16-56 To Yuma

All I want for Christmas is my one front tooth

The day after I completed my camp hosting duties as I was eating I felt something weird and it turned out to be my front tooth.  I had my front tooth knocked out when I was 18 and 50+ years later the crown decided it had enough eating and came out.  A couple days later I had to attend a going away party for all the camp hosts.  What a bummer.

Since I am moving into Oregon I was able to get cheaper insurance then my costly AARP prescription drug plan and my medicare supplement by replacing them with a Kaiser Permanente plan.  For $41 they have a dental plan that covers minor dental and cleanings. However they were only able to offer me a flipper device which attaches via suction to your gum and gives you a temporary fix.  However you can’t eat with this device.

So I called Dr Eva Urena’s office in Algadones, MX to check on the possibility of getting an implant.  Sure enough they can do it and the cost would be about 1/4 the cost here in the US.  I decided to fly down to Yuma, get a motel for a few days with a rental car to get around in.  I booked everything on line, called the PetHotel (Petsmart) and made a reservation to board Chica.  Since Chica stayed at the PetHotel in Aliso Viejo, CA they were able to get all her records.

Left last Saturday at 11:00 am to take Chica to Tualatin, OR in plenty of time for my drive up to the Portland Airport at 4:55 pm.  Her is a pic of Chica seeing me off.  She was not very happy.  I always feel so bad whenever I leave her anywhere, even at the groomer.


I got to the airport in plenty of time even with the heavy traffic due to an accident.

Flight #1 Portland to San Francisco

It took about 2 hours to get to San Francisco where I had a 3 hour 52 minute layover.  I walked around the airport for a while and noticed the first game of the World Series was on.  I found a nice place where I could pick up a sandwich and beer to watch the end of the game.  Wouldn’t you know it but the game went into extra innings and I had finished my sandwich and beer.  I figured I ought to get another beer so I could continue watching the game.  I sipped that but it was gone and the game still going on.  I left the bar and found a seat in the waiting are where I could still see the game.  It was a great game but too long with KC finally winning.

Flight #2 San Francisco to San Diego

At 10:40 pm the 2nd plane took off for San Diego and landed there at 12:16 am (now into Wednesday).  This was going to be the worst part of my journey.  I have a 6 hour and 14 minute layover.  I was upstairs in the boarding area getting my phone and computer charged up.  The chairs are also much more comfortable up there.  Then a policeman comes up and tells me I can’t wait up there as they are cleaning the area so I have to go downstairs.  NO COMFORTABLE SEATING DOWNSTAIRS.  Plus I have to wait over 6 hours until my next flight.  Nothing is open and there is no place to plug in.  They don’t even have a vending machine.  That was probably the longest 6 hours I have spent.

Flight #3 San Diego to Phoenix

Finally at about 5:30 am I made my way back through the TSA area for the second time on my journey.  YUK !  The plane took off at 6:30 am and landed in Phoenix at 7:53 am.  Then I had to hike to the complete opposite end of the airport to get my next flight.  My layover was only 52 minutes and I was able to get a strong cup of coffee to keep me going.

Flight #4 Phoenix to Yuma

Finally I was off to my destination in Yuma at 8:45 am landing at 9:51 am.  From there I walked to the Hertz booth where I had reserved a car on-line.  I am glad I did reserve it as everyone behind me weren’t able to get a car until late in the afternoon.  Picked up the car and off I went.

Too early for check-in.

I was going to check-in clean up and brush my teeth before going to the dentist, but realized I couldn’t check into the motel until 3:00pm.  What a bummer!!!!!

I decided after traveling all night I had better brush my teeth before going to the dentist.  I found a McDonalds and grabbed my tooth brush and tooth paste and used their bathroom.  I also bought breakfast there as I was starving.

Off to Algadones

I made my dental appointment for 12:00 pm so after eating and brushing my teeth I headed to Algadones.  Dr Eva needed a CT Scan of my mouth in order to decide how to proceed with my implant.  Her office ordered  someone to pick me up, take me to have my CT Scan and drive me back to their office.  All this only took about 1/2 hour.  Then she and a Periodontist conferred on my implant.  It seems that there was still a portion of my root still left in my gum.  They decided to cut into my gum remove the remaining root and then replace it with bone and the implant at the same time.  YUK!!!  They wouldn’t be able to do this until tomorrow.

Early Thursday I was the first appointment.  A specialist worked with her to complete the process and I was out of there and heading back to my room to heal.  They gave me pain medication and antibiotics.  The implant went well, but they wanted me to return Friday morning for a follow-up.   That is one of the main advantages of the dentist in Algadones.  They will do anything to accomodate you.  Dr. Eva knew that I had flown down to Yuma expressly for the dental work and would be flying back on Saturday.

Anyway I got everything done and now just have to wait 4 months to get my permanent tooth while my mouth heals.

Leaving Saturday for Portland

I only have three flights to contend with on Saturday and will be home at 5:29 pm. Then to Tualatin to pick up my baby.  I can’t wait.

Then in 4 months turn around and do it all again.  Hopefully fewer then seven flights.


Algadones for dental work

Not the Dentist!!!

Before I got to Mittry Lake I called the same dentist (Dr Eva Urena) to get an appointment.  They weren’t able to fit me in for at least a week.  Then I mentioned that my friends also had appointments with her so they told me I could come in the same time as their appointments and they would fit me in.  How accommodating!!!  So early Thursday morning (8am)  Debbie, Gayle and I headed to the dentist.  Here I am waiting for my appointment.  Do you think the cross has any significance?

Jim at the Dentist

They cleaned my teeth (only $35) and checked out a couple of problem teeth.  One was a wisdom tooth that I still have and she said they would pull that ($80).  The second problem was more severe.  I have 2 old crowns that need to be removed ($30) and a tooth between them that also needs to be removed ($70).  Then I have to wait 3 weeks to heal and I will then be fitted with a 3 unit permanent bridge ($660).  YUK!!!

Fortunately I have the time so I set up an appointment for Tuesday to have the teeth removed.

After Dr Urena told me what had to be done and gave me the estimated cost I told Gayle the bad news.  She mentioned that maybe I might want to get a second opinion.  I got the name of another dentist that others had recommended and called them.  I let them know that the tooth was really bothering me and I needed to see the dentist ASAP.  Even though I didn’t have an appointment and I had never seen the dentist before they told me to come right over.

Within a 1/2 hour I got an opinion from 2 dentists that were working in this office.  They also said I would have to have 2 new crowns ($700) and possibly a root canal as well ($350) depending on what they found after removing the crowns.  I decided to go with the first dentist as it seemed like a more permanent fix and less costly as well.  She came highly recommended and I have confidence that she is a good dentist.

As I was leaving the second dentist office, I ran into Chris who was also getting dental work done.  What a coincidence.


I was surprised how easy it is to get an dental appointment in Algadones.  Just tell them you are in pain.  HA!

Dental Pain Killers

Chris and I both went back to the first dentist office where Debbie and Gayle were still waiting.  It was almost an hour until Gayle’s appointment so Chris and I headed downtown to check out a cantina.  We found a table and I ordered a margarita and Chris got a diet coke.  My margarita was huge.


Then Debbie and Gayle caught up with us and we went back across the border.  I remember going to Algadones in 2012 and it took over an hour to go back across the border.  This time we walked right thru without a wait.

I only had my phone which does not take great pics.  On top of that I got my finger in the top right corner.  DUH!


I wasn’t planning on spending so much for dental work, but had I gone to a dentist in the states it probably would have cost me a fortune.  Now I have another appointment for Tuesday morning, which I am not looking forward to.  But it will be nice when it is all done.

Beware of Dog!!!

Mary Gardner who also has a great website sent me this pic of Chica while we were in Quartzsite.  It was taken while we were watching the football game on the TV set up outside my rig.  Chica just had to come out and join us.



Thanks Mary for sending me those great pics

Way up in the Bitterroot Mountains – Slate Creek

Campground Full

After I left the Crooked Tree Ranch I headed south to Darby, MT.  I wanted to stop and call my sister.  I try to keep in contact as much as I can to see how my Mom is doing as well.  Everyone is OK.

Painted Rocks State Park

I looked on my atlas and thought that Lake Como just north of Darby might be a nice spot.  It was about 6 miles off of 93 and not too far to drive.  It was a beautiful setting, however the campground was completely full.  Lots of campers pulling boats for fishing.

So back to the 93 and headed south again.  I saw signs for the Painted Rocks State Park that was 23 miles into the Bitterroot Mountains.  I have not stayed at any of the Montana State Parks thus far so thought I would check it out.

About a mile before the park you turn a corner and this is what you see.


A beautiful mountain lake.  I drove another mile to the state park.  The cost for camping for non-resident campers was $20 per night with an additional $5 entrance fee per day, plus there were no hookups.

Slate Creek Campground

Just about where I took the pic above I saw a sign for Slate Creek Campground so I decided to go back and check it out.  It was a small campground made up of about 6 sites and right on the Slate Creek.  But the best part was that there was NO FEE as in FREE.  What a deal!  I found a nice site and made myself at home.


Chica and I took a walk down to the creek.  This creek flows into the large lake seen in the first pic.




The forest was very dense up here although we did have access to the creek.


Chica was looking out the door in the evening and saw a large deer pass by our camp about 25 feet away.  I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to get a pic.  However the next morning I got this pic of a doe and her fawn.


The next morning before departing, I took a ride over to the lake to get some pics.



I went down to the State Park where they had a boat landing and a dock and got this pic from the end of the dock.


I stayed at a beautiful campsite and the best part was that I was able to save $25 by not staying at the State Park.  Not too shabby!

Love Trader Joe’s and the Apple Store

Off to the Apple Store…

I entered the Apple Store on my Garmin and it said it was about 16 miles from the Enchanted Trails RV Park.  I had scheduled my appointment online for 2:00pm.  I got to the store at  1:00pm so I went to the Genius Bar hoping they could take me sooner.  No such luck.  They are very busy and told me to come back closer to the time I had scheduled.

The Apple Store is located in a very high class shopping area know as Uptown.  Lots of very expensive stores.  I did find a Starbuck’s and stopped in there for a coffee and “Very Berry” coffee cake.  Then I just walked around until my appointment.

The Apple Store is really a very friendly environment.  I walked to the back where they checked me in and then they found a seat where I could sit until they could wait on me.  They had all my information regarding my speaker problem with the phone. Within a few minutes I was showing another guy my phone and he was writing all the information into an IPad.  Stuff like what I had done to see if the speaker would work, etc.

He took my phone and said they would check it out in the back and replace the speaker if needed.  He mentioned it could take about 25 minutes.  Within 10 minutes he was back with my phone and demonstrated that the speaker now worked.   GREAT!!  I can now hear when someone is calling me.  That is what a phone is for, isn’t it?

They were very professional and when I asked if there was any charge he said absolutely nothing.

Trader Joe’s in the same shopping center….

I walked out to my car and happened to notice a Trader Joe’s on the other side of the parking lot.  I haven’t shopped at a Trader Joe’s for a long time and had to go.

I usually buy my groceries from a list that I create on my IPhone.  Whenever I think of something I immediately write it down.  I usually don’t buy anything else unless it is on the list.  It usually keeps me from overspending.

However I only had a couple items on my list when I entered Trader Joe’s, but went ahead and shopped the entire store and bought my items that weren’t on my list.  I love eating seafood and if you check out the seafood in Walmart it is rather bleak.  Most times I usually buy any seafood from a good grocery store instead.

However, I did see some great seafood items at Trader Joe’s that I just had to have.  That and a packet of sushi that I used to enjoy many years ago.  I had the sushi for dinner that night.  YUM!  YUM!


I also bought my favorite Italian Roast coffee.  I used to drink this coffee for many years before fulltiming.


Very windy…

The rest of the day was very uneventful.  I was glad to get home after shopping as the wind was blowing very hard. New Mexico winds can get rather gusty at times.

Billy as in Billy Goat…

When Jim and I went 4 wheeling in Rockhound State Park he suggested a name for my Suzuki Samurai.  He said it was just like a Billy goat since it could go just about anywhere.  So Billy it is!

My Lazy Daze “The Breeze” as in the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Billy.  That sounds cool.  They make a great pair.

Will leave here on Saturday…

Saturday we will be heading north.  I didn’t want to travel on Friday because Amazon will be calling for my interview.  I missed the last time they called because my IPhone speaker wasn’t working and didn’t even here the call.  So they rescheduled it and I really need to get it right today.

I am leaving in the morning and found a Harvest Host winery that I can stay at for the night just north of Albuquerque.  Harvest Host offers many great places to stay like wineries, farms, and orchards and it doesn’t cost anything.  These places are located in every state even Canada and Mexico.  They don’t have hookups but with solar panels who cares anyway.  Besides I need to try a different wine for a change.


Visit to Dentist and Optometrist

Still at the Low-Hi RV Ranch…

I signed up for a couple more days here at the Low-Hi RV Ranch.  Unfortunately I was in a site that had been reserved so I had to move.  My neighbors both came out and asked if they had done anything wrong as I was moving across the street from them.  I assured them that they were both good neighbors.  I had hardly talked to either of them but it is nice that people consider you neighbors and look out for you.

I am not sure how long I will be here, but there are two reasons for staying.  The first is that I am going to to dentist for teeth cleaning today and also to the eye doctor for new glasses.  I will probably have to return to pick up my glasses on another day.

The second reason is two fold.  One, it is impossible to get a reservation at Rockhound or City of Rocks State Parks until later in the month.  They are both very full.  The second reason is because the wind has been blowing very hard the last couple days.  When the wind blows hard in Deming, you can just about double the velocity up at Rockhound.  The wind yesterday was listed at 30 mph but it was gusting even harder.  At Rockhound the gust could be up to 60-75 mph.  The old rig just rocks and rolls all the time.

To Palomas, MX and back…

Yesterday I traveled 33 miles to Palomas, MX which is directly across the border from Columbus, NM.  I started going there in 2010 for both dental work and eyeglasses.  I had made an appointment for dental cleaning at 2:00pm.  I got down there at 1:00pm so headed directly to the optometrist office.  I was able to have an eye exam and they would have my glasses ready in a couple of hours.  I decided to use the frames from my sunglasses as they fit me very comfortably.
Then it was off to the dentist office only 2 doors down from the optometrist.  There I got my teeth cleaned.  It was great that I could fit both into my schedule especially since I had not made an appointment with the optometrist.

Lunch at the Pink Store

After finishing up at the dentist, I checked back in with the optometrist to see if by chance my glasses were ready.  They hadn’t arrived yet so it was off to the Pink Store which is both a souvenir shop and restaurant combined.  I had a super lunch of chile rellanos, beans, rice and tortillas.  Naturally I had to have a couple of margaritas as well.  For dessert I had flan which was great.

I then browsed around the Pink Store for a while looking at all the great things they have there.  I did buy a nice soup/serving bowl which will really come in handy.

Mexican people

You hear lots of horror stories about traveling in Mexico especially at the border towns.  All the gruesome stories are enough to scare anyone away.  Like I said I have been going to Palomas since 2010 and have never seen anything even remotely close to the stories I have heard.  In fact, it has been the complete opposite for me.

I go to Dr Karla of American Dental Care since 2010.  She usually just cleans my teeth, but I have also gotten a crown from her as well.  Her prices are very reasonable and her office is very professional.  Their equipment is just the same as you would see in any American dental office.  She is so gracious.  This past visit when I finished my cleaning and was paying for it she brought out her baby Kariel (I hope I have the name right) for me to see.  She was such a proud mother and wanted to show off her cute baby.  She was a pudgy little doll.  Going to Dr. Karla’s dental office and Dr. Garcia’s optometrist offices is like seeing old friends.  They are really wonderful people.

When I returned to pick up my eyeglasses I pulled out my Visa card and was surprised that they only take cash or checks.  On the other hand Dr. Karla’s office only accepted Visa cards and do not take checks.  I only had a few dollars in my wallet since I do not generally carry much cash.  But since I am a repeat customer they were willing to give me the glasses with the understanding that I would send them a check.  How many American companies do you know that would go out on a limb like that?  I agreed and she told me where to send the check and I was able to leave with the glasses.  It saved me having to drive 66 miles down and back to make the payment.  I put the check in the mail this morning.

Silver City then Rockhound State Park

Today I am headed over to Silver City for a few days.  I have never been there and always wanted to see it.  After that I will be headed back to the Deming area and stay at Rockhound State Park to meet up with some friends.  I will take lots of pics while in Silver City.


2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Wine and Whales Tour – Final Day

Breakfast at Adobe Guadalupe Inn and Winery

Our last day in Mexico was spent at Adobe Guadalupe Inn and Winery.  The weather was beautiful and an excellent day for driving back through the mountains.  We all went over to the house where we had a fantastic breakfast with Tru Miller.  She was a very gracious hostess.  We had lots of fresh fruit and could have either an omelet or Huevos Rancheros.  I chose Huevos Rancheros and it was delicious.

I have a couple of pics of the long table in the kitchen where we ate.  That is Tru Miller in the pic on the right with the great big smile.








A big surprise for everyone…

She told us all about how she and her husband happened to purchase the grounds and build their beautiful home and stables.  She also had a surprise for all of us.  About an hour before we sat down to breakfast one of her mares gave birth.  How exciting!!  At first she named the new baby girl Sophia, but she had to change the name to Maxmillian II since it turned out to be a male.  She then offered to let us all go out where the baby was  to catch a peek.  How cool is that.

We went out back and all the mares were motherly guarding the baby.

Mares were soooo friendly…

Here I am with two mares that were so friendly.  They trotted right over to say hi to me.








The newborn…

Here is the newborn standing up.  He was so beautiful!

Ready to head back to the USA

We then returned to our rigs and prepared them for the trip back across the border at Tecate and our return to the USA.  Don and Kim went over those items that we could not bring back into the US.  It was about 50 miles back to Tecate.  Then you have to go up a long hill to the border crossing.  Naturally there were many vendors along the way.

I finally made it to the top and went thru a check point where I showed them my passport and they took down my license plate number.  Then I had to proceed to the secondary check point area.  A customs inspector came out to my rig , asked me what I was carrying aboard.  I had to declare the wine I had purchased, but since I have Texas plates I was allowed to bring more then one bottle.

It took me about 2 1/2 hours to go thru customs.  The only thing they took out of my rig was 3 eggs.  Finally I was on the road.

Where am I going next

I was planning on heading up to Anza Borreggo but it was too late in the day.  Instead I checked the nearby campgrounds on my GPS and found two that I could stay at and both were LTVA’s (Long Term Visitor Area).  Since I had bought the annual pass in Quartzsite for the La Posa LTVA I could stay at either the Hot Springs LTVA or the Tamarisk LTVA.  The were very close to each other and a short distance from Holtville, CA.  I headed to the Hot Springs LTVA but the bridge was washed out so went to the Tamarisk LTVA instead.  There were only 5 other rigs including the host so it was fine with me.

Wine and Whales Tour Evaluation

I would highly recommend this tour to anyone wishing to experience some of the beauty of Northern Baja.  Many of the people I talked to prior to signing up said not to go because Mexico was too dangerous.  Even our State Department discourages travel into Mexico.  I did not experience anything that could be remotely described as dangerous.  We visited some beautiful wineries and experienced the beauty of the Mexican countryside.  The people we came in contact with were extremely gracious and always made us feel at home.  Don and Kim are world travelers and have spent a great deal of time in Mexico.  The planning of the trip was impeccable.  Everything was taken care of for us including many of the parking spots to visit Ensenada and La Bufadora.

The meals included in the trip were to die for.  Plus the people that I met on the trip were so much fun.  This trip opened up my eyes to the real Mexico and the real Mexican people.  You can read more about it on the Harvest Host website which you can reach here.

Harvest Hosts Link

Wine and Whales Tour – Day 5 Ensenada to Adobe Guadalupe

Oops, I hit the publish button by mistake…..

If you received an email with a post only showing a few pictures that is because I hit the publish button by mistake when I was creating this blog.  I am still getting used to my Mac Pro and things are a little bit different the Windows 7.  But that is no excuse for just hitting the wrong key.

What a beautiful valley!

We awoke to a beautiful morning so I took a hike up the hill to get some pictures of the winery and surrounding valley.  What a super view.

Cows heading out to pasture.

A distant view of the small town.

My words could not properly describe the beauty of the San Bodegas Rafael Valley.  It is really something to see.

  Our rigs were all huddled close to the winery.  It had rained a day or two before and it was somewhat muddy.  But as you can see we all had plenty of room.

This is a good view of the grapes and mountains in the background.

Another shot of the valley.  When we were driving to get here we were in the mountains.  All of a sudden you come out of the mountains and see this breathtakingly beautiful valley.

They also had many other animals at the winery.  Lots of cows and sheep, pigs, and dogs.  This little piglet got out of it’s pen and when I approached it began running frantically to find the pen opening and return to its mother.

Here are the cows in the pasture.

Off to the beach at Ensenada for a short visit

We then took off to make a stop at the beach in Ensenada.  This is a view showing La Bufadora at the peak in the background.  It was rather chilly but several of us walked along the beach.

This will be our last winery…

We then all filled up with gas for our trip to Adobe Guadalupe.  The weather was perfect and we couldn’t ask for a better day.  Here we are traveling down the long dirt road thru town to the Adobe Guadalupe Winery.  It was very muddy so it took a while to traverse.

The Adobe Guadalupe Winery is owned by the Millers who retired to this beautiful place.  They are big horse lovers and built these giant stables to house their beautiful stallions.  When they retired they purchased this land and built a huge home as well.  They have turned it into a bed and breakfast as well as their private living quarters.  This is the stable that houses their beautiful stallions.  The mares are free to romp in the fields next to the house.

The following pic shows one of their beautiful stallions being led into the stable.

Of course they also have many acres of grapes as well as orange and olive trees.

This next pic shows one of the mares in the field next to the house.

Our last wine tour

Once we got settled in we walked over to the wine cellar for our wine tasting.

There we tasted some wonderful wines and could tour their wine cellar.

This next pic is of the wardrobe closet for Mrs. Millers riding apparel.

The following pics will show different views around the house.  It was very spacious.

This shows our typical Happy Hour which we had each day at 4:00.  Everybody chipped in with wine or goodies to eat.  This was always an enjoyable time of the day as we could reflect on the places we were so luck to experience.

We had a beautiful sunset that day!

Let us in!

I fixed a nice dinner and was doing some reading when I saw this at my door.

They both went away after a while.  Then when I was just settling down to go to sleep I heard scratching on my door.  I answered and it was one of the dogs.  I told him to go away but he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.  I finally gave in and allowed him to enter my rig where he proceeded to plop down on my floor and decided he was going to spend the night there.  Here he is looking out my door wondering when I was going to come to bed so he could get some sleep.

He spent the entire night sound asleep in my rig.  HA!

Wine and Whales Tour – Day 4 – Ensenada to Bodegas San Rafael

Estero Beach Hotel/Resort RV Park

I got up early to walk around the hotel/RV park grounds and get some pictures.  It was a fabulous morning.  I took the following pics.

Diving for food.

Don and Kim pointed out I these sea lions that were way out on a jetty.

Also spotted some pelicans.

At the end of the malecon were some young fishermen walking home with their catches.

Walking along the malecon was this beautiful private home.

Off to La Bufadora

We left about 9:00 and our next destination was La Bufadora also known as “The Blowhole”.  It was only a short drive of about 17 miles.  There is a large parking lot where we were all able to park and then you have to make your way through many vendors on each side of a narrow road.  Each of the vendors are yelling at you to enter their small shops and purchase their merchandise.  It is odd but almost every shop sells the same kind of stuff.  I guess it is who yells the loudest gets the business.

Beautiful Scenery

The coastline was beautiful.

La Bufadora otherwise known as the Blow Hole.  As the tide comes in it creates a vaccuum that blows water thru this hole and sprays way up the side of the rocks.  It is very impressive.

Don and Kim had stopped at this one vendor selling cooked clams in a shell.  They really looked good so had to try them.  They were absolutely delicious.

Stopped by the Federalies

Then we hit the road again and our next stop was quite a drive from the coast.  We drove about 46 miles to a beautiful valley.  Just prior to our stop we had to go thru a checkpoint where the Federalies had to check our vehicles for guns and drugs.  Don explained to them that we were all together and were only going about a mile further to our destination.  They let us go thru without any hassle at all.

On to Bodegas San Rafael

The last stop of the day was at Bodegas San Rafael.  It is a family run business located in the Valle de Ojos Negros, formerly known as Valle de San Rafael.  This is a private winery owned and operated by Ricardo Hussong who was the grandson of John Hussong that I spoke of in a previous post here.  It is not open to the public, but it is available to Harvest Host members both for tours and camping overnight.

Ricardo Hussong was a very gracious host who showed us thru his winery and let us sample some of his great wines.  He also had these huge bulldogs that were so friendly.

Ricardo Hussong gave us a grand tour of his entire winery.

He had a spigot in the large vats that he poured wine out of so we could all taste it.

Ricardo then poured us a bottle of Brandy which we later enjoyed after our special dinner.

What a fabulous dinner!!

After the tour of the winery we were all invited to have wine tasting and a paired dinner prepared by Ludwig (Lui) Hussong, the great grandson of John Hussong and the son of Ricardo Hussong.  He explained to us how cooking was always a very important part of the Hussong family and how his mother used to prepare a huge meal every Saturday for the entire family.  He then went to school where he learned to be a chef and prepared a wonderful meal for us.

We walked up to our outdoor dining area.  It was rather chilly, but the wine, great food and brandy helped to keep us warm.

It was a beautiful spot.

Another view showing some of the smaller tables.

This was were we had our feast.  The dinner was absolutely fabulous.  To start we had a delicious soup with a nice white wine.  Then  we were served pork that was about 3 inches thick over couscous and fresh asparagus along with a wonderful red wine.  For desert we had a fig with a slice of cheese made by his grandmother with a small slice of toast.  Soooooo Gooooood!!!  Then we all enjoyed conversing over some of the brandy we had been given previously that day.

What a fabulous day!!!  Lots of wine tasting (and brandy too) and a fabulous meal.  Plus we also got to tour a winery that is not open to the public, except for members of Harvest Hosts Link.

This is a pic of where we parked our rigs.

Another great day of a winery tour, wine tasting, dining and great conversation.  It can’t get much better then this!!!

Wine and Whales Tour – Day 3 – Ensenada, MX

Muddy, but no problemo!

After raining all night it was very muddy in the parking lot where we spent the night.  I got up and wanted to take a few photos of some of the animals on the property.  They have both sheep and goats that made a lot of noise as I approached them.

Down to the malecon…

It was very overcast but that wasn’t going to bother any of us.  Today we were going down to Ensenada to the Fish Market.  Our whales portion of the trip was also planned for today, but not sure if we can do that because of the weather.  We arrived at the fish market where we were able to park our rigs and get out and do some walking.

The water was very choppy and Don went to check to see if we could still go on the boat to do some whale watching.  In the meantime our group took a walk on the malecon (seawall).  There was an interesting statute made of whale bones and rebar that was named “The Whale Man”.

Lunch at the Fish Market

Don checked with the captain of our boat and also spoke with some people who had just finished their cruise and determined that the water outside of the harbor was much too choppy and our chance of seeing any whales was not good.  We then decided that we would not go on the whale watch, but stroll thru Enenada instead.  We also chose to eat lunch at an outdoor restaurant across from the fish market.  The lunch was included in our tour and here we are eating lunch.  We all enjoyed it very much.

Strolling Ensenada

After lunch we all went for a stroll around Ensenada.  Many of the signs were written in English to help us American tourists purchase their products.  Also the shop owners could also speak English so it made it very easy for us to converse.

Anybody for a Disco Bar?

Or a pharmacy?  I love their stick figure advertising Viagra.

Here are a couple of nice looking restaurants.

Hussong’s Cantina – Ole !

If you ever lived in Southern California you have probably heard of Hussong’s Cantina.  It was created by John Hussong in 1892 and it has been the same ever since.  Many famous people have been their and you can read more about it at Hussong’s Cantina.

I offered to buy a round of drinks for everyone who wanted to stay.  I did get a few takers and we all enjoyed a beer. I didn’t know it at the time but Tuesday is 2 for 1 day.  Seven beers cost me only $7.50(US).  WOW, what a bargain!!!  It would cost me that much for 1 beer in the US.

Back to the Fish Market

We then returned to the Fish Market where I purchased some Red Snapper and Rock Cod.  They filleted the fish right at the market.  My total for all the fish came to less the $7.  Not too shabby!

Then we hopped back in our rigs and drove south to Estero Beach Hotel/Resort and RV Park where we had full hookups.  We had another great Happy Hour and everybody brought a dish for our dinner.  Don and Kim supplied lots of clams for the occasion.  Here we are all parked.

Our plans did change somewhat due to the heavy surf causing us to cancel the whale watch, but that didn’t stop all of our fun together.  This tour was made up of a very fun group of people.  I was the only single but felt right at home.