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First days in Mexico

Our border crossing into Mexicali was uneventful. We went through the eastern-most border crossing after reading that there would be less traffic. The US border patrol seemed to be more interested in why we were going into Mexico than the Mexican border patrol who just waved us along. Once through we stopped to get our tourist visa and then we were on our way!

Our first stop was San Felipe, 125 miles south of Mexicali on Mex 1. The roads were easy to navigate and I faithfully followed the speed limits while all of Mexico sped past me. I didn’t want to encourage a meeting with the Mexican police.

We arrived at San Felipe in the late afternoon and chose Playa Bonita RV campground after visiting the four available campgrounds along the beach just north of town. After setting up camp, Poncho, the camp manager, drove us down to the main strip and gave us a little tour of the place along the way. It’s a tiny town with only two main streets so the tour was very short.

We found a really tasty taco stand at the south end of town. If you’re in San Felipe, stop by. It’s the only stand where they were cooking the food along the sidewalk with tables and a bar set inside the building. They had amazing grilled chicken and pork al pastor (roasted on a vertical rotisserie). We don’t remember the name but you can’t miss it.

Given all of the driving to this point, we decided to stay another day in San Felipe. It was a pretty little town and our first place along the Sea of Cortez. We walked to the Centro to get something for lunch and decided on another popular looking restaurant. When choosing our restaurants, we favor the ones that have more local patrons. Given our waiter’s limited English, I was forced to try out my broken Spanish with mixed results. I thought that I ordered 4 items but we ended up with two additional items and potentially more on the way when I finally told him…basta! enough! Nada mas!

The next day we continued south along the Sea of Cortez toward Puertocitos. We stopped at the Valley of the Giants to see the Giant Saguaros. In 1992, Mexico sent one to Spain as a gift in commemoration of the 500 year anniversary of the discovery of Mexico. These giants grow to over 10 tons and live to be more than 2,000 years old. They don’t sprout their first arm until they are around 75 years old. Of the more than 40 million seeds it produced in its lifetime, maybe one will survive to maturity.

I’m almost 6′ tall and am dwarfed by this giant.

DSCN0951When we arrived at the Valley of the Giants, we were met by an engaging gentleman who was busy lassoing a cow skull. We paid him the entrance fee of USD$10 and he pointed us in the direction of the giants. We drove along until the sandy road became too deep for our comfort then headed back out to continue our journey to Puertecitos.

On our way into Puertecitos, we noticed a little shack on the side of the road named Cowpatty.

10 Bucks to whomever guesses what the green thing is in the car!
10 Bucks to whomever guesses what the green thing is in the car!

We made a mental note of the restaurant but went to Puertecitos first, hoping for some other options. We asked the hostess of the campsite in Puertecitos about other food options and the prices for camping and soaking in the hot springs. There was no food to be had and the prices for camping and the hot springs were more than we wanted to pay. We were pretty hungry so we decided to go back to Cowpatty and figure out our next move. For once, I held my expectations in check. With a  name like Cowpatty, who knows what could be in store! Well, they only had hot dogs, chips and soda or beer on the menu. I think this was my first hot dog in over 5 years!

After we finished eating one of the customers told us that there was a good restaurant down the road just past Puertecitos called Christina’s. Great timing! If only he had mentioned that about 5 minutes earlier. 🙂 So Darryl and I got back in the car with fingers crossed, hoping that the restaurant would be open. When we arrived, we saw that the three motorcyclists that passed us earlier and were also at the Puertecitos campsite were there as well. They invited us to sit with them and we had a wonderful dinner sharing stories about our travels, the planning and where we were headed. They are also on their way to the southern tip of Argentina. Check them out at www.3upcollective.com.

After dinner, we decided to stay at the beach in front of Christina’s restaurant. Check out our penthouse view! We thought we had the place all to ourselves until a litter of coyote pups woke us up at about 3 am. What a rough life but I’ll take it!!

Sunset on our beachfront site.