Feb 2014, Part 2

                                               Oranges for everyone

Day 10 takes us inland to the farming belt of Baja and Ciudad Constitucion. A nice short drive past farmland and orange groves with our usual fuel stop and grocery shop finds us arriving to Palapa 206 by early afternoon. The weather is hot; we quickly set camp, put groceries away and divide up a big bag of oranges that someone bought along the roadside at the fuel stop. Relaxing in the shade was the activity of choice as there is really nothing to do here unless Nigel has his Baja Buggy available for rides around the property and today he did not. A couple of big ant holes kept the guys busy trying to keep the ants from traveling to the rigs.

  One of Baja’s beach paradises

The night was cool and we awoke fresh for our big driving day to the beach. Our journey takes us to the largest city on Baja, La Paz, capital of Baja South. We drive through the city to get to the Playa El Tecolote.  If the ferries are in at the docks at Playa Pichlingue, the roads are heavy with traffic but today was fairly quiet.

First glance of Playa Tecolote (owl beach), brought comments like, “it’s beautiful” and “it’s just like the Carribean”. This not surprising because it has been described as one of the most beautiful beaches on Baja.

It's all work, Work WORK, at Tecolote.

It’s all work, Work WORK, at Tecolote.

We spent Day 11& 12 here filling each with swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, sunbathing, walking, sipping margaritas and dining at one of the beach restaurants. Our stay here was on a Wednesday and Thursday which made for a quiet time for us. We had the beach to ourselves aside from two families who arrived for a couple of hours one afternoon.

The dogs had fun together chasing and swimming. Our puppy Grady learned to swim, hopefully he remembers how when we get on the next beach.

During an evening walk in the dark we came upon our Patrick & Ruth sitting out sipping wine and listening to soft music under the starry sky. They invited us to join them; we had a nice visit together.

Our last evening was spent having a potluck and sitting around the Ed fire. To make it more special Kevin created a song representing the group and Baja Amigos. The group enjoy each others company and now the song “We’re going on a Baja holiday” will be a keepsake.

    From beach to desert

From the beach to the high desert Day 13 takes us to Ranch Verde RV Haven located on a 3100 acre ranch in the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains.

The church at El Triunfo

The church at El Triunfo

 

A cute remodelled home in EL Triunfo

A cute remodelled home in EL Triunfo

It is always with pleasure we stop with the group at the really cute town of El Triunfo for a walk around this former mining town nestled in the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. Here we took in a visit to the church, a couple of gift shops, a walk through the ruins of the mine and its massive chimneys, and brunch at the El Triunfo restaurant and bakery. This is always a relaxing stop.

The RV park at Rancho Verde is tranquil a refreshing break from the beach.

After setting camp some of our travelers went off on their own to a near by beach town to check out a possible place to drop off for a month. The rest of us took advantage of the quiet forest by relaxing and bird watching.

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Tim has been listening to the Olympic hockey games and giving us regular updates via our radios. Another report that we keep getting is weather news from back home;  snow and cold weather especially for the Canadians amongst us.

The Cabos

Day 14, an early start takes us around the East Cape to the Pacific ocean. On route we stopped at the Tropic of Cancer for a walk around and group photo. The easy drive takes us through San Jose del Cabo and onto Cabo San Lucas our destination for 3 nights. Firstly we get our grocery shopping done then on to Villa Serena RV Park.

 

Cabo has a strangely lingering effect on some explorers.

Cabo has a strangely lingering effect on some explorers.

San Jose del Cabo is a busy Mexican city with resorts lined up along the water front but the historic art district gets you away from the hustle and bustle and is well worth the visit. You can wander around the numerous specialty shops, unique galleries featuring artists and artisans from Mexico, cafes and restaurants, visit the church and sit in the main square.  Cabo San Lucas grew from a fishing village in the early 1900’s to the huge tourist centre it is today. You will still find traces of Mexico the further you wander off the beaten track.

Not long after arrival we headed off in the van for a driving tour around town and the harbour, a photo at the the Sunset de Mona Lisa and a stop at the glass blowing factory where some bought pieces of glass;  I really like Elaine’s margarita glasses.

Back at the RV Park we had siesta then for those interested we went to town for the evening to dine at Vagabundo del Mar restaurant. Good food and a good time was had by all. Not too late, around 9 pm. a satisfied giggling group are back to the RV Park, climbed out of the van and disappeared for the night.

For us, we sat around with Dan & Lisa and met Mike & Kelly a friendly happy couple from Kansas who promote Baja Amigos at RV shows.

Day 15, beach day arrives and this morning we are off to Playa Santa Maria for snorkelling, swimming, and shopping on the beach; a few of us ladies bought jewellery from the vendors. This is a nice spot for snorkelling- the fish are abundant and showy.  Judy, Gill and Daine had fun sitting in the sand at the edge of the surf and marvelled like kids when the water washed over them.

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OK, Beach Bums, if you must.

We called it bum surfing. Oh yes we were quite funny but the best show was that of the whales just beyond our swimming beach. They performed back and forth in front of us the whole time we were there..

Back at the RV Park for late lunch then we rested until 3:30 when we departed to Playa Medano for hosted happy hour. Dom prepared his tasty margaritas and Diane provided tasty munchies. Today is Sunday and the beach is full of Mexican families, tourists and vendors. We are in their midst, having a really fun time. The evening was spent quietly as each did their own thing for supper.

Kevin and Gill stayed downtown to do the sites and Dom & I were going to meet them at Latitude 22 for supper but it was closed. No worries we happily returned to the RV park after a very full day for all of us.

Day 16, started with the ladies climbing into the van for a shopping trip to Artesano’s while the men walked over for breakfast to the local restaurant after which almost everyone went for a day in San Jose del Cabo. The historical town is a lovely place to walk around, see the sites, have lunch and shop for what ever.

Patrick and Ruth with their dog Lucy went geo-cacheing instead. They geo-cached a few places on our tour. It sounds interesting. Patty & Ruth will be dropping off here for one month and join the next group in March.  No one wanted to go out so we all did our own thing then got together later around the Ed fire. Dom & I went to bed early and missed the fire circle.

                                                 Turning the corner

Day 17 and a perky group is ready for the day ahead. We said our goodbyes to Patrick & Ruth who will be staying for a month. A very short drive today starts with an easy drive through Cabo San Lucas and a northern trend along the Pacific Ocean to Los Cerritos. Along the way we stopped in at the Blanket Factory where most of us bought a blanket or two, table cloth and other items. We were treated to a snack of sweet buns, an old family recipe baked by Vivianne, Efrain’s wife.

At Los Cerritos Surf Club camp we spent one night and our time there was busily spent on an excursion to Todos Santos where the group walked, enjoyed the sites and had lunch. Later in the evening we went to Pescadero to Las Pasaditas for a hosted traditional Mexican meal. Papas rellenos which is stuffed potatoes (a version of shepherds pie) was the popular meal amongst us tonight and it was worth the wait. Dom & I really enjoy this meal and we talked about it a lot so naturally the group wanted to try it and they were happy they did.

  Carnaval

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We stirred up the tour slightly by taking one less day at the beach and adding a day in La Paz because of Carnaval. It is not often that a tour catches Carnaval; we caught 2 days but will miss the last few days including the parade. Carnaval is equivalent to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

First on our agenda was a visit to Ibarras Pottery where we all bought a sample of the beautiful decorative tableware; the stemless wine glasses are a definite favourite. Dom & I use our glasses all the time and everyone comments and wants to know where we got them. “No problem” I say “You will be going there on your tour”. Afterwards we took a driving tour of the Malecon,city centre and an overlook before returning to our RV’s.

Kevin & Gill stayed in town to see the sites and took a taxi back to the RV Park.

Day 19,our second day took in a walking tour of the historical centre including the Medero Market, Nuestra Senora del Pilar Cathedral, Casa de Goberino Gallery, centro Cultural La Paz, Allende book store, Hotel Yeneka, La Perla Hotel and Casa Del Artesano and the Malecon. Most of us had lunch in one of the many eating places.

Dom & I were finishing our lunch at La Perla when Ed & Judy came by and later Tim & Elaine.

Jim & Vicky joined the group today after a month long stay at Los Barriles after they dropped off of our January tour. It was nice to have them back and they eagerly coached Tim & Elaine, and Gary & Jane who are dropping off this tour to spend a month in Los Barriles.

After our day trip in La Paz we all went back to our RV’s for siesta and at 5:30 we went to town again for a meal at Los Magueyes Restaurant. After a relaxing satisfactory meal we joined the crowds on the Malecon celebrating the opening of Carnaval. We strolled and watched the goings on while wearing our masks. There were lots of food vendors, music, rides and games.

Day 20, the group organized themselves and took their own vehicles to the beach for a few hours. The very capable group came back with funny stories about each other especially over their efforts on the radios while trying to be leaders and followers. Just like kids; isn’t it great!!!!! We all have a lot of fun.

On our last evening here the group organized a no fuss impromptu pot luck which resulted in a delicious array of food created from leftovers. We were also spending our last moments with the four who will not be continuing with us because they will be dropping off tomorrow.

Kevin led in a couple of rounds of our group song ” We’re going on a Baja holiday”

                                                 RV’s and Sailboats

A long driving day takes us back to the Sea of Cortez and the Marina at Puerto Escondido,

sunrise at Puerto Escondido

sunrise at Puerto Escondido

our stop for the day. The day went well; we eased our way through Ciudad Constitution and Ciudad Insurgentes where we stopped for fuel and a lunch break. The glimpses of the blue Sea of Cortez between the craggy Sierra de la Giganta mountains was a sight to behold. “Wow! This is nice” “This is beautiful” are words uttered as we hop out of RV’s. The blue water of the harbour, the surrounding craggy mountains, the sailboats at anchor, the dock, the fish, the birds and the few people mulling around; it is all a package of tranquill beauty.

A few of us went walking with the dogs while others relaxed. Later six of us went for a meal at the Marina’s Porto Bello Restaurant followed with stroll around the area. The evening was mild and the sky black and starry.

A body break view of Bahia Concepcion

A body break view of Bahia Concepcion

I never tire of sunsets and sunrises; this morning I was out with Ed & Tula (the dog), and Kevin & Gill watching the sunrise. After the red horizon with the sailboat silhouettes we turned around to see the glow on the mountain wall opposite the sunrise. Stunning!

                                               Date Palm Oasis

Day 22, and we are off to Mulege and Hotel Serenidad RV Park. Just outside of Loreto the usual military stop was a quick one as they looked over our rigs then sent us on our way. Our short drive passed by Bahia Conception where all the beaches are lined up and our favourite Playa Santispac brought back memories as we had our last look and left it behind us. But, lovely  Mulege awaits our visit. Mulege is a date palm oasis situated at the mouth of the Mulege River.

view from the lighthouse in Mulege, a date palm oasis

view from the lighthouse in Mulege, a date palm oasis

One hour after arrival the group went off in the van for a tour about town including a walk up to the lighthouse, a walk through the remains of the historical Loma Linda Hotel; a going concern in the 60’s then it faded away in the 70’s, the Mission Santa Rosalia de Mulege was closed today but we walked around it, and a stop at one of the grocery stores.

Day 23, our second day in Mulege had us out at 10 am. with a stop at the laundry angel then we all went our own way and spent a couple of hours in town walking, shopping and eating. We met friends in town and they joined us for lunch. Our normal Scotty’s Restaurant was closed today so we ate at Equipales which was quite satisfactory.

After lunch we went to tour the old prison but found it closed. From there we took a drive around the storm battered Orchard development. This is a really cute condo type development where the last tropical storm destroyed a row of homes along the river and caused damage to others in the area.

Once again Kevin and Gill were up to a hike so they walked back to Hotel Serenidad a lengthy but pleasant distance along the river.  The afternoon was spent in siesta, reading, walking dogs, or on the computer; a few of the ladies sat inside in the lobby catching up with e-mails.

Our last evening in this lovely place……..I wonder what we will get up to?

We all went in to buy a big bag of scallops earlier today and tonight we sat together at Wally & Matha’s for a simple meal of bread and garlic butter scallops cooked up perfectly by Matha. At sunset the weather really cooled; Wally disappeared then reappeared wearing his woolen ear flap hat and the rest of us followed suit by putting on warmer clothes. No fire pit tonight though as we all wanted an early night  to be ready for an early start and long drive in the morning.

                                             Our last day in Baja South

Day 24, a sunny cool morning greeted us but by mid morning on our first body break on the road we didn’t need our sweaters or hoodies anymore. A good driving day passed quickly and got us to Mario’s Restaurant and RV Park by early afternoon with wind blowing although not cold it was uncomfortable to be outside. Other Rv’s arrived on their way north or south.  Our group members are swapping books and movies and making plans for a night in with a movie & popcorn. Sounds like a good plan near the end of a busy Baja Amigos 28 day tour schedule.

Not only do we cross into Northern Baja but the time change gives us an extra hour to our day.

We woke up to sunny windless morning and we hope it continues as today we go back to the Sea of Cortez to Brisa del Mar RV in Bahia de los Angeles for Days 25 & 26.

There was lots of traffic on the road today; semi’s and RV’s. Snowbirds are starting their slow journey home. Although we did meet one couple heading south as we will be in a week with a new group.  Other RV’s are in front and behind of us and we wonder if they are going to the same RV Park as we are but upon arrival our usual place is waiting for us and the others went to another RV Park.

Once set up we’re off on a driving tour around town and a photo opportunity at the top of a hill overlooking the blue sea and the contrasting grey brown mountains; beautiful. The town has come a long way over the years. We recall no gas station and having to shop in a very basic grocery store in the dark with only the light that shone in through the doorway. The town ran on generators that were started in the late afternoon and evenings. Compared to then and now there is a big difference. Now there is a another bigger well stocked grocery store, electricity, 2 gas stations and a must see Museum and other interesting artesian shops. Life is simple here and maybe that is its charm. Many Rv’s come every year to the gorgeous Sea of Cortez to relax, enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets, to participate in activities such as fishing, kayaking, hiking, strolling the beach and getting to know the locals- Mexican and Gringo.

A long driving day today took us to Vicente Guerrero where we spent the night at Baja Fiesta Restaurant.  Upon arrival we met 3 RV’s from Dan & Lisa’s group, who had dropped off to make repairs on one of the RV’s.  They will be driving the rest of the way with us.  The hosted meal at Baja Fiesta Restaurant went well; we all enjoyed good food and good company.

                                                Valle de Guadalupe

Day 28, our last full day in Baja and a another fairly long driving day ahead of us but the kilometres passed easily until we came upon a scene on the highway where police officers were working around a body on the side of the road. The discovery must have just happened because the body was not covered and we all saw it as we drove by. Shock and sadness filled us as we completed the drive to Sordo Mudo in Valle de Guadalupe.

Kevin & Gill and Ed & Judy had lunch and said goodbye to everyone. They decided not to stay and made the short drive to the border. There was wind blowing most of the day and here at Sordo Mudo the wind was swirling dust everywhere which spoiled everyone’s first impression of this beautiful spot but by late afternoon the wind left and we spent a nice happy hour/potluck.

The wine tour to L.A. Cetto earlier in the afternoon went well. All enjoyed the tour and the tasting of choice wines and bread, cheese and olives.

Day 29, the morning was sunny and warm and all the charm of the campground surrounded by vineyards and mountains was in full splendor.

We had a short drive to the border where we met with a very long line of vehicles waiting to cross into the USA. The guards saw the huge line up including our caravan of 8 RV’s sitting beside the lineup. A second line was formed for us which benefited everyone waiting.

For sure, everyone’s waiting for the result of Diane’s LIST of most useful and most useless, and the “I wish I had brought”. This is it so far, we’re awaiting the final entries:

Useful:

A good driver

Outdoor mat

Underwater camera

Tequila

Useless:

Square headed screwdriver that fits absolutely nothing on the current rig.

BICYCLES

I wish I had:

Fireplace (!)

Small folding table.

And so, the end of a another good tour with a fun group. Thanks to all!!!!!!!!

The cast:

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The directors, see above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery

Ciudad-Constitucion - blanket sales El Requeson, Bahia Concepcion Juncalito - Bahia Concepcion La Ventana Just Relaxin' Merry Christmas Off-to-the-market Recycle-at-Camp-Archelon-Bahia De Los Angeles Restaurant-San-Jose-Del-Cabo