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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming!"

Adventures Drivin' Up the Baja

Just keep swimming!  Just keep swimming!

I have the wonderful opportunity to go to Disneyland with one of my daughters and her family, so I need to leave Baja, MX and head up to San Diego.  Rich needs to stay back and continue working on building our Baja getaway.  I REALLY don't want to do it alone, however, so I put out the word for someone to caravan with.  Yeah!  Amy steps up and says she is leaving at the perfect time.

I am to be to her place early on a Sunday morning.  Along the way, I come across several hungry cows grazing the garbage cans and flowers.  I'm able to catch a few photos before I get to Amy's house, but miss the best one when a cow has a huge garbage can on it's nose.   HA!


Cows are a nuisance, but they sure are fun to watch, eating everything in site - couches, boxes, trees...you name it.  And watch out when you're driving.  It's crazy!!


Amy has a '60 something old trailer that she has gutted out and will be towing behind her SUV.  She can store a lot of stuff, but it proves to be a bit tricky on our trip.  We get LOTS of stares and is quite the conversation piece when we stop or come  to military check points.

Before we take off, we have to load up 4 VERY active puppies that she is adopting out in the States.  One is very poky, in fact, it's no where to be seen.  "Here puppy puppy....where are you?"  20 minutes later, it finally peeks out from his sleeping place.

Then I find I have stepped into a bunch of puppy brown stuff - YUK!  I have to clean it off before I step into my VERY clean 2002 Aqua colored Saturn that I have recently bought from my sister.

7:00 departure has now turned into 7:30 .

OFF WE GO!!!!!

 We are leaving  from a small fishing village in Baja with our first stop being in La Paz, capital of Baja California Sur.  We really weren't going to stop, but on one of the "tope's" (a speed bump), Amy's trailer hitch pops off and we must stop to get it back on.  Luckily, we don't have to unload the whole trailer - ha!  A couple of Mexicans stop to help us, but Amy pretty much does it all herself, cranking it up, sticking a block underneath, etc.  20 minutes, later, we're on our way.  (AGAIN!!)


It had rained the whole day and night before we left, so we were apprehensive of heading out this particular day.  We were in for an adventure.
                      
                ADVENTURE PLUS!!!!!


Our first clue that we were in for a crazy ride was that every car heading towards us was literally covered with mud except for their driver's windshield.  What's up with that?

Ciudad ConstituciĆ³n is about 2 1/2 hours from La Paz, but on this particular day, we added another hour as we ran into a river, mud slides, construction, and S-L-O-W traffic..  Since it was a Sunday, there were no crews to help the vehicles when a large plow had to try and grade off the water for us to pass.  The 2-way became a 1-way and HOW WAS MY LITTLE CAR GOING TO MAKE IT?????

Doesn't look too bad now cause a grader has shooshed off some of the deep water,


Up ahead they have stopped the traffic coming the other way cause it's quite a steep embankment.  
 I look over to my left at a truck driver; He shrugs his shoulder and yells out "Fuerte!"  I look at Dory, my furry pet animal on my dashboard.  She says, "Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming."  I say a prayer, wait for Amy to make it up the hill, then I gun it and barely get up to the top.  I start honking, roll down the windows, and YEE-HA!!!  All the Mexicans start honking and yelling, too.  I look back and see a car getting stuck and sliding every which way.  WHEW!!!  I made it!


 I nickname my car - "Dory" and although it rained most of the rest of the day and washed a lot of the mud off, she still has some remains when we stop for the night in Santa Rosalia.  Before that, we encountered some boulders on the road, and at the military checkpoint the guards wondered:
- "Why did I have 2 large Mickey-Minnie Pinatas in my car and Dory on the dashboard?"
- " Why did Amy have 4 puppies in her car?"
- "What did she have in her old trailer?"  Of course they had to open it up and check out everything.
Old guys LOVE the trailer Amy is driving!

The puppies are fed fish and a rice/quinoa mixture that they love.
The rest of the trip we encounter mostly sunshine, but the puddles of water from much rain in February makes for an interesting drive.  A little scary at times and I wish I had got more photos, but it's hard to drive while you're taking pictures.  RIGHT?


 Everywhere along the sides of the road or big puddles, small lakes, left over from the storms, AND several low spot crossings with water that we have to ford.
Whooa!   Dory!  How do we get across this laguna?

GREEN and wildflowers are everywhere - BEAUTIFUL!


  Before Guerrero Negro, we encountered so many pot holes in the road.  Nothing like this beautiful stretch of highway in the peninsular.  It was impossible to dodge them all.  I just watched Amy up ahead and went right, then left, then slow..it was a crazy drive that my little car DID NOT LIKE!!!

YEAH DORY!  We've arrived at our next destination!
 Just as we get into San Quentin, we turn towards the Pacific cause Amy has heard about a great hotel that we should stay at.  WOW!  I'm ready!  LOTS of driving today!  ....and the puppies are ready to get out of the car!

Hotel Mision Santa Maria

It's truly a 5 star resort and VERY reasonable - about $40 a night for the two of us right on the Pacific Ocean with beautiful beaches and tons of perfect sand dollars to collect for the grand children, but most of all - the PUPPIES LOVE IT!!


Their 1st water experience!

We all had so much fun!!

Into town we go to buy some honey to take back with us (VERY cheap) and went to dinner.

WOW!  Cars are muddy everywhere!



MORE lagunas - how do we cross over to all the shops and restaurants?  Next to impossible in my little car!

Mariscos Restaurant was FABULOSO!!


Amy is holding and setting her feet on 13 quarts of yummy honey!

 Back to our hotel, we settle in for a very relaxing evening, a little TV, some reading and relaxation.  Beds were SO comfortable!

 HOT showers, TWO rolls of toilet paper, the WORKS!!

Next day - an early morning walk on the beach





I think it's a manta rey that washed up - VERY cool!

Next morning, things are beginning to dry up in town.
 
OR NOT!!




FINALLY!  Border crossing time!
Tijuana is an experience!


 It's a crazy experience that wouldn't have been too bad, BUT it took 2 1/2 hours of stop and go with Mexicans selling their goods, their wares, begging, etc. and knocking on my windows.
 There is a man under all this.

So I made it!  Amy and I parted at the border, I went on to stay with my cousin in San Diego and I proved to everyone that my little car could do it and so could I!  GREAT experience and I even checked the oil myself - HA!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Grizzlies at Yellowstone

FALL 2016 - 100 Year Anniversary Ntl. Parks

YELLOWSTONE Early Snow

We're only 90 minutes from Yellowstone, but neither Rich or I have been there in over 20 years.  We had the chance to stay in our friend's condo in West Yellowstone for the night, so we decided to do it!!  We got to witness the first snow of the season and it was beautiful!





 A Winter Wonderland and hardly anyone around, but us!   Too bad we didn't bring our boots, but we didn't care.  The whole day was magnificent.  The evergreens were dusted with fresh snow.  

Our friends, David and Pam decided not to come with us, but oh - they missed out!  The whole experience was fabulous and we will have memories for a lifetime!
Come on, Rich!  It's hardly even cold!

Painted Pots are beautiful and gurgling!




Blood Geyser



Neither one of us had ever been to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, so rather than go to Old Faithful, which we had both been to many times, we headed there first.



Charles Cook explored the area in 1869, and is credited with discovering the canyon.
 
Waterfalls in the Yellowstone Park area are abundant. There are close to 300 Yellowstone waterfalls



 The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the most breathtaking sight inside Yellowstone Park.
 

From several vantage points, you can view Lower Falls plunging steeply into the canyon 308 feet, or the Upper Falls tumbling 109 feet.

  The canyon is approximately 24 miles long, between 800 and 1,200 ft deep and from .25 to .75 mi  wide.
              The canyon was formed by erosion as Yellowstone River flowed over  progressively softer, less resistant rock. 

The rocks have such cool formations and with the snow - mmm!

Mineral stains mark the locations of hot springs and steam vents in the canyon walls. For thousands of years, upwardly percolating fluids have altered the chemistry of the rocks, turning them yellow, red, white, and pink.


WILDLIFE......They LOVED the freshly fallen snow, so we saw LOTS of them.  Here are just a few photos I got.  We even saw a Grizzly Bear mother and cub. Hopefully I can post the video soon.

What is the plural for buffalo?


It's a bear foraging for food!
He owns the highway, holding up the cars for miles!

It's an elk and LOOK!  The snow is all melted here!

In 2015, there were 4,097,710 “visits” to Yellowstone National Park, up 16.6% from 2014, making it the highest visitation year on record.  2016 with its 100 years' anniversary should break that record.  We will definitely not wait another 20 years before coming again.  Yellowstone is practically in our backyard!