long bumpy roads payed off! We found it and even found the survey marker lying in the dirt.. Beautiful spot but not many neighbors, we are thinking about building our Motorcycle club house here, more on that later!
We then headed home and Sandy and I were tasked with dinner. So perusal when I am tasked with dinner I default to Pizza! We headed to the store and got some ingredients. Hard to find dough in New Mexico but we made out well! The night soon turned into a full on comedy show with chef Daryl and Darrell at the grill flipping pizza in all sorts of animal shapes!
With a belly hurting from both laughing, pizza and tequila drinks it was time for bed!
Still dealing with the pizza hangover from the nite before. We had a slow morning of drinking coffee and watching the Masters. They made it a pretty exciting event to watch and congrats to Tigar on the win!
After the Masters ended, Sandy and I decided to go for a motorcycle ride as the weather was finally feeling warm out! Suzie was so gracious and let me take her beautiful bike for a spin! I had never ridden a Harley Davidson before, so this was even more of a treat! We headed out to the Rio Grand and took in the beautiful views!
After the Rio visit, we headed up Taos Canyon for some S turns before looping back into town for a beer and some gas! I had so much fun getting out riding and seeing the beautiful New Mexican country side! This was also the first time I had ridden with bluetooth communication, quite fun. Sandy I were making jokes and chatting the whole way 🙂 We also discussed forming a new motorcycle club Tres Padres which became Quadro Padres Especial dues to my poor pronunciation of Tres Piadras the area in which Sandy’s plot is in. Sandy is currently working on artwork and patches 😉
After getting back our motorized toy thirst was not quite satisfied. So we headed out in the big rig and I took her for a spin! Quite easy to drive and very comfortable!
After a full and in-depth and fully vetted tour of all the motorized vehicles we had a delish dinner, compliments to Suzie.
Packed up today from my new home on Eototo road. I had such a great time here with Sandy and Suzie. Also thanks to help from Sandy, I turned the water on in Milou. A first for the trip and it sure was nice to have the sink flowing 🙂 Thank you Sandy and Suzie for such a fabulous time and so many many great laughs, meals and memories! I hope to see you both soon!!
After leaving Taos I headed south to Santa Fe to visit Meow Wolf. I had heard about this place back in Des Moines Iowa from my friends Ben and Parke.
Trisha was so nice and hooked me up with a free day pass! For those that don’t know about Meow Wolf, I am not going to try and explain it, just watch the video below and then go and then maybe it will sort of make sense or maybe not… but it is a really cool place and definitly worth a visit!
After Meow Wolf, it was getting late but I was in a big city and needed some supplies. So I headed to the hardware store and auto parts store. I also noticed that “Missing Link” was playing in a theater near by. “Missing Link” is a newly released Stop Motion animation made by Laika. My close friend Jack from Portland worked on the puppets so it was a must see! Lucky for me it was Monday and I had the whole theater to myself 🙂
From here I continued west and pulled over at a parking area and called it a night 🙂
Headed south for Baja! But I am going to stop on my way at White Sands National Monument. This is out of the way for everyone but is so cool! I had seen pictures and always wanted to go. White Sands is made up of 275 square miles of pure white sand, made from Gypsum. The sand is smooth and white white white. Pretty amazing to drive and climb up in the dunes. The way the sun and shadows play off it is beautiful. I only wish I had more time to camp and watch a sunset. If you are ever thinking about making the drive, it is well worth a visit.
From here I kept trucking west towards Tacate Mexico.
Tecate Ca is not a town Tecate Mexico is. All that exists on the US side is a few shops and the boarder.. I was a bit reluctant to cross due I did not reach the boarder until about 2pm and I knew I had at least an 1hr and half drive to Ensenada. Due to the face there was no real place to stay in Tecate CA, I figured I mine as well just go for it.
Board crossing 101. I was told I should park and walk up to the board and get my visa etc and then drive in. I got confused and ended up in the US board officials office. Typical US, super unhelpful, laughing at me and being very cryptic with advise. Regardless, I left no wiser, got in Milou and decided to just cross. I pulled thru to the the Mexican officials. They were super nice, did a small tour of the vehicle, asked some questions about my bike and sent me on my way. Luckily I asked about my visa and they directed me to a place to park in town and I headed inside. The boarder official was hilarious and attempted to sell me hot sauce and honey while I am filling my out my custom papers. I bough some honey for 3usd to sweeten the deal 😉 and got my visa (180 days for 31 USD) and headed on my way. Due to the fact that I was staying on the Baja, no vehicle importation deposit was needed.
Well I was 300m into Mexico, no cell data and only a slight idea of where I was headed. I looked for signs to Ensenada and headed that way. I ended up driving through the town square by accident but no one seemed to care, even the police. This may have been because Milou looks an awful lot like an ambulance… Luckly it is easy to navigate here as there are very few main roads. I was heading south on MEX3 to Ensenada. Ensenada is a cool spot, close to the coast and full of life. Home to about 550 thousand people. So a big place with all the big US brands. Walmart, Cosco to name a few.
First order of business was getting a new sim card. So I headed to an OXXO equivalent to 7/11 or corner store etc. I bumbled my way through buying a sim card, only to find I needed to then find another Oxxo to top it up… typical dumb American 😉 Thank you to the patients of Oxxo employees for working with me and getting this sorted, I was able to navigate again.
Next I tried to find an ATM and parked Milou, only to discover it was not an ATM but instead a water municipality payment center. I asked a local “Donde es un Banko?”and he walked me all the way there (3 blocks). The people here could not be nicer or more generous with their time! With cash in hand and navigation on… the sun was setting. I was warned about driving at night here, so I knew I needed to find a place to sleep fast. I headed out of town and on my way out I drove through a few flooded roads and bumpy streets before making my way back to MEX1.
I found a really cool camp ground on the internet south of Ensenada. It was great, about 3USD for the night and included beach views, hot showers and bathrooms. I pulled in as the sun was setting and was home!
I parked next to some great people from Tijuana. They invited me right in. They all spoke varying levels of English and I had some great conversations with them. They shared their beer with me all night around the campfire. Did not head to bed till 2am! Long day!
Woke up to a warm day (70f/21c). I opened my door to let some fresh air in and started in on the dishes. Soon my neighbors were a wake and they invited me on tour of the small town. So off I went.
I had a very relaxed morning, enjoying the company, getting Spanish lessons and taking it easy!
I took off at about 11:30 am, a bit later then I wanted but I could not get my self to leave 🙂 I stopped by a local Tamale stand on my way out of town and stocked up for the drive. 5 for about 1 USD each 🙂 Pork, chicken, pineapple etc…
Then I headed south on Mex1. Driving here is varied, smooth roads, bumpy roads, dusty roads. Unexpected speed bumps, fast changing speed limits, hidden stop signs etc… I was cruising along when I saw some Federales out of the corner of my eye shooting people with a speed gun.
I was not speeding but I noticed they aimed it at me. Then I saw them pull out and at first was a little scared but then soon let that go and just looked forward to the adventure! They pulled me over and eventually came up to say hi. They spoke little english but were very nice.
They had pulled me over as they noticed my ambulance looked different then theirs and thought perhaps I was apart of a Baja racing team and wanted to see it. They were very excited when I opened it up and showed them around. Soon we were smiling, shaking hands and taking pictures. Then Milou and I were on our way. They also answered my question on the speed limits. In Mexico no one seems to follow the speed limit and I soon learned just stay between 80-95 km/hr and your good. Over 100 km/hr and you get a ticket. Easy enough as my typical cruising speed is 90 km/hr.
Soon enough Milou and I were back on our way! Headed south through the desert. Once you start to head inland after El Rosario things get pretty desolate. Desert, desert and desert for hours. No service, not anything. In fact it is a two way paved road, full of many big and unexpected pot holes and high mountain passes! The temps were very hot and Milou’s AC is not great. So far most of the drive it has been 95f and up. Muy calor! I luckily was on a mission and just kept going only to stop and pee.
After about 3 hrs of this and the sun getting lower and lower in the sky I ran into trouble. Well I thought anyway. Milou started to buck and lurch and not stay in gear. Now in Mexico there is no break down lane or shoulder to the roads. If you break down and you are not near a pull off, you are stuck in the middle of the road. Being over 100F and in the middle of nowhere was not a good place for these issues… So I coaxed her to a pull off not far up the road. Then I got out, and took a pee and reassessed the situation. Milou was idling fine.. So hmm transmission? Wow I sure hope not! I get back in and back her up. It’s fine. So I take off, maybe she just needed to cool off? Nope its back… and out of the corner of my eye I see the engine tuner turning on and off. The tuner injects code into the vehicles ECU to allow for better horsepower and efficiently. Well if this get disconnected the truck will not run. I had my hand near it while driving and inadvertently disconnected it. So it was turning on and off thus the lurching. Not great for anything but a very easy fix. I plugged it in, moved my fidgeting hand and was back on the road with a bit of an elevated heart beat!
The sun was even lower at this point and realized it would soon be dark. Headlights on, fog lights on and away we went. Driving on the Baja at night was not anything different then the US. It was fine, I just needed to be alert for cows! I passed through a few military check points, all very nice and little interest in me. Soon I rolled into a Permex station in Guerrero Negro. I Spoke with the employees and they were cool with me parking for the night.
Woke up early today and continued heading south. I entered into California Baja Sur. Prior to entry I had to have the bottom of Milou sprayed for bugs? I have never seen this tactic before… Next I drove for a while through the desert before hitting the coast in Santa Rosalia. This coast was a bit rocky but as I continued to head south the beaches became beautiful but very very crowded 🙁 so I headed further south in search of a place to camp.
As I am traveling along in the desert with the windows down and the sun radiating up at me at temps pushing 100 degrees f, I see a woman with a bike and all her stuff everywhere. Having ignored many other people on my trip south, I started to feel bad and this situation looked safe enough. I turned Milou around and headed back to see if I could help. She was fine and had just finished fixing a flat, but her friend did not hear her so they had kept riding. So we loaded her bike into Milou and I gave her a lift to her friend.
Dee was riding from LA to Los Cabo solo. This sounds very hard to do but more power to her! She had met and started traveling with her friend in the desert and he has been riding for 6 years and was on his way home to El Salvador! Dee was very nice and I ended up giving her a ride into town. From Dee I was reminded it was Easter and that was why the beaches were full of people!
So I continued south to see how far I could go today, back into the desert and then to La Paz. Along the way I stopped on the side of the road to grab a couple of tacos for lunch. I found this great taco stand with fresh fish tacos, fresh pica de gallo, Guacamole, onions etc etc… I also had a Mexican coke for treat. All was amazing and came to a grand total of 58 peso 3 USD!
I continued further south and pulled over outside La Paz and tried to search the web for a place to camp. It was dark now and the road next to me was flowing with traffic of 4×4’s loaded with beach stuff. So I thought to myself ahhh they must all be leaving for the day, so more room for me!
I headed the opposite way of them in search of a place to sleep:). Out a long dusty washboard road than up into the dunes. The ground was soft but there was a good hard pack to drive on. I soon found a place to pull over after some back and forth driving. The soft sand on the side of the track where I parked worried me at first but Milou had no problems.
I walked down to the beach and watched the giant moon rise! I waved as the last few beach dwellers drove by. They probably were confused about the ambulance in the dunes thus they mostly ignored me… I made some dinner and took my first shower in Milou. It worked great and was happy to wash off the days perspiration and dust:) Night.
Woke up to a beautiful morning!
Made breakfast and had some tea as the temps began to rise. Short driving day today. Only 2.5hrs to Cabo San Jose. After eating, I packed up and headed out. The drive south was very smooth. The roads are much nicer in this part of the Baja. Freshly paved and very wide.
Plan was to meet my friend Alex at a farmers market. I found it easily enough and parked next to his Van. Soon I found him and his dog Zoe! We caught up for a bit before heading out to the time share he own’s. We could not check in till 5pm, so we hung out on the beach in front and caught up and enjoyed the sun! The place we will be staying at is called the Grand Mayan. Its quite fancy and a bit different then life in the ambulance. The scenery was nice and the rooms are spacious and looks like a great place to relax!! We hung out for a bit and got settled and then headed into town to one of Alex favorite spots. After a delicious meal we headed back and called it a night.
Today we hung out at the resort. We took Zoe on a walk up the Estuary near the place we are staying. Pretty cool spot, saw lots of birds and even a lizard who lived in a tree. After, we headed back to the room before venturing out into the resort.
They have a Omnia day club here which was pretty entertaining. Like a night club but only operates during the day. Lots of fancy pool side beds and drunk 18 year olds with terrible music playing. Not really our cup of tea but entertaining none the less. We spent the rest of the day on the beach and then headed back to the room for some snacks and calling it a night. Pretty easy day 🙂
Alex had to work this AM. He does website architecture remotely, so has a pretty consistent schedule. I worked on catching up on the blog and other internet activity’s that I had been neglecting. As afternoon rolled around we decided to head out to the beach. Life is pretty slow here. Alex’s friend Marcia is going to come visit for a few days. Later we all went on a grocery store run and then headed back to the place before grabbing some diner. Great night, lots of fun!
Not much happened today. I spent the AM updating more of the blog and made a delicious breakfast! Then I headed down to the beach, where I did some reading and exploring 🙂