Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baja California, Mexico 2012

South Of The Border!

The reason I choose to live in Southern California is because we have endless options of amazing things that we have access to.  Within a matter of hours we can be at the mountains, desert or the ocean. But one of my favorite things is the fact that we can drive just 20 minutes south of San Diego and end up in Mexico for a weekend of camping, dancing and wine tasting.  It's a cheap fun way to just get away and relax for a few days.

Fresh Pina Colada
Mexico gets a bad rap, mostly from negative media publicity, that scares tourists from ever traveling south of the border.  But Mexico is so much more than Tijuana.  Just south of the city is one of my favorite coastal drives along the Pacific Ocean.  Baja California!

With a caravan of 7 people, 2 dogs and 2 cars we headed down the coast to K58 campsite in La Fonda.  I have many fond memories from my early 20's of camping here, however I didn't get the chance to explore the area as much back then.  I was much more focused on the party scene.

I happened to have prior commitments on Saturday morning, so most of our group went down on Friday night, and the rest of us came down on Saturday morning just after I finished.  It was smooth sailing through the boarder and we made the drive all the way down in about an hour arriving around noon.  Since we arrived a day after everyone else, we were rested and ready to go.  The early arrivers on the other hand were recovering by the beach from a little to much tequila the prior night.  We took this opportunity to set up camp and head out to grab some lunch and margaritas at La Mision.

Panoramic view from the inside of my tent looking out over the Pacific Ocean.
After a few margaritas, it was time to catch some sun by the water.  While Kim and Keith took an afternoon siesta in their tents and Jason, Ivanne, Caro and Desiree went to Puerto Nuevo for Lobster, I decided to lay in the sun for a while and just take in the beautiful scenery. 

Tamales Caliente!
Later in the evening when everyone was awake and back at the campsite, it was time to have a couple of drinks, light up the bonfire and kick back to watch the sunset. About that same time a local red Honda with a loud speaker duck taped to the top of the car came driving around singing praises of Tamales Caliente in pork, beef, pineapple, cheese and chicken.  Even though we had full stomachs from all the food we had already stuffed in, there was just no way we could say no to tamales from a cooler in the trunk of a Honda.....who can past that up! 

We are like children sometimes
Even though it was a night of debauchery the night before for the other half of the crowd, we still found the time to go up the hill to La Fonda Resort & Spa for some drinks and dancing.  The secret ingredient to finding your second wind is live music & tequila.  Or in Desiree's case, running around the dance floor trying to escape the drunk dude chasing her!

Federales searching the truck
Amazingly we made our way back to our campsite at a not so early hour.  Regardless of the time, we cranked up the bonfire and entertained ourselves for a few more hours before we called it a night and stumbled into our tents for some much needed sleep.

Me, Kim, Caro, Ivanne, Desiree, Keith & Jason
I woke the next morning to the relaxing sound of the waves crashing into the shore and the repeated singing of the Tamale Honda.  I was just a bit too lazy and tired to get up and chase down the car, so instead I snoozed for a few more minutes before I crawled out of my tent a started to pack up.  Today, we are going wine tasting in the area called “Ruta del Vino” (Wine Route) which basically connects the different wine areas Ensenada, Tijuana and Tecate.

Fresh Adobada Meat
There we spent most of the day on the road driving from vineyard to vineyard enjoying the scenery, wine and entertaining the Federales at the checkpoints while they dug through our cars searching for who knows what.  They were actually extremely nice and very friendly regardless of what you hear in the media.  Just don't carry anything shady in your car and you will be fine!

We only had time to visit 3 vineyards, and of those three L.A. Cetto Vineyard was by far our favorite.  The staff was very friendly and informative and the tasting was free!  We  loaded up the 15 bottles of wine that we bought amongst ourselves and headed toward Tecate in search of the perfect taco.

Tacos at Taqueria Los Poblanos Del Valle
We succeeded in Espuela at Taqueria Los Poblanos Del Valle.  The stand is not much to look at from the highway, but we weren't there for the scenery.  Authentic Tacos!  I ordered two Carne tacos and two freshly carved Adobado Tacos and cracked a Tecate from the cooler in the back of the truck and dug in!  The perfect final meal for our trip!

Desiree Rockin the Hula Hoop!
Late afternoon or early evening sometime we decided it was time to call it a weekend.  We headed back up to the boarder and prayed for the possibility of a short line, which we knew would be a slim possibility since it was a Sunday and everyone would be heading back to the U.S.  What we didn't expect was for the wait to be 4 1/2 hours.  Not to worry, we are easily entertained and drove the guys nuts with 3 hours of a fantastic game called Catchphrase and at least 30 minutes of Hula Hoop competitions between the slow moving vehicles! 

I can't wait for the next opportunity to head back down south of the border, and with any luck, it will be bull fighting season and I'll get the opportunity to head back over to Playas de Tijuana for an afternoon checking out the matadors!  It's been years since I've had the chance to sit in the bleachers and watch the fights!

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