San Felipe & Sea of Cortez

We have to head back into Ensenada to catch the transpeninsular Hwy 3 so we stop in at a different Telcel and get both the 2nd phone card and a USB for wi-fi.  We eat lunch in the parking lot and finally find our way onto what we would consider a secondary highway with few signs to identify it.  We are a ways along it before we are confident it is the correct road….we’ve asked several people but had little understanding of their words and are banking on understanding their hand signals.  Universal language, yahoo.

The highway is pretty good for the 200kms we travel today.  Never rely on a shoulder being there…it often just disappears with no warning, right into a big drop off at times.

We go through a couple of army check points.  The first one is simple: they ask a few questions, we reply.  Whenever we are asked what our destination is and we say Mulege (Moo-la-HAY) everybody replies, “Ahhh, Mulege.  Beautiful!” or some thing like that.  Second army checkpoint we say we are going to San Felipe (about 50 mms away) and we are asked, “Just San Felipe?” as if that wouldn’t be a likely final destination. When Everette says, “Then to Mulege” we get the same “Ahhh, Mulege” response.   Maybe there is nothing there at San Felipe??? Maybe it was a waste to come across this way?

When the #3 T’s at #5 straight in front of us are Salt Flats.  Miles and miles of salt marsh between us and the ocean.  If I recall, there is a salt brand back in Canada called Salinas…..that’s where we are!!

We head south and (I think) about 4 miles north of San Felipe  we pull in at Playa del Sol (Beach of Sun = Sunny Beach………note to Ortwein’s……much much nicer than Sunny Beach we used to go to!!  We should share a picnic here!!!!)  There are permanent residents here but doesn’t look like any other campers.  Office is deserted.  Can’t find anyone to take our money so we keep it and head down to the beach.  We would be closer to the ocean if the sand wasn’t so soft but we make do….such hardships!

The children are delighted immediately.  We all envision staying for more than a night.  Decision made.  Children run to touch the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) for the first time, leaving footprints in the virgin beach at low tide.



They draw pirate maps and messages of love

We love Marin

We love Marin

in the sand and declare that the Johnson family has arrived.

family joke

family joke

We stake our spot, jostling for position with no one.  We set up our chairs (hey other Johnsons, we’re up to 4 now including the one you left at Oxbow for us) and start star gazing.  The skies are clear and crisp, few lights to interrupt the natural glow of the universe.  We spot our friends Casseopia, Cygnus, Orion (when he rises) and North Star which help orientate ourselves with newer friends,  Andromeda, Perseus & Pisces.  What was familiar in Canada (Big Dipper, Little Dipper, etc) don’t show up down here until after we are in bed so we are having to make newer friends.

A while before sunrise we watch crescent moon near Jupiter in the east.  The sky turns orange, we plant our chairs out on the deserted beach and watch the fiery ball pop-up at the horizon.  We sun-gaze for a few seconds, safe at true horizon which we usually aren’t privileged to have but this morning near San Felipe we indulge ourselves.


There is no holding the kids back from playing here.  We identify birds (brown pelicans, black-throated sparrows, osprey, etc) sea shells, etc.

bottle covered in coral

bottle covered in coral

They build sand castles, run, skip & jump, exercise their calves in the soft sand, jump through the waves.   So delighted to be here.  I see happy hearts, gleeful kids.  As a parent it puts big smiles on Everette’s and my faces.

A fella walks his blue heeler along the quiet beach and on his way back he approaches us speaking English, saying what a delight it is to see somebody else on the beach.  Wayne is from S Calif, living here full time for 9 years with his wife.  He says that the last few years has been so quiet here, sad he says at how many US/Cdn citizens have built houses here and then leave them predominantly empty.  And even if they are here they don’t come to the beach.

Wayne comes back

waynes machine

to tell us that he’ll pick us up at 1pm (Mexican time!) to take all of us up to his house for the afternoon where we will meet his wife.  They are heading back to Calif tomorrow for the holidays with family.  Today is our only day to visit though they are busy packing.

But we don’t see others either, until a Daniel Jimenez Trinidad (with his son, Israel and grandson Arnando in tow) stop by with his big ol’ black briefcase full of silver jewelry and unique bottle openers.  These men help us with more Spanish and point out all the places on the map Daniel drives, all the way to Acapulco to sell his wares.  At 4 today he heads to Cabo San Lucas.

jewelry sales

Entepreneurs everywhere.  I’m sure we’ll get tired of being approached all day at other beaches but this is their way to survive, to get the roof over their head and feed their families.  Good on them.


Wayne comes by in his VW bus.  What a hoot!


We visit with his wife, Ruth Ann, out on the patio she takes us on a tour of her house.  Very fun the way they have cut out there own little space here in the desert by the beach.  Envious of the house and outdoor living they have here.  And thankful they shared the afternoon with us, the internet, the fun mode of transportation.  They head out for the states tomorrow, so this is our only visit.  Glad they made time for our gang.





kitchen view


2 thoughts on “San Felipe & Sea of Cortez

  1. The messages in the sand are beautiful!

    May I say that the regular “view from our kitchen” is one of my favorite things you post on here. Seeing how the kitchen changes almost every day is wonderful! Keep it up Ma!!!

    • Remember from the Country Magazine they had something similar? Was Dad’s idea to start & I liked the idea though sometimes I forget to add it. Yeah, I thought it would be neat watching how it is always changing.

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