Sleeping In Sonora
Matt's point of view in black // Clo's point of view in pink
After leaving the La Cueva del Pirata on the Baja peninsula, we ended up heading more north than east for a few days. We had a few personal things to sort out that required a bigger city, so we ended up staying in Tijuana for a little bit. There are both upsides and downsides of being in Tijuana (again). Main downside: the traffic. I love driving Wilbur, but oh lordy do I hate driving him in busy city traffic. Even worse in Tijuana, where four way stop intersections are common, but actually stopping at the stop signs (or even stop lights) seems to be frequently optional. It's a bit stressful. Plus Wilbur is not exactly small, so finding a parking spot can be a long (haha, pun intended) process (even if we avoid driving as much as possible, it was sometimes required for our project).
It's true that when trying to find a parking space in the city we feel fat!! And at the opposite, when we are stopping the car in the desert or in the middle of a field: we feel so small! All is relative. That what I like in this new way of life we have been having for the past month (I know I know only a month) but already we have been sleeping in Hostels, Airbnb, in the back of Wilbur and wild camping in our humongous 3 people tent or hanging out at RV parks. And so much choice is almost too much choice!! Routine doesn't exist anymore! And I like that our main goals everyday are pretty much down to 2 things: where to sleep and what to eat. Back to primitivity!! (except that we are not hunting yet!! (and never)).
But the upside is that we stayed in an actual hotel room! Almost the cheapest hotel we could find on the booking sites, but a hotel nonetheless. It had hot showers, wifi, AC and secured parking. The hot showers were actually hot. The wifi was total crap; it was very slow and dropped connection frequently. Secured parking was quite good, and this is a big deal for us to make sure Wilbur stays safe when we're in a bigger city. The main downside of this hotel, which we only found out about after we arrived, is that it was some sort of hookup hotel.
The best way I can describe it is to explain the room decor. Mounted on the wall next to the bed was a very large tissue dispenser. Besides the bed and desk, the only other object in the room was the first result that shows up in google images if you search for "sex chair". A very used sex chair. The room smelled very strongly of perfume. Like I imagine a cleaning solution would smell like if you wanted to cover up other smells. The lighting in the room was very dim, which could be either romantic or annoying if you wanted to do anything instead of being romantic. The part of the floor that was carpeted almost "squished" underfoot. I never gathered my courage to walk on it with bare feet; always my shoes or flip flops. Lastly, and my favorite, was the pattern on the tile on the bathroom walls. At first glance you might imagine it was a sort of artistic distribution of paint splashes. Except if you looked closer, all of the "paint splashes" looked just the same. And maybe they weren't supposed to represent splashes of paint.
I can't believe I didn't know that the sex chair was a sex chair. I had my bag back and all my clothes on it all the time. I wish my husband would have told me... considering the relative cleanliness of the room, I would have put my underwear someplace else...
I have to say I have been a bit clueless with the different pieces of evidence in the room. But you couldn't ignore the yelling of "pleasure" of the ladies, at different hours of the day and of the night. It's funny at first, then it's disturbing and almost annoying. Finally it's just sad when I realize that my main felling about it is annoyance.
So we spent a few nights there, but we were very happy to get back on the road again. And a beautiful road it was; winding east from Tijuana it looked like a major highway on the map, but this highway was one of the most unexpectedly steep, curvy and mountainous I've driven on in some time. Plus it was in really good shape and being a toll road (or "cuota" as it's called in Mexico), it wasn't very busy, which made it even more enjoyable to drive on.
I have to say that I am not a big fan of mountain roads but this was spectacular.
Prior to leaving Tijuana we had done a bit of planning for the next week or so of places we planned on sleeping. As we got close to our first planned stop, we looked at each other, the thermostat display in Wilbur's dash, and without a word continued to drive. We did have a bit of a longer discussion as we reached our next nights planned stop (some depressing, expensive and hot looking RV parks near a small golf resort city), but the result was the same; keep driving.
Where we ended up turned out to be one of the more beautiful places we've been in a while. After trying a couple of side roads which headed towards the Sea of Cortez and turning back due to sand (I did NOT want to get Wilbur stuck in the middle of nowhere in a sand dune), we finally found a great spot. We were about 1km from the highway at the top of some sand dune-ish cliffs, a wonderfully brisk wind blowing off the sea and a large flat area in which to situate Wilbur appropriately (must have shade in the evening and also not have sun in our eyes for the morning).
We hiked down to the beach, completely untouched by any signs of humans (besides some trash washed up during high tide, unfortunately). It's been quite a while for since we've been able to make the only foot prints as far as my eyes could see. Then after enjoying a nice guacamole, tomato, onion and lime salad (the little local grocery stores always have awesome fresh produce!) for dinner, we watched the sun set and the stars come out into a perfectly clear sky. As the temperature dropped into a cooler and more comfortable range, we fell asleep to the sound of the gentle waves below. Spectacular.
I think this is one of my favorite place we slept at so far. And mostly because it is our first "wild camping" (outside of the US). <And we tried our table! yeah!!> There was already not many people on the road, but where we stopped was NO ONE. No one for hours, no one for kilometers. I don't think I have ever been in a situation like that. With no one around for so long!! I might have said that before, but I am mostly a city girl. Most of my live I have lived in an apartment, which means the person the furthest away from me is probably 10 meters away max, and this 24/7. I can't say silence is a problem, cause nature is so fucking loud (birds, mosquitoes, wind, waves). So the feeling is nothing but quiet. Just empty. Which is very different. To me at least.
The next day we continued to head south into increasingly hot temperatures (FYI; you may have seen pictures on the internets about folks in Arizona baking a pizza on the dash of their car... we were not too far from there) and were very much looking for something that offered as much breeze as possible. This meant by the sea, so we kept checking out different places to see what would work. Clo found an awesome spot for our next night, a nearly abandoned little city called Puerto Lobos. After driving 5km down a very crappy dirt road, we entered the outskirts of what actually appeared to be a rather large (I would guess at least two-three thousand people... everything is relative, ok?) village. However, there was almost no sign of actual people. Very strange!
We finally wound our way to a small beach with a large family playing in the surf next to the lighthouse, and nearby there was a hill with a few unoccupied (holiday use?) houses and a nice flat place to park. It was awesome. We watched the people play in the beach, the flocks of pelicans and other birds fishing, the huge red sunset and the wonderful, wonderful wind to blow away the heat. It's a good feeling, finding two really nice places to sleep in a row.
I loved this place too. We drove quiet a bit that day, so it was an early night. With a beautiful sunset AGAIN!! The next morning was magical too. For once Matt was the one that wanted to relax that morning, so I went by myself for a little walk by the beach near by, at low tide. Pretty nice walk, a family of 5 was playing in the water a little further. Walking in water mid-leg was pretty nice. So I went back to put my swim suit on and here I went for my first swim in Mexicooooo !! Pretty awesome. Thanks Puerto Lobos.
Now we were about three or four days ahead of schedule and were looking to find a place to hang out and chill for a while. We wanted to do some writing, take pictures, meet people, explore, not pack and unpack Wilbur every night, and most of all not spend money on gas. Our speed of travel is mostly influenced by the amount of money we have to spend on gas (by far the biggest part of our budget), so it basically forces us to stop and smell the roses at regular intervals.
In the guidebooks (Clo and I disagree on the value of physical guidebooks, but we ended up with second hand Lonely Planet books for every single country from Mexico south to Argentina... yeah, that's a lot of books) we had both (ok, I admit I am now reading the books too) liked the sound of the city Bahia Kino. It's about 60m/100km west of Hermosillo along the beach, and seemed like a slightly bigger city we could spend some time in and explore. After driving around a bit (there is a "old" Bahia with mostly locals, and "new" Bahia with mostly beachfront mansions and expats; much less interesting) we ended up a very cute little RV park right by the water. We celebrated with a six-pack of cheap beers, watching the sunset over the ocean (will we ever get tired of sunsets over the ocean? I don't think so) and then climbing into Wilbur to fall asleep with a pleasant buzz (after not drinking more than a single beer for nearly a month, being a cheap drunk is great!).
We use the Ioverlander app quiet a lot. It is a pretty great app for sleeping location. Anyways, this is how we found this RV park. Such a cute place. Wifi. Shower. What else? Ha yeah, a few beers ;-))
It didn't work. Because of mosquitoes (our most vile and hated enemy) we closed up Wilbur. This made it akin to a sauna. And apparently Thursday night was when the local kids hung out at the beach about five meters from where we were parked. Getting drunk and listening to loud music. So after trying to survive our un-asked-for hot-boxing for a couple of hours, we opened the back of Wilbur. The music was louder now, but it was drowned out by the waves crashing into the beach in a way that drowned out my thoughts. Clo didn't hear me when I yelled at her, "what the f*ck were we thinking to sleep here?". She figured it out from my unhappy face and wild gesticulating. The moon, low on the horizon and seeming as a bright as a LED floodlight certainly helped to illuminate my hand motions.
Yeah yeah yeah... not my favorite night either, having to choose between being eaten alive by 2 millimeters animals or consciously slow cooking in the back of a truck is not a fun choice to make.
The sauna caused me to sweat out all of the alcohol, so now I had a hangover and needed to pee really bad. And since the back of Wilbur was open, I was getting eaten up by the mosquitoes like they were trying to write a novel in braille. We continued the suffering for about an hour, and at the point where our sanity was starting to fray at the edges (evidence: we started to giggle together and contemplated singing along to the Mexican polka rap music blaring from the nearby car speakers) Clo finally remembered something we packed for this exact occasion. A family sized mosquito net intended to cover a queen bed, it fit perfectly around the back of Wilbur like a beautiful piece of large sized filmy lingerie on a tiny person. But it kept out the mosquitoes!
Special Thanks to my sister Carine who is at the origin of me bringing the 'family of 10' size mosquito net. Great call!
I think I finally fell asleep around 2am, once the kids finished their beers and drove home to sleep in their wonderful beds. Probably with some air conditioning, those little punks. I awoke about three hours later when the sun blasted me in the eyes and started making Wilbur into an oven again. At least it was an interesting morning, since we could watch the fishermen gather their nets and the pelicans do their own version of fishing at the same time. I've never actually seen a pelican hunt in the wild before; they slowly glide over the water at a height of about 10m/30ft, and then after they sight a fish they quickly tuck their wings to their side and dive into the ocean with the sound of a large and perfectly shaped turd plopping in the toilet bowl water. It's impressive to observe.
We did enjoy checking out Bahia Kino. We walked around a lot. We enjoyed showers at the place we were staying. We ate tacos and burros (i.e. burrito in English, not the donkey/horse mix as you might have thought). We watched a lot of pelicans. And the other nights we were here the mosquito netting made the nights much, much more bearable. The wifi was also decent in terms of not disconnecting, but wasn't much faster than our 2G data connections. So we were still interested in finding a place to spend a few days with good wifi and do some "work", maybe even with air conditioning and showers without cockroaches.
WIFI IS LIFE. ;-))
After some research we settled on Hermosillo, which was less than two hours away and had some really cheap Airbnb rooms that seemed nice. We pulled the trigger on the reservation, packed up Wilbur and drove into the inland heat. It was an easy, straight road with exactly two turns in the 60m/100km distance to keep us occupied. After enjoying a few minutes of busy city traffic (nothing compared to Tijuana!) we arrived at a small side street with cute looking homes.
OH. MY. GOODNESS. The room was awesome! Our own bathroom, a huge room, microwave, coffee maker, air conditioning, fast wifi... soooo nice. The lady who lived there was also really kind, Clo had her ear chatted off in Spanish (Clo is currently the designated Spanish speaker of the two us) and within a few minutes of arriving she whisked us off in her car to a little place for tacos. Then she showed us a local tortillaria place (so cool! the oven is huge) and did a few mini city tour to show us the good places to eat before heading back home.
Spanish. Yep, spanish. A few (a lot of few) years ago I studied in Salamanca, Spain; and between chupitos I learned spanish. But it was a long time ago. So my main problem today is that I pretty much understand everything, but it's sooo hard to get the words out of my mouth to answer!!! Hopefully it will get better and better as soon as we hang out with more people. And practice more. And also when Matt starts to speak better too and takes over the little communication problem that we have on our hands here. :-))
Shortly thereafter we showered and fell asleep to the welcome sound of the air conditioner keeping us marvelously cool the whole night. This Hermosillo place is going to be a nice location in which to spend a few days.