Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The road south... San Diego to Mazatlan...

Sorry I haven't written earlier.. but it's been a busy (and hot) few days...  What follows is a little travel news and some tips for those who are following behind us and spend restless nights anticipating the horrors of a Mexican border crossing... so here goes.

Wed. Oct. 23rd:  San Diego to Green Valley, AZ. This was the day... the day we make our move to head yet further south and into position for the dastardly 'crossing'.  I'd canvassed countless friends asking tons of questions.. which crossing?  what's the best time of day? where do we get the VISAs?  where do we get the TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for the truck? what time does the bank open?  will they take a credit card? etc......  and, true to form, I'd received just as many answers, none exactly the same.  So, armed with our best guesses, over-stuffed with receipts and letters from the marina, and with fingers crossed tightly, we headed off early in the morning... bound for not Tucson (as most had suggested) but Green Valley...  a mere half hour from the border crossing at Nogales, AZ.

We checked in to the Best Western Green Valley Inn and after only one room change due to the over-powering smell of Febreeze (and Lord knows what else).... we settled in for an unsettled rest. Chuck (the truck) was parked outside our windows as usual... and the gal at the front desk had assured us he would be safe as the sidewalks rolled up at dark and only the very elderly were still up (cuz they couldn't sleep)....

Thur. Oct. 24th: Dinner had been passable and we were up so early the only place open was the golden arches... but that's okay because we've discovered the 'egg white' version of the Egg McMuffin. It's very good, has less calories, and you can even ask for white cheddar instead of the usual yellow rubber.  So, we feel quite righteous now as we drive thru those ominous arches seeking early morning vittles. Anyway, up early, food in tummies, off we went... heading south to the Nogales border crossing in to Mexico.  Now the count was 50:50 as to whether we were to use the downtown crossing or the truck crossing... but all agreed that earlier was better. So, a little later than we'd planned (what else is new?) we headed off and made it to the (we chose the) truck crossing (at Mariposa) about 0715 hrs.  Here's where the advice got a little sketchy.  Some said drive straight through; some said stop and declare at Customs; all mentioned the red and green light torture. It's just like the airport in London... you get to pick which traffic lane you drive down.  If you get a green light (which we have had every time so far) you proceed.  If you get the dreaded red light... well, either your life is over, or you only disappear for a few years.. or something like that... :-)

Last year we muddled our way through but for some reason I was more nervous this year.  No need to be really as we aren't sneaking things in and out of the country.. but it just felt like.. well, you know... with such a full truck (most of it used and ugly stuff... but a few new things for the boat.. all carefully listed on our marina letter of course... but new none-the-less), I was just more nervous than normal.Guess I felt like our luck might run out or something.. and we had heard some horror stories of horrendous duties being charged on items coming south... so, we agreed that Kathy had the prettier face (particularly compared to my 'not so sure what to do' pale pallor) and would do better at communicating with our border guards... and she was therefore nominated as our designated driver for the crossing.  All went well in the end, but there were a couple of 'moments'.  Like at the first crossing when we went into the Aduana (Customs) office believing the right thing to do was to fill out a form declaring that we had nothing to declare (cuz it was all accounted for in our letters). Luckily (because I think we might have opened a hornets nest) the girl was so very busy doing her nails she looked unpleased to be interrupted by us.. and shooed us out her door and down the way a bit.  Finding no other doors open, we shrugged our shoulders, returned to Chuck, backed up and stopped.  We were faced with the choice of three lanes... all with signs that said "Nothing to Declare".  We studied this for a while and finally chose the middle one.  Phew... a little green light flickered... and off we went.

17 KMs further south down the highway (21 KM if you're north bound) is the office where you must stop and apply for your Tourist Visa as well as the TIP for your vehicle.  Both applications require various pieces of paper (copies of Passports, Vehicle Registration and Insurance, DL's, etc.) but the set up is very smooth. With much stamping of documents and moving from first the Visa counter, to photo-copier, back to counter... then on to the TIP counter, back to the photo-copier, and back to the counter... AND with the use of a Credit Card so as not to have to wait for the banjercito (bank) to open (and to make handing the TIP back in when we leave much faster)  we were in and out in about half an hour.... (likely much longer later in the day... but great at 0800 hrs...).  Believe it or not the hardest part was not freezing to death.. it was cold!

And then it was time to pick the damn traffic lane again....  with a deep breath, we forged ahead and... gasp!!!  the light turned RED.... oh my God!  Our hearts started to pound and sweat broke out upon our brows...  how could this be?  what to do?  Ok, ok....  I said to Kathy.. "you talk to the guy, at least you'll understand what he says"...  and I, armed with the marina letters and the keys to the canopy.. got out and walked to the back of the truck.  He motioned for me to open the truck and so I unlocked the top half of the tail gate...  and stood back.  He began to reach for the tailgate itself, to open it, and without thinking I called out "oh no senor,,,,  no, it will all fall out"...  With that he peeked under the rear curtain and even he turned a bit pale.  By that time, his partner had come along and the two of them studied the letters carefully while Kathy explained we had a boat in Mazatlan and all this 'stuff' was for the boat....  Thankfully the senior fellow advised the junior guy.. that he had seen this before and it would be ok...  We were thanked and asked to carry on.. which we did without hesitation - I can tell you... Phew!

Feeling pretty proud of ourselves we carried on down the highway and, in not too long a time, found ourselves driving into a town called Hermasillo.  As we came around a bend in the road we drove right into a police take-down about to start.  Police with guns were everywhere, police cars were everywhere.. there was even media filming.  We, and several other cars heading south, wound ourselves through the melee and continued on - glad to have not been stopped.  We hadn't gone more than two blocks when to my wonderment I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror.  "Oh no" I said "we're being pulled over".  A marked Municipal Police Car pulled us over and a youngish officer came up to my door and asked for my license.  I gave it to him (probably won't do that next time), whereupon he began to explain we had been speeding in a School Zone.  "School Zone?" I said,  "What school zone?  All we saw were policia everywhere...."  He assured us we had been speeding in a school zone and then pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and wrote two numbers on it. The first was 1500p.  The second was 120 US. He explained that he could write us a ticket but that would cost 1500 pesos.... or we could give him 120 USD instead.  Even though my heart was beating mightily (I hate getting pulled over) I remembered that we'd heard about this kind of 'corruption' in La Paz.. and, above all else, we were not to support the corruption by paying them..so I said "OK, give me the ticket".  There began a debate between he (with no English) and me (with no Spanish) about whether or not I would give him the cash.... or, as I kept demanding, we would go together to the Station where I would pay the ticket. He was so surprised at my insistence to go to the Station that he didn't know quite what to do and, when his senior partner came up to the window to see what was taking so long, he explained my demands... the senior guy said something to the younger guy (probably something like "you're wasting your time with this one"...).  By that time I had retrieved my DL by pulling it slowly from the officers hand and he finally said... "Ok, good bye... go on to San Carlos"...  and he leaned in and shook both of our hands... weird.  I expect he'll be more practiced when he tries that kind of  stop again.  What's upsetting is that you/we spend our time worrying and being careful to safeguard ourselves from thieves and robbers and the like... and it's the damn police who tried to rip us off.  Upsetting to say the least.  But, with yet another story to tell, we headed on down the road... what a day!

We arrived at Guaymas by mid-afternoon and checked in to the Armida Hotel.. Not everything works out the way you plan it.  We had stayed at this particular hotel with Sophie last year and, given our experiences in lesser hotels in the area... the room was fine.  This year we've been spoiling ourselves a bit and maybe that's why my nose kind of turned up a bit when we got to our room... and I did try really hard to ignore the few ants and, well, smallish crawly things in some of the darker corners.. after all 'tis the season here and we were on the ground floor... right??  WRONG..  when the creepy crawlies started getting bigger and coming out after dark.. and when the huge one scuttled from under my bed, across the floor, to under Kathy's bed... I declared "Enough!!" and we moved.  Not far tho; just upstairs.. for the night.  Checked out the next morning and moved into the Holiday Inn Express.  It was beautiful and clean and fresh.. and it even provided a lovely breakfast.  Phew.

PS:  Nick, if you get this... Happy Birthday!  Sorry I couldn't call on your special day... hope you had fun.

Fri. Oct. 25th: This was a day we had set aside to look at boats and to visit with friends Chris & Chris on SV Scintilla (in the boat yard at Guaymas, Seca.) and Margie & Chuck on SV Dreamcatcher (in the boat yard at San Carlos, Seca).  We had very nice visits with both couples and shared a couple of meals.  We also took the opportunity to look at a few boats that were listed for sale in San Carlos.  Having crawled up and down the ladders and poked around in the sad creatures looking for love... I can tell you that none met our needs.  I did learn, however, that the Ericson 38-200 has a layout that would work and has a good reputation as a solid, good-sailing boat. This model is now on our list of 'possibles'.

Sat. Oct. 26th: Finally, our last leg; the drive from Guaymas to Mazatlan.  We had our rules... stay on the toll highways (they're much safer)... don't stop in the wastelands (there's safety in numbers)... carry spare gas (check)... drink lots of water (check)... always carry TP when you go to the washrooms (check)... Pemex gas stations always have clean washrooms (hmmm).  Oh well...  first you have to find one that's open :-) and it's true, they are much better than the rest... So, off we went and, without much more to report.... 9 1/2 looooong hours later, we pulled in to Mazatlan... right up to the door of our little bungalow  (#6 at Mar Y Sol Bungalows)... just down the road from the two main marinas that we use.  They're so nice here and they keep a very clean house... no creepy crawlies (maybe a baby ant or two, but nothing we can't handle), have a little kitchen and the place is right on the main drag and a quick, 5 minute drive, to the good ship Shannon.

So we're here... it's very hot and humid... and we're working on Shannon.  She's in good shape having been well cared for by Tony's Boat Management.  We'll be here for several weeks getting her ready for her new life.  And, we'll be researching the boat listings and connecting with our cruising buddies who will all be showing up over the next week or so.  We've even had a quick dip in the pool at El Cid... ahhhh, what bliss.  The waiters all remembers us and as long as we order something, they don't mind if we visit... besides... we are 'officially' visiting friends (Ron & Fran on SV Calliope who are BCers.. all the way from Nanaimo and whom we ran in to on the ferry leaving Victoria...  small world.).

I think that's enough news for now... sorry to have taken so much of your time but wanted to catch up and share a story or two with you.  We hope all of you are well and enjoying the little bits of sun we hear are poking out here and there.... in BC anyway.  Take good care of each other... will talk again soon.  Adios....  CJ

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mazatlan... arrived safe and sound

Sat. Oct. 26...  1900 hrs.:  We have arrived in Mazatlan safe and sound...  Even Chuck the truck is glad to be here....  We're booked in, have had a lovely dinner, and will sleep well tonight.  Will write again tomorrow with the details of our trip and some info for those who are following our tracks......  nighty night. CJ

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oct. 18 thru 21- Mount Shasta to San Diego...

We promised ourselves we'd stop in places we hadn't been before... well, except for San Diego of course... who can resist that delectable sailors haven?

Thur Oct 17th to Mount Shasta, CA:  We enjoyed a great 6-7 hour drive, through gorgeous scenic ranch land and mountains... all the way to Mount Shasta, California.  What a breathtaking place!  We stayed at the Cold Creek Inn, a small but immaculate motel, situated within the shadow of Mount Shasta.  There were several nice restaurants in the area and we drove a few blocks through the main drag checking them all out.  Many had good reviews... we chose the pub (of course) just the other side of the downtown area... and had pizza and salad for dinner... then back 'home' for a good nights sleep.  The water here comes right from the springs...it's almost freezing cold but very good; we filled our water jugs before we left the next morning.... continuing our trek south - this time towards another 'new' place for us, Elk Grove, CA.

Fri. Oct 18th to Elk Grove, CA:  This next leg of our journey took us through kind of a 'badland'... very few 'nice' places to stay - or so we thought.  But, after driving for 3-4 hours, we found Elk Grove and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn (we've been getting the AAA discount which really helps with the room prices).  A very nice hotel, with a great brew pub beside it, and friendly staff...  who could ask for more.  And, just as you leave their parking lot there's a Chevron station with a MacDonald's (they have this new egg white breakfast bun... very nice and half the calories) which is very convenient.... Then it was 'right' onto the Hwy and with our new GPS (Jack) calmly explaining where to go (very handy when faced with 6 lanes of traffic and a turn or exit coming up in 3... 2.5... 2.4... miles) there's a whole lot less paper map flapping and debate about when, where and how to get off the #?!* freeway :-)

Sat. Oct. 20th to Irvine, CA: This was the day we'd hoped to stop in Uplands, at the Garhauer store, to purchase some kayak racks... but, no luck,...  no answer of phone meant (we assume) they weren't open - so we didn't even try. We pressed on and 6 or 7 hours later we arrived in Irvine, CA.  Another Hilton hotel, this one at the airport (Hilton Irvine / Orange County Airport) gave us refuge.  Here, we met Lynn (wife of our friend Grant in Mazatlan) and had a great Vietnamese meal for dinner.  But the next morning it was time to go again... so after lugging our bags back out to the truck we headed on down the road.

Security: Each time we've driven from home to Mexico we've had to carry quite a bit of 'stuff'.  Most of it's boat 'stuff' and each time we say "phew, that was a load!  Next year's will be smaller".  But they just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger.  This year, the good ship Shannon is demanding much of the equipment we left at home be returned.  Little things, like the pull-out couch cushion and the original main sail and the door to the heads.  Finicky things like the broken hydraulic back-stay adjuster and a box of parts that may aid in its repair, and the propane tank to replace the lovely, fibreglass one that has been recalled #!*#.  And then there's our own 'stuff', clothing and meds for 6 months, along with maintenance materials and tools for the boat.  The list goes on but my reason for reporting this is to explain that the 'stuff', the payload, the cargo... is so crammed in to Chuck the Truck there isn't any room left, even for a new pair of shoes... nope, Chuck is full to the brim. Luckily I made curtains for the canopy last year... and with the curtains closed the load is less obvious to passing opportunists. But we still do our very best to keep Chuck in sight, parking right outside the restaurant window, and trying for rooms that over-look the parking lot, and covering the pile of 'stuff' behind our seats (there wouldn't have been room for Sophie on this run even if she'd wanted to come) with a nice grey blanket.  We always put the 'club' on and we choose parking spots that are either right under a light or backed up to a wall if possible... and then we just walk away with our fingers crossed.  It's very stressful, but there's nothing much more we can do.  Anyway, I digress.

Sun Oct. 20th to San Diego, CA: I was about to say that, after leaving Irvine, and 7 or 8 hours later.. we pulled in to San Diego. But actually, there was no real definition between Irvine and San Diego... kind of like driving from Richmond to Coquitlam... but in a much bigger way.  So, thanks to Jack the GPS, we actually made it off the freeway at the right place and didn't carry on until we ran out of road and town.

Have I mentioned we love San Diego? We really do.  This time we're staying at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel on Shelter Island Drive.  It's in the heart of the sailing and naval community.  There are boats and ships and cruisers everywhere you look and there are miles of docks to be walked... once you manage to gain entry (most are locked or private :-)  We've found some interesting boats for sale and some even better boats that aren't.  We've visited with old friends and made some new friends. We arrived Sunday afternoon and have spent the last day and a half just visiting our favourite places and hanging out (there's a pool and hot tub just down the hall).  There's nothing finer than looking out your window at beautiful sailing yachts beating up and down the bay... and junior sailing classes filled to the brim... and a sea of masts waving in the breeze.. on both sides of the drive.  Even the sound of the whistle buoys are neat, taking us instantly back to our time 'at sea' when those whistles or horns were the sound of safety on our foggy journey.  We had dinner last night with friends Larry and Nelda (SV Diamond Girl) and listened to their tales of their previous journey down the coast and across to the South Pacific.  It sure doesn't take many stories to cause a girl to wonder.... just wonder... a bit... about the possibilities...  Don't worry sisters, no real intent here.. just playing with ideas :-)

Today (Tuesday) is our last day here and we hope to spend it doing a little shopping and seeing a few more people.  Tomorrow we head for Arizona, just north of the Nogales border crossing. When and how we cross remains to be determined.... seems there's some confusion about exactly where we are to pick up our Tourist Cards.. and, although the advice has been to cross early, if we need the bank (and usually you do) to complete the Visa process, well... the banks don't open till 8.  So, I've more research to do but wanted to drop a note to you folks before I get started... besides it's nice and quiet here in the mornings... a good time to write.

So for now good friends....  know we are well and enjoying ourselves... We're missing our Princess Sophie who has stayed home to care for her friends Susan and George (and didn't really want to come with us for the long drive and the hot hours of work time on the good ship Shannon anyway) but we know she's having fun and enjoying some great company. Tomorrow we press on and the day after that we will be crossing in to Mexico (first stop Guaymas where we will stay for Friday as well).  We should be in Mazatlan by Saturday, Oct. 26th and busy at work on Shannon by the 27th.  Will write again when I can.

We wish you all much peace, good health, and happy times.  Stay well.  Bye bye for now...  CJ

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Road trip !!!

Oct. 16 & 17, 2013

When I was a little kid, maybe about 10 or 12, my parents bought a 5 acre lot on a cliff top overlooking Eagle Bay on Shuswap Lake.  It was fantastic!  I'll save the stories about what we actually did there... like herding a cow into the gravel pit to see if we could ride it... or using that same gravel pit for target practice with the .22 and dad's hunting rifle... or stripping small trees to use as poles for the creation of the world's best bunk house (now, cleverly disguised as a tool shed by the lucky folks who bought the property years later)... or the adventures to be had, sunbathing on the beach and skinny dipping in the lake, and rowing about in the RV (that'd be 'rowing vessel') Firefly.., fashioned after a Sabot 8' dinghy and painted brilliant red,. that dad built in the basement for us and that Marga (well she's another story) used to float about during basement floods, collecting the laundry... anyway, back to the lake... fishing... and fishing... and fishing.... absolutely certain there were fish in the lake, 'n stuff like that. I'll save those stories for another day.  Today, this story is about the road trip.. the travel between here and there... between the Vancouver I knew as a kid... and the glorious wilderness of Shuswap Lake country in the early 1960's.... very early.

We were three... little girls that is... and we were sisters.  Now there's no doubt that sisters love each other.. and we do... but three little sister girls, well... just sometimes that love became a bit territorial.. kind of like "don't you touch me... and don't you cross my line!" and... "Give me back my crayons!  Use your own!"  Anyone with two sisters knows of what I speak... and, yes, I was in the middle... chronologically and sometimes physically.  Unless you've had the not so thrilling experience of spending time in the back seat of a 1950 something Ford... you won't relate to what I remember... but I can assure you that 'pulling seniority' is not something reserved for adults.. it works for10 year olds as well; especially when your little sister is 8.  Yup, I scored the window seat quite a lot of the time...  And, it's from that throne that I can vividly recall our sojourns driving to the lake.  Up at 3 AM, bundled into the back seat in our pajamas and with our beloved pillows (and sometimes the dog), we slept until Hope....  Usually about 6:30 we'd pull into Hope and head directly for the Cariboo Cafe for breakfast. It was always good and the waitress was usually friendly.  Then, with full tummies, off we'd go... next stop Kamloops.  Hereafter lies the excitement.  In the days we were travelling...  the Fraser canyon was in a state of chaos...  They were building the tunnels... those tired old cement caves we still drive through today.  Well, in the late '50's and early '60's they weren't old and they weren't tired... they weren't even there!  What did exist was a single lane, dirt road... no protected sides... no curbs or guard rails... nope,  it was a clear drop to the river bed (hundreds of feet down) right outside my window (I always sat on the drivers side....).  Yikes!! pretty scary.  As well, it was one-way only... 20 minutes in one direction, then 20 minutes in another.  It took hours to negotiate the terrain and the patience of... well you know... to survive with a carload of kids and sometimes a dog.  I should tell you there were times when friends... like the Griggs, Fentons, Milnes, Plasketts or Elvidges... and the like, would travel with us.  When that happened, we kids got farmed out.. and the dog stayed with mom and dad...  But all the cars traveled the same.. in convoy, with canvas water sacks (for the radiators) hung over the front fenders..and spare tubes for the tires... and, well, everything including the wash tub tied securely to the roof and hanging out the trunk.  I'm tellin' ya; this was an adventure... just getting to the lake.  The best part, besides all that camaraderie singing campfire songs and testing each others boundaries... well, it was lunch in Kamloops at some place on a hill that served foot long hotdogs... no kidding.. one foot long.  They were the best.  And, of course, Salmon Arm where we stopped to shop before heading to the lake.

I guess the point to this story is mostly that we survived that long journey (36 hours the first time... and 18 hours the last) by talking, singing, counting train cars across the canyon, and generally spending time together in whatever way made peace.  It was a great experience and one that just made us stronger as a unit.

Kathy and I travel well together too.  As our date of departure drew nearer, we both found ourselves getting excited about shoving off.  We were sad to leave our friends and family... for sure; but the notion of 'hitting the road' and seeing where it would lead us... well that was just too good to miss... and so, finally, at 0630 hrs. precisely, we slithered backwards down our driveway in an over-loaded truck.. and headed off down the highway. Mexico here we come!.

Even though the roads are smoother and the cars are newer... some of the survival techniques are still in use...  still help us get through an otherwise long, and sometimes dreary, drive. For instance, you probably don't know this, but I (secretly) suspect Kathy and I may be frustrated crooners.. you know.. singers.  It probably stems from those hours singing "You are my sunshine", "Froggie went a courtin'" and "I know an old lady who swallowed a fly".... back in the '60's... or it may be the long, lonely hours at the helm when you start making up words after you've sung all the ones you know... but... we sing.. oh yes we do!  We sing quite a lot....  Stand back Loretta!!  Now, if only we could harmonize... we'll work on that.  And we talk; talk about lots of things...  being a captive audience without distractions helps.. and so we get to mull over and through some of those thorny issues that normal, every-day life, lets you ignore... and we play games.. word games, guessing games.. stuff like that... Oh yeah, and we eat.... oh oh... we eat all the wrong stuff.. but it passes the time :-)

And so my friends, here we are "on the road" and ready to report on our progress....  (hope you didn't mind the side-track).  We left BC on Wednesday the 16th.. aboard the MV Coho.  The trip was good.. and the best part.. well didn't we meet up with Ron and Fran, friends of ours from El Cid Marina in Mazatlan.. right there on the ferry.  Great to see them and they'll, no doubt, beat us to Mexico... but it was fun to catch up and talk about the season to come. We cleared Customs smoothly.. the hardest question?  "So, tell me all about the vegetables and fruit you're bringing into the US."  We passed the test ( the answer was "none") and headed on down the road.

First stop was St. Helens, Oregon where we stopped and visited with Vern - on board his Pearson 385 SV Vision.  He was great and provided us lots of answers to our questions about the Pearson 385s. We then carried on to our hotel (Best Western - Oak Meadows) which was clean and  friendly and just fine.  Their breakfast choices were ok... (the new waffle maker worked very well; the eggs and bacon were.. well.. luke warm) but we had a nice, quiet sleep and were glad we'd stopped there.

Thursday, the 17th, 0800 hrs. found us visiting with Bill on board his Pearson 385 SV Halcyon.. just down the road.  Again he was very helpful and answered more questions for us.  But.. by  0900 we were on the road and hustling south.  It was a beautiful drive once the fog lifted.  We drove through miles of 'cowboy country' and by 5ish we were in Mount Shasta, at the base of the famous mountain, and happily ensconced in the Cold Water Inn.  It's wonderfully clean and we're glad we're here... about to head out for dinner.

Tomorrow we continue our trek south... stopping somewhere...  and the day after that, we expect to arrive in Irvine, CA.  So, for now dear friends, we are well... and hope you are too... talk to you in a couple days.. CJ

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Southward Bound...here we go...

Sunday, Oct. 13th.... yikes!  imminent departure looms... We're out of here, early o'clock on Wednesday morning, heading for our date with the MV Coho - the ferry to Port Angeles... departing at 1030 hrs and arriving at 1230 hrs.  Then, we will hopefully clear smoothly into the US and begin our trek south to Mexico.

As usual, there's something a little different about this trip :-)  Our primary goal is, of course, to get ourselves to Mazatlan to prepare the SV Shannon for her new life.  Her new owners are arriving early in November and we plan to have her up and ready by the end of October... and clean and shiny by the time they arrive.

But we have a second goal as well.  We will be stopping in St. Helens, OR to meet the owners of two different Pearson 385s and tour their boats.  We just want to get a feel for one, having never actually physically laid hands on one.  Then it's on to Lake Shasta and from there to Irvine, CA where we'll meet our friend Grant's wife Lynn.  From Irvine it's a short hop to San Diego and we have a date with friends there as well.  If nothing else we intend to enjoy a lunch at the Southwestern Yacht Club, the most beautiful and friendly yacht club we've visited.  As well, their restaurant and deck overlooking the boats is spectacular.  Food and drink is great too.  We particularly enjoy the Cobb salad and a glass of chilled white wine :-) I was pleased to see that one of the seminars put on by Downwind Marine for the Baha Baha boats... will be on the Monday night we're in San Diego so we plan to take that in too.  When we leave San Diego we'll be heading to Nogales, AZ and then we'll make an early start the next day to cross the border into Mexico.  Our first stop will be in Guaymas/San Carlos and then, on the 25th, we'll make the last leg of our journey to Mazatlan.

It's a longish drive, but we enjoy it.  This trip we're staying in places we haven't been before and that's always fun.  We look forward to the time when we'll have more time to explore the actual places we visit... but that's in the future... for now... we blast south and get on with  our season.

We have a Pearson 385 (SV Detachmente) waiting to show us her stuff in Barra de Navidad and we're quite excited about meeting her.  She's been a cruiser in the Sea of Cortez for many years, under the caring hands of Jerry and Astrid, but she's been resting in a Barra marina for the past several years...  we hope all will go well when we meet.

Our overall goal is to find a boat we will be happy with as soon as possible.  Then, if we can, we will cruise the mainland this season and the Sea of Cortez for the next 2 or 3 seasons.. and then, probably, we'll bring the boat home to BC where we can continue our adventures here.

For now... we pack and prepare.... make copies of our paperwork... make arrangements for the dog, the house, the car, and little Mojo... and cross our fingers that we have a safe and enjoyable trip.

We will remain available via email, and will love to hear from any of you who care to write.  We also wish all of you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving, a merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

We'll keep the blog going so you can keep an eye on us (make sure we don't misbehave :-)  ...  Take good care....       CJ