The Baja 10/29

The Baja 700

The day began at 6:30 am at El Cajon in California. We rolled out of bed and enjoyed our complimentary breakfast at the Quality Inn, which by the way is near impossible to find without a GPS. We found our new friends at breakfast and told them we would see them at the tecate border, since we were already packed.  These new friends Gene and Ken are from White Rock BC. They were parked next to us in the hotel parking lot, and had a “No Bad Days sticker” on their car.  We had the hotel  call their room and we met up, just to chat about the trip down the Baja. Turns out they own in San Jose and have been coming here for over 20 years.  They are in their mid 70’s and are a wealth of knowledge, and a lot of fun.

Sure enough, they arrived at the Tecate border around the same time as we did.  If you are going through Tecate, this is what we did.  Just before the border you park your car. Either for free on the street or for $5 us in the parking lot.  Then you walk in to mexico to get your tourist card.   Cost is $25.50 us  and the banco is right next to the border office. it is open from 8a – 4p  if you already have your tourist card the tecate border is open 6a – 11p.

After we purchased our tourist card, we had to walk back through US immigration to get the car.  I went alone. The US border guys were watching some kind of video on their tv where somebody got run over by a car or something. They swiped my passport while watching the tv laughing at whatever was happening, then said I got flagged and had to go to the other area for inspection.  The guy in there said I got flagged because I just passed through another US border 3 days ago.  But he couldn’t find a designation to put me through the border as. So he called me an “Other”  Apparently he said the US/Canada border put me down as a B2…whatever that means, but that wasn’t right to him, so now I am an Other.   I walked up to my car parked in front of the duty free shop, and drove in to mexico, where roc was waiting by the immigration office.   He hopped the fence climbed in the car and we were off.  I guess it’s random who gets pulled over, because the gate just lifted for us, no guard at all, no passport, but the car behind us got a big BUZZ and had to pull over for inspection.

We waited down the street for our new friends and we drove together down the baja. Highway 3 – the wine route!  The plan was to stay at El Rosario at Baja Cactus, but we got there so early, that we decided to have lunch there and  continue on to Catavina. I have a of of pics which I will post to Facebook.

What a crazy drive. we were motoring trying to keep up with our new friends.  They just got back from Italy and drove like crazy.  But they have been coming to San Jose for 20 years, so they know a thing or 2 about driving the Baja.   After Lunch at Mama’s in El Rosario we hit the road again.  Mama, by the way is 107 years old.  She has one last daughter still alive who runs the restaurant, right along the highway. We bought a poster of the Baja there in their cute gift shop.

Along the road, our friends got ahead of us. They had the best luck passing big trucks. We seemed to get stuck behind them. At one point we got stuck behind a police truck towing a broken down suv with a rope.  They were going so slow, we were about to pull our hair out, until they flagged us ahead to pass, on a blind corner, but we did it anyway!!

Catavina was a crazy drive past El Rosario, but we made it. We saw stray dogs and cows along the highway.  Plus strange boulders and cactus but it was worth it.  This hotel in Catavina is Great. It’s really cool. I took many pics which will end up on FB.  The room rate was $92, but we got a locals discount thanks to our friends.  There is a fantastic trail out back where we went for a hike and took some more pics. Then came back for some Margs. 60 pesos each by the way.  Our friends met us for a drink before dinner in the bar, then we went for dinner. It was OK.  Then back to our room to blog. The only internet in this hotel is at the front desk in the reception area, but apparently doesn’t work at night, so I will wait until morning to post this.

The Baja is so Beautiful. What a great Adventure. I am so happy that we drove down and I got to experience this area.  I wish I took more time to actually be a tourist, instead of just driving by.  But hey, who knows what the future will hold. For now, it’s a race to get to Cabo to get unpacked and begin our Winter stay.

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So the plan for Tuesday is to get to Loreto. Fingers Crossed!

XOXO

Me!

Day 3 – Waiting for Mexico 10/27/13

Yay! We finally slept last night, got up early and was on the road by 7am!

To all the Californians out there. In case you were wondering what that stick was coming out of your steering column on the left hand side, it’s called a signal. You push it up or down to let those around you know you are about to cut them off.  You know, it’s kinda of a courtesy thing.  OMG!!! Crazy Drivers!

Roc drove all the way along the nice open highway 5 to…um…Leduc????I don’t know, some place where we got more gas, then I drove all the way through LA to La Mesa. That was not fun. LA is the biggest city I have ever drove in. I was going 120k through heavy traffic, and still pissing people off because I was going too slow. WHATEVER PASS ME.  Oh and In case you didn’t know, Hollywood changed it’s name to Smoggywood. But no one can see the sign to be able to tell.

Finally we arrived in La Mesa, pulled in to a plaza, sat down at a noisy bar where everyone was screaming at the football players on the big screen, and ordered some chicken fingers. Here we decided to keep on trucking to find our route closer to the border.  We ended up out in the middle of no where El Cajon, at one of the only OLD hotels our GPS could find, the Quality inn. 

Guess what? The people that checked in right before us were from White Rock BC. We saw a No Bad Days Sticker on their car, so we had the hotel call them. They too are on their way to cabo, we are meeting them at 8pm to chat about the trip! They have driven many times, so this should be informative!

On that note, it’s almost 8pm…so I’m off to be informed and meet some new cabo friends.

Chat tomorrow, maybe, if there’s internet at our hotel  in El Rosario.

 

PS:  I posted pics on Facebook. Sorry, they’re below average.

 

XOXO

Me!

Day 2 – Get er done! 10/26/13

Driving through Oregon is TORTURE! Not only is the speed limit 55 with cops everywhere, but is it just me or is the font size smaller on the road signs? Roc sympathizes with Sammy…Because he can’t drive 55 either. The strategy for getting out of Oregon was to just stay behind the Semis. It worked.

And of course, 20 seconds in to California, the speed limit changed to 65 then 70!  Of Course the road didn’t change at all, just the speed limit.  We were so excited to see that speed limit change! Time to get er done in California!

Here’s an interesting fact. 963 k into our road trip and the only wildlife we have seen is 1 live fox, one dead road kill fox and one flat turtle. WTH? I am told on good authority, that Americans are trigger happy and there is no wildlife left. I’ll leave that up to you to confirm on your own.  But I know that going that distance in Canada, the wildlife count would have in in the high teens atleast, with a fantastic variety!  If you have another reason, please be sure to let me know.

Here is another observation, the town of Weed California, does in fact smell like weed! Maybe it was just the patrons at the gas station, but yep, it was skunky.

Here is an update from Roc.

Our lovely 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overlander has performed beyond his expectations.  It is loaded down with probably 500 lbs and gets over 800k per tank, at a very high performance cruising at 65 – 80 miles per hour.

Here is another tid bit I made note of, I saw my first palm tree 1301 k into our trip!  Man I love California! The weather went from -3c in Oregon to +26 in CA! The Sun was hot, the highway speeds were cruising, and I think  I got a bit of a sun burn on my one arm through the window! Lovin it.

Tonight we are hunkered down in the middle of no-wheres-ville.  Plan was to get to Stockton CA, then we thought we would go past it to Lathrop, but that just took 15 minutes. So we thought we would keep going. The jeep said we still had 200k left in the tank so we drove, then noticed our old outdated GPS didn’t show any towns…none…for like ever!  So we did a quick search for gas stations near by and Westley CA showed up. And that’s where we are.  I tried to book on line but the service said they were full. Knowing better (because we own a B&B) I pulled up to the Days inn, and yes they had plenty of rooms!  So that’s where we are.

We went for Mexican Food at Antojitos Mexicanos because it was the only restaurant walking distance to the hotel, besides subway.  We each had a glass of wine that came in an ity bitty bottle ( so cute)  Get this, after just one glass of wine, Roc and I are so exhausted that we have quite the buzz going on!

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Tomorrow we hope to get as close to Tecate as we can. I am not sure what time the border opens to be able to get a visa to cross, I think someone said 9a, I hope to find that out. If you know, let me know!  Just comment on this blog. I will check comments! After we cross at Tecate we will head to El Rosario.   I know what you are thinking…Tecate? That’s out of the way. Just go through Tijuana!  But Roc is familiar with the Tecate Border, so that’s where we shall try to go!  Unless he changes his mind.

Surprise Surprise, Roc has driven this whole way! I offered, actually right before he got the speeding ticket, and several times since, but he’s doing great! (for a guy who doesn’t like to drive…maybe he’s found a new love hate relationship thanks to the Jeep!)

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On a side note, I think the bathroom here at the Days Inn was designed for little people.  Roc is only showering half his body tonight!

 

Good Night to all!  Thanks for reading my pink Bubbly Blog.

For those curious, today’s route took us on 97 until weed, then on 5 all the way to Westley.  The gps tried to make us take 99, to get to Stockton, but we didn’t listen! 5 was flying just fine!  We shall hop back on the 5 past LA tomorrow!

 

XOXO Me!

Day 1 – Oh The Drama (10/25/13)

It all started last night, (10/24/13) We got home from our final Wing Ding of 2013, packed the last of what needed to be packed, watched the latest episode of The Blacklist and went to bed. Well, at least we tried to go to bed. Roc contracted a nasty sinus headache and couldn’t sleep. So, as you could guess, that also meant I couldn’t sleep. Finally after a steamy shower to clear the sinuses at 2:30 am, he finally fell asleep around 3am, I of course did not. I tolerated broken sleep between 4a and 6:30a then decided enough was enough and got up.
We loaded the truck with everything, or so we thought and headed south 1 hour, to the Osoyoos border.

Imagine my surprise when we got to the border and I realized I had forgotten my purse and ipad.  Thankfully that’s all that was in my purse, my passport and wallet were in my backpack.  I have a friend bringing those items down Mid November.  Silly Me.
As predicted we got the orange ticket to go inside for more questions.
So more questions were answered. Supervisors were called. And after over an hour in the waiting area, we got our passports back and entry in to the country!

Most of the drive went fairly well. We were making good time, passing semi’s, finding good spots for bathroom breaks all through Washington. In case you were wondering, tonight’s route was fairly simple, follow highway 97 south from Penticton BC to Bend Oregon. Easy Peasy, right? Well our outdated GPS sent us on the wrong road a couple of times due to highway improvements since we got it. (10 years ago. I think an update is in order LOL)  Only once did we have to drive around in circles to find our way back.  So that wasn’t too bad.  The Drama got a little more intense 10 miles into Oregon. Actually, right at the 10 mile marker! Yep, the highway police pulled us over for speeding.

Here’s how the conversation went.

“Do you know why I pulled you over today sir?”

“Was I speeding?”

“Do you know how fast you were going?”

“Ya, around 70/75”

“Do you know what the speed limit is?”

“Ya, 70.”

“No Sir, it’s 55”

“WHAT? ”  Said Roc and I in unison “It’s been 70 the whole way, we didn’t see a sign that says 55?”

“We get that a lot. Did you know it’s illegal to have a license plate frame covering  your plate? British Columbia must be in full sight here in Oregon. Yours is not. ”

“Really, want me to take it off? I have a screwdriver?”

“Not here on the highway it’s unsafe. wouldn’t want you to get hit by a car. Licence and registration please”

This is where Roc proceeded to say he should never have talked about is lack of speeding tickets.  Not 15 minutes earlier he told me he hadn’t had a speeding ticket since 1986. Ha Ha Ha  Jinxed it!

Well, the cop came back with a lovely ticket, but he reduced it from a $260 to a $160  ticket.  WHEW!

speeding

About 100 meters ahead was a sign that read 55! LOL

We proceeded to Moro’s post office which was still open, wrote a check, and asked if we should register the letter.  She said no, the box is right here, and she placed it in a po box behind her.

The rest of the way we were sure to drive the speed limit, had semis and old farts passing us, but lesson learned.

By the time we hit Bend, we pulled in to the first hotel, the Quality Inn. Got the CAA Rate, Went for a swim, and came back to the room to finish some business that needed doing, and of course I wrote this! The wifi is good. The rooms are clean, and there’s a free breaky!  Just what we need!

Day 2, Change of plans. We hope to make it to Stockton CA – I guess we’ll find out!

XOXO

Me!

Packing, Packing, Packing!

I hate packing.
I always forget something.
Even if I have a list, chances are, I forget to add it to the list, or somehow forget to pack it anyway.
Currently I am packing for a 4 month visit to Cabo San Lucas.
So for that length of stay, I’m going to need more than just a couple pairs of shorts and a swim suit.

When I first got my new job almost 2 years ago, I was excited when my boss said, “You can work from anywhere, even Mexico!” So I decided to take his advice. Last year we did a 50 night test run in Cabo San Lucas to see if the internet was good enough for me to be able to work. And Yes it was! The cool thing about Cabo, was that if my internet went down, there are plenty of free wifi zones all over downtown, where I could just pick up a signal when needed.

This year we are renting right downtown, really close to this cool little bar called Tanga Tanga, and yes it has free wifi too!

Recently I injured my shoulder playing ball, a posterior dislocation, which has resulted in frozen shoulder. I told my specialist that I was planning a trip to Cabo and he said that was a great idea for the healing process. The warmth should really help me heal, along with the salt water from the sea of Cortez. I am determined to be swinging a golf club by spring, and Cabo is going to help me do it. Dr’s Orders!

Anyway, back to the subject of packing. I have 4 big suitcases + a carry on + a personal item. Yes, I said 4, and I also said big. OMG! I need to repack, what the heck is in these 4 big suitcases?
Well a printer and laptop for my work. A crockpot. My wii and wii fit. Cables, speakers, MP3 player, sandals, shorts, shirts, dresses, vitamins, shampoo…you know…the usual stuff.
I’m going to be there for 4 months…I need this stuff. + beach chairs, snorkel gear, a cooler, that’s not in there.
OMG! OMG! OMG!
What can I not take? I have no idea. I will have to unpack and repack, then check my list.
OMG, so stressful.

In case you were wondering…Roc has 1 big suitcase + a carry on + a personal item. He also found the stuff I snuck in his bag, and put back in mine.
Hey, I tried.

XOXO
Me!

Sorry, No Portuguese!

Desculpe, no Português
I got really good at saying that Phrase when travelling in Brasil. The truth is, I am terrible with languages. First of all I can’t remember them, and for some reason I cannot pronounce them either.
My boyfriend was purchasing a beautiful piece of land on the beach near Ilheus Brasil, and to do that it took quite a bit of paperwork. Thankfully we had a business manager that spoke a little bit of English to help us get it done. While downtown at the federal building we found out we needed to go make photocopies, so we went to the local office store, thankfully across the street, and rushed to get it done, before the doors closed. You see the workers were getting ready to go on strike and if we didn’t get all the paperwork done pronto, chances are it would take a very long time to get title to the land. So we had to hurry.
It was a bit chaotic, pulling paperwork and passports out of our bags, photocopying all kinds of documents then rushing back to the federal building, but we got it done, then went back to our little pousada on the beach to relax for a while.

Pousada Brasil

That’s when I realized I left my purse at the office store. It had my wallet, passport, everything in it. Oh Crap!
We hopped in a taxi and headed back downtown. We walked in the store and of course I used my conversation starter…
Desculpe, no Português
The lady smiled and nodded and replied no English!
The we pulled out our trusty iphone, and found the phrase “I lost my bag”
The lady smiled and said “Sim, eu tenho o seu saco.”
I guess that meant, Yes I have your bag.
She went to the back, then brought it out to me. Everything was there! Not one penny was missing. I was so thankful, I wanted to give her a tip or something but she wouldn’t take it.
The amazing service doesn’t end there.
We left the office store and stood outside trying to figure out where the bank was, we figured since we were downtown, now would be a good time to go to the bank and get some paperwork in order. Downtown is a crazy busy place, it is very easy to get lost!
Brasil downtown

That’s when the lady and her son (who looked like an NBA pro basketball player) came out of the store. They were closing up shop for an hour or so to run some errands.
He walked up to us and said “Lost?”
“Sim” I answered. “Banco?”
“Sim! Sim” he replied and pointed to his car.
This complete stranger was going to drive us to the bank! (or at least that’s what we hoped. He was a big guy, kind of intimidating) But we looked at to the lady and she smiled that warm and friendly smile of hers, she pointed to the car and said “Sim, Banco”
So we got in!
They drove us to the bank.
I left a tip in the cup holder of the car, because they wouldn’t take any money from us.
Now that’s great customer service.

This post is in response to the daily post challenge:What’s the most dreadful (or wonderful) experience you’ve ever had as a customer?   http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/daily-prompt-service/

XOXO

Me

Hey, are you awake? It’s 4am!

Hey, are you awake? It’s 4am. I’m awake, I’m sure you should be awake too. Hmm, what if I stand on your chest? Are you awake now? I’m sure you are awake, what if I paw at your face?
Oh, that got your attention, but you didn’t have to push me on to the floor.
Fine. You’re not awake. I’ll wait.

Hey, are you awake? It’s 5am. maybe if I scratch at the window…I know you like that! Scratch! Scratch!
Hey, why did you throw a sock at me?
Fine I’ll wait.

Hey, are you awake? It’s 6:15 am. I am really getting hungry now. I am going to lay on your chest and purr as loud as I can until you wake up. Oh ya, that’s the spot! Right behind the ear! I like that! Does that mean you’re getting up now?

YAY! You’re getting up! Wait, where are you going? The food dish is here. Nooo don’t shower first. Fine I’ll wait.

Oh here you come, hey, over here, I’m over here! OK I guess I can wait until you get dressed.
You look great, now come feed me!

Ya, that’s it, the soft stuff! Woohoo! I’m happy now, you can leave. Go take that dog thing for a walk or something. You know it’s kind of chilly in here, I’m just going to climb all over you and get you covered in cat hair.  Fine, I’m warm now. You can leave again.

spongy3

This is my morning, almost every morning for the last 16 years thanks to my cat Spongy. He just showed up one day, and has been sponging off us ever since.

Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/daily-prompt-perspective-2/