Friday, April 22, 2011

Bounching around between La Paz and Los Barriles

April 6 -->21, 2011
Leave Tecolote again since it has been very windy, and a bit lonely. Drive back to RV park in Los Barriles. Hot showers, internet and electricity again.
Decide to take a long bike ride down to Cabo Pulmo, it was about a 70 mile round trip, part highway and part dirt. Stopped by Rancho Leonero, it was fairly well visited by Hollywood types back in the 50's as a first class fishing resort. Beautiful old school rock and timber construction, neat restaurant and lodge area. Lots of photos on the walls of famous visitors. Had a beer there, then rode on to La Ribera via dirt roads still. On into Cabo Pulmo. It is supposedly one of the northern most coral reef systems in the world. The little town totally survives on visits by scuba divers. But compared to other reef areas I've been to, this didn't seem too impressive. No real beach snorkeling available. All reef access is by boat to offshore spots. Apparently world famous and spectacular, but not from what I can see. Rode back to Los Barriles via main highway.
Cabo Pulmo
Was sunning at the pool one day and I hear all kinds of commotion on the deck/bar area and at waters edge. I looked for the source, and I can see a 20-30 llb rooster fish attacking little ladyfish in the shallows. It was like those Nat'l Geo clips where killer whales are trying to run baby seals up the shoreline. The rooster fish was fiercely trying to pin/herd the other little guys, often swimming on it's side to get into the shallows. It was raw nature and an epic event for Baja fisherman. So within a couple minutes, three guys came running down to the shore there, armed with thousands of dollars worth of fly gear, and start surf casting  trying nab this famous and somewhat rare game fish, running up and down the beach trying to place a fly in front of this thing. No luck though. But a sailfish did get landed that afternoon.
Me posing with someone else's sailfish

The hot weather is bringing out better fishing. It peaks in the late summer, but it's starting to get there. A boat came in with 3 Dorado, first multi-hookup this season. Dorado (also called Mahi Mahi) are prized as one of the very best fighters, and they are gorgeous in the water. Brilliant green and yellow, but that quickly fades to dull blue/green when caught.

Now back to La Paz after a week or so in Los Barriles. And back on the beautiful (and free) Tecolote beach. Having some battery problems, even after a full charge, they drain to nothing in less than 24 hours. So now needing to run my generator once per day to keep batteries stable.

Sunday morning the 17th, a man shows up with a work crew that starts assembling a big tent/canopy right in front of my camp. Then a couple porti-potties arrive, and then a truck delivers bags of ice. I gotta ask what's going on. Turns out this guy is throwing a huge birthday party for his 10 yo daughter. Neat guy, apologizes for the disruption, and then invites me come have lunch with them. Soon a catered tow-able kitchen arrives and starts serving out fine burgers and hot dogs. And sure to his word, he comes over and says order what I want. I have a truly fine burger built for me and was invited to sit down and stay. I tell him I'm a bit timido, and head back to the RV with a nice plate. All the people at this party were well-off, dressed nicely, good manners and clean newish cars. It was interesting to see an upper middle class group of locals
Bacon wrapped hot dog punched into the middle of my burger, awesome.

Semi trucks stop by here often, I think to pass time waiting for the mainland ferries at Pichilingua. So this trucker parks and proceeds to clean up his rig, wash windows, etc. He's ready to go, but finds himself stuck in the sand. Two different 4x4's try to tow him out, but aren't able. The driver disappears for 40 minutes and comes back leading in a big Navy troop carrier type vehicle. Mexican Navy to the rescue! They easily pull him out, fist bumps all around. There were 4 or 5 navy guys, no weapons evident except the driver had a small pistol in his pants pocket.
Navy rescue

The beach is really filling up with people now, lots of cars, various off-road vehicles and loud music until 2am.  And it's not really Semana Santa yet. But it is sure giving me a taste of what it will be like in a couple more days. Semana Santa (Easter) is quite the occasion. The kids are out of school all week, but the parents really can't get here until Thursday, most workers are let out at noon. Not much sleep this night, music and high winds. OK, I've seen enough to know I can't handle this when the crowds show up.
Tecolote is filling up rapidly today
  So I leave the beach and head back to the "safety" of Los Barriles. On the way out of town, I stopped at the main "peoples market" in the central district.. Many different vendors, strange food items, odd looking veggies and fruit, and some interesting aromas. Very colorful indeed.
butcher shop
  Back in RV park in Los Barriles, and I witness another fine Baja sunset.

the two tall "palms" on the left are cell phone towers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Los Barriles, Cabo, Todos Santos, La Paz

March 19 - April 5 2011
Have had a couple appointments with Real Estate agents here in Barriles. Haven't come across a good enough bargain yet though. I cut my big toe pretty bad, bled all over. Had to use my first aid kit for the first time this journey, sure glad I had it. But it is sliced open so bad, I can't risk taking my usual long beach walks due to sand contamination. My bike is giving me fits. I get one thing fixed, then something else goes wrong. And I can't find any of the parts I'm needing. Still enjoying nice sunrises here.
Los Barriles sunrise

Watched a bit of March Madness basketball at a gringo bar. Stayed in Los Barriles for about 2 weeks, all at Martin Verdugos RV park and hotel, nice place. Most of the people here stay for about 6 months, snowbird windsurfers mostly. Some fishing starting to heat up. A little lady landed this marlin (wish I could tell ya I caught it).

187 lb marlin

End up leaving Los Barriles for a quick errand to Cabo San Lucas. Officially passed the tropic of cancer, I'm now in the tropics! I can go any further south. This is sort of the end of the line, Lands End. Stay one night at Vagabundos Del Mar, walking distance to town center and near a Walmart and Sam's Club, wow, what a treat. Restock on supplies and some treats. Then left the next day to Todos Santos area on the west coast. Nice new road. Pass by Pescadero and Los Cerritos, they had been my favorite places on previous trips, for surfing and beaching in the years past. But both these places have totally changed, they are built up and sub-divided, partially built hotels, etc. The whole flavor of the area is different, and no longer on my all time favorites list. So I continue on to La Paz, good road (highway 19) all the way.
Cabo San Lucas, interesting, but not what I'm here for

topped at a dozen different auto parts stores, bike shops and boat dealers looking for a motorcycle part (it's been unusable for weeks). No luck. Then I see a garage/shop where they were building a trophy truck for Baja racing. I ask them, and they end up pulling the part off their truck and sell it to me for 220P (about $18). Back in business with the bike finally. I go back to the remote/boon-docking beach at Tecolote. I get the new part installed, ready to ride again. Take a few test rides, no new troubles. So I can now ride into town again for internet and supplies w/o the hassle and expense of the RV.

race car part/kludge for my bike

Last few days have been cloudy, but still in the high 80's. Saw the most incredible sunset of my life. You might be tired of my sunrise/sunset photos, but this was astounding! It is real/undoctored, the colors were really this vibrant. The sky lit up brilliantly for about ten minutes, then it was over. It was so overwhelming and powerful, everyone on the whole beach came out of their RV's and tents to observe.
spectacular sunset

I noticed that Baja didn't observe the daylight savings time change that the US had a few weeks ago. Turns out they do, but it was April 3 here, I guess they gotta be different. I hear gas prices are rising again in the US, it is a little less than $3.00 a gallon down here, and all the gas stations (even in remote areas) all charge the same price. It's a country-wide, partially government controlled monopoly called Pemex, there is no real competition, but it seems to work for everyone's benefit.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Los Barriles now

March 12 -- 18, 2011
I've decided to leave Tecolote, can't believe I've been here a whole month. Decide to take one last ride around the western point. While riding on a rough dirt rode to a remote fishing camp, a couple mean dogs started chasing me, it was a tough section of road and it took me awhile to out run them. I sure wish I was wearing my boots. So I decide I'll out smart them and ride back to camp via different paths. I end up breaking my own trail for miles, through deep silty sand, rock strewn beaches and some awful downhills. End up with torn up sneakers, an overheated bike, thirst and hunger; but had a magnificent sunset. Got back to camp well after dark and totally exhausted.
Be leaving tomorrow morning, it will be a Saturday, the beach will be swarming with Mexican families from La Paz, with their competing stereos, dogs, quads and beach games. That's ok too, it but kind of blows the laid back relaxation mode I cherish. Moving south to Los Barriles/Cabo Pulmo area.
mid way through a rough ride, looking towards Tecolote
Arrive in Los Barriles after a fairly good 2.5 hours of driving. Cute little town, but with much more of a modern/gringo feel. More of a resort mode, a few nice hotels and lots of million dollar beach houses. So much different than my past four weeks on an isolated beach. Checked into Verdugo's RV park; full hookups, internet, hot showers and even a pool. This area is famous for kite/wind surfing and big-time fishing. The wind surfers are pretty much leaving right now, though I did get to see them indulge in one last windy day. Forgot how awesome it is to watch those kite surfers. It's kind of a shoulder season now. As the winds die down and the water starts warming up, the big game fish start moving in, and thusly lots of fishermen show up.

The beach here faces directly east, so every morning there is a group of us that walk thru camp in the twilight to the beachfront deck, sit and drink coffee while watching the sunrise. It's nothing but us old geezers, it's kind of like we are all celebrating the fact that we made it through another night, and safely awoke to another new dawn.
sunrise patrol at Verdugo's
It is definitely warmer here, it's been 81-91 degrees for the last 5 days. And a gorgeous pool, beach and outside bar. Getting lots of sun.
getting pretty tan by now
Went for a drive north of town, pavement up to El Cardonal, then drove south on the dirt/beach road. Almost need a 4x4. Found a really great looking snorkeling spot, but didn't have my gear, next time.........
neat snorkeling spot between Los Barriles and Punta Pescadero
I like this area so much, I pay for a whole week, 1380P ($135). As well as the morning coffee bunch, there is a late afternoon gathering also, at the outside bar over looking the beach. These people sit and drink, watching for whales (I've seen them two different times now), jumping/flying stingrays and the returning charter fishing boats. Most of them have binoculars, and these guys would say what kind of fish each boat had caught that day. It took me awhile to understand, but the boats utilize a flag system. A certain color/emblem flag(s) are displayed on their antennas or outriggers, designating what kind of fish they got. The flag system even can tell you whether they boated a marlin or did a catch and release of a marlin. The returning fishing boats kind of cruise by the hotels and resorts showing colors to advertise their prowess (or brag) about how well they did. So today (Friday) there were a bunch of hooting and hollerin as a boat passed by, apparently the first Dorado flag of the season was flying by. Quite a celebration ensued.
general fish flags

Looked at some Real Estate today. Possibly just a lot for my RV, or maybe a modest house. Just checking the market. There are a lot of $600K to $3million houses on the beach or hillside views of the water, they are not selling at all. Humm, maybe there is a recession going on in the States? Maybe I can find a bargain somehow though. Re-stocked my shrimp supply, a kilo for 180P, from a roadside vendor, good stuff, bought 2 kilos.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My last week in La Paz

March 3 thru March 12 2011

Not lot's of cool adventures to share in this entry, but I'm going to share a couple interesting insights.

I always thought "Gringo" meant anyone from north of the border. But not true. Because when you discuss this with Mexican's (and I have); they are adamant that only Americans are gringos. Canadians are not considered gringos. And gringo does have a slight negative connotation to it, though not really nasty or mean. I think this has historical roots; such as Canadians have never confiscated huge chunks of land, never invaded Mexico, never sent a private/mercenary army to try to annex Baja into the state of California, never propped up unpopular dictators,  never consumed or drained the Colorado River before it can reach Mexico. Canada does not have prejudicial immigration laws or sterotype the population like we have been known to do. But even considering this underlying trepidation, they are outwardly very friendly and extremely helpful to us Gringos.

 Ride the bike today after attempted fix, it is better, but still leaks fuel. So I take it to a motorcycle shop, had to leave it overnight. Come back the next day and they say it is fixed. It was a leaky diaphragm gasket on the petcock, they of course didn't have the right parts, but they replaced the bad gaskets with fabricated copies made from an old potato chip bag! Seems to work fine, but somehow doesn't seem too permanent. They worked on it for 5-6 hours over 2 days, and charged me 300 pesos (about $28).
My morning view to the West at Tecolote

  I drive the RV to town one day for email/errands and to see the Carnival preparations. Had to park a bit away from main area, but still easy walking distance to street fair scene being set up. Came back to the RV, I immediately notice the passenger side window is gone/open. I think I got broken into (and everything I have is in that rig), I go inside, and find nothing missing or even disturbed.......I quickly realize that I must have left the window down when I was re-parking the rig (had to fold in my wide mirrors, weird one way street) and never closed the window after adjusting the mirror. So my RV sat on a fairly busy street for 5 hours, with the side walk facing window down, and no one bothered it!

I'm usually up before sunrise, and have a couple of cups of coffee while sitting there watching the sunrise, saying my thanks that I've been given another day..........
My morning ritual, watch the day unfold with a good cup of coffee or two

On Saturday's and Sunday's, the whole beach scene totally changes, all the locals arrive (whereas usually only RV's during the week). Big family outings, competing boom boxes, and much food and games. Not relaxing at all, but somewhat interesting to witness.

Ride my bike to town to watch the final night of the famous Carnival parade. Well, not as famous as Rio, but well renowned in Baja. Not terribly impressive, but the people watching was most delightful. Lots of 15 peso beers being consumed (about $1.30 for a 16oz cup). Beer tents every 50 yards, amazing stuff. Didn't get back to camp until well after dark. It was a bit cold and windy getting home, had a close call with a Brahma on the highway (good thing it was white and stood out in my headlights). And now I fully trust the potato chip bag fix.
young ladies on a float

teens dancing down the street

Next morning I met and talked with a new camper on the beach, single guy from Kelowna, BC. We talked for hours. Had some really heavy conversations about meta-physical stuff, syncro-destiny and and the concept of opening yourself up, share, give and let the positive energy flow. And that you end up receiving back so much more in return. He had some stunning examples, one of which I partially witnessed with two 22 year old local campers who turned out to be students from Spain, studying in La Paz. These two girls were amazing, in many ways. He shared a concept with me that they had thoroughly discussed around the campfire one night (bad timing, it was the night I went to town). The word is "majico". (mah-hee-ko). Like many words in English and Spanish, it has two meanings, could be a magician (as in card tricks and such), but the other meaning is a bit harder to define. It's kind of like karma, aura, serendipity or destiny; and just the magical wonders that sometimes become apparent in the world around us, usually at unpredictible times. And that's why you have to have an open mind. It could be a special/beautiful physical place that just puts you in a state of awe (which actually happened to me one time in the Cook Islands). Or it could be unique and special meeting of two people, that somehow seems divined or preordained. And the point is, you are more likely to encounter such occurrences if you get out in the world (turn off your TV) and open yourself to new cultures (travel), hang out with like minded people who are stimulating, and if you find a place or person that seems intriguing, embrace it and pursue it, let it go to where it takes you.
I have not seen the news in four months now, except maybe a few Yahoo headlines. But you know what, I don't miss it at all. It is not needed in my current life style, there is nothing I can do to help or hurt what's going on globally. That kind of information/propaganda clutters the senses and makes you less apt to experience the "here and now"  the "majico".
Well, maybe that was a bit heavy for some of you folks, I did my best to describe it, hope I didn't fall too short. But maybe it's one of those things you had to be there to get the whole gist.
This 41 year old BC guy was kind of in the self-analysis/self awareness stage but was getting a real handle on things. Whereas I have pretty  much already discovered who I am, how I want to lead my life and what is important to me. But the conversation and mental stimulation was really enlightening and special, we helped each other and we both walked away with a real "majico" experience.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

La Paz life, still in paradise, but problems are finding me.

Feb 17 to March 2-2011

Been boon-docking at Tecolote Beach for almost three weeks now, beautiful beach, few people and totally free. It's about a 30 mile round trip into town, so I've been mostly riding my motorcycle for the city trips. I ride every few days to check internet, use ATM, site see and get a few supplies.

So about a week and a half ago, my email was flooded with banking alerts and emails from my family wondering if I was still alive. Something unusual must have happened (I'm still not totally sure what), but two of my three banks cut me off and froze my accounts due to suspected fraudulent activities! The banks called some family members (my phone doesn't work down here) to ask about me. But wouldn't give them any details. So my family gets worried, start calling all the hospitals here in La Paz asking if there were any dead/robbed gringos laying around and were within hours of flying down to search for me (or my remains). I emailed them back and "chatted" with one daughter, assured them I was fine, had no idea what the problem was. I had all my cards, nothing had been compromised, had no idea what the big deal was. So I go to the nearest ATM, and yep, sure enough I'm cut-off. Go back to the internet, try to log in to see what the deal is with that bank, nope, online access denied also. So I try calling the 1-800 number on the card, guess what? US 1-800 don't work here. Have more email and chat with family, they call bank and try to explain the situation, no luck, they won't talk about it with anyone but me. I consider having a kid or brother try to fake it and pretend to be me, then decide against that for a couple reasons..

Then I think, ok go to the bank and get a cash advance on my other credit card, nope; turns out Mexico don't do cash advances or cash American paper checks. By the next day, I'm down to 300 pesos in my pocket ($27.00). I finally obtain an international collect number for the bank. I try numerous public phones, and they can't do it, doesn't work, gets about half-way through the number and line goes dead. I go to a high end gringo type hotel, speak to clerk, he offers to put the call through on their phone system, for a fee (now down to 200 pesos). He gets the same problem..........So somewhat by accident, I'm in an appliance store that supposedly has a bank in the back, none of them speak English (and my problems were too complicated to use my wonder Spanish). They find a TV salesman there that speaks English, I explain the phone problem, he takes me outside, walks up and down the street with me until he finds a particular phone booth (there are multiple street phone companies). Turns out only MexTel public phones will put through a US collect call. At 10 pm I end up successfully talking to my bank (now on the second night of this ordeal). They ask some questions to prove who I am, I say everything is fine, they have me confirm some transactions, yep, all mine, so dang it, turn me back on!! I've been using this ATM card in Baja for  4 months now, what triggered their heartburn all of a sudden? I immediately go to the closest ATM, it works! Next morning I try to go online to that bank, I'm still disabled there! I have to make another collect call to get that re-enabled. As I write this now, to the best of my knowledge, all these banking troubles are behind me now. I am so thankful for my families concern, help and support throughout this ordeal. You are all wonderful.

another Tecolote sunrise

I've previously mentioned the wild dogs in camp here. They are stand-offish, but seemingly friendly. And are kind of protective of the area. They start barking when strangers stroll thru camp or when campers dogs make trouble. And I've also previously written about the big troubles I've had with Mexican dogs viciously chasing me on my motorcycle. Well, sweet justice today. I was riding out of camp, the wild pack knows me and just kind of watches me leave. But a new RV had arrived the night before with a medium sized dog off lease, and this gringo dog goes after me with flashing teeth. The local wild dogs spring into action and attack the dog that was attacking me! I thought my God, these guys are protecting me. When I came back into camp later that night, that incident was the main topic of conversation. Turns out the gringo dog didn't get out of the situation to easily, lost lots of fur and had some nasty nips. Nobody else knew the whole situation, and blamed the "wild" dogs for bad manners. And so guess what? Next time I rode out of camp, that gringo dog didn't even raise an eyebrow, the locals taught him a good lesson.

It's been in the 70's the whole time I've been here, but can be a bit breezy. Fishing has been slow, but I did go out with a neighbor the other day. We caught 4 Sierra and 2 spotted bass. Kind of the shoulder season right now, the big game stuff isn't happening yet.
catch of the day

I have enough boon-docking capacity to last about 6-7 days w/o having to recharge batteries, refill water or dumps tanks. But I had to fire up the generator the other day, my batteries had gotten low enough that my fridge quit working. Then I see that the coach 110v (from generator) is fluctuating wildly, coming and going. Shut things off and start looking for the problem. I immediately find one lead at my 30 amp receptacle was burnt/melted, and unfix-able. While trying to figure out some sort of temporary bypass/repair, another neighbor comes over, we talk. Turns out he has one! And won't take any money for it. I'm fixed and working again in 15 minutes. Easy and cheap fix for what could have been a very serious problem.
yea I know, real interesting for the female readers

Balandra Beach, about 1 mile from where I'm camped. One of many white sandy beaches I pass on the way to town.
Balandra Beach

One day in town, some sort of activity is going on at the Malecon. I wander over, and it's some sort of X-Games type promotion going on. Lots of dirt bikes, jerseys, videos and models. Monster girls and other sports drinks, all very well represented (and eager to pose).
eager to pose

Bike problems again. This time a fuel leak at the gas tank petcock. Humm, no wonder I'm getting bad mileage back and forth to town. I'm not really sure, but I think I can tell where the leak is, but of course it is on the inside, can't see it well enough to be sure. I disassembled it all, look for bad gaskets and connections, all looks ok. Except I had to build a new gasket for the primary tank connection. Had to cut up a perfectly good spare inner tube, but that part worked fine. Reassembled, and still leaks. Drove RV to Home Depot (yes, they have one here), but some glue type stuff that claimed it worked an anything to do with automotive. It didn't. Then I found a neighbor with some old JBWeld, looked like it was going to work, set up nicely, rode around for an hour or so, still leaks, but much better. But I consider it unridable at this point. I might be able to afford the extra gas, but if enough of it dripped on the wrong place, my bike could turn into a napalm crotch rocket. So it's at the dealer now, we'll see what the local pros can do.

This picture is out my dinette window. Four PM and the window thermometer says 72. So at least I still have the weather going for me. Some neighbors have satellite TV, they tell me 46 of the 50 states have had snow in the last two weeks. Maybe I'm doing ok.
dirty window, but a nice daily view

Friday, February 18, 2011

Recent events

Feb 4 to Feb 16
In Loreto camp still at the start of this post, taking lots of walks around town, but this is not a great place for my beach desires. But getting lots of sun just lounging behind my RV, in semi privacy. Watched the Superbowl, decent game but it was through a Canadian satellite system, so I think I missed lots of the famous "commercials".
I'm getting itchy feet and decide to leave this camp before my (already paid for) month is up. Drove about 25 km south to Juncalito beach, lots of full timers there, some have been living here for months.
Juncalito beach camping
Then headed south again, went through Cuidad Constitucion, infamous for bad city cops stopping gringos for BS reasons, but I had no encounters. Then all the way to La Paz. Stayed for one night at Maratha RV park, nice place but a bit expensive and no hot showers. Spent lots of time wandering around downtown La Paz and the Malecon area. But ended up going to the free beach at Tecolote, about 20 km past the main town. And have now been there for 5 or 6 days. No facilities, but it is an absolutely beautiful beach, and again, lots of long term occupants here. About 25 rigs scattered up and down a half mile long beach, so not to crowded.
self portrait at Tecolote beach

Tecolote is total boon docking, no facilities except a part time restaurant. Absolutely gorgeous beach and fantastic sunrises.  About 70% of the people here are Canadian. Very few Americans around. All the negative American press has really affected the gringos perceptions. First two days were windy, but has now been calm for the last 4 days. Excellent weather, around 80 degrees. It's a hassle to pack up the RV and drive to town, so I have been riding my motorcycle a lot, for phone calls, internet and food. There are many wild dogs running around here, not wild/mean or at all aggressive, in fact they are really friendly, but skittish (I think they get rocks thrown at them a lot). They have no home, just packs running together, apparently surviving on washed up fish and the good graces of some campers.

"wild dogs" at Tecolote

I have been really happy with the RV. All the things I worried about have been perfect, generator, refrigerator-freezer, hot water heater, shower, batteries all good. But I did have a bit of a mishap in La Paz they other day. I clipped a tree on the back edge top corner, tore up some molding. Shouldn't be too difficult to fix though. I have driven 4,443 miles since I left Seattle, and have only had to add 1/2 quart of oil, so engine is running great too.

una problema

This big town of 250,00 people has a Walmart!  Went there and what an experience. Like the US, it had pretty much everything you can think of, but almost no American brands, so it was really fun shopping there, and looking at all the stuff. Bought a lot of staples, some food and some treats. I haven't seen such a selection in months now.
I was stopped by a police roadblock one night when heading out of La Paz late at night. It was a drunk driving check. They asked if I had anything to drink. I said no (though not totally true) and they let me pass.
The military/police situation here takes some getting used to. The city cops are just average Joe's, don't really have any special training, kind of just traffic safety type stuff. The Army (who man all the highway check points) can look intimidating, but they are almost all young kids carrying old Belgium FN machine guns. There is a mandatory draft here, most every mainland kid has to serve one year, so how well can they actually be trained? Not really a professional organization. And then there are the Federal Policia. They are all well educated speak decent English and are very professional looking and acting. And lastly, the Marines/Navy. there is some kind of overlap with these two branches (just like the US). They are the ones that really hold all the power and are well trained and armed with American weapons. They are on the forefront with the drug cartels. They seem nice enough, but are a bit intimidating  because they frequently have black masks on under their helmets and goggles, with M16's at full ready.

I have been in Mexico for exactly 3 months now, and for the first time I'm having  a bit of money worries. I had a fair amount of stashed US bills with me, but it's been spent. I now have to totally rely on my ATM card to obtain pesos. I would be totally hosed if an ATM ate my card. The banking system down here is so different, there is no such thing as a cash advance on a credit card, and it is nearly impossible to open a bank account as an American. A bit scary when I contemplate the situation.
Where I have been camping, I have to drive by the main port here, called Pichilingue. All the oil tankers dock here, but it is also where all the commercial truck traffic comes and goes from the mainland, mostly Mazatlan. Seemingly disorganized to outsiders, it actually seems to be very reliable and well established. Lots of passengers, but mostly tractor-trailer rigs. And boy do they pack them in tight. The ferry runs two times a day and always seem full. RV's use it too, but I'm told it is pricey, around $500 to $600 each way.

Baja Ferry terminal at Pichilingue

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Loreto update

Jan 28 to Feb 3 2011
Went on another hike yesterday, up through a sand washed, palm lined canyon oasis. About 4 miles round trip, not much elevation gain; but it is kind of tough walking through the pebble-sand mixture. We had the usual campground hiking club members (two of us), plus a couple new folks with us.  Saw live/wandering cattle, goats and donkeys; and a couple dead cows (not sure how they met their demise, kind of weird actually).
the view up and across Primer Agua canyon

stream bed of the oasis

upper end of the canyon, our turn-around point

Some other thoughts:
I think it is going to be a noisy weekend. Saturday is Constitution Day, a national holiday. Superbowl Sunday is this weekend, it also happens to be the day of their national election. Yep, polls are on Sundays here. I've been told that no Mexicans can buy alcohol this Sunday (election), so believe me, they are all planning ahead. Gringos can buy okay; but in all the restaurants/bars, they will be limited to just four drinks apiece.

I was in a book store the other day and was able to ID the snake I showed in my Dec14-18 report.  It is a San Lucan Gopher snake (no wonder I didn't know what it was, only lives in a small area of Baja).

My RV's humming bird feeder has been getting lots of use. And not just by humming birds. The new visitors, well to be honest, I'm not familiar with them. Beautiful bright yellow/black feathers, I am told they are orioles.

the view thru my slightly dirty window