Monday, December 28, 2009


Just a quick update.

It rained this afternoon. Just a few drops, but enough to make brown muddy spots on my van instead of the soft dusty patina.

I still have those shorts on tho.

It's a day for shorts

Ahhhhhh, warm again and back into my shorts and sandals.

Had a long walk south on the beach today. A lot of construction work happening between the beach and the airport. Apparently, Fonatur (the government) is getting land ready for sale. Before the government can sell government land they have to put in streets, curbs, sidewalks and utilities. No notices of sale yet, but guess they will be ready when they want to sell lots. There are a lot of rumors about what will eventually be there, from high-rise hotels, homes and commercial big box stores. And a rumor that it will be another malecon that will go all the way (5 miles) to Loreto Bay where thousands of condos are already (and have been for several years) being built near the hotel and golf course.

Chet had a couple swims and like in Juneau I have to watch to make sure he doesn't eat fish bones. At least these are so dry I don't think he would be stinky like he is after rolling in salmon.

Darn mean dogs! Most of the dogs around are fine and only bark and sniff as Chet and I walk by, but today 3 dogs zipped out of a yard and hit Chet in a hind leg. That hurt! No bite, but he limped for a bit and was skittish when other dogs barked at him. Being skittish is a good thing. Springers don't understand mean behavior from people or dogs and are surprised when it happens. We won't walk down that block again.

I learned that the birds I had been calling buzzards are Turkey Vultures.

Bought my weeks supply of fruits and veggies at the outdoor market yesterday. And brought home some chicken tamales. The tamales I have been eating in Baja usually have one green olive (with pit) and potatos and carrot along with the meat. The woman who made the tamales said she is in the Centro on Indepencia in the afternoons. I'll try and find her on one of my ventures across the dry riverbed to Centro.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas decorations in Loreto's Church Square

Just returned to my little home away from home and took these pictures on the way. Had a wonderful Christmas feast with friends at La Damiana Inn and met new friends. People coming in from Seattle, Danville, California and Salt Lake City were there too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dry river road, North wind and Pacha Mamas

My 152 peso pancho. Spent most of the day over in town and this afternoon a strong cold north wind began to blow. I wanted to stay in town longer so went in serch of a jacket. Found this big blue pullover with a pouch pocket and asked the price. $17.00 dollars he said. I looked in my pocket and told him I have only 152 pesos. OK, he said taking my last peso and we both laughed and I went away warm. This picture was taken at Loreto Shores beach and shows the rough sea from the wind. Chet is braced kinda funny with his front legs all spread out.
Looking west along the dry river. New road across the riverbed in forground and truck driving across the riverbed. There are several "streets" across the riverbed and all of them excet the new road very bumpy and dusty. Mountains to the west are Sierra de la Gigante. I find them quite beautiful and rugged. What you see changes thruout the day with varying light.

Looking east along the dry river. I know, I is blurry, but the only picture I have now and I want you to see the riverbed east to the estuary and the sea. Another car driving across...........this is the way you go when you are on Nicholas Bravo street.

Ah. The new road across the dry river. It is a fine road and we wonder if it will still be there November after the next flood. This picture is looking south toward main part of town. Chet and I usually walk to town this way. The new road is 14 metres wide. Enough room for two lanes of traffic and parking on each side. The space you see to the left of this road is where the vendors come for the Sunday Market and set up their tents. On Monday morning it all cleared ground again.

Ohhhhhhh, one of my favorite restaurants is gone. Pacha Mamas is closed and was having a garage sale today. I went to the garage sale with my friends and owners of La Damiana Inn. They found some useful items for the inn. Some kitchen stuff, glassware, a side table and oodles of plants. I didn't find anything I could fit into my RV, but was interested in some shelves, glassware and heavy baking pans. There was an electric crepe maker that looked interesting, but again "Where would I put it?!"
A tour ship came to town today. Small one. Held about 150 passengers and maybe 100 people were on board. I ran into them by the church as they were getting ready to attend a fiesta in their honor. This was all about the time the cold North wind was blowing so I hoped the festivities were moved indoors. Vendors had some good sales with the wind. I wasn't the only one looking for a wrap. Saw several people wrapped in colorful blankets they just purchased.

The new road looking south at the DARK clouds that came with the cold north wind. In this picture you can see the sidewalks that are being built also.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A day in Loreto

Pictures: If you look closely you can see the early morning sailboat passing by in the first picture. I just liked the clouds and the pool is where I swim when I don't swim in the sea. Up until yesterday the sea was rough and dirty, but calmer now. The last picture is my "computer center".
Wandered thru town today. There is a new hotel on the Malecon called La Mision. It is beautiful and looks like an old Mission. When I was here last it was a pile of rubble and renovation was just beginning. Decorations are up near the old church in the center of town with lots of lights and a stylized Christmas tree made of hoops and lights. I'll have to go over there after dark to see what it looks like.
Life is pretty simple here. Eat, sleep, read, walk, swim, visit, shop. Like home except I don't have to wear so many clothes outside.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Market

Walked over to the Sunday Market this morning and bought 2 chicken hindquarters and fresh vegies and kiwis and dates. The produce looks great and fresh. A lot of peope at the market. The market is spread out in the dry riverbed and they sell produce, meats, fish, clothing and other things. There are several vendors for menudo, tacos, etc. This is the best place to get fresh produce and we look forward to it. Much of the produce comes from the Pacific side of Baja over by Cd. Constitucion and Cd. Insurgentes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Herons and rules of he road

Good morning! Chet and I went for our morning walk down to the estuary at the dry riverbed that separates the 2 parts of Loreto. The main downtown area is across the river from where I am. At the estuary we watched many herons, egrets and pelicans. On the bank was a group of larger dark colored birds warming their wings in the morning sun. I couldn't see them well enough to know if they might have been buzzards. There are lot of buzzards in the desert and in parts of town. We watched sardine size fish darting about in the shallows near the road.

The main route across the riverbed is closed to traffic as a concrete road is being built there. It will be nice to have a nicer driving surface than bare dirt, gravel or sand. I am curious to know how they are building to withstand the Fall floods. It does have a lot of concrete and rebar.

Rules of the road.
Left blinkers and left turns. When driving down here, we were told not to use our left blinker to make a left turn. A left blinker on the Transpenisular Highway means that it is clear for the cars behind you to pass. If you use your left blinker for a left turn you might be T-boned. We used the blinkers a lot to let traffic get past our 4 vehicles (a 5th wheeler, a motorhome, my van and a pickup). We all had CB's and the lead vehicle could tell us when it was clear ahead to "blink them on by". Sometimes we had to wave them on as the blinker signals weren't understood or believed.
If you do want to make a left turn off the main highway, move to the center line and when clear ahead take command of the left lane and go off at an angle as the edges are usually rough and bumpy. In some of the larger towns, there are actually left turn pockets like we usually see. Another way to make a left turn off the highway is to take an access road to the right then turn left to be at right-angles to the highway and when clear go straight across all the lanes to the other side. This is the preferred method to get into Loreto from the North and also Nopolo a resort/golf complex 5 miles south of Loreto at Loreto Bay. Cd. Constitucion is a much larger city and has 6 lanes for traffic. The two on the left and right are one way each direction and the two lanes in the middle are two way. You do not make a left turn from these middle lanes. Again, you go to the outside lanes and go straight across the middle lanes to the other outside lanes or across them depending on where you want to be.
Flashing headlights. While driving you may see an oncoming car flashing headlights at you. This usually means to slow down and watch for some sort of hazard ahead. Hazards are often cattle, horses or goats beside or in the road. Sometimes, there has been an accident or there may be workers beside the road. slow down when "flashed' and watch for whatever hazard there may be.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Settled in Loreto

I am settled into my little home away from home. Went across the dry river and into town yesterday to see what is where. The town is freshly painted after the hurricane. Some businesses have moved or quit others remain the same.
Stopped by to visit friends who live here year round.
Had a lunch at the little cafe near the square. Pleased to find it is still operating. The tree-covered walkway has been finished all the way to the malecon with the pretty red rock designed concrete. There are benches along the way also. Last time here we were stumbling over pot holes on this street. Major construction of some sort happening in the main square. ???
Re-oriented my RV today so I have shade when I am sitting outside. Much better. Am on the sea but so far with the wind and waves have not wanted to swim there. Do enjoy they pool tho.
Sat outside and began to work on some of the weaving projects I brought along.

Monday, December 14, 2009

San Bartolo and drive to Loreto

Had a wonderful little side trip on the drive up to Loreto. Only went to Cd. Constitucion yesterday where I stayed at Palapa 206 RV Park and Motel. Dustin, BajaWinters Guide, came along as far as Palapa 206. He was headed north to San Juanico on the Pacific shore. The side trip was to a Spring at San Bartolo. San Bartolo is a small town a few miles north of Los Barriles and there in the walls of the dry river canyon water spews out out of the ground. It is not a dribble, but flowing streams and pools. The picture I will show you is one of the pools of clear water. Nearby, the city has a building with a pump to collect water. Water flows out of this pool into a man-made rectangular pool where people come to swim and cows come to drink downstream. The oasis is filled with many different trees including a grapefruit. Dustin managed to get a grapefruit out of the tree for us to eat. It was extra sour, but especially nice on a hot day. I recommend this stop if you are driving by.
Had a restful night and left this morning for my drive from Cd. Constitucion to Loreto. It is a drive of about 100 miles and 20-30 miles are in the Sierra Gigante Mtns. I love the beauty of these mountains. The mountain drive is narrow and the old coast highway in Oregon or the highway to Sequoia in California. The rest of the drive is straight and flat. I missed the turn for Loreto in Insurgentes so drove thru the town, asked some construction workers the direction to Loreto. Yep, I had missed the turn. A lot of waving and pointing " It's back that way and over there". Thought I probably had missed the turn when I passed the turnoff to Lopez Mateos (A whale watching place at Magdelena Bay) So, turned around, went back thru Insurgentes, got gas and more directions........." 3 somethings and a roundybout" (all done with gestures and pointing,but it worked). I saw the sign to Loreto and the roundybout with a large scupture in the middle this time. Turns out there was no sign to Loreto when coming from the blew down in hurricane Jimena and hasn't been put back up yet. It is amazing to see how quickly some areas can recover after a storm with restoring power, fixing washouts, etc. A sign to Loreto is probably pretty low on their list of fixes. Midway thru the roundybout I point and holler at a constuction worker: "Loreto?" He hollers back "Si!" and I am on my way. One of my favorite views is just as you drive down the mountain and get a view of the Sea of Cortez with mangrove shores leading to Loreto. Ahhhhhhhhhh, I hope you enjoy the picture as I do.

Am settled into my little home away from home at Loreto Shores Villas y RV Park for at least a month. Come see me and Chet. Loreto has hotels and there are Villas here that can be rented. This park also has a swimming pool.

Adios for now...........time to stretch out and read my book.
ps. Those are goats crossing the highway at a crosswalk.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Playa Norte pictures

Playa Norte is an RV park on the Sea of Cortez in Los Barriles. Pictures show laundry day and laundry helper, wind surfers and this morning's sunrise.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Playa Norte Los Barriles swim

Went for a swim this morning in Sea of Cortez here at Playa Norte. Wind and waves were just coming up so went for a swim before the sky and sea fills with surf riders. The water was warm. Took a bit to figure out how to get into the water with the surf, but I managed to go in backwards and backstroked out. Waited for the "perfect" wave and body surfed back onto the beach when I was ready to get out.

Washed a load of clothes and hung it out to dry. Doesn't take long to dry in the warm wind.

The Tamale/Empanada vendor came by and I bought a chicken tamale for lunch. It was delicious filled with chicken, potatoes and a pepper.

There is wi-fi here and I am able to get a signal from my camp site so am outside on the beach with Chet and checking my email, etc.

Tomorrow I will drive to Cd. Constitucion at stay at Palapa 206 RV park and Motel, then drive on to Loreto Monday where I will stay thru January. I'll be staying in Loreto Shores Villas and RV Park there.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dec 7 - 11 Guerrero Negro to Los Barriles

Dec 7 & 8 Santispac Beach on Bay of Concepcion
Spent two nights dry camping on Santispac Beach on Bay of Concepcion. This bay is beautiful and on drivebys, I have seen campers on the shore and have wanted to do that. Went swimming here. The first dip was cool, but fine after that. Not just fine, but Wonderful! Chet had a few swims too while fetching sticks. That is our guide Dustin in the hammock and his dog LaLa in the water with Chet. LaLa is not a swimmer, but she likes to steal sticks and after stealing a stick out of Chet's mouth, he would just drop them for her to take.
Once we got over the mountain range from Guerrero Negro it was warmer and I put on my shorts.
The drive from Guerrero Negro is long and straight for the first 80 miles or so with just a couple gentle bends in the road. On the drive we passed thru the 3 Virgins volcano area with a lot of lava hills. Roads are being widened here and there and make for easier driving. Baja got Federal Highway money and have been building new higher bridges to withstand the Tropical Storms that occur in August and September. I asked about the airport in Guerrero Negro and it doesn't seem to be for regular flights, just private charters and such. The town of Guerrero Negro is named after a ship of same name that sank here years ago. The name means: Black Warrior. The hotel Malarrimo is named after one of the local bays. If I remember correctly, it means: Bad Entrance. The Malarrimo Bay has an estuary at one end and strong currents at the other. Thus; the name Bad Entrance.
We finally reached the mountains and it is a winding road up to the summit and a steep descent to the shores of the Sea of Cortez. Going down the Baja, Highway 1 moves back and forth from the west side to the east side. Each time you drive across Baja you have to drive a narrow winding road up the mountains to a summit and then descend on a narrow winding (curva peligroso! the signs say) road to the other side.

Dec 9 Santispac Beach to Ciudad Constitucion
We are in a Motel and RV park named Palapa 206. I will go along with the group to the end at Los Barriles, stay a few day and drive back north to Loreto where I will stay thru January.

Dec 11 Arrived in Los Barriles yesterday afternoon. This RV park sits right on the Sea of Cortez and I can watch the ocean and sunrises from my spot. Have spent a lot of time the past couple days getting my Mexico phone re-activated. Still a few more things to do once I get back to my calling area in Loreto. The computer for the service I want "was down" in LaPaz. Supposedly, I can complete the function by phone in Loreto. With this service I can call 5 preprogrammed International for a low fixed rate in 15 minute blocks of time. Can also do up to 25 Telcel customers in Mexico for same price.
Chet and I just had breakfast on the beach and now I will try and get online to post this message as you haven't heard from me for awhile.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dec 6 Boojum trees and Boulders
Expected a long drive today to Guerrero Negro (at least 7 hours) so left 7am instead of 8am. One of the rigs was leaking water from their heater so we stopped to repair that. It is nice to be with other people who can help if/when you do have mechanical problems. The road has been widened in some places and easier to drive, but most spots thru the mountains still have narrow lanes and no shoulder. This drive is need to pay attention at all times as the teeniest lapse in concentration may send a wheel over the edge.
Today's scenery was spectacular! We drove thru the Baja Badlands filled with Boojum Trees and huge huge boulders. I need to learn the geological reason for all these boulders. Again, as with the ones near Tecate, many were larger than my van and they are strewn across the countryside or piled into hills. Boojums look like an upside down green fuzzy carrot with flowers sprouting at the top. An appropriate description I heard: "They look like Dr. Seuss trees" and Yes!, they do.
We changed time here in Guerrero Negro to Mountain Time and also entered a different state. We have been in B.C (Baja California) ,the northern State, and are now in B.C.S (Baja California Sur), the southern State.
We are staying at the RV park behind the Malarrimo Hotel. It is a fine campground as is the hotel. Wi-fi is available here. The restaurant is known for delicious seafood dinners. We will be meeting together for dinner inside tonight. Also, the hotel is the place to stay if you want to take a whale watching tour. Tours are arranged here and leave by bus for whale watching and return you to the hotel. I took a tour when here before and had a baby whale come next to the boat. Exciting! I believe you can find the hotel and tours online to make reservations in advance. There is an airport here and you could probably even fly down, but I don't know about that.
We change guides here. Our leader will return North tomorrow and his son will take us the rest of the way to Los Barriles.

Dec 5. Beach at El Pabellon RV Park
Miles and miles and miles of sandy beach and less than a dozen people in sight. Six of us and a couple fishermen, some campers and a clam digger. Between the campground and the beach you had a short walk over some dunes and then onto the flat firm-packed sand at the Pacific Ocean. The beach slopes gently into the water and does not have the drop-off at water's edge I have seen elsewhere.
The RV Park has full hookups with 15 amp service. There are restrooms and showers and hot water. Other sites have a sink with running water (looks like a fish washing stand). Or you can just find a spot next to some trees and nestle in out of the wind. It is a safe place to stay. Beginning a few miles south and several miles down the coast, the Pacific beaches are unsafe (subject to burglery and/or maiming).
We spent time walking the beach. Chet had a fine time exploring. As an elder, he is slowing down and doesn't run full speed anymore, but still loves to see his world.
Brought our chairs and had a pot-luck and margarita's around the campfire. Then off to bed to sleep to the sound of surf.

Dec. 4 Tecate, Estero Beach and La Bufadora

December 4, 2009
Tecate. The town and border crossing....not the beer. Plans changed by our Wagonmaster early this morning. With tightening of security at the border, he was concerned if one of us were stopped and inspected we might get separated and lost in Tijuana. So, he opted to drive to a smaller simpler crossing and that was at Tecate. I have been thru security in Tijuana and know it can be difficult to navigate thru the city and was pleased with the decision.
Highway 3 south from Tecate took us thru wine country, road construction and big boulders erupting from the ground. The highway crew was moving boulders larger than my van out of the new roadway. The new highway will be wonderful when completed and looks like it might even be 4 lanes. The drive to Ensenada was about 100 miles and nearly 20 of that was under construction for the new road. Looks like the new road will remove most of the curves.
We drove thru Ensenada to Estero Beach RV park and hotel. It is a beautiful tree shaded park beside an estuary filled with birds. Across the bay, in the distance, we could see a peak and if you drive around the bay and beyond the peak, you come to La Bufadora. La Bufadora's attraction is a water spout that erupts with the incoming waves (like the Spouting Horn at Depot Bay). It also has many many shops along the one street leading to the spout. We seemed to be about the only tourists there and most of the shops were closed. Our guide said it is usually crowded with tourists. Sad, but the spraying water was beautiful. We could hear the water rumbling as it came into rock tunnels beneath us and then sprayed. Sounded like "talking".
The six of us had a good dinner and conversation at the hotel.
Tomorrow will be a short drive to another beach, then a long day to Guerro Negro the next day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dec. 3 Meeting caravaners

Spent Wednesday with final odds and ends before leaving US. Converted dollars to Pesos at a Costco. Bought grub. Flushed and refilled my water tanks to get rid of the bleach I had added. Met the wagon master and the others who will be traveling with me. There are 3 RVs, 5 people, plus our leader. The leader, John of Baja Winters, will be driving a pickup to give him flexibility to respond to any problems. We will change leaders half-way and John's son Dustin will take us the rest of the way to Los Barilles. My plan is to spend a couple months in Loreto, but may travel with the group to Los Barilles and return to Loreto after I see what RV accomodations are available beyond Loreto.
First night out will be at an RV resort near Ensenada with side trip to La Bufadora.
The KOA RV park here in Chula Vista is full-service with spaces for RVs and tents. A lot of Kamping Kabins are here too. The dog walk area is special. It is an off-leash fenced area with teeters, benches, ramps, swinging toys, jumps and tunnels just for pets (people can't play with the toys. There are other playgrounds for them). This park has a lot of full-sized shade trees and is pretty. Downside is freeway noise, but doesn't bother me. Had a helicopter overhead last evening. Perhaps it was one of the traffic watchers.
Am anxious to be over and beyond the border. We leave the park at 8am tomorrow.
Don't know when I will next have access to internet, but will post when I can.