Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Road Trip - Return From La Paz/Baja Mexico to SF, CA

This is a quick log of our road trip home from Mexico this summer; overall, a fun trip.

I Can't Make It On Time: June 22, 2015 - The day that we finally left Marina Palmira in La Paz and started our drive north to the SF Bay Area. It was sweltering hot and, after hugs goodbye at the marina, Tom's quick dip in the swimming pool, and a stop at Marina La Paz to pick up a package to deliver up to the boatyard in Puerto Escondido, we finally got out of town at 2:00 p.m. 

Due to our late departure we arrived in Puerto Escondido way after the boatyard closed, but some nice folks there told us where the manager lived and even escorted us to his home. 

Elvin and Connie have a nice open-air residence right on the beach near Puerto Escondido. 

Mail is unreliable in Mexico, so cruisers traveling the Baja often courier letters and packages to others.
They invited us to stay for some refreshment but we had to make it up to Bahia Concepcion that night, so we got back into the car and headed north.

Of course we had to stop in Loreto for a gigantic burrito from Asadero Super Burro

We're Havin' A Heat Wave: Concepcion was blazing hot, even at 9:00 p.m. when we arrived, and there was no breeze at Casa de los Suenos. Alas, there was no water either. The cistern was empty. Ack!!! My dreams of a cool shower were crushed. 

The beautiful new outdoor shower at Casa de los Suenos...but NO WATER!
Tom had a half gallon of water, now hot after spending the day in the back of the truck, and I actually managed to wash my hair and take a shower with it. I'm not complaining because I felt great after my mini-shower. We spent the night in a comfortable bed with three fans on us, but it was still so hot we had to continually flip from side to side about every 45 minutes so the fans could cool off our sweaty undersides. 

The next day we took  pictures of Hurricane Blanca damage for the McGuires, and then headed north.

We stop for a side-of-the-road picnic (next to a cell phone base station). For some reason this amused numerous truckers who honked and waved as they drove by. 

After the heat of eastern Baja it was a relief to reach the cool, west coast. 

Friendly T-Rex by our motel in El Rosario.

We spent a very comfortable night in El Rosario and hit the road the next a.m. bound for Ensenada, where we planned to spend a few days visiting friends.

Our first night in Ensenada we rendezvoused with Cinnabar's old project manager Mario, wife Sandra and new baby Tommy. Mario worked at Baja Naval when Cinnabar was painted there in 2013, but he has his own marine business now (http://www.nizamarine.com/).

Red Red Wine: The next day we picked up our La Paz neighbors Manny and Lola who were boat-sitting in Ensenada, and drove out to the beautiful wine country of Valle de Guadalupe. We loved Xecue winery (sounds like "shake-way"), and Tom found the owner Jose Luis to be fascinating. Jose Luis poured our wine and gave us a grand tour of his wine-making and bottling operations. The wine was good, the grounds were beautiful, and even Tom admitted that wine tasting there wasn't so bad.

Manny, Lola and Tom at the beautiful Xecue winery

We next visited our old favorite Tres Mujeres and this time got to meet one of the owners. For our third winery we went to Bodegas Cieli Winery and Brewery because they also brew beer. The owner and his helpers were in the midst of building chairs and tables for their upcoming events, but he happily took a break to be our host and pour some wine and beer. 

Finally! Tom gets to taste what HE likes.

He even grilled up some samples of food he plans to serve/sell at upcoming events. We finished the day off by stopping at a couple of seaside bars/restaurants on our way back to Ensenada. All it all it was a great day and we loved spending time with our friends.

After leaving Ensenada we crossed the border at Tecate and approached San Diego, hoping to stay at our favorite Sweetwater Campground. But it was Friday. (Duh!) And it turns out Comic-Con was in San Diego that weekend. So nope, no room at the campground. I quickly called the retro Dolphin Motel near Shelter Island in San Diego, and luckily they had just had a cancellation so we got the last room. Whew! We had a pleasant night and day of shopping in SD before we continued north. 

We love San Diego. Check out the cool Palapa scooter.

He Drives Me Crazy: We got to Seal Beach after dark with plans to stay aboard Kitty and Joe's boat Ciao Bella. Unfortunately Ciao Bella had been moved due to some dock work, and Joe didn't know exactly where she was, so Tom and I started walking the docks looking for her. We decided to split up, each taking every other dock to expedite the search. At one point Tom exclaimed upon noticing an Olson 30, a boat he has always admired. Frankly I didn't give a rat's patootie because it was late and I was tired. Well, we couldn't find the boat, so we drove over to the other side of the marina and searched there. No joy. We searched for a couple of hours, it was after midnight, and I was exhausted. We decided to look at the original docks one more time, this time walking together, before finding a motel. I know Tom was convinced that I had somehow missed the boat. When we got to the dock with the Olson 30 Tom pointed it out to me. And guess what else I saw? Yep, Ciao Bella! My dear Tom was so excited about seeing that darn Olson 30 he had completely overlooked the boat that was supposed to be our floating motel. GRRRRR!! 

Our old pal the pirate chicken supervises the cleaning.

The next day we gave Ciao Bella a good washing. The poor girl was filthy from all the dock work that was going on. 

I'll Be There For You: After the boat cleaning and a few errands, we drove north to spend the night with our friend Dayna in Salinas. We got a surprise when we arrived, Dayna has a new roommate! Her boyfriend Jack's granddaughter had moved in while attending college in Monterey. We hadn't seen granddaughter Kirsten in ages and it was great to see her again. 

What's New Pussycat?: After visiting Dayna we went to San Carlos where we would be house-sitting for the next three and a half weeks. Our friends were taking a family trip to Italy and we were scheduled to feed their kitties, water their plants, and enjoy their lovely home. Which we did! We got our tutorial, then showed up very early the next morning to give them a ride to the airport and begin our duties.

Leo (top) and Hazel, our buddies for a few weeks.

- 1,425 miles
- 8 nights duration
- Beds:
  • Casa de Los Suenos (thanks Mike and Stephanie!)
  • Baja Cactus Motel in El Rosario ($500 pesos/$32 US for a huge, clean room. NICE!)
  • Hotel Cortez in Ensenada ($2213 pesos for TWO nights/$140 US)
  • Dolphin Motel in San Diego ($80, we're not in Mexico anymore.)
  • Sailboat Ciao Bella in Seal Beach (thanks Joe and Kitty!)
  • Dayna's house in Salinas (Thanks Dayna!)
  • Sailboat Eyrie in SF (Thanks Synthia!)
Then most of July:
  • Hacienda de los Matatyaou (Thanks Amy, Asaf, Rachel and Joseph!)
- Stuff hauled back up: Mystery package to be taken to Puerto Escondido - Done! Suitcase of kite-boarding gear and other stuff to be delivered to Los Altos for Rob and Nancy on Shindig - Done! 

Photo Album: La Paz to SF

Or if that link doesn't work, try this one: Picasa Album

Coming soon...Road Trip to Oregon. Stay tuned!