Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pic-of-the-MONTH- for November 21, 2017

Hola Amigos!

Have you been missing us and our pictures of Baja?  No?  Phew....that makes me feel less guilty!  It has been a month since I wrote the last one, but we have been very, very busy here in Paradise.  

First, we had our guest Lydia to entertain, and since she made the effort to come visit all the way from Austria, we thought we should show her around a bit.  So we went places and did things that we haven't done in a long time.

One of the first places we went was to Zorra Falls up in the mountains for a swim.  It's also a major hike down (then back up....puff, puff, puff!!!)  We were kind of surprised that there wasn't more water coming down the falls because of all the rain from the storm in September.  And no one jumped off the cliffs (like Ryan usually did when he went there).  

It was a hot day, and the water felt great.  

There was plenty of water in the oasis at Santiago.  I don't think I've ever seen this much water there.  We passed this area on our way to and from the falls.

Ben took Lydia for a tour of La Paz one day, and for contrast, we took her south  to Los Frailes the next day to visit our friends Katie and Mel at their "boonies" camp about 4 miles up the arroyo.  The arroyo was really scoured out during the storm, and the "road" up is very soft sand all the way.  Ben used 4 wheel drive our entire way up there, wishing our Jeep was done (a story for next time).  He used 4 wheel in the place pictured here, too, just before the Los Frailes area, where a spring has sprung and it is very wet!   (The pigs at the nearby ranch are loving it!)  Yes, this is the coast road!

On Monday, we convinced our friends Debi and Sandy to take us in their Toyota Land Cruiser and an ATV up north towards Muertes Bay.  We didn't get all the way there, since there were some questionable spots on the road, but we did stop at a beautiful beach for a swim, saw some gorgeous scenery and had a great lunch at a newer Hotel in El Cardonal.   This picture shows the road, and Sandy and Ben checking it out.  We decided this was far enough!

This is at the swimming beach.  We enjoyed looking at all the rock formations in this rock wall we're parked next to.  

And there's Muertes Bay.  There are restaurants and hotels out there near that sandy beach to the right.  (There are other ways to get there...one popular way is by boat, which we've done before quite a few years ago).  

On Monday night, we went to La Playa restaurant to listen to the Salsa music band (Cuban fellows) who are living here in Mexico now.  Lots of fun, and we got to visit a bit with our friend Perla, whose mother and a friend also came from La Paz that night.  (I get to practice my Spanish with Perla's Mom!)  And it's always fun watching young Perla dance to the Salsa music (she is a very good dancer).  

On Tuesday, we went to San Jose del Cabo to stay overnight at the Tropicana Hotel, an old favorite place right downtown.  We did a bit of shopping and ate some really good food, and enjoyed a guitarist who played during our dinner.  They are tearing up the main street in front of Tropicana and redoing the sidewalks, so of course, we had to walk on the construction (shady) side of the street, and the store owners were desperate for us to walk in and shop.  We did go into a couple of them.

Pool at Tropicana.  I opted for a siesta instead of a swim this time....

Lydia flew out the next day.  She had a stop-over in Houston, then flew onto Frankfurt, then Vienna (I think!)  All in all, about 14 to 16 hours of flying, plus some layover time.  She did survive the flights (and the vacation), and we enjoyed her time here with us very much!  We told her that she needs to bring her husband next time, though.  

OK.  Lydia left on Wednesday, and on Thursday afternoon, we were in a little parade, hauling the Queen of Los Barriles and one of the Princesses up and down the street(s) of LB in our '28 Woody.  There was a Police car in front (siren blaring), the Woody with the royalty (and us), the mayor of town in her pickup, and an ambulance at the tail end (siren blaring)!  We made quite the impression from one end of town to the other, and you'd be amazed how many cars and ATV's and trucks pulled over for us!  

These ladies are Jessica (the queen in the red dress) and a gal whose name I can't remember (it was a hard one!)  Jessica is our friend Dalia's niece.  I think all four princesses are related somehow.  

Then, Ben worked feverishly Thursday, Friday, and Saturday trying to figure out why the 29 pickup didn't run smoothly.  He finally adjusted the valves (final thing to try!) and voila!  It ran like a champ.  So I had a quick driving lesson on Sunday afternoon (you've got to double clutch these things whenever you shift up or down, and we've got way too many speed bumps in our community!)  The reason for the non-stop work on the pickup is that we had the Revolution Day Parade on Monday; 7:30am we had to be at the start of the parade.  We made it with our two Model A's!   

You gotta love the crowns they use for the Queen and Princess!  

Oh, and for those of you who have enjoyed their music, Miguel de Hoyos and Alex DePue are back in town!!!  We went to hear them Sunday night and Monday night, and have plans to go again on Friday night.  Love, love, love their music.  They are SO talented.  I'll load a video or two on my November 2017 photo album for your enjoyment.  On Sunday night we took our friends Mel & Katie, and Katie was practically in tears she loved the music so much!  It was a real treat for her.

While we've been doing all the things I've mentioned, we have been working on the '30 Roadster (I hold things or lift things or offer moral support while Ben is on the business end of the tools) AND we are counting down for the "Feeding the Hungry" Fashion Show that will happen December 1.  Lots of meetings, e-mails, hand-holding, asking questions, thinking, preparing for ticket sales, obtaining raffle ticket items from vendors around town, answering questions.... It's an interesting process, and there are a lot of balls in the air at once.  Check with me after December 1 to see if we survived!  And then we're supposed to do it again next year...but it is for a very worthy cause of helping to feed 27 very poor families in our community, so we're happy to do it.  If you're on Facebook, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FeedingTheHungryLosBarriles/ 

I hope that's everything!  My head is spinning; how's yours?  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos en Baja

Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for October 24, 2017

Hola, Amigos,

Our first guest of the year, long-time friend Jill Costa, has come and gone.  Since she is still working, we forced her into some serious down-time!  (Ha!)  Didn't really do too much, but we did spend one day lounging in and around the pool at Rancho Buena Vista.  (I told Ben we have to take advantage and do that more often!)  This is a picture of me floating around (and getting a sunburn where I forgot to put my sunscreen ....oops!) A cool drink, a good book, a bit of shade and we were very happy!  It was pretty hot last week; most days were in the 90's.  The few breezy days were very welcome!

The Round Bar at Rancho Buena Vista, right next to the pool and the beach.

Ben has made fantastic progress on the '30 A.  He got it situated where he could pull the engine all by himself, and we even got Caliman (the body man and painter) to cut off a few bolts and get the front fenders and running boards off the frame.  It is in bits and pieces, and the frame and various other parts are being painted.  Ben is painting the pieces of the engine that didn't get done this summer, and of course, we have the body off the frame.  Ben and I and Jill managed to do it with a bit of leverage and the use of our old hospital gurney!  Oh...and some sawhorses and blocks of wood.  😏  We've got it tucked away inside the garage now, where it doesn't take up too much space!  It's pretty movable with that old gurney.

More restaurants in town are opening, including our old favorite, La Playa.  I think we were there first customers this year!  Still the same great food, and a fantastic view of the beach.  We saw our first wind surfers when we were there for breakfast after church on Sunday.  

Our next guest is scheduled to come November 7th, all the way from Austria!  It took some doing, but Lydia finally found some flights that would work for her.  It includes a couple days layover with a friend in Texas, but she made it work.  After that, we don't have any scheduled guests that we know of except maybe in January.  So, start planning your Baja vacation!  We have two guest rooms with great views, and a weight set ready for you to use.  

I am adding some more photos to our 2017 October Album.  Enjoy!

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos de Baja
Harriet & Ben, Sam & Zoey

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for October 11, 2017

Hola Amigos,

Yes, we are back in Mexico, and enjoying the warm breezes and sunshine.  It was getting pretty cold and frosty in Oregon before we left there, and there was a lot of fresh snow in the mountains.  It was time to leave!  

A Barrel cactus in our garden.

We left Oregon October 3, after Ben's brother and sister-in-law, Ken and Bea, returned from their trip back east on the 2nd.  We were packed up, hooked up to the car trailer, and ready to hit the road early Tuesday morning.  We traveled to Reno that day, and the next day we left with our friend Mike B and his friend Frank, who traveled with us.  It was another frosty morning in Reno!  We had to wait for the ice to melt on our windshield!  We made it all the way to Victorville that day, another long day, and the next day, we dealt with Los Angeles and San Diego commuter traffic on Highway 15.  We made it to the border at Tecate at about 11:30AM, and that's when the excitement started!

Sitting at the border in Tecate, but not allowed to enter!  

The 1930 Model A Roadster that we were towing, whose engine and running gear had all been rebuilt lovingly by Michael S., wasn't "run-able" (no gas in the gas tank, no water in the radiator, no oil in the engine; basically, nothing hooked up), Mexican customs insisted that we cross back into the US, park the rig, and find a Mexican mechanic who would give us a "legal" estimate of what it would cost to make it runable.  Oh. Good. Grief.  We argued this way and that for at least a 1/2 hour, but finally gave in to their demands.  Mike and Frank went on their way, hoping to make it to San Quintin where we had reservations for the night.  We went back across the border,  (at least we didn't have to go through the long line...they took Ben's driver's license and our 2006 pickup registration so we wouldn't skip out on them...he gave it to us as we crossed back into the US.)   Of course the US agents wondered what was going on, and we just said we're trying to get into Mexico with this old car, but they don't like the fact that it's not running.  Bah!  So, we got through US customs, found a parking lot, paid our parking fee, and hiked back across the Mexican border.  We found a taxi cab, and the driver happened to be talking to the security guard who had done some translation for our situation, and they decided where we should go in Tecate for our estimate.  We went there, showed them a few pictures on Harriet's cell phone of the car, and they graciously wrote up an estimate (with two copies and lots of "official looking" stamps, and we headed back to the border.  We walked back through US customs, hiked back to our parking lot, and drove with our special papers through the Mexican border.....again!!!!  We handed them our special paper, and they were much happier this time.  It took us from 11:30am to 2pm to accomplish this task!  Ugh.  Harriet texted Frank and Mike, and found they had just got through Ensenada when we were leaving Tecate, so we were not too far behind them.  

If only we had known (we've taken old cars across the border before with no problems), Ben could have hooked up all the necessary bits and pieces to make it run in about a day (while we were in Oregon), but we didn't know.  He purposely left things at a bare minimum, because we have to take it all apart here in Baja to get the body work done.  Oh well....another story to tell our grandkids, we guess!  

We got through Ensenada, (that's were this huge flag is located) and to our hotel south of San Quintin by 7 pm. It was dark, and starting to get scary to drive with the Mexican cars with no tail lights or brake lights, so we were excited to get there in one piece!  We love this hotel (El Jardines), but didn't have a chance to explore the gardens this time...just had time to check in, eat dinner at the next door restaurant, and crash!  

We left the next morning in thick fog (Pacific coast influences), and it was extremely foggy until we got close to El Rosario, a bit further away from the coast.  The drive that day (after the fog) was fine, other than too many potholes, and we made it to San Ignacio in Baja California Sur, to the hotel we missed on the way north, La Huerta (the Marketplace).  Lovely place, lovely Margaritas, great food, and we'll stay here again!  Of course, every military stop (4 this day) they wanted to check out the old car, so it took us a bit longer than normal.  You could just see their eyes get bright as we pulled up and find a reason to stop us for a bit so they could study it!  

The next day was a short one; we only went to Loreto, and stayed at our old standby hotel, Oasis.   On the way there, we stopped for a light lunch at Buenaventura, a little restaurant and hotel on Bahia Concepcion.  They are open for business (they got the hotel back from a Mexican / Tijuana shyster!) 

 It was a Saturday night, and the Oasis hotel happened to have live music, and a special dinner with Chocolate clams cooked (and uncooked) many different ways, plus chicken and pork ribs.  Very nice!  The last day of travel was from Loreto to home.  We stopped in La Paz for cash from an ATM, and to visit our friends Hector Manuel and Rosy Amarillas to show them the car in it's "original" state.  He's our friend who puts on the car shows we attend in La Paz.  On the way out of town, a cop car pulled us over (just what we need), said our old car was nice, but that we were driving too fast!  Pffft!!!!  I don't think so.... I told him we were traveling the same speed as everyone else.  Ben pulled out his phone to call our police-woman friend, and the cop said "fine, you can go".  Ben thinks the cop thought we were going to take his picture.  Whatever....we were out of there in a Baja minute.  

We made it home at a reasonable time, and we unloaded enough things to spend the night comfortably!  The dogs were extremely happy to see us (but they've been watching our every move to see if we're going to leave again!)  Sam and Zoey both need a diet (but don't we all!)  

Ben finally finished unloading the pickup yesterday.  He is organizing all his 1930 Model A parts so he can find them when he needs them in the rebuild.  Mike and Frank helped unload the Roadster on Monday, and Ben has been pushing it in and out of the garage as he needs space during the day.  Thank goodness, it doesn't weigh too much!  

We've got company coming on Saturday, and we've still got a few hurricane shutters to remove from the guest rooms!  The weather is warm, but we don't know how warm, because our new thermometer isn't working correctly (is it 185 degrees F, or is it -55 degrees F?  Neither, me thinks!)  Probably in the 90s, but the wind blew today, so we had some nice cooling breezes.  

We're also gearing up for the "Feeding the Hungry" fashion show that Ben so graciously volunteered us to organize ... sigh.... That will be December 1.  

We hope that some of you will get the Baja urge and come see us this year.  We do have TWO guest rooms, as Ryan is still overseas for the foreseeable future.  

October photos (and some from September) are uploaded to 2017-10 October.  I might even get around to putting captions on them one of these days!   Or you can just guess!

Hasta la proxima vez....
Tus amigos de Baja
Harriet & Ben, Sam & Zoey  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for September 12, 2017

Hello from Sumpter, Oregon.  Wow, it has been a long time since we sent out a Pic-of-the-Week!  Lots has happened since August 19th when we sent out our last update.  This part of our summer has been a break from working on the Model A Roadster.

First there was a total eclipse of the sun near Sisters, Oregon where we were having a family get together.  It was quite the event here in Oregon, although I do not think there were all the people that Oregon expected.  There were not the huge traffic jams that were expected, or the running out of food or gasoline.  The biggest problem for us was finding a place that was not too smoky to watch the eclipse.

After the family get together, we went to Harriet’s 50th class reunion.  She had a good time getting reacquainted with old school friends.  Then it was on to visit Baja friends on an island in the Columbia River.  The island is near the town of Cathlamet, Washington and is named Puget Island.  We were hoping that the salmon would be running in the Columbia River, but they were not while we were there.  We went for some nice boat rides instead.

The ferry from the island to the Oregon side of the Columbia River.  It runs once an hour.

Then it was back to my brother’s house near Sister’s to pick up my passport so I could go to our house in Baja California Sur because there was a storm coming and we had not completed all the preparations for a storm/hurricane before we left in July.  (Sam and Zoey were VERY glad to see me!)  The storm was not a huge amount of wind, but there was lots of water.  The arroyos ran from bank to bank. 

I had some water to mop up in the house during the storm, and there were problems with our generator.  It was not generating 120 volts, like it should, but rather it was only putting out about 108 – 110 volts.  We got though the time with the low voltage generator, and then I was able to fix the other generator which puts out the correct voltage.  It seems like there is always something that is a problem during/after a storm.

During the time I was in Mexico, Harriet was in Sisters finishing my quilt.  It is large and beautiful!

I returned from Mexico on Thursday, the 6th of September, and left on the 7th for a camping trip with Harriet and my brother John, who had never seen some of the most beautiful parts of southeast Oregon.  Not sure where he has been all his life!  (I think stuck on the windy, wet, and cold Oregon Coast.) 

On the way to Lakeview, we took a side trip through the back streets of Silver Lake for some photos of older homes.

Then on to Lakeview where we picked up a few pieces of obsidian, spent the night at our favorite RV camp site, and had dinner at Mario’s Restaurant.  Life is good!  The next day it was on to Hart Mountain Antelope  Refuge with the pronghorns, and camped near the hot springs.  On the way there we saw a cattle drive.  I had forgotten how dusty driving cattle can be.  Usually we see cattle being driven down the highway. 

We did not see as many pronghorns this year as we have most other years.  It could be that we arrived the day before opening day of hunting season.  (Do you think that could be it?)  There was a lot of water in the lakes below Hart Mountain in the Warner Valley.  More water than we have seen in a number of years there.  This was definitely a wet, snowy winter in Eastern Oregon.

After spending a night at Hart Mountain and enjoying a good long soak in the hot springs, it was on to the Steens Mountains with all their beautiful gorges cut out by glaciers.  On the way there we took photos of White Pelicans at Rock Creek Reservoir for our bird lover friends. 

Once we arrived at the base of the Steens, and set up camp at the Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort, we took a driving tour to the Pete French Round Barn, and the Diamond Valley area.  Again, we ran into a cattle drive where the cowboys and cow girls were moving a lot of cattle.  Very dusty conditions!

The next day we took the Steens Mountain Loop Road and saw the impressive mountains and gorges.  Below are just a very few of the many photos taken.  Go to 2017-09 September album  to see all the photos.

Ospray at camp

Fish Lake

Kiger Gorge

Golden Eagle

Wild Horse Lake at the top of Wild Horse Gorge

Big Indian Gorge

Wild (?) Horses enjoying water with pronghorns in the background.  The funny thing about this photo is that none of us saw the pronghorns until we saw this photo (using a pretty strong zoom setting)!

We dropped John off in Burns, Oregon where he caught a bus back to Bend, and his car, and we went on to Sumpter, Oregon where we are at the present time.  I must add that Sumpter has lost its charm, for me anyway.  It might be different prior to Labor Day Weekend, but now when we drove through the town looking for a place to eat breakfast, there were no breakfast restaurants, but there were two places open that we could have bought marijuana!

The next thing on our agenda is the Pendleton Roundup this weekend ("Let 'er buck!") and then we'll return to Bend where the Model A will magically come together so we can haul it back to Mexico.   We hope to leave Oregon October 3, and probably should, since we have guests coming to Baja in mid-October!!  Hopefully, East Pacific Hurricanes will stay away from Baja until we get back.

Hasta la proxima vez!
Ben & Harriet