Welcome to Mostly Musing - My Travel Blog

This blog is about our travels to Baja California, Mexico in our Classic 1976 GMC Motorhome. We have traveled there since 2005. I hope any readers enjoy the blog and I appreciate any comments.

This years travels to Baja begin from our Victoria driveway the end of October 23rd, 2013.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hi there! Happy New Year! Hope you have had a wonderful 2013 and we wish you, and your family a happy and healthy 2014.

The close of 2013 finds us in our home in Los Barriles, Baja California Sur once again. We arrived in November to a yard full of weeds! Pigweed grows remarkably well here, and particularly well in our yard as it is all fenced so neither the goats nor the cows can get in and do what they do best. With much toil we have managed to eradicate the weeds, for the most part, and have been amazed at how well the things we planted survived, and thrived in our absence.

We now have Limóns on our Mexican Limón tree and big crimson flowers on our pomegranate. No figs have arrived on the brown turkey fig, perhaps in the spring or maybe next year. The tiny neem tree is now taller than Lorne and the medajool date, grown from a seed by our friend Gloria last year, is now about two feet tall. The oleander are blooming continuously. Our volunteer tomatoes from last year are growing faster than the heritage ones grown from seed. The chipmunks (called topos here) are sitting in wait to nab the first tomato. Out beans are up – the topos also like beans, and the watermelon and cantaloupe are growing rapidly. It is such fun to have a garden again.

I continue with my music and have been playing almost daily with my friend and fellow singer Susan and our bass player Ray. We have been playing weekly at Open Mic with Pavel, a bluegrass banjo player from Czech Republic and Wolfe, an old tyme fiddle/mando player from the Austin Texas music scene who now lives here full time. At the insistence of the audience and after a number of unique suggestions, we now have a band name – the Gypsy Chicks. It is all a great deal of fun. However, I continue to be immensely relieved that I didn't ever have to do this for a living.

Los Barriles is a very social small town environment; this holiday season in particular has been very busy with parties and dinners. We have been greatly enjoying this, particularly as no matter where we go, it’s no more than a 10 minute drive at turtle speed away!

I have joined a weekly hiking group and we have had some fantastic and beautiful hikes, and once again have been playing mahjong every week. Lorne continues to work in the garden – it’s his fitness program. When he’s not out dancing he also spends time on the computer monitoring the world economy.

Here are some scenes from the Cabo Pulmo hiking trip, just a bit south of La Ribera. This area is a protected Marine Park:

We are here till April before heading north once again. We miss the children and grandchildren, family and friends a great deal. The warm sun compensates, however, I am sure we will be more than ready to head north when the time arrives.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What Could We Have Possibly Forgotten?

2013 Victoria to Los Barriles

We left the house Wednesday October 23 for Mike and Kate’s driveway. We were up in the morning with the kids to say goodbye. Lindsay is so grown up now, she rides her bike over to her new school, Arbutus. The same school Mike and Natasha went to. She is now in grade 6. I walked to school with Tristan and Kate early as Tristan had an early morning cross country run practice. He is in grade 4 and in the school that goes up to grade 5, is the fastest kid in the school he says. Last year when he was in grade 3 he was the 8th fastest kid. Sure enough as they ran two laps around the school Tristan was way out in front and didn’t seem to be hardly winded while other kids were dragging their tails. He is not the tallest but he is easily the fastest. We headed for the Anacortes Ferry for 11:00, it was late as the fog was very thick. We were even later crossing as the fog continued to impair our speed. It was quite eerie sailing along through nothing but grey, not able to see anything more than a few feet in front of the boat. We made it to Jerry and Bonny’s in Seattle by about 8:00. We were very hungry – as were they! We enjoyed a beautiful dinner of BBQ’d lamb chops, roasted potatoes and Lorne’s favourite beans. They have a beautiful home and we totally enjoyed our visit. The next day we went to Pike Street Market, out for lunch the Wall Bed store, and then Kelsey and Joe’s house for another delicious dinner and evening. Kelsey and Joe live a few blocks from Pike Street Market. Saturday we were all back to Jerry and Bonny’s for their Halloween party. Another fun evening! Sunday afternoon we were on our way to Ikea in Portland. We spent almost the whole day there. We now have a great memory foam queen size mattress to add to the stack of stuff in the motor home. We are so full the side window is almost covered! We took the sofa out of the motor home so we could fill it up! We may not be bringing the motor home next year so we have to bring what we need this year. It’s hard to get some of the things we want to have down there. The fall color has been spectacular this year! Living in an evergreen forest it is so beautiful to see red orange gold leaves! And I love the dark colors of the ribs of the trees showing through the foliage, the leaves seem to float in the air.
Mount Shasta, an apparition in the near distance, welcomes us to Northern California in the most spectacular way.
The majestic splendor of Mount Shasta! I have so many pictures of Mount Shasta, it is truly a spectacular sight and never fails to take my breath away! The highway travels partially around it so we are able to admire different views of it.
Have we brought everything we need? Yes I'm sure we have brought everything - wait - what are we off to do today? Shopping? Oh yes, that's right, shopping! Lorne has a list. What? Oh yes I do too, I have a list....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Heading North Sunday April 28, 2013

After working hard all day Saturday till the wee hours of Sunday morning we grabbed a few hours of sleep and Lorne had to kick me out of bed at 6 am so we could be on the road by 7:30.  Here I thought it would be him that would have a tough time getting out of bed.  We had a few last minute things to do before leaving…  such a lot of work getting things organized to leave.  Well, its all worth it, I think the house is secure till we get back.  We have given keys to three neighbors and Gloria has a set as well.  Gloria will check the house every week and clean a bit every other week just to keep the dust down. 

The highway was quiet and we made good time; stopped in Constitution for lunch and spent the night at El Burro.  Bonus!  6:15!  It was still daylight when we stopped!  There were not many at El Burro, just a few people napping or having happy hour in their elaborate palapas.  It was quite a warm drive, with the air conditioner making little difference. It wasn't totally uncomfortable though.  I like the heat. We split the driving and napping.  I guess I'm officially a Baja driver now.  

Day two we were up and on the road by 6:50.  Once again Lorne had to kick me out of bed.  The bed in the motor home is just so cozy and comfortable, and the curtains I made work very well keeping the light out.  We made it all the way to Santa Innis (Catavina) by 6:00 pm.  Lots of time for a walk before dinner.  I took the camera and had to take pics of all the blooming cacus!  Lorne says I take so many pictures of the same plants that I am documenting their growth from year to year.  This area is just so beautiful and unique that I really enjoy taking pictures trying to capture the essence of it all. Its really quite impossible to do that yet I try anyway.  We walked by a very large bee hive in a tall palm.  The bees were large and black, the buzzing was quite furious.  Needless to say we walked quickly by, hoping they weren't those bad ones.

Day three - the morning is foggy and cold!  We are easily going to get to Ensenada in the afternoon and tomorrow we will head to Tecate and the US.  We arrived about 3:00 and checked into the Estero Beach Resort.  We then walked back up the road to a medical/dental clinic to see if Lorne could see a dentist.  He had dental surgery two weeks ago - one of the roots on a molar had cracked and was giving him pain.  It was a tooth that he had had a root canal on in the past.  The dentist in town referred him to an oral surgeon who operated and removed the broken root, leaving the rest of the tooth.  All was well till yesterday when it started to hurt.  Worried that perhaps he now had an infection, he took some antibiotics that we happened to have with us.  It wasn't feeling any better so he thought he should get in to see a dentist if he could.  So - we walked up the street, the office was closed but it had a bell to ring if it was after hours.  We rang and the doctor came to the door, he called the dentist, Lorne spoke to him and he made an appointment for 7:00, that night.  We returned at 7, he saw Lorne for over half an hour, took an x-ray and some digital pictures of Lorne's receding gums and told him that all was well, no infection.  However, he recommended that Lorne see a periodontist for some surgery.  All this and he reluctantly asked for 200 pesos (less than 20 Canadian dollars).  Lorne insisted he take 500 pesos.  It would have been substantially more in Canada for this service!  

On our way in bright and early in the morning in our more typical fashion, 11:00....  we get to Tecate and spend 2 hours at the border.  Boring!  And they took away our packaged sliced chicken, bought in Costco in Cabo, packaged in California, USA.  the border guy says he has to take it because it probably isn't cooked appropriately..... really?  However, the chicken that I cooked is ok..... how does he know I cooked it appropriately?   Its all a mystery to me.  

Its a beautiful day!  We experience the usual shock at the speed of life on the California freeways after the two lane simple, relatively quiet highway of Baja.  We are now in Temecula, at the casino on the Pechanga reservation.  A nice spot.  Tomorrow we go park in the mechanic's lot.  Then we visit some friends and then are off up the coast and home.  We should be home by May 13.  

Last shots of house before departure

Big Iguana that lives across the street

He loves fruit, here he is posing with his banana.

This iguana lives in one of the wild plum trees in our yard.  I gave him a banana too.  He watched me put it in the tree with him but he didn't touch it.  Maybe he's a different kind and is only a meat eater.... don't know.

A passing road runner stopped by when I was next door at the neighbors

Front  view of the house, showing some of the plants.

Front on view.  Note the railings now on the upper deck and on the staircase on the right.  Note also we have a front staircase!

On the right is a medajool date palm grown by our friend Gloria for us.  Next are three Neem trees, one grown by our friend Annette from seed, the other two purchased at a nursery.  To the left of them are 8 Blue Agave given to us by our neighbor Gail.  Note the path down to the front gate.  All along the fence line at the front are oleander in various shades of pink.  In the right hand corner is a bougainvillea, pinkish of course.  Up close on the left is an unknown to me plant given to us from Annette.  I think it is in the philodendron  family, it is supposed to get fairly large leaves.  I planted some smaller philodendron cuttings with it since it has irrigation.  

View of oleander along fence line.  Note the front stairs and the railings.

Below left is a Mexican limon and a pomegranite.  The planter on the right holds three Kerpi palms, also known as Christmas palms.

Another view of the Kerpis palms in the planter with cherry tomatoes and our road runner.

Another picture of the neem trees and the path to the front gate.  Along the wall next to the house are four mauve bougainvillea.  Yes, that is barbed wire, hopefully the cows and the goats will stay out!

I don't know what this plant is but it has flowers and red edible fruit.

We are no longer in the driveway, the motor home is on the street!  It's early and we are really leaving!  
The house is all buttoned up for the summer!  These are special hurricane shutters; Florida approved to withstand big storms.  Here's hoping!  

I am so looking forward to seeing what the yard will look like when we get back.  Of course it will be full of weeds but hopefully all the intended plantings will have taken and be well established.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

All right....

Lorne says I need to put some pics of the house up. ...  so:

 Here is Lorne happily ensconced in his office.  This doubles as a guest room.

This is my office, we have the same desk, such a deal.   My office also doubles as a guest bedroom.
Another view of my office with the stuff I do in my office and the guest closet.

More of my stuff.

Guest bath.  We have some glass blocks in the ceiling to enhance the available light.

Guest shower wall and floor is all acid wash with inset slate tiles.

Guest bath onyx sink and counter.  

View from the front door into the living room and kitchen.

The carpenter Martin from La Ribera made this beautiful door from smoked glass and Mexican Mahogany.

View from the kitchen into the living room.  The counter in the center is also our dining room table.  

View from the kitchen into the living room.  Center is a propane fireplace.

The most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.  Truly.  It is a California Kingsize tempurpedic memory foam mattress look alike on top of this concrete bed.

Built in Mexican cedar cabinetry.

Master bath with a larger onyx sink and counter and the same acid wash on the floor and walls of the shower.  The trim in the shower is onyx.

Looking out the window of the kitchen to the winter patio and the neighbors houses.  It is difficult for us to get used to having neighbors so close by....

Another view of the kitchen.

Outside the house:  the views off the summer patio deck

The acid wash on all the floors and decks turned out really well.

The garden:  there are a number of Ciruelo (wild plum) trees in the yard.

More Wild Plum with the trunk of an Elephant Tree (Tarot) on the left and in the center bottom a Cholla Cactus.

The tallest tree on the left is a Palo Blanco, its a beautiful graceful tree with a white trunk and generally has leaves, even during a drought.  It has a very long tap root system that searches for water.  In the foreground on the left is a Wild Plum and to the left is the Pitaya Cactus that was growing in our bedroom before we built the house.

 On the right is a Tarot and the center is a large Pitaya Cactus with another cactus and a flowering vine growing inside it
 Panorama from Lorne's office window.

Across the street South South West

Across the street North North West

Same view only telephoto.

Grapefruit on the kitchen counter from a neighbors tree.

North North West corner of property.  Our electrical post on the left and a Palo Blanco and a Cardon Cactus center.

Across the street - how many goats do you see?

The goat dog.  She was just a puppy last year living with her goats, and now she is a graduated goat dog.  She takes very good care of her goats, and can be seen frantically searching for the occasional lost ones.

There are a lot of goats here.....

and more on the way....

Foraging in the cactus.

A resident garden Spiny-Tailed Iguana

This yellow flower covers the ground on the property:

The sunrises are spectacular!