Baja!

Baja!
Baja!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Howdy!

Well it certainly has been a very long time since I've posted anything! But we've been on a merry-go-round down here in the baja and I'm finally having some much needed chill time to get a bunch of things taken care of that have been on my "to do" list for far too long. About half of our town has cleared out to go back home, most of the people down here are snowbirds, arriving in December and leaving in April. May just happens to have the best weather down here and I am thrilled that we're able to stay and experience it. Highs are in the low 80's and the lows are in the low 70's - perfecto! We've also had a lot less wind making for some awesome paddle days on the sea. Our days are filled with cooking, exercising, gardening and chilling...and the evenings seem to be filled with goodbye dinners and get-togethers with friends who are staying. Of course, there's a bit of hanging out at the tiki bar, steps from our house, as well...

During Semana Santa - the week before Easter, all of the Mexicans flood to the beach where they camp out, up and down the Baja - even in Los Barriles people came out to set up camp. Bill really wanted to share in their experience and when our friend Darlene mentioned she was interested too we decided, on the spot, to go get our camping stuff and set up camp, right on our beach in front of our house and the tiki bar...kind of like kids camping in their backyard! I had found a pic of a great firepit online the week before and Bill decided he needed to make one and started digging. Fortunately a younger Mexican guy came and asked what he was doing, Bill showed him the pic and he asked if he could help! During the day we had a couple of others come out and help and it ended up being pretty epic! We didn't sleep in the tent but all of our waking hours for 3-4 days were spent right there on the beach. Our neighbors to the right of us made us a fabulous breakfast one morning and it was just an amazing experience!!
Lalo - who was from San Jose del Cabo, created the beautiful driftwood fire sculpture in the middle!

photo thanks to Darlene!

We've participated in a bunch of fundraisers down here...the gringos spend a lot of time and energy raising funds for the local Mexicans. From paying for scholarships for the kids to go to jr and sr high school to repairing their dorms, giving quad rides to the kids from the orphanages and just a slew of activities. Twice a year is the Baja Hahaha golf tournament - held in the arroyo, in the sand...on your quad - instead of a golf cart, what fun!

photo thanks to Peace Blossom
It's been 6 1/2 months since we arrived, back in October, and we've fallen even more in love with Los Barriles. Our little casita suits us so well, that we've committed to rent it for the next year and will be able to leave some of our stuff here when we escape the summer heat for a couple of months. Figuring out what to leave and what to take will be difficult, but being back in the U.S.A. it will be easy to pick up anything we really need.

Last month we started a Spanish class twice a week with 10 others. The class was taught by an English speaking woman and a Mexican woman, who works in the town library and does not speak English. They have been teaching this class together for 13 years. It is really wonderful to be able to hear the local Mexican dialect and slang. The class was taught in a completely different manner than any other language class I have taken. The method is known as teaching the 6 Power Verbs. It's really fantastic and we've progressed rather quickly to the speaking stage. It's a very different way to learn a language. Instead of trying to translate what you want to say, you figure out what you know in Spanish and how to use those words to express what you want to say...it's a subtle difference but it really works. Our class ended last week but Bill and I are meeting with the teacher weekly for lunch and Spanish conversation to try and keep our skills up. Hope we don't lose too much when we leave.

Figuring out when to leave has been in a constant state of flux. We originally figured that our 6 month visa starting mid-October would cause us to have to leave by mid-April, but after being here awhile we noticed that people fly to the US, mid-winter to renew their visas, setting a new 6 month clock. Bill flew out to see his mom in Florida in January, so he doesn't have to be back in the states until the end of July and I flew to California to celebrate my dad's birthday the end of February, so I don't have to come back until the end of August. This gives us so much more flexibility that we decided to stay down here as long as we could handle the weather - thinking mid July. But then I heard that the Tahoe campground where we've workamped the last few years was expecting us back in a couple of weeks! Whaaaaaaaat?! Seems the manager is not quite as on top of things as he'd expected to be and is terribly short-handed, so since we were planning to visit Tahoe anyway, we thought we'd go up and help them out. We're paying rent down here at the casita during the summer, so our minimum wage job, a couple of days a week, will help out with some of our summer expenses in the U.S. Then there is the fact that we no longer have an RV to live in! We've still got to figure all of that out, but we have friends who love us and are willing to help us out for a bit...stay tuned to see how that all works out!
Mama turtle burying her eggs.
One of the things I really love is the wildlife around here. We live in a zoo! The cows, horses, goats, dogs, and mules all roam free and are frequently sited...the birds are active right now and creating a riot of tweets, so many different sounds and colors! We have snakes (1 rattler), scorpions, cockroaches (not too many), geckos and even iguanas. The critters all keep Bill very active with his catch and release program.



Bill's enjoying a little break from his daily volley ball game, rather I should say, his shoulder is enjoying the break. Great group of people - here's a pic of some of the cast of characters.


And now for the big news! I am going to become a grandma! Yes, my first-born, Lauryn, is pregnant and due in December. She just turned 31, May 1st, and is in love with Jon, a great guy she met in LA. I got to meet him and spend some time getting to know him when I was in southern California in February. They've just had their second ultrasound and everything seems to be going according to plan. There are some pretty serious medical issues to deal with, but the odds are in her favor for a healthy bambino. I've been in contact with Jon's mom, Theresa - they live in New York and seem like really good people. It's been quite the year for Lauryn - I'm super proud of where she is today and all she's accomplished. She'll be a wonderful mother and has always loved being around children.

Bill's mom turns 90 in August, so we have plans for a little family reunion in the Tampa area and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again. Madeleine, Bill's daughter who lives in London, will be there and his son, Will, who lives in Key West will be driving in too. Bill's brothers are coming and maybe some cousins as well.

I love our life here in Los Barriles and am already feeling a little sad to leave, but the gypsy in me can't wait to get on the road again to go visiting and especially get back to Tahoe, my other favorite spot in the world. Life between Baja and Tahoe ain't bad....ain't bad at all...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

GARLIC!!!!

ANNOUNCEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ANOOOUNCEMENT- my husband, Bill Kasson, is BAD ASS!! Last spring I found this amazing vegan jalapeno garlic spread called Majestic Garlic at Clark's Nutrition in Palm Desert and fell in love; deep, deep, everlasting kind of love. We bought about 6 of them and brought them up to Tahoe for the summer. All summer long we looked for it - wrote to the company, called stores, went to just about every Whole Foods...at one of them the clerk whispered that she had heard of it from people in the southern Ca stores, but that they didn't have it.

I tried to make it in our Vitamix and broke the sauce :(  On our travels down to Mexico this fall we stocked up and practiced freezing a few of them, which worked pretty good but we had limited space. Last week we finished the last tub and it was very sad and quiet when we each took our last bite of bagel dripping with sauce, spinach, tomato & salt & pepper. Bill mentioned that maybe he would try to make it, so I went right to the computer and found this site where there are video instructions to make TOOM.

On my way home from yoga yesterday I picked up a ton of fresh garlic (unfortunately we only have the purple variety down here which they talk about being a bit too strong for this). Today on my way home I picked up fresh baked bagels from Joe's Deli and then Bill, equipped only with a mini KitchenAid food processor went to town....and he brought home the big one folks! That sauce making class at LTCC paid off and of course, just his amazingness in the kitchen!!

YUM!


There will be updates and improvements...adding some other flavors, but the basics are there and we are happy dripping in our oilicky, garlic stench. 
We may have to keep our distance from others today!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Crossing the border...

Hola! We crossed the border at Tecate - and so quickly that we didn't even get our tourist visas (FMM) stamped! They just waved us through, so we went! After a block or so we realized we had definitely passed the place to get it stamped, so we turned and went back to the border and I got out and walked over to find out where to get this done. There is really no easy place to park and accomplish this before crossing, but we'll have to look closer next time. It was a super easy and fast crossing spot! Before we knew it we were on Highway 3 towards Ensenada through the "Ruta del Vino de Baja" - wine country! All of a sudden we realized we were passing wineries, and we needed to use los servicios (the bathrooms), how auspicious. Bill did something very out of character and instead of just stopping on the side of the road to pee, he pulled into a winery! One of the things that really bothered me during our four years of rv-ing was the fact that we never stopped at "attractions" along the highway. I would notice something and there was no way we could stop fast enough and most of the time impossible to turn around. Driving our truck has made this much, much easier, and even though it's not in Bill's nature to do this he knows it's something I enjoy and is making an effort!

We got a very late start leaving the U.S. as we were waiting to see if our new license plates for Bessie (our truck) had arrived at my parent's house. Once we heard they had not, off we went, as we were not going to wait another day. We had our old license plates, from the Subie, and just put those on the truck once we crossed the border so we wouldn't attract attention to ourselves at the numerous "check points" along our route. We crossed about 2pm and immediately turned our clocks back as daylight savings time occurs a week earlier in Baja. We realized pretty quickly that if we tried to make it to San Quintin we'd be driving in the dark - breaking the #1 rule of driving in Mexico. Yeah, so we'll just take care of breaking the rules right from the start!

I still had my old unlocked ATT iPhone 4s with the Mexican sim card I used last winter. I had gone online and loaded it with minutes and 3gigs of data before we left so when I turned it on after we crossed the border I was in business. Bill's new (to us) ATT iPhone5, that we had bought unlocked on Craigslist a few weeks earlier, did not work at all and we got a "sim card error" notice. We were pretty upset, thinking that maybe we had been ripped off and that it wasn't truly unlocked, but after spending a couple of frustrating hours searching the internet for an answer I finally sent AT&T an unlock request. The next morning I had a response confirming that it was unlocked and the steps to get the phone up and running - PHEW!

We stopped for the night at Hotel Jardines Baja, where we had gone with Sini and Bob last year to celebrate my birthday. The grounds are beautiful and the hotel is very nice, clean, about $45/night and most importantly safe for Bessie as she was loaded with our kayaks, bikes and just about everything we own.

Getting to this lovely spot was quite the challenge, though. The last time we were here, Bob had driven his cool Jimmy with the top down and we were only vaguely aware of where we were. The only directions I could find online were that it was 3 miles south of Lazaro Cardenas. Now if you were driving during the daylight you might actually see the sign for the restaurant. We actually did see it in the dark, because we were creeping along looking for it, the problem was that the sign was at the former entrance from Hwy 1, which has since been closed! A temporary (dirt) entrance had been improvised by the owner a couple hundred yards north of the entry road and the sign making it extremely difficult to get onto in less than 3 u-turns! Luckily Bill had seen someone turn off the road, ahead of us, and had an idea of where to go. The two other cars ahead of us that had pulled off to the side looking for a way to get to the road 10 feet below the highway weren't so lucky. Wow - that was difficult, but oh so possible in Bessie!

Our drive the next day brought back a sea of good memories from our last trip when we left the Escapees travel group and headed south on our own with Sini and Bob. Everything was incredibly green after all of the summer storms and Bill was really enjoying driving Bessie around the windy roads. We got an early start and drove about 8 hours, the second day. We were hoping to make it to Mulege or Playa Santispac before dark but Bill had driven all day and was ready to stop for the night in Santa Rosalia at Las Casitas hotel It had gotten good reviews on TripAdvisor - it was a little more pricey than the night before, but safe parking and a really beautiful little spot on the Sea of Cortez.

We had a two hour drive to get to Santispac where we were originally going to spend a couple of days but we both were getting very anxious to get to our destination, unpack and stop traveling! It seems as if we had been working hard all summer just to get to this point which was finally within reach. We did stop at Santispac to see what ravage hurricane Odile had spent there and to check in with Carlos at Anna's restaurant and John who had his 5th wheel trailer parked a few feet from the water's edge. Carlos had gifted us each t-shirts when we were there last February and we had brought him one from Burning Man. They had lost the palapa over the restaurant and were in the process of rebuilding. John's rv had been moved back about 15" from where it had been by the winds, but his palapa was intact and hadn't really had much other damage, amazingly enough! John was the super cool guy who had loaned us his kayaks to take out while we were there for 10 days, last February.

We got back on the road about an hour later and had a pretty easy drive all the way into Los Barriles where we arrived to a dark town around 6:30 p.m. It seems they had lost power about an hour before so we were greeted by Tessa in the dark to view the place that was to become our home for the next six months. The bed was made up and we had easy access to food so we got situated and then went up to Tessa's balcony to get acquainted. She is a lovely person and our personalities and lifestyles are well matched. She is WFRV - whole foods, raw vegan and has a large organic garden. She knits for a living and sells her stuff online and at the weekly organic farmers market in San Jose del Cabo. She has also offered to bring us back weekly fruits and veggies from there!

We spent the last week unpacking and getting settled in. Yesterday felt like the first day of really living here. We finally made it out to the sea for a paddle - me on my SUP and Bill in his angler's kayak where he hooked two and caught one, and although nothing came home with him it's the most success he's had fishing in a long time!  Later I had a continuing education class online for a couple of hours, amd then a teleconference with a client, while Bill made us a yummy vegetable soup. We ended up going over to the Lazy Daze bar where a big birthday party was going on and met a bunch of people, found out one of the cakes was vegan and got invited to join a group going over to the Las Palmas hotel today to hang out at the swim up bar. And this afternoon we received in invite to a neighborhood party - so we're settling in quite nicely and are really loving our life. It feels so good to both of us to have a nice big kitchen to cook in and to just sit for awhile.






Thursday, October 30, 2014

Catching up!

Hmmm....I wonder how many times I've used this blog title! To catch you up to speed - we had a wonderful visit with my daughter, Lauryn. She did my hair and we went to an AA meeting with her to celebrate her 1 year sober birthday. She spoke at the meeting - actually led the entire meeting and spoke for 25 minutes. She was eloquent, thoughtful, funny, emotional and I was (and AM) so very, very proud of her. The support in that room was overwhelming. Afterwards people shared - some about what she spoke about and some about themselves and their journey. One younger girl said "I want what you've got." And it struck me that I remember Lauryn saying the same thing early on in her recovery. She's in a good place, has a great job, is working on a second career as a personal trainer and has surrounded herself with really good people. PHEW!



My sister, Joanne, my mom and my nephew's girlfriend.
After L.A. we drove down to Dulzura, very, very southeast San Diego, just a hop, skip and jump from the Mexican border at Tecate, where our friends Jeanette and Dennis were hanging out. We had a much needed few days of R&R and Dennis helped me figure out a few things with my computer. We cooked together, sat around the campfire, got some work in, did some laundry and had the master suite to indulge in after all of our tent camping adventures. It just wasn't long enough, but my sister and her family, from Nome, Alaska, were visiting my parents and my brother had planned a family dinner - so off we went to join in. There was no room to stay at my mom and dad's house with my sister's family there so we went to stay close by at my Uncle's house, which was empty. 
With my brother, Richard, a great chef, who made
us a yummy vegan meal!



We went to Living Waters Spa to celebrate our 5th anniversary and spent the night there, for the first time. We indulged in one of their signature couples massages and just lounged around - taking a break from the October 15th tax deadline I was working against. We went back to Palm Desert for about a week and then set out to camp for a few days in Joshua Tree. My parents have had a home in Palm Desert for 25-30 years and even before that, they rented down there every winter and not once had I ever been to Joshua Tree - it was time!
Our wedding, 5 years ago on top of Round Hill, Stateline, Nevada
We scored a great campsite (good to go mid-week) at the Jumbo Rocks campground and did a couple of long hikes. The weather was perfect and we ended up meeting a great couple on our way out. 





About a week prior to this I woke up one morning with a start, realizing that we couldn't just go down to Mexico whenever we wanted, if we wanted to stay until the end of April - on a tourist visa you are limited to 180 days. Add into that the 4-5 days travel time to get up and down the peninsula and we only have 170 days! Time to reschedule and extend our leave date! By this time we had moved into my parents home and quickly realized we could not stay there another week. Bill was doing some searching on the internet for rentals and other options in the area while he was also playing around on Facebook. All of a sudden he noticed an ad for the Armed Forces Vacation Club - don't you just love how they know EVERYTHING you're doing?! Usually those things totally creep me out, but this time, we scored! Got a great condo, in a super area for $299 for the week. So off we went, moving, once again. We got a lot done in those three weeks in Palm Desert - I finished off tax season and got a couple of other work related things out of the way so that by the time we left I was done with work for a couple of months.
One of the two tent sites at Fiddler's Cove in Coronado.

We left Palm Desert and headed south to San Diego where we camped for 4 nights on Coronado in the newest  military campground. On the way there Bill asked me to check in with Glenn at the RV Connection to see if we'd had any interest in our RV. It had been almost a month since it had gone up on his website and we hadn't heard a thing. Well, guess what?! That was a timely email as they were just getting ready to take it for a test drive with a very serious buyer. Glenn only lets you test drive his vehicles if he knows that's the last step in the buying process - no lookee-loos for him! So we've got a deal in the works, we extended our stay in San Diego a couple of days to get the paperwork all signed. Timing is everything! Had we already left for Mexico this would have been a very difficult process. Today he is wiring the money to our bank to pay off the loan and Friday I believe we will be officially homeless, for one day, as our rent on our little casita starts Saturday, November 1st!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On the road again....

Loaded and ready for....

The Beacon with our besties...when and where will we meet next?!
Lunch, al fresco, at Daniel's
(our old house)
I believe I've used this title more than once, but it is just so fitting. Our last week in Tahoe was filled with a frenzy of lasts - last dinners and happy hours and storing all those yummy hugs for our many months away from loved ones. We finally caught up with Virginia and Skip, the newlyweds and had a wonderful vegan dinner at their home in Incline; last Thai meal at Orchids with Jen, Brown, the Harts and Marc; last trip to the Beacon with Maria and Brian; and last dinner with my son, Jacob. We bid adieu to our home for a couple of weeks, generously provided by our friend, Suzanne, and Daniel made us a yummy lunch bowl on our way out of town. We'll miss Tahoe and the wonderful people there, but know we'll be back in a blink.


Bill had made reservations to spend the night in the lodge at Sierra Hot Springs. We have been there many times - for the day and for camping, but we have never stayed in the lodge, so that was a real treat. They have a community kitchen there - you can use their fridge and they have little cubbies you can label to store your non-perishables. We also brought our cooler in and left it there for easy access. They have two complete oven/stove/counter/sink workstations so several people can prepare their meals at once. It's a lovely place we keep coming back to, over and over again. The meditation pool was our first stop and we closed our eyes in the lovely pool under the setting sun, just enjoying the simple bliss. Bill surprised me the next morning with a 90 minute, much-needed massage before we took off for Spencer Hot Springs, our next stop.

Spencer Hot Springs is just outside of Austin, Nevada. When we started full-timing, back in July 2010, this was our first stop after we left Tahoe Valley Campground. Amazingly enough it was almost 4 years to the date of our last visit. This drive, in our truck, was just a bit easier, over the 7 miles of washboard road, to get there.




Only one night here as we had coveted reservations at Benton Hot Springs. We had wanted to spend 2, or even 3, nights there, but they were completely booked on the weekend, which meant we had to cut our stays short everywhere else - but it was sooooooo worth it!! The Inn at Benton Hot Springs has been around a very long time - it is a B&B, but after being there I'd say the only way to go is camp! The camping sites each have their own private hot springs tub, a picnic table and a firepit. Ours also had a creek running through it that flowed with the same hot springs water. Once we were there we REALLY wanted to stay longer, but alas, no last minute cancellations appeared so we needed to move on.

The drive down hwy 395 was pretty tough, even in our truck. Bill was fighting 30mph head winds and then, cross winds. Before we left Benton he checked the kayaks to make sure they were on tight and was quite dismayed to see we had a major fail with our new rooftop carrier. The forward, passenger side mounting bracket had jumped the roof rail. Luckily I am married to a very handy, man who pulled out his tools and in an hour or two we were all set to go.



Tent camping is quite a bit different than life on the road in Bebe!! Especially these one night stands, they were getting old fast and we were both pretty near exhaustion at this point. The frenzy of emptying our old home (Bebe) and sorting through everything we own to pack up for our next adventure (we didn't know where), coupled with more physical labor of camping had taxed us. As we traveled down the road with no idea where we would stop next Bill suggested that we get a ROOM at a convenient mid-way point between Benton and L.A. - Independence it was! I found a cute little 5 room motel, Rays Den Motel, that proved to be the perfect spot. Right off the highway, with little road noise, a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee pot, free wifi and a desk for me to get some work done.....ahhhhhhhhhh. As I looked around the room, the next morning, I had a fleeting thought that I could actually live here! Homeless and living in a tent on the road does some crazy shit to your mind!!

We packed ourselves up AGAIN and headed south "to where?" we asked each other! Hmmmm....we knew we were going to L.A. to celebrate my daughter's first sober birthday with her, and had received invites from several family members to stay at their homes, but they were all for one night - we were staying 3, and couldn't park on the street or in a hotel parking garage, because our truck was so loaded down we were worried about either theft or the clearance in a garage. I remembered that our full-timing, burner friend, Vaike, was staying at the Thousand Trails (TT) campground about an hour out of town and the idea of spending three nights at one place, even if we had to drive back and forth to LA, sounded oh..so...appealing. And with full hook-ups we'd have electricity and water right at our site. Our TT membership was still good for three more days so we got a reservation, and for the total of $9 we set-up and stayed for 3 glorious days. These days were also filled with friendship, support, warmth, and a tarot reading that lead to quite an attitude change, on my part.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to Vaike and her gracious hospitality!!
Vaike's electric furnace she loaned us for
those chilly nights!
Vaike and Bill around her awesome propane firepit!

Early morning, warming up in the adult clubhouse, replete with pool tables!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Summer 2014 - Tahoe and Burning Man

It's been quite some time since I posted on our blog - since last May, to be precise. I tend not to blog much while in Tahoe as I'm home and busy doing the same stuff we do every summer in Tahoe. We did workamp again at Tahoe Valley Campground and our nomadic friends, Clarke and Elaine, of  the WhatsNewell blog, joined us for the summer. We reunited with our friends from year's past, at the campground and made some new ones, mainly Deb and John, who also full-time, but in a boat in Mexico, when they're not workamping during the summer.

Bill was training for a relay race around Lake Tahoe, with his Zummie (Air Force Academy) buddies, that he had run many times before, but not in the last 10 years. He was an ultra-runner, but after years of pounding his body into the ground the doctors said he could have a hip replacement sooner, or later, if he kept up the running. He chose to stop doing the distance and save his body. So he began his training very slowly and ended up finishing strong! It was a great race, very exciting - right up until the finish and they won their age bracket (under 70), woo hoo!


We spent a lot of time around the campfire with whomever dropped by - Billy, Daniel, our new hash friend, Brown, and Jen. We had a big welcome back happy hour that went until the wee hours of the morning and was graced by our home brewer friend, Ron & his pal Calee, and the brewery crowd - Bob, Jen, Marc, etc, etc, etc! We bought kayaks and a SUP for me and spent some time on the water, we had a hash, and our road besties Brian and Maria showed up in August, for a few weeks, before we all went to Burning Man.
Here's my man, Billy, at the Airport Bar, where we tracked him down!
RV Full-timing friends and co-workampers, Clarke & Elaine, join
my son and us at Steamers

Vegan Sushi at Sushi Pier with Daniel - Damian is THE MAN!

on the water with hash friend, Bloodweiser!

Suzanne, Joe, Jen and us celebrating at Lakeview's First Thurday night concert!

New hash friend, Brown aka Janalese moved to town and found us at the Beacon

Academy buddies got together in the Bay Area!
Daughter's In Arms - Marc, Jen & Robert at the Sky!

Kev came and joined us in Tahoe for a month!!


Steve and Julie - at the Daughter's in Arms concert at Divided Sky

Dinner at Brown's - ACTION SHOT!

Beach day with Cheek & Socs



new RVing friends John and Kristi found us at Tahoe Valley Campground

Maria and Brian hanging with us in Tahoe, again - always happy when we get to see these folks!!

Early entry at Burning Man - Bill taking care of our vents!
Burning Man this year was pretty epic for Bill and myself. We got the opportunity to come in early and help our friends, Sam and Tracy, build the perimeter art lighting around the "Man." What a wonderful experience that was - the community out there was really loving and chill, and totally set the stage for our visit "home." This year we camped with the "Hash Bike Repair Camp" - there were about 50 of us and we had great infrastructure - shower, 2 community chill spaces, gray water tank, fresh water and a kitchen. We were split up into different communal areas within our camp, each one with it's own shade and chill space, so there were lots of options to hunker down or go visiting within the camp.
Working on installing the lights around the man

Sammy! Hard at Work

Tracy and our co-workers


All dressed up for a day on the playa

Shenanigans with the crew


Our camp!

We were the first ones to arrive at our camp - but within a couple of days our early entry crew got in and began the set up. I truly felt as if I had come home - we did a lot of visiting friends and even bumped into people we knew on the playa. Except for a big rainstorm at the beginning, when they actually CLOSED Burning Man for a day to arrivals, the weather was awesome.

Big plans were in the works for us and we knew that our time on the playa would be some of the last days we spent in Bebe (our rv). After ten days on the playa, I began to get anxious about our future "plans," yes I said that dirty word! Our friends Brigid and Andy mentioned that they were leaving a day early to go visit Sierra Hot Springs (our most favorite chill space), and we decided we'd do the same. It was a fabulous idea and we spent two days there soaking in the hot springs and talking about our next adventure in detail.

Four years plus, on the road, has brought us many new experiences, close friends and a lifestyle that really seems to suit our personalities, yet we are exhausted. We first set out on this adventure to try and find that perfect place to eventually move to, and plant some roots. What we found out was that there really is no "one" place. Our favorite spot is, and remains, South Lake Tahoe - everywhere we go gets compared to SLT. After our time in Baja this winter, Baja bumped Cedar Key into third place and that's where we decided we'd like to spend six months this fall and winter. Originally we were set on buying a palapa in one of the little palapa/rv parks on the water, but after much advise and deliberation, we concurred that it was better for us to rent for a season down there BEFORE we buy. The search began in earnest for a spot to rent - we were very late in the game for renting and I was running into one road block after another. Flight reservations were booked to go down and check out a few of the places I'd found, and to take another look at the palapas we had fallen in love with online. We began watching the weather the week preceding the flight and things were not looking good at all. One of the houses we were looking to rent was in Los Zacatitos where there was a 4 mile dirt road to get to the house. With the rain that was expected we quickly changed our compact rental car to a 4wd vehicle. Then we saw the storm brewing south of Baja that was reported to become hurricane strength. On the Friday before we were to leave we had grave doubts we were going to go - even if it was just raining. Looking at houses that were boarded up would not give us a better picture than the online photos. So, Saturday, we cancelled our Sunday flight; Sunday Southwest cancelled that flight and  the hurricane hit the Los Cabos airport right about the time we were to land! The peninsula has been devastated, but luckily Los Barilles seems to have fared better than most other areas.

After our travels down the Baja in Bebe last year, Bill had absolutely no desire to drive her down again. The roads were just too narrow for our big girl and caused Bill too much stress. We've also been out of control with our spending, because of the pace we have set for ourselves. It's a very manageable lifestyle if one doesn't traipse constantly across the country and out of it, visit every pub and vegan restaurant in town and generally live the good life! We needed to SLOW DOWN in many ways and the only way to accomplish all of these objectives was for us to sell Bebe, get out of our big loan on her and figure out a different way to do things. Just HOW we were going to do that remained to be seen. We had lots of options and the last few weeks we've started to narrow them down. Unfortunately mother nature has seen to complicate all of this with hurricane Odile down there.

First things first, we wanted to sell the Subaru. We LOVE our Subie, but are totally over driving a stick - which we bought because it was easy to tow. We also needed something bigger to haul our stuff down to Baja, or wherever else we wanted to go and possibly tow a little trailer.  We finally made it down to Carson City and Reno to begin our search and ended up with a 2009 Chevy Silverado LT, whom Bill has christened Baja Bessie. She's got lots of torque and storage. We had a kayak rack installed and some running boards (aka Nerf bars) so I can get in and out of her a little easier.
Bye, Bye BeBe

Bebe has been getting spruced up and ready to sell. RV Connection in Auburn, who specializes in big rigs is going to sell her for us and will spend about 50 hours detailing her.


Last days in Tahoe with the King Fire burning almost 100,000 acres to date.

Our options are vast, our needs small...stay tuned!