South of the border, guey.

I had an awesome adventure in Tijuana MEX. I drove down there with my girlfriend for an awesome little weekend getaway type deal. It;s only a couple hours drive from LA, so it was an easy cruise. Got down there, saw my family’s favorite old market, the Mercado Hidalgo. I perused the booths, bought some mole spice mix, some tequila and some sweets for family friends. I also picked up some Piloncillo to make a Belgian style beer with.

Then we went down to Rosarito, a sweet little beach town about 40 minutes south of TJ. I bought my mother what I’m sure was the biggest flowerpot in all of Mexico, and we had lobster and drinks overlooking the ocean. It was pretty serene and peaceful, with most of the traffic staying away after the events of recent years. We had a blast, and really took in the place. It had been years since I was down there so it was just one nostalgia blast after another south of the border.

We wanted to get back up early, as we were staying at The Pearl hotel, and they have a sweet little bar and pool area. Unfortunately, the line to cross the border took us 5 freaking hours, and that was just unbelievably uncomfortable and practically unbearable. In the end, we missed the last call, but did get to enjoy our awesome room. The Pearl is a 60’s themed little slice of heaven, and our room was so welcoming and comfortable after our border crossing fiasco.

In the morning, we ate at Great Maple, and what I ate was just incredible. Smoked brisket, hollandaise, bacon, veggies, potatoes, and poached eggs. We also had some maple bacon donuts because why not. We were on a mini vacation to enjoy ourselves.

All in all, it was a hell of a little jaunt. I ended up with a few days of food poisoning, pretty sure it was from the one glass of tap water I absent-mindedly sipped on. Montezuma got his revenge on my Spaniard side, but the Aztec in me pulled through. Just barely. I’m writing this a week later, and I still feel a tinge of the fear. I think I learned my lesson about that one.

Looks like I’ll be up in Kern county this weekend for camping, then two weeks later, Seattle! Just a continuation to what has already been an incredible summer.

Quick turnaround camping

In Los Angeles, people love to talk about how you can go from the mountains to the desert, to the beach in one day. A few buddies and I decided to do something about that, and take a quick trip up to the mountains. We climbed up the San Gabriel Mountains to Horse Flats campground, one of the hideouts of Mexican bandido Tiburcio Vasquez, and a beautiful place that you can reach within one hour of the city.

We ostensibly were there for mountain bike riding, but I spent most of my time making campfire chicken, (I used Kingsford briquets) We had tons of it, and it was delicious, but my brother did have to build a crazy nest thing to keep the fire hot. I’d never seen it done before and I had my doubts, but it worked swimmingly.

We had four growlers of Stone ales, fresh from the Pasadena Store. Smoked Porter, Double Bastard, Cali Belgique, and Sublimely Self Righteous. We started a righteous fire, and in the morning everything smelled like campfire smoke. It was SO MUCH colder than we thought it would be, and I woke up covered in bug bites. After 2 growlers of ale, I fell asleep on my cot next to the fire, and something got in my tent and made a meal of me.

In the morning, we were able to pack our light gear, load up, and arrive in Los Angeles less than an hour and a half later. It wasn’t even noon but it was a great way to break in the gear for a season. Summer will be easier, and now I know to bring a mosquito net and some bug spray. You live, you learn, and sometimes you feed the bugs.