You would think that a 15,000 mile cross country road trip would have prepared us for a 12 hour car ride through Mexico, but you would be wrong. Riding in the backseat of an overstuffed sedan that is careening around mountain curves in a country where the lines on the road are merely suggestions is a lot different than meandering around in our pickup truck, stopping to admire the scenery when it suits our fancy. Thankfully Danny has been driving this route forever, and he was entirely capable of getting us to our destination safely. It required some quiet acceptance on our part that this wasn’t “our” road trip anymore, and we tried to sit back and relax while we sucked on ginger candies to ward off carsickness.
After a long uneventful drive with a few unpleasant bathroom stops and drug checkpoints, we made it to the house that sits on a cliff overlooking a serene, turquoise bay in the Sea of Cortez. Katie and I did some preliminary chores around the house (since it is a vacation home it is boarded up and the furniture is covered when no one is there), while the guys worked on getting the fishing boat ready for action. That first night was the only night we didn’t eat freshly caught seafood that we wrangled ourselves. And by “we” I mean Danny, who is an expert at all things related to obtaining food from the sea.
I didn’t take notes while in Mexico, so I won’t be able to tell you what we did on any given day. Most days we awoke before the sunrise and headed out in the little fishing boat. I don’t know anything about boats, but I know that this was 19 feet long, and had GPS and this fun thing called a “fish finder” that uses some kind of sonar to detect fish below the boat. It was handy, but I could tell that even without the fish finder Danny would have found fish! Every morning started with us catching “bait fish.” I have only really ever done river fishing, and my faithful readers will remember the excitement I felt at catching three rainbow trout with my brother in Oregon. The bait fish we caught in Mexico were about the same size as those trout, and so I was already stoked when we started reeling them in.
After we had enough bait (around 10-15 fish) we headed out into deeper waters. Danny has specific fishing holes on “speed dial” if you will on the GPS, and so we tried various holes to catch fish. The first day out we caught two yellowtail fish; Danny first hooked one and then had me reel it in. I was unprepared for the strength of this fish (which was probably around 12 pounds or so), and so Katie had to help me by holding onto my back AND the fishing pole as I reeled. It was exhausting, but it was definitely a fun experience. That was the only fish I “caught” on the reel. Andrew had even worse luck, and had several fish get away before he could get them in the boat. Fortunately Danny and Katie caught plenty throughout the week, and we never went hungry in Mexico.
In addition to traditional fishing, the sea has lots to offer and we definitely took advantage. Andrew caught a small hognose fish with a spear gun, and it was my favorite fish taco meat we had all week. Danny also taught us how to dive for various clams and scallops. Scallops were hard for me because I’m not so great at holding my breath and diving deep, but I managed to pull up some on my own and I was proud of this accomplishment! Danny also scored us some lobsters, so we had quite the smorgasbord for our Thanksgiving feast.
When we weren’t on the boat we were lounging in the house, on the patio, or taking a hike. It was a relaxing time, and we encountered very few other people on the whole trip. There was no internet, no cell service, and no television. We read books, chatted, and played a game of spades every night. I am not a natural born card player, which gave Andrew (my partner in the game) a sizeable handicap. Everyone else would remember what cards had been played so they could formulate strategy. I only noticed what cards were being played in that given hand. I have the kind of brain that prefers to dwell “in the moment,” which is why I try to take good notes when something interesting happens so I can remember it later for the blog!
As the end of our trip neared, Andrew and I discussed plans for the future. Our visit to my grandmother in Tucson had convinced me she could use a helping hand, so we decided that I would spend the winter at her house while he and Zephyr headed up to Seattle with our stuff. It was a difficult decision, but as I sit here in Tucson typing this up I know it was the right one. After returning from Mexico we spent a few days in San Diego couch surfing and getting our things organized, and then parted ways. Andrew headed into real winter with a rented moving truck and the trailer, while I headed back into the warm desert with the pickup truck and our brain-damaged cat.
Which leads me to this pressing question: do I continue posting on the blog? Our road trip is over, and we are going to be apart for a few months (with the exception of a week around Christmas, when I will fly up to Seattle). Despite this hiccup, I feel that the adventure of our young married life together is just starting. We still don’t know what the future holds; in February we could be living together in Seattle, or I could apply for a job working at a National Park, or we could decide to move to Costa Rica for a while! I have also become accustomed to having this blog as a sounding board for my feelings, insights, and experiences. I have received so many positive comments and compliments about the blog that I feel motivated to continue, and perhaps see if this whole “writing thing” can play a significant part in my future. In classic blog style I will end this post by asking you, my readers: what do you think?