Monday, April 30, 2012
Some of you will be new to reading this Blog. If you are, and you’re interested in our journey, please start at the beginning and travel with us as we journeyed south in our Ontario 32 sailboat the SV Shannon. For those of you who kept up with us along the way, thank you so much. While we enjoy writing, it is a blessing to have folks who actually enjoy reading what you write… so thank you again from the bottom of our ‘writers hearts’.
To all of you, we bid adieu for now. We’re home and it’s time for us to concentrate on our domestic life in Maple Bay, BC. We’re looking forward to spending time with family friends and to doing some of those things that owning a sailboat seem to preclude. Stuff like camping and golfing and just plain hangin’ out.. And, if we’re lucky, maybe someone will even take us sailing now and then :-)
So, we won’t be writing any more blog posts for now. We’ll leave it here.. and take up again in the fall when we will be continuing our adventure in Mexico. Until then, enjoy your lives, each and every day, and thanks for joining us on our journey.
Carolyn, Kathy and Princess Sophie.
PS: For those of us following our return trip, I forgot to mention, we came through the US/Canada border without a problem, dropped off Vicky's stuff,and were in Richmond by the afternoon of Day 16 of our return drive... no sweat.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
DAY 15 Thursday, April 26: We're up, Kath's had a swim, a warm breakfast awaits us. Then we're off to check out a couple of things and hit the road. Next stop, Bellingham. We're so close we can taste it!!
You know, we really grew to appreciate, very much, the beauty of the land and sea in Mexico. I had no idea rocks, red rocks, could look so beautiful... the striations continue to lure me and my camera lens. But, the vibrant greens of our own terrain... that which is truly home... are the most beautiful colours in the universe. And the air smells so good! We remain truly blessed by the grandeur of our world.
Day 16 should see us through the border, to White Rock to drop off Vicky's stuff, and in to Richmond. Will write again once our mission has been completed... Hope all of you are doing well. Have a great day... CJ
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
DAY 13 Tuesday, April 24th: Had a very nice drive today with great scenery... rolling green hills, farms and ranches. Even saw some cowboys on horseback, with herding dogs, moseying along after some cattle along the fence. Made it as far as Red Bluff (just north of Sacramento) today and have stopped at a very nice Comfort Inn (complete with pool, sauna, hot breakfast... and we have a suite - one of the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in - with a balcony.... and we used a coupon so got the suite for $69/night. Not bad hey. Off for Chinese food tonight... after a swim of course :-)
That's all for now... We're heading for Grant's Pass tomorrow. It'll be a shorter drive but should be quite nice (depending on how hard it rains on us :-(
We hope to be in Richmond by the afternoon of the 28th, have a short visit with Dad and then get back to the Island on Monday the 30th. We'll be back to see Dad for a better visit, after we've delivered the van and in time for his birthday (May 9th) and a few days thereafter. That's it for now. Happy Birthday Penny, and Dwight, and Joanne.... and Happy Anniversary P&J. ttfn CJ
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
DAY 7 (cont’d): Ain’t that the truth! Moments after I posted the last blog I leaned forward over the netbook… zigging when I should have zagged and causing one of my discs to do a wee ‘tweak’. Just a wee one, nothing too serious… but ouchey enough to slow me down a tad. Those of you with ‘tweakable’ backs know what I mean. You also know that the show must go on, particularly when you’re in the middle of an uphill/northbound road trip home after the sailing adventure we’ve had. We are on our way home… and home we must be going. Funny; the closer we get, the faster I want to go; and after more than 2000 nautical miles without even a ‘hitch’ I’m not complaining about my back…ever. However, that was just how the day that wasn’t a 10 began… it got worse :-)
We left our wonderful, garden oasis and hit the road again, heading north towards Ensenada. The drive wasn’t bad… much the same as the days before, with narrow lanes, crazy drivers, pot-holes, low or no guard rails, high cliffs and low valleys… and dust, lots of dust. But we weren’t worried, after all we were headed to the lush Valle de Guadalupe and to a dog-friendly hotel with great reviews, a lovely setting, and a reservation. After only two military checks (both were painless) we drove through Ensenada (missed a couple of turns, but found our way out the other side without too much stress) and linked up with the highway that would take us into wine country. The scenery around us began to green up as we continued north and it was really nice to finally see some wooded hills and fertile fields…. Then, not far along the ‘Rue de Vin’… we spotted our destination, the Hotel Fatima, on the right side of the road. Even at first glance, things didn’t look quite right… at least not as nice as the pictures on the internet. Parking on the dirt lot and walking up the weed infested, dusty and uneven stone entrance path, we couldn’t help but notice the rows of rough wooden doors lining each side. I kept expecting one to creak open on a rusty hinge and expose some poor dead cowboy wasting away inside. An old rusty triangle, swinging in the breeze wouldn’t have been out of place. And there was absolutely no sign of anyone, not even a caretaker, until we were actually at the dark, front door… at least it looked kind of like a front door… at least it was in the middle of the wall. Anyway, a young Mexican fellow (name unknown as I couldn’t understand what he said) met us and indicated he was in charge. I asked him about the owners (Doug and Sue Robinson according to the internet) and he agreed they were still around…at least he pointed to their photograph enclosed in a glass counter.. hmmm. Then I did my best to explain to him that we had reservations, that we were a day early, and that I was wondering if he could fit us in (I know that sounds a little funny considering there was absolutely no signs of life in the place except us). Well, it gets worse. He looked quite blank and didn’t understand what I was saying and then I noticed he had the hotel register under his hands… so I pointed to it and we began to communicate with international gringo sign language. It didn’t take long to figure out there was absolutely no one staying at the place, and there was no notation of our reservation at all, not anywhere. At this point he decided to show us a room and did so. It was room #7, the door creaked open just as I’d suspected it would… and the inside was no cleaner than the outside. To make matters worse three earwigs scuttled across the floor as we stepped in and I was afraid to look any further in case there were other, larger creatures lurking about. Suffice to say we made our exit quite quickly… making idle promises about “maybe later…”. As we drove out of the parking lot, senor ‘desk clerk’ could be seen sweeping out room #7. He may still be waiting for us…
Feeling lucky to have escaped this rather unfortunate turn of events, we carried on along the wine route with me casting my tired old eyes left and right looking for signs of a beautiful, dog-friendly, lush by the riverside, with bird-filled gardens and a heated pool… kind of a place.. you know.. the ones with free wine-tasting as well as B&B… Kathy, bless her heart, delved deeply into the tombs of data available via the internet and our pamphlets… seeking furiously anything that might house us for the night. We found a place; right on the highway but up a hill and surrounded by vineyards. It looked quite nice. Turns out, after negotiating a deeply creviced and rutted uphill drive, we discovered both the restaurant and the B&B hotel were closed. At least we were able to turn around and didn’t have to back down the hill :-) We carried on…. or rather we back-tracked to a place we’d passed earlier that was described in the books as “basic but clean”.
The Posada Inn actually has a swimming pool, looks kind of nice, and has a restaurant next door. We pulled in and asked a staff member if they had room for us and if they took dogs. Quick answer: “yes” they had room, “no” dogs not allowed. Turns out neither of us were above begging and with a little friendly chatting we were able to gain permission for PS to join us in our room. The manager did, however, give us the oldest room in the place and even PS wasn’t too impressed with it. The room was ok. It was clean but it was.. well, it was dowdey. Enough said. It had a bed (which wasn’t too hard) a TV (that didn’t work) a door (with a lock that didn’t, really) and neighbours. Turns out the walls were thinner than paper and even tho’ we tried to pass the time by sleeping… the noise of the jake brakes of the semi’s roaring down the highway about 3’ from our pillows and the ‘romancing’ going on next door was enough to curl your toes. By about 0500 we’d had all, of both, we could take… gave up trying to sleep, got up, fed the dog, packed the van…. and abandoned all thoughts of wine country tours. Instead we pointed our noses north and headed off to take on the authorities at the Tecate border crossing. It was time to head for home.
DAY 8 Wednesday, April 18th: We left early (as you heard above) and were at the border crossing by approximately 0800. A short chat with the guard on duty and we were through the border and heading for breakfast. Thank goodness… no unloading of van, no lengthy enquiry as to our trip… just some pleasantries and a few questions, a light ‘stirring’ of the top layer of stuff at the back of the van… and we were on our way. We had a great breakfast at Denny’s (first North American breakfast for months) and then washed the van and headed for our hotel. We’re here now, at the Vagabond Inn, Point Loma. We hadn’t planned on being here for another two days but, you know, sometimes you just have to put on your flexible cape and go with the wind… and the wind drove us north. We’re glad to be here… have a couple of extra days to relax and do laundry and stuff. Susan and George are coming to share some time with us on the 21st and 22nd and then we’ll head north.
Guess that’s all for now. We’re well; we’re safe; and we’re in San Diego, USA. Hope all is well with all of you. Later… CJ
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
DAY 6 - Monday, April 16th.: This place we’re staying at could be anywhere… anywhere beautiful that is. The building is new and small enough to be cozy. It’s surrounded by lush, green, colourful and fragrant gardens, complete with a myriad of birds (hummingbirds, doves, quail, sparrows and finches) that feed and live within the garden canopy. There’s even an owl, complete with a very loud ‘hooter’, and a pair of white doves that hang out on the telephone wire across the street. I’ve used the word ‘street’ but really our hotel is on a wide, hard-packed dirt road, one section removed from the highway that slows a bit as it passes through town. As I sit here listening to the crickets outside our door and the chirps of the birds settling in for the night, we could be anywhere… anywhere beautiful, green and ‘alive’. Guess you could say we like it here. There’s even an orange grove next to our garden and one of the gardeners gave Kathy 4 mandarin oranges from one of the trees today. We’ll have them for breakfast tomorrow.
Speaking of food…. did we ever have a nice dinner. We’d been kind of frustrated earlier in the day when we tried to find a place to have breakfast… it was lunch time by the time we actually came across a place that was open and looked like the food would be safe. It was and it was good and once done, we headed back to our little oasis to spend the afternoon reading and laying about in the sun. Shortly after we arrived we were told by Nancy, our desk clerk, about Cilieto LIndo’s, reknown for it’s cracked crab, and near enough to the ocean to actually allow a couple of girls and a small dog to reach out and play on the beach. Soooo, off we went and after a not-too-long drive on a not-too-lumpy road we found the place. Not only did it serve great crab it was a neat little bar, inhabited by a group of x-pats, one of whom (Clarence) bought us a beer to toast the passing of a dear friend of his.
DAY 7 – Tuesday, April 17th: We’ve slept in a bit today… our drive will only be about 4 hours. We’re heading in to the wine country that lies in a valley running between Ensenada and the Tecate border crossing. We’ve had breakfast in bed with our books.. it consisted of coffee from the desk clerk’s counter (not too bad if you add about half a cup of hot water to it) a can of peaches (no, not out of the can.. we used plastic water cups and our plastic spoons from mixing the Coffee mate into the aforementioned coffee :-); and some breakfast bars (left over from our trek down the coast and still delicious… in a Kellogs, cereal bar kind of way). After showers, and repacking our gear into the trusty van we’ll be on our way into the next leg of our journey.
It’s interesting how, as we get closer to home, things like calendars and commitments start to creep in. There are several things we are really looking forward to doing when we get home and one of them is catching up with our friends and families. Another involves healthy living… can’t say we’ve been able to maintain our svelt figures, so will have some work to do in that regard… good news is we know what to do, just have to do it. I’m going to sign off now…it’s time to get going.. I’ll tell you how our drive today went..later tonight. Until then, have a great day… ttfn… CJ
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
It’s Thursday, April 12th, and I’m sitting here – under a palm frond palapa, in an enclosed flag-stone courtyard… with a small pool to my left and our private Casita (#1) to my right. Sophie the wonder dog is laying beside my chair… Kath is changing into her sun-tanning suit and Lucy, the most amazing rescued ‘guard’ dog is lazing about somewhere out of sight. This place, Il Tiburon Casitas in Loretto, is owned by Liz who is (as well as a tile layer – who did all her own tile work in each of the four private casitas) is a veterinarian who has just left to fly to California to operate on a horse… She’s quite an amazing person and her love and care for the canine breed is most obviously evident in Lucy – the most gentle, tough dog I’ve ever met. Lucy single-handedly (or single-pawdedly) keeps the entire property safe from intruders of every kind… and she has quite a memory too. We met her once for a brief visit over a month ago when we dropped by (having sailed as far as Puerto Escondido) and Liz assured us she’d remember us; and she did. When we arrived yesterday Lucy let us in after only a quick sniff… just walked away as if to say “ok, you’re in… follow me”. Shortly after we arrived, Liz in her wisdom (and after several warnings from us as to how ferocious PS can be when faced with having to relate to another dog) decided to just let Lucy run free. If I hadn’t witnessed this myself, I’d have had trouble believing it. PSophie did her usual lip curl and soft hiss (you remember the one…it usually comes just before the ‘tasmanian devil rush’)… anyway, she did that ‘beautiful’ (not) thing with her face and posture… and Lucy just looked slightly away (and said ‘oh, really…”) lifted her one foreleg and held it just off of Sophie’s shoulders. Her message, “ you don’t really want to make anything of this… now do you”, was clear even to me. And, after a very short pause… Sophie agreed that would probably be a stupid thing to do. Lucy weighs about 60 pounds, is absolutely solid, and faintly resembles a very well put together large pit bull. I haven’t asked about her make-up… it doesn’t really matter. She’s a rescued street dog, has a great life with Dr. LIz , has a job which she takes very seriously, and is the first dog to quietly, yet firmly, assure Sophie there is a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ to behave… your choice. It took Sophie less than 5 minutes to figure out which was the ‘right way’ and she spent the afternoon following Lucy around helping her fend off the dastardly garbage men and basically keep the Il Tiburon estate clear of any varmints or un-wanted’s…. The two of them make quite a pair. So, that’s my dog story for the day.
We left La Paz yesterday morning after one last peek at the good ship Shannon. She’s sitting proudly on her stands after being washed, waxed and packed away… and she’s in an area where she’s surrounded by larger but not ‘near-so-pretty’ vessels. We’ve been assured that, after all our work, she’ll still look like a dust bin when we get back…all ratty ‘n unloved. But, that’s something we’ll have to deal with in October. For now we’re on our way home. We’re driving an older van (belongs to a friend who needs it delivered to White Rock), packed from floor to ceiling and front to back…. with her stuff and our stuff. I’m a little nervous about the borders cuz if they decide to check the contents it’ll take us days to repack it… But, there’s nothing to hide…it’s all about time.
Our return home… by road…:
DAY 1: Drove from La Paz to Loreto (0900-1530 hrs.). We stopped for lunch about half way. The roads were in pretty good shape and the drivers didn’t seem to mind our slow moving vehicle (speed limit) lumbering along… we’re taking it easy so as to not push the van too hard. We arrived in Loreto early enough to enjoy a drink by the pool and to meet the other ‘residents’ at the Il Tiburon Casitas.. a nice group of folks. We enjoyed a very nice dinner at a nearby restaurant (in the ‘Gringo’ area of old town) before passing out in our very comfortable beds. We slept so soundly, both of us awoke with stiff backs… probably as much from ‘decompressing’ as from sleeping soundly.
DAY 2: We spent the morning doing a little shopping at a store we’d heard about and then returned ‘home’ to enjoy the afternoon in the sunny courtyard by the pool. We’ve purchased a few things we can use to make sandwiches for our lunch tomorrow and we’ll pull over for a little break during our drive to eat it. Tomorrow’s drive is a little longer so we’ll make an early start. We’re heading to Laguna San Ignacio and will be spending two nights there, sleeping in a yurt. Should be very interesting and it’s right on the Pacific Coast. Tell you all about it later.
That’s it for now… take good care… CJ signing off… the pool awaits.