My first visit to San Felipe happened in Dec.1978. My husband
and I decided that we wanted to do something different over
the holiday season. We looked on the map and thought that it
would be a good idea to go down to Cabo San Lucas via Mexico
Highway number 3, where we would switch to Mexico Highway number
5 and take the "coast" all the way down. NOT!
we crossed the international boarder at San Diego, drove through
T.J. and on to Ensenada, we found Highway number 3. At that
time, Hwy. 3 was very spartan to say the least. It was full
of pot holes which were axle breakers. We were driving my little
TR7 and were able to navigate the roadway easily. We were very
grateful that we were not driving one of the big honker motor
There were a few small cities along the way but
the houses were mostly made of discarded pieces of wood, cardboard,
and tin and the towns consisted of maybe ten to twelve houses.
Interestingly enough each "town" had a central park or gathering
place which reflected much care and nurturing having pretty
shade trees and colorful benches for sitting and chatting.
The weather was good but cold up in the mountains
on the trip down from Ensenada to San Felipe Highway #5. When
we got down to Highway 5, we went South toward Cabo. NOT!
The number 5 is a two lane road reasonably well
paved but still had it's share of pots. We had no idea what
we were getting ourselves into at this point. The distance from
El Chinero where Highway3 and 5 meet, to San Felipe is about
40 miles. In those days the drive from the turnoff was not populated
at all and the only redeeming feature was the breath taking
vista of the Sea of Cortez.
We decided that we would stay in San Felipe for
the night and in the morning head on South. When we got into
the downtown area of San Felipe, we found three hotels. All
of the hotels were booked because of the holiday season.
We had no idea what to do at this point. One of
the hotel managers suggested that we might find a "crude" room
at a little place about two streets off the main street. When
we got there, it was clear that this hotel catered to hourly
trade and the sheets were probably not changed between tenants.
I of course being a "city girl" refused to even consider staying
"I would rather sleep in the car!" was my response
to my husband's question "What do you think?' Remember, we are
talking about a TR7 2 seater.
We were both tired and hungry and it was Christmas
Eve. So we found a restaurant and decided to have a decent meal
and think about what to do next. There was a couple sitting
at the next table and the four of us were the only patrons in
Ruben's eatery. The other couple were Americans also, so we
asked them were they were staying and explained that we were
without a place to spend the night. West and Gloria were their
names and they said that they had a home there and were permanent
residents of San Felipe. They also offered to put us up for
the night in an extra trailer they had on their property at
a campo on the Northern outskirts of town. The name of the campo
was Campo Live and Let Live which is now known as Campo Ocotillos.
West and Gloria also had a trailer in town and
told us we could have our choice of which trailer we wanted
to use. We decided to use the trailer in town. Well, we ended
up staying there for our entire vacation. West and Gloria refused
our offer of money and said they were just happy to be able
to offer help. That was twenty one years ago and I am still
San Felipe has become my home. I think there is
no safer place on the planet for a woman (senior) to live alone.
My husband had since left and still lives in the United States.
I however, had found a home and friends here that are irreplaceable.
Both Mexican Nationals and Americans. I think San Felipe reminds
me of the "good old days" when one could walk down the street
at night and not worry about being mugged or assaulted in any
way. It's a place where children can be out playing any place
in town and not be vulnerable to danger from other children
or adults. It's a place where, when you get stuck in the sand
in your car, getting you out becomes a matter of celebration
by the rescuers. It's a place where men, women, and children
can hitchhike to town and not be in any danger. While there
are rascals here, they seem to have a respect for those of us
who are in need or vulnerable. I remember as a child growing
up in a neighborhood where everyone took care of everyone else.
We seem to have that same mental and spiritual attitude here.
There are no bad days and it is always beautiful here. It is
truly one of the Creator's works of art.