Hasta luego, Mexico 

15 Jan

So, I survived encounters with giant pelicans and a friggin emu living 2 doors down from me AND another night of double margatias followed by wine (but less than the night before) AND a full day with no hot water, and yet I woke feeling refreshed and happier than I had in a good long while. It’s amazing what going off the grid with good company and receiving a full night’s refund from the totally rockin’ AirBnB host can do for one’s disposition.

I wasn’t even bothered by the torrents of sideways-whipped rain. Although we clearly would not mountain biking, it was equally clear that Erin knew was she was talking about when she suggested that we devote our depature day to wine tasting. 

Wine tasting in Mexico, you ask?

Sí! Por supuesto!

BB/PP was dubious, too, but one thing he’s learned after enduring me for ~7 years is that adventure almost always beats rationality. And even though we both generally prefer staying home and reading books like good little Hobbits, we both appreciate the importantcd of exploring our world and expanding our horizons. So, onward through the rain to Valle de Guadalupe we went! 

The weather gods were on our side this day. They only made it rain when we were in the car or otherwise sheltered. Of course, the fact that we only exited the car twice in ~3 hours may have skewed the odds in our favor as well. 

A <10min “research” effort on TripAdvisor revealed >40 wineries within 15mi of us. Most did not have websites and few were clear about what their days and hours of operation were. Meh. No matter. We’re in no rush and we still have at least 6hours of our Sci-Fi audiobook to tackle. We’d drive around until we saw something that looked intriguing…

Lucky for us, one of the closest-to-us wineries looked intriguing AF as we drove past it. And the rain had abated! Wanna check out the spaceship winery, buddy? Does a duck quack?

The AlXimia winery did not disappoint! It was open. It was devoid of others. It was staffed by a warm and friendly host who spoke impeccable English. It offered wines both familiar/approachable and exotic(to us)/intriguing. We walked out with several bottles of wine, a t-shirt for him, and a hand-etched wine glass for each of us. We also learned that the owners (absent on this day, sadly) are highly avid mountain bikers and therefore the winery is a proud sponsor of several races/mtb events in the Spring! We’ll be back for sure, AlXimia!

While there we also learned about the apparently epic farm-to-table home cooking restaurant, Doña Esthela. Unfortunately, we had overstuffed ourselves at breakfast and neither of us were ready to eat when we passed it by, but that just gives us all the more reason to return…

Erin had very strongly recommended that we visit the Decantos winery before we headed back home. Because she had been right about so many things, we trusted her on this, too. And she wasn’t exactly wrong, but it also did not exactly turn out to be the relaxing wine resort she had depicted. 

Well, I suppose that’s not quite fair either. Once we actually got into the winery is it was perfectly lovely and swank. The getting there, however… well, the getting there was at least 6x the adventure! 

Descansos is 1.5km off the main road. Erin mentioned that it was a dirt road, but she also said it was “very well maintained.” Her standards for that phrase are clearly different than ours. It took us 22min to traverse 1.5km. I have no idea why BB/PP did not elect to strangle me as I encouraged him to persevere. There is no good reason to drive down that road in the middle of a rain storm. There may not even be a good reason to do so anytime within a week of a rain storm. Doing it in a manual transmission car is a level of stupendous that I can barely fathom. Doing it as a designated driver for a crazy CZ bent on a goal–well, that’s a kind of devotion that earns you many cans of salt-n-vinegar almonds and packs of Brownie Brittle, that’s for sure!

We were rewarded for our intrepidness, however, once we reached our destination. A discounted tasting, generous pours, extra pours of the wines we liked, souvenir wine glasses for the both of us, and a special discount code we can use should we elect to come back and participate in one of their concerts on the lawn! We were lulled into spending WAY more time there than we “should” have, but in the end it only meant that we would forgo other tasting options and just focus on getting home.

The Tecate border crossing was, perhaps, the most brilliant part of our trip. We had to “wait” behind 6 cars and cleaning the line and CBP inspection took us <10 minutes. We were disappointed, however, to learn that we would not earn a passport stamp (somebody needs to explain this policy to me…)

The drive from Tecate through eastern San Diego county took us through miles and miles of drool-inducing mtb trails and possibilities. Neither of us had explored this part of California previously, but we hope to give it a whirl in the future. We only got into one minor tiff during the ~4.5hrs that we spent slogging up the 5 and 405 freeways and when we got home we found that we still liked each other and agreed that future team travel adventures should probably be planned–or perhaps not planned, but just allowed to magically transpire.

Two-point-five says in Mexico showed us (or at least me) that silence among nature can be curative, giving over one’s preconceptions to allow the Universe to show the way is restorative, believing in the power of yourself and the ability of another to transform and amplify that power is the surest way to find peace and happiness, expectations are useless, and UNO wins everything.


Parting Thought: Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiousity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. ~e. e. cummings 

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