August 20, 2009

Vacation ends tomorrow

View of church tower Mision de Loreto taken from La Mision Hotel at Loreto over the palm trees.

The last night of our vacation we spent in Loreto at La Mision, the newly completed luxury hotel right in the middle of town overlooking the malecon. We had an attractive air-conditioned room on the 3rd floor overlooking the pool and the Sea of Cortez. Their beds are super comfortable and the amenities are nice. The hotel was quite full, mostly with Mexican guests, leftover from participating in the Loreto 400 car race. We were told they were completely full the previous night which had marked the end of the car race. The swimming pool was maxed out with guests, fortunately not lots of children as they tend overwhelm things down here. We were lucky to find the last two lounge chairs, but all the pool towels had evaporated. Esperando and I are pretty sure the hotel has not had to handle so many people at once before, the services seemed kind of stretched to their limit. Two little boys about 8-years old dominated the pool. They had a couple of largish hard plastic toy boats they kept throwing across the water and into the hot tub; they were kind of obnoxious but their parents didn’t seem to notice or care. The hotel must pump water into the pool from the ocean as the water is a brackish mixture of fresh and salt water, and was like being in a warm bathtub. It made me yearn for the cool sweet water and peace and quiet of Casa Bentley’s pool that we left behind us in Todos Santos. And even more, how we miss the nice beachy setup of the defunct Inn at Loreto Bay!

Baja is famous for off-road races occurring throughout the year, most notably the Baja 1000 and Baja 500 car races. The Baja 1000 is the big off-road race that takes place on the Baja peninsula in the fall, generally September. The event includes various types of vehicle classes such as small and large bore motorcycles, stock VW’s, production vehicles, buggies, trucks, and custom-fabricated race vehicles. The course is much the same each year with the event annually alternating as a point-to-point race from Enseñada in the north, south to La Paz, or a loop race starting and finishing in Enseñada. As a point-to-point race the course length varies but is often over 1,000 miles; as a loop race the course length averages 830 miles. According to Wikipedia, ‘each year there are reports of spectators sabotaging or booby-trapping the course by digging holes, blocking river flow, or burying and hiding obstacles. Many of the booby traps are not created to intentionally injure the contestants but are created by the local spectators as jumps or obstacles for spectator entertainment. The haphazardly-designed jumps, created by the spectators, are very dangerous as the contestants may inadvertently enter the booby-trap at unsafe speeds, resulting in damage to the vehicles or injuries to competitors or spectators.’ Esperando, in the way of boys, is all hot to go watch the race this year as it passes on down to La Paz. I told him to go find another boy to watch it with, I wasn’t interested.

The Baja 500 is essentially the same race held in the springtime, but the course is shorter and loops back to Enseñada. The Loreto 400 is a stock car race dating back to the early 80’s. It goes from Loreto at the Sea of Cortes across the La Giganta mountain range over to the Pacific Ocean, then back up the coast over the mountain range and returns into Loreto. This route is also called the missions route since it follows the historical trails that connected the missions of the Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans. The Loreto 400 is consider to be one of the bigger races in Southern Baja.

Esperando and I spent our last night of vacation poolside with me quaffing margaritas and Esperando cold Tecates. As the evening lengthened the temperature became more pleasant and our intentions to go out to dinner evaporated. We ate a great pizza by the pool instead; the pool bar/kitchen has a brick pizza oven, and they make a mean pizza. By the time we headed up to our room, Esperando and I had outlasted the two 8-year old terrorists and almost everyone else, except for a pair of lovers, he a tall blonde gringo with a pronounced lisp and she a very pregnant Mexico girl, who remained entwined in the pool for really at least 2 hours clasped together, never moving. I wondered how you can remain that long in the pool without turning into a prune or needing to go to the bathroom. How romantic am I?

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