That Wicked Country

"When are you going to that wicked country?  Your father tells me you are heading down soon.  How do you pronounce it? Ba JA?"  my 86 year old grandmother inquired from my cousin's couch in San Diego.

"Dan and I are leaving tomorrow morning."

"But it's Christmas.  You're not going to stay?  You just got here?"

"I know, Oma, but the highways in Baja will be empty."

"Isn't it dangerous?  I hear all these stories of people being found with their heads off."

"It sure can be.  The border areas around Texas and incredibly dangerous,  but the place where I go is empty.  It's just fishermen and a handful of surfers," I explained.

"What do you do for food and water?  Isn't it incredible arid?"

"Well we bring food and water in jugs, and we spear fish.  Depending on our luck, we buy fish from fisherman"

"So there aren't restaurants or towns?"

"Think of it like Nevada with waves.  You drive 10 hours on a beat up, two lane road and then turn off and drive a few hours on dirt roads and then you park on the beach."

"...And then you surf all day?  Sounds wonderful."

"It sure is Oma.  Especially if you're into surfing."

My cousin Becca sat down on the other side of my grandmother, and the conversation shifted away from my upcoming trip.  It was already 9:30, and my jet-lagged relatives from the east coast were starting to wind down.  The fireplace popped away on wood trucked in from the Sierras and the smell of a Christmas tree overpowered the scraps of dinner still lying on the dinning room table.  I was full, too full, and I laid my head back against the wall.  I could fall asleep right now, I thought to myself.   Across the room, Dan talked with my aunt.  Over the chatter, it sounded like he was having a similar conversation with my aunt about the tenets and risks of driving to Baja.

Sunset at low tide in Central Baja.

Para Gringos!

A Taco stand in Guerrero Negro.

Two 10 footers.

Naranjas for sale on the side of the 1 in Northern Baja.

There is a bad moon on the rise.

Home is where you park it!

Dan after a four hour session.

The refrigerator at a road side Taqueria.

Off my wave cook.

Be prepared.

Foot warmers.

Red, white and blue #vanlife.

A gringo dog watching over a camp in Central Baja.

At 5:32,  the standard IOS allarm went off, waking me from my slumber on the couch.  Rolling over, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and looked out the window.  It was still pitch black.  The street lamps lit the palm trees and a sixty degree Southern California breeze blew in from the open window.  Nothing felt like Christmas morning.  My cousin Nikko's snore crept under the bedroom door into the living room.  Sunrise wasn't for another two hours, but we still had to park Dan's van at the airport and get gas.  Those two hours would go by fast.  Kicking off the blankets,  I reached for my jeans and pulled them on.  Feeling around in the dark, I grabbed my backpack and made sure my iPhone charger was in it.   Being as quiet as possible,  I locked the door behind me and headed out to my van.

Dan was already waiting right behind my van.

"Merrrry Christmas."

"Happy Kwanzaa to you too."

"You ready to go?"


Here are some more links,

Out of Reception (Tumblr).