Category Archives: Mexico

Mexico

Palm Springs CA & Yuma AZ Nov 25, 2018

The Sunday after Thanksgiving we drove east to Palm Springs. We were anticipating heavy holiday traffic so we left earlier than usual. The traffic heading east wasn’t bad. But notice all the traffic heading west towards Los Angeles. It was backed up for many miles. We always know we are getting close to Palm Springs when we see lots of wind turbines and road signs with names like Gene Autry and Bob Hope. 20181125_11045220181125_11064920181125_11125020181125_112012

We loved our campground with the beautiful tall swaying palm trees. 20181125_132503

Everything was perfect until we saw the paper in our welcome packet warning us of rattlesnakes. Fortunately in the eight days we were there we didn’t see any. 20181125_123649

We really enjoyed Palm Springs even though it has lots of traffic.

On our first trip to Walmart a big roadrunner was wandering around the parking lot, oblivious to all the cars and people. IMG_20181203_143735

After spending three months in the spring and three months in the fall, or a total of half the year in California, on December 7 we left California and entered Arizona. We now pay about a dollar less for a gallon of gas and no longer need to pay can deposits. 20181127_161419

Our destination was Yuma, AZ where we will spend most of the winter. We have spent several winters in Yuma over the past six years so it feels very familiar to us. There is a very large snowbird population here in Yuma and it is a large sprawling city with three Walmarts, the usual large anchor stores found at malls and many restaurants. 

We pretty much picked up where we left off last winter with Bill rejoining the Yuma Amateur Radio group with their weekly breakfast meetups and monthly meetings. We went back to the Yuma Methodist Church where the pastor remembered us and we have some snowbird friends.

Our first week back we had our yearly physicals and blood-work. Always good to get that done. We drove the very short distance over the border to Los Algodones in Baja, Mexico where we rewarded ourselves with great tacos and nachos and of course big margaritas. They make their margaritas pretty strong! 20181207_123801

We are currently still in Yuma until mid January when we leave to spend three weeks in Quartzsite. We are signed up to enjoy Christmas dinner here in the RV park with other snowbirds. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

 

February 4, 2015 Lake Havasu and Yuma, Arizona

We left the dazzling lights of Las Vegas and headed back towards Arizona. We decided to break up the trip by staying overnight in Quartzsite at the same spot we had previously stayed. On the way we decided to stop in Lake Havasu to see the London Bridge. Yes, a real London Bridge.

The old London Bridge of nursery rhyme fame was built between 1176 and 1209. During its 600 years, over 30 severed heads of traitors were displayed on the bridge as was the custom of the time.IMG_3489IMG_3488IMG_3490

By the end of the eighteenth century the old London Bridge needed extensive repair and was too narrow for river traffic. The new bridge was begun in 1799 and completed in 1831. However as time passed the new bridge began sinking at a rate of an inch every eight years. By 1924 the east side of the bridge was three to four inches lower than the west side. The bridge simply had not been designed to withstand 20th century automobile traffic. In 1967 the city of London placed the bridge on the market.

On April 18, 1968, the winning bid went to entrepreneur and Lake Havasu City founder Robert P. McCulloch for $2,460,000. Each block of the bridge was meticulously numbered before the bridge was disassembled and shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and then trucked from Long Beach to Arizona. The bridge was reconstructed in Lake Havasu City and finally dedicated on October 10, 1971. Including the expense for relocation and reassembly, the total cost of the bridge was $5.1 million.

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Colorado River held up by Parker dam

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Havasu Springs resort area

Lake Havasu City was incorporated in 1978 and became a legal municipality in 1987. It is quite a young city which makes the growth we saw pretty amazing. The city has shopping malls including a Dillards, as well as many box stores and restaurants. The motto of Lake Havasu is “Play Like You Mean It”. The city appears to be popular with snowbirds, though we did not see as many RV parks as other cities in Arizona.

As we continued on our way to Quartzsite we passed beautiful Lake Havasu Springs Resort. It certainly looked like a beautiful place to spend some time in the winter!

After a quick overnight stop in Quartzsite we continued on to Yuma where we stayed for a week. We drove over to Los Algodones, Mexico one day where Bill got a great deal on some sunglasses and had shrimp tacos for lunch. I got a great haircut, wash and blow dry for $10. The only downside to the day was the 90 minute wait to get through customs and walk back across the border. It seems every snowbird in Arizona was in Los Algodones that day making for very long lines. We spent the wait chatting with other snowbirds and watching all the vendors walk up and down the sidewalk trying to make that last sale before we crossed back over into the US.

While we were in Yuma the temperatures hovered in the upper 80’s. Life is tough!IMG_20150208_143436~2

March 3, 2014 Mexico/U.S.A

We had a wonderful time in San Felipe, with most of the reason being the wonderful time we had with Bob and Sharon.  Our last night there Sharon fixed clam chowder.  Bill enjoyed many of Sharon’s great meals of salmon, white fish, and clam chowder.  We don’t often have fish at home, so Sharon’s cooking was a real delight for him.  After dinner we watched a little of the Oscars and then played a spirited game of “Catch Phrase”.  Sharon and I really beat the guys!

We awoke early the next morning with anticipation of our trip across the border.  We were going out the Mexicali border crossing and we had been told that U.S. customs could be tough.  We didn’t have anything to be worried about them finding, we just didn’t want them pulling everything out and going through it.

After a very sad farewell to Bob and Sharon and the El Dorado Ranch, P1040649 we drove by Pemex to get a last fill up in Mexico.  It turned out that the gas in Mexico is a little cheaper than in the states.  We were glad that our RV uses gasoline because it can be purchased in Mexico. If you have a USA diesel engine made after 2007 then you can not buy low sulfur diesel fuel in Mexico and thus Mexico is missing out on more US visitors.

We had a quick military checkpoint stop at the junction of Mexico 3 and 5, just like when we entered San Felipe, except this time it was very short. They were probably worn out from the big herd of race fans that rushed to get back on Sunday.P1040651 We had to drive through downtown Mexicali which was one traffic light after another.  We had printed out directions to the border, but to our disappointment once we got close to the border checkpoint there were no signs directing us which was to go.  The lines of traffic was endless and it took us over two hours to get through the checkpoint. IMG_20140306_134416 Meanwhile there were Mexicans everywhere trying to wash our windshield and side mirrors and sell everything from water and drinks to windshield wiper blades and aprons.  It was a total mess.  The lanes on the Mexican side of the border were very narrow and we had to be careful not to scrape the side of the RV on a concrete barrier.

Once we reached the U.S. customs area we had to go through four checkpoints.  At the first checkpoint they checked our passports.  The second one was where they x-rayed the RV with what they called harmless x-rays.  The third checkpoint was where we had to get out and the inspector asked Bill to open all the bottom compartments on both sides.  He just glanced in one and did nothing else which was a relief to us because it would have been a mess to re-pack and delayed us if they had pulled everything out.  The inspector went inside but only briefly and never asked us if we had anything to declare or if we had any meat, fruit or vegetables.  I had cleaned the refrigerator out ahead of time expecting this to be done.  He put an orange tag on the RV and we proceeded to the 4th checkpoint where the tag was checked and we were sent on our way.  What a relief!  Though it had been frustrating with traffic and narrow lanes and lack of directions, we were thankful the rest of the trip through customs had gone smoothly.

We were very glad to see this sign, IMG_20140306_134239 and one of the first things we did was stop at a fast food restaurant and get us a big hamburger for lunch!  We really enjoyed our trip to Mexico.  The Mexican people are warm and friendly and eager to help.  They are very eager for tourist to visit.  We never felt the least bit afraid or threatened by anyone we met.  The only time we felt uneasy or unsafe was when we were traveling with narrow mountainous roads.  I don’t think I would be eager to travel to Baja again in an RV.  The food was an issue for me because I am a picky eater, but Bill enjoyed it very much.  We were surprised at how much the landscape looked like Arizona and California, except no billboards or hotels or restaurants.

We decided to push forward and drive all the way back to San Diego.  We were anxious to get back and get ready for the next adventure.  The traffic was thankfully light and the landscape interesting with windmillsP1040670 P1040663 and mountains of rocks IMG_20140303_160703 IMG_20140226_110909 P1040683 P1040678and several 4,000 foot mountains to pass over.

We drove into the San Diego KOA right at sunset feeling P1040689 a little like Dorothy…there is no place like home.

Many thanks to all of you for following our Mexican adventures.  After a little time in San Diego to rest, plan and prepare, we will be headed north.  Stay tuned!

February 28, 2014 San Felipe, Mexico Part 2

We were really fortunate that Bob and Sharon invited us to share their RV site at El Dorado Ranch.  It not only gave us a chance to spend more time with this wonderful couple, but all the campgrounds in San Felipe were full due to the Baja 250 which is an international off road 250 mile desert race involving motorcycles and all terrain vehicles of many classes. The top class is a “trophy truck” which has few rules.

Friday we went into town to see the parade of motorcycles and vehicles that were going to be in the race the next day. They had to go down the city center to be inspected by the SCORE race officials.IMG_20140228_215905 IMG_20140228_220143 IMG_20140301_094635 IMG_20140301_094959 IMG_20140301_095114 IMG_20140301_095652 IMG_20140301_100104 P1040635 It was amazing to see how they do parades in San Felipe.  The streets are not blocked off and people roam back and forth across the street during the parade. IMG_20140228_214608 While the parade vehicles were stopped, people were free to wander off and look at the vehicles and talk with the drivers who happened to be the mechanics.  One mechanic found a way to get lunch while waiting in the parade line!  IMG_20140228_205431IMG_20140228_215629 IMG_20140228_215308 IMG_20140228_215244 IMG_20140228_215818IMG_20140228_213950 IMG_20140228_213236 IMG_20140228_213203 IMG_20140228_203825 IMG_20140228_203102 IMG_20140228_203004 IMG_20140228_123619 IMG_20140228_111055 P1040641 P1040636 They were all headed to the inspection area where the vehicles were taken apart and inspected in depth to be sure they were within regulations.  IMG_20140228_215015 IMG_20140228_214646Bill and Bob had fun looking at all the vehicles and talked with the mechanic of #21 which later turned out to be the winner of his vehicle class. IMG_20140228_114303 P1040637 IMG_20140301_114334

Meanwhile during the parade people dragged chairs and coolers of beer through the streets to enjoy during the parade.  Only in Mexico could you bring your own coolers of beer on wheels.  We were amazed to see they charged $5 pesos (about 50 cents) to use port-a-potties. IMG_20140228_215703 Bill found a vendor who sold max trax which you put under your tires so you get un-stuck.  P1040644These would make the perfect gift for those of you who live in those cold snowy climates since they can be used on snow or sand! P1040642IMG_20140228_213900 IMG_20140228_205354 Some people had very inventive strollers that went with the theme of the race.

Saturday morning Bill and Bob were undecided about whether to attempt to watch the race.  The main problem is the race is held off road and it is extremely dusty and therefore rather unhealthy to breathe.  The drivers of the cars wear special oxygen masks due to the dirt.  Bill found the race on his amateur radio and discovered that the start of the race was being delayed for several hours.  The race course had to be altered due to snow on the summit part of the race.  Yes, snow.  It does snow in the mountains of Baja even though the sea level area is warm.  So the guys were content to listen to the race on the radio and we also spent part of the day at the golf club and of course the hot tub.  Sharon made a great pitcher of margaritas to take to the pool

February 26, 2014 San Felipe, Mexico Part 1

We packed up and waited for the Ensenada version of rush hour to pass since people drive crazy in Ensenada.  We stopped by a large supermarket on the way out of town to get some supplies for San Felipe.  They had a large display of pastries and sweets and since I had not eaten breakfast I decided to get something to eat on the way.  I looked for bags of some kind to put the pastries in and found nothing.  I knew they didn’t expect you to walk up to the checkout line with a handful of donuts, so I walked over to the bakery counter and asked where I could find a bag.  The man behind the counter did not speak English so I decided to try charades and pretend to put pastries in a bag.  All I got was a blank expression.  Bill got out his spanish dictionary and looked up the word for “bag” and I said bag in Spanish and pointed to the pastries, and again, a blank expression.  Suddenly a  lightbulb went off in his head and he pointed to some silver trays with rows of thongs and a lightbulb went off in our head and we realized we were supposed to put the pastries on the tray.  About that time another customer walked up with her tray of goodies for them to put in a bag and put a sticker on with the price to be used at checkout.  Moral of the story…when in Mexico do it the Mexican way, not the way you think it should be! When we were leaving we noticed a security guard with a big shotgun standing right inside the door because the ATM machine was being worked on.  I am used to security guards but not with shotguns! We had to cross yet another mountain with narrow, curvy roads with no shoulders.  Bill and I both commented how surprised we have been that Baja is so mountainous.  I will never get used to the roads here and I am always very nervous.  I don’t know how Bill drives an RV on these roads with tractor trailers flying past us! We passed one easy checkpoint where they only asked us where we were going.  When we arrived at the junction of Mexican HIghway 3 and Highway 5, we came to a very large, modern military checkpoint with multiple traffic lanes.  They said “inspection” which always means they want to come inside.  The soldier spent some time opening cabinets and drawers as well as the pantry and bathroom.  He then left and we were on the final leg of our journey to San Felipe.  We have read several articles recently that said all these military checkpoints in Baja are at the request of the U.S. government, and paid for by the U.S. government to stop drug traffic into the United States. Mexico Highway 5 which runs from the border at Mexicali to San Felipe was a wonderful 4 lane highway with wide lanes and a median down the middle.  What a wonderful surprise!  San Felipe is a popular tourist destination for Americans since it is such an easy 120 miles drive from the border. IMG_20140302_100210 We did read that many people speed on this road and get tickets.  We were warned that if you get a speeding ticket the police follow you to the nearest bank where you pay your fine before they let you go.  Needless to say, we watched our speed carefully, but normally stay under 55 MPH anyway! We arrived at the El Dorado Ranch where Sharon was waiting for us at the gate.  We received our passes and Sharon led the way to our campsite. IMG_20140302_100859 It was so good to see Bob and Sharon again and Bill and Bob quickly began setting up camp. P1040611 El Dorado Ranch is a gated community with private homes as well as private RV lots which is underdeveloped partly due to the downturn in the U.S. economy. IMG_20140306_134457 IMG_20140302_100815 We had access to a golf course where we could go to check our email and Bob and Sharon took some lessons and played a few rounds of golf. IMG_20140301_131132 We also had access to a beautiful swim club with swimming pools and a great large hot tub which we enjoyed during our stay in San Felipe. IMG_20140301_154447 IMG_20140301_165038

After we got set up, Bob drove us into San Felipe to get a feel for the town.  This is a pretty progressive town…they even have a bike hospital! IMG_20140228_202816 During the 5 days we were there they were having their version of Mardi Gras.  We enjoyed the sights and sounds of the carnival atmosphere.  P1040617 IMG_20140228_202922 20140302_154038 20140302_150737 IMG_20140228_130328 P1040646 IMG_20140228_220222 IMG_20140228_215956 IMG_20140228_203142 IMG_20140301_095411 IMG_20140228_213600IMG_20140228_215456 IMG_20140228_215347 IMG_20140228_213336 IMG_20140228_213828 IMG_20140228_213740 IMG_20140228_21304120140302_150720

We finished our first day in the hot tub with margaritas.  What a great day!  IMG_20140301_175053

Thursday we drove further south to more isolated areas and enjoyed seeing the beach areas.  P1040624 P1040625Just like Bahia De Los Angeles, San Felipe is on the Sea of Cortez.  It is interesting to see the shore at low tide, P1040614 and to see how they arrange their campgrounds.  Notice the third campsite picture with the large water bucket on top for taking showers.20140302_161227 P1040619 P1040633 We came to one very small town where we found a post office and a library. P1040628 Sharon and I peeked in the library and actually found some books in English!P1040631  We finished the day with another beautiful sunset and fun times.

February 24, 2014 Ensenada, Mexico

We loved our stay in San Quintin at Fidel’s campground.  It is not often that you get a beach all to yourself.  For most of the time the beach was deserted….no hotels, restaurants or people. The two RVs that appeared late Sunday were gone very early.  I find it so strange that so many people use San Quintin as a one night stopover.  It is such a shame they do not take time to enjoy the beauty and solitude of this wonderful place but instead rush on to their next destination.

We continued north for a two night stay in Estero Beach at the same campground where we had the Mexican Connection 8 rally.  The trip from San Quintin was fairly uneventful.  The four detours onto dirt roads were still there and the trip over the mountain was still unnerving. We came to our first military checkpoint where they asked us where we were going and if we were on vacation.  When we said yes they waved us on.  Our second military checkpoint was not as easy since one of the solders came inside and did a lengthy check of the bedroom and bathroom area.  This was the most extensive search done in all the military checkpoints and rather annoying but after a few minutes we were again on our way.

We arrived at the same campground and quickly settled in.  It felt somewhat like arriving home since we had spent a week there earlier, but also felt so strange to pull into the campground and not see it full of our friends and their RVs. It was nice to have internet once again to check email and work on the blogs.  Bill had planned on getting a cell phone in Mexico to use while we are here but it just wasn’t feasible or cost effective since the cell phone coverage where we were going was very sporadic.  It has been interesting spending a month in Mexico with no cell phone service and very limited internet.  In fact, it has been great!

Tuesday was spent doing laundry, catching up on a ton of emails, and working on the blog.  We had planned to go to San Felipe on Wednesday which would be our final stop before heading to the USA.  I emailed our friends Bob and Sharon to see if they were still in San Felipe since they had headed there when we went to south to Guerrero Negro.  She emailed me that they were still there and that all the campgrounds were full because the Baja 250 international race and annual carnival being held there this week.  She then generously offered to let us park our RV next to theirs since there was plenty of room.  We gratefully accepted.  We are really looking forward to seeing Bob and Sharon again and exploring San Felipe!

February 21, 2014 San Quintin, Mexico

Today we took a last look at beautiful Bahia De Los Angeles and headed north once again to San Quintin (pronounced San Canteen).  When heading south we stopped at Catavina, but we decided to get an early start and skip Catavina and push ourselves to drive to San Quintin in one day.

I was a little nervous about the military checkpoint I knew would come up since that is the one where they reprimanded me for taking pictures.  This time they asked where we were going and asked to come inside.  One very young soldier entered and stayed less than 2 minutes.  He was all smiles and very polite.  A piece of cake this time to our relief.  Once again the narrow mountainous roads with no shoulders was unnerving at times with all the tractor trailers passing on the other side.  There seemed to be a lot of truck traffic today.

A few observations.  Bill commented that there were very few billboards of any kind.  The towns are very small and few and far between, so the roadsides are not cluttered with billboards.  Airplanes of any kind have been nonexistent during our time in Baja.  The times we camped on the beaches we have seen very few boats and no ships.  In the 200 miles between San Quintin and Guerro Negro there is no place to buy gas so you have to really plan ahead.  There are no traffic lights the 200 miles from San Quintin to Guerro Negro.  The towns have tons of speed bumps and stop signs, but no traffic lights, unlike Escenada which has a traffic light on every corner and the traffic is bad.  Bathrooms and restaurants are nonexistent or few and far between.  You pass through agricultural areas with greenhouses and vineyards, but after passing through a couple mountain passes the area is desolate, barren desert.  P1040582

We decided to try a different campground in San Quintin, hopefully one with electricity and water.  The entrance to the campground was like driving on a washboard but we were rewarded with a site right on the beach and a beautiful view of the ocean.  Our Mexican camping book said this place had electricity and water, but I don’t know what made us think anything had changed in Mexico.  Again low voltage and low water pressure, but good water quality.  The low voltage is especially a problem for an RV of our size.   Regardless, we were happy with our campsite on the beach and settled in.  It is costing us $15 a night.  In the U.S. a camping spot right on the beach with a view like this would be more than $100.  P1040586 P1040587

We loved going to sleep each night and awaking each morning to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.  Saturday was very foggy and the mist blew by like smoke, but by late morning the skies cleared and the sky was sunny.  It has been such a long time since we have seen rain to amount to anything…probably not since Houston in November!  We had a relaxing and enjoyable day walking on the beach.   We were the only ones in the campground and the beach was deserted.  Very nice!

The owner of the campground, Fidel, gave us some firewood and Bill built a great fire on the beach.   Fidel sat with us around the campfire and talked for awhile.  He said before the 2008 economic down turn in the U.S., many Americans came to Baja and camped.  He showed us a photo album with pictures showing the campground full of campers.  Now, he said, only Canadians come to Baja.  Then in September, 2009, a typhoon hit Baja and his campground was wiped out.  Everything he had worked to build was swept away.  He showed us pictures of the nice campground he had before the typhoon.  We tried to explain to him that one big problem is that Mexico does not have the new highly filtered diesel fuel.  Since 2007, the US environmental protection regulations made it so that diesel engines could only use filtered diesel fuel (low sulfur).   Our Mexican Connection group was told that Mexico had the filtered fuel, but when we got down here, they did not.  There were several in our group who had planned on continuing south but could not because of Mexico not having the right fuel.  Luckily our RV takes gas instead of diesel, so it has not been a problem for us.  Until Mexico gets the filtered diesel, traveling to Mexico for some travelers will not be an option.  Fidel spoke and understood limited English and I don’t think we were able to get him to understand about the diesel, even with the help of a Spanish dictionary.

Sunday was another relaxing day on the beach and we took another walk.  We came across some amazing views of the sand dunes carved by wind and water.P1040605 P1040604 P1040603 P1040602 P1040601 Since it was Sunday there were more families enjoying the beach and fishing.  They drive their cars right down to the beach. P1040597 P1040595  It was nice sitting outside catching up on some reading and enjoying our own little Happy Hour.  P1040607

Later in the day two RVs rolled into the campground and we were so glad that Fidel had some more business for his fledgling campground.

Tomorrow we head back to Ensenada to the Estero Beach Hotel and Resort where we stayed when we first arrived in Baja.  They have laundry facilities and fairly good WIFI so we will have a chance to catch up on laundry and email.

 

 

 

 

February 20, 2014 Bahia De Los Angeles, Mexico

We said goodbye to the last of the Mexican Connection group members and headed alone back north toward the US border.  Everyone else was continuing further south and staying 6 weeks or longer.  Since we were 450 miles from the border, we decided it was time to turn around and head back to the U.S. to continue our plans to travel north up the coast of California to Canada.  If we waited too long we wouldn’t have time to get back south before cold weather in the fall.  Our first stop was at a Pemex to get gas. 16-IMG_20140212_205755 All gas in Mexico is sold by independently owned stations called Pemex and therefore they are all the same.  The price per gallon is about the same as in the U.S. but the gas is provided to all stations by the Mexican GOVT. They always have an attendant to pump the gas for you and we had been warned by the Mexican Connection wagonmaster to watch them carefully since they don’t always clear out the pump before starting and therefore you get charged too much. Next we passed a military checkpoint.  When we passed through traveling south they waved us through.  This time they made us stop and asked where we were going and asked to come in for an inspection.  They wanted to see our passports but the wagonmaster had warned us not to give them our passports but just show them our FMM’s (Visas).  They wrote down both our names and while Bill was taking care of that I opened the door so one of the solider could come in.  He came in carrying a screwdriver and opened doors, cabinets and drawers.  He knocked on the ceiling and walls of the RV.  Supposedly they are checking for concealed weapons and drugs.  I think a lot of it is curiosity and they are looking for something they might want to ask for.  Our wagonmaster said they once asked for a highlighter they had sitting on a table.  The solider made no comments and left.  I started thinking about all the border patrol we have encountered in the U.S. since leaving Texas and I realized that Mexicans visiting the U.S. must go through the same kind of thing with our own border patrols. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we entered the tiny town of Bahia De Los Angeles.  It was absolutely beautiful!  P1040526 P1040527 P1040528 We happened to have a military truck it front of  us while entering the town and I caught them in the picture.  P1040520 The town seemed almost deserted with very little traffic or people. P1040513 It did have a little roundabout P1040581  when entering the town and we stopped at a little restaurant for lunch.  Bill had fish tacos and I had a club sandwich and fries.  The sandwich was okay but the fries were horrible.  How I miss those Idaho potatoes.  It seems to us the prices in restaurants are about the same as those in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. which was surprising to us.  The difference is in Mexico the meals take longer and you get more for your money with the meal coming in several courses.  You usually get chips and salsa to begin, followed by some kind of soup.  They never ask what kind of soup you want, it is just whatever the cook has prepared for the day.  The main course usually includes the traditional rice and beans as well as several garnishments of fresh tomato, onion and cilantro and a bowl of fresh guacomole.  Meals take longer to be served since everything is prepared fresh. We pulled into our campground with a beautiful view of the Sea of Cortez.  Bahia De Los Angeles is on the Bay of California also known as the Sea of Cortez on the gulf side of Baja.  This is another dry camping site but staying here is well worth the view! P1040571 P1040569 P1040577 P1040580 P1040566 We have learned not to expect electricity and water while camping in Mexico because even if they advertise electricity the voltage is often too low to be of much use.  If we have water we only use it for showering and flushing the toilet and we use bottled water for everything else.  Many campgrounds on the beach in Mexico have thatched roof shelters called “ramadas” or “palapas” which are sometimes located at each campsite and sometimes spread out among the campground.  We have also noticed that picnic areas and rest areas with tables always have this shelter over the tables.   Even had a space set aside where you could clean your fish! P1040574 P1040578 Wednesday we got up early to watch the sunrise and spent the day relaxing and enjoying the view.  P1040534 P1040555 P1040556 P1040560 P1040563 P1040565 Thursday we rode our bikes the two miles into town.  We were getting low on propane and found a place where we could take the RV to get it filled.  We then biked further into town and found a small grocery store to buy peanut butter and oranges.  We walked next door to a little restaurant where no one spoke English.  We managed to order some chicken burritos for Bill which he said was very good.  The town again looked deserted and it seems their busy season is the summer which is surprising because it must be very hot then. The bike ride home was pretty challenging due to us pedaling against a really stiff wind.  We felt safe riding on the road because traffic was so light and only a couple cars passed us. Later in the day we drove the RV into town to get propane.  It was a family business with the wife speaking a little English but her husband did not.  While the tank was filling she introduced me to her 6 dogs and 5 cats.  She wanted to give me a cat but I used the excuse that I would never get it across the U.S. border.  We have noticed a large number of dogs running loose throughout the towns and campgrounds throughout Baja.  Most campgrounds have a welcoming committee of dogs but we have found that they leave us alone and do not hang around the campsite and beg for food. Tomorrow we head further north towards the border.

February 17, 2014 Guerrero Negro, Mexico Part 2

Today for my birthday Bill took me on a whale watching tour.  A van picked us up at the campground and drove us down to a huge lagoon called Laguana Ojo de Liebre off of the Pacific Ocean.  On the way we passed a salt mine which is the largest in the world. 20140217_P1040510 20140217_P1040512 They process and ship salt all over the world.  We boarded a small boat which held 15 people, 20140217_P1040423passed huge sand dunes and the view was beautiful. 20140217_P104050020140217_P1040424 We saw many gray whales since this is where they migrate to from February to April to give birth.  The whales came right up to the boat and we were able to touch them. 20140217_P1040482 20140217_P1040436 They were curious about the hum of the boat’s engine and went from one side of the boat to the other passing underneath.  The water was clear enough to see them swimming and they were very playful. 20140217_P1040486 20140217_P1040454 20140217_P1040449 20140217_P1040447 20140217_P1040444 20140217_P1040441 20140217_P1040440 They were close enough to see their eyes 20140217_P1040454  and blowholes…I never knew they had two blowholes, just like a human nose.  We were sprayed by the mist from their blowholes and a couple times I was drenched as they flipped in the water and splashed their huge tails.  They had many barnacles and not the prettiest creatures I have ever seen, but I was in awe of actually touching a whale!  I once in a lifetime experience!   20140217_P1040452 20140217_P1040446 20140217_P1040429 20140217_P104042720140217_P1040457Everywhere we looked there were whales swimming and jumping in the water.  We did not see as many baby whales as we thought we would, but there were plenty of other whales and our guide told us there were some pregnant whales in the water.  Unfortunately none of them decided to give birth while we were there!

After a box lunch of sandwiches and fruit provided by the tour company we started to return to shore.  Along the way we passed a large mooring where seals and sea lions were sunning themselves.  The seals barked at us as we passed by.  20140217_P1040505

Monday evening we had dinner at the campground at Mario’s restaurant. 20140217_075806 Bill had some great shrimp broiled in garlic sauce.  I ordered fried chicken and should have known better.  When my food came I thought it sure didn’t look like fried chicken.  I gingerly tasted it and the waitress who was also Mario’s wife, asked me how I like it.  She then told me it was fried scallops.  Not good news for someone who does not eat seafood.    I sent it back and declined their offer to fix something else when she said they didn’t have any chicken.  I thought it strange they would automatically substitute scallops for chicken without asking.  But, this is Mexico!  I am finding Mexico is a great place for me to lose weight.  I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again for dinner.

February 15, 2014 Guerrero Negro, Mexico Part 1

Our group of 8 returned to the Catavina hotel restaurant this morning for breakfast before leaving for the 130 mile trip to Guerrero Negro.  The mileage doesn’t seem far, but with the Mexican Highway 1 roads through the mountains it took about 4 hours. 20140215_P1040409 We had one uneventful military checkpoint where they waved all of us in our caravan of 4 RVs through the checkpoint, and I took NO pictures!  Today there was a lot of tractor trailer traffic which does not make for easy travel on these roads.  We sure were glad we had the reflective tape on the driver’s mirror since some of the trucks came really close when passing.

As we traveled further south the terrain reminded us more and more of the desert in Arizona and we saw donkeys and horses along the sides of the road. 20140215_P1040414 20140215_P1040415 20140215_P1040418 It was not unusual to see cattle along the side of the road and there were many signs warning of cattle on the roadways. 15-IMG_20140212_205639 As we neared the outskirts of Guerrero Negro we left the state of Northern California Baja and entered the new state of California Baja Sur (south). 20140215_P1040422 We had to go through an agricultural inspection where they asked if we had oranges or potatoes.  We then had to pay 20 pesos (a little under $2.00) to have the bottom of our RV sprayed so we would not be bringing any insects into Southern Baja.

We arrived at Mario’s Campground in Guerrero Negro and tried to find a place to set up.  We found the electricity and water here is very limited.  One site had voltage too high and one too low.  We thought we found a good site but our surge protector cut the power off and on all night as the voltage fluctuated dramatically.  We also had no water pressure and they said the pump was off but they would turn it on.  As I took a shower that evening I found the water suddenly stopped and we had to use our water tank.  They seem to cut the water off and on at random and we had to go each morning and during the day and ask them to cut the pump on.  Well, it IS Mexico!!  We used their water, when we had it for showering and flushing the toilet and our good tank water for cooking and drinking.

When we left Catavina this morning the temperature was almost 90, but by the time we reached Guerrero Negro near the ocean, the temperature dropped to 70 with the ocean breezes.  The wind really picked up at sunset and it was windy throughout the night.