After a short introduction into the world of the "real" tacos and a short night in Ensenada as well as disappointingly small waves we set off the next day towards San Felipe. But not without first obtaining some pesos and an additional gasoline canister. The petrol stations and ATM dispensers are becoming increasingly rare on the coming journeys. With our small tank (approx. 45 litres) we can cover 350 km. A certain amount of provision is therefore inevitable. After endless straight roads through the mountainous and barren landscape of the north of Baja our journey is abruptly interrupted by a military checkpoint. Armed military officers ask us to open the van and meticulously inspect the interior. The batteries seem to have taken a special liking to one of them. In Spanish, he asks us several times about this. We don't understand a word. When the military officer next to me becomes more relaxed and starts to smile, we can finally decode the message. He wants two batteries for his torch, because these are hard to get here. We show ourselves generously and leave them to him, hoping to finally be able to drive on. The second military checkpoint shows that at least the attempt to speak some words in Spanish and a friendly smile accelerates the process. Nevertheless - with an old VW bus it seems to be automatically associated with drugs, which is why the inspections take us much longer than with other vehicles. In this way, we create a longer waiting period behind us.
After about 250km we arrive in San Felipe and find an abandoned camping site just outside the city. He is relatively tall and has his best years behind him. The buildings are left to the time, the sand is increasingly taking over the concrete pitches and the toilet facilities are only partially in operation. The longer we are on the road, the smaller our expectations become. You know how to appreciate things that are taken for granted at home, much more. For example, after three days at well over 30 degrees Centigrade, a lot of sand and dust to have a shower possibility. This is an important insight for us.
The next day we head towards Valle de los Gigantes, where the big cacti await us. They are one of the reasons why we left the west coast and now want to spend a few days on the east coast. As expected, admission is subject to a fee. An older Cuban welcomes us very friendly at the entrance gate. Miguel speaks amazingly good English and is particularly fond of our Canadian license plates. He raves about the beautiful nature in Canada and asks us if we know these and those places. We mention several times that we are not Canadians after all the reconnaissance attempt fails. We leave it in the room. For us there is the entrance at half price and the possibility of the night free of charge next to his caravan - resp. what's left of it. The offer is convincing. Later we will get to know Miguel even better, drive him into town, laugh with him and be amazed by his exciting stories and get lots of good tips for our trip to Mexico. An extremely talkative and cordial person. But back to the Valley of the Giants. We drive along the sandy and stony roads to a turning point, where we want to park our van as a precaution and walk further than a Mercedes van suddenly appears next to us. "Are you the Swiss?", they ask us. As luck would have it, Anne Marie and Gerhard from Austria found our website one day earlier and recognized our van immediately. Experiences about the previous travel time will be exchanged before we continue on the bumpy road with the van. The limits of the bodywork and especially the shock absorbers are now being sounded out. We continue along the sandy roads until a signboard appears next to us. From here on, only four-wheel drive. We'll know better and keep going.