Winter in Baja Day 13: The road that never ends

Christmas Camp -> Los Girasoles //

Today’s goal was to complete our route from Mulege to San Juanico via the 55 miles that remained of rough, narrow dirt road.  The first few miles were stunning as we traveled through a tight valley with rugged terrain rising all around us.  Once we emerged from the valley we began a long, on-going series of crossings in and out of a wide, rocky, mostly dry arroyo.  The going was slow, about an average speed of 10 mph, but we were hopeful that at some point the road would improve and our pace would pick up.  

Come 4pm the sun was getting noticeably low in the sky and our map revealed that we’d only made it half way.  There was no way we were making it to the beach before dark.  During a quick pow-wow among the group we decided to spend another night in the desert and continue our trek to the beach tomorrow.  Thanks to the iOverlander app, Mark came across a pin marking a rancho not too far from where we were that offered food, showers, and possibly a place to park.

At 5pm, after 5.5 hours of slowly traversing through the desert (we’d traveled a total of 38 miles), we arrived at Los Girasoles.  We were greeted by Maria and Jesus who kindly welcomed us, though no English was spoken.  Mark took the lead on fumbling through the conversation and was able to determine that we could park for the night, take showers, and Maria would cook us dinner.  Marked as a store on iOverlander, “Los Girasoles” is simply Jesus & Maria’s home and mini tienda (store) that they’ve made available for cyclists riding the Baja Divide trail.  They gave us a tour of their home, pointing out the dining area, a tented room with a table and chairs and mattress in the corner available for guests, a bathroom, and a main room where they slept and kept a few shelves of dry goods that they sold to passers-by.

Maria began cooking dinner while we parked our trucks in a level patch of desert a short walk from their home.  Four cows and a horse watched with great curiosity while we set up camp.  Just as the full moon was rising from behind the horizon we walked back for dinner.  We all found a seat at the table and Jesus presented a platter of seven plates filled with beans, beef, potatoes, onion, and tortillas hot off the press.  The food was good, the truly authentic experience even better.

Mark & I returned later in the evening for a hot shower and for the first time ever got the opportunity to see what the living conditions are like within these humble homes that we drive past often while in Baja.  This was not a guest shower we were using but instead Jesus & Maria’s single bathroom. I could write a long list of what they don’t have.  No a/c or heat or insulation.  No floor, no windows, no appliances, not much furniture.  However, from the little we were able to understand, I believe Jesus and Maria are very proud of what they do have…wi fi, hot water, solar power, and I can’t help but wonder how much they dwell on what they lack, I’m doubtful that they do.

While we took showers (our first in a week) I listened to two strangers talk, on the other side of a very thin wall that separated us, who welcomed us in to their home without hesitation.  I was so grateful for the shower while simultaneously observing living conditions in which many Americans probably wouldn’t dare go near, their fear or judgement rendering them incapable.  And yet for us, this is why we travel.  

Travel recalibrates our expectations.  It reminds us what matters to us and what doesn’t.  It connects us with people we would never otherwise come in to contact with.  It humbles us, educates us, and opens our minds.  

Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is a beautiful thing, and that’s exactly what we did when we arrived here this evening.  And yet tonight we both agreed…we couldn’t be more content.  Not to mention, so unbelievably grateful for all that we have.

Photos taken with the Canon R6.

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  • Jesus and Maria’s life style reminds me of the book “The Yellow Envelope: one gift three rules, and a life changing experience around the world” by Kim Dinan.
    A fantastic book that will change your perspective on life ! Highly recommend
    Thanks for taking us along guy’s !

  • I love being in simple surroundings like what you describe with Jesus and Maria. What a great treat to enjoy along your journey. Safe travels.

  • Absolutely amazing! What a humbling experience. That will be a stop you will never forget. The food looked so good!


We’re Mark & Michele, modern-day nomads perfecting the art of slow, full-time travel.  Our tiny home on wheels and slow-paced travel style allows us to minimize our expenses while maximizing our freedom.  May our unconventional way of life inspire you to design a life that you love.


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