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.

Blogs I Follow – “Lifes Little Adventures”

In between my journeys I am going to write about the blogs I follow myself.  I plan on telling you about each blog and the particular reasons I happen to be following them.  The first blog I would like to mention is “Life’s Little Adventures” .  This blog is written by Jim and Gayle who have been on the road fulltiming with 2 cats since Oct. 2008.

I first met Jim and Gayle in Albuquerque, NM during the 2010 Balloon Fiesta.  We were all introduced to each other since we were with a large group of Lazy Daze owners.  If you have never attended a Balloon Fiesta you are really missing out on a great time.  Lots of wonderful fun people, great food and of course the hundreds of balloons that go over us each day.  It was one of the highlights of my fulltiming adventures and I will be attending again this year.

After the Balloon Fiesta we each went our different ways and I didn’t catch up with Jim and Gayle until January, 2011 at Quartzsite.  Again it was a Lazy Daze group that was organized to meet by my good friend Roger.  We spent about a week boondocking about 1/2 mile from the big tent and everyone shared their experiences of the day at the campfire.  Again it was a great time.

After that there was a 4 day SW Lazy Daze Rally in Benson, AZ over Feb/March where we met up again.  It is amazing how you happen to meet up with perfect strangers and become great friends in just a matter of months.

I had scheduled to have my teeth cleaned in Palomas, Mexico by my new-found dentist some time in April, 2011 so spent a few days at Pancho Villa State Park.  Just before I was going to leave I got an email from Jim and Gayle.  They mentioned that they were staying at Rockhound State Park about 30 miles away and wondered if I would like to meet up with them there.  I agreed and met them there the following day.  While there we did a lot of hiking in the park and in the nearby parks as well.  It was great fun.

At the time this post was written they are camp hosting at Lake Wappapello in Missouri.  I don’t think they were planning on attending the Balloon Fiesta this year since they will be going to a Lazy Daze rally instead.

They are great friends and I have enjoyed both camping with them and reading about their adventures in their “Life’s Little Adventures” blog.  By the way I am horrible about remembering names but their names were really easy for me.  Jim and Gayle are the names of my parents.  How could I forget them?  LOL!!!!!

deming luna mimbres museum and the pink store

If you have never been to the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum you have really missed a treat.  It is one of the most fabulous museums I have seen anywhere and for a small town this is a real gem.  All the items in the museum were donated or on loan to the museum by residents of the Deming area.

They have a large collection of items affiliated with the Mimbres Indians.  Upstairs they have huge collections of thimbles, earrings, medical equipment, office equipment, etc.  Downstairs they have about anything you can think of including a huge collection of gems, liquor bottles, assorted cowboy stuff, cars, fire engines and lots more.

This is one of the Spanish carts that used to serve food on the streets of Deming.  A fast food joint on wheels.

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

Next this really brought back a lot of memories.  When I was growing up in Detroit, MI my father’s occupation was repairing typewriters.  His shop was in the basement of our home.  He taught me how to dismantle a typewriter to be overhauled.  I worked on many typewriters similar to this one.  Now typewriters are a thing of the past being replaced by computers and printers.

An old-time switchboard with it’s operator.  I am sure she listened in on many conversations.

This is a very old fire engine that was used in Deming.  Still in very good condition.

Next a display of some very old automobiles.

Kids growing up in the 50’s would really enjoy seeing this display.  It was all the old cowboy stars – Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers.  I remember watching them all on our 10″ TV on Saturday mornings.

Then a group of us went from the museum down to The Pink Store in Palomas, Mexico.  We had a great time eating delicious Mexican food, drinking margaritas and then shopping after lunch.  This is a pic of us being serenaded by a mariachi band.

Here is  a pic of the motley crew.  I am usually not in many pics on my blog so if you didn’t recognize the handsome gentleman on that left that is me.

It was a long but fun day.  I could have probably spent more time in the museum and had one less margarita, but duty called.