I’m writing this from a hotel room. I will explain later.
But first, our quest to find cooler temperatures was at last successful. Just north of the border of Baja California Sur, the southern half of the peninsula, we tried desperately to go down three different roads to get to campsites on the coast. But our van was not meant for those roads. After bottoming out a few times, we called it quits. We drove to the nearest town, Guerrero Negro, and settled in for a couple of nights.
It felt good to get caught up with normalcy. We slept in an RV park in town, did laundry, emptied our tanks, had stand-up showers, and watched the two-hour episode of Game of Thrones.
Edd even looked at our air suspension system, taking apart the compressors and everything. He found that two of the airbags (inside the shocks) had leaks. I’m lucky that Edd’s determination, combined with him being handy, means in our house, stuff gets fixed.
We taco-hopped for our meals, stopping at various taco stands and trying a few at each place.
Then we went south to a small coastal village called Bahía de Asunción. For being so small and isolated, the town seemed to be doing ok. Many of the residents had new SUVs and houses with fresh paint, new fences, bay windows, and yards full of flowering plants. The streetlights and roads were new.
We arrived at an RV park, a dirt lot next to the beach, where we were greeted by Lucas, a Mexican by birth but adopted and raised in San Diego.
Lucas told us that the town’s wealth revolves around the abalone industry! There is a cannery in town and they send most shipments to Asia, where the shellfish a delicacy, and apparently the priciest in the world.
He also said that for that reason, the members of the fishing cooperative take turns parking on the beach, patrolling for poachers. Especially because this season hadn’t been very good.
Thursday was Edd’s and my five year anniversary! It was pretty low-key. No restaurants were open during the work week, so we decided to stay in and cook. And our propane flames were starting to come out orange, not blue. So poor Edd spent the day cleaning the regulator on the tank. At least we went out for ice cream!
Then on Friday I was violently sick. Edd did all the cooking and cleaning as I lay on the sofa trying to stay still.
That weekend, while Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, Tropical Storm Lidia hit the Baja Peninsula, flooded Cabo San Lucas to the south of us, and then charged north towards the very headland where we were staying.
The energy level was high. A police truck drove around, playing a recording on a loudspeaker warning that the water supply would be cut. Cars lined up on the road outside the Pemex station to fill up on gas. Spontaneous gusts of wind thrust sand into the van, and into my eyes when I was running back and forth to the bathroom.
In the middle of the night, the wind continuously smacked the van with such force that I couldn’t sleep. I checked the storm warnings online and finally went back to bed when the National Hurricane Center made clear that the storm center had now passed us and was weakening. But the van rocked back and forth, my bowels cramped, and the night was long. Edd slept like a baby.
After weathering storm and sickness, we chilled out for a whole week. The cooler temps made it possible. We read a lot. Edd is quickly making his way through an Azimov series and I’m slowly making mine through Los Detectives Salvajes. We cycled. I collected pieces of shell and sea glass to make a hypothetical mosaic for the van. In the evenings we drank beer and chatted with Lucas about life in the bahía and his dog, Rosie.
Hanging around meant we got to see what the fishing industry meant for the locals on a day to day basis. We saw the men who parked on the beach to guard the sea from illegal fisherman. On Monday a few of the men around town were furnishing new lobster traps on their porches, in preparation for the five-month lobster season which starts in October.
Boogie boarding is popular with the local kids, and they dive into the surf as soon as school gets out. We borrowed Lucas’s boogie boards and tried our hand as well. And that was probably the most active thing we did all week.
The internet was pretty poor here though, but Edd managed to order some new air suspension bags online, which we will pick up in Cabo San Lucas.
A couple of days before we left, we invited Lucas for curry and onion bhajis as a thank you for the boogie boards. Lucas told us stories about the year he spent in prison, though we thought it was better to not ask what the crime was and just leave it on that note.
We were ready to leave the bay and to brace for the nighttime heat on the East of the peninsula. But first Edd thought the van should get checked for the whirring noise we heard whenever we slowed down.
We took the van to a garage called GABA in the next biggish town, Vizcaíno. César, a mechanic whom they call “El Flaco” (The Skinny One) jacked up the right rear side and started the engine. The wheel, spinning freely, made a sharp grating sound. Then César took a long rubber tube, stuck one end in his ear and used it like a stethoscope, listening to the underside of the car.
Then he disassembled the rear axle and showed us the bearings on both the passenger side rear wheel and in the differential. He showed us some scratches and friction marks, which looked minor to our eyes, but which, compounded, were the cause of the noise.
The garage is going to call around for parts and inform us of the options by tomorrow. In the meantime, without it’s back legs, the van is going nowhere and we are in a motel for the night.
Well, at least we have AC!