July 13th, 2013, El Triunfo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Hot, hot, sticky, hot, yes, hot, sweaty, hot, oh baby, hot …. But I am not troubled by heat, actually troubled by nothing today … well … there was that real Buh Uh Uh Uh mmm uh mm uhM Mu Mu Mu Muh Peee p Y washboard road from HelI on the way to the Cactus Sanctuary, a planned distraction from my desired destination for the day. I read that it was “a pleasant 10 minute drive from the main highway”. I turned around at the 20 minute mark, having gotten my quota of relaxing cacti during the drive in and an earful of cusswords from myToyota Highlander, which was absorbing most of the hits. But I must say that I always enjoy the sound produced when you talk or sing while driving on a washboard road. It’s similar to that weird air pressure noise that happens when you are driving real fast with more than one window open. I wonder if anyone has ever recorded an album of washboard road songs? Hey, I might have something there. Kind of like Box Car Willie. I can see it now: “Wash Board Jeffrey sings all of your favorite love ballads from the 70’s”. I did pause on the side of the road before starting back to have a long talk with the Highlander about possibly avoiding those kinds of roads in the future.
After making it back to the main road and making sure that I still had four wheels, I ventured further down the road to a small town of 357 people, El Triunfo, at about 1,585 feet above sea level. It’s only about 45 minutes by car driving northeast from Todos Santos on the way to La Paz. You must go inland from the coast and take Highway 1 east towards the Gulf of California through the beautiful Sierra de Laguna Mountains.
When gold and silver were discovered back in 1862 in the Sierra Laguna Mountains on the Baja Penninsula, El Triunfo exploded in size to nearly 10,000 inhabitants from both Mexico and the United States. The mines and the facilities were wiped out in the early 1930’s by severe hurricanes, leaving the town without an economy. However, what the town was left with was a quaint and tranquil feel that is prevalent as you travel through stone streets and bridges, waiving to stray cows and nodding in respect to those who are still here. I walked around for over an hour and maybe saw only a handful of people.
One of the structures still left standing as a reminder of the industrious past is the large impressive 35 meter high brick smelter stack designed by the famous French architect, Gustav Eiffel, standing as a silent sentinel over this now very quiet and tranquil place.
And you must stop in at the Café El Triunfo, opened years ago by the previous owner of the Caffe Todos Santos. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is very, very, very relaxed. Don’t miss it.
El Triunfo’s own Eiffel Tower
Typical Bridge in El Triunfo
El Triunfo street scene
El Triunfo street scene
El Triunfo street scene
The infamous “Washboard Road from Hell’ on the way to the Cactus Sanctuary, El Triunfo
The “Highlander” takes a stand and says “Uh, Yeah no”
Ending the trip at Cafe El Triunfo with an expresso and a nice view
July 14, 2013, Bastille Day, La Huerta Organica, Las Tunas, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur
I didn’t sleep much last night. Could have been in part due to the people playing Norteno music on a car radio until 3:30 in the morning down by the beach. It got fainter and fainter and fainter and then …. it just stopped. Maybe their battery went dead. Maybe they ran out of beer. In any event, It stopped, but I was awake. So … I got up and put the finishing touches on my slowly simmering beans, made a pot of tea, turned on my computer and began working on my Spanish, which I will be fluent in by the end of the summer.
After about an hour and a half of past-tense verbs and repeating phrases into the computer, I found myself drifting off into a coma but managed to make it to my bed before dozing off for about 2 hours, which is usually when the hounds across the road begin to howl.
Although I only slept a handful of hours last night, I woke up at 7:30 am this morning with a big smile on my face for two reasons:
First of all, my beans will be done and I can have some homemade refries with huevos organicos from my friend Eraida, the Organic Chicken Lady in Todos Santos.
Second of all, I am going to start helping someone down the road with her organic vegetable garden. Since leaving Tucson, I have been without a “plot” to tend. I will now able to get in the dirt and grow things again and it feels good. Today, I am just gonna weed and do some cleanup (too tired to do anything more complicated than that) and we will probably be planting things later this week. The site is only minutes from my house. So I am happy, as I will be coming home today with dirt under my fingernails and on my kneecaps.
When I pulled up to the plot, I received a message that the owner was gone for the day in La Paz but to feel free to weed to my heart’s content, which I did, under the watchful eyes of “Tiggy” the 10 year old Bull Terrier resident garden dog. What sweet thing she is. She of course had to inspect my Highlander for anything suspicious before I could proceed.
The thing that is so cool about this garden is that it has been tilled and worked for a long time and the soil is very naturally rich. It has a lot of clay in it which is good in this case as it helps hold the nutrients in the soil. The compost is like something you would dream about. So I am excited about getting some food to eat in the ground later this week. Stay tuned for more updates.
Looking out to the Ocean from La Huerta Organica
Tiggy performs her guard duties