Ensenada

After crossing the border with no meat or produce on board our first order of business was to stock the rig for our trip down the 1000 miles of the peninsula.  Ensenada is a good sized city and the biggest until we reach La Paz, our planned turnaround point.

From Tecate to Ensenada you travel down Mex Hwy 3 through La Ruta del Vino, a beautiful wine region of Mexico.

We might spend a night or two on the way back and sample some wines.  But for now we are headed south.

We camped about 40 minutes south of central Ensenada near an interesting little tourist trap.  A blowhole called “La Bufadora” where the ocean swells create a big whoosh thru a feature in the rocks. But the real reason we camped there was the views.

Campo #5 is set high on a cliff with killer pacific views, a perfect way to get in the Baja mood while taking care of business.

No facilities here, just dry camping in an awesome spot for very little moola. Check out our review here.

Ensenada has a nice waterfront Malecon and all the resources one might need.  That and some great seafood for good measure.We visited here briefly a few years ago with our dear friends Michael and Gloria who live in San Diego and had a wonderful time so we were happy to be back.  We went back to the amazing seafood market where there are some serious overachievers in displaying the shrimp for sale.  Some came home with us.

We enjoyed our walk along the malecon and then went to eat our first of what will surely be many fish tacos at the famous and long established Tacos Fenix taco stand, around since 1970 and recommended by the late Anthony Bourdain (sigh). Yummy and cheap, perfecto!

Then a big grocery shopping outing at the modern supermarket next to the Costco.  

The central section of Baja is VERY remote with limited supplies so careful shopping at this last town of significance for a long while is important.

Shopping complete we had worked up a thirst and we went for a margarita at an Ensenada institution, Hussong’s Cantina, established as a stage coach stop in 1892, it is one of several establishments that lay claim to having been the inventor of the popular tequila drink, the Margarita.

As this version of the story goes, in 1941 the German Ambassador to Mexico’s daughter came in just the barman was experimenting with a new mix of tequila, lime and Damiana liquor.  The drink was a big hit, the ambassador’s daughter was named Margarita Henkel, and the rest is history.

The Margaritas were strong and good, the peanut shells go on the floor where the occasional pigeon comes by to sample them and the bar has old photos and lots of patina.

The next day as we headed out of town we did one more bit of shopping.

One of the offshoots of a wine region is often the production of olives which are sold at roadside stands along with local honey and olive oil.  Of course we needed some for martinis …

South we go … next stop, San Quintin!

Hector and Brenda

Stormwatching

Winchester Bay-2Winchester Bay-32There are so many great choices of places to visit on the Southern Oregon Coast that we had a tough time picking a “home base” from which to explore. The forecast was for stormy weather, so we were focused on finding a good spot from where we could do some stormwatching.

Winchester Bay-33We chose Winchester Bay because it was right around the corner from the Umpqua River Lighthouse, which we missed seeing last year, near beautiful sand dunes, and within day trip distance to the charming town of Bandon.

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We Are Back!

Washington-15Yes, we are back! Back in the lower 48 and back to blogging. I must admit that we needed a break after our Alaskan adventure. Time to rest, a break from driving and visiting places, and a break from blogging. In fact, this is the longest gap we have had from blogging since we began doing it three years ago.

We also needed some time to reflect.  In September we marked our three-year anniversary of being “on walkabout”. What an amazing adventure we are having. This was to be the end of the journey as we had planned it but we are extending for a year. So this will be a transition year as we decide on the place to begin our next chapter, and yes, there is another sticks and bricks home in our future. And there will be more adventures as well.

Washington 5Washington 3Washington-2Washington 9Washington 4Upon reaching the lower 48 there was lots to do. Every inch of Island Girl was dirty inside and out, and she had a couple of service issues. The Coquí was also filthy, as were our bikes and kayaks and there was the matter of our broken windshield and sunroof.

We have now made it to Portland and taken care of most of Island Girl and the Coqui’s issues, rested, and (loosely) planned our drive south for the winter. We also flew across the country to visit family and friends in Miami, while Island Girl and Angel remained with friends in Portland. Not exactly restful but it was wonderful. But more on all that later.

So where have we been since leaving Canada? We crossed the border from Osoyoos, British Columbia, to Oroville, Washington. Our plan was to drive the Cascades Loop and visit the North Cascades National Park on route to Seattle.

We scouted several National Forest sites searching for a campsite. And saw firsthand the after effect of the Okanogan fire, the largest in Washington state’s history. One campground had lots of trees down, some on the campsites. At times we could still smell the fire in the air. But now that and the other wildfires have been eradicated, thanks to those who risked their lives (and some who lost their lives) to contain the wildfires.

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On the Yellowhead Highway

2015-09-13 at 15-27-08Our departure from Hyder and on the Yellowhead Highway was delayed a bit due to the search by Canada customs officials. But we also uncovered something very interesting. The previous night we heard a really loud bang that to me sounded like an avalanche gun. But one of the women at customs informed us that it was actually an earthquake in the fjord. It was a fairly small earthquake but one very close to the surface thus the loud bang.

2015-09-11 at 16-11-59We have heard about a couple of earthquakes while in Alaska, some of which fellow RVers actually felt. Ay, ay, ay. But we had other concerns – our inverter was still not working, and on our way into Hyder, the check engine light had flashed for a couple of brief moments. I wondered if Island Girl was trying to tell us that she was tired and needed a break. As we left Hyder, however, Island Girl seemed ok (except for no inverter).

It was another cloudy day and we went back on the Cassiar heading towards “civilization”, hoping to take care of Island Girl’s issues on the way. And the town most likely to be able to provide the services we needed was Prince George.

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But Prince George was a long way out so we were planning to take a couple of days to get there. Shortly after leaving Stewart we turned on to the Yellowhead Highway, and drove through several First Nation villages that are known for their totem poles: Gitwangak, Kitseguecla and Kispiox.

We just had to stop to look at the totem poles. Many of them were antique totem poles and some were in their original locations. Totem poles originally served as emblems of a family or clan and their kinship system, and symbols of their accomplishments, adventures, stories, rights and perogatives.

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Dawson City

Dawson City 8To the yukon 36As we waited to board the ferry into Dawson City, Hector met the owner of Klondike River Distillery. He distills vodka off the grid, the only such distillery in North America according to him, and infuses each bottle with a bit of gold.

Dawson City 1But what was serendipitous was that Dorian’s “day” job is as a ranger at Tombstone National Park, our next destination! So he gave Hector an update on the fall colors. We had been concerned about driving up the Dempster Highway only to find that we were too early but he encouraged us to go and told Hector that the colors were definitely beginning.

Dawson City 2This was a great start to our stay in this interesting town. We chose to stay in a Yukon Government Campground just outside of town. We love the Yukon Government Campgrounds, they cost 12CAD, are located in lovely natural settings and offer free firewood.Dawson City 4

It is always a bit of a shock to our system to come out of a really natural and wild setting to a town (even a tiny one) full of people, and so staying at this peaceful forested campground just outside of town helped to keep us in balance.Dawson City 3

We kicked off our visit by going to the Farmers Market, which was really mostly an arts and crafts market as coincidentally it was the weekend of the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival.  We did buy one amazing head of lettuce though.Dawson City 6

Dawson is a very artsy town. In addition to the arts festival, it has the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture, the Dawson City Arts Society, the Dawson City Music Festival and the Yukon School of Visual Arts.

Dawson City 5Their Visitor Center, as almost all Visitor Centers in Canada we have visited, offers excellent Wi-Fi for free as well as tons of information.

Dawson City 13Dawson City 12As with all of these northern towns, from the tiniest to the largest, flowers are planted everywhere and maintained beautifully until the very last moment that they can possibly survive. Really the flowers are just spectacular.Dawson City 14 Continue reading

Friends in San Diego

Friends in SD 100We began the year reconnecting with “old” friends and meeting some new friends.  And we have continued to hang out with lots of friends in San Diego.

Friends in SD 13Friends in SD 16Starting out with Doug and Trish from Calgary and Tim and Becky from Oregon, who were all staying at our same campground.  We met them here last year and have since visited them at their respective homes up north.  We also just saw them in Yuma last month.  It is so interesting  to get to know folks this way!

Friends in SD 32Amongst other things, we shared a couple of meals with them.  They are all great people and lots of fun.

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Embracing San Diego

San Diego 2015 97The transition from the peace and quiet of natural spaces to the hustle and bustle of big cities can be jarring. But we are embracing San Diego and much of what it has to offer. Including some beautiful natural spaces.San Diego 2015 6

San Diego 2015 95We’re in a prime location – one of the campgrounds we stayed in last year. Mission Bay RV Resort is a fairly average private RV park in an awesome location by the water.  Check out my review of the park here.

The location is great for Angel too. We’ve been taking her for lots of walks on the grass by the water.  One of our typical walks is about a mile long and she is walking that distance easily.

Hector continues to work on his photography portfolio and I’ve begun doing research on photography websites, so I think we can officially say we’re now both working on the road.

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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza Borrego  022Anza Borrego  011There is tons to see and do in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in the state of California. Last year we enjoyed some hiking and drove to Borrego Springs to see the fabulous Galleta Meadows sculptures.

Anza Borrego  023Anza Borrego  024This year, we’re taking some time to work on Hector’s photography website while enjoying our beautiful campsite. But we have managed a few outings. Starting with the small but pretty good quality farmers market in town on Fridays. We’re big fans of farmers markets so we sample them whenever we can.Anza Borrego  026Anza Borrego  027 Continue reading

Another Stop in Tucson

tucson  318tucson  317We made another stop in Tucson to take Angel to the oncologist for a follow-up visit, but also to catch friends again before leaving the area.   We stayed at the quirky Bar J RV Park once again. This little place has the most charming owners!  Paul and Gale once again were gracious hosts.

tucson  305tucson  304Our friends Nancy and Bill had invited us to join them at the Tohono Chul Park for one of their “Holiday Nights”.   On these nights part of the gardens are open to the public and offer live music, holiday treats and shopping.tucson  306tucson  302

But the best part is that they are decorated with “a million lights”.   The gardens were just beautiful and the music was fantastic. So glad that Nancy and Bill invited us, as we weren’t familiar with this place or event.

It was a bit chilly, so we cozied up to the outdoor heaters all through the night.

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Vancouver

Vancouver  105Vancouver  002Once again we took Island Girl boating.  This time crossing from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to the city of Vancouver.  It is always so interesting to see how they pack all these vehicles in so tight on these giant ships.

Vancouver  001Vancouver  005

Vancouver  106Vancouver  107As we approached the city of Vancouver on the ferry, we were greeted by skyscrapers in the foreground and Mount Baker in the background.

The ferry operations in these parts are elaborate affairs with huge terminals and many ships and routes.

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