I had read a few years ago that Mexico’s Ruta del Vino in the Guadalupe Valley was an up and coming wine region. So of course we had to visit it. Driving from Ensanada along the Highway 3 towards the wineries through dry, rocky desert, it was hard to imagine how anything could grow in this environment. It looked bone dry and desolate. As we got closer to Guadalupe Valley we started to see more green, and then finally we started seeing olive groves and then vineyards.
Guadalupe Valley looked to me like I pictured Napa Valley 50 years ago. There were almost zero tourists, so few actually that many of the wineries that were supposed to be open were closed. We would drive down dirt roads with old growth olive trees on either side of us surrounded by vineyards with russet and gold colored leaves, searching for wineries. Some of the wineries have been around since 1888 (Santo Tomas winery), so there were some really old buildings, along with new modern wineries. Sam and I have been wine tasting in Andalusia, Spain, and it had a similar feel to me.
Since it was getting dark, we found a free abandoned campground in the middle of the vineyards and decided to set up camp. Again, we would have never camped here alone, but with two vehicles it felt safer. As we walked around the campsite, we saw five wild horses eating oranges off the trees around where we were parked. It felt like a good omen that we were supposed to be here. There were also lime trees growing all over, so we stocked up on them to make margaritas later.
Every morning, we decide where we are going next. Neither of us are much planners, so we go where the mood takes us. We were originally thinking of going into the mountains to a national park, but at 10,000 feet we were fairly sure it would be freezing and we were craving hot weather and aqua blue water so we drove across the desert to the stunning Sea of Cortez!