Merry Christmas from our home to yours
As I write this letter, there are only a few days until Christmas. We wish you all a blessed Christmas filled with love and happiness. I’d say we wish you were all here with us, but we’d never all fit in the motorhome. In our hearts you are with us.
The temperatures here have been cooler than normal with north winds that make for ‘pants and long sleeves’ kind of weather. We’re not complaining though, we don’t have snow!
We’ve been pretty lazy these past weeks. We’ve done a lot of reading and have really gotten into those crazy Sudoku puzzles. They can really drive you crazy!
We’ve met a few couples that we’ve enjoyed visiting with. It’s amazing how small this world really is. We’re always meeting people who know people we know, or who are from down the street where we live now or used to live. We met a couple from Edmonton last Sunday who live just blocks away from where I grew up in Jasper Place. Their kids went to JP Comp High – next door to the school I went to. The one daughter, who is my age, now lives with her husband in Westbank - just down the road from where we stayed last year. We’re looking forward to meeting them – they’ll be in San Felipe in February.
I put up all my Christmas decorations last Sunday. We have a small tree (artificial of course) and I’ve got lights and garland across the front. It looks good, but it does seem weird with palm trees and ocean as a backdrop.
We caught the last episode of Survivor last Sunday. We went to Fandangos, the little bar up the street. We were the only ones in the bar and they would have normally closed at 8 on Sunday, but stayed open so we could watch. We were both pulling for Ozzie, but Yul is a good second.
Christmas Eve there’s a non-denominational candle light service at the Mission church, and we’re going to go. On Christmas Day, Fandangos hosts a “pot luck” supper and many of the snowbirds flock down there for good food and good company. We’ve been told that it’s a great time, so we’ll likely try that out. They are also ‘puttin on the ritz’ for New Years Eve. So we do have some plans. We’ll keep you posted.
WRONG - - our hot water heater leaked. (December 7)
Our basement had about 3 inches of water in it. They say things usually happen in threes? This has gotta be number three!!
So we emptied out the basement and squeegied the water out. But in order to dry it out we had to live like this for a few days. We only had 2 things go missing – and they were small things. We count ourselves blessed – someone could have backed up a pickup and loaded it all…. We had everything we own out there!
We had an RV guy (John) originally from the Fraser Valley come out to look at it on Thursday. Basically the tank had to come out, before we would know if it could be repaired or if it needed to be replaced and he didn’t seem to eager to do this, so Michel busied himself all afternoon, disconnecting everything so he could remove the water tank. But as I said in an earlier blog – Michel is capable of anything. He took it all apart and tinkered away – he found the leak – found the part to fix it and put it all back together again… By Saturday we had hot water.
We made a big decision on Sunday. After a lot of talking we decided that it wasn’t worth the aggravation – we could make a choice. Michel was really uncomfortable driving our big moho on those roads. She took a real shit kickin’ with those speed bumps and that’s not fair. The moho is our home and we would like to keep her in one piece. We still want to see the Baja, but we’ll do it in a car! Another time. So we headed North instead of South. So we were back in Ensenada about noon –fueled up the moho and headed East on Hwy 3 to San Felipe. We know we like it here! We got into town around 3:30 and we’re settled into the same place we were at last year – Baja Mar RV Park. We’re steps to the ocean and have an oceanview from our front window (see picture). It’s really not that bad! Three months of sea – sun – and cerveza (I mean tacos) – okay I can do that.
San Felipe has grown some since last year. There is construction everywhere. I hear the minimum wage for construction workers is now $10.00/hr. Sure beats the $20.00/day they used to get.
There is no shortage of places to eat. There is one directly across from our RV park and they serve us the best guacamole I’ve ever eaten. Oh – all the food is good, but last year was the first time I’d ever tried avocados done up any way at all and I was impressed. Last night we went to the only Chinese Restaurant in town. They serve up real good food. It’s funny though – to hear a China-man talk Spanish.
Our old haunt Fandangos is still here – Buzz and Heather (from Pentiction) are back again for another 6 months and he’s a one-man-band who plays music and sings every Wednesday night there. The cerveza went up in price. This year you get a ‘bucket’ - 5 beers for $7 (last year it was $6) Internet is still free at at Fandangos, so we can sit and listen to music, play a little pool, surf the net and drink beer – does it get any better?
San Quintin (pronounced San Can-teen by the locals), Baja, Mexico
Today we thought we’d get all the way to Mulege. Go where the weather is warmer – it’s still pretty cool here at night.
Well, let me tell you a story…. Many people told us we were NUTS to be driving our motorhome down the Baja. They warned us of the roads – we had to see for ourselves. After all Michel is a truck driver / tour bus driver, he can handle ANYTHING!! The roads here are verrrry narrow. The white line on the right side of the road – is the end of the road and the road drops. That’s not the worst thing – in many places the road has actually broken away. All this being said, the worst thing is that there are trucks on this road!! Many, many BIG trucks. Try meeting one of those on a 19 foot wide highway when your rig is 8 feet wide and you know theirs is that wide (say nothing for the mirrors). Ron - I certainly can see how your mirror got clipped off. There were times when I’m sure there was only air between mirrors!!!
Oh and one more thing – no one warned us of these – speed bumps – EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE!! And not necessarily marked. Only the Mexicans can take a nice smooth highway and totally ruin it with speed bumps. And these are not the small dot kind …. These ones stretch across the road. Now sometimes the speed is posted at 40km, but who in their right mind would take one of those at that speed. The first one we hit, we had no idea it was there, there was no posting for speed bumps only a reduced speed. So we come into this town at 40km – hmmm a little less – and kaboom!! We were air borne. Well these speed bumps go from Ensenada to who knows where – we did 200 miles of them !!
So now were sitting here at San Quintin with 2 broken shocks and air bags that won’t inflate. There are many mechanics in this town – their specialty is shocks and struts – imagine that…. Anyway after 4-5 hours of labour, and $260.00 later, all was okay to roll.
We certainly didn’t make Mulege!! Now the big question – which way do we go?
We crossed the border today at Tecate. There was no one in sight. No young Mexican with big guns to check through our moho. What a difference from last year. But last year we crossed at Calexico, a busier border crossing. We carried on into town – needed to change some dollars into pesos and needed diesel for the moho. We didn’t over stay our welcome in this town, there’s not much to see – only the Tecate brewery – but we wanted to get on down the road to Ensenada. Ensenada is a large city – we drove all over – they even have Wal-Mart, Costco and Home Depot. There’s a place just out of Ensenada called Punta Banda. It is the focal point of this tourist zone, so we had to go see it.
La Bufadora is a natural geyser that, on some days, blasts more than 50 feet high. It is tucked in a narrow cove at the base of rocky cliffs.
There are food stands and souvenir shops that line the streets to the main attraction (La Bufadora), but were closed when we got there. We were just too early – they were just beginning to open. Too bad (for me that is)….. the people tell us that in the summer on weekends it gets extremely crowded and unless you arrive very early you may not even find parking…
Another busy day as you can see here in this photo. This is a taxi and driver just relaxing on the streetside.
But it isn't always like that. We were into Algodones last Saturday and it was like a zoo!! I wished I had brought my camera that day - the lineup to leave at the border crossing was unbelievable. People, including us, were backed up about four city blocks. We were in line for 2 hours.
Anyway -I did bring the camera yesterday (Monday) and this is what the streets looked like then. But still a busy place. The streets are lined up with pharmacies, dentists, and optical. Michel got 3 crowns done and we each got new glasses (progressive glasses with transition lenses only $125.)
There are vendors everywhere, and every square inch of the sidewalks are used up for something. This was interesting: Artists who paint on ANYTHING with cans of spray paint. The work they do is awesome. We use brushes and knives to get the same effects. You can enlarge the pictures by double clicking on them. Check out the paintings - they are really something.
Today is our last day here at Catalina Spa Resort. Tomorrow we'll be moving souther - we'll be staying in Winterhaven, which is just outside of Yuma. We plan to cross into Mexico on December 1st.
We met up with Ron and Ann last week and we've spent quite a bit of time with them - we met them here last year and they introduced us to a few of thier friends. We've had a few 'happy hours' with them. Today we joined them and their 'gang' at the VHW for tacos and beer for lunch. There were about 12 of us, and it was a good time.
In the following picture are: Ron, Don, Sandy, Michel, Ann and Joan