When we chose to moved to Baja, we were aware that our concept of distances was about to be redefined.
With its 1200 km, Baja California is the second longest peninsula in the world. The Carretera Transpeninsular is the only main road from Tijuana (north) to Los Cabos (south); all the rest are secondary ways that connect small villages in the middle of the desert.
The wildness of this land was one of the main + in our “ProBaja” list. Not without some emotional difficulties (Michelle still regrets her beloved Ford Fiesta, while Marco misses his bicycle), we started to dream of a little van to convert in a pretty camper.
At the beginning, our imagination was connected to the classical “hippy van”, with the old and colorful VW as icon. Too soon, however, we faced the reality: no vehicles in good status available, the ones that looked fine in reality where just fakes, streets in Baja are not made for little and cute wheels.
expectation VS reality
We drove around La Paz city hopeless for some months after the purchase of our Suzuki Samurai (this is how we grew up, in terms of living in Baja), we were even avoiding to read blogs and posts about the van life, convinced we would never find what we were looking for.
Until when we saw her. A white, clean (an emphasis on this word is necessary) and huge Ford Econoline 350 parked in one of the several second-hand car shops (llardas) casually placed in hidden corners of the city. We stopped to have a look, trying to maintain our enthusiasm low (post Suzuki trauma effects).
The price was in the budget, the general status good and it was imported directly from the States. Despite all the positive news, the worries of Marco of using an 8 cylinders van to move in the city brought the Suzuki issue on our way, again.
We had to decide what to do with her: 1-hope to find somebody willing to invest a bunch of money in a car worth not even the half; 2-forgive our initial gullibility, move on, and try to get the best out of her.
We went for the second: we absolved (more less) ourselves and started to renew the Suzuki.
In this way, we have at the same time a small and economic city car and a big, powerful, and spacious van for our free time and, especially, for our field work.
At least 50% of our field research will take place in remote areas along the Pacific coast, as Bahía Magdalena and Laguna Ojo de Liebre, where the gray whales group during winter months. With our van, we will be completely free from bus schedules and hotels costs. Moreover, our little Gioele will join us most of the times and he is in need of a nice and comfortable place where to wait for us with his nanny.
Bunch of work is in front of us, but we got already started, we named her.
She is WiBi, the white beauty. At the beginning, we went for something like “Huge Beast”, but somehow it didn’t sound too good. Lol.