Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Good and Bad of Sleeping In The Desert

When we left PSC a few days ago, we stopped for the night in the high-desert before hitting the main Baja highway.  I always look forward to this.  The high-desert cools down nicely at night.  It has a familiar smell that I can only describe as clean, yet dusty. The drive is only 40 miles, but it takes us 3.5 - 4 hours.

Scott loves being able to take his shower outside, with a view
The sun sets on the Baja desert
The night was deafeningly quiet and we slept very well.  At 6am we awoke to what we thought was a strong gust of wind or possibly an earthquake.  We pushed each other out of the way trying to look through the small window by our heads.  We could see 3 cows rubbing against the truck in the light of dawn.  It felt like the truck might tip over.  In a frantic voice Scott says, "We've got to get them off, they could break something".  He followed that with, "MOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" He didn't yell or scream, he simply mooed.  It didn't work.  I pounded my fist on the wall and the cows quickly walked away.  Along this 40-mile stretch we often see cows plodding along, probably looking for scarce food and water.  Maybe they are also looking for something to scratch against. This time, maybe they were walking home after a big night out and thought they could tip the truck over while we slept. Silly cows--don't they know that's a myth?

If you look closely, you might be able to see the faint cow trail going straight to our truck

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Baja Desert Turns Green and So Do We

Get your head out of the gutter.

I recently blogged about the epic, 10-year rain that we experienced while staying at Punta San Carlos (PSC).  Following the rain, we ended up staying for nearly 6 weeks. It allowed us to witness the desert in all of its flowering, green glory.  The pictures never seem to capture how amazing it was.  Perhaps it's because what is normally in the place of the green flora and bright flowers are brown, dead-looking plants. The contrast is what's so amazing and otherwise can't be captured in a picture.  Besides the abundance of plant-life, we also witnessed a bloom of caterpillars, moths, and butterflies.

There's something fascinating about these dangerous and painful cactus' with soft, gentle flowers

Do these fat caterpillars turn into bird-sized moths?

This poor hummingbird thought he/she hit the desert-flower jackpot! The hummingbird-sized bug was more successful.
On a less pleasing note, about 3 weeks into our stay, we made the 3.5-hour drive out to the nearest town (El Rosario) to get food and water.  The day after we returned, we both came down with what we thought was a nasty case of food poisoning that ended up lasting nearly a week.  We later learned that a gastrointestinal virus was going around El Rosario which I have no doubt we contracted.  For 2 days straight, all we did was sleep, moan, and stumble to the outhouse.   Between the two of us, we probably lost 20 lbs.

We left PSC a few days ago and are now on our way south feeling healthy and strong, enjoying the continued desert greenery.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Where Are You From?

"Where are you from?" is becoming an increasingly hard question to answer.  We get asked this a lot.  We are originally from Michigan and Indiana.  During our mid-20s and early-30s we lived in Vancouver, Washington (a suburb of Portland, Oregon) but haven't lived there since 2008.  Our license plate is from South Dakota.  What makes it even more complicated is that we don't plan on living in the USA for quite a while.

We've never lived anywhere near South Dakota
Any time we are asked this question, we first have to decide what is being asked before replying.  Is he/she wondering how far we have driven to get to our current location?  Just making small talk?  Wondering where we live at the moment? Or maybe the question is posed to us while we are sitting in the surf lineup.  "Where are you from?" might really mean, can you actually surf?  Or maybe it means, how long are you going to be camped here?  Maybe I should answer "Michigan" instead of "Portland".  That would explain the ketchup I enjoy on so many meals.   For us, it is a very loaded question, regardless of the intent.

For the most part, we usually always answer Portland, Oregon.  This isn't really true, since we never lived in Portland.  Our excuse for saying "Portland" is that no one really knows where Vancouver, Washington is.  In reality, we spent a lot of time in Portland and almost all of our friends live in Portland (even some of our Vancouver friends).  The northwest clicked with us in a way that Indiana and Mighigan never could. From the start, it just felt like home, and it still does. We fell in love with the clean whitewater rivers, the cold Pacific ocean, volcanic mountains, the relentless summer winds of the Columbia river gorge, the music scene, and quality, hand-crafted beer.  Without even noticing, living near Portland also turned us into tree-hugging, hippies.  What other city in the USA provides kitchen compost bins along with garbage containers?

Vancouver, WA is the "backwoods" suburb of Portland, OR (and those cans of beers are props)
When we first meet people, we usually hope the where-are-you-from questioning ends at that.  It gets complicated when people start asking us about the recent weather in Portland or where we recently surfed on the Oregon coast.  We've been wondering how we are going to answer this question as the years go on.  Will we still say "Portland" 5 years from now?  I much prefer the question, "Where are you going?"

At the moment we are in Baja which certainly feels like "home" to us