Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Long and Winding Road Home

Mexico Federal Highway 1
Spark and I took the easy way home. We left La Paz with Darrell at the helm of a bright red VW Jetta navigating the 750 miles north through desolate desert landscape and lush vineyards, to the remote edges of the Sea of Cortez, across the rugged Sierra Giganta Mountains, and finally to the blue Pacific in San Diego, California. Darrell, the great gentleman that he is, agreed to spare Spark the dreaded BASH with its reputation for nasty head-on seas and winds. When we arrived in San Diego, Darrell picked up 2 crew, Sheriff Pat and Nick the fisherman, turned around and drove 750 miles south to La Paz where El Tiburon was waiting patiently. And that, is only one reason why Darrell is The Man of My Dreams! Spark and I are currently parked in a condo next to the San Diego Yacht Club with the beautiful La Playa beach as our front yard, while El Tiburon, Odyessey, Moontide, Tapatai, Elisa, Sun Baby, and many more boats wait for a decent weather window north. Not an easy task this year as "extreme weather" punishes much of the globe.
After driving for hours we stopped at Bahia Conception, a favorite of cruisers known for its isolated beauty far removed from city life. In the Spring, as temperatures warm the turquoise sea, sailors move north in search of good swimming. To our surprise we found Second Kiss anchored in solitude in the pristine Bay. In May the sweet yellow blooms of the cardon cactuses attract the birds and the bees. Unfortunately, the bees are also attracted to fresh water, so cruisers must be diligent in keeping screens closed and facets dry.
                Second Kiss rests upon calm turquoise waters at Bahia Conception
The Mexico Federal Highway 1 is a pretty good road with ongoing upgrades, nevertheless, one does not drive at night. No, it's not bandidos, it's the free range cattle grazing along side the highway. In addition, the road can be narrow with LARGE speeding semi-trucks delivering goods up and down Baja on hairpin curves carving their way over, through, and around the steep Sierra Giganta Mountain range. 
                                                    Don't Drive at Night!
A further reminder not to drive at night are the roadside shrines, or descansos, which mark a death from tragic accident. The descansos vary from humble wooden crosses with nails to elaborate brightly painted temples with glass doors to protect the statute of the patron saint watching over the location where the loved one's spirit left their body at death. Flowers and other offerings are left by friends and family in the honor of the departed. 
              A descansos marking the death of a loved one overlooking Bahia Conception.
There are also plenty of checkpoints run by the Mexican military in an attempt to slow down drug trafficking. The officers are respectful, professional, and polite. Almost all gave Spark friendly pets. We followed a military convoy for many miles through central Baja.
               The Military presence in Baja serves as constant reminder of the drug war.
All in all, it was a memorable 2-and-half day journey home. Home? Where's that? 
San Francisco? San Diego? Mexico?
El Tiburon, she is home, where the heart is.
 sv/ El Tiburon at anchor in San Evaristo, Sea of Cortez, Baja Sur 

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