Our revised plans were to stay in Mexico for two weeks rather than two months. We knew the first week we would stay at Victor’s RV Park (in San Felipe) on the Sea of Cortez, however, we weren’t sure where we would stay the second week of our trip. We toyed with the idea of cutting west to check out Ensenada then going back out through Tecate (to avoid going through Tijuana as we heard this not only is a very busy border crossing but not the safest area either). In the end we decided to stay in the same place for 2 weeks because of the great location, walkability, having kids for the girls to play with there and to decrease driving.
This 2 week stretch was the longest by far we had stayed in one place so we weren’t sure how we would do with that. We had planned on camping in Victor’s dry lot behind a row of bungalows on the beach. This wasn’t a bad option but the lot was fairly tipped making leveling all the way impossible for us and it was really tricky parking on the soft sand. We were glad we have Azul rather than our old van Dimes otherwise we would have gotten stuck for sure!
At this point in our trip we were really needing some extra space because of the fact that we had been in very close quarters for an extended period of time but mostly because our oldest needed a space where we didn’t have to carry her around everywhere (due to her broken leg). It feels good to have some independence. We ended up renting a bungalow for the full 2 weeks.
The bungalow was perfect! There was space to park both Azul and Wobbles right next to it and it was right on the beach. I’m talking 2 ft from the beach! Wobbles couldn’t have been much bigger otherwise it wouldn’t have fit. As is, the door of Wobbles was pretty close the the AC unit in the building.
The room was big enough to allow our 6 year old to move throughout the entire thing, with the the help of Rosita (her walker), including using the bathroom on her own. Thank goodness!
We used it for daytime hang out space and for the occasional date night or sleepover. It contained a shower, with the best pressure I think I have ever experienced, a sink, toilet and two full size beds. It was just what we needed to regain sanity. It worked out great that we also had it for Christmas so we could make the space our cozy Christmas nook.
During this 2 week time period was when I think our family has experienced the most hygga and relaxed family time we have had on our whole road trip journey thus far. We spent time walking (and pulling our oldest in the wagon) around town, checking out restaurants and shops, practicing our Spanish, getting to know new families, playing on the beach, playing games, doing puzzles, watching movies and just all being around one another without an agenda. It was lovely!
Getting to Victor’s RV Park
Because there were 24 Families in campers headed to the same place there was a bit of planning on the part of the Fulltime Families crew. They ended up hiring a police escort from the border until after we passed through Mexicali, which is a semi-large city. I think the thought was that some of the families on the trip were nervous about going to Mexico for their first time and also they wanted to keep the whole group together which would be impossible without help. This sounded absurd to me at first and it kind of was but it was also a neat experience. I didn’t believe it until I saw it but a whole team of police officers led us on our journey blocking off every traffic light we got to, allowing us all to cross as a group. A lot of the locals stopped and waved at us as we passed. Everyone was very nice.
The rest of the drive to San Felipe was about 2 hours of uneventful driving across a barren desert landscape.
Once at Victor’s two parents from two very sweet families volunteered to lead workouts two out of the 7 mornings that all the families were in San Felipe. Both were great workouts! The first was circuit training with weights and the second was something like prison workouts using a deck of cards and your own body as the weight. I think the second day was harder for sure! It was so refreshing to be able to get to workout with a group. I didn’t realize I missed that so much until we had done a day of it. Thank you to those who made that workout possible!
The second day of workouts was also the day of a group field trip and also the last day before most of the Families left to go back to the US. This meant that I was in a total crunch to get to a fabric store in town and get back to make it on the bus in time for the outing. This is a little bit of back story but, Justin had ordered a “sand proof” cast cover from Cast CoverZ and it ended being a total rip off!! Not only did he spend $50 on it but it in no way was even close to blocking sand from getting in her cast. So…I had to make one and make it fast! You see, I needed a serging machine to lock in my stitches to be sure no sand came in and the one sweet Mom within the Fulltime Families group had one, but was leaving the next day.
Long story long, right after the super hard morning workout I had to run a mile to the sewing store and a mile back. Heavens! I am not a runner. I made it back with 10 minutes to spare of departure time which gave me time to measure, make and cut a pattern in time to leave with the crew for the field trip. That evening I was able to use the serger for 10 minutes in time for her to pack up her camper for her departure. Let me tell you, the next 4 days I was SORE!
I was so hilariously sore that one day when out walking on the Melacon (the boardwalk) I saw a peso on the ground, squatted down to pick it up and almost didn’t get off the ground! I had to fight back nausea. It hurt so bad. Haha, just a little out of shape. And guess what? The coin was glued to the ground and I totally fell for it! Haha! I should work out more often to train for these tricks. 😉
We learned very quickly that bringing the wagon down on the beach was VERY hard work! I figured the soft dry sand would pose an issue but I thought it would be fairly smooth sailing down on the wet sand. I was wrong! When I brought our girls down to the wet sand during low tide we played with our toes in the sand creating designs. We were there for 5 minutes or so when I realized the wagon was sinking! I tell you, it was really hard getting those wheels back! From that day through the rest of our stay the wagon stayed off the beach. 🙂
After I had made a sand proof cast cover for our oldest (thank goodness for the sweet Mama who let me use her serger and for the only fabric store around to be within walking distance of our camp) and making it “pretty” with some pink on it we all enjoyed ourselves on the beach. I feel like we are always surprised by this but even when the air temperature is warm it always feels a bit chilly with the ocean wind. Most days were beautiful and sunny with wind. All except for the last two days that is. The weather was warm and the air was still making it a perfect day to dip your feet in the cool Gulf waters.
The Gulf water wasn’t so cold that it burned and numbed your feet but not warm enough that we were tempted to swim in it. I was thankful for this since our oldest wouldn’t have been able to go in as her cast cover is not waterproof.
Christmas was different for sure not being around old friends or family plus being in a tropical place. I think all of us were wishing we were closer to friends, family and/or home. Not that we could really complain being right on the beach for Christmas but It felt different for sure. We promised ourselves we would be home for the holidays next year. It was really nice that we had the extra bungalow space for the holidays. It helped us stay sane. We spent Christmas day crafting, playing and laughing as a family. A day to soak up some love for sure.
For New Year’s Eve Justin and I ended up hiring one of the teenage Fulltime Family members to listen for the girls while they slept while we went out to the Rockodile night club to celebrate. We met a sweet fellow named Don and chatted with him for over an hour finding out that he was actually the owner of the place. He was such a down to earth guy and showed us all around the Rockodile.
He let us in on the knowledge that in San Felipe New Years is a big family holiday therefore most people stay home with their families and then don’t come out to the club until AFTER midnight! It was hard to believe this would be true but we did see that all of the tables had reserved signs on them and most didn’t have a sole at them. Sure enough, after the stroke of midnight the people started pouring into the place. So different from the US.
We ended up meeting a group of 20-something boys who had rode their bicycles to San Felipe from the States. Justin and I had a great time AND were really tired by the end of the night. We hadn’t gone out for NYE for about 8 years. Haha, priorities. 🙂
Just after the holidays our sweet little one got hit hard with a bad cold that kept her and I up for a good many nights. Thank goodness again for the bungalow as her and I slept in there so we wouldn’t wake Justin and our oldest. Between not sleeping, feeling sick and having a fever, she even fell asleep on me as I carried her in my arms. Sweet little thing.
An Ultralight Flight
On our last full day we watched as an ultralight airplane kept flying overhead on the beach. It looked like a 4 wheeler with wings! It was hilarious to see and fun to watch. It ended up that the pilot was giving rides from $30 to $50. Justin ended up convincing me to go up!! He had done it before meeting me and remembered it as being so fun. So, we gathered up our change (we were all but out of money as we were trying not to be left with any pesos when we left the next day) and I hopped aboard.
It was amazing, beautiful and scary at the same time! At one point the guy did a dip and fly-by of the beach where Justin and the girls were so he could take pictures and WOW! I could not hold in my scream!! It was like a roller coaster ride where the scream just bursts out of you from nowhere and you can’t stop it until the crazy feeling in your stomach is gone.
When we had flown pretty high the engine stopped! I screamed to the pilot, “Was that supposed to happen??” He just smiled, shook his head ‘yes’ and gave me a thumbs up. Phew! From up above the Gulf I could see great pods of seals swimming! They circled around each other creating a whirl pool of bubbles. It was incredible!! I could follow the paths of the seals with their stream of bubbles that seemed to jet off of their tails as if they were airplanes underwater leaving a bubbly streak in their wake. It was just so magical to see! One even popped its little head above the water and looked up at us with a wide-eyed curious look. Boy, it was worth the $30! Also, I was very glad to borrow the pilot’s extra wind breaker because, brr, it was cold up there!