On Sunday the original plan was to drive two and half hours to Ensenada after Fred got off work, spend the night in a hotel, and then drive the remainder of the trip (two and a half hours) to Vicente Guerrero the following morning. My dad's friend Ron called me that day and said if we were up for a late night drive that we should skip Ensenada and drive all the way down that night.
We met them at his girlfriend Cecilia's restaurant, Baja Fiesta, around 1 am. They took us to her second casa in Costa Brava, about 15 minutes away, and we drank wine and got caught up.
The next morning they were back at the house to show us around.
Vicente Guerrero is a tiny colonia of San Quintin, which is 22km to the sur.
The first stop was the veterinarian before heading to breakfast and then to Cecilia's restaurant/ ranch/ wine making operation.
Cecilia's blackberries are the biggest, juiciest berries in the valley. The San Quintin valley used to be well known for fishing and seafood and although this still exists, it is now known for its agriculture.
Cecilia's granddaughter Iris was more than happy to point out where I could find more berries; I was kidding with her that I had eaten them all.
Cecilia's berry wine is delicious. My favorite is the mixed berry but she is in the middle of a batch of raspberry/ strawberry wine that smells divine.
Ron and Cecilia took us to La Lobera, about thirty minutes south of San Quintin. The rock formations due to coastal erosion are incredible.
The only building visible on the entire coastline is the abalone farm.
We could not enter the building but saw the process of how the ablone are raised.
The life cycle of abalone begins with larvae. An abalone one inch long (like the one in this picture) is about two and a half years old.
It takes a few more years until they reach maturity, and they can live for up to fifty.
Eating abalone used to be common in Southern California. Between 1950 and 1970 commercial divers had taken 4.4 pounds of abalone out of Southern California, and devastated their population.
Fish and Wildlife closed taking abalone out of waters of Southern California in 1997.
Farms such as these allow people access to what is supposed to be a delicious treat.
Sea lions have made this private beach next to the abalone farm their home.
This hardy plant grows everywhere around San Quintin. It is gorgeous.
After La Lobera we stopped off the side of the highway for some lunch.
I am so glad we were with locals, I would have never stopped here.
And that would have been catastrophic.
My dad was having a great time.
This was my dad's 66th birthday present, a trip to Mexico to see his friend.
After a late lunch we headed back to Costa Brava for a walk on the beach.
The area where Cecilia's house is located is the only place where there are beach houses close to San Quintin. There are about 35 houses but we had the beach to completely to ourselves.
What an incredible first day in Mexico, and a reminder of why I love this country so much.