Friday, November 7, 2014

Cinnabarbarians on Wheels

Tom and I left Cupertino on October 1st and spent the entire month on a most enjoyable journey. The goal was to visit friends in Colorado and New Mexico, stop in San Diego to take care of some business, and just spend some time enjoying the beautiful southwest.

We loved driving along US Route 50, "The loneliest highway in America". Nevada's roads and historic markers are excellent, and we enjoyed traveling this famous road that somewhat follows the Pony Express route, and reading all about Nevada history along the way. 

Miles and miles of this.
You never know what you'll see on the Loneliest Highway.

Welcome to beautiful Colorado!
We eventually made our way to beautiful Clifton, CO, to visit our friends the McGuires who own the lovely Casa de los Suenos in Bahia Concepcion. What with visiting them in CO we managed to mooch off of them at all their properties this year, Bahia Concepcion, Gualala CA, and Clifton CO. They are all very scenic places with excellent views, so hooray for us!!

While in Clifton we enjoyed some hiking, biking, wine tasting, beer tasting, visiting friends and TONS of eating great food.
Downtown Grand Junction had lots of art.

Quiche made using the McGuire's fresh eggs and Kelston's elk sausage.
Mike and Kelston had just returned home from a California lobster trip, and our first night was a surf and turf of Elk filet (shot by Kelston) and lobster. Then Mike and I bought some freshly roasted peppers and made lots of elk and lobster chili rellenos. Sorry, no pics of those rellenos; all the evidence was eaten immediately.

The weather was gorgeous so we spent lots of time outdoors. 

Ten Mile hike to Independence Monument

After inflicting ourselves on the McGuires for 1.5 weeks we left Colorado and headed south to Taos, to visit the infamous Joe and Kitty with whom we had rendezvoused in Bahia Concepcion in April. We checked the website and found some great, FREE, BLM campgrounds, and spent a pleasant (but kind of chilly) night along the Million Dollar Highway on our way to Taos.
Tom makes a "hobo dinner" of chili and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at Lower Hermosa Campground, Durango CO.

Kitty and Joe live in a fabulous place in Arroyo Seco near Taos, with fantastic views in every direction. 

They even have a cute rental on their property,  Kitty's Casita that they rent out via VRBO and Air B&B. It's a terrific place!
It was great fun to enjoy the wonderful Taos climate, which was sunny and warm most days, although we did get hail one day.

Joe and Tom cycle the Rio Grande Gorge Canyon Rim trail

Kitty and I couldn't resist this HUGE Kohlrabi at the farmer's market

Taos is fascinating and filled with artists. We went to one of the best museum exhibits I've ever seen, "The Kings and Queens of Cool, Lowbrow Art", which was modern, colorful and mind-blowing. 

"The Birth of Ginger". Gilligan's Isand...Oh hell yes!
My personal favorite - "Carne de Amore", babe reclining on a taco. Who wouldn't love that?

After leaving Taos we made our way to San Diego via more beautiful and free campsites. 
Stunning view from El Malpais campground.

The dramatic gorges of New Mexico
Camping in the Sonoran Desert.
We camped at Sweetwater Regional Park in the city of San Diego for three nights. After a couple of days of "taking care of business" in SD, we drove up to Seal Beach to rendezvous with Kitty and Joe, and Nick from Iolanthe for a reunion of the old Bahia Concepcion gang. 

Nick sailed over from Catalina.
We even managed to rendezvous with Jake in Santa Monica one night.
The gang is reunited!
It was the first time since 2013 that we were all together again. Kitty and Joe were nice enough to let us sleep on their boat, which was super comfortable. It felt GREAT to be sleeping on board once again, but it made us miss Cinnabar even more. The weather was fantastic, but alas, we needed to be home by Halloween to keep a Trick-or-Treating date with some special little goblins. So we left at 5:30 a.m on Halloween day and arrived back in Cupertino around noon.

We're taking care of some last-minute things and then we hope to head back down to La Paz very soon. We miss Cinnabar and can't wait to check her out to see how she survived Hurrican Odile. We heard she is fine with no damage, but we still want to see for ourselves.

I tried to map our route on Google Maps, but they have "improved" Maps to the point where it is ridiculously complicated and unmanageable and I finally gave up in a fit of pique. Harrumph!! 
UPDATE: Tom mapped our route!! Thanks Tom. Here it is: Tundra Road Trip Western States

Or here is a picture of the route:
CA to NV to UT to CO to NM to AZ to CA

The entire PICTURE ALBUM of our trip is HERE. 

Six states - CA, NV, UT, CO, NM, AZ
Miles - 4, 075
Beds - 8 (including a boat and the Toyota)
1) Lower Hermosa, Durango CO - FREE BLM land 1 night
2) Joe Skeen/El Malpais, Grant, CO - FREE BLM land 1 night
3) Buckeye Regional Park, Buckeye, AZ - FREE BLM land 1 night
4) Sweetwater Regional Park, San Diego, CA - $29/night 2 nights, 1 night FREE (couldn't find anyone willing to take the fee)
Straight days spent above 4,000 ft. altitude - 24 days

Our trusty Toyota Tundra that took us everywhere we wanted to go.