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Category Archives: California

A New Adventure, Day 1: San Diego to Creel

We woke up at the crack of dawn without getting much sleep because we were so excited to finally put our backpacks back on and do some adventuring!

I feel like I’m finally doing what I am meant to do again!  It’s been a long year and half of helping other people travel (my job is Assistant Manager at a hostel), feeling a little bit more bored by the routine of it every day.  I’m happiest when I have a light pack on my back and a plane ticket in my hand!

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There is now a pedestrian bridge (Cross Border Express) from the San Diego side of the border into the Tijuana International Airport.  The cost is $15 per person, but it’s super convenient as opposed to crossing on foot and having to take a Mexican taxi to the airport. I slip in and out of sleep on the flight from Tijuana to Chihuahua, catching glimpses of the turquoise-blue passage over the Sea of Cortez, then dry, craggy, cardboard-brown mountains jutting violently out of the flat, barren desert.

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Chihuahua at first glance seems like the Wild West of Mexico.  Lots of men wearing owboy hats and giant belt buckles, very few gringos.  We had  to use an ATM to withdraw pesos because there was not even a “casa de cambio” in the airport.

Chihuahua is close to Juarez and the landscape reminded me of the scary, violent scenes from “Sicario” as we rode into town on a taxi.  I think it’s much safer, although not very touristy.  Our friend from here warned us to stay in the main tourist town of the Copper Canyon (Cañon del Cobre), Creel, and not spend any nights in the small villages, as that’s where we could get kidnapped.  Creepy.

Our taxi quickly dropped us off at the office of Autotransportes Turisticos de Noroeste.  The ticket saleslady said something about our trip being slow but our Spanish was not up to par enough to understand why at that moment.  On the bus, the city ended quickly and we rolled through open desert with mountains in the near distance.  About an hour outside the city at the first toll plaza we saw the protest.  People and trucks were blocking the highway in both directions.  Apparently the price of fuel had been raised 20% overnight and everyone was mad.  We had to wait about an hour before they let our bus through.  The bus was slow and we had to wait at another roadblock; the mountains got bigger and trees started replacing the cacti as we got higher.  It looked a lot like northern Arizona.

After roughly seven hours (should have only taken 4.5) we rolled into Creel, a cold and sleepy town after dark.  Hotel Temescal was welcoming and warm, with super-cute Chihuahua pups to play with!  Some authentic food at Restaurante Veronica was exactly what we needed.  Zach got “El Norteño”, a cast-iron skilled of beef, cheese, and veggies, a traditional local dish.

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Hueso, the cutest little Chihuahua in Chihuahua!

We dropped into bed early, happy to have made it through our first big travel day and ready for more adventures!

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Anza Borrego Getaway

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We needed to get out of town and breathe some open air for a couple nights, so we settled on a hastily-researched camping getaway in Anza Borrego State Desert Park.  Boy, did it deliver!  The stars our first night out there were shining brighter than any I’ve seen anywhere else in California!  Breathtaking!

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We camped at Tamarisk Campground, which had spacious spots, clean bathrooms, and water spigots, basically everything you need for a good campout!  The temperature dropped to around 50 F at night so the campfire was much needed!  We spent the next day driving around the massive park getting our bearings.  We didn’t do too much hiking because we had the dogs with us.  They weren’t allowed on many trails and it was too hot to leave them in the car in the middle of the day.  We’ll definitely have to come back to explore the Mud Caves and do the famous Palm Oasis hike.

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We did check out the awesome visitor’s center, drove to the Ocotillo Sand Dunes, and then ate great cheap Mexican food in the tiny town of Borrego Springs.  There were huge rusty animal sculptures all over the town so we had some photography fun with one of those.

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The road home took us through Julian, so naturally we had to stop for some famous Julian apple pie!  I’m so glad we were able to get out in nature for a couple days.  My soul always feels refreshed after some time in the middle of nowhere!

¡Otra vez!

Northern AZ sunset

Northern AZ sunset

Funny how things come full circle.  Three years ago today, I sat in this same house, in this same town, Williams, AZ, planning the very first La Aventura Project.  Tomorrow we leave with the same initial destination in mind–Burning Man!  We’ve wanted to go back every single year since that first epic week.  It’s never worked out, until now.  As 2nd time burners this year I hope the experience will be more mythical, more colorful, more educational, more productive, shadier (as in…Zach’s very Boy Scout-ish hand-built shade structure) and just as exhilarating.  I also plan to write more about it and take more pictures!  (Yeah GoPro!)  , planning the very first La Aventura Project.  Tomorrow we leave with the same initial destination in mind–Burning Man!  We’ve wanted to go back every single year since that first epic week.  It’s never worked out, until now.  As 2nd time burners this year I hope the experience will be more mythical, more colorful, more educational, more productive, shadier (as in…Zach’s very Boy Scout-ish hand-built shade structure) and just as exhilarating.  I also plan to write more about it and take more pictures!  (Yeah GoPro!)  !  We’ve wanted to go back every single year since that first epic week.  It’s never worked out, until now.  As 2nd time burners this year I hope the experience will be more mythical, more colorful, more educational, more productive, shadier (as in…Zach’s very Boy Scout-ish hand-built shade structure) and just as exhilarating.  I also plan to write more about it and take more pictures!  (Yeah GoPro!)

Thoughts from on the road to Burning Man:

I REALLY hope Java Johnny is there again.

Man, that last bath felt so good.  I’m going to hold it in my memory dearly for awhile.

I’m so excited that we have a solar shower!

What did we forget?  Oh well, other citizens will let us borrow theirs.

I hope my outfits are rockin’ enough!

I wanna go to yoga every day! (Hope this happens.)

Will we be able to find all our friends there?

After the burn we head once again to SF (just like last time) to catch up with old friends and stuff ourselves on gourmet vegan food.  We will probably find ourselves sitting in a lot of bars on my laptop while I finish up last minute video work, but that will be totally worth it, because, then…

The next overseas venture begins!  On September 8 we fly to London by way of NYC (gotta have some fun there too!) for 6 weeks of western Europe and Morocco.  Couchsurfing, hitchhiking, train-riding, museum-going, backpacking, wine-tasting, face-stuffing, camel-riding, surfing, people-watching extravaganza!  Hopefully we’ll survive one trip involving four different foreign languages (more if you count Basque and Catelonian).

So stay tuned, although it’s only 8 weeks as opposed to a 7-month “aventura”, we’re still sooo excited for our first stint in Europa!  And I can’t believe I am finally going back to Africa!!!!!!

Now to wrap it all up, here’s a video of a very angry frog found in Arizona.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/104949980″>frog</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/journeylostproductions”>Journey Lost Productions</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The Cost of Our Cross-Country Move

Toledo, Ohio to San Diego, California

6 Days

2461 miles

Gas: $398.11

Tolls: $25.80

Food/Beverages: $245.85

Accommodations: Free!

Grand Total: $669.76

We didn’t exactly live like paupers during this road trip.  We Couchsurfed everywhere of course, but we also splurged on quite a few meals out and quite a few brewery stops in Colorado.  It was a mini vacation!  Still, I think the fact that we spent so little proves something…

Do it.