After a couple of days in Playa Encanto, south of Puerto Peñasco, visiting with Bill & Elli, reading, watching the Olympics, eating and generally screwing around, we headed south for the little fishing village of Desemboque where our friend Kevin, from up in Arizona, lives most of the time. We met Kevin when we sailed to Puerto Peñasco to see Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers for Circus Mexicus a couple years ago. Kevin had his sailboat tied up at Marina Fonatur a couple slips away from us. A year or so later, he gave us a ride from Phoenix to San Carlos, Mexico. We’ve seen photos of his place before but were anxious to see the real thing. Unfortunately for you, I find I didn’t take a single photo of Kevin’s place or of Desemboque.
We parked right inside the wall that surrounds Kevin’s property. Unlike many of the walls that one finds around houses down here, Kevin’s doesn’t hide the view nor does it keep anyone out. It’s primarily designed to delineate his property and, mostly, to keep his dogs inside. Kevin rescues dogs, gets them healthy, neutered or spayed, and then finds them homes, usually in the States. He currently has either 4 or 5 dogs. During our visit, almost every gringo who lives in Desemboque happened by the house. Kevin said this is completely out of the ordinary as he frequently goes days, even weeks, with no company other than the dogs and Vinnie, a young Mexican guy who helps around the place. Actually, Kevin and a fellow known as Cubano are about the only gringos who live full time in Desemboque.
Desemboque isn’t a pretty town. It’s a tiny, poor fishing village. But the people are friendly, there’s a very small gringo population, it’s right on the beach, and there are far worse places in the world in which to retire.
We left Kevin’s about 9:00 or so on Saturday morning, headed for Bahía Kino, about a 4-1/2 hour drive south. The new coastal highway that started about an hour out of Puerto Peñasco and continued for a couple hours south of Desemboque, was a total dream to drive. Wide, large shoulders, frequent rest areas (although they lacked baños), and almost no traffic. An hour and a half down the road we pulled off in Puerto Libertad for brunch. Much larger than Desemboque, but still with unpaved streets, this would be a little more like where we would choose to retire. I’m not sure we saw any other gringos while we were there. We had lunch in a little restaurant right on the beach, gassed up and headed on.
After leaving Libertad, the road gets very straight for many, many miles. We’d come over the crest of a hill and look towards the horizon and there’d be our road, straight as an arrow except for the ups and downs. We were stopped at a military checkpoint somewhere along the way. They made us open the camper, as they always do, and then, no less than 5 soldiers crowded inside to look around. With as little traffic as there is, I suspect that they were WAY bored. One stopped to leaf through our “Banjo Babes” calendar, hoping probably for something a whole bunch sexier than the PG-rated cheesecake he found. Eventually they were satisfied and sent us on our way.
After that, the road went straight to hell. Sharp-edged potholes scattered all over the road were the norm. You’d just start to think that maybe they were behind you, speed up a little, only to have to come to a panic stop as a new hole spanned your lane. These were tire-destroying, axle-breaking potholes. I don’t want to say they were deep but there was this one that didn’t look too bad until we realized that what we thought was the bottom of the pothole was actually the roof of a tan-colored Honda Civic. Would I kid you? Eventually we reached the turn off towards Bahía Kino. No more potholes other than just the standard ones we expect now and again.
Bahía Kino is a bay where quite a few norteamericanos come to spend the winter and lots of Mexicans come to spend the weekend and holidays. It, too, is basically a fishing village. It’s broken into two sections, Kino Viejo and Kino Nuevo. Kino Viejo is the older part of town where most of the stores, the gas station, the ice plant, the fish processor, etc. are located. This is where the RV park we chose, Islandia RV Park, is located.
Don’t get the idea that Kino Viejo is all old stuff, though. I think this flying saucer house will attest to the modernity of the town:
Bahía Nuevo isn’t, as near as we could see, a town at all. It’s a few restaurants and hotels, interspersed with lots of fancy-looking vacation homes stretched along the beach for several miles. Lulu and I set out this morning to take a walk along the road to get a feel for Kino Nuevo. It turned into a much longer walk than we’d anticipated.
This is a sign painted on the side of a Motel/RV Park. Didin’t look like they had any guests. Wonder why.
In Mexico, it’s common to build a wall around your home. What lies behind the wall is generally a mystery. But, some places have these really cool entry courts behind the gate. This is one of the coolest we’ve seen. This was all outdoors, behind a gate. I can only imagine how cool the house itself must be.
Even the doors themselves are often dramatically cool, like this carved faux-woven door:
Guarding the courtyard of another home was a pair of these stone lions:
Although much of the beach was cut off from view by these homes, there was still ample access for all us poor folk. At one end, there was a forest of palapas available for rent and they were getting a good workout.
Here are few more random shots of cool stuff we saw as we walked:
We finally decided it was time to turn around and head back. On the way, we decided to have lunner at a restaurant along the beach. What a disappointment! We stopped at La Cobacha, an open-air, covered, seafood restaurant right on the beach. Never again. The service was dismal. Might have been better if we’d sat in a different section but our section was “serviced” by a sullen young man who clearly had better things to do than wait on customers. Took him forever to even acknowledge us. Finally, another kid brought us menus and we ordered a couple of beers from him. Sullen boy, let’s call him El Dodo, brought us our beers eventually and took our order: 2 orders of fish tacos and 2 small shrimp cocktails. We looked around and, the tables that were serviced by the young lady all had chips and salsa to munch on. Maybe half of El Dodo’s tables did. And lest you think it was an anti-gringo thing, the table next to us with 4 loud gringo men was served faster and got the chips and salsa AND were only having beers, no food. There was a table adjacent to us, also one of El Dodo’s with 6 Mexican women ranging in age from probably mid-60s to preteen and they received the same crappy service we got. The food was totally mediocre to boot. I haven’t stiffed a waiter or waitress in years but I took great delight in giving El Dodo exact change for the bill before walking out. Turd.
On the way home we stopped for chips, beer and agua minerál. Once home we both had showers and reveled in how good it felt to not be walking and to not have shoes on. I mapped our course on Google Earth and it turns out we walked a total of 11.2 miles. ¡Ay chihuahua!
Tomorrow we’ll head to San Carlos via Hermosillo for the last land-based leg of our trip back to the boat.