Road trip: A surfer and his dog explore Baja California, Part 2

K38. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz
K38. Photo: Cyrus Saatsaz
I awoke early the next morning. The sun wasn’t shining. It was overcast and cold. I was curious to see what the free breakfast was all about, so I went into the common area, with the old TV, and the video game system, and the couches, and the kitchen, and the windows which overlooked the Pacific Ocean. It was quiet.

RELATED: Road trip: A surfer and his dog in Baja California, Part 1

There was coffee brewed, and Lulu was on the phone again. She was in some weird little cupboard which I took as a room where hotel business was conducted. I assumed she was talking to her girlfriend again.

I stood there for 20 minutes observing the ocean. There were waves. Plenty of them. And wind, which made going into the Pacific that morning seem so uninviting.

I started observing my map of Eréndira and the surrounding villages, with the prime surf spots supposedly in the Punta Cabras region which looked to be a 15 mile drive north on dirt roads. I was debating whether to explore that region or return to the freeway and head north to waves I knew would be amazing.

Map of Eréndira and the surrounding region. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz
Map of Eréndira and the surrounding region. Photo: Cyrus Saatsaz

Lulu saw me standing there and asked what I wanted for breakfast. Options were eggs, waffles or pancakes. I was dismayed at the coffee condiment options. Powdered creamer and a bowl of crusted sugar that had some weird black things in it. I’m addicted to coffee, so I had a cup. It wasn’t bad.

It wasn’t cold in a “midwest winter” sort of way, but rather in an “I didn’t bring my wetsuit and it’s really windy and dreary” sort of way. And I wasn’t digging the vibe there. So I decided to leave Eréndira and head north on the freeway.

Waves just north of Coyote Cal's that morning. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz
Waves just north of Coyote Cal’s that morning. Photo: Cyrus Saatsaz

I said goodbye to Lulu, packed my things and loaded them into the car. Exploring the waves of Eréndira was a mission meant for another trip. I was being a bit soft I know, but without a wetsuit the cold, dreary and overcast day wasn’t appealing for surfing.

Plus I knew there were other waves waiting for me.

Puerto Nuevo

The drive north was relatively uneventful until I made it to one of my favorite cities in Baja California: Puerto Nuevo. The plan that day was to head to a motel that a friend of mine had strongly recommended, a placed called Robert’s K38 Surf Motel that was dog friendly, had clean rooms and featured one of the best waves in the world literally right in front of the establishment.

About two hours after leaving Eréndira I stopped in Puerto Nuevo to have some cheap lobster for lunch. For less than $20, I gorged on lobster, chips and salsa. It was delicious. Indy was allowed to sit with me on the patio, and the view was spectacular.

Lobster, cervezas and tequila with a view. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz
Lobster, cervezas and tequila with a view. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz

After lunch I drove a relatively short distance north from downtown Puerto Nuevo and checked in to Robert’s K38 Surf Motel. It really is an amazing setup. They have a variety of rooms, so whether it’s a large party, or a surfer and his dog, they probably have the room for you.

Their website does say, “We discourage our guests from bringing their dogs but will accommodate your pet for an additional $10 a night,” but we were greeted in a very friendly manner and the owners had their dogs on the premises that day.

It’s a family owned and operated establishment that only takes reservations with email. The easiest way to find the motel is to spot the biggest Jesus statue you’re probably ever going to see in your life on the east side of the freeway.

Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz

There’s no doubt that petty crime exists in this part of the world, but fortunately the motel has a secured parking lot. For surfers making the day trip to surf the famed K38 break, Robert’s K38 Surf Motel charges a meager $5 to park there all day to surf amazing waves.

There’s one vitally important accessory that I consider a mandatory necessity when surfing the clean, pristine waves of K38: Booties. The bottom of the ocean floor here is full of jagged reef and sea urchins.

I gave myself a healthy gash on my arm that nearly needed stitches just from swiping a reef while paddling. You might look like a goober wearing booties with board shorts, but the risk of significant damage to the bottom of your feet is worth the fashion faux pas.

I surfed for two hours and caught some long, sweeping rights. The entire time I was out there, I saw two people.

The surfer with the helmet dropping in on a set wave at K38. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz
The surfer with the helmet dropping in on a beautiful right-hand wave at K38. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz

At one point, I had this incredible right-hand point break all to myself for nearly an hour. A young grommet who couldn’t have been older than 10 later paddled out and joined me. He wouldn’t surf the set waves, so even when he was in the lineup with me I had the best waves to myself.

It truly was an incredible day of surfing.

A nice place for personal writing after a fun surf sesh.

A photo posted by Cyrus Saatsaz (@dogwild) on

It was getting close to dinner time and I noticed a restaurant just down the street, within walking distance, from the hotel that had a significant amount of cars parked outside. A large customer base is usually a good sign for an eatery.

The restaurant was called Charly’s Place.

A part of the restaurant had a canopied area with dirt flooring where dogs were allowed. So Indy sat there with me while I ate amazing chips and salsa, delicious carne asada tacos and drank cervezas. It was perfect.

Great service and some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. Ever. And I consider myself a taco connoisseur. And the owner, Charly, and his staff were such incredibly friendly people.

This is how you do it.

A photo posted by Cyrus Saatsaz (@dogwild) on

An hour later I said goodbye to Charly and his staff, and went to sleep with a full belly and muscles sore from a long day of surfing.

Heading Home

One of the worst parts of the return drive from Mexico is the Tijuana border crossing. At a minimum, regardless of the time of day, it’s a two-hour wait and sometimes much more.

Shortly after leaving Puerto Nuevo the next day, I saw a sign for Tecate and remembered people telling me that the border crossing there was much quicker and smoother. I made the turn.

It was a relatively easy 20-mile drive heading east. The freeway ventured through the outskirts of Tijuana, followed by miles of barren desert.

Tecate is the polar opposite of Tijuana. It’s a very quiet city. All the chaos and bustle that one finds in Tijuana is vacant in Tecate.

Tecate. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz
Tecate. Photo: Cyrus Saatsaz

Crossing the border was much faster and smoother here. The border patrol agents were smitten with Indy. One of them was a beautiful woman who let Indy smother her with kisses.

A German Shepard K9 unit, probably there to sniff out drugs and contraband, started barking at Indy. A border patrol agent tightened the dog’s leash and waved us through.

The roads here were winding as we made our way back home to Encinitas, refreshed from the amazing waves and great food, exhausted from the first day’s experience, and smiling from yet another exciting adventure in Baja California.

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