04 Apr Cholla Residents take road trip to Desemboque south of Puerto Penasco
Story by Cynthia Tegge
We recently took a road trip to Desemboque with some friends just to see what was there. I’d been hearing about the area for over thirty years but never had the opportunity to visit.
Bruce and I started out on Friday, February 16th with Dave and Patricia Pugh, Ralph and Marge Bravetti, Bud King and a friend of his named “Wapo”, Gary and Sheryl (Spanky’s RV), and Jason and Missy Crawley and their boys, Jesse and Kaydon. Only one of us had been there before, Wapo, but that had been many years prior. So, we caravanned South together with our VHF radios at the ready and breakfast burritos in hand.
The Pugh’s led the way. First mistake was going through Puerto Penasco during the early morning commute to get on the Caborca Road and out of town. Suggestion, head out of town on the Sonoita road and head turn right at the clover leaf outside of town. The two lane road to Caborca is marked with pot holes, but not really too bad. The Crawleys were driving a motor home and had no trouble navigating the terrain. Even though the vineyards were not in bloom, we could tell that grapes and pecans were a major part of the agriculture that was was an active part of the farming that takes place in the area. The asparagus were being harvested on much of the land.
The road was paved the entire way to Desemboque, which surprised us all. We were well prepared with our four
wheel drive trucks and SUV’s to tackle what was thrown at us, but we didn’t have to engage the heavy artillery at that point. We drove past the turn off for Santo Thomas (another place I’d like to see some day) and stayed on the paved road that came to a “T” about one and a half hours into our trip. Those who found it necessary, were able to fuel up at a Pemex at that location. At the “T” intersection, we turned right and towards Desemboque.
Bruce and I had “googled” Desemboque and printed some maps of the topography and could get a lay of the land in general terms. We knew that they had a hotel with a restaurant, but didn’t know what else. We’ve been to “hotels” in small towns and villages before and had been shocked to find out what counted as a hotel and/or restaurant. The hotel in Desemboque was not a disappointment and neither was the restaurant. Our rooms were clean and had two queen size beds. Some thought that the trash cans in the rooms and the beds could have been made up on a daily basis, but I prefer to make my own bed and clean up after myself. But, that is me, I’d prefer my privacy.
On Friday afternoon we rode the beach north of Desemboque to play in the sand dunes. I could bore you with tales of who made it to the top of some pretty big peaks and who got stuck and where or who couldn’t climb to where the others were but I don’t want to waste your time. I could even go on about broken tie rods or hitting witches eyes in the dunes with a passenger in the back seat not secured by a harness…….Dodge trucks dug in up to their axels, Toyota Forerunners having to be pulled out of a hole …… but then, my compadres would remind others who it was that had to stay at the bottom of the dune.
The restaurant had a varied menu that included Mexican cuisine and a few American dishes (like hamburgers). Everything we had was good, especially the ceviche tostadas. The rooms were a little pricey ($56) per night, but they had the market cornered so there wasn’t much room to complain.
But, if you’d like to spend a very mesmerizing experience, pour your favorite beverage, pull up a chair and wait for sunset! We’d had a few clouds throughout the day, and they built on the horizon just before the sun went down. We had the most spectacular display of colors, it kept our attention much like the fireworks for the 4th of July. The reds were so intense, it seemed the sky and the water were both on fire.
On Saturday morning, the group decided to take a side trip to Puerto Lobos by way of the beach. We had heard, and it is very true that there is a major estuary between Desemboque and Puerto Lobos. Pepe (Dave Pugh) found a guy who knew the way around the estuary by heading inland, so we loaded up the Crawley family in our suburban and the group headed out together on a “great adventure”.
The tide was out so we were able to travel on the beach for quite a while. It was at this point we definitely needed the four wheel drives that our trucks had to offer. It would have been impossible to continue with out it. We headed inland and around the estuary by passing through a series of ranchers gates, being careful to close the gates behind us so the livestock would not wander out. We traveled around an area where a river meets the sea and fortunately the river was absent and the resulting mud was easy enough to navigate. Heading back to the beach, there was a dead whale on the shore. We quickly learned that we should have been down wind of it. We also found a few dead dolphins further down the beach. Always a shame, but, unfortunately part of the cycle of life. We were also witness to the many pods of live dolphins that were evident all along the shoreline as we traveled. They were within twenty feet from shore and entertained us with their water ballets as we traveled on.
Getting to Puerto Lobos was a times very trying. The overland roads were bumpy so we had to travel slowly. The sun was starting to get lower and we had not planned on spending the night in the vehicles. In all, it took us close to five hours to get to Puerto Lobos, but when we got there, it was all well worth it. It is the most quaint and charming fishing village I have ever seen. It is so picturesque it is hard to describe. There are mountains close to shore and it has cliffs that meet a huge bay. Two shrimp boats were anchored out in the bay and if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought I was at Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border. Very primitive, very nice.
We had a quick lunch (and a few cold beverages) under some palapas on the beach being ever mindful of the setting sun and the time it had taken us to reach our destination. We loaded up into our vehicles and started playing “Beat the Setting Sun”. Funny, but it seems that the return trip from anywhere never takes as long as the trip to reach a destination. We needn’t have worried at all. Even with a few beverage stops on the way back, we made it back to Desemboque and a hot shower in two hours.
Once again, we were forced to enjoy the gorgeous evening sunset and a great dinner at the restaurant. Needless to say, the trip was a great success and one we plan to make again.