Two weeks flew by and we were itching to hit the road again. Our tasks were done and winter was moving in- so we hit the road on November 14. On our way through Prescott we visited with friends and checked in on our dark, deserted old house. Then we rolled on down the twisty highway, off the mountaintop and into the desert. We spent the first night near Robson’s Mining Town museum, where we were married. The desert there is familiar and comfortable. But true to form, Zeb got a snoot full of cholla cactus so we had a one hour wrestling match- he with a mouth and nose full of spikes and me with tweezers and patience. He is fine now, but the ones in his tongue and gums seemed to slow down his food consumption for a day! He is always getting into something; stickers, skunk, mud, cactus and trouble!
The next night brought us an interesting incident of good luck. We were hunting for a hot spring near Brawley when it started to get dark. So we headed for the hot spring we have been to quite a few times; off I-8 near Holtville. Just as we pulled off the road the headlights went off! That meant no engine fan either. It was dark, we were without lights and we were right at our usual parking spot near the hot springs. It was as perfect as a problem could be. We set up camp and soaked by the moonlight. The next morning Mike was able to quickly repair the same loose wiring that had caused this to happen in Caborca (see prior blog post= police escort). A cup of coffee later and we were back on the road.
The border crossing at Mexicali was simple. No stop on the USA side to check passports or ask questions. On the Mexico side we were waved over for an inspection. I leashed up and unloaded the dogs and stood off to the side while Mike gave the guy a quick tour. He was most curious about the metal box on the front (tools) and the one on the back (gas/water cans) He looked inside the van, but did not ask to open anything. Perhaps it looked too overwhelming! We loaded up and headed for our first destination in Baja, Cañon Guadalupe.
The road is well marked as a turn off from MX Highway 2. We exited and braced ourselves for a few bumps. Nothing can prepare a passenger for the two hours of continual washboard road, interrupted only by a few sandy dips and arroyos that sneak up and cause the van to jolt into the air for a moment before crashing down to a crescendo of rattles. The view offered miles of sand, a few trees and then some large wind-swept boulders. When the road turned to the right at the olive-tree fields, we knew we were close! But now it was patches of boulders with sand around them! As we rounded the final turn, the palms came in to view and there was a sign for the hot springs.
The location was remote but the service and consideration for detail was amazing! A visitor could choose from basic picnic sites with a table and grill, or camping sites with flat areas for tents and use off the large warm pool, or private sites surrounded by palms and mesquites with individual hot pools. We had made the error of arriving on a Mexican holiday weekend so the place was full- but luckily one couple had just left (we saw them on the road through our jiggling eyeballs) and we could have that space. It was perfect.
We parked in our space and looked it over. This would be great for two nights. It was early afternoon and we had lots of energy from our protons and neutrons jumping around for the past two hours so Mike and two dogs went exploring while Seri and I set up camp. Then we looked over the restrooms, the mud baths, the warm pool and the shower. At our own private space (which could not be seen from other spaces or the main walkway/road) we had a picnic table, grill, and food prep counter, shade palapa, several flat areas for tents and a boulder/concrete private hot tub with our mineral water flow.
The owner told us that the place would clear out on Monday, after the holiday. He pointed out the trail to the waterfalls and explained that one was 15 minutes, 45 minutes and 2 hours away. He also told us how to make a phone call. We laughed and joked about it, but it is so very typical that we have to share this info with you. In order to get Telcel service we would have to walk back to the entrance, across the low-water-crossing to the gate. Then turn to the right and locate the circle of rocks on the ground. If we stood inside that circle of rocks, we would pick up a Telcel signal. And surely, once each day the caretaker goes there to make a call to the office and find out what reservations are scheduled for that day. The Telcel circle works perfectly for their system!
While we were there we learned that the available hours of daylight are limited by the canyon walls. The sun did not show until 9:15 and disappeared at 3:45, which made for a long evening of darkness, which we filled with reading, games and conversation. We hiked to the 15-minute waterfall and saw a group of rock climbers from California with ropes and harnesses. We hiked to the 45-minute waterfall felt challenged by the lack of a clear trail and large boulders to be scaled and slid down. We enjoyed our private tub. We showered in 120’ mineral water piped into a wooden shower stall. We stayed our two nights and then bumped, jostled and jiggled our way back to the main highway. We had been reading about another remote hot spring location, so we would stock up on supplies and head off for the mountain again. Remember to sign up to “follow” in order to get updates delivered to you as emails from slowcarfasthouse.