Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Sonora, Mexico ...

Since our insurance doesn't expire until mid-August, it intrigued us that we could actually go back into Mexico on our own. We heard a lot about Puerto Penasco on the Sea of Cortez but located in a different area. The safest way to go we were advised was to exit Mexico in Tecate like wew did and travel over US 8 to Gila Bend in Arizona, and go south from there. We arrived in Puerto Penasco Easter Sunday afternoon, end of spring break. Hallelujah! Thank God it was the end!

The town was packed with people. We were able to find a place to park in the Playa Miramar RV park for $17.60 per night down by the beach. If you have expectations you will be disappointed. We settled in and then decided to cruise the town, hehe. There is a one-way road/street that circles through the Old Port part of town (where all the action was) and nothing was moving. We followed a car that turned left out of that mess and we followed him/her out of there, actually found a street parking place, read the local advertisements re restaurants and picked the Costa Brava which was in plain sight. It was a lovely choice to eat, obviously caters to Americans (English speakers) which takes the adventure out of the experience, but, hey, it's okay at times.

Tiredness and common sense took over after that and we went back to the rig to settle down for the night. The night was looonnng ... kaboom, kaboom, kaboom BANG, (cherry bombs?) and fireworks all night long with the revelers going to day break. The town cleared out very fast by early Monday morning and the clean up crew went to work and did a very good job of digging out the trash and cleaning the streets. Marilyn talked to someone on her early morning walk who told her that the town had just gotten the street sweeper. Good timing.

Monday we became tourists and went back to the Malecon (the boardwalk area), saw the fish markets, the views and had lunch.

This is the view from the Malecon .... notice the parasailer in the distance. Marilyn did this in Cabo San Lucas. I did it 30 years ago in Acapulco, once was enough.



And another view ...



This man sells candied fruits and colorful items to eat ...



Walking a little further along, this statue is quite large, The Shrimpman ...



Rocky Point is so named (I'm guessing here) because of the rocky beach ...



We stepped into Lily's for lunch and I ordered this very attractively served chicken quesadilla ...



This is a restaurant built out over the water.



After a couple of hours in the fish market area and the Malecon, we drove 8 miles out to Sandy Beach ... where they are building a jillion highrise apartment/condos/whatevers ... welcome to Waikiki, you name it. It was swarming with families mainly, all seeming to have a good time swimming, water skiing, sunbathing and enjoying the various pools. No golf course, no nothin' ...





And the beach is sandy ... how'd you guess?



Marilyn gifted Brightwing with a wash job ... the price in Mexico is far superior than in the U.S. and with that we left this morning headed for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument just back over the border into Arizona.

Those pictures will show up on the next edition of this blog.

30 for today and g'nite.

Monday, March 28, 2005

AFTERGLOW ... RVW Baja 2005 Tour ...

Julie and I are looking for a way to make a CD of this trip. We will include all pictures and articles sent this way beforehand. This is being written on Sunday, April 17, 2005.

Meanwhile, Val Fitzsimmons sent in these pictures today for sharing.

This appears to be Happy, Portia and me sampling the clams on our first evening at Santispac Beach ...



I am fascinated by the play of the sunlight in this picture
of I don't know who swinging at the pinata at Catavina ...



Val is sharing these nice pictures of her taken at various places.
Sorry I don't know where they were snapped.





Hey, come on ... send me those favorites.

End of the RVW Baja 2005 Fantasy Tours trip for 20 rigs, 35 women and one token male

(Hey, he was a much needed tailgunner, and a good one, too). This blog for this fabulous trip is now completed, but there will be an afterglow for a looong time.

The relevant dates for blog reading are February 22 through March 28, 2005. As the days roll by the various blog entries are archived off to the right of the current page. I will publish here pictures that come to me via email and/or stories that are crying out to be written. So check back often to see what's posted.

For starters, JoAnn Goldsmith sent me a picture from the Monday, March 7th (Day 15) Back Country Day Trip in Los Barriles. In the middle of the day Ann, Val, Shar and Marilyn jumped into the hot springs ...



Rosalie sent an email today stating that she and Julie just arrived home in Benicia, California, "exhausted but safe and sound. Trip home uneventful, thankfully."

Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Sonora, Mexico ... hey, how did we get here?

The urge to check out this place on Mexico's west coast along the Sea of Cortez began to germinate shortly before our 34-day tour ended. Guess we didn't get enough of Mexico. No way, Jose. But before continuing on with this little adventure there are stories to tell and pictures to post.

Our Fantasy Tour spent our last two days (Day 33 and 34) at the Estero Beach RV Park near Ensenada culminating in our farewell dinner at their restaurant. My camera was having a bad hair day so the pictures are limited. Maybe that's a good thing.





Our wagonmasters presented each of us with our very own Easter basket filled with goodies and our tailgunners gave each of us a memento from Estero Beach.



I caught Burle and Happy as a last gasp ...



And squeezed out one more picture of Pat Vine celebrating her birthday. The cake was provided by the restaurant and it was one of the best cakes I ever tasted.
This one's a fake. They had the real deal all cut and ready to serve once the candles were out.



That's saying a lot more than for the food, which was probably the worst meal I had on the whole trip ... mainly because it seemed to be stale, prepared way ahead, the tacos were tough ... well, 'nuff said. We had already turned in our trip evaluations so this one got missed ... Fantasy, are you reading?

The next morning was busy getting ready to leave early at 7:00 amid the lingering goodbyes ... 34 days together through thick 'n thin creates some pretty tight bonds and longlasting friendships. Initially there were to be two exit strategies; one group crossing the border at San Diego and the other crossing 43 miles east of San Diego at Tecate. I don't know if there ever was a San Diego group but we were in the caravan heading for Tecate. We traveled for three hours through some of the most gorgeous farmland, gentle hills, vineyards and roadside flowers that I have EVER seen. It also was the Ruta de Vino, a wonderful wine making area of Mexico. What a surprise. Reminds me of what Napa Valley might have looked like fifty years ago.





Many folks seemed to be dreading the U.S. Customs crossing, but Marilyn and I did a little visualization and prayer beforehand and our crossing was swift, easy and uneventful. Hooray! Several of us headed out Highway 94 which would eventually put us onto I-8 to Yuma. Through the CB I heard continuous exclamations of joy and ecstasy over the increased size of the road, a steady single and/or double line and such happiness over being back stateside.

I found a pay phone at a small oasis to call Verizon to reinstate my cell phone which had been on vacation hold since February 22nd. The pay phone was attached to a small place advertising "Old Fashioned Hamburgers and Icecream." Tasted pretty good after such a long absence. Well, not the icecream.

So we continued on to Foothill Road about 14 miles east of Yuma and found a neat little RV park called Foothill Village. We slept pretty good ... it had been a long day and we lost an hour, going forward into Mountain Time. Didn't even put up the satellite. Joline must be sick. No, just tired. But the next morning we were all rested and hip to go to Puerto Penasco. We turned south at Gila Bend and stopped at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument ...



Marilyn snapped this one of me in a lovely setting out back of the ranger station.



Our intention is to spend one night in their campground on our way back to Tucson later this week.

My email brought this to me today and I am guided to share it with you.


Love and Ego

"We are not responding to this instant . . .
if we are judging any aspect of it.

The ego looks for what to criticize.

This always involves comparing with the past.

But love looks upon the world peacefully and accepts.

The ego searches for shortcomings and weaknesses.

Love watches for any sign of strength.

It sees how far each one has come and not how far he has to go.

How simple it is to love and exhausting it is always to find fault,
for every time we see fault we think something needs to be done about it.

Love knows that nothing is ever needed but more love.

It is what we all do with our hearts that affects others most deeply.

It is not the movements of our body or the words within our mind
that transmits love.

We love from heart to heart."

-- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Bahia de Concepcion Playa de Santispac ... Sunday 3/20/2005
by Star Reporter Rosalie Woods ...



Julie and I spent a marvelous afternoon yesterday kayaking ...



... mostly observing a nearby small offshore volcanic island where the brown pelicans roost (as well as a colony of gulls). None of the birds were afraid of us, allowing us to float around and among them. We got closest to a pair of oyster catchers who ignored us and went about their business, making their little cries and poking their bright orange pointed bills into the water.

The pelicans roost in colonies. I suppose you could call it a pelican rookery. There were numerous birds in full breeding plumage with their bright yellow topknots and deep reddish orange bills. We even saw some with "fertile" plumage, which is bright red on both sides of the throat from ear to ear. The nests are rather haphazard with the birds taking full advantage of fallen cacti and the large sticks of vegetation. There was busy traffic in and out of what looked like communal areas of roosting from the top of the small mountain to the base where it met the water.

A blue heron ....



It was all very calming and hypnotic to watch. Some folks started worrying about us not knowing that I am a very strong paddler with over 20-years experience in kayaks.

Alas after almost 1½ hours we had to turn back. It was almost evening and the wind had come up with white caps cresting at the end of the island, blowing onto our faces.

Another very special Baja moment.



Not even 11 AM yet and another special moment.

After taking our binoculars out to observe a tri-colored heron fishing in front of our rig, we walked down the beach to a mangrove surrounded lagoon that empties into the bay. We were greeted by a white ibis patiently stalking her prey in the tiny waterbed. Gorgeous bird!



At the end of our stay at this beautiful, awesome beach, we rearranged the rocks from our campfire.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Ensenada BCN, Estero Beach Hotel and RV Park ... Day 31, 32 and 33 ... Racing for the Border, or so it seems ... not unusual.

Day 31 began what is called the Baja Gas Gap ... a 220 mile stretch with no gas/diesel. That is not a problem with the big rigs, but it really stretches my pickup truck. However, if I can drive it fuel efficiently it's a piece of cake. I did that ... twice, going and coming.

The driving day was very pleasant, especially after we perfected our morning talk with our angels asking that the 18-wheelers only appear on straightaways and that the road be several feet wider ... it was purrrrfect every time. Whew, what a blessing.

More Cardom cactus ...



... and lovely views.





We spent the evening of Day 31 back at Santa Ynez RV Park in Catavina at 1754 feet elevation, which made the temperature rather chilly.

Van and Joy put together a Pinata which they hung in a tree and here's Happy swinging away.



We all shared in the results.

Talk began about crossing back into the U.S. border and what you can take, how much, and customs and all that. Judy said the max on liquor is one liter and she had more than that and did we want to open some bottles and share? Well ... sure. In the end Shar and Marsha also came over to our "house" and those were some bottles ... all prize winning Windsor wines (Merlot) from the Alexander Valley up home in California.



Judy and Diane ...



Shar and Marsha ...



Marilyn with the dead soldiers ...



And a few people slept pretty good all night.

The second half of the Baja Gas Gap was a long driving day, approximately seven hours. Our morning prayer and angel talk went well and the results were fabulous.
We listened for several hours to the Sirius satellite radio, which worked all the way to Cabo San Lucas and is still performing flawlessly. The scenery was breathtaking and my little ol' digital camera cannot capture the magnificence of the Baja in the sweeping panoramas. Here's my best ... not bad ... from a moving vehicle yet.







We arrived in Estero Beach near Ensenada early afternoon of Day 34, March 24th. A group tour of the famous Blow Hole happened this morning (I didn't go so no pictures) and our farewell dinner was tonight, Day 35, boohoo. Some are ready to head for the States, others are sad to go, me included. The farewell pictures will be posted over the weekend. It's a 7 a.m. call tomorrow, egads ... the last of those ... won't miss 'em, for those who know me know I don't move anywhere before noon. I've been a good girl, learned to eat a "rolling" breakfast and take sponge baths all before 7 a.m. and brush my teeth at the rest stop ... such barbarism.

It's been a great ride ... all the way down and all the way back.

That's 30 for today.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Note: If you read this entry earlier, some more has been added throughout and at the end.

Catavina BCN ... Rancho Santa Ynez RV Park ... Day 31 ... brr-r-r-r (54 degrees this morning inside the rig) the weather changed dramatically ... back into the winter clothes ... hmm-m-m-m. Memories of basking on the beach.

We had a lovely day driving north. The wildflowers are ablaze everywhere. Our Kodak moments came and went so fast we couldn't get the camera coordinated. Everything is green, green, green. It must have rained the entire time we were gone. It rained on us most of the morning.

So this is a good time to catch up. Lots to share. Going back to last Saturday night, Day 27, March 19th ... Santispac Beach ... early evening found many at Ray's Place, a restaurant not to be missed, according to the local lore ...



Ray's has a neat little bar ...



Shar, Linda and Val were enjoying the scene ...



As well as Kathy, Pam and Doris ...



Another table found Ann, JoAnn, Betsey and Marsha ...



Ray has a menu on a board and it is ALL fish, except the last entry, a New York steak. Since this kid eats little seafood because of the mercury contamination and my week's limit had been reached ... this is what I ordered. And was it good.



Yes, I checked out the Mexican beef and determined
it is fit to eat (healthy).

The sign over the bar reminded us of a house rule ...



They were out of rice pudding with Kahlua ... dratz ... so we went up the beach to Ana's ...



... to see what she had for dessert. A little chocolate cake topped with flan ... very popular in these parts. Hint: You can get it at Costco.

Day 28, Sunday morning at Santispac Beach, our last, boohoo.

Burle had been advertising for several days about his Pie Iron breakfast, you bring your own bacon, egg, and two slices of bread. So we did.

This is a group hunkered over the fire cooking their breakfast in a pie iron,
a cast iron contraption that has a top and a bottom and they clamp together, with a loooong handle.



Burle helping Pam ...



This is the finished product, yum. Cheese was added to your creation by Happy if you chose.



Cannot reveal who owns this shirt ...



After breakfast this was a day of diving for chocolate clams, kayaking way out with the birds, and Star Reporter Rosalie has a story for you with pictures.

In the afternoon a group gathered to practice for the video that Pam Byers wanted to make of "our" song, "A Little Cottage in the Woods," ... this is another one; song that is.

A little cottage in the woods [Make teepee overhead with hands]
A Little man by the window stood [Shade eyes and look afar]
Saw a rabbit hopping by [Cup hands like a kangaroo and bounce a little]
Knocking at my door. [Knock on door]

Help Me! Help Me! Help Me! he said [Raise arms in air 3 times]
Before the hunter shoots me dead [Shooting gesture from side to side]
Come inside, come inside [Scooping motion repeatedly]
Safely to abide.
[Petting up arm motion]

Here's the deal. You demonstrate and sing the words first time around. Second time the first line is in mime only, and you sing and demonstrate the rest of the words.

Third time around the first and second lines are in mime and the rest is aloud. Continue through until the last time is total silence with the mime motions. Also the 5th line Help Me is outloud each round. Before the end the participants are doubled over in fits of laughter and much stress is alleviated.

This is the second line: A little man by the window stood.



Now, wasn't that just the most fun?


At 4:00 was the Doggie Fashion Show.

Michele appeared with her one-man band and she let out the clarion call: Let the Dogs Begin.



There was a lot of fuss and staging.



This is Sydney ...



And the three Schnauzers Cody, Star and Peanut.
Cody and Peanut are the parents of Star.



Cody is doing a little showing off ...



And then Peanut got into the act.



Tinker was being a bit haughty ...



Kipper and Brew next appeared .... Brew trying to be incognito.



Jinx was showing off ...



Tootsie became a Mexican dog and had a time keeping her hat on ...



And you all remember Maizie?



There is another dog named Paulie, a border collie ... I didn't see him around in the fashion show, but here he is from another sneak shot earlier in the trip.



The show ended with judges awarding first prize to all the entrants. The judges were supposed to be all the folks who do not have dogs, but I don't think that's what happened. Anyhoo, a good time was had by all. I think the prizes were Hershey bars. For dogs? Oh, well.

Note: I tried really hard to show off all the dogs (the cats were all hiding under beds) and my apologies if any are missed. Please let me know.

We left very early the next morning headed for Santa Rosalia, a French Colonial mining town of old. The sun was just coming up.



And as we turned right on to Mexico 1, this sign was just ahead.




Santa Rosalia for Breakfast ....

We left so early we were in town by 8:06 a.m. Right across the street from where we parked is an old locomotive ...



Copper was mined in this area from 1870 to 1950. The homes in Santa Rosalia are mostly French Colonial and made of wood from the Pacific Northwest. Most of the streets are paved, unusual for Mexico

We walked down the main street to the church designed by Eiffel, as in Eiffel Tower, which was prefabbed in France and shipped over.



I stopped in for breakfast at the local hotel where they served in an outdoor dining room right on the street.



Marilyn went across the street for lobster tacos and joined Ann, Shar, Marsha ... and why are you hiding JoAnn?



After the two-hour stopover in Santa Rosalia, we headed for our visit to the town of San Ignacio ... this is the mission church built in 1728 with walls of lava rock four feet thick with a very high arched ceiling.



Trip trivia: To make a phone call in Mexico you find a booth like this on the street ...



... and with a prepaid phone card purchased at most places of business you make a call.

Marilyn and I had a little adventure with the rig while in town. Going in was a snap and going 3/4 of the way around the plaza was also. When we decided to leave the 4th side was totally blocked with policia and a huge tour bus and so we went straight up the street. Eventually (you guessed it) we ran out of street. Turning left or right (as in most situations like this) are narrow unpaved streets/roads and one must then make an important decision.

In our case there were two of us and Marilyn started walking ahead around a blind curve to see what's up. I stayed with the rig and kept smiling and nodding to the crowd that began to form ... after all, there is this huge behemoth idling in the middle of their small narrow street and this is a call to the neighborhood to come out and take a look. Typical.

Marilyn came back and announced that there was a place around the corner where we might "possibly" turn around. What the hey, there is no other place to go ... so she climbed in and we proceeded. The outcome of the story is good, we were able to turn around by backing into the front yard of the Police Station, with nobody paying one bit of attention to us.

So now it's time to head for the Rice and Beans RV Park where we will have dinner and spend the night.



While waiting for dinner on their delightful porch, I spied this old oven off the deck.



Doris ordered a guacamole with chips.



And Rosalie ordered a shrimp soup.



Oftentimes I get so busy doing something else that the pictures for the rest of the story don't quite get taken.

Here's Rosalie enjoying her dinner ...



... and the rest of us (Julie, Pam, Doris and me) are, too, we just didn't get photographed.

More trip trivia: Electricity in RV parks can be problematic. The local source seems to control the amount you get and it oftentimes is too high or too low ... in either case it can ruin your electrical systems ... computers and whatever else ... beyond repair ... egads. So it is important to travel with an inexpensive polarity checker and a volt meter and an expensive surge protector. The other part of this is to be able to step down electrical needs from 50 to 30 to 15 amps.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Guerrero Negro BCS ... Benito Juarez RV Park ... Tuesday, March 22, 2005. Today is my birthday!



A lobster dinner at Mario's and it was supposed to be a surprise ... but, the beans got spilled the night before, sort of ... but it was joyous and fun nonetheless.



A four-sparkler cake ...



Thank you all for your gifts of love and joy, a great card ... and No. 74 will go down in history.

Namaste`

I honor in you the divine
that I honor within myself
and I know we are one.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Marilyn wrote this poem as a gift to me ....



LIGHT OF THE OPEN DOOR

by Marilyn Brodhurst
terrificpoet@aol.com


She leads me to the light
Of the open door
And I see myself
As an angel of light ~
The light that she is
Washed from all pain
Of who I thought I was
Or wished to be ~
Reflected only in the beauty
Of her light into the
Child ~ angel that I am.

She leads me to the open door
And my dream vanished
Into the reality of light
Where I walk with no resistance
To what is, but see
Only brilliance of love
Beaming forth from all
Matter and life and there
I stay found in an inner world
Of love divine.



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There are several days to get caught up with including:


A Kayaking Day ... by Rosalie Woods
The Pie Irons ...
The Doggie Fashion Show ...
A Little Cottage in the Woods ...
Rice and Beans ...

and other fun stuff ....

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Another Version of the Bee Story ... like a Letter to the Editor?

by Julie Lawyer ... Another Star Reporter




Dateline: Santispac Beach, BCS ...

My partner is allergic to bee stings. We didn't and don't want your bees to move to our rig. They could be hard to remove and dangerous to allergic people. We were next to you and I asked to move. I talked to the tailgunner. I believe he said "They won't sting you if you don't mash 'em." Not the same as they don't sting. Anaphylactic shock is not fun on vacation or not. We just wanted to move away from you so my partner can enjoy the outside if she wants.

There are breeds of Stinginess Bees in Australia, as well as in Bwindi Forest in Uganda, Brazil, and Costa Rica. I don't think we are there.

Please note that what some may call terrified to others is prudent and reasonable.

julielaw2@aol.com

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Bahia de Concepcion (Playa Santispac) Day 26 and 27 ...

Friday, March 18th ...

We had a pleasant drive this day. Had a road incident on the way, though. It seems a very old Mexican truck held together with spit and glue stopped dead in the middle of the two-lane highway with no shoulders, and in this place about a 10-foot drop off on either side of the road. The folks ahead of me managed to go around the stopped truck (although I learned later that Thelma and Louise were not so lucky ... their passenger side mirror connected with the stopped truck's driver's mirror, egads, for the second time.)

I couldn't see to go around safely so stuck my nose out and there was an oncoming bus. I was out just far enough that the bus had to crawl by. When I began to go around again it seems that my trailer could not clear the stalled truck ... so there I sat in the oncoming lane and nobody could move in either direction. Except the locals just went down the embankment and swished right around. The Mexican people are very innovative. The car ahead of me went down into the ditch, is what I call it, took out his battery, installed it in the stopped truck, which then started and they rolled it into the ditch and we all moved ahead with dispatch without much ado.

So we continued on our scenic journey ...





... and arrived in time for lunch at the Santispac Beach. The tide was out a bit later and the clammers were out in force to provide dinner, which Happy joyously cooked up Thai style ...



The camera didn't get there in time to show how full the bucket was, but here's the melted butter and garlic ... oh, so yummy ...



... and the empty shells to prove it.



Diane Davis, scheduled to be with us on this trip but had to fly in later to La Paz ... she is traveling now with Judy Fontenelle... Happy presented Diane with her special flowers ...



The picture didn't turn out all that well ... so here's another picture of Diane with Macie.



Soon after arriving Linda Cartwright pitched her tent room to help keep out the creepy crawlies and those that bite and sting.



Then out came the hotdogs ...



I think the camera had too many margaritas. Hello Joy and Rosie ...

Then Marsha decided to firewalk ...



With Ann, Rosalie, Kathy, Happy and Portia all doing their thing.

And I decided to try S'mores.



This group was just sittin' around watching the fun ...



That was Shar, Marsha, JoAnn and Marilyn.

And, oh, yes, we closed the evening by singing that crazy rabbit song, "Help Me! Help Me! Help Me! That isn't the name but that's what everybody remembers with great fits of laughter.

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Saturday morning, March 19th ... Day 27 ... a gorgeous day, beautiful sunrise, calm, smooth sea, birds singing, fishing boats out ...

Good morning Brightwing and BW-2 ...



A short walk down the beach, I turned around and ...



Macie and Kathy are up with the sun ...



And Happy and Burle are providing us with breakfast this morning with Happy's famous banana pancakes with banana syrup, bacon, strawberries and OJ.





... to be continued.

A good thought for today:

"Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.

Go forward and make your dreams come true."


—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Day in Loreto ...
The Life of a Turkey Vulture ...

by Rosalie Woods, Star Reporter ...




There is nothing much at Puerto Escondido so we car pooled to Loreto, a quiet little town on the Sea of Cortez. It has a nice malecon (promenade) but mostly vacant enterprises like maybe a hurricane demolished it and it hasn't been brought back up yet. Also it was slated for massive development, infrastructures put in, etc. but investors bailed out in droves after 9/11, with drastic lowered expections for tourist expansion in the wake of stricter security precautions.

We were able to observe an intimate moment in the life and death of a Loreto resident when we were visiting the Catholic Church.

A single police car escorted a modest pickup truck bearing a silver coffin and numerous bouquets.



Behind the two vehicles, the modestly dressed men in their work shirts and jeans, the women in dark skirts and dresses, followed on foot. The Mass lasted quite some time before the people followed the casket out of the church. The policia reappeared and led the group of mourning walkers to the cemetery. The tableau was solemn and a simple demonstration of respect.

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Back at Puerto Escondido at dusk, the Turkey Vultures circled and soared in their evening kettle gathering. It seems they roost collectively in the palm trees surrounding the park swimming pool. Their bones are extremely hollow for their size and they are much better at soaring rather than flying. When they arrive at the palms to sleep, it cannot be described as a landing. What they do is arrive. It is a dead stick, crash landing into the palms and whoever else got there first. It goes on for some time until all of the birds are settled in for the night.

The next morning is almost as amusing. They manage to travel to the Cardon Cactus where they perch with wings outstretched like they are airing out their armpits. They can't really soar until their damp wings have thoroughly dried out in the sun

From the bedroom window of our rig, we could see cardinals, orioles, wrens, doves, finches, and flickers as they chattered away in the bougainvillea.

Now onward for three days of camping on the beach.

rowzeewoo@aol.com




Reminder: Click here to follow us in Baja. Scroll down and click on the map. Find #865, Joline

Bahia de Concepcion ... (Playa de Santispac) Day 26, 27 and 28 ...

We arrived here this morning close to noon ... what a beautiful white sand beach. Ah, three nights.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we spent two nights at Puerto Escondido (Hidden Harbor) at the Tripui RV Park ... we stayed there also on the way down. Remember the goats?

Our arrival was Day 24 and the driving trip was relaxed, the scenery in reverse (remember there is only one road in Baja, Mexico 1, so it's the same road down and back up.) Somehow going back (so far, driving wise,) is much more pleasant. Maybe it's because as a driver I am now "conditioned" to the narrow roads, NO shoulders, the 18-wheelers and buses, the roaming cattle, the stopped, broken down vehicles in your lane, road workers working within inches of your vehicle, detours, vados (arroyos with flowing water when it rains), topes ... kaBUMP when you miss one, potholes (lots)... it all seems natural now and flowing with life. Well, that's MY movie!

Here are two pictures of our driving views ...



Think our windshield needs washing.



Yesterday was our second day there (Day 25) and we carpooled 15 miles into Loreto, a nice little town, 30,000 inhabs. Marilyn and I drove in together (the others carpooled) and we found a lovely, shaded spot to park on the street in front of a festive building with an interesting window.



As we walked down the steeet into a quaint, older part of the town we saw a group of our own having breakfast at the Cafe Ole. We later came back there for lunch.

We walked on past and came to Posada de las Flores, a hotel. The doors were open and so we stepped inside. The scene, the ambience was breathtaking.



We were told that the hotel was only six years old (one of three built in Baja) and we gasped at that; it looked like hundreds of years old. As we looked up we were told that that was the swimming pool ... on the roof.



I took another picture of the pool because if you look closely you will see legs hanging down. Look close now.



I saved the exterior of the hotel to last, because you will see the persons attached to those legs sitting on the roof, hanging over the edge actually ... whoa there.



We turned the corner to visit the oldest human settlement in the Californias, founded by the Jesuit Juan Maria Salvatierra in 1697 with the establishment of the mission Nuestra Senora de Loreto. (Our Lady of Loreto.)



Just as we started to walk toward the Mission a funeral procession came around the corner headed for the church. We stopped to watch, of course. The casket was in the bed of a pickup truck with all the grieving participants walking behind.

So we walked back to Cafe Ole, had a delicious lunch, and then retreated back to the icecream store (a very popular past time for all on this tour) for a double mango in a waffle cone, yum.

I sat down on one of the benches that surrounds each tree on the street and Marilyn snapped a shot of the trees "stitched" together for blocks at a time.



Driving back to Puerto Escondido we went off road to a place called Juncalita, so the sign said. The road was a doozy but we persisted. BW-2 (my NM vanity plate) does have 4-wheel drive. She can go anywhere. What caught our attention from the road was a beach with RVs on it. This road led to an established community of mostly RVs permanently parked with palapas built up around them and overhead and then other rooms and patios flow from that. They had many beautiful flowers and some had vegetable gardens. Marilyn snapped a few shots as I was hanging on to the steering wheel.



Thursday, March 17, 2005

Puerto Escondido (Hidden Harbor) BCS .. regressing for a moment ....

Reminder: Click here to follow us on the map. Scroll down and click on the map. I am #865, Joline

Day 20 ... The Sunset Cruise, Yes, in Cabo San Lucas ... knew something was missing. I find it best to add these snafus right here rather than go back ... it really gets confusing.

So to get on with this story ... let's go back to that Saturday night of March 12th when we all boarded the Oceana for a lovely sail in the breeze, warmed up with margaritas ...



and friendly folk, a little soft music and an anticipated gorgeous sunset ... that was the expectation ...

The birds were flying about wishing us bon voyage ...



... but not to be! Just as we were about to pull anchor and glide seamlessly out into the harbor, a whistle blew, the closing gate flew open and charging down the ramp were at least 50 pre-pubescent teens and their chaperones heading straight for our boat. How could this be? But it was true. They were all lit up and ready to celebrate a young girl's birthday.

So with the music blaring, the kids screaming and running around up and down the aisles stepping on our toes for almost two hours, having the cake with candles, Happy seized the day (or the night in this case) and began dancing with the kids.



And so the sunset arrived as scheduled and was enjoyed by all. I think.



So for a little calm after all that noise ...

"Tension is who you think you should be.
Relaxation is who you are."
-- Chinese Proverb


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The Glass Factory Tour ...

One day while visiting Cabo San Lucas, the group traveled to a glass factory to view the blowing of glass and making of glass items. There is a beautiful glass tree, Christmas tree fashion in their lobby.



There is another beautiful window back in their shop ...



... and because I went on a different day, a Saturday and the workers were gone, this is a view of their work space with the kilns, etc.



Why did I go a different day? Well, I missed the original tour and some of my friends came back with THE WATER GLASSES that I coveted in Mulege and could not buy them there because the store was out of stock, dratz. So the extra trip to buy more so I would have a set of eight to take home. Such fun!


The Bees Knees ....

Another little side story ... while parked in the Villa Serena RV Park in Cabo, a swarm of bees decided to locate in the hitch box of my rig, good lord! Believing we are all one, being an environmentalist, believing in life for all things, several of my trip mates are terrified and/or allergic to bees ... what do we do now?

After the others determined that I did not want to kill the bees, and learning from Burle (a master beekeeper) that it was obvious a queen had gotten into the box, it looks like a dandy place for a nest ... that as long as the queen is in the box the worker bees will come from far and wide to assist her, and stay with her, I might add.

So Pam decided to bring over a small barbeque and smoke them out.



That's what a hitch box looks like. Smoking them out didn't work.

I spoke with the head bee deva asking that they move and Marilyn spoke to the queen, who said she was tired and just resting. None of the above seemed to work.

Next Portia told the park owners and I am told that they got someone out to remove the queen, whatever that means and however they did it. We were not home at the time.

The next morning we had more bees than ever. I relented and allowed some wasp/hornet spray to be used. We hitched up and left anyway. These bees do not sting, I am told.

We drove to La Paz via Todos Santos. The next day we had more bees than ever. The same spray was used. They seem immune.

Three days later we left LaPaz and are now in Puerto Escondido ... and the bees are still with us. They do come and go. Does anyone out there know what is happening and know what to do? If so, plese write to me: joline@direcway.com, thanks.

Not the end of this story, though.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

RV Casa Blanca... La Paz, Capitol of Baja California Sur ... Day 21 and 22 ...

A little trip trivia: Mexicali is the Capitol of Baja California Norte.

We left Cabo San Lucas on Sunday morning, March 13th, headed for La Paz, with a three-hour stopover in Todos Santos, home of the California Hotel ...



... which included an optional gourmet brunch, which you can guess I opted for.

Judy, Pam, Joy and I shared a table and dined al fresco.



The menu was divine and much to choose from. Three of us chose the omelette with fresh asparagas and brie, omigod. Besides the gorgeous fruit on the plate are refried beans and small new potatoes. Wonderful Mexican coffee and cinnamon buns were offered while we waited.



After lunch several of us strolled through the bar ...



... and into the Emporio ... an artsy gift shop.





Julie went searching the internet for information on Todos Santos and this is what she found:

Sometime in the mid to late 1980's, the word got out that Todos Santos was home to "the" Hotel California made famous by the Eagles' song in the 1970's. In the 1990's, the rumor had reached "hipper" journalists in the US and the first articles started appearing in major newspapers, like the Detroit Free Press article in 1996.

As other journalists heard of the rumor, momentum increased and the story soon became a full fledged urban legend. New writers used the original articles to justify and support their conclusions. Journalists would come to Todos Santos and do "research", but they already knew what they wanted to write and so they sought out people who would verify what they had already accepted as fact. No real investigative reporting ever occurred.

The souvenir shirts say "Hotel California, since 1928." That claim remains unverified. Gene Kira in "The Unforgettable Sea of Cortez" writes that in 1952, "Hotel California opened in Todos Santos by Antonio 'El Chino' Tobasco." Was that when the hotel was built? Or did the building become a hotel in 1952?

In a Feb 2002 email, Gene states that although his notes are in storage, he remembers that the building did exist before it became the hotel and that "El Chino" used to serve Chinese food in his restaurant at this location and would publicize the meals by way of loud tinny speakers mounted on the roof. Gene promises more details when he finally unpacks his reference material in the future.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

RV Casa Blanca, La Paz BCS ... Day 22, Monday March 14th .... group picture and city tour.

The first thing this morning is a group picture, all dressed up in our "purple" shirts (gift of the tour company) including the pets. All folks with pets also received a colorful bandana for their pet to wear in the group picture. Although there are a few cats with us, it was all dogs who showed up.



Not all the dogs with us are appearing in this one photo, but I will be doing an all pet photo day with the dogs and a few cats (if they'll let me take a picture) here before long.

So with great fanfare here we are ...



Right after our Kodak moment, Carlos with his local bus picked us all up ...



... and took us on a city tour. Besides driving around we stopped for awhile near the Cathedral where a funeral was happening ...



... where there was a lovely hibiscus garden ...



...and the city plaza was across the street.



Marilyn and I stopped in on an art class being conducted in the park area and here she is talking with the teacher.



On every corner of the plaza is a shoeshine stand, wondering from where their business comes when it seems that everyone is in sneakers or sandals .. well, the tourists are.



Our bus next took us to the Ibarra Pottery factory ...



... where a lot of fascinatin' stuff was going on. It sure looked like a lot of their beautiful items were being sold. Living in an RV where things rattle 'n roll, their delicate pottery wouldn't last long in my rig.



Our next stop was the weavers, folks making all sorts of woven articles.
Here is a man spinning cotton.



And here is one of their very old, all wooden looms, where this person is making
a roll of woven material like what an upholsterer would use, for example.



Business was pretty brisk there, too. I even purchased some place mats, sorely needed for my rig.

Back to the RV park and time for those pesky chores that RVers get involved in like laundry, dumping, getting propane gas, polishing and cleaning, checking email, going for a swim, chatting with neighbors ... another caravan came in while we were gone ... a group that has been following us by one day for about a week now. And their wagonmasters have a DataStorm dish just like mine, whadya know. Their two sons somehow found me out there and told their folks that somebody named Joline was following them around.

So yesterday ended with one of Portia and Kathy's famous margarita parties and a clean-out-the-refrigerator potluck. It's been said that is the best one we've had.

Day 23, March 15, 2005 (The Ides of March)

Today I got a haircut, hallelujah. Marilyn and I drove around for quite awhile looking and finally spotted a "salon." Besides getting a good cut (hard to find on the road) what fascinated me the most is that the business had NO running water. To shampoo my hair, a helper person stood beside the beautician holding a bucket of warm water, which we negotiated (as between, hot, warm and cold) with neither of us speaking the other's language. I will guesstimate she used less than a half gallon of water to wash and condition my hair. Amazing! Her price? 90 pesos or approximately $9 US. That is about 1/10th what I pay elsewhere. She received a nice tip.

Tomorrow is a looonnnng driving day (for us, as we average 35-45 miles an hour ... yes, the elephant train moves slowly, but the company is so good.

So it's 30 for today and g'nite.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us
are small matters to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, March 14, 2005

Encore At the Villa Serena Bar, March 11, 2005, Day 19
by Star Reporter Rosalie Woods ... 8:30 PM et seq




Some of us so enjoyed the music of Jaime Martinez last night at the lobster dinner we returned to the scene of the crime for an after dinner drink tonight. Marilyn, Julie and I took a flashlight and walked over.

[View along the walk. This house is growing flowers on the roof]



Almost as soon as we entered Jaime began singing "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" in Spanish. It was lovely. He reminds me of Stevie Wonder a little bit. More like Ferron. We listened to him as we watched another night of fireworks over the Sea of Cortez.

One very nice custom of the Baja people is they don't bug you to hurry up. Once your fanny is planted into a chair, it can stay there all night long which ours did until the musician stopped playing. Our drink of choice this special night was Mexican Coffee which we ordered in order to observe the machinations of the preparer as we were seated too far away from the action the night before to really enjoy the performance. It actually is quite a dessert with tequilla, kahlua,sugar, orange, ice cream etc. among other ingredients.

Even though we understood the words to virtually nothing, the music was beautiful. Jaime sang only one song in English, "Moon Shadow" by Cat Stevens (who the U.S. now refuses to admit back into our country.) Julie recognized it immediately. It took me a little longer. Actually, a lot.

It was late and we almost postponed going until after the sunset cruise tomorrow. Good thing we didn't. He won't be back before we leave. It was a wonderful evening.

rowzeewoo@aol.com

++++++++++++++++++++++

Missed pics from the night before.

More salsa. All the salsa is good,
the hot, hotter and more hot.



Rosalie and Val ....



View of the Sea of Cortez, aka Gulf of California,
from the Villa Serena Restaurante.



View from the sunset cruise a bit earlier this night ....



~~ Sweet Dreams ~~

Sunday, March 13, 2005

More Memories of Los Barriles and East Cape RV Park ... Day 14-16 ...



Checking in ...





A leisurely stroll around the campground ...



... finds Shar dumping (This is a little chore that RVers engage in every few days.)



And the rest goes in here.



A favorite mode of transportation locally, down the arroyos, up in the hills, over hill and dale ...



Our last night found us all at Tio Pablo's for a fabulous dinner (each one seems to top the last). This is a good beginning.



It's fun to watch Happy's changing wardrobe.



My table ... me, Pat, Betsy, Marilyn, Louise, Thelma Val and Linda C.



Okay, it's time to tell the story of Thelma and Louise.



You've heard of those two.

In October 2003 some of us were together on another Fantasy Tour to the Copper Canyon of Mexico, over on the mainland. So the story goes as our Wagonmasters (same on both of these trips) were getting acquainted with their new trippers, as Portia tells the story, when she was introduced to Rosalie Wood and Julie Lawyer, Rosalie purportedly said, "We are your Thelma and Louise." They didn't even own an RV, had never driven one. They rented one! They wanted to go on that trip. So a seasoned RVer or not, I'll let you imagine the sorts of antics those two got into.

But I'm here to tell you they insisted, persisted, existed, and resisted nothing ... bought their own rig after that trip and have never stopped ... I don't think. Now a priceless, seasoned pair of RVing Women par excellance!

And to finish this little piece, Baja California Sur has come of age. No third world country here.



My little inspiration for today:

If you don't like something, change it.
If you can't change it, change your
attitude. -- Maya Angelou

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Cabo San Lucas ... Villa Serena RV Park ... Day 20, March 12th,
by Star Reporter Rosalie Woods.




RVing Women Take Kamikaze Glass Bottom Boat Ride

The early morning glass bottom boat ride out to Los Arcos ...



... and Land's End ...



... with Monoliths along the way ...



... where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean ...



... was a bit of a kamikaze trip among all manner of marine craft. Due to the presence of two cruise ships, soon to be three, in the harbor ...



... the water was afloat with the revelers ...



... and other glass bottom boats,



... kayaks,



dive boats, fishermen, yachts ...



... and even a schooner or two.



Apparently it is not the breeding season for the Frigate bird as their rookery was empty except for a few brown boobies gazing down upon us.

So much for looking through a glass bottom boat.



///

Dinner at Antoine's? No! Lunch at Pancho's? Si!

Joline likes good food so Julie and I (the three gourmands finally found each other) joined her in her truck to El Restaurant Pancho Villa ...



... just off the main drag at the corner of Hidalgo and Zapata Streets. We had excellent parking karma as free curb parking miraculously appeared, not a red or tow away zone, just waiting for us near by. A couple of ex-pats own and obviously lovingly run Pancho's Restaurant and Tequila Bar.

Everything about the place is clean and cheerful-the painted tables and chairs, the Mexican Revolution décor and memorabilia, the wait staff. Everything is brilliantly colored; no drab anything here.

We wanted to order one of each menu item but considering they have over 500 brands of tequila, including one for $62 US per shot, we exercised some restraint. We did have three courses each, though (in addition to three types of salsa and chips ...



... and a particularly good margarita). That's a Michelada in the center.
Recipe for that is on the Giggling Marlin Day in Los Barilles.



We started with a half order of Sopa De Tortilla,



... the best ever, which consisted of chicken, avocado and corn tortilla strips.

This would have been plenty, but gluttony prevailed and I went on to fish tacos.



The fish was generous quantities of fresh grilled and cubed mahi mahi (aka: Dorado). The good news it was NOT fried. I can't imagine any better anywhere.

Joline and Julie both had chicken tostados and they felt the same about their entree. Not to leave a flan in Baja untested, we all had Flan De Coco (coconut) for dessert, which, to be trite, was to die for; i.e., conscious language, "to live for."

All of this most civilized and leisurely lunch was attended by strolling musicians one of whom kissed Joline on the cheek after the concluding chorus of Besame Mucho.



By then we left for the truck, which remained where we left it, in one piece with all its wheels still attached. By the time we reached Villa Serena RV Park it was swim time for Julie and siesta time for the rest of us until the evening fish fry.

10-4.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Cabo San Lucas ... Deep Sea Fishing Trip with Paula Gibbs and Pam Wright ... Day 18, Thursday, March 10, 2005 ...

Two of our RVing Women went a fishin' yesterday and, boy, howdy, did they strike it hot. This story is secondhand, doncha know, so here's what little I have to share. But we have some great pictures. I will try and get one of them or both to tell us all. As I was downloading pictures from Pam last night I asked her if she had any help landing the BIG one (a trophy size 150-pound tuna), and she said, "No, and I have the bruises on my thighs to prove it." So the here's the rest of the story.

This is Pam working on that big one!



And here she is with her prize!



This is Paula and Pam having fun showing off some of their day's work.



Paula with her 20-pound dorado ...



Paula and the big tuna ....



Pam showing us another tuna ... and am I confused now as to what is what. What I do know is that they caught 240 pounds of fish yesterday, provided dinner tonight and had some smoked and I don't know what they did with it all.



What a fish story!

Cabo San Lucas, Villa Serena RV Park and Restaurante .... Day 18 by Rosalie Woods, Star Reporter ....



Our lobster banquet on the terrace overlooking the Sea of Cortez as the sun set behind us into a pale pink and blue sky while the stars popped out above was delightful. We were serenaded by Jaime Martinez ...



... singing reminiscent of Jose Feliciano, while he accompanied himself from the small bandstand. He is quite good and I bought a couple of his CD's.

Tailgunner Burle Dawson ordered a Mexican coffee as an after dinner drink ...



... and it is a major production to serve one at the table.

Several stages are involved including multiple flambes and pouring tequila and kahlua from varying heights.





Quite a dramatic end to a fun meal.
That's a scoop of vanilla icecream on top, yum.



ttfn and lots of XOXOXO

Cabo San Lucas, Day 19 ... Baja Fantasy 2005,
a poem by Marilyn Brodhurst ....




BAJA FANTASY 2005

With the Southwind* blowing against our back
We headed for Baja, kayaks on rack.
It’s a Trek in need of Titanium nerves,
Complete with vados, topes, and curves!

Among mountains we climb just like an Eagle
Hoping the next Pemex certainly has diesel.
An Adventure it is, but only for the Brave
As we trudge over rocks in search of caves.

The Eurocoach’s Jeep jostles over washboards and ruts
Leading women with Spirit and phenomenal guts
To a waterfall splashing into a jewel-green pool,
While just down the road is a hot spring – “coo-o-ol”!

A Hitchhiker stares as we single file by,
Wondering why Vacationers prefer not to fly.
They see Minnie Winnie – she looks like fun,
And NASA’s Airstream rocket shining in the sun.

No Admiral could be prouder of his seafaring mates
Petting whales over bow, and fishing for bait.
We pull in Dorado, grill fish on the shore,
Swim with sea lions, and roast marshmallows for S’mores.

Our Coachman Catalina has a tool box well packed
To handle any breakage or seal any cracks,
While Isata carries our own Nightingale,
And DataStorm brings us personal e-mail.

No Northern Lights brighten the sky,
But we’ve our own Dutch Star as a beacon of light,
And Sunrise greets us along Pleasure’s Way,
Manana, por favor, muy bien, we can say.

Like an Arrow in flight, we’re steady and sure,
Past La Paz, Los Barriles, to Los Cabos we are lured.
Swingers on the go, we toast with margaritas,
Transformed into lilting, dancing senoritas!

Marilyn Brodhurst © 2005
terrificpoet@aol.com

*italics = rig names

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cabo San Lucas, Villa Serena RV Park ... Day 17 and 18 ... by Rosalie Woods



LOS CABOS

Days 17 and 18, March 9 and 10, 2005, halfway point.

Hey Frank. Hope you don't mind being just one of the girls.

Notes made at 3 AM when I was wide awake and couldn't figure out how to get on line or remember how to use WORD.

After a short, comparatively painless drive down the eastern coast through the Tropic of Cancer, caravanning only with rig #17, Barb, Linda and their three Schnauzers, we arrived at this metropolis. The change since my last visit a few years ago is most dramatic. The Mexicans have done to this Cape what the Americans have done to Maui. It is wall-to-wall development from the aeropuerto to Land's End-condos and golf courses and tennis courts and luxury hotels. I hear there is even a Wal-Mart Super Store. I hope that is only a nasty rumor. As you would imagine, the traffic is horrendous. Not as bad as Tokyo, Cairo or Boston but horrendous none-the-less. The Mexican highway #1 is now four lanes: actually six counting the frontage roads (laterals). The Costco hot dog/pizza pavilion commands a magnificent view of the town, harbor and Los Arches.

The Villa Serena RV Park was tricky to get into since all turns must be done from a lateral not the main road. It is the first place we have stayed where we are near enough to the highway to hear the considerable road noise

There is a small bar/restaurant/swimming pool on the bluff above and behind us, which is lovely. It seems isolated and Julie enjoyed the 180-degree view of the Sea of Cortez as she took her afternoon swim. We expect to have a lobster dinner there this evening. There was a small fire works display there right before we fell asleep.

Even though we have a good surge protector, the voltage got dangerously high so we decided to unplug the electricity to avoid a blowout. The night was comfortable and a small inverter allowed me to use my CPAP machine. After breakfast we expect to visit a glass factory and pewter smelter in the AM then an afternoon swim and siesta.

All for now with love, Rowzeewoo

With extra hugs and kisses to my darling Isabella Rose from WooWoo

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Greetings from Paradise ... East Cape RV Park, Los Barriles BCS ... Day 15 & 16 .... leaving today, Day 17, around noon for Cabo San Lucas ...

We are at the mid point of this adventure, going by so quickly.

But first we need to catch up again .... busy part of the world ... beautiful, warm breezes, stunningly blue/green water ... lots of fishing ... lovely flowers ... very Hawaii like, but not quite as lush due to less rainfall, puffy clouds in clear blue skies, and, yes, some great food. The Americans who live here and the wannabees absolutely LOVE it here. There is an international airport just down the road that serves Cabo and makes it close enough to here for folks to get back and forth easily. And, of course, there are the private jets parked nearby, too.

Our first day at the East Cape RV Park the green grocer opened for us in his little teepee and it is very nice to be able to buy fresh fruits and veggies and good eggs ... hallelujah. The natives use copious amounts of limon (LeeMOAN), the Mexican limes, to purify their food, "kills the parasites," as they say. In this rig in addition we use the therapeutic grade essential oil of lemon, soak everything for 20 minutes, rinse, dry and store. We also use Clorox brand (very important) bleach (1 teaspoon per 20 gallons) in our fresh water holding tank, and all these precautions seem to keep the beasties away. So we are enjoying fresh salads and veggies every day.

Another comment that may seem obvious, this blog is being written from my Baja experience, and Marilyn, too ... but there are 30 something others doing a jillion different things for their experience, and this book isn't big enough to share what everyone is doing. So this blog is just the tip of the iceberg.

I want to thank all who interpreted Si Toma No Maneje, which means Don't Drink and Drive. It seems so simple once I know the Toma word.

So on to the "boat trip north up the coast" on Tuesday, Day 15. The intention of this excursion was to see the land from the water, have a gourmet lunch (you can tell that would appeal to me) at the Giggling Marlin, learn a little history and then return.

Waiting for the skiff to take us to the Too Awesome ...







Loading the boat ... that's Linda Brown coming aboard being helped by First Mate Rob, Captain Jerry's son-in-law visiting for a couple of weeks from San Jose, California.



And soon Rosalie followed ...



We began the journey .... some lovely homes along the shore.
There are a lot of those.



Captain Jerry giving us the drill ...



Full speed ahead ...



And the wake ... with Macie and ... is that you, Julie?



Rosalie, Pat and Macie ...



Julie and Alice ...



Linda C. and Linda B. enjoying the ride ...



Judy and Paula ...



This is a red house being built on the side of a cliff, almost ready for occupancy with the stipulation that it can NEVER drill a well. All water must be trucked in.



Alice driving the boat ... with Michele and Rob ...



Betsy and Pat talking with Happy ...



Happy is always beautiful and joyous ...



We skiff in for lunch. The welcoming party ...



The Giggling Marlin Beach and Yacht Club ...









But wait .... first ...

Alice ....



Barbara ...



But what are they doing?

Rosalie ...



Are they nutz?

Linda B.



Oh ... they get a prize. Notice the bottle in the assistant's hand ...



This is the entertainment at the Giggling Marlin BEFORE lunch.



Those were chicken enchiladas. Linda Cartright really enjoyed that.

Oh, oh, here's another dish of salsa ... pretty good, yum.



Rosalie's chili rellenos ... too pretty to eat, well not quite. She finished it off.



My Michelada ... oh, is that a delight. Take one chilled beer mug rimmed with salt, add a big dash of limon and frosty cold ice and pour one beer over all. Pacifica seems to be the preferred brew in this place.



The view while having this wonderful gourmet lunch totally enjoyed by all.



The person you can hardly see didn't want her picture taken anyway. Shhh, it's Judy F.

This delightful place is located on the Bay of the Dead, so named because of a boating accident and great loss of life many years ago. There is now an attempt by more enlightened folks to rename the area The Bay of Dreams, Bahia de los Suenos.



And we returned to the Too Awesome for the trip home.

I don't know about the rest of you, but this kid was too pooped to pop and disappeard for the rest of the day.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Marilyn read this aloud to me this morning from the book she is reading ....
which seems so appropos for this adventure, doncha think?

"When we surrender we have the joy to explore.
Not knowing what to expect is happiness."

A quote from "Beyond Fear" by Don Miguel Ruiz, page 127.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Los Barriles BCS (Baja California Sur) Day 13 and 14 ...
Another grand day in the sun and the surf's up. We traveled about 90 miles from our remote beach northeast of La Paz to Los Barriles and the East Cape RV Park, a lovely piece of paradise. Hooray, we're here for 3 nights.

On the way we passed through some neat looking small pueblos, clean and all spruced up for Sunday visitors. Many restaurants practically on the road. We didn't/couldn't stop at the moment but Marilyn is getting quite good at snapping photos while on the move and here is the church at El Triumfo.



She has also been practicing snapping the shutter at just the right moment while moving to capture a road sign or two. We are also getting good at translating. Unfortunately, we don't know this one yet.



This one we do know ...



Mexico is famous for its topes (TOE-pays) On the mainland there is a picture of a speed BUMP. Here we get the above ... and if you do not slow down to a CRAWL ... well, your rig and the contents inside suffers.

Last but not least is Marilyn's favorite ...



Ganado MOO.

Going back to yesterday, still at Playa Tecolote , the Sassy Sisters organized a 4:00 p.m. BBQ on the beach ... Paula Gibbs went fishing ...



... and they BBQ'd her catch ...



... and the rest of us ate ...



... which was all quite good. The ladies brought the rest of the meal ... lip smackin' good, yum ...



... and hung out until dark.

Allie, Lou, Val and Pat.



Burle has to eat in the kitchen {:-(
Linda Brown is looking on.



Joy Bondy, our former Coast Guard gal ...



Judy F., Alice and Judy M.



Macie (MACK-e) who makes nice things from wood.



Yvonne and Jan. Belated Happy Birthday Von ...



And Shar getting some rays ...



Pat, Betsy and Mary hanging out on the wall ...



And then it got dark and Kathy made a good fire for roasting marshmallows ...



to make S'mores.



That's 30 for today.

G'Nite ....

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Still at Playa Tecolote ... Desert Safari by Marilyn Brodhurst, a Mulege trip and pictures on Day 9, March 1, 2005 ...

Desert Safari to Cave Paintings

Our local tour guide, Salvador, picked our group up in his 14 passenger van (which we noticed had seats upholstered in 4 different patterns) at 8:30 a.m. Our first stop was in the town of Mulege to register with the officials and show our i.d. since we were going into a National Park. Shortly after leaving town we passed an orange orchard, stopping by a home that sold fresh “organic” grapefruits and oranges. They were 4 pesos a kilogram which amounted to 40 cents for 7 small oranges. Here's Doris and Joy ....



We then began our safari-like ride over dusty, rocky, dirt roads through 15-20 miles of desert country. Salvador (who is standing in front of a Chardon cactus close to 500 years old) stopped at one spot to give us a brief description of several local plants and their uses.



Here’s a few that I remember:

The palo blanco is a white barked tree whose bark is used in tanning hides.

A bush that is family to the ocotillo and looks like it, has a red blossom on it which helps relieve toothaches.

The barrel cactus can provide you with water if you slice the top off, make a well, and wait a few minutes for the water to collect.

Marmalade can be made from the fruit of the Chardon cactus. The pulp from this plant prevents infection and stops bleeding.

The root of the cholla cactus makes a tea that reduces headaches.

The leaf of the Cresole bush can be put in your shoe to cure athlete’s foot and a tea can be made from it to relieve kidney stones.

Candelia, which is a leafless green stem resembling a candle, has a thick white sap which is a strong laxative and is also used in making candles.


Now don’t go quoting me on these. They are only to show you the variety of plants here and all the uses the people have found for them. We even found two small mushrooms about the size of a thumbnail peeking out from the fine dust.

We continued our bumpy ride, stopping twice to open gates to a private farm. At the farm house we registered again and paid 40 pesos for our access privilege. In the distance we could see 3 peaks, part of the Trinidad Mountain Range and our destination. Finally we arrived at the foothills, and began our climb to the cave.



Doris, Linda and Pam ....



We came to a dam that the government had built in the early '90’s. There had been no rain from 1980-1990, so steps were taken to prevent an inevitable flooding. When the next downpour came, it was so violent that part of the dam was washed into the town. This is a gypsum weed, which is an hallucinogenic, next to the wall of the dam.



We arrived at a pool of water and had the option of swimming around the next boulder or taking a small row boat with Salvador.





A few more rocks to climb and we were at the mouth of the cave. Many large boulders filled about half the cave, but the pictographs on the wall were very clear. Salvador gave us a brief history of the Indians who lived here, mostly the Colchimes, but there had been Indian groups here before them. Some of the paintings dated from 1500-3000 B.C. No one knows who made the first drawings.



We could clearly see a red deer upside down, a figure of a person identified as a male shaman, fish, and several small while handprints. These were made by young children whose hands were burned and then placed on the wall. This allowed them to become eligible to be the next shaman.



After scrambling down the rocks, loading the boat (10 to a trip) and boarding the van we were eager for lunch – served at the small farm house. We were served tortillas, goat cheese, fresh sliced tomatoes, onions, refried beans and marinated chilis, yum.



Ten minutes down the road we made another stop, walked through a river bed and viewed some very faint petroglyphs high on the canyon wall. Salvador pointed out several fish, a whale, female shaman, and on a large lower rock a coyote.



We continued our trip home, passing several large alfalfa fields, and seeing cows, horses, donkeys and ostriches. Because of the heat we opened our side van door – truly safari style!

That's 30 for today.

NEW DECISION .... PARTY PICTURES HERE, NOW ... AND THE CAVE PAINTING TRIP.... so remember this day, Saturday, March 5, post #2 ....

A little computer tip: If there is a picture below that you want to capture, just right click on it and Save As ... and remember where you saved it.


On the evening of Monday, February 28, 2005, the ladies of the Baja RVW (RVing Women) caravan embarked from the campground into Mulege to the Las Equipales Restaurant by van or (they call it a taxi) ... hey, Alice, who are you mad at?



Here is one of our many tables.



And the margaritas began flowing ... is that the word?



And then came the salsa, which I determined to be the best ever ... until we hit Puerto Escondido.



And then a group of earlier shoppers presented Wagonmaster Kathy Larson with an addition to her wardrobe ...



... with the help of me and sister Portia Anthony, the other wagonmaster ...



They are also known as The Sassy Sisters.



Dinner was served ....



This was actually a roast pig, something the Rotary Club does around here.

And then the music began, a trio of musicians ... this is Happy Dawson and Pam Wright enjoying the rhythm ...



Happy doing solo ...



Unfortunately Burle was home with the you know what, the stuff you take those little pills for. Happy and Burle are our tailgunners, remember?

While the music gets hotter 'n hotter, your roving camera took a few pics of the rest of us ...

Alice Ferracane, Marsha Bagby, Shar Parra, Judy Miles.



Allie Bowers and Lou Bee.



Barbara Roeder, Linda Brown, Rosalie Woods and Julie Lawyer



Meanwhile here's the conga line coming down the hall ...



And going ...



JoAnn Goldsmith and Ann Matlock.



Rosalie took this of me.



And there was more of the juice ...



Joy Bondy andJudy Fontenelle.



Joyce Frasher and Pat Byers.



Judy Miles and Paula Gibbs.



Julie Lawyer and Portia Anthony.



Marilyn loves to perform.



Michele Oudin and Alice Ferracane.



Pat Vine, Betesy Simmons and Doris Wood.



Janice Wilkes and Yvonne Roberts.



Well, oops, that's all of the pictures of this one helluva party. The battery ran out of juice. But a swell time was had by all. If you didn't, well ....

G'Nite.

NOTE: 3 people missed .... so sorry ... I WILL DO A FEATURE ON ALL 3 BEFORE THIS TRIP HAS ENDED. LINDA CARTWRIGHT, VALERIE FITZSIMMONS AND MACIE AKA SHIRLEY MC LAUGHLIN. MY APOLOGIES TO ALL 3. IF THERE IS SOMEONE ELSE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

We are presently in Mountain Time.

Tecolote Beach, Baja California Sur ... Day 12 and 13
Hooray, the sun is shining this morning... yesterday was overcast all day. Starting off with some housekeeping matters .... it seems like maybe I never told you how to follow us on the map. Duh. So click here at any time, scroll down to my number 865 and click on joline. There are 5 levels of viewing our position. The little satellite picture moves every time we go to a new spot.

Another sidebar here: THE PARTY PICTURES from our dinner in Mulege can be seen back at Day 8 where they belong, and the all day trip to the CAVE PAINTINGS with pictures and story by Marilyn can now be seen on Day 9, again while we were in Mulege. Those were a very busy 3 days. You won't want to miss all that action.

There are also additional pictures posted at our Puerto Escondido stopover on Day 10.

Continuing on with our Tecolote Beach story .... last night on Day 12, we had a margarita party on the beach and celebrated Lou Bee's birthday ...



What's left of the wonderful home made cake by Happy Dawson ...



A little birthday dancing ....





Dinner with Linda Cartwright ...



and Val Fitzsimmons ....



... by a walk down the beach ... and during the walk home ... a gorgeous sunset to end a perfect day.



"You have to strive every minute to get rid of the life that you have planned in order to have the life that's waiting to be yours.
Move, move, move...."
--Joseph Campbell


~~Sweet Dreams~~

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Tecolote Beach, La Paz, Baja California, Sur ... Day 11, 12 and 13 ... what happened to Day 10? Had to look at the trip roster for that one. Yes.

Day 10 ... We spent the night in an RV park in Puerto Escondido. This was a back-in place and so, deep breath ... Marilyn took the wheel for the FIRST time and with help and proper instruction she successfully backed in the rig!



Another comment about RV travel .... here are the "toads" or "tags." In RV speak: towed vehicles. These are unhooked usually before entering an RV park and here they all are lined up.



For dinner we walked down the road a bit to a lovely little restaurant where we watched some beautiful goats, a mama and one-month old babies cavorting on the lawn while waiting for the troops to gather ...



I was so fascinated with the coloring on the multi-baby, and they wouldn't stop moving long enough to take a picture with all three in the same frame, so here's another shot of that colorful baby.



Also while waiting to go in for dinner ... a peek at the pool.



We enjoyed the salsa and fresh fish ... and I have declared this to be the best salsa in all of Baja ... so far .... I thought the party salsa was the best, but I don't know. It could be a tossup.



After dinner some had a little campfire talk, and I came back to the rig to work on this blog.



The takeoff time this morning? 7 a.m., egads. I thought this was retirement, hehe. This is our 7-hour driving day.

But it was worth it. We saw the most spectacular sunrise over the mountains and some water, barely visible.



You know what? I don't know where this picture was taken. It is entitled "First View of the Sea of Cortez."



Our welcome to La Paz is the Whale's Tail ...



We wound around the waterfront in La Paz ...



The Guardian of the Harbor ...



And arrived in Tecolote around 3 p.m.



We are now parked ON the beach .... some rigs are in the high rent district with a view ... we have a peek at the water from the balcony, tho, so does that count?



View from the bathroom window ...



Dinner on our own. How about leftovers?

... All that we are is the result of what we have thought. ...

Our prayer each morning as we take off:

The Light of God Surrounds us,
The Love of God Enfolds us,
The Power of God Protects us,
The Presence of God Watches over us.
Wherever we are, God is, and all is well.

And so it is.


~~Sweet dreams~~

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Puerto Escondido, Baja Sur, Mexico, Mulege, Day 7, 8 and 9 ..... getting a bit behind here ... the time flies when you're having fun. I apologize for not keeping my promise of having this blog caught up by yesterday afternoon ... but I got lost in the laundry, hehe. Next thing you know it's time for our evening briefing and a little backyard BBQ. So the last thing that shows up here are the whales. How does it get any better'n that?

So venturing forth ... after the big day with the WHALES (they deserve all caps) we drove the next day to Mulege (MOO-la-hay) for 3 nights. I was there 30 years ago and notice they have paved the streets, a blessing. It is a charming, small village noted for its fishing, palm trees and other recreational sports.

We breezed by St. Ignacio on the way ...



... another little oasis crying out to explore. One advantage to the location of Baja, if you're driving, to get back to the States you take the route you came down on and so we will have another chance to see all these little nooks and crannies that got missed on the first pass. You can bet we are making our list.

There are many, many roadside shrines usually built and maintained by family members of loved ones who died at that place. Living now in New Mexico, the custom is just as prevalent there.



In Mulege we stayed at the Villa Marie Isabel RV Park and the bougainvillas caught my eye as we drove in. Spectacular!





Shortly after arriving we spotted Happy on the way to the laundry.



We keep track of each other on the road by this identifier on each vehicle and hopefully a CB inside. Brightwing is No. 18.



The first real day there most of us went to town for purified water and were told the fish tacos on the square are THE BEST! That's Judy with Marilyn behind her.



While on the square we ran into a few of our fellow travelers.
Marilyn, Rene, Mary and Judy.



Linda and Barbara ...



On leaving the downtown area we swung by the old prison, now a museum. Not a good idea. Let's just say most folks walk there. So we took a picture anyway to attest to the fact we went there and survived the drive. BW-2 did just fine. Whew!



And Judy wanted to see the mission, so we found it and actually parked and went in.





The Bell Tower.



Friends told us about some little cottages for sale near our RV Park so we stopped in there on the way home.



But the door was locked and ...



... so we went exploring on our own. We found out the price is $69,500 for about 800 square feet. You decide. But they're cute as all get out.



Now I know y'all are just dyin' to hear about THE PARTY that night. Well, it was a humdinger and I am too pooped to pop right now. We will be stashed at Tecolote Beach for 2 whole days (and 3 nights) starting tomorrow night (it's a long haul tomorrow...we're told 8 hours driving) and I will try to keep a promise to get that party on here. You are in for a treat.

G'nite ....