Last night was incredible. We pulled into Murege, Baja mid-afternoon and drove straight out the road to the beach. The road ended abruptly right on the beach of the Sea of Cortez. To our left was a tiki bar and to our right a haystack shaped hill with a lighthouse on top. Charlie and I decided to ride our bikes along the rocky beach towards the lighthouse and see how far we could get. To my dismay I did not get far before dropping my bike in deep sand. I picked it up and got it moving again but Charlie had taken another path and turned around. I dropped the bike again about 30 yards later and this time managed to flood my carburetor.
While I sat there in the sand working to drain my carb I was greeted by a shirtless sixty year-old man wearing jorts. The man’s name was Francisco and he’s from Taos, New Mexico. Apparently he spends his winters here in Mugere living on the beach for free (his tan was definite evidence). He had his truck and camper tucked away by the hill and he told me that we could camp anywhere on the beach for free as long as we wanted.
I was onboard immediately because the last week has been very expensive wasting time in the desert dealing with Alex. I rode back over to Charlie and Sarah to tell them what I learned and they were already at the tiki bar drinking Negro Modelos. Naturally, I joined them. We sat there watching the waves roll in drinking beers with lime for at least an hour deciding on a game plan. I’m telling you it WAS a Corona advertisement and I wasn’t complaining.
Before we came up with a concrete plan a Pathfinder pulled up to the beach with Washington plates. I flew out of my seat beer in hand and ran over to talk to my fellow PNWers. Gary and Rick turned out to be from Index, WA, just sixty miles from my hometown. Gary used to work in Alaska before coming down here to Mugere with his girlfriend ten years ago. He has been building a house and loving life ever since. Rick, his son, still lives in Index and is a DOT worker for Washington State. We had some good laughs about I-5, Stevens Pass, and anything else Washington related.
After chatting on the beach for about fifteen minutes together we all decided to head into the tiki bar for some more beers. Gary had a very detailed map of Baja and a lot of unique knowledge about the area as we head south. We sat together drinking for at least two hours listening to Gary (who looks just like Sam Elliot) and his son tell stories of Baja with their deep-woods Washington accents.
As the sun started to set Gary and Rick decided to head home. By this point, Charlie, Sarah, and I were all feeling our drinks so it was decided that we would definitely be camping on the beach. Naturally, we got a couple more rounds of drinks. As the night wore on, the tiki bar began filling up with retired American snowbirds. It turns out Mugere is full of American and Canadian retirees who come down here to relax for the winters and drink each other under the table.
Eventually, we came across the bar manager, Tim. Tim has a Santa Clause look to him and he hails from northern Minnesota. He has been in Murege for eight years now and couldn’t be happier. The more Tim talked to us the more he liked us and the feeling was mutual. As all the mid-sixties partiers began to shuffle out, we three kids moved up to the bar for what would be hours more of drinking and storytelling. After midnight rolled around, we stopped ordering beers but Tim kept pulling them out of the fridge, opening them, and handing them to us on the house. This went on until 3:30am.
Long story short, we talked about everything last night. We spent a lot of time on the state of the U.S., politics, religion, morality, the 1960’s, and the Australian army (Charlie regaled us with one Aussie war victory after another). Tim stayed at the bar the whole time drinking rum and Coke and passing around Coronas to replace the empties. We must have had twelve free beers by the night’s end. Finally, at some awful point I pitched my tent on the beach for me and Charlie. Tim told Sarah to string her hammock between two palm trees in the tiki bar’s outside seating area. He told us we could use the bar’s bathrooms and showers until the next day and wished us a good night before passing out. Then I stumbled to my tent and fell asleep listening to the waves roll in on the Baja Peninsula.
Needless to say I feel like shit today. It’s 3:00pm and so far all I have done is eaten two tacos, searched for a hotel, and finally stopped by a café for some Wi-Fi. I did run into a pair of guys riding BMW touring bikes and carrying a full load out of kiteboarding gear. I explained to them that they are gods in my book and they told me that I’ll be able to rent a windsurfer finally just a couple hundred miles south of here in La Ventana (I’ll be spending a couple nights there!). The plan seems to be looking like the beach again tonight. I’m going to avoid alcohol after last night. That won’t be easy once Tim gets ahold of my attention.
With last night out of the way, I’ll cover the day before and give a brief statement of affairs. The night before last we stopped in San Ignacio, a tiny green oasis in the middle of the Baja desert. We stayed in a very nice yurt right next to a river surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation. I went swimming in the river the day we arrived and kayaking alone the next morning. The yurt price came with a full breakfast and an amazing host who pampered us the whole time. The yurt was $30 each, but well worth it. The next day we went to Mugere and drank forever.
Alex is still in San Quintin but he thinks he will be on the move soon. The mechanic, Tato, found some old wheels he can use and fixed his frame. I’m not sure what else is going on up there but it sounds like they are moving fast. I told Al to catch up fast, but in one piece.
Aside from Alex’s cliff jumping snafoo, everything has gone really well on the trip now two weeks in. My bike has been running sensationally and is almost due for an oil change. My tires are showing some wear which is to be expected now that we are 3000 miles in. My riding gear is performing admirably. It can be a little hot sometimes but let’s face it: Central America is a hot place no matter what you wear.
I haven’t shampooed my hair since we left Lake Stevens. I have been using bar soap for every square inch of my body and as a laundry detergent to boot; seems to be working well. I saw my first parrot today. He is across the café from me right now and keeps screaming ‘Hola!’. I’m going to go find Charlie and Sarah on the beach soon. My plan is to take a dip in the ocean and then climb up to the lighthouse for a photo shoot. I’d also like to go see Francisco again. He was very helpful yesterday while I worked to get my bike running. I hope to move south tomorrow. This wind is driving me insane without a rig.
Happy tax day Mom!