Tuesday, March 11, 2008

To Cabo and now headed north

Tuesday, March 4
We drove the Jeep to San Javier, 30 km up a decent dirt road. The attraction was a good drive in the low mountains and to see the oldest mission in Baja. On the way back I drove the Jeep into a stream and gave it bath. When we got back to town, the car wash open, but the ice cream place was closed.

Wednesday, March 5
Loreto to La Paz This was a long day. Too long a drive for one day. We left early, 7:15 and arrived at 3:45. By getting there early, we were able to get a great campsite on the beach with some space from the main group. We had 3 other around us, but the sand dunes are so tall, you can’t see anything but the beach. The group left at 9 and arrived at 5. But they sped, 55-60, while we did not get over 48. We stopped at a real grocery store in Ciudad Constitution and bought $50 of food. We are on a beach called Playa Telcoyte - another great beach on the Sea of Cortez. As we drove through La Paz, it looked like any tourist town. I suppose Cabo will be worse.

Thursday, March 6
I was asleep by 8 last night. I drifted off to tunes on the MP3 player. I was dead tired and slept until 7 this morning.

The water is flat so we will put the yaks in later. Some of the group are taking a boat trip to a marine sanctuary, sea lions, sea caves, etc. Seen all that so, we are going to be lazy and enjoy the stunning beach and likely take a nap.

The wind came up, in a flash, at 8:30. That cancelled boating for the day. We took the Jeep over a 4WD drive road to a point for some pictures. Then I drove it on the beach and about got it stuck and the tide was coming in. Lunch and nap followed by slothfulness. Muchas! Delightful

It’s a treat to watch the brown pelicans dive for fish. Dorothy noticed dozens of them high overhead enjoying the breeze.

At 4PM, the air temperature is 76.

It’s difficult to tell if structures here are going up or falling down. Construction seems to take forever and buildings are abandoned in place. I don’t think we have seen a building that did not have rebar sticking out. Someone said it had something to do with taxes. Don’t know.

Friday, March 7

La Paz to Cabo A remarkable drive until we reached the cape. The final section was through the driest desert we have ever seen. Miles of plants with no leaves. We are in an almost American style RV park overlooking the water. Full hookups, except the voltage is 133v, so we are happy running on solar.

Saturday, March 8
We took the glass bottom boat tour. The fish were not much, but the scenery of the capes was magnificent. Not wanting to eat in touristy San Luca, we drove over to San Jose with Tom and Sherry and found a delightful restaurant. The road to San Jose has the Hilton, Westin, etc. and a Mercedes dealership. It is the westernized city of Baja.

Sunday, March 9
We got away early and put the yaks in water and paddled out to the same place we went in power-boats yesterday. We wanted to see the arches on our terms. After paddling around for awhile, we beached the boats. Well maybe beached is not the correct word. I paddled as fast as I could on a wave and was 30 feet short of the beach when the wave dove and I rolled over. The only loss was a pair of nail trimmers. Dorothy made it a lot further and was caught by a side wave. Two young men “saved us” and got us and our gear up on the beach. We spent an hour watching the waves and the people before heading back - mainly due to our forgetting to put on sun screen. The young men, who called Dorothy “Mama”, helped both of us by getting us beyond the crashing surf. Banditos my ass. Everyone we have met here has been most gracious. We really can’t say enough about the Mexican people. We will be back and won’t need a caravan as we feel extremely comfortable.

Just for fun, we went to three big box retailers, Wal-Mart, Costco and Home Depot. There is a Sam’s, but we don’t have a membership. At each store there were lots of shoppers with full baskets. Cabo is the only city in Baja we have seen with American big box stores.

The standard of living is lower in Mexico, no question about it. But, we see happy faces everywhere. As we contemplate traveling in an RV with $4-a-gallon gas looming, a global recession perhaps on the horizon, massive collective debt, and a psychological mood of retrenchment, perhaps half the country will need to scale back a notch or two — but from a level of existing privilege and affluence that is simply staggering. Happiness does not come from material things. Perhaps Americans could be happier with less?

Headed back north now

Monday, March 10
Cabo to Los Barriles A short driving day. We are halfway between Cabo and La Paz on the gulf side. There are boo-coo norte americano’s homes here. Mostly are hidden from the road and can be seen only from the water, unless you take a Jeep down a rutted road to a punta and look back. Access is by long dirt roads only.

The CG is one of the best we have been to in Baja. It is still be developed, by a Spaniard and his son. They have as much heavy equipment s most road construction crews, The electricity is only 130v, so we can use it. It just cuts off and on a lot, even in the middle of night.

Tuesday, March 11
Most of the group took ATV’s up an arroyo and swam in hot spring pools. Not a bad idea. We decided to drive the east cape road. Which was not so good an idea. While most of it was paved, too much of it was washboard. There are plenty of americano’s homes are off the road. No way we would consider such a place. There were precious few vistas to the beach and no beach access until we got to end. The attraction we were seeking was a national park, which turned out to a marine reserve, i.e. the water, but not the shore. The drive was saved by eating a delicious lunch “at the end of the road”.

Back at the CG, we had a pleasurable shower, Talipa with mango sauce for dinner, while the group goes into town to eat.

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