5-7 February 2016
Playa Santispac was strangely empty. The night before the place was hopping with an entire caravan of seniors on Spring Break, Senior Citizens that is. It was Friday morning and the wind had been blasting me for the past four days, it was time to head south to Loreto. In addition to the wind, it was the same old story – both my laundry and my body needed a good cleansing, and the caravan tanks need to be emptied and filled. It didn’t cross my mind that the entire caravan was headed to my secret Loreto RV Park retreat, until I arrived, just in time to witness the cacophony of too many oversize rigs with cars attached trying to squeeze in to a city-sized park. There was no room at the inn so there would be no hot shower or clean sheets to crawl into that night.
Not to worry. Last year, on my way north, we had stayed the night at the beautiful Playa Juncalito and it was just south of Loreto. I filled my tank with purified water and headed south.
We arrived to find an empty campground. Just like Baby Bear, we wandered around camp, testing each site, until we found the one that was “just right.” It was a spacious site, snuggled in the trees, sheltered from the wind, with sweet views of both the ocean and the mountains behind. To make things even sweeter, there was a perfect spot to hang my hamaca and a second perfect spot to set up my solar panel. We were far away from the road and close to a network of trails that wound along the beach, past deserted homes, into the Ejido (village), and through the woods. Perfection!
After setting up camp and taking a long walk, I settled into my hamaca and started working on a new project that I was really excited about. You know that feeling, when everything comes together and your muse finally finds you? You grab the moment by the horns and run with it. That is exactly what I did, and it felt really good.
The four of us passed a lovely and productive day and slept well that night. Early Saturday morning we headed out for another round of adventures, chasing bunnies, surfing the waves, exploring the ruins, helping the goatherd herd is goats, and meeting the locals. I struck up a conversation with an old guy by the name of Jaime. There are three things you should know about me. One – I’m just fluent enough to get myself into interesting predicaments. I speak fairly fluent Spanish so people respond as if I am fluent, when in reality I usually catch enough random words here and there to understand the gist of the conversation. Two – I feel safe in almost every situation thanks to my fierce and loyal security detail. Three – I love talking to locals and learning more about their lives.
So when Jaime invited me back to his place I agreed without hesitation. He had a nice little parcel of land just up the trail, full of trees dripping with grapefruit and the skeletal remains of a house that was demolished by hurricane Odile. I wasn’t sure if he was suggesting I buy his parcel of land or if he wanted me to relocate my camp to his place. Either way, I had that gut feeling that I should do neither. As I bid adieu, he told me he would come by later with a bag of grapefruit from his tree.
Not long after returning to camp, Jaime returned with a big bag of delicious grapefruit. He mumbled on about danger and thieves, I figured he was just trying to scare me into moving over to his place so I brushed him off. Still later, people began to arrive. One of my new neighbors was a guy a bit younger than me who worked summers in the great white north and wintered in Baja. Another was a Coloradan who owns property in Cabo Pulmo, and had ventured to Loreto to visit a friend and watch the Super Bowl. Then there was the hippy couple who have a place north of here, but had lived in Juncalito when it was wild and free and filled with other gringo drop-outs. Next, the campground began to fill with Mexican families on day trips.
Returning from our afternoon walk, we were greeted by a tweaked out Mexican and his woman, parked about three feet from my caravan door, asking for a lighter. Even in Mexico, where the personal bubble is much smaller than in the United States, his proximity to my rig was unnerving and not normal. I was trying my best to be polite, but the heebie-geebies had my skin crawling and I just wanted to make them go away. They left their car parked outside my door and headed off, presumably in search of a lighter. Relief swept over me once they left and I could safely leave my caravan to share my creeped out feelings with my fellow campers. That is when the hippie couple told me about the gringo history in Juncalito. A large community of gringos once populated Juncalito, until the Ejido Council got together and decided to take back their community. They were a bit hazy on the details, but it sounded like new rules were instituted, the gringos could not own Juncalito waterfront property, and there was some bad blood between the locals and the gringos. My parting comment to the couple, “I’ll keep my panic alarm close at hand and if anything happens I’ll set off my alarm.” The last thing I did that night, for the first time since buying my solar panels, was to run my cable through the handle and lock the panel to my vehicle.
I fell asleep early, as usual, and was rudely awoken by my two pups barking and growling and viciously charging the front windshield. I popped up, looked out the window, and was greeted by a headlamp. I yelled something random and started fumbling for my car keys, my flashlight, my shoes, my phone, anything! Finally, I just threw open the door, the pups were off like a two bullets chasing the headlamp, and I was close on their tails in my barefeet. Luna finally woke up and came tumbling out of the caravan as the headlights were bumping off into the night. The cord on my solar panels had been cut, but thanks to brief flash of brilliance and my pups diligence, the thief was thwarted.
It was then that I realized that Luna had done her job, her babies were well-trained and ready to take on her position as heads of security. I could give her a gold watch and let her slip gracefully into a comfortable retirement, confident that Pequeña and Loquita were ready to step up and fill Luna’s big paws.