Friday, February 28, 2014

Guerrero Negro to Bahia Concepción

We left early with Bob and Sini in the lead for the 4-1/2 hour drive. 
We fueled up as we left town and were planning to stop half way for Bob to fuel up and a lunch stop. 

This is Bob in front of us. The billboard to the right advertises the Rice & Beans cafe and rv park, 
which I heard was a decent place to stay and eat, as well.

We had been on the hunt for dark leafy greens since entering the country, being warned to stock up as we wouldn't find much as we traveled south.  We stopped for lunch and gas and, Bill went into the mercado and scored big time with what looks like some kind of chard! Unfortunately, we were not so lucky with the gas, as they were out, but super happy we really didn't need it and with Bob's big tank he wasn't too worried either.

We ended up freezing this and using it in our smoothies because the first day we were at the beach a vendor came right to our rv with fresh picked baby spinach!!

A very curvy road, but as you can see, beautifully paved.

Santa Rosalia - pretty little town...maybe next time

Downtown Mulegé where we spent a lot of time getting connectivity, dineros and doing laundry

First glimpse of Bahia Concepción

And here we are....paradise....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whale Watching - February 17th!

After having a productive work day I was definitely ready for a day of some fun in the sun and that we had! We took off in the van with about 10 others for the half hour drive out to the lagoon where we would board a couple of boats that would take us into the lagoon where we could spend a couple of hours watching the 2,000+ whales who come here to mate and bear their children. There were about 12 of us per boat and we took off with our Spanish speaking captain who knew the area well. On radios between the 3 boats our company had out there we were able to place ourselves in the area where the whales were.

Sometimes they were mating and we had to keep our distance, like in this video

And then other times they were all over the boat, one side, then another, then scratching their bodies on the hull - it was amazing how much time they spent with us! Here is a video of Bill petting the whale.

The whales come to you, you do not go to them - so this petting you see is their request from us. It was an experience I will remember forever, so if you have the opportunity - go!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cataviñia to Guerrero Negro

This was a beautiful drive - quite enjoyable for drivers Bill and Bob, as we had not only great paved roads, but a bit of shoulder, as well, for part of the drive. We were lucky to have Bob & Sini behind us who shot some great pics!

Definitely a gringo, and a gray-haired one at that! You can see the nice shoulder we have here.

Crossing the border into Baja California Sur, we changed to mountain time and had to give up any citrus or potatoes to combat the spread of farm diseases and for 20 pesos they fumigate your wheels. We had known about this beforehand so I partially cooked the potatoes we had and stuck them in the fridge.

The view from the front of Sini and Bob's rig - off to a lovely dinner here at
Malarrimo RV Park, Motel, Restaurant and Tours

This was Sini and Bob's fish platter - a lot of food for Mexican pesos!
We weren't able to book a tour to see the whales the next day because they were already full so we decided to extend an extra night and go on Monday. I was actually grateful for the extra day because the wifi is super here. I've been having trouble sleeping (as usual)  so I woke up super early and got on the internet before anyone was up and updated our blog, which can be a pain uploading pictures with slow internet. After a couple of hours I finally hunkered down and got a full days work in. Bill went with Sini and Bob to drive the Jimmy over washboard roads out to the salt flats. 

The coastal lagoon here produces the majority of salt for the world - especially commercial salt, but they produce table salt as well - check out the name of this ship.
De Sal

Monday, February 17, 2014

San Quintin to Cataviñia

This was our first drive "on our own," just the two of us and it was great...our own pace, stopping when we wanted and no useless chatter on the CB. By the way, the cb has been fun, especially handy when we don't have cell service.

We stopped at "Mamas's" place for lunch - this is an historic site on the Baja 1000 - Mama has been greeting off-roaders for years and Bob found out she is 107 and loves to be remembered, so if you stop in, be sure to say hi to Mama and sign the guest book!

This was actually pretty deep for Bebe and the water wasn't the worst of it - just past this you can barely make out one of several huge pot holes that sent us rockin' and a rollin'.

love birds celebrating valentine's day
Bill surprised me with a red rose and a box of chocolates - he's such a romantic and I love it!! And we were finally warm - you can see the difference in how we're dressed! I made some great potato/spinach/black bean nachos for dinner and we rested up for a big driving day in the morning. But before that we took a nice morning hike to see the magnificent landscaping.

More pics from Bob!

Ensenada to San Quintin

Thanks to Bob & Sini again for this pic and a few others
It's pronounced, San Kinteen - not like the prison! We arrived here on February 12th, my birthday! The weather was pretty chilly in Ensenada - about 70 degrees and I think we were all looking forward to traveling south to warmer climes. 

It was a beautiful drive through the wine country - we were still with the group, although we were down from 47 to 25 rigs, we were number three in a group of five. The leader of this group was in a truck camper and moved quite a bit faster than the rest of us, but we all managed just fine.

That's Sini and Bob in front of us..

Sini and Ziggy
At this point, we were getting a little tired of the planned group activities and wanted to do a whole lot of NOTHING! I cut up a pineapple and soaked it in a bit of our new Tequila liqueur, Sini whipped up some guac and we "plotzed" (as Sini always tells Ziggy to do!).

I had read about a good restaurant a few miles into town - Bob drove us in the Jimmy, the food was delicious and we had fun.


Happy Birthday to ME!

We stayed 2 nights here and this is where the official Escapees trip ended. There were about seven of us traveling further south. 

Ensenada Happenings...

Thanks to Bob Schmitt for a few of these pics!

I can't believe it's been a week already! It's really flown by - mostly due to the pretty tightly packed schedule of the group and the amount of time it's taken to get all of our internet and phone issues worked out; which we've ALMOST done!

Durango firefighter is 2nd from left, to the right
of him is the Director of Tourism (or something like that!),
and Bob is on the right.
As I mentioned before, a big component of this trip is bringing money and goods to where it's most needed in Ensenada, with an emphasis on orphanages. All told, we raised over $7,000 from the 47 rigs, in addition to tons of clothing, school supplies and personal hygiene articles. This is all in addition to the $30,000 in fire department equipment, which made the Ensenada newspaper, complete with pictures.

We hopped on the buses again and went to see La Bufadora, one of the three blowholes in the world. We stayed for lunch and on the way back we stopped at an orphanage and delivered some donations. We were gone for a very long time and then there was yet another happy hour (one can never be too happy!), a pot luck dinner, silent & live auction and a raffle. Are you getting the picture here?? I'm exhausted just writing about it. But, of course, there are trade-offs to everything. For about $500 we got 11 days of camping, two meals, a drink each, copious instructions, and much hand-holding. Caravans of this sort can cost as much as $4000-$5000. The Escapees do it beautifully, and make you feel good about your visit in the process. Anyway, back to the raffle - we won!! Pot was $440 - half went to charity and half to us. When I was handed the cash, I was told that most people give it right back, and I said that I would speak to my husband. The raffle was going on during the live auction. Immediately after we won the raffle a bottle of tequila liqueur went up for auction and Bill jumped up and bid $220 - everyone laughed and he got a big round of applause. He has such style, that man! Afterwards quite a few people came up and complimented him, saying that they had never seen the "give-back" done quite like that.

On the Tour Bus
La Bufadora 
 I had gotten quite a bit of work done while we were in Ensenada and was happy about that. Some of my clients are getting their information into me early and I really appreciate being able to spread the work out over the next two months. Sini and I went into town one day to get "mani-pedis"- things are done a little differently here - no top or bottom coat, no lotion or massage, good nail polish and we did get a nice mango scrub. It was very reasonably priced and at a "Med-Spa," but unfortunately, the manicurist had a bad cold and in the middle of my pedicure, and after Sini's manicure, she finally put on a mask - hoping that we don't come down with anything.

I made a trip into town on my own, as well, and went to a huge supermarket. I went to check out the bread, which Mexico is famous for, and it all looked great. Big, beautiful rolls tossed into bins that I thought you picked up and just put into your basket. As I went to leave the area a girl came running up to me and gave me a huge metal platter that I was supposed to put all the bread I wanted to buy on, then you bring it to the counter and with these huge tongs they put your bread into different sized bags, staple it up and slap a receipt with the price on it....ok got that one! Next I went looking for Tofu. I had seen it in Walmart, but I really didn't want to spend any money there, and this place was so huge I thought for sure they'd have it, but didn't see it anywhere. I finally got brave and asked a woman who was working in the dairy section "donde esta la tofu?" Pretty good, eh?! Well, it was good enough and I got my tofu! For those of you that are wondering...we used the water at the rv park in Ensenada, except for drinking, but it did go to our ice maker. Bill is also washing all of the fruits and vegies in a bleach solution and so far we've not had any problems. He also has a special water filter at the hose bib to take care of the bugs and another one coming into our house to take care of the taste.  The only thing we haven't been able to find that is pretty important to us are dark, leafy spinach or kale to be found - yet, anyway.

Dancing with the mariachi band leader at the welcome dinner.

The pool and spa for the "RV" part of the resort.

I've done some soul searching here. On the bus ride over, our tour guide was giving us instructions on the best way to bargain with the shop owners. It was fun, and a good perspective from a native. I don't usually buy things in touristy areas as I feel the prices are much higher there. While walking through the stalls at the site of La Bufadora and having many of the shop workers come out to try to entice us in, I reverted to my "no gracias" and kept walking, even though I did see a thing or two that caught my eye. This is due, not only because of the pricing, but I live in an rv where I don't have room for "stuff" and I am really watching my money. But one of the workers yelled out to us "I really need your money" - I laughed at the time, and said to myself, I really need my money! The workers comment has stuck with me for days now - we've been in a real "giving" mode, with our focus on the orphanages and such, and I started to see that even the little I have can make such a difference to someone who is really struggling. I am now ashamed of my reaction to his comment and wish I had spent a little something there. It's a different place and I have to be more open to the mores of the area.

Farewell Ensenada Dinner - they made us a special vegan meal!