The majestic land of Baja, so close to California and yet we hear it feels like worlds away. For years we have seen our friends' eyes glaze over as they tell stories of their time spent on the Baja California Peninsula. Finding great surf/getting skunked; discovering the best fish tacos/living on rice, beans and cabbage; and breaking down/encountering big hearts and great hospitality among the local people — all seem par for the course in that Lower California peninsula.
So our trip begins! We spent a full week gathering everything on our well researched list and prepping our vehicle, which we fondly call "The Beast" : a 1987 Toyota Dolphin. We sent 2 surfboards to be repaired, one to get a new fin and the other to be "un-buckled". I bought a new wetsuit (mine was full of holes) and we set up some dates to find Erik a new longboard.
We do not own a car and have heard that renting to drive across the border can be tricky so we were thrilled when our friends Will and Brynn Noel generously decided to lend us the Beast, which they call Milo.
We had the Beast looked over by a mechanic and also outfitted her with a new surf-rack on the roof and bike rack secured by the spare tire on the rear. Will and Erik (my partner in crime) came up with a simple design for each, the parts for which we bought at Home Depot for a total of $250. Which is awesome compared to the $200 Thule Bike rack we could have bought. Learn how we built the Bike Rack Here!
The packing list that we are working with came together through our own common sense and the knowledge of our friends who have made the trip before us. It looks like this:
I had a wonderful time cleaning out my pantry at home and transferring it to the RV to give us a good start on our pantry for Baja. I will turn 31 on this trip, so naturally I brought all ingredients necessary to make a chocolate cake...just in case someone wants to make me one in our new dutch oven!
As we drove down the I-5 we searched San Diego craigslist and found a beautiful looking 9'0 for sale in Encinitas. John's CL post noted that he had a garage full of boards and his selection was always changing. When we arrived at John's house we were pleased to find he was running a pretty legit surfshop out of his garage! You can find his up to date inventory at ibuysurf.com. Erik ended up buying the same 9'0 Jed Knoll board we had seen in the ad, and John also hooked us up with some basic Quad fins, and new colorful leashes at very good prices.
The surf garage was our last stop before arriving at a nice pizza party that my old friend Alicia Garcia put together in Encinitas (how convenient!) It was great to reunite with old friends and get my hands dirty making pizza from the ingredients that Alicia and her man Evan had thoughtfully laid out. For any of you pizza lovers that haven't tapped into Trader Joe's dough, do yourself a favor for your next pizza gathering and go pick up a few bags. They are unbeatable at around $1.19 a bag!
The next morning we woke up, made a bomb breakfast and hit the beach. The Garcia Family is one of my favorites to hang out with and their hospitality is out of this world. We had our first surf of the trip at a rainy, high-tide Encinitas state park but had a blast on our new boards. Big ups to Lando, my good friend's friend, for giving me his buckled Mini Simmons for the trip. We got it all fixed up and I am learning how to master it.
Soon we will be crossing the border into that majestical peninsula they call Baja!
Follow our travels on instagram via #bajaward