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A Travel Day

On Monday, we departed La Paz to make the 220 mile drive north to Loreto. 220 miles may not sound too far, but; in an RV, and travelling in a four family caravan, that’s a full day of travel. Because we were going to be boonkdocking on a beach in Loreto (i.e., no water, sewer, or electrical hookups), the night before we left, we filled up the fresh water tank in our rig, as well as large bottles of non-potable water for dishes and toilet, and our water jugs with potable water. 

Sunday night, at our Taco dinner/dance party (during which we feasted on a massive fish caught by an honorary member of our travelling tribe), we agree to aim for a departure time of between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday. The next morning, the departure ritual begins: slides come in, front yards (toys, rugs, chairs, and more) get put away, and we begin to get our rigs into position on the road outside the RV park. Three families that we’ve been travelling on and off with in south Baja aren’t coming with us, so it’s time for the goodbyes. They meet at the entrance and we share hugs, well wishes, and blessings. “See you down the road!” we say. These families are like next door neighbors, or friends from nearby apartments – we’ve shared meals with them, watched their kids, had late night conversations and meals with them. We’ve swapped books, stories, clothes our kids have outgrown. We’ll miss them.

Then we get back in our rigs, walkie talkies on, and determine who’s lead and who’s caboose, and pull out on to the highway. One of Tucker’s friends travels with us and they sit at the dinette and play Exploding Kittens.  Often, travel days are full of the kids bickering, or getting on each other’s nerves, or not agreeing on anything, unhappy with food options (or lack thereof) but today, they play game after game, laughing, enjoying the time together, two teenagers easily incorporating our six year into their play. 

As we drive, spaced out, but within eyesight of each other, we radio one another about erratic and aggressive drivers, when trucks are approaching, when other drivers need to pass, and when we need to stop for a bathroom break. Outside of the southern part of Baja, the highways are narrow with no shoulders. While I drive, Juliana helps the kids with food, drinks, and any conflict  mediation that is needed. In the early afternoon, we stop at a PEMEX gas station. Several tacos stands are just across the street and twenty five pesos ($1.25) buys a delicious taco filled with bistec steak, potatoes and peppers. Tucker has a bite of this taco and loves it so much he returns to the stand, “Tres mas, por favor!” 

As we eat lunch, we consult with each other and realize that none of us know the exact directions to the beach we want to stay at. We review notes from other RVers and text a family we know who stayed there several weeks ago; they drop a pin on Google Maps. Unlike staying an RV park, boondocking always requires a bit of extra work; is the location easy to find? Are the roads passable for our rigs? Is it safe?

The drive is stunning, winding mountain passes with views of the ocean.  We finally arrive in Loreto, and wind our way through the congested streets toward the road we believe will take us to the beach. The beach we are looking for is just past an unfinished development that stalled out after the roads were put in. Some of the roads only have curbs, and the road itself is just dirt and rocks. Nothing else has been built. It’s not clear which road we need to take, so we stop before we enter the development, consult on the walkie talkies, get out, stretch our legs, and unhook our Honda Fit, in order for Juliana and two others to do a scouting mission in a more nimble vehicle. We must proceed with caution; our rigs are big. We don’t want to stuck half a mile down a road we can’t turn around on or get stuck in soft sand. And we definitely want to make sure there’s room for all our rigs to be togther somewhere on the beach, and that there’s enough hardpack surface that our wheels won’t sink.. 

The scouting trip takes thirty minutes, but the report is positive. “We think we found a spot that will work for all of us. It’s a rough dirt road, about a mile, but nothing we can’t handle,” Juliana reports by walkie talkie. By this time, all the kids have spilled out of the rigs/trucks and are playing with each other. But nearly there, and it doens’t matter which vehicle they return to, just so long as they get in a car!.

We finally make it to the beach we’ll be staying near. We are the only ones there. Again, we all get our of our rigs, walk through the space, check for soft sand, consult one another about who parks where, and finally agree on a configuration that will work for all of us.

Because of the space and sequencing, we’re the last rig to pull in. Thankfully, we’re level, and we put down our stabilizers. Tucker helps set up our outside space, brings out the rug, weights, kettlebell, and chairs. Jesse brings out his collection of 596 bottle caps and we prepare hamburgers for the kids. It’s nearly 7:30 p.m. – an eight plus hour travel day. We’re tired, but we’ve made it – we’ve moved to our new home.   

Checking for soft sand and strategizing about how to arrange our rigs,

Enjoying a potluck dinner at our new ‘home’ on the beach

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