Baja and the Breeze Part II: Cabo brings a shock

Baja and the Breeze Part II: Cabo brings a shock

Our own customer systems development manager, Brad Van Orden, recently put our Air Breeze personal wind turbine to the test during a two-week trip through Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. In this short series, Brad will share his adventures on the road and how the Air Breeze helped to keep the wind in the sails of “Nacho,” his 1984 Volkswagen camper van, along the way.

Read part 1 of Brad's wind-powered adventure here

In Log Book from the Sea of Cortez, John Steinbeck describes Cabo San Lucas as a sleepy fishing village marooned at the end of a lonely and seldom-traveled finger of land. Much of Baja retains this character, but the ensuing 71 years since Steinbeck’s visit have seen Cabo become discovered, developed, modernized and infiltrated by mega resorts, Wal-Mart, cruise ships, and the jet-set American tourist. Prices are in dollars and people speak English. Whereas food establishments elsewhere on the peninsula invariably identify themselves with handwritten signs proclaiming “restaurante,” in Cabo they are flamboyantly named “Monkey Business” or “The Giggling Marlin.” When we find ourselves cornered by predatory timeshare salesmen, I spew forth a fountain of elementary German phrases until we’re forced into a language barrier stalemate.

“Hello sir, you like free money? You like parasailing? Why not? Just for fun!”
“Ich arbeite im krankenhaus. Wo ist der flughafen? Ganz Berlin auf einen blick!”

Although we prefer to speak Spanish and use pesos while in Mexico, the immediate change in culture and scenery adds to the sense that we have arrived back in civilization after a long and remote adventure. We feel a sense of accomplishment at having successfully traveled the entire length of the peninsula and arrived in one piece. In fact, all of our mechanical and electrical problems have occurred as a result of the daylong stretch of jarring dirt road in Northern Baja. We decide to treat ourselves to an RV campground with hot showers and electrical hookups in celebration of our indescribable machismo and navigational proficiency.

After setting up in the corner of the campground, I pop up the camper and plug the van into an outlet to charge the batteries and switch our appliances over to AC power. Our Air Breeze has done us well and we give it a celebratory rest in the comfort of Nacho Bus. In an effort to unwind I saunter off to the shower where I discover that the hot water valve is broken, rendering the shower cold. Probably the only cold shower in all of Cabo San Lucas. I forego drying myself off so as to take advantage of evaporative cooling while I walk back to Nacho Bus, and the resulting sequence of events is a perfect storm of man versus electricity. I reach out and grab Nacho’s sliding door handle with my wet hand and WHAM! My arm is attacked by a swarm of angry bees while being simultaneously punched by a swarm of angry Dolph Lundgrens. I recoil and see my reflection in Nacho’s window. My face is the physical manifestation of the words “how could you!”; a cross between abused puppy, defensive politician, and perpetually surprised Joan Rivers. Somehow, my brain decides that the best option at this point is to try again, just in case I imagined the first one. WHAM! Dolph Lundgren! Bees! Joan Rivers!

It seems the brutal dirt road has also caused a ground fault in our AC power system, which has gone undiscovered until now. I hastily unplug Nacho from the outlet, open the door, and apologize to our Air Breeze wind turbine for cheating on it with the RV hookup. When day breaks we and bid ado to Cabo San Lucas and head North, eager to test our equipment and our luck on the vast remote expanses of Baja once more.

Next: Read the last part of Brad's wind-powered Mexican adventure.

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