Journey to Loreto
From Guerrero Negro we continued driving South as we were supposed to pick up Brenna’s parents from the airport in Loreto (didn’t end up making it in time – sorry!). We have since noted you should add an extra hour (or two!) on any time Google Maps estimates in Mexico. The drive down Highway 1 remained very scenic, one highlight was Bahia de Conception a bay on the Gulf of California. The only semi-stressful of the drive was the military checkpoint near the town of Santa Rosalía. This was one of the more interesting checkpoints on our journey so far. They did a search of our vehicle at the checkpoint (typically you are just waved through if you are traveling south) and they asked if they could buy Mitchell’s coffee thermos. We are fairly certain they were hoping we would simply hand over the coffee mug and didn’t really want to “buy” it. This wasn’t overly threatening but it is a little stressful when a group of armed men who have surrounded your vehicle are attempting to “buy” things from you. Once we had communicated that the coffee thermos was a critical piece of equipment (and not for sale) they let us go and we continued on to Loreto.
In Loreto we met up with Brenna’s parents and spent a week getting spoiled staying at La Mision Hotel which not only had really nice rooms (and showers) it also had a pool. It was great to see family after a few months on the road. We did some celebrating on our first night in Loreto and possibly overindulged in the Mescal. After spending a day recovering we spent the rest of the week in Loreto fishing, snorkeling, and eating at several very nice restaurants.
We had the chance to take a boat out to Isla Coronado and got to go fishing (caught Yellowfin Tuna and Mahi Mahi aka. Dorado). We saw dolphins and sea lions on our way to the island and snorkeling off of the beach in Coronado was also very good! If you visit Loreto we recommend hiring a boat to take you out to Coronado or joining a tour. We went with Land and Sea Tours and can recommend them!
San Javier Misión
In addition to visiting Isla Coronado we also did two different day trips. Our first day trip from Loreto was to San Javier Misión. The full official name is Misión San Francisco Xavier de Viggé-Biaundó. It is one of the best-preserved missions in Baja and the current structure dates back to 1758 and is still used every Sunday.
Bahia de Conception
Our second day trip was back to Bahia de Conception (when we drove by it we knew we had to go back!) where we had a picnic and ate the yellowfin tuna we caught the day before. Mitchell was head chef and prepared a lovely meal for Brenna and her parents on the beach. The pristine sandbars and beaches here are spectacular!
Laundry and Car Wash
In Loreto we also tackled some less exciting aspects of living on the road. We did laundry (or attempted to), in most of the smaller towns in Mexico it is commonplace for you to leave your laundry and they will look after folding and washing for you, all at a super reasonable price. So while we did end up with clean laundry all we did was drop it off! At first we weren’t sure how we felt about having someone else do our laundry but we have since embraced it and appreciate having fresh, folded clean clothes with out having to do it ourselves :). Along with laundry we also got the outside of Toby washed. Similar to the laundry situation there was no self service car wash option in Loreto so we paid a nice gentleman to wash Toby for us.Toby looked cleaner then he did even when compared to the start of our journey! We still don’t know what magic was used to get all of the bugs off because we have tried and been unsuccessful. Overall it was great to be able to support local businesses and I can’t say we miss washing our own vehicle or laundry!
After our recharge week in Loreto we continued travelling South and found our first free camping at a small beach. Having free camped lots in the US and Canada we were a little uncertain regarding the safety of doing so in Mexico but after driving around Mexico for the past two weeks we felt totally safe and spent a relaxing night away from civilization.
Next up the Pacific side of Baja! We picked up a used surfboard in San Diego and were getting the itch to go surfing so we drove across the peninsula to the pacific side of Baja to see if we could find some surf!