Celebrating Oma’s birthday in Santa Fe

We were excited to be able to stop on the way home in Santa Fe, where my mom has a house. We weren’t sure she would be feeling well enough to meet us there, but she was. She had just turned 70 a few days before so we were excited to welcome her with lots of birthday cards!

Happy birthday Oma!
Kids were so happy to see Oma
Me too!

We didn’t do a whole lot while we were in Santa Fe. Lots of hanging out at home, escaping the cold. We did get out once as a family to walk around town and eat some brunch outdoors (brrrr but gotta stay safe even if Oma has had her vaccine!)

All bundled and masked up in town

Mike and I also went on a number of walks around town, which is so charming! We got some snow, but luckily only a dusting instead of the 4-6 inches predicted.

We aren’t in Baja anymore, Campy!
Charming scenery on a stroll
Oooh that was a cold little hike up this hill above Santa Fe

We got some chocolates and champagne to celebrate Valentine’s Day and enjoyed some time by the fire!

Escape from Baja

After we saw the whales we spent the rest of the day driving north up to San Felipe. The first half of the drive was on a narrow road that makes your heart leap every time you pass a truck, but eventually we got on a newer road with big shoulders.

We found a campsite in San Felipe and appropriately had tacos for dinner. We have eaten a LOT of tacos on this trip, both made by us and at street stalls. Kids are downright sick of them by now.

We didn’t have time to do much other than catch up on school and work and then eat and go to bed, but our last night in Baja gave us a good sunset at least!

The next morning we left just before dawn (I’m the early riser driver of the family) and drove a couple of hours to Mexicali to cross the border. That was a bit of a nightmare circling around all over town following detour signs, but eventually we found the right place and waited about an hour in traffic. The border itself was easy- we had a lovely customs agent who asked us a few questions, did a cursory check around the rig and sent us on our way.

Back in the US our first stop was in and out burger which the kids had been begging for since we went to one on our way out. We then drove for a gazillion more hours through the desert and the mountains. We stopped to grab Thai take out for dinner and then eventually got to a campground after dark. I got to wake up the next morning for a work call at 8am which I took outside in 20 degree weather. My hands were about to fall off as I typed. But gotta get the work done!

Then we just drove a few more hours and after brunch at the Waffle House (another not-in-Wisconsin favorite of our kiddos) we made it to my moms place in Santa Fe. She wasn’t getting in til the next day so we used the chance to catch up on work and school.

Top 5 camping beaches in Baja

By Caroline Niebauer

Here are our five favorite camping beaches in Baja!

5. Cabo Pulmo (Playa el Arbolito) we stayed in Cabo pulmo for 2 nights. The first at Playa el Arbolito. It was so pretty but really windy. My mom the twins and I sat at the beach and I watercolored. The second night we went to a different beach just north of Cabo Pulmo town and it was made out of stones, not sand. We had fun painting rocks and sliding down the steep rock hill.

Tide pools in El Arbolito
Pebble beach at Cabo Pulmo

4. Papas Fernandez is an with amazing beach camping in Gonzaga Bay. We were there for 1 night it was amazing. The water was not so cold and there were tons of shells and they were cool. We played in the waves and looked in the tide pools after dark.

Coming back from playing in the waves at Papa Fernandez

3. Coyote beach in Bahia Concepcion was beautiful. We stayed for 2 nights. It had amazing views, and we went snorkeling, but the water was freezing. Mom and dad went on a hike on the hills above the beach. We had s’mores with some local friends at the next campground- they were really good.

Our palapa at El Coyote
Toes in the water with dad

2. Cerritos Beach near Todos Santos is a beautiful beach with big waves and beautiful views. We stayed there for three nights at a boondocking campsite beside Cerritos Beach Inn. It was on a bluff overlooking the waves. While we were there we met up with some friends and swam in their pool because the ocean was too cold.

Cerritos Beach- you can’t tell but we are up on a hill above the beach
One of the few places we could have a campfire because there was lots of driftwood

1. El requison this place is a beautiful camping spot we stayed here for 1 night. It is a sand spot that connects the land to a small island at low tide. The first night we found tons of clams that we boiled and ate the twins, and I did not like them, so my dad ate most of them. The second night we went to a little beach next door- Playa La Perla which was so pretty too!

Beach at El Requison
Playa La Perla- a small pretty cove. We were the only ones there!

Honorable mention we did not camp at this beach so it could not be on the regular list but it was still amazing it was the beach at San Jose del Cabo the water was a bit cold but we still played in the waves

Beach in San Jose Del Cabo- no camping here. Only fancy (but empty) hotels.

Gray whales in Guerrero Negro

By Maddy

After Mulege, it was a fairly quick drive to the pacific coast where we camped at Ojo de Liebre, a very flat sandy area on a bay where gray whales come to mate and to give birth to babies.

Sunset from our campsite. You could see the whales in the distance

Early the next morning we headed out to go see the whales. It was a really amazing experience. I came here 20 years ago on spring break during college and I remember how awesome it was, so I was excited to bring the family. It did not disappoint!

We stopped at the visitors center to get our tickets and then headed out with our captain Luis.

Grey whale skeleton

We took the boat out about 15 minutes, seeing whales spouting on all sides the whole way out. Once we were in the center of the action we waited and three huge whales came and basically played around boat. They swam next to us, under the boat and around and around. They came up next to the boat again and again, and we all enjoyed reaching out to pet them. Not sure where else in the world you can get so close to these amazing creatures. They were small compared to the blue whale we saw in Loreto but still massive!!

We also got to see a baby whale swimming alongside a mama, but didn’t get close enough to pet it.

They encouraged us to pet the whales. We all got the chance. So amazing!!
A flipper close up
Breaching in the distance

Meeting friends in Mulege

By Maddy

After a few days in Bahia Conception, where one is fully cut off from cell service, we needed to find some internet so we could celebrate Omas 70th birthday with a zoom party! Luckily my brother Brian and his family could bake her a cake and be with her in person.

So we stayed in Mulege, the town just north of Bahia Conception. we had visited it on our way down but not stayed there. It is a beautiful little town in an oasis on the coast. Lots of palm trees and a river flowing through.

I had connected with some RVing families through Facebook who were just starting their Baja journey as we were finishing ours. We weren’t sure if our timing would line up to connect but we were lucky to hear from them as we were pulling into town so we stayed at the same hotel/RV Park as them. It was a cute place with a freezing pool and lots of areas to eat or work or just hang out.

The two families had lots of kids ages 4-12. Our kids made friends with theirs very quickly and started many many hours of tag and hide and seek and other outdoor games. It was so fun to see them get some friend time. We also really enjoyed getting to know the parents and trading travel stories and tips for Baja over margaritas and chips! Meeting travel friends has been rare this trip, given the lack of tourism during Covid, but we are glad we have had a few opportunities and everyone seemed good about staying outdoors and using masks.

Digging for clams!

By Julian

In Bahia Conception, we stayed at a beach called El Requison.

We drove up in the RV, then I quickly went outside to see the new bench. Well I was playing in the sand my dad came back and said we were digging for clams!!

I was super Excited I’ve never done for clams before so I ran across the beach to where mom was. Then I thought an old lady that found like 20 of the clans I was so excited to get started!! So the first thing I did was go right next to mom and search for clams by digging in the sand. So then I didn’t find any for 10 minutes, so I went to where dad was dad said this was the jackpot area I did for a little while but I got kind of impatient so I went to where mom was Then I saw a big clam!! So I decided to dig for more I found a lot of baby clams that we couldn’t keep because they were Tiny. So I went back over to where dad was and I found like three big clams so I was excited I dug for a little while longer and I eventually found one more clam. But then Caroline and Mimi came rushing over they said there are so many clams!!! So I hurried over And just like they said I found like 10 clams in the first five seconds.

Dad cooked the clams for dinner. We didn’t really like them but he did. We had so many we couldn’t cook them all so we shared some with other campers nearby.

We moved the second night to a beach close by called Playa La Perla. It was so cute and we were the only campers there. We set up our cabana like a little house.

Mimi and dad playing chess in the cabana

The Puppies!

By Julian

While we were staying in Todos Santos, our friends invited us with them to volunteer at a dog rescue.

The RV stopped, I realized we were here. We got out of the RV and walked about two blocks. Then I saw them PUPPIES!!!!!! They were so cute. All of the kids started putting their hands through the fence through the fence and patting them. Then we listened to all of the rules. After we listened to the rules we went into the double gate because if the puppies were to go out they probably wouldn’t be able to catch them!

Then they opened the door! But we saw the big dogs first because the door to the puppies was inside where the Adult dogs are. We pet adult dogs for a little while then Caroline ( my sister ) volunteered to pick up The dog poop and then we went into puppy area!

I was so excited. Caroline asked Brynn ( our guide/friend ) Is the puppies have names she told us she had forgotten them so we could call them what ever want! I picked up the one that had licked me on the arm it was a beautiful white dog so I would call her cupcake! Cupcake was so cute! Then Brynn told us that we were going to hold up signs for donors with puppies and take a picture. The first few were my friend Ezra and Caroline then it was me And Ezra Then it was Soren ( my friend) And Mimi (my sister ). so we took a lot of photos they were super cool. We were donors too so I made a sign for us!

So a lot later we were almost finally done with the photos there was only A few left. Then we realized all of the puppies were asleep in their bed so cute! So we took the last pictures with the puppies in their bed asleep

When it was time to play with the big dogs for a little while So I mostly played with this one dog Lucy, Lucy was the owner of the dog shelter dog she was really cute! When I played with the other dogs for a little while one was a golden retriever but I don’t know the other one it was a beautiful black dog but I New it was not a chocolate lab because it had a really long Snout. Then we went out of the dog Shelter and we walked back to the RV because our friends place was on the way me and Ezra had a chat about books (Harry Potter).

La Ventana

By Julian

La Ventana is a beautiful beach, and they have a lot of kite surfers there. They go there because the wind is perfect for kite surfing. The kite surfers are very skilled and talented. They were flipping a lot. They would go in the air and doing cool flips.

The people who we talked to in the campground were very nice too. Some of them come and stay here for many months just to kite surf every day. It was very warm and windy when we were there. The wind starts every afternoon, which is when the kite surfers go out. Someday I would like to kitesurf, but for now I like to watch them.

La Paz

By Maddy

Well after a while on the road we were all feeling like we could use a little space and break from the tight quarters (and maybe from each other a bit!) So we booked an Airbnb in La Paz for 4 days. It was a great decision and we loved the place we stayed which was super unique and Gaudi inspire architecture. The whole house was all round and curvy and white with great windows and art all around. We loved it! The master bathroom didn’t have a door, which was a bummer but it did have insane views of the city and the sea.

The house had a pool which was a bit too cold for us, and the hot tub wasn’t working which was too bad. But we still spent a lot of time hanging outside.

We also got the chance to catch up on work and have the kids do some blogging and math and such.

I enjoyed running on the malecon (beachfront walkway) though I did have to wear a mask as there were some other people around, which always makes it hard to breathe!

A California Christmas

By Mirabelle

You may have heard the song “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” Well, I think there is. And it is California! On our way to Baja Mexico, we stopped at my Grandma’s house for Christmas. We stayed there for 10 days, and we mostly just spent time at Oma’s house because California had a stay-at-home order because of COVID. Luckily Oma is a doctor and got her first vaccine shot while we were there.

We were able to get a Christmas tree by going to a Christmas Tree farm in the Santa Cruz mountains near her house. We took a twisting road up to the farm. Once we got there, we looked around and we hiked up a hill to find our tree. I helped my dad cut it down. We brought it back to Oma’s house and put it up and put on the ornaments. I got to put the angel on the top of the tree.

On Christmas eve eve, we made lefse and sausage for dinner, which is a tradition from my dad’s family. Lefse is a norweigian potato bread – kind of like a pancake but made with potatoes. In Wisconsin you can buy Lefse at the store, but we couldn’t find it in California, so we had to make it for the first time. Caroline helped peel potatoes, dad mashed them, and mom cooked the bread. It wasn’t quite like we are used to, but it was still delicious. We wrapped up little sausages, or just had butter and cinnamon sugar. Mmmm!

On Christmas eve we had a big dinner with crab legs, and we got to open a few presents, including a game called Exploding Kittens. I liked it a lot. We also got to open a rock-painting kit from our grandma.

On Christmas morning, we came to wake up our parents early, and then we got to open presents. Me and my siblings got hoverboards which we were really excited to play with. We rode them to the park. The rest of the day we had lots of fun hanging out with our family and cooking dinner.

The rest of our time there we went on lots of walks and hoverboard rides, and spent time with our grandma, Oma, and went in the hot tub. The pool was super cold but we jumped in it a few times too!