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.

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