Mulege, BCS, Mexico is an oasis town. Snuggled between a river and the ocean and surrounded by desert, the landscape contains a fascinating variety of flora, fauna and people. Palm, papaya, orange, banana and mango trees; hibiscus; and bougainvillea cluster along the river, while stark, granite hills covered in saguaro rise up just behind them.
Happy little orange and black orioles, morning doves, red finches, expats and dogs find their perches on the lush, valley floor. Adventurers take up residence in beach palapas just south of town from November through March. Easter week, local families descend on the beaches to celebrate the holiday, just as the temperatures start to rise.
We lived for five days at the Huerta Don Chano RV Park, just outside of town, headed for the beach for the next seven, then came back to Don Chano’s to cool down and experience the BEST CARNITAS EVER one more time (served all day every Saturday at Asadero Dany’s) before we started to make our way back north.
At Don Chano’s, Pauline met a couple in their late thirties with two kids (girls, about 8 and 10), four bikes and two surfboards traveling Mexico in a Westfalia for the whole year. The previous year they did the same thing in New Zealand. The girls spent everyday riding their bikes up and down the Malecon across the street from our site. I can’t believe they all fit in that van, but they were doing it and those kids were so happy.
On our way out of town we stumbled on Playa Coco’s, a small, quiet beach with 20 palapas filled with mostly Canadian RVers and their pets.
We caused a bit of a stir when we set up our #OGNomad hot tub on our second afternoon. I’m pretty sure the novelty of it snagged us an invitation to the next day’s going away party at Millie and Rick’s.
Happy hour and a game of bocce gathered people together at Don Chano’s every afternoon and every Tuesday at Coco’s. The rhythm of the beach was punctuated by morning and afternoon dog promenades and meditative morning paddles around the Bahia de Concepcion. Thousands of mating stingrays in the shallows made swimming dicey, but the bay was like a window on all the sea creatures living below for a few calm hours every morning.
We were quickly adopted by several folks that seemed to take it upon themselves to make sure we had whatever we needed and stayed safe, offering to grab us groceries or ice whenever they drove into town.
Retirees and Coco’s regulars from Alberta, Canada Judy (known as Jude), Darryl and their Blue Heeler Lucia kept a protective eye on us, our stuff and entertained us with all their “‘ehs?” “shits”, “fucks” and daily happy hours next door.
Shy Astoria, Oregon boat-builder Larry and his dogs Princess and Fuss lent us his paddle-board so we could see what it was like. Dennis, an American ex-Harley salesman living his retirement dream in a 1982 mint Westfalia, gave me a sci-fi paperback I devoured in two days and visited us on his morning coffee walk everyday.
Gay full-time RVers John, Fred, their little Mexican mutt Bertina, elderly Cocker Spaniel Henry and Pauline quickly learned they all lived and partied within blocks of each other in 1990s San Francisco.
BCers Holly, Stan and their mini-Australian Shepherd Finn asked us if we knew any eligible lesbians their daughter could date, since on her last attempt at online dating she was unlucky enough to unearth the only Trump-supporting lesbian in the entire City of Portland, OR.
Whether they come here for a few days or for the entire winter, the people who leave their lives behind to visit Mulege are all looking for the same thing: to find a way to slow down and enjoy life a little more.