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.

Baja Wine and Whales Tour – Day 1-2

Thanks Don and Kim…

I was lucky to even get on this tour.  I stopped by the Harvest Hosts booth in the big tent at Quartzsite.  I talked to both Don and Kim who are really wonderful people and world travelers.  Don mentioned that both trips had already sold out but if I was still interested to send him an email and he would let me know.  I got a reply within 2 days and they said it was a go.  I was elated!!!

Harvest Host Wine and Whales Tour

A little about Harvest Hosts before I continue.  Harvest Hosts is a unique way to stay at wineries, farms and orchards overnight without any cost.  You pay a very small membership fee and you are entitled to stay at any of the locations that are in the Harvest Host system.  I joined a couple of years ago and really enjoyed my stays at their member locations.

All of the wineries that we will stay at in Mexico are part of the Harvest Host members and anyone who is a member can enjoy the wineries just as we did.  If you are not yet a member please click on this link and it will take you to their website where you can read all about them.

Met up at county park for our first Happy Hour

The tour actually started at the Portrero County Park just north of the border town of Tecate.  We all met there and got acquainted with each other during a Happy Hour.  This shows all our rigs parked just prior to our leaving and heading to the border.

There were 11 people in 6 rigs.  The farthest from home was John and Pam who were from Missouri.  It took me a while to remember all their names but everyone in the group was very friendly.

Off to Mexico

There was rain in the forecast and so we all decided to leave the Potrero County Park about 9:00.  We were all ready and anxious to get going.  Here we are crossing the border into Mexico at Tecate.  There was hardly anything to crossing into Mexico.  The Mexican people are very friendly and eagerly welcome you into their country.

Later we found out it is much easier crossing into Mexico then coming back into the US from Mexico.

First winery and wine tasting

We traveled about 54 miles through beautiful mountainous countryside to our first stop at the Casa Pedro Domecq Winery in the Valle de Guadalupe.  This would be our first winery tour.  We were greeted with open arms and were given a grand tour of their winery. 

Our guide took us through the winery explaining the processes they went through to create their wines.  Then we went into the “Cava” which was their wine cellar.  The cellar was dug into the side of the hill and is completely underground.  There were many kegs and bottles there as you can see.

This hallway was very long and filled with many many bottles.

Some old wine producing tools.

Anybody ready to stomp some grapes into wine?

Second winery and more wine tasting

After the tour we did some wine tasting and many of us purchased some of their wines.  Then we proceeded on to L A Cetto, our next winery, which was directly across the highway down a long two  mile dirt road.  Since it had already rained that day the road was very muddy, but that wasn’t going to stop us.

This is the largest winery in Mexico.  They have many visitors that are bused in off of the cruise ships landing in Ensenada.

This gazebo was created from grape stems.  They use this area for outdoor weddings as well.

We even had our own private wine tasting room.  They were wonderful hosts.

Last winery of the day and guess what – more wine tasting

Our last stop for the day was to be Dona Lupe which is an organic winery that was just down the road from L A Cetto.  It was only a 1/2 mile down the road and we all were ready to walk to it.  But we were hit with a huge downpour before we even began.  We were lucky we hadn’t started out as we would have gotten soaked.  Steve and Karli offered to drive all 11 of us in the VW Rialta.  It was fun and here we all are minus Steve who was driving.  Thanks Steve and Karli.

Lots of good stuff here plus great pizza

They had a wonderful selection of preserves, sauces, and breads as well as some great wine.  More wine tasting!  Don and Kim, the hosts of our tour, provided super pizzas for dinner.  He we all are chowing down.

I bought a nice wine glass, some HOT hot sauce and a delicious loaf of jalapeno cheese bread.  Uuuum goood!  Steve drove us back to our rigs where we spent the night in the L A Cetto parking lot.  It rained almost all night but I was nice a comfy!

Taking Care of Business at Low-Hi RV Park

Moving north to Deming, NM

I moved on to Low-Hi RV Park in Deming, NM in order to get a few things done.  This is the LOW (Loners on Wheels) headquarters and I haved stayed here many times.  Since I am a LOW member it only costs me $10 per night for electric/water.  No too shabby !!!!!

Things to do but nothing got done…

I will be here for 5 nights.  I got up Monday and headed to downtown Deming to get a haircut.  I struck out there as it was closed on Monday.  Then I was out of checks so went into Wells Fargo to get just a few until my check order catches up with me.  The “Occupy” people were picketing the bank.  I felt bad even going in there, but they have all my money for now.  The lady who waited on me said they come 3 checks to a sheet and they cost $1 each.  You have got to be kidding!!!!  I turned around and walked out and decided I would use me debit card instead.  These “Occupy” people have the right idea.  The big banks are ripping off the little guy!

Nothing accomplished today but stopped at the grocery store for a few items including desert for the pot luck tonight.  Monday is always pot luck night at the Low-Hi and you better bring an empty stomach.  There is way too much food for any one person can eat.  And so gooood too.

Tried to get into the 6:00pm card game but it was filled up so watched “Dancing with the Stars with Harry and Peter.  I hadn’t seen it for some time so wasn’t familiar with any of the dancers.

Finally got a haircut

Tuesday I got up, made breakfast and headed down to the barber once again.  Frank’s Barber Shop is a small shop that has been there long before the 70’s.  Fernando took it over from his father Frank and told me how it was back in the hippy days of the 70’s when no one cut their hair.  I usually go there everytime I am in Deming and need a hair cut.  He really cut it short, but at least it will take a while to grown out again.

Finished up dental work

Drove down to Palomas, Mexico for my last visit with my dentist for a while.  I got my permanent crown and then she cleaned my teeth.  The total cost of the crown was $180 and another $30 for the cleaning.  I go to the American Dental Care just in back of the Pink Store and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

North to Albuquerque

I really enjoyed spending a few days at the Low-Hi RV Park and caught up with many old friends and met a few new friends as well.  It is a great central location for traveling in the Southwest.  Tomorrow I head up to Albuquerque where I will have a valve put on my propane tank that will allow me to add an additional tank.  Then I have a few days to get up to Fernley, NV where I will be workamping at Amazon’s warehouse.

Back On The Road Again

Back in the saddle again..

I was parked at the Balloon Fiesta for 10 days.  It was wonderful, but it is always good to be back on the road.  I am headed south to meet up with the Escapees Chapter 21 Rally in Columbus, NM.  I attended it for the first time last year and became a member of their Chapter.  Since then I have also attended their winter rally in Parker, AZ.  They are really a fun bunch of people.

Stopover at Elephant Butte

My first stop was going to be Elephant Butte State Park for one night.  It is about half way between Albuquerque and Columbus.  This is one of my favorite New Mexico state parks.  I also met Annie and Rick down their who are headed to Deming.  They had me over for a delicious dinner and we sat and talked at their campfire for many hours.  It is always a great time when you can spend it with good friends.  Thanks so much Annie and Rick for everything.  In the morning we said our goodbyes.  We will be getting back together in Quartzsite, AZ in January.

I first met Annie and Rick at the Balloon Fiesta last year and we have seen each other several times since then.  That is what I love most about the fulltime RV lifestyle.  You meet really great people and then connect with them again and again at other places.  This happens a lot of the time with many different friends.  It is always so much fun comparing notes on where each other has been and what we have done between our meetings.

Elephant Butte is looking very different then when I was last there.  Much of the water has gone away from the point at South Monticello campgrounds.  You can really see the results of the terrible draught that has hit southern New Mexico.  Here is a pic of our campsites right on a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande at sunrise.  Annie and Rick’s rig is on the left with mine on the right.

Finally meeting RVSue and Crew

While there I had read RVSue and Crew’s blog and Sue had mentioned that she had been staying at Elephant Butte as well only in a different campground.  I thought I would make an attempt at locating her and the crew on my way out of the area.  I figured that I could easily spot her Casita and the PTV(Perfect Tow Vehicle).  I managed to drive thru all the electric sites available near the marina.  I was just about ready to give up, thinking she may have moved down the road, when I finally spotted them in the last electric site area.

If any of you have been following either her blog or mine you probably know that I am usually about 1-2 days behind her.  She started out in the northern New Mexico state parks and made her way south, just as I did.  In meeting her it was like we were old friends even though we had never met.  Plus I got to meet Spike and Bridget her 2 rat terriers who were very friendly to me.

I did get a picture of her with her crew, but she asked that I not post it so I will abide by her wishes.  Next time we meet Sue I want a picture!

I did take several pics of the marina area at Elephant Butte.

Tooth problems…

Then it was on to Columbus for the Chapter 21 Rally, where I stayed at Poncho Villa SP.  I had already made an appointment with my dentist Dr. Karla.  When visiting my family last August, I had chipped a back tooth and was afraid I would lose the entire tooth causing a lot of pain.  I was very careful eating on one side.  Dr Karla examined my tooth and came to the conclusion that the tooth was still entact, but I would need a crown.  I walked across the border and she prepped my tooth for the crown and then gave me a temporary tooth.  I am to return in a week for the permanent tooth and to also have my teeth cleaned.

Chapter 21 Breakfast and Meeting

Chapter 21 conducted their business meeting shortly after breakfast and then held a raffle.  I won Microsoft Streets and Trips 2011 and a bottle of Chardonnay.  Not too shabby!!!!

Crossing the border

Today a group of us walked across the border to go to the Pink Store for dinner and shopping.  I have been there before and always enjoy the food and the great margaritas.  Today when we got to the border the kids had just gotten off their school buses.  They were really cute and all around us.

Meeting a new friend

Dan came to the rally to get ideas about what rig to buy and how people lived the fulltiming lifestyle.  He didn’t own an RV yet but was planning to purchase in the next couple of months.  I showed him my rv and several others showed them theirs so he had lots of ideas.  He and I went on a walk from the Pink Store to the park in Palomas, Mexico.

Shopping and Dining at The Pink Store

Today was our day to meet at The Pink Store and get our fill of shopping and dining.  The food was delicious and we all had a great time as you can tell from the following pics.

A mariachi band entertained us while we were dining.  The food was great and everyone enjoyed themselves.  It was the perfect ending to a great rally.

I will probably travel up to Deming, NM for a few days until I return to the dentist for my crown and cleaning next week.  Maybe I can find some friends up at the Low-Hi RV park where all the singles meet.

One Year On The Road

It has been one year on July 12 that I started my fulltime RV’ing lifestyle.  I can’t believe it has been a whole year.  I took the time to go back through this year and show you some of the highlights of my adventure.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

July, 2010 – Inyokern, CA –  My very first campsite at the beginning of my adventure.  I was really a rookie back then.

July, 2010 – Sequoia National Park – Boondocking in Fish Creek Campsite in the Sequoias.

August, 2010 – Sisters, OR – Camping on the Metolius River outside of Sisters, OR.  What a fantastic spot.

August, 2010 – Crater Lake National Park.  Words cannot describe this beautiful place.

September, 2010 – Eugene, OR – Getting my solar panels installed.  My boondocking will be much quieter and more efficient from now on.

October, 2010 – Albuquerque, NM – Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – 10 fabulous days with other fun Lazy Daze owners.

October, 2010 – Palomas, Mexico – Central park.  Visited there after attending Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.

October, 2010 – Deming, NM – Rockhound State Park – This a rock hounds dream park.  Lots of different rocks.

November, 2010 – Socorro, NM – Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – Visited there during the Festival of the Cranes event.

December, 2010 – January, 2011 – Death Valley, CA – A beautiful view of Death Valley during an annual Lazy Daze Rally.

January, 2011 – Quartzsite, AZ – Got together with a bunch of Lazy Daze owners during the Quartzsite RV Show.  It was a blast boondocking in the desert.  Lots of food, a campfire every night and the BIG TENT RV Show.

February, 2011 – Anza-Borrego, CA – Boondocking in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

February, 2011 – Niland, CA – Boondocking with the LOW’s (Loners On Wheels) at Slab City.  Everyone should go there at least once.

February/March, 2011 – Benson, AZ – The winter SW Lazy Daze Rally at Pato Blanco RV Resort.  Lots of great food and people.

March, 2011 – Picacho Peak, AZ – A civil war re-enactment at Picacho Peak State Park.  Event lasted all week-end with gun battles and actual tents and other equipment during that era..

March, 2011 – Douglas, AZ – Visiting with friends at Bell Starr’s Silverado Ranch.  Belle is wearing the pink hat.  We all helped Belle work on her ranch projects.  A MUST see.  She is quite a lady.

April, 2011 – Alamogordo, NM – White Sands National Monument.  Very surreal.

May, 2011 – Carlsbad, NM – Carlsbad Caverns.  A MUST see.

May, 2011 – Melvin, TX – I just had to visit there.

May, 2011 – San Antonio, TX – The Alamo in downtown San Antonio, TX.  Another MUST see.

May, 2010 – San Antonio, TX – The San Antonio River-walk.  A really neat and fun place.

May, 2011 – San Antonio, TX – The Tower of Americas.  The view from the top is spectacular.

May, 2011 – Luckenbach, TX.  I just had to visit here because of the song made famous by Willie Nelson and Waylan Jennings.

May, 2011 – Blanco, TX – My campsite in Blanco State Park.  How about that for a back yard?

June, 2011 – Fort Worth, TX.  The highlight of my year.  Being able to visit my family.  It was sooooo much fun.

July, 2011 – Karnack, TX –   Caddo Lake State Park.  I spent a week here and loved every minute.

It has been a wonderful year.  I have traveled 12,702 miles in 6 different states and 2 different countries.  I have attended 8 RV Rallies where I have met a lot of people, learned a lot about things I never knew anything about, and spent money upgrading my rig.

This year has been much better then I even anticipated.  I met a lot of great people who I continue to keep in touch with.  I am looking forward this next year to travel to places I have never seen before and meet more wonderful people.