March 30, 2009

Exploring Baja

It has been quite a weeks vacation whirlwind. We completely filled up our camper shell in San Diego with purchased construction supplies and food goodies; retrieved the Brainy Blonde at the airport; and started our trek back down Baja via the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s answer to Napa Valley. We sampled the wines at Monte Xanic (best whites) and Adobe Guadalupe (fantastic reds) and had dinner at Laja, a touted gourmet restaurant. The night was spent at Adobe Guadalupe (, Don and Tru Miller’s beautiful winery, inn and estancia in the heart of the valley. The next morning we had a lovely breakfast with Don Miller as he cajoled and scolded his six Wiemerriner dogs to eat their respective breakfasts and not go stealing one anothers. Then we trouped out to the stable for a viewing of week old Wiemerriner puppies (very cute!) followed up with a horseback ride through the vineyards. Just an hour on horseback reacquainted me of lots of muscles I hadn’t used since the last time I got on a horse twenty years ago.

The next destination of Catavina allowed us time to stop and eat lunch at El Rey Sol, a French Bistro of long standing and shop for more wine in Ensenada. We overspent our shopping time and had to step on it to get to Catavina before it was seriously dark (no night driving here, too much livestock on the highways!) The next morning we spend wandering around the desert taking cactus photos, visiting an abandoned marble (alabaster) mine— and our big adventure of the day, an excursion to Coco’s Corner, a jaunt off the highway on an “improved” dirt road that ate tires. We never did find Coco’s Corner (we think a pit stop for the Baja 1000 race) as the map was misleading, but we did get a flat tire and were delayed for several hours while Esperando ate dirt and bashed himself with the tire jack. He finally got a very uncooperative tire off the truck; it had looked like we might not be going anywhere soon.

On we traveled to Guerrero Negro for organized whale watching at the Ojo de Liebre lagoon, only to be blown away by strong winds that canceled that part of our itinerary. That did give us time to get the tire replaced and purchase some Pacific scallops. We also discovered the splendid Malarrimo Restaurant at Guerrero Negro which showcased a terrific meal and walls of used fine wine bottles autographed by passing Baja 1000 participants from previous years. That afternoon we drove on to San Ignacio hoping the winds might not be so awful and that we could see whales there. In fact, they had also cancelled their whale watching, so we came home to spend the night and unload the truck and went back to San Ignacio the following morning.

Luck was with us and we were able to go whale watching at last at Ecoturismo Kuyima. It was a little disconcerting to be in such a small boat and be surrounded by so many whales, most of them mothers with babies swimming and blowing. Some of the bolder adult whales would skyhop, raising there heads up out of the water about 12-14 feet so they could view the boats following them and lure us on to keep after them. Another favored antic was blowing large bubbles near the surface and leaving a trail of them for us to follow as well.

We spent a few days here in Santa Rosalia, then had another fine meal at Ray’s Place in Mulege, this time spending the night in his cute and comfortable cabins. Finally we drove on to Loreto and eat some good dinners at Canipole and Pacha Mamam. We cooked our bodies in the sun at the Inn at Loreto Bay. As the Brainy Blonde pointed out, with all that inactivity we were reducing our carbon footprint.

March 9, 2009

Sidelined in Denver

Have you been missing me? I am in Denver getting teeth filled, bursitis arm attended to, eyes tested for new glasses, seeing more doctors than I can shake a stick at, hair cut and colored, toenails polished, and the list goes on. Its amazing how time consuming all of this is when you try to squeeze it all into two weeks, coupled with visiting your family and purchasing stuff you can’t get in Baja. I will stay behind here for a week longer while Esperando goes back to Santa Rosalia to see if our dog and cats are still alive.

We are both looking forward to meeting in San Diego next week for the drive back down Baja. We plan to load the truck up with lots of construction materials for Casa Abeja, i.e., water heater, toilet, weather stripping, bathroom hardware and so on, in addition to food and pet items we can’t get locally. Once we have got the car full of stuff we will meet up with my girlfriend of long standing, the Brainy Blonde, at the San Diego airport. The three of us will travel for a tasting jaunt through the Mexican wine country, dinner at Lajas (a fabled restaurant near Ensenada), and a whale watching tour at Ojo Liebre (eye of the jacket rabbit!) to observe gray whale mamas and babies in the bay.

Our Denver house is thankfully how we have left it thanks to our excellent caretaker. Denver has had a very dry year and very little rain. Yesterday’s chance for snow left us high and dry with a small handful of flakes encountered for 2 seconds on the way to my sister-in-law’s house for dinner. The mild weather is causing the plants to start leafing out early. This is the cruel aspect of life here, for undoubtably once everything has leafed out a heavy snow storm will come through and break the branches off all the trees. This happens just about every other year. In those years when the trees pass by unscathed by the snow, they generally fall victim to bad spring hail storms.

Most years I invest in ladybugs and praying mantis eggs for the roses in our back and front yards. When I started pruning and knocking leaves off the roses yesterday, I encountered a praying mantis egg that last year’s store bought mantis laid in our yard last fall. How exciting to have an ‘authentic’ egg and not have to purchase one, especially since they always sell out early.