It’s an understatement, really. Particularly contemplating that I have almost 5 months of challenges left to go under my lease. I’m not going to get into lots of detail now because it’s really too complex, intertwined, involves personal motivations and goals towards molding a different person in myself; one I like a little better. That last point is important because I didn’t come here to win friends, influence people, or party hardy (well, not altogether too hardy!). I’m doing this for me.
Chief among the challenges is the raw brutality of it. It’s not really a tropical paradise or desert island oasis. A 5-Star resort an hour west over in Cabo is a tropical desert paradise—compete with umbrella drinks served poolside. Here, it’s just fucking hot. Always fucking hot—and cacti provide no shade. Save for manmade structures there’s just no shelter at all. Don’t know what I’d do without that outside shower.
…And the bugs. Jesus! Some people seem to try to screen stuff off. Too many, they’ll get in and then they’re trapped. I take the approach of open everything up, wide open. Bugs fly (and crawl) in, they fly (and crawl) out. Had a 4″ long centipede about 1/4″ in girth in the kitchen sink this morning. A week ago, had this visitor.
A rattler yung’un. I have a video of what I did, but not sure I want to show it because I absolutely took no pleasure in it; made me sad. If I see them out and about, I mind my own business, or, even help them to safety so they don’t get squished by a vehicle on the road. But on the property or in the house, not interested in them asserting territorial rights and paying a second visit when I may not be as vigilant about what I’m doing.
On the other side, there’s the birds (including ground dwelling roadrunners and quail), lizards, and chipmunks.
An over ripe papaya that didn’t go to waste. By late in the day, there wasn’t a trace (others helped, of course). I also put out the rinds after I squeeze 3-4 fresh oranges every morning. The birds, especially the red and yellow ones, like those. Here’s what it’s like waking up to the birds where I sleep upstairs in open air with a fan running and hopefully, a sea breeze on lucky nights.
The other cool thing is the wild donkeys. All over the place. I seriously don’t know how they survive at their size and energy requirements. They’re perpetually thirsty and I’ve been known to take a bucket of water out when there’s only one or two of them at the gate. I won’t feed them, however. They’re doing fine in that regard. Anyway, walked right into one the other night while walking home from a neighbor’s house 200 yards down the road, in pitch black. Funny. They’re very docile, as I’ve experienced so far. Decided to activate the iPhone flashlight at that point.
…Back to that centipede this morning. In this case, it came in via the drain, since all the grey water (sinks & showers) drains into plant beds surrounding the house. Cleverly, the upstairs jacuzzi tub drains into an auxiliary 5,000 liter tank with a spigot on it for watering plants. These are the challenges I like best. I like watching my water levels in two cross-connected 5,000 liter tanks, my propane level, and most critical of all, electricity.
This is a very basic system. Four solar panels on the roof that run through a charger/controller to six substantial truck-like, wet-cell batteries. Yep, it’s the old days where you have to have distilled water on hand and check levels regularly. The modern closed car batteries would be toast after a couple of complete discharges. The batteries feed through an inverter that supplies regular 120v to the house. But, it’s not robust enough to run high-demand things like heating elements (those exist…some people have electric refrigerators, big-screen TVs, washing machines and such).
In terms of performance, I did have one test during the recent storm. We had two days of overcast, so not much solar generation. So, I conserved, but ran music, couple of lights, water pump as needed, and the portable fan all night both nights. Charge got down to 12.0v and small amps by the morning after, but the clouds broke and within an hour I was up to 12.5v, then 13.5 a while after that, which is about a full charge. We’ll see what happens in a bigger storm. In that case, I might just button things up and get a room in a tropical desert paradise somewhere…
The other major challenge, though temporary—with an end tomorrow, hopefully—is that after that 1,500 mile trip from Bay Area, with 1,000 miles of it driving the peninsula, the Baja Beemer broke three miles from arrival. Was still drivable, but lightly. It’s a hockey-puck-like composition of hard rubber that holds and further dampens the shock absorber part of the right front strut that failed. The spring attachment was fine, so just rather than dampening, the top of the strut clangs around awfully and it’s all washboard and pothole roads around here.
Part ($140) should be here tomorrow and by noon I should be cool again. Big thanks to my friend and neighbor Paul, who’s been super generous lending me transportation!!!
…I put together a 1-min vid of some footage my brother shot on the intense, nerve wracking drive down. It’s not like a lot of people don’t do this and do it repeatedly, but we decided to go all out—18 hours of drive time (advertised drive time is 21 hours)—where most split it into 3-4 days. With the narrow roads combined with that level of making time, the trucks, a complete disregard for literally every traffic regulation by nearly everyone, and a million speed bumps going through small towns and villages, Dave and & were like pilot & co-pilot. There was absolutely no napping while in the right seat. Full vigilance. It’s was mentally exhausting, but the sort of experience you’d never trade.
In terms of that Wide Load, yea, we picked a spot and got around it—3″ to spare—then another one up the road.
Well, alright, let me close now with the old tired bromide: may you live in interesting times. I feel a whole new perspective on that.
…Oh, and one more thing. Just remember: when driving the Baja, no wearing your glasses upside-down.