Saturday, February 26, 2005

Guerrero Negro, Day 6, Saturday February 26th .... WHALE DAY!

The tour bus picked us up at the campground at 2 p.m.

We drove for about 45 minutes to the boats. We passed a very large salt producing plant, which is the main industry of Gro. Negro and has been here for 50 or so years. Sorry, no pictures. I was hanging on for dear life in the bouncing bus and it takes two hands to snap pics. Besides you've all seen salt, yes?

We pretty much filled up three dory-like boats. Hi, Marilyn.

We motored out towards sea for about 10-15 minutes. Not much happened right away.
I could hear the ladies calling the whales, praying to see the whales, and I personally talked to them, told them I loved them and to please come and make our day. I'm sure everyone was doing their own special calling.

And then Big Mama surfaced very close ....

Another one began diving nearby ....

And then another ....

Oops, caught the tail ...

And for about 45 minutes we had one big show of mamas and babies. They got braver and braver and gentler and gentler until the energy was one ... we were all one. It was a magical moment in time.

And then I caught Pam petting the whale ... what a thrill!

At one point a sister boat came our way ....

A late lunch was served to us by our boatman (factory ham on white Wonder Bread, a can of Coke and a tasteless apple) They try, honest they do. Judy's two Golden Retrievers LOVE apples ... and they don't care if they're tasteless.

Here's Kipper and Brew with Judy.

We arrived home at sundown to Mario's RV Park and you can see the satellite down at the end on top of Brightwing.


Friday, February 25, 2005

Guerrero Negro ... reporting on Days 3 and 4, I think... Tonight there are pictures to share from yesterday and I'm lost in this story, so bear with me. We did do the 300 mile thing... and guess what? Somebody was mixing up miles and kilometers. We logged 219 miles from gas station to gas station ... so there was plenty of gas without all that can/bottle shopping ... but what the hey, we're on an adventure, remember? It is a wonderful happening. When things get a little tight, we just tap our thymus and hum a little ditty, "Heart Teach My Mind." It works every time.

Let me introduce you to our wonderful, handy and helpful tailgunners, Happy and Burle Dawson. They were a huge help today when one of our rigs broke down 80 miles away, and, yup, you would never guess it was Portia and Kathy, our go team go, what would we do without them wagonmasters. I will post a picture of 'em if I ever get them together in the same frame ... a feat.

Now back to yesterday's story .....

After getting "the gasoline" for the death defying 300-mile march across the desert, we settled down to the beauty of the countryside, commenting on how good the road was, though narrow, whew! when the 18-wheelers go charging by within INCHES .... and we wondered what they are doing with all the cactus that appear to be "farmed." Probably making a lot of tequila, whoopee.

The scenery is rather buccolic and, oh, so green. The rain this year has broken most records ....

A Century plant.

We heard about the boojum trees and the boulders but were not prepared for what we saw, is it a moonscape? Is it Alice in Wonderland? Are we on another planet? Well, the energy was like nothing experienced before. You decide.

This is called the Catavina Boulder Field.

The boojum trees are described as looking like an upside down carrot (minus the greens) and we couldn't figure it out until we saw a baby boojum up close.

Marilyn went on a four-mile walk before our evening briefing and she took the camera. For all of you who know me, you KNOW I don't do four mile walks. She took a few shots and here's one.

Back to the evening briefing, here is Kathy pontificating.

And then Portia finished up (can't get these two in the same frame)

Then of course we all sat around the campfire, drinking margaritas ....

Shivering is more like it.

Yup, the special effect really is smoke ....

After the margaritas ....

And this is Maizie who sat through it all in her little lavender chair.

We shared a potluck (quite good, I might add) supper before hitting the sack.

30 for Today.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Catavina, Mexico .... Day 4 ... hey, where's Day 3? Boy, am I behind. But hang in there. Tomorrow we arrive in ... can't find my book to tell you where we will be for two nights ... but have lots of pictures to share. We were in Vicente Guererro last night on Day 3. Today and tomorrow is a 300 mile trek total with NO gas stations. My truck can only go 200-250 miles. Do you think we'll make it? Our angels do. Stay tuned for the exciting photo finish. We'll either get there or be sitting beside the road waiting for a gas truck. What?

Well, guess it's time I publish our song .... sorry, can't even do that. The copy is not where it is supposed to be. But you WILL get to sing it, hehe.


We shove off at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Egads!


We now have a copy of our song that we sing for empowerment every once in awhile.


RVing Women, hear us roar, in numbers too big to ignore
as we travel in our rigs across this land. In this
country we are free to roam, from sea to shining sea,
and it's nice to join a club that understands.


Oh, yes, we are wise, but it's wisdom born of pain.
Yes, we paid the price, but look how much we gained.
If we had to, we can do anything. We are STRONG,


Pull a fifth wheel with your truck, a travel trailer or popup;
If your motorhome's a Class A, B, or C, I don't care what rig you drive,
RVing Women's by your side. We're a sisterhood of women who RV.

(Back to "CHORUS")

We are not afraid to live as we climb up in our rigs
And set off across America so Free ... see Grand Canyon,
Mt. Rushmore, Our Nation's capitol of course, New York
City, Hollywood and Kentucky????

(Back to "CHORUS")

So there you have it!


Marilyn was reading to me this morning from her journal while driving along and I was suddenly touched by how differently we are viewing things ... so here's her wonderful perspective on Day 3 ....

Wednesday, February 23rd, Ensenada to Vicente Guerrero ... 110 miles. We found out at the briefing this morning that we would need to go 300 miles without a gas station. Joline said 240 was the most we could go, so we were left with the only choice possible ... go find a gas container and take extra gas with us. I volunteered to walk two blocks (more like four) to Gigante (small parking lot so we didn't want to drive.) I bought a five-gallon water jug (no lid for it so I made one of rolled cardboard). On the way back I went into Napa Auto Parts and bought a two-gallon jug just to be sure we'd have enough.

We left the campground at 9:45. The others preceded us. It was a cloudy day with stretches of sun. The driving was slow as we went through several small villages ... some a dozen or so homes. Santo Tomas was a little larger and is known for its excellent wine. Vineyards could be seen on both sides of the road ... just barren stalks at this time of the year, all in orderly rows with supports for the new branches.

The hills are lovely. Everything is so green! We arrived at the campground about 3 p.m. after very, very carefully driving down a muddy hill and through several large pools of water in the road. Burle (tailgunner) had gone before us and said it was safe. We stayed at Posada Don Diego RV Park which was quite open and nice compared to last night. A restaurant and gift shop was on site. I bought a small white purse for Ciera (granddaughter) here.

We had a briefing at 5:00, then dinner on our own. We ate in the rig ... yummy chicken finished in a heavy cream sauce with Portobello mushrooms and fresh steamed artichokes, my first!
(my wannabee avocation)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ensenada, Mexico .... Campo Playa RV Park .... end of Day 2 ... ah, Mexico. We are parked next to an all night disco .... lovely chamber music to sleep by, hehe. I am running out of descriptive words to stay positive by all the rain, whoosh. But it's hailing in other parts of the world ... so count our blessings.

Monday night, Day 1, we had a Get Acquainted gathering and margarita party ... that is part of a trip to Mexico.

We received our name tags and some pretty purple Fantasy Tours shirts, showing at the bottom of the picture.

Portia (wagonmaster) serving up the juice ....

Tuesday morning, beginning of Day 2, we exchanged dollars for pesos, received our visas, and off we went at noon, the appointed hour. Amazing that such an undertaking could get off on time.

That's Brightwing in the front there. Not everybody is in line yet.

After crossing the border and in the confusion some of the rigs got "lost," including us ... Marilyn and I were talking, relaxed and enjoying the ride, when we came to a "Y" in the road and I asked my trusty navigator which way do we go?

Her travel directions were not handy and I had to choose, the wrong way, of course. (Ahem, we were told to follow the signs to Ensenada.) But being seasoned travelers in Mexico, we stopped for directions. No problem, complete a U'ie and go back two exits and we caught up with the rest at the next toll road booth. Well, not quite. Little did we know that about 5 of our rigs were missing ... including the Wagonmasters (ouch) ...

Our first view of the Pacific Ocean ...

Hey, Marilyn, how tall is that overpass? (For you non-RVers: the height of an overpass is VERY important.)

Some of the scenery along the way to Ensenada.

Break time .... the coconut shack.

Marilyn and Pam enjoying the break .... oooh, that coconut milk and meat is soooo good. And good for you.

Mexico proudly flies its flag.

A well deserved rest stop.

Winding around the road, narrow but good paving ....

And all ended well at the campground where we parked in good time and walked across the street to a pre-planned welcome dinner ... enjoyed by all, I hope. I had filet mignon myself, very good. Not bad for opening night. I will post pictures at the dinner if some of my maties will send me some. I forgot my camera.

Stay tuned. More later.

30 for today.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Chula Vista CA ... KOA RV Park ... Hey, we arrived early afternoon yesterday. Several of our trip mates were already here. By today almost everyone has arrived. Excitement is in the air. We went out to breakfast ...

Marilyn, Judy and me ....

and made a last run to ...

and Whole Foods today and the fridge is crammed.

We shall eat well south of the border. Why so much food, you say? Well, this is mostly organics and clean food to keep us healthy, wealthy and wise.

The KOA Kampground here is not so friendly. The first time in 3 years of traveling with my satellite and there is a tree right smack in the middle of things that "can't be fixed." They seem to choose to not be helpful ... and so no TV either. I was able to sign up with an outfit called Hotspotzz and for one month's rent get WiFi ... which is working marginally. So my grand plan of checking out MY system before going south is not to be. Just another challenge in the scheme of things when you travel by the seat of your pants ...well, sometimes.

Tomorrow is a holiday (Presidents' birthdays) and the banks are closed. Guess no one figured that out. So instead of leaving early Tuesday morning we shall depart around noon. Crossing the border with 21 rigs can take a loooonnnnggg time. It did last time. Again, we shall see.

Meanwhile, Marilyn and I plan to do a little sightseeing tomorrow. Until then ...
here's a picture of my sweethearts celebrating their 4th birthday on December 18th.

Brent and Sophia ....

And while we're at it, here's a 5 generational picture: Great, Great Grandma Zeta, (95), Great Grandma Joline, Grandma Karyn, Daddy Andrew, and the twins, Sophia and Brent.

That's 30 for today!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

To continue on in the early evening, our next stopping off place was the Fiesta RV Park in Indio, California. I called old, dear friend Patricia (Patti) Cates, now Brenner who lives in Sun City in Palm Desert, not far away. The next day we went to her lovely home to go out for lunch.

On the way there we stopped for an entrance view of Sun City.

Marilyn took a picture of the two of us out front.

We drove over to the Boulevards Restaurant within Sun City.

We visited with Patti after lunch in her beautiful family room.

We said our goodbyes and snapped a shot of her corner lot.

And stopped off at Curves on the way home to work off lunch.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER CAMPGROUND ... This is where I began writing this saga ... at the Thousand Trails Oakzanita Campground at Descanso, California going north on Highway 79. We stayed there 4 nights, traveling one day to Julian, California, an historic spot in its own right ... famous for its apple pie and other sweet things.

Marilyn had boysenberry pie (in the rear).


The Cedar Fire - October 2003... found my grandson, Adam, fighting this fire with the CFD (California Fire Department) together with an engine unit from the Novato, California, Fire Department of which my son-in-law, Forrest Craig, (and Adam's father) is one of their chiefs. Adam was a mile away. It was a devastating fire and it took the life of one our own, Steven Rucker, and burned badly several of the other fine men. Friend Harry Lehmann, Novato resident and friend of the Ruckers, has written a lovely song now on a CD entitled "Sirens of Mercy."

Now that I have spent a little time in the area where Steven died and the others so courageously fought this deadly conflagration (started by a careless camper, I think) I want to add these pictures to the memorial.

This is the way the area looks today, 16 months later.

And another shot ....

While driving toward Julian from our campground we found this sign near the local volunteer fire station.

We found out in town that the local citizens dedicated the road where the trouble happened, firefighters trapped, in a small town named Wynola down Highway 78 west of Julian... a dirt road just past the school house ... and renamed it Rucker Road.

As always in the aftermath, new life springs forth and today the famous surviving apple trees are in bloom, as are the daffodils ... spring has sprung .....

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Continuing on from last night and moving right along to Saturday, February 5th, I drove to Maricopa, Arizona, (about 30 miles) to visit with Janet Palm Hedgepeth and her partner Byron. Janet and her brother, Kevin, are the children of best friends, Art and Marge Palm of Redding CA, and the Palms and the Stones raised their children together in Southern California in the 1950s.

This is Janet and Byron taken at the local Indian casino where we broke bread in their all you can eat buffet.

On Sunday, February 6th, I went down to Sun Lakes (about 9 miles) to meet up with high school buddies and their hubbies for brunch at the Oakwood Country Club.

We had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures (shameful). Evermore resourceful, here are some file photos of Char and Bill Gangel of Nebraska City NE and Joanne and Bernie Tierney of Denver.

On Tuesday, February 8th, I picked up Marilyn Brodhurst at the Phoenix airport. She got on the plane in cold, snowy Baltimore. Marilyn and I will be traveling for 2 months together in the Southwest and then on tour in Mexico with 21 rigs and 42 or so women. But, wait, we're not there yet.

Our first stop was Quartzsite, Arizona, for 3 nights about 150 miles west of Phoenix and 20 or so miles from the California border. The desert flowers are incredible with all the rain. Yes, rain, and lots of it.

The main focus of going there was to have the solar system on Brightwing checked out, updated, and whatever else was needed. For two nights we stayed in the parking lot of RV Lifestyles, the solar place, and also reconnected with Paula and Alan Connell, who work at RV Lifestyles, live in their 5th wheel there all winter and summers they are camp hosts in a cool federal park in Utah.

Shameful, again, no pictures, not even file photos. We potlucked dinner on our arrival and got to visit on 'n off for 2 + days.

On our second morning we drove over to Rainbow Acres to visit with Jim and Chris Guld who are parked with friends, Frankie and Dick, at their winter "community center." Their rig is on the far right side.

Here's Jim and Chris ...

They have a DataStorm satellite stystem like mine, tra-la, are computer techs, and fulltime around the country working and earning a living on WiFi (wireless) stuff. Chris is responsible for this blog (Chris is another Marilyn's daughter whom I met at a Prophet's Conference in Santa Fe, lo, several years ago ... networking is such fun) and Jim knows how to keep my wireless up and running. My plan for this Mexico trip is to provide a WiFi hotspot for all my trip mates. Way cool!

On our third day there we took the truck and went "downtown" Quartzsite. Here's Marilyn doing a little shopping and foolin' around.

This is Marilyn's Harley, hehe.

On the third night, Saturday, we invited Chris and Jim over for dinner. Marilyn has volunteered to be the head chef on this trip. Ain't I the lucky pup?

She is scouring the onboard cookbooks for recipes for which we have the ingredients, and, voila, she found a recipe that parallels the Stone family Julia Child recipe for chicken supremes or THE chicken as my family knows it. We had the organic chicken, of course, the organic whipping cream, the balsamic vinegar and the Gray Poupon mustard. The Gulds brought a large jug of Bergundy wine .... and omigod, what a feast!

Here's Chef Marilyn working on the supremes ....

The night was a gorgeous starry night on the desert, and Chris snapped this photo of Brightwing settling in for the night.

We left Quartzsite on Sunday early afternoon headed for the Palm Desert/Indio area of Southern California. Will continue with our visit there next as it is time to break camp today and head for San Diego. We're almost caught up, huff-huff, puff-puff.

30 for today.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Thousand Trails Oakzanita Campground, Descanso CA up Highway 79 off I-8 (mountains northeast of San Diego) .... hey, that's a mouthful of where I am these days. Cannot believe it has been way over a month since I last posted. So where to begin? How about the beginning of this journey which I am calling the Baja 2005 Trip?

After completing my 2004 income taxes Hooray! I left Belen on Monday, January 31st headed for Show Low, Arizona, first night out. Other than being cooooold (6300' up there) the weather was delightful. Blue skies and puffy white clouds all the way.

The second night I made it to Queen Valley, Arizona (about 50 miles east of Phoenix on Highway 60) to visit Leah de Bruyn who just bought a home and moved there. I parked out in front for the night and snapped her front view with a giant Suguaro (you know that tall cactus?) Ones this size can be 200 years old. They are protected in Arizona.

Day 3, Wednesday, I arrived in Chandler (sort of a Phoenix suburb) to my favorite RV park in that area, Hacienda Solano Resort, for a week. I just like hangin' out there. It's close to all the things I like to do. There is a good haircutter there, too, and I made sure to get an appointment ahead of time.

So on Thursday I drove down to Casa Grande (half way between Phoenix and Tucson) to visit with Lin and Dave Brenneman from Redding CA who were snowbirding in the area. She is in my Young Living downline and we had never met. So when they took off some months ago to travel around the U.S. for a year we vowed we would meet up somewhere. And so we did. Dig the size of their magnificent home.

Have one more picture of Dave and Lin.

More later.

30 for today!