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5682 kms: La Paz , Goodbye Gilles and Kristin

Written on: Saturday March 8th, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

A very early morning started our day yesterday as we had our longest day of driving and the last stretch to complete, another 550 kms to the city of La Paz. The first few hours of the drive were especially scenic. We drove along the coast and climbed some impressive mountain passes. It was also one of the hottest days of the entire trip. The cooling water temperature indicator continued to climb causing us concern that Wilson may overheat. Rob removed the front grills in attempt to improve the air flow (and cooling) and spent some time on the side of the highway trying to bleed the radiator of any air. We got back on the road with the cabin heat on full blast. Heading south the sun was shining right onto the front passenger seat and the I swear that the air coming out of the front vents was close to 100 degrees. Wilson wasn?t the only one overheating.

We stopped to enjoy some fish tacos (and fresh air) at Taqueria Karen in Ciudad Constitution, as recommended by my Lonely Planet Guide book. It turned out to be a great recommendation. After a first round of delicious fish tacos Gilles asked me to order him the ?especialidad? as written on the wall. We figured it would be some sort of ?special taco?. Special it was, taco it was not. It was a towering toasted greasy sandwich-like thing. A large toasted bun with several types of mystery meat, a thick layer of cheese, tomatoes, onions, avocado, lettuce, and all sorts of other things. I was impressed that Gilles managed to polish it off (with a few helping bites, of course).

By four oclock that day, we rolled into the city of La Paz. After 8 nights, 7 military checkstops, 60 tortillas (we ate a lot of tortillas), 2 whales, one sea urchin, several campfires, one close encounter with a cactus, several hikes, some snorkelling, a ?special? sandwich, numerous beautiful sunsets, and 1844 km?s of driving together, we dropped off Gilles in Kristin in La Paz. Rob and I decided to grab a campsite close to the ferry terminal which was 20 km?s outside of town and so it made most sense to part ways here. We found a small hotel close to the city center and bus depot, so that they could explore the city for a day or two and then easily make their way to Cabo San Lucas. To Gilles and Kristin- thank you so much for joining us for the first leg of our Mexican journey. It was great fun to be able to spend the last week with you and have you around. You guys were great company and really helped make the Baja a very memorable experience for us.

Today we arrived at the ferry terminal at 9 am. I suspected that it would take us the better part of the day to get the proper vehicle paper work and purchase our tickets for the ferry. We fist hit the Banjercito to get the temporary vehicle import permit required to bring our van over to the mainland. That went relatively smoothly. As for purchasing and getting on a ferry, although things didn?t really work out as I had originally planned I think they turned out for the better. With the change in ferry schedules the only one running on Saturday was the shipping company (and not the passenger/tourist ferry as I had read in my travel book). This meant that we could not get a cabin or beds to sleep in, but were able to request that the van be loaded on the top deck so that we could sleep in van. The boat is a little slower than the passenger ferry (16 vs 12 hours) but we figure we saved over $100. We are the only tourists on the boat, all other passengers are truck drivers with cargo. We also get fed diner and breakfast as part of the fare.

The one thing I didn?t think of was motion sickness. As the ferry got into open water and really started rocking both Rob and I completely lost our appetites. I started feeling better within a half hour, but Rob had to lie down. I was so proud of my very detailed first aid kit (I figured that I had thought of almost everything) but I did not include any gravol. Shucks. Rob didn?t even feel well enough to join me for diner, so I went to the small cafeteria on my own. The food made me think of what would be served on a Mexican version of United Airlines. A square compartmentalized plate with beans, rice, a pile of tortillas and a beef steak smothered in some sauce.