Bye-Bye Baja

Whatever we can’t fit in one of six suitcases and four carry-ons, we’ll need to sell or give away. We’ve done this countless times in the past two decades, but this is one of the harder moves.

The last time we moved the majority of our things by air was in 2020 when we moved to Sayulita. Since then, we’ve done two overland moves (to Chacala, then by land and sea to La Paz).

To make matters worse, we took the opportunity this last summer to cram our truck with kids clothes for the future and things we couldn’t get in Mexico. Only weeks after returning to La Paz did we realize this might not have been the best idea.

So, it seems we’ve allowed ourselves to accumulate some things along the way. And now it’s time to purge, and purge hard.

Some things are harder than others. Noe’s bike has been broken for several weeks (a bad bearing). I tried a jimmy rig but it only lasted one or two rides before busting again. It took us way too long to find someone in town to fix a kids bike, but we finally did. Just in time for Noe to turn around and say goodbye.

I wanted to take this opportunity to give Riley a chance to try learning to ride a bike. We headed out to the mangroves, suited him up with cousins’ pads and put him on.

He would have been off and running I’m sure if it hadn’t been for one small hitch. The seat was too high for his little feet to touch the ground. To make matters worse, I had already taken out the tools I keep in the Montero.

I braced for a five-year-old meltdown of epic proportions. Instead, Riley seemed almost relieved that he wouldn’t have to attempt this daring feat today. Our boys are very different in that way. Noe will try anything once and claim to be an expert before he’s even started. Riley is more apprehensive and needs quite a bit of encouragement and reassurance.

The next day I lowered the seat in our backyard and had him try it out. Still too big. Oh well. Riley’s a fish in the water and can kick a soccer ball better than I can. I’m sure he’ll have no problem figuring out biking when the time comes.

At this point before a move, the boys have a countdown of days they get to play with all the “treasures” they’ve accumulated before they get tossed. It’s fun to see what types of creations Noe makes with his.

Over-the-top birthday parties have been a hallmark feature of our kids’ last 18 months in La Paz. Yuppi is a popular venue for these extravaganzas. This one was a little hard for the boys knowing it would be their final one before we leave. Lori and I, on the other hand, will be happy not to have to wrangle to sleep two crazy-sugared-up boys on a regular basis.

Incidentally, there was a slight mix up regarding who the birthday boy was. Lori (and the boys) thought it was Noe’s classmate hosting the party. When they got there, they quickly discovered it was actually Riley’s classmate (with the same name). Surprise!

Someone learned how to take a selfie on mommy’s phone.

Every time we’re at this coffee shop in La Paz, Noe loves to spend half the time looking at the photographs of all the world heritage sites on the wall. Of course he wants to visit all of them. We try to tell him he’s been to at least three on the wall already in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, but he never believes us (even after showing him photographic evidence).

Noe is definitely a born traveler. Not sure if it’s nature or nurture, but he shares our curiosity about the world and is more passionate about exploration than we are.

Riley’s getting there, I think. But he seems to draw comfort from his own things and his own space than the three of us do. In that sense, I think having our home on wheels where the backdrop changes but his room and toys follow him around will be an improvement over our situation the last several years. Not to mention that he’ll have a lot more opportunities to run around and be a kid than being in school seven hours a day in La Paz. Our current situation in La Paz definitely doesn’t allow him to burn off as much energy as he (or we) would like.

January is one of the best times in La Paz to hike. Most of the hiking in La Paz is in scrubby desert with no sun cover and a fair amount of elevation gain, especially for kids. We’re using this gorgeous January day to do one of our favorite hikes in La Paz one last time (Cerro Atravesado). I for one am looking forward to a lot more walking and hiking in our mobile future.

The city of La Paz, Baja California Sur and the Sea of Cortez, January 2024.

Riley, saluting in his school uniform as they do at school each morning for La Bandera.

A part of Noe is loving the cool January nights, presenting a rare opportunity to don his astronaut pajamas.


We sold our Montero to a nice couple of snowbirds from Canada. In a matter of days we’ll be hoofing it around until the end of our time in La Paz.

Fortunately, the grocery store is only a 10 minute walk away, and the boys’ school, literally just around the block.

With the exception of the loud and rowdy retired fishermen living (squatting?) across the street, this house has been very good to us. And the owners are quite possibly the best landlords we’ve had in Mexico.

Even so, we’re very excited for the next chapter.

On this particularly ideal Saturday morning, we happened to spy the boys happily playing Pokemon together and snuck out to the front yard for a rare weekend coffee date. From then on, we attempted to do the same every weekend morning with mixed success.

With the impending sale of our car, we spent one final Sunday grabbing brunch at one of our favorite spots, then spending the rest of the day at Playa Caimancito. We couldn’t have asked for better weather in January.

Every school morning for who knows how long, Riley has packed his lunch and his backpack just like this. We’re already busy figuring out what we’re packing and what gets left behind. Lori wanted to bring the lunch boxes, until I reminded her that we probably won’t have a need for them in the RV. It’s been interesting transitioning our thinking into home-on-wheels terms.

A walk along the Malecon. We’ve had a million and one things to do lately, we haven’t had much time to relax (apart from Sunday’s beach time). Lori wasn’t feeling too hot, so I suggested a walk and a bit of fresh air might help. She continued to feel crummy so I suggested a Covid test. After all, half the teachers at the kids’ school were out sick with Covid, and half our family back in the States also had it. ‘Tis the season, I guess. And sure enough…

A month ago when some family members caught it, I said to Lori, “Is Covid still a thing? Nobody we know has gotten it in a year.” Apparently, it is still a thing. This is Lori’s second official bout. Her first was back in mid-2022.

I should have probably sequestered myself somehow, donned a mask, wiped down surfaces, whatever spouses of Covid tainted folks are supposed to do. But I never do. It’s never worked for anyone we know (heck, my brother in law hid out in a shed and a treehouse for a week and still caught it from my sister). And…I’m one of those freaks who’s never tested positive for Covid.

A week later, I did end up with an annoying bout of congestion, and so did the boys, but nothing like what mommy had. And no positive tests for the rest of us.

For better or worse, none of it kept the boys out for long. They were up to their usual hijinks in no time.

It’s never fun being sick in the midst of one of these big moves, but we seem to have a track record of doing so. I’m sure the stress and lack of sleep involved doesn’t help matters.

That’s something else we’re looking forward to in the next phase.

Lori and I have both had flexible work schedules (and have been location independent) for over three years. But during that time our lives and location have been tied to the boys’ school schedule. Plus, Lori and I can do everything to keep ourselves healthy, but school kids, no matter where they are in the world, will always bring home whatever nasties are making the rounds at school.

When the four of us are traveling during the holidays, however, we rarely get sick. We imagine RV life shouldn’t be any different in that respect.

Riley (left) LOVES his Tajin. It’s basically a Mexican sodium bomb, so we don’t let him have it often, but when he does, watch out. His food tastes are 100% Mexican, but that shouldn’t surprise me. He’s lived here for most his life and most of his amigos are Mexican.

Noe (right) is always on the look out for the best bright orange fallen flower on the way home from school. It’s part of his routine to bring it home to mommy at the end of the day. Lori has a bit of trouble finding places for them all.

We’ve been doing a ton of walking since we sold the car. It’s been really nice to have exercise built in to our errands and routines and definitely something we’ve missed from living in Chacala, Sayulita, and Phnom Penh. We used to do a ton of walking before we had our own car. Funny how that happens.

One of the benefits of these walks is we get to be out around sunset. In the past here in La Paz, that’s been dinner time. Our houses here haven’t had big west facing windows so we miss sunsets most nights. These days, we’re catching a lot more sunsets. And this time of year, they’re pretty spectacular, even a mile inland from the water.

Another couple of weeks, and another tooth!

Off to school. Only a few days left of traditional school. For how long? Who knows.

This is our current walk to school. Our house is behind us across the street (out of view). The school is just around the corner (follow the wall to the next road, take a right, and it’s 3-4 buildings down). We’ve had some quick school commutes (Laos in our final year comes to mind), but nothing this easy.

Sure beats the 10 minute roundtrip we had by car in the old house. The 10-minute part didn’t bother us, but the fact that we had to get the boys buckled in the car, grit our teeth through some hairy intersections at rush hour, negotiate drop off and pick up (no school buses (and people here don’t really carpool), which means a ton of cars dropping off a ton of kids at multiple schools in the neighborhood).

Otherwise, it was a 25 minute walk, which we did do on occasion but certainly not in the hotter months (which is more than half the year in La Paz).

In other news, we’ve discovered that Noe needs retainers to give all those new teeth a bit more room to grow into. Lori had a similar issue when she was the same age. Back then, it was more common to wait a few more years, then dig out four adult molars. When we heard there were other options, we wanted to give it a try.

While Noe’s at his appointment with mom, I get to hang out with this crazy dude.

“Daddy, can I play on the pirate ship?” I don’t see why not. And off he went.

I found a nearby bench and didn’t think much about it at first. But then I got to thinking about the first time I did this with him when we first arrived in La Paz in July 2022. He was three months shy of four years old and I was watching him with eagle eyes holding my breath as he toyed with the idea of negotiating the big kid parts of the structure. A mere 18 months later and he owns that thing.

A perfect evening in La Paz to be out and about. And, dare I say, [almost] t-shirt weather at sunset.

Amidst all of the work and hubbub of our final week in Baja, we had a special visit from some special people.

Rob and Frances have been coming down to these parts for decades, and have made La Paz their second home in the past few years. In addition to being surrogate grandparents to our boys, they’re old family friends. And their son was Lori’s brother’s Best Man. We were lucky enough to see them three times during our time living here.

One final run around the light poles in the central plaza.

Cleaning out is never easy, but it’s particularly hard for Noe, our collector in residence. Fortunately, we’ve only lived in this particular house for just under five months, so it isn’t as bad as it could have been.

Saying goodbye to good friends, Valentina and kids. We first met Valentina when she was one of the instructors at Noe’s five-week marine biology camp last spring (highly recommended if you’ve got kids in La Paz!). The kids all go to school together, and have spent countless hours hanging out at one of the taco joints down the road during Taco Tuesdays.

Our final day in La Paz, and the boys’ last day at school. We’re flying out of Cabo later in the day, but with everything we still needed to accomplish this morning, we thought it would be good to have them do a half day. Mornings are brisk but afternoons warm up, so layering is essential these days.

Riley, with Mayra and Asia, his two teachers from last year and this year.

The result of weeks of hard work. Three years and a house full of stuff whittled down to this.

Sadly, this is the end of the line for footlocker #4. And footlocker #2 likely awaits a similar fate once we get back to Oregon. We bought the four footlockers weeks after Noe was born in preparation for our move to Laos. They’ve also followed us to Cambodia and every place we’ve lived in Mexico and have endured a lot of abuse.

While we’re on the topic of luggage, that rolling duffle in the bottom right-hand corner turns 20 years old this year. I took it with me to Mozambique in 2004, and with the help of new wheels and a few repairs, we look forward to buying Duffy his first legal drink next year.


And just like that, here we are, two hours later, curbside at Cabo airport with our stuff.

We’re about as deep into dry season as it gets in the Baja desert, and what do we get? A storm delay! This thunderstorm happened to roll through just as we were getting ready to board.

It must have been a fairly significant system stretching north of the border, as our route took us around to Utah, avoiding California entirely.

This may have been the very first time we’ve flown into Portland and Noe remembered this is where he was born. I always like to try and point out our old apartment and the hospital when the approach allows for it.

In addition to a late arrival, they were doing major construction work on the international terminal at PDX. So, instead of simply grabbing a couple of luggage carts at baggage claim, we were diverted to a shuttle bus where we had fun loading on our six big bags, four carry-ons, four backpacks, and two very tired kiddos, only to have to unload it all moments later at the main terminal.

Fortunately, we had family waiting on the other side to greet us with a car and a large pickup.

Tomorrow, we hunt.

2 thoughts on “Bye-Bye Baja”

  1. Dear David and Lori,
    Sure do miss you and your precious boys. Great pictures of your time in La Paz!

    • Thanks for your comment, Frances! Looking forward to being able to go back and post more from our time in La Paz one of these days. But your visits were definitely one of the highlights of our time there, so we’re really happy that made it in!


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