Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Interested in outdoor activities? How about ATV tours? Got a dust mask?

How about golf? There is a 'golf' course at the campground I am staying in!

Ah, yes. Monday morning. Don't you just love 'em! The tedium, the drudgery of it all. Get up, make coffee, add perhaps just a little Bailey's, then drag the chair to the dune overlooking the beach.
And what do you see? Just whales. And more whales. Far whales, close whales, big whales, small whales, jumping whales, spouting whales. No photos of the whales. You know how they are - 'you can't really see it in this picture, but just a hair left of the smudge is a dot where the whale was before it dived' .

How about pictures of surfers? Way more better.

Okay, so there was a few pelicans, a cruise ship going by offshore, an osprey, one kayaker and a surfer, but still, you get my point. How long can you just sit on a deserted beach and watch whales?
I'll let you know when I figure that one out. And to think I could be back with you guys n gals at work, sitting in that windowless coffee room, kicking snow off my boots, discussing Sharon's hair or Brianna's smile, or Anders' new word!
Dang. I'll hurry right back. ............ Maybe in March!!

So I am sure you are asking how I got myself in such a predicament, when last thing you knew I was adrift in Cabo san Lucas watching hockey? Well, it was Sunday morning in Cabo,
things started off slow. I found some wifi to check the mail, drove through a lot of 'how do we say' "interesting" neighborhoods looking for the way to a lighthouse, but finally gave up. Topped up the tank at Pemex,
and found a huge Walmart-like store called Soriana to cure the grocery list. We are talking a huge store with great selection, though not everything is packaged the way we are used to, so a few of us Norteamericanos had to compare notes -'seen the sugar', no, how about the peanut butter'? Anyway, like I said it was a huge store that had 25 checkouts, and carts lined up 4 deep at all of them. Maybe Sunday is a favourite shopping day here, too?
So, to make a short story longer, I found myself fully stocked and equipped, and already on the road leading out of Cabo up the Pacific coast. What else could I do?
In less than 50km, I spotted a familiar looking group of RV's overlooking a 'miles long' section of beach. Once again, the majority of the roughly 30 units were from BC, with a couple Albertans and a couple of Californians for good measure. Somebody go check BC for me. Is there anyone still there?

The price was right - FREE, and there was an ideal spot just off to the side for a camper and a cat. But it was not till I wandered down to the beach, that I saw what a great spot this is!
The beach is miles long in both directions and is very wide, and all nice soft white sand. And then there was the whales who seem to have nothing better to do than spout off about who knows what.
Both a powered hang-glider and a powered paraglider motored by in the twilight. Although there is no facilities or garbage containers, the area is amazingly clean, thanks to the residents.
In the morning, I saw a 'local' pickup truck cruising through, picking up garbage for a few pesos, I imagine.

If I was impressed by the sunrise 'whale show', the sunset show was far better, with many of the prformers leaping almost all the way out of the water before crashing back in an explosion of water and foam.

Los Cerritos Free camping

Almost forgot to mention the blog visitor from Egypt - a first!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Spent the last couple of days just 'toughing it out' in Cabo. The usual tourist attractions, filled with those 'fly-in' and cruise ship folks. Only a few RV's to be seen down here, and most are concentrated in those crowded expensive RV parks. We drove back up the road one night to our private waterfront spot which we shared with the pelicans, the vultures, a heron, and some cormorants. Oh, and a couple of surfers came by in the morning.

Then I spotted a sports bar in town that was televising the Leaf-Habs game on saturday nite, half a block from the Giggling Marlin and only a block or two from another free camp spot right on the main marina. By morning, I think there were five RV's huddled there; two California, two BC, and me.

I have now seen Mcdonald's, Subway, Burger King, Costco, and Home Depot in Cabo, but did not go into any of them.

There are some pretty snazzy boats parked in the marina here. Some people have entirely too much money. But, on the other hand, they've paid multi millions for their camper, thousands for their berth, and hundreds to pay the staff to polish them. When we get up in the morning, we both have the same view, but there are no barnacles growing on this camper!

Harley was sick one night, not sure why, and actually went all day without eating anything! that's a record. But he seems to b back to his old opinionated self now, tho his eating is still below par. Maybe we won't need that mortgage for cat food after all?

Cabo marina free campground!

Friday, January 26, 2007

I've been meaning to do some work on the roof of the camper for a while, so yesterday spent some time up there cleaning the places I want to re-caulk, but it was not working very well with a rag.
So after spending some quality beach time yesterday, and treating myself to supper at a nice little restaurant/bar down the street, I went to the Mercado (grocery store) and bought a little stiff-bristle brush that did the cleaning a lot better.
The old stuff is prety tough to remove, so for now, I will just add another layer. Maybe tomorrow after it has had a chance to dry out thoroughly.
So we rolled up the cords and hoses and bid farewell to a new bunch of friends and headed back south on the road.

Along the way we crossed over the Tropic of Cancer. There was a 'globe' display on the roadside, but it was fenced off, so Harley's efforts to pose on it were thwwarted.
Had a good look at the road description going along the coast to Los Frailes, but it brought back memories of washboard, so we stayed on Mex 1 right into Los Cabos.
First is San Jose del Cabo, where I visited more than ten or twelve years ago. Managed to find the beach hotel where I had stayed - and it appeared pretty well unchanged, but the development has gone crazy around it and still is booming.

We carried on on the four-lane road, where I had remembered cows roaming last time, into Cabo itself. There is not much further south you can go than this - if you do not board the ferry!
I checked in at the Vagabundos del Mar RV campground ($20 regular, $18 with my membership), but they were full. Looks like a real nice place with lots of facilities, but Very little room, and no ocean view. Checked with a couple other campgrounds that did have room ($22),
but decided to go back up the coast just a bit to a big 'ol dry riverbed/beach where I had seen a camper parked as I passed earlier. Found a friendly (everyone is friendly down here) retired guy from the US camped there that was willing to share his 80 acres of waterfront beach with me.
Wouldn't ya know it, he had a cat with him too! His was an ex-Mexican cat that he had adopted a few years ago. So we compared notes and campers over happy hour.
Sorry to report that there are quite a few wi-fi signals around, but no luck in hooing up to any of them. Well, I could have connected to a 'pay' site, but that would violate my standards.
Cell phone works at least and got one channel of Mexican game show TV. Bright moonlight on the white sand, crashing surf - I think this is just a little nicer than the crowded RV camp right on the side of the highway?

Los Cabos

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Buenos Dias from La Ventana beach. Went for a cruise around the campground and the area of the village of El Sargento, and tracked down a California couple I had met earlier at Juncalito beach.

Also looked at a lot of the recent flood damage to the roads.

Checked out the campground rules at the entrance to one campground. You be the judge!

Weather was still fairly cool, but there were still lot of kites out on the bay.

We headed out through the village of Los Planes, where the locals were hauling sacks of some sort of agricultural produce in badly overloaded small pickups to meeting points where it was hand loaded onto semi-trailers.

This road dead ended, so with the help of sign language and a Google Earth display on the laptop, the onsite security officer (who was sheltered by two sheets of plywood under a tree, with table and clipboard) figured out the road I had intended to take! Went back there and fueled up at the conveniently located Pemex station. Gas price identical all over Baja so far - 6.47 pesos/litre.
Once again, Harley made friends with everyone else in the area!

The road we headed out on was under construction, and I don't mean shovels and wheel barrows. This time it was trucks, a grader and a packer. The road was built up high and smooth and appeared like it was ready to pave.

Traffic was diverted into the ditch for a couple of kilometres so we did not mess with graded perfection.

Check Lake Louise campground. I think someone stole one of their barricades and is making use of it down here?

Then for several kilometers, the road was a basic gravel, which then deteriorated into prime washboard, then to prime washboard with unmarked washouts almost to the center of the road. By the time we reached San Antonio, we were doing 5k, and listening to the sound of goat bells and bleating. This is the same road, going no where else! Paved and beautiful on one end and barely passable at the other? In fact the detour in the ditch was far smoother than the actual road at the other end. We barely negotiated our way through San Antonio, where the main drag (perhaps 25' wide) was blocked by a bucket truck working on the power lines. So we had to detour a block into the suburbs (?), dodging chickens, old ladies, dog packs, and vehicles on blocks! Fortunately, this was also the junction with Mex 1, and Blue was glad to be back on pavement after that little reminder of some of last year's travel routes!

We were amazed to find an actual 'viewpoint' on the highway above the town, complete with a viewing bench!

Where had the day gone? We got back to the coastal town of Los Barriles, and as it was relatively late decided to stay in the highly rated Martin Verdugo's Beach Resort (satellite image) and campground right in town.

Very cozy spot, (read close together and crowded) but with all the amenities including power, water, sewer, and clean hot showers.

And they really now how to build cattleguards - at the entrance! That's about a 5 foot drop, guaranteed to stop drunks late at night, no doubt. No liability here, I'm sure!

Remember last year when I demonstrated how far advanced Mexico was with recycling? And also the instructions on building good signs? Well, here again is another prime example of the 3 R's. A car hood, made into a municipal sign - saying 'no dumping garbage'!

Well, I can't be doing this all day. I got places to go and things to do. People to talk to, roads to drive and sun to sit in. Busy, busy, busy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Morning dawned nice and calm at Tecolote, so as usual coffee on the beach was in order. We decicded to head out for real this time, and took some photos at the ferry teminal on the way by.
There was no internet on the menu this morning, so we took up the offer from the University site just around the corner.
We confirmed that things were still snowy and cold at home and took a look at some emails.
This time we took the route right along the coast back into La Paz and found miles of beautiful walkway along just back of the beach - some of it still under construction.
The sidewalk sweepers were out in force - each with a regular corn broom.
Found a huge, modern supermarket to stock up on groceries - no shortage of supply or variety here, and some of the parking areas were even covered by canopies!

But just a block shy of the market was a carwash, so for 60 pesos, Blue got a very thorough cleaning by a crew of quite motivated and jovial cleaners, to a variety of music which spanned Elvis to Michael J. I didn't say I liked all the music.

Then it was off to find the propane store on the way out of the city to the south. In Mexico, it appears that only larger centres have propane, from only one location each.
Not sure if it was Monday rush or not, but there was quite a line-up; mostly locals, but a few tourists. Some of the tanks presented for filling looked like they had arrived about Columbus time!

Then once again it was decision time (no one ever said vacationing was easy or stress free - (well, they did, but who cares). Which coast? East or West?
Since east was a bit closer, we decided to head out and check out the big wind-surfing, kite-sailing mecca at Ventana beach. What a place that is!

As usual, an amazing concentration of British Columbia rigs, but many more vans and tents in this area. Don't BC'ers ever work or stay home?

Anyway the big thing here is the frame tents almost everyone brings along to house all the toys. Most have elaborate racks inside to hold the boards. and wet suits are hanging everywhere.
There appears to be a few dealers here with dislplays and presumably demo toys. They all have huge expanses of tarps staked out on the beach, and water hoses everywhere.
I suspect this is all to do with the need to rinse the salt off everything before storing it in your 'garage'. And these kites are somewhat different than the ones I have seen being use on snow. They have inflatable sections in them so they keep their shape, and of course float on the water. Unlike paragliding canopies that self-inflate from the wind, these appear to be pumped up prior to use.

There appears to be commercially available internet available throughout the adjacent little town, but in sticking to my high moral standards, I managed to find a free location to chat with you.
Very nice showers in this campground and a pipe in the ground that I'm told is a dump station, so lets check it out this morning, shall we?

Ventanna Beach


Today's RV hint: Always put your eggs somewhere secure in the fridge.
RV hint #2: Always open the fridge carefully if you have been on the road.

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