Monthly Archives: November 2013

Heading for the Hills

Me, taking in the view of Guanajuato

Me, taking in the view of Guanajuato

My Family and I had such a great time in Sayulita that I was wondering what we could do to top it. We had spent days with our friends, run on the beach, eaten delicious food and chased giant bugs and lizards. What could be better? Well, it was clearly going to take some time to find out. We got back on the road and started a long, long trip to our next destination, Lake Chapala. According to Victoria, Lake (or Lago, en espanol) Chapala is the largest natural lake in Mexico. That sounded pretty cool but we had a lot of ground to cover before I could check it out.

We spent the whole rest of the morning and into the afternoon on a big highway, going up and down huge hills. It was a pretty day and the road wasn’t too bumpy, so I was more than content to snuggle up on Victoria’s lap and let the miles roll by. There were an awful lot of tolls, though. Jason was grumbling about the expense, while Victoria argued that these roads were faster and safer. I dunno, I just really didn’t like all the little bumps before each toll. One cool thing, however, was that one of the tolls had nice grassy spots for peeing on, good bathrooms for My Family, and even a taco stand with delicious food!

As we got closer to our destination, the sky got really cloudy. There were a few drips of rain, which made Victoria nervous. I guess the work Jason had done at Los Barilles to seal up the roof hadn’t quite worked, and there was still a little leak inside. Well, things got worse in a hurry. The sky opened up, and it started pouring! Now, I don’t know how things are where you live, but back in Venice we didn’t see rain like that very often. It was coming down so hard that Jason almost couldn’t see through the windshield. He noticed that the car in front of us decided to pull over under a bridge, but we were almost to the lake and Jason wanted to keep going. I think he felt a little differently once the hail started. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it! Huge chunks of ice bouncing off the windshield, hitting on the hood of the big truck and smashing into the ground all around us, while the rain continued to fall. This drive wasn’t going so well.

We managed to find our turnoff and drove down a cobblestone road as the rain let up. Ahead were the gates for Roca Azul, which was right at the edge of Lake Chapala. This place was pretty neat. There were cool houses around the Park, which seemed more like a summer camp than any RV park I had seen so far. The grounds were huge, with several buildings, a soccer field, and even a huge playground for kids. There were tons of larger RVs, what Victoria calls “Big Rigs”, but nothing like our little camper. We found a nice spot under some trees and parked.

Lago de Chapala. Pretty, no?

Lago de Chapala. Pretty, no?

Lake Chapala was certainly pretty. But there were lots and lots of bugs and since I had scratched up the screen Jason ended up closing the door, which I know he wasn’t happy about. Okay, I messed up! Sheesh! That night we were all pretty tired, so Victoria and Jason made a simple dinner and after the moon rose fat and orange over the lake, we tucked in for the night.

There were lots of beautiful trees in the campground, this is where we walked to get back and forth to the good internet.

There were lots of beautiful trees in the campground, this is where we walked to get back and forth to the good internet.

Vic is afraid of heights so I had to stay on the ground to look after her.

Vic is afraid of heights so I had to stay on the ground to look after her.

The next day Jason had to work, but the internet wasn’t working so well in our camper. So he took me over to the office while Victoria stayed behind to clean up. I didn’t mind hanging out while Jason worked, as we got to sit on a cool stone bench in a really pretty field. When he took a break we got to run around on the soccer field, which was a lot of fun too. Victoria came over to hang out with us, and she and Jason started talking about us being behind schedule on the trip. Apparently they thought we were only going to spend six weeks in Mexico, and now it was looking like it was going to take a lot longer. I don’t really know where we are on this adventure, but this sure is a big country. After the work day Victoria and Jason took me for a walk around the RV park. There was an awesome lighthouse out by the lake, which looked over a huge green field covered with birds. Jason went all the way up to the top of the lighthouse, but Victoria was too scared to go up that high so I stayed with her. We walked further and saw a beautiful swimming pool, but it was a little too cold to go in. We went through the playground, and Victoria made me get on all the rides with her. I don’t know, I think I prefer keeping my feet on the ground. Jason said he thought it was a little bit creepy, all of these toys for kids and no kids around. In fact, the whole campground was very quiet. We saw almost no one, and as the sun disappeared I could tell it was making Jason a bit uncomfortable. I didn’t mind so much; I like the quiet from time to time.

One of the rides My Family forced me to go on.

One of the rides My Family forced me to go on.

Can anyone tell me why this is supposed to be fun?

Can anyone tell me why this is supposed to be fun?

In the morning we got packed up and drove to a place that couldn’t be more opposite of Lake Chapala: the city of Guanajuato. Guanajuato looked really old, with narrow stone streets and tall stone buildings. It was also REALLY confusing to drive. I could tell Victoria and Jason were getting a bit frustrated, and we had to pull over once to figure out where we were going. Finally they found the right street, and we reached the Morrill Trailer Park.

Guanajuato has LOTS of old buildings to look at, something My Family could do all day.

Guanajuato has LOTS of old buildings to look at, something My Family could do all day.

It was on a hill, looking out at another hill covered with colorful homes. There was no one around when we arrived, so Jason set up the camper and we waited to make sure it was okay to stay there. Guanajuato is very different from anywhere we’ve been since California. I could tell we were really high, as it was kind of cold and very dry. When we finally saw the woman who ran the RV park, it was almost nighttime. She was super nice and looked like an abuela (that’s grandma, in Spanish), and treated us that way. She didn’t speak any English at all, but My Family was still able to communicate with her. Now that we knew we could get set up, we faced another little problem: we hadn’t stopped for groceries. I had plenty of food, so I was just fine. But it was slim pickings for Victoria and Jason. They ended up making weird egg salad sandwiches for dinner, and shared desserts of their jiggly, jelly-like things called flan that came out of the same kind of package as yogurts. I didn’t get to try any of it, and for the first time this trip I was totally fine with that. After dinner Jason didn’t feel really well, but it wasn’t because of the food. He had a bad headache, which I guess happens to him a lot when he first goes to a high elevation. Did you know our campground in Guanajuato was about 6,800 feet up from sea level? Considering just a couple of days ago we were sleeping at sea level, that’s a big change. I kept kissing Jason’s face, but I don’t think that was making him feel any better. Also, it was VERY LOUD there. Even though the houses were far away, you could hear at hundreds of dogs barking, and they just barked all night. Add on to that the dance music coming from places all over the city and the occasional earsplitting firework exploding in the air, and you knew this was very far from the silence of Lake Chapala!

So. Many. Hills.

So. Many. Hills.

One of the many plazas we visited.  The restaurants here didn't let me in so I didn't think it was that great here.

One of the many plazas we visited. The restaurants here didn’t let me in so I didn’t think it was that great here.

Jason was feeling much better when we got up the next morning, so we decided to go explore the city. Guanajuato is made up of huge hills and cobblestone streets and alleyways that snake from place to place. Everything is built at an angle. I didn’t particularly love the walk, but My Family really enjoyed looking at all the buildings. This was nothing like anywhere else we had ever been. We reached the bottom of our hill and entered the main part of the city to see that Guanajuato is covered with gardens, great restaurants and lots and lots of people. We saw cool street artists, musicians, and painters as well. Victoria and Jason found a piece of art they really liked, and they bought it for our camper. After walking around for quite a while we sat in one of the pretty squares for lunch. There was a dog that kept hanging around, hoping to get some of Jason and Victoria’s food. I knew I was going to be the one to get those tasty treats, but he just kept hanging out. And then Jason gave him his steak! I only got a small piece, and this stranger dog got almost half of Jason’s lunch! What’s up with that?!

I sure hope he finds a Family of his own someday :(

I sure hope he finds a Family of his own someday :(

Then I realized that this dog had no collar with his name on it, no leash to keep him safe, and no Family around either. I’ve never really thought about it, but apparently there are some dogs, and even some people, who don’t have homes. This dog was like that. He didn’t have anyone to snuggle with at night, no warm blankets, no fancy outfits, and clearly no delicious food. After the bite of steak Jason gave him , the dog started drooling a lot, like he had never eaten before! I realized it was a good thing that My Family shared with this dog, even if it meant I would have a little bit less. And the more I thought about it, the more I remembered all of the dogs we’ve seen on the adventure so far. Almost none of them had a Family. I can barely remember it now, because my life is so awesome, but I didn’t have a family at one point. I wish all the dogs-with-no-homes could find good people to take them home, just like Victoria and Jason gave me one.

PS: If you want to see some of the photos My Family took while we were in Lago de Chapala and Guanajuato, they are on Facebook.

29
Nov 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Mainland, Mexico

DISCUSSION 7 Comments

Finally, the Mainland!

Me and Olivia relaxing in Sayulita.  I love when Olivia and her family shows up because Olivia always wants to play with me!

Me and Olivia relaxing in Sayulita. I love when Olivia and her family shows up because Olivia always wants to play with me!

First of all, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write this blog post you guys! The trip to Mazatlan was pretty tough, and since then I’ve basically been recovering on the beach. It’s really hard to tear myself away from the best sunny, sandy spots I’ve ever seen, and then when I do Jason is working so much that it’s been hard to get anyone to help me write these posts. I’ve managed to sneak some time on the computer, so here it goes!

After we drove off the ferry we had to find the San Bartolo Trailer Park, where we were going to be spending the night. It was somewhere in Mazatlan, and unfortunately my Family didn’t have a good map. The GPS wasn’t working that well either, and since everyone was so exhausted from the ferry ride it made navigating a big city pretty tough! We did it somehow, and the RV park ended up being a lot of fun. Someone had trimmed all the hedges into funny animal shapes, which was pretty cool, but even better was the fact that our friends were there! When we arrived we saw the nice British couple we had met in Los Barriles, and parked right next to them was our German friends Doris and Torsten, who Victoria and Jason met in Venice way back before the adventure even began. We were lazy, tired and sweaty, but everyone was still happy to see us. After showering my Family had rum punches at the Germans’ rig. Although I didn’t get to taste any of that, I did get a lot of attention from our friends, and most especially from Torsten. He let me sit in his lap, and gave me all sorts of rubs and snuggles. I love Torsten! After that My family went out for dinner with our friends, but they left me at home in the camper. Although I was disappointed not to get any treats from the restaurant, I was more than happy to snooze while they were away. Victoria and Jason got home pretty early, filled with food and happy to be meeting other overlanders, even though we seem to keep meeting up with the same people!

Giant shady tree in Miramar.

Giant shady tree in Miramar.

The next day we meant to get up really early so we could make it to Sayulita before sunset, but my Family was really slow to crawl out of bed. That was perfectly fine with me, but as the time passed I could tell Jason was worried we wouldn’t make it in time. Apparently we had a very long drive ahead. In the end we ended up leaving an hour late, but after saying goodbye to our friends Victoria was still pretty confident that we’d make our next destination.

Things changed in a hurry. My Family took a wrong turn, thinking they had to find one particular highway, and drove almost an hour in the wrong direction before they figured it out! A little bit of panic in the truck, but we were determined to get through it and keep going. We stopped for gas, and the nice man who filled the truck for us really liked our ‘Perro Peligroso’ sign. That means ‘dangerous dog’ in Spanish, and I guess if you know me you’d think that was pretty funny too. But hey, I can be tough when I need to be! We drove onto a big highway, and although it was helping us make up some time, Jason didn’t particularly enjoy it. There were crazy drivers everyone, led by the nuttiest truck and bus drivers I’ve ever seen in my whole life. One bus driver even tried to pass us and a big truck in the other lane, and almost crashed into three cars coming the other way! People were making up their own lanes, and driving straight at us on the wrong side of the street, all while going really fast. We were fine, because Jason’s a pretty good driver, but I could see that his hands were holding the steering wheel very tightly.

The beach in Miramar.  We had the place to ourselves once the sun started to set.

The beach in Miramar. We had the place to ourselves once the sun started to set.

We were making good time, but with our early morning detour Jason and Victoria started to think we wouldn’t make it to Sayulita, their most favorite place in Mexico, that day as planned. Victoria opened up our guidebooks and found a nice looking RV park in a town called Miramar, so we pulled off the road and onto their cobblestone driveway just before the sunset. It was good timing, as I don’t think Jason could have handled the small, windy roads packed with potholes for very much longer!

The Paraiso Miramar RV-Trailer Park was super nice. We found a place to park right in front of a huge, perfect lawn topped with one of the biggest, prettiest trees I’ve ever seen. Families were splashing in the pool and playing games on the grass. We got out and almost immediately a big dog named Archie came right up to me. He wanted to be really really good friends, but Victoria wasn’t having any of it. I kind of just wanted to run around on the lawn anyway. We sat on a bench and watched a really pretty sunset, and then headed off to dinner. They had a nice restaurant with delicious food, and this time I got to try some. My Family also met a very nice older couple named Julie and Rusty, who split their time between a small town in California and an even smaller town in Mexico. They were traveling with two dogs and a cat! I didn’t get to meet the cat, but the dogs were really nice.

After dinner we went back to our camper, and that’s when we noticed the bugs. We didn’t really see many of them when it was still daytime, but once the sun went down they came out in droves, looking to munch on us every chance they got! I don’t mind quite as much, because I can chase them, and sometimes if I’m lucky I even manage to eat one or two. They’re pretty delicious, but Victoria was absolutely fed up. My Family spent some time battling the bugs in the camper, before finally settling in to listen to the ocean waves and get some sleep.

One of Julie and Rusty's dogs.  She was super friendly!

One of Julie and Rusty’s dogs. She was super friendly!

The next day we managed to wake up on time, to pack up and have a nice breakfast with Julie and Rusty. They suggested we check out a couple of small towns, and are especially proud of where they live. I don’t think we’re going to make it through all of them, but hopefully someday I’ll get to meet those nice people and their dogs again! After breakfast Rusty showed us some of his art, which was pretty cool, while Archie tried to sniff me up and down again. We said our goodbyes and hit the road.

The drive to Sayulita was especially beautiful. We moved away from the beach a little bit, and the smells told me we were truly somewhere else now. Jason called it ‘the jungle’ and it sure looked and smelled different. Nothing but huge trees, packed in close together, and tons of birds and animals making a racket. The road was small and winding, moving us up and down mountains, but not too bumpy, and My Family was so excited to be heading back to Sayulita. We got there a couple hours later, drove through the beginning of what looked to me like a super cute town, and ended up at the Sayulita RV Park.

Sayulita sunset. We went to the beach every evening to watch this and so My Family could drink 'Sundowners.'

Sayulita sunset. We went to the beach every evening to watch this and so My Family could drink ‘Sundowners.’

We ended up staying in Sayulita for nine days. Victoria and Jason had come here before, and they tell everyone that this is where they first had the idea for the Big Adventure. Sayulita is really beautiful, with cobblestone streets, lots of art and pretty shops, and some of the most delicious food I’ve had a chance to taste. Our days were very relaxed and pretty slow, which is just fine with me. Every morning started with Jason making coffee and my Family sipping it either on the beach or at our campsite. Jason would hop on the computer and do some work, either at home, at a local restaurant called Tropical which had yummy smoothies, or at the Yah Yah Coffee Shop in the town square. Meanwhile, Victoria and I would lay on the beach, go for walks to meet other dogs, or hang out with the old and new friends we made. When Jason came home for lunch we always went for delicious fish tacos or ceviche, and every time I got to have a taste. Then we’d go for more walks, hang out on the beach and read books (well, not me, but you get the idea) and just enjoy the beautiful weather. There was a little bit of rain, but it cooled things off and got rid of the bugs for a little while, so that was just fine with me. Each evening we would walk into town and try out a new restaurant or taco stand, listen to the street musicians, watch the kids and dogs running around or hang out with our friends. Marcia, Andre and Olivia spent two nights with us, and they made delicious barbecue one night. We met a German boy named Alex who is riding a Vespa scooter from Alaska all the way to the bottom of South America. I liked his accent. Jason, Alex and Andre spent a night talking over beer, but that seemed pretty boring.

Jason drinking his cappuccino in the Zocalo (that means main plaza or square in Spanish)

Jason drinking his cappuccino in the Zocalo (that means main plaza or square in Spanish)

Over all, I can really see why Victoria and Jason like Sayulita so much. It’s full of nice people, great beaches, better food and super colorful sunsets. Victoria commented that it seemed a lot more busy than the last time she and Jason went (when I was left behind, stuck hanging out at the vet’s office in a tiny cage!), and full of tourists (what they call ‘gringos’ here), but we all still had a fantastic time. The only issue was the dirty bathrooms at the RV park, which I think Victoria complained about every single day.

Lots of things for sale in the Zocalo.  Vic got a new bracelet, I didn't get anything...

Lots of things for sale in the Zocalo. Vic got a new bracelet, I didn’t get anything…

Oh yeah, and there was one more thing I should probably tell you about. That nice German couple Doris and Torsten spent a couple of nights there as well. I love that Torsten guy so much! We had a lot of fun together, but one night My Family and our German friends went out for dinner together. They wanted to leave me at home in the camper. I don’t know what got into me, but I wasn’t happy about this arrangement, so I scratched and scratched at the door, hoping they would hear me, change their minds and let me come with them. But they never did. When they got home I almost jumped out of the camper into Jason’s arms. I knew what was coming. Jason saw it almost immediately – I had scratched holes in the screen door! They told me I was a Very Bad Dog over and over, but I guess they felt bad about leaving me behind and didn’t stay mad that long. No one’s perfect, right?

Part of the Revolution Day Parade.

Part of the Revolution Day Parade.

The day we left Sayulita, the was a big parade in town. All the girls were wearing really colorful dresses and the boys had funny pretend mustaches drawn on their faces. It was fun to watch but the parade was blocking all the streets so we had to sit around for a while in the Big Truck until we could leave. More delays, but Victoria said we have to get used to things taking longer than they did back in California. Anyway, we eventually could drive on the roads and headed out of town towards the ‘Highlands,’ where we are now. More on that later!

PS: If you want to see some of the pics My Family took, they are on Facebook!

PPS: My Family did an interview with an online magazine called SayulitaLife.com! I think that means I’m famous.

23
Nov 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Mainland, Mexico

DISCUSSION 3 Comments

Last Days on the Baja

Me, after being forced into the water once again.  I'm starting to like the water, but don't tell anyone, okay?

Me, after being forced into the water once again. I’m starting to like the water, but don’t tell anyone, okay?

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to write to you guys, but boy has it been a crazy time! We started our last days on the Baja Peninsula in the East Cape Casas & RV Resort in Los Barriles. This place was really pretty, and everyone there was so nice. First things first: snow birds aren’t actually birds at all! Apparently, this is what older people, people way older than My Family’s parents, are called. Snow birds don’t stay home like most people, instead they buy huge campers (way bigger than our home) and drive them somewhere warm to spend the winter. I don’t know if there was some sort of commercial for Los Barriles or what, but there were an awful lot of snow birds! Luckily, they all really liked me. There were plenty of trees to pee on, other dogs weren’t allowed to run off leash and get in trouble, there was a nice pool, and Victoria and Jason were pretty excited about the clean bathrooms and hot showers. Showers are terrible, so I don’t know why they were so happy about this. But I guess that’s one of the differences between dogs and humans.

Los Barriles was pretty quiet, apparently because most of the snow birds hadn’t come down for the winter yet. There were a couple of restaurants that were open, and My Family took me with them every time. The weird thing was, everyone there spoke English, even the locals! My Family thought it was pretty odd that they were handed menus in English, and wondered if they would forget all of the Spanish they had learned while staying in this funny little town, or if we would get bored. Luckily, our Brazilian friends Marcia, Andre and Olivia happened to be staying in the very same park as us! It was great to see them, and I even got to taste the lunch that Marcia gave My Family. We all went out for dinner together, which was a lot of fun, but they ended up leaving the very next day. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.

Our home parked at the RV Resort.  Victoria said they have they best bathrooms in Baja, but I wasn't allowed in so I have no idea what was so great about them.

Our home parked at the RV Resort. Victoria said they have they best bathrooms in Baja, but I wasn’t allowed in so I have no idea what was so great about them.

Jason started to feel pretty run down. He was sneezing almost every ten seconds, and sniffling into a pile of tissues. He thought that one of the Canadian surfers we met might have gotten him sick, and sure enough he spent the whole next week pretty miserable. That was tough, because he had to work almost the whole time. There’s nothing fun about being sick, and because he was so run down I didn’t get to do anything. It was SO BORING.

To make things even worse, we heard that rain was coming. There was a very nice couple staying right next to us, Pat and Don, and they came over to make sure we had heard that Tropical Storm Sonia was coming. Sonia’s a very pretty name, but I guess this storm wasn’t going to be nice at all. No one was sure how bad it was going to be, but Victoria was very nervous about the camper leaking. My Family had planned on going over all of the seals on the roof with something called caulk, this really sticky stuff that would keep the rain out, but with everything there was to do before we left the wee blue house, it hadn’t made the list. Now Jason had to pull himself up onto the roof and do the work, even though he was sick. Victoria said she would never get tired of making ‘caulk jokes’. I don’t know what’s so funny about that, and Jason sure wasn’t laughing. He managed to get the caulk over all of the seams on the roof, as well as his clothes and hands. Then we waited for the Tropical Storm.

Grapefruit.  They were growing right next to our house but I wasn't allowed to eat them because Vic said she wasn't sure if dogs should eat Citrus or not. Who's talking about Citrus, I just wanted to try the Grapefruit.

Grapefruit. They were growing right next to our house but I wasn’t allowed to eat them because Vic said she wasn’t sure if dogs should eat Citrus or not. Who’s talking about Citrus, I just wanted to try the Grapefruit.

The rain didn’t end up being that bad, but we still had a bit of a leak. Jason wasn’t too thrilled to discover that he had missed a spot, especially after all of the hard work. And we couldn’t do anything about it until everything dried off. That was probably a good thing, as Jason just started getting sicker. Even worse, Victoria started to feel sick too! I was surrounded by coughing and sneezing humans! Good thing I have such a strong immune system.

We ended up staying in Los Barriles for about a week. It was seriously boring. I got to go on a couple of walks, but only had one chance to run around the beach. Jason really liked the RV park even though he had felt so sick, but Victoria was more than ready to leave Los Barriles. Apparently, our days on Baja were numbered.

The drive to La Paz was pretty uneventful, and it ended with a long day of running errands. We drove up to the terminal where we were going to catch the boat, which My Family called a Ferry. It was so busy there, and Victoria was nervous about us having all the right paperwork and being able to get our Import Papers in time. Our truck was cleared to go, we found the right ferry ticket office and, after being told to come back the next day at one o’clock, we headed back into La Paz to do some shopping. We stopped at the supermarket (boring!), at Home Depot (Victoria set off the car alarm and everyone came out and stared at us), at WalMart (super duper boring!) and at Burger King for lunch (I didn’t even get a bite). Hours later, we got back on the road towards the ferry terminal to find a place to stay for the night.

Sunset at Balandra, even I can tell it was beautiful.

Sunset at Balandra, even I can tell it was beautiful.

Although My Family was talking about us going back to Tecolote, the great beach we had stayed at a couple weeks ago, they had heard there was another cool beach nearby called Balandra. It was just as close to the ferry terminal, so we’d have no problem making our boat on time. Balandra was really pretty, different from Tecolote in that there weren’t any waves, but the sunset was pretty cool. We even hung out with a group of photographers who had come to the beach specifically to catch the sunset.

The best part was, when we drove out there, who did we see but our Brazilian friends again! As soon as we showed up and said hello they invited us in for dinner. My Family laughed, because it always seems like they’re cooking for us every time we end up in the same place! But they wouldn’t take no for an answer. We had a blast having a delicious dinner with them, and I even got to hang out for most of it. Jason was starting to feel better, but Victoria was pretty run down with the cold. Andre said the best cure for a cold was Vodka. I don’t know what kind of medicine that is, but it sure made everyone laugh and smile a lot! Those guys are my favorite friends on the adventure yet! Happy and full of food, we settled in for the night.

Sometime after midnight, Victoria suddenly leapt up in bed and switched on the light! I could tell Jason was still asleep, and I was trying to sleep too, but Victoria said she could feel sand fleas biting her. This slowly got Jason’s attention, because Andre and Marcia had just told us a terrible story about a sand flea infestation they ended up with after staying at another beach. Jason thought it might have been Victoria’s imagination, but I saw them almost immediately. Sand fleas everywhere! They were on the bed, bouncing off the ceiling, and crawling over the walls. I tried to just go back to sleep, but My Family went into battle. Armed with nothing but paper towels, they set out to destroy any sand flea unlucky enough to get in their way. It was a bloodbath! I don’t know how long they were at it, but when they were done the ceiling, the walls and the sheets were covered with dead sand flea bodies. It was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. Victoria and Jason said they thought they’d never get to sleep again, but eventually they were satisfied that they had taken out the sand flea army, turned off the lights, and I was able to get back to bed.

Not a bad place to be forced to swim.

Not a bad place to be forced to swim.

The next day we got up early so we could spend some time playing on the beach before we left for the boat and it was super fun. I ran around in the water while Olivia pretended to be a pelican. Victoria made me swim a little bit more, but the water was so calm that I didn’t mind it that much. And Olivia likes to run around on the sand almost as much as I do! It was pretty awesome, but we couldn’t stay very long as we had to go catch our boat. Today was the day we were going to take the Ferry over to a place called ‘Mainland Mexico’. I don’t know what was so different about this than Baja, but I could tell that My Family was both nervous and super excited about it.

We checked in at the ferry terminal and got our ticket just before one o’clock, and found a place to wait right by the boat. The Ferry was a HUGE boat, and it was going to carry us, our truck, and a bunch of even bigger trucks to the Mainland. We spent a very hot afternoon waiting for our turn to board the ferry, sweating (My Family) and panting (Me) while big trucks sprayed dust, dirt and exhaust all over us. It wasn’t much fun. We did meet one very nice person, a guy named Chris who is riding his motorcycle all the way from Canada down to the tip of South America. He liked to talk and tell jokes, so that helped pass the time. When it was our turn to get on the ferry, Jason had to back our truck onto the boat, and then onto a huge elevator that brought us up to the top deck. It was pretty cool. We parked and then went up on another deck to watch the rest of the trucks load up.

That's our ride to the Mainland!  It was a long, dirty, bumpy ride but we managed to have fun anyway!

That’s our ride to the Mainland! It was a long, dirty, bumpy ride but we managed to have fun anyway!

There were lots of people on the ferry, all truck drivers also making the trip. The ferry was going to take us from La Paz to a place called Mazatlan, which apparently was going to take around sixteen hours! I wasn’t sure I would survive that long a trip. Once the boat was loaded and we left La Paz behind it started rocking from side to side to side to side. And we were surrounded by water, much deeper water than I had ever swam in. I was not happy! We had fun talking with Chris and hearing all of his travel stories, but once it got dark it got a bit more scary. There was nothing but stars and water everywhere you looked. I didn’t know any of the other people on this boat, and when I found out we were going to be sleeping right on the deck I went into high alert. I didn’t want anyone to mess with My Family, especially Victoria. Once it got really dark Jason blew up a couple of air mattresses and we set them up right there on the deck under the stars. Victoria and I snuggled up and went to bed, but every once in a while I opened my eyes and Jason was awake each time. I don’t think he was that comfortable on the little air mattress.

Jason woke us up right when the sun was rising. We were still in the middle of the ocean, but it was kind of pretty. Chris found us again, and we went in search for a way to get to the front of the ship. Victoria had heard that you could see dolphins playing around the boat if you caught them just at the right time, and My Family was determined to do just that. We tried to find a way to sneak around the big trucks and get to the front of the boat, but they were packed in so tight that My Family couldn’t make it. I could have gotten there easily, but I would never have left them behind. Luckily, by the time we made our way back to the top deck and My Family got their morning coffee, one of the nice people we met told us that dolphins were right there on the side. We got there just in time to see them, leaping and playing in the waves!

Dolphins are not only super fast swimmers, but also really difficult to photograph.

Dolphins are not only super fast swimmers, but also really difficult to photograph.

Soon after watching the dolphins, we saw land and pulled into port! Mazatlan is a big city, maybe the biggest we had been in so far, and My Family was pretty exhausted. The port was beautiful, the water full of fish and even some sharks, and the air packed with birds. We waited for our turn to get off the boat and finally, Jason backed up the truck, we went down the elevator, and a few minutes later we were set free in Mazatlan, ready to continue our Adventure on the Mainland.

PS:  To see some of the photos My Family took, head over to our Facebook page!


15
Nov 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja

DISCUSSION 3 Comments

The Baja – Part 2

Me at Playa Tecolote after Victoria made me go swimming.

Me at Playa Tecolote after Victoria made me go swimming.

The night spent in Ciudad Constitucion was relaxing and pretty quiet. No barking dogs and clucking roosters to keep us up all night, although I think I might have dreamt about them! When we woke up in the morning it got hot in a hurry. We were far from the beach, and boy could you tell! My Family had planned on getting us up and out pretty early, so we could get to a beach they promised me was going to be a lot of fun. But the owner of Palapa 206 RV Park & Motel wanted to chat. He was a really nice man from England, which is where Victoria’s family is from too. I bet they know each other. He wanted to talk about stuff Jason called ‘politics’, and from how quiet Jason was, I could tell he wasn’t sure if this was going to be a fun conversation. There was a lot of talk about people named Margaret Thatcher and ‘Di’, who both sounded pretty nice. I was trying to figure out if we had met them back home at the Wee Blue House, but since I don’t speak human I guess I’ll never know. Anyway, after a long talk we finally wrapped up and hit the road.

It took quite a long time to get to our next destination, a big city called La Paz. There were a lot of long, straight stretches, and then big hills that seemed to just go up and down forever. It was pretty, but it was also really really hot. By the time we got to La Paz I was panting pretty hard. I was more than ready for the beach, but I didn’t see one anywhere. We stopped at a supermarket, and then tried to find our way through town to a beach called Tecolote. It was supposed to be really pretty, but boy, was La Paz confusing! Victoria thought she had a map with a ‘shortcut’, but we kept getting turned around. All the while it just seemed to get hotter and hotter. I didn’t mean to, but I pooped a little bit on Victoria’s shorts. She was pretty upset, because someone named Lululemon gave them to her. I didn’t mean it! It all worked out, though. Victoria forgave me for the little accident, the shortcut ended up working out, and after a fun drive on a trucker highway we ended up far outside of La Paz, past the big ferry station, on the amazing beach in Tecolote.

Playa Tecolote.  I called it Dog Heaven.

Playa Tecolote. I called it Dog Heaven.

The road there was pretty crazy, which seems to be normal for Baja. At one point we were following a big construction truck that was literally digging the road as we drove. I’m glad our big truck is so good at driving on roads like that. There was a lot of bounces and bumps, but finally the beach was in sight. My Family was right; it was amazing!

We pulled up right on the sand and parked. All around us were other families, parked and playing on the beach. There were boats and things called jet-skis in the water, and kids were splashing in the waves. Even though it was already late in the day, I got to go off leash and play with the waves. I’m not sure I would want to swim like these people do; the waves are so big! But they are fun to splash around in. I like to bite the foam as it trickles into shore, and then dig at the wet sand that squishes between my paws. It was so much fun to run on the sand again I didn’t want to stop, even when it started to get dark. But we were all getting hungry, and luckily my Family took me with them to dinner. There was a string of restaurants on the beach, not far from where we parked, and we settled onto beach chairs. Jason had a margarita, and Victoria was super happy to ‘finally’ have something called a pina colada. I managed to steal a lick off the side of the glass before she moved it out of the way. While I wasn’t allowed any more of that, I did get a big share of the chips and the fish tacos we ordered. Let me just tell you, they were delicious! I played in the sand all the way home, and then we settled in for the night.

Even when the sun goes down, it's still my favorite place we've visited in Mexico.

Even when the sun goes down, it’s still my favorite place we’ve visited in Mexico.

When I woke up it was still dark. My Family was asleep, but I just wanted to look out the windows. Since we were right on the beach the sound of the ocean was so loud, louder than any traffic or anything we used to hear back home. My Family woke up too, and laughed about me looking out the windows. Hey, I’m just making sure everything is okay! Jason was telling Victoria how it takes him at least a day to get used to the new sounds in each place. I don’t know what the problem is, just go back to sleep! But they wanted to get up and go to the bathroom, and couldn’t seem to fall back to sleep after that. Ah well, it gave me the chance to chow down on my food. I can’t remember ever having breakfast that early before, but the ocean air seems to make me really hungry.

Although the day started really weird, it got a lot better from there. We went on a long walk down the beach, all the way to the rocks at the end. There were lots fish laying on the sand, with funny pointy bits all over them. Jason wouldn’t let me get near enough to get a good sniff, but they’re called puffer fish. Victoria was wondering why so many of them were laying around, but Jason didn’t have any answers. They did let me play with some funny colored balls on strings hanging out in the water. They’re called ‘buoys’, and later I saw that people used them to get in and out from the shore on their boats. I got to run around a lot off leash again, which always makes it feel like a holiday.

My Family kept saying how beautiful the sunset was here.  This is what it looked like over the mountains behind us.

My Family kept saying how beautiful the sunset was here. This is what it looked like over the mountains behind us.

The rest of the day was filled with holiday fun. We played at the edge of the water a bit, but I guess Victoria is determined to teach me to swim, because she kept carrying me in with her. The water was nice and warm, but I don’t think I like it very much yet. I was able to swim in to Jason on the shore a couple of times, and then I let My Family know I was pretty much done with that. So instead we sat in our chairs, played in the sand, and My Family read books. Jason and Victoria talked about how much they’ve been sleeping, and how beautiful and relaxing Mexico is. I have to say I agree!

That night it got really dark, and most everyone else on the beach started to leave. A big camper pulled in next to us, something Victoria called a ‘Winnebago’. It had people from Canada in it, which means they drove even longer than we did to get here. As it got even later we noticed that one car down the beach was just sitting there with its lights on. A Mexican man and his two children passed us by, carrying a small can meant for gasoline. He spoke Spanish to us, and it took My Family a while to figure out what he was saying. But eventually they figured out that his family had run out of gas and needed help. Luckily, before we drove through that big desert in Baja California Jason had filled up his spare gas can. My Family managed to pull it off the truck and fill the Mexican man’s can. He thanked us and was able to get his family off the beach. He asked Jason “Quanto?”, which means “how much” in Spanish. But Jason and Victoria didn’t want any money for it. The man was surprised, but happily went on his way. Jason said it was “good Karma”. I don’t really know what that means.

The next morning we woke with the sun, and it got hot in a hurry. We were ready to head south, and although we were leaving the beach, My Family promised me more fun ahead. We drove past La Paz a lot easier this time, into a town called Todos Santos. This place was really pretty. We had planned on stopping there, but it was Sunday and almost everything was closed. We still managed to find delicious lunch at a small restaurant called Tacos Barajas. They cut up the meat right there on the counter, and I was lucky enough to get a few bites. There were plenty of other dogs around that weren’t nearly as lucky as me. I wonder where their owners are, and when they get treats?

We drove out of Todos Santos towards a town called Los Cerritos, which had a beach club My Family thought had a place to camp. There was a beautiful club there, with a huge pool and everything. But the campground left a lot to be desired. It was basically a dusty field, and there wasn’t anyone else around to play with. My Family knew they didn’t want to stay there, but they didn’t really know where else to go. We stopped at a restaurant on the beach where My Family could get drinks. They were pretty grumpy, but a couple of pina coladas helped a lot. Those drinks seem pretty magical. The internet worked there, so Jason hopped online and they looked over their options. Apparently there was a place called Pescadoro Surf Camp that sounded pretty cool. We had passed it on the way down, so we quickly backtracked and pulled in.

Since Jason was working most of the time we were at PSC, Vic and I hung out out the pool.

Since Jason was working most of the time we were at PSC, Vic and I hung out out the pool.

The owner, an American from San Diego named Jaime, was really nice. He walked us past the pool and the cool outdoor kitchen and showed us where we could camp. There was good internet there, and showers for My Family to use. Victoria and Jason thought it seemed pretty nice, so we decided to stay there. Was that ever a good idea! The pool was pretty, and even though Victoria made me swim again I didn’t mind too much. There was a dog in the camp that really liked me. He kept coming around trying to sniff at me, and even whined at our door when I was in the camper. Victoria and Jason started calling him “Romeo” and laughing. These people jokes really don’t make much sense to me.

It was pretty quiet when we got to the surf camp, but within a couple of hours more and more people started to arrive. By the end of the day the camp was packed, and everyone was so nice! There were all these surfers there, most of them from Canada, and everyone loved me. I don’t think I’ve ever had more people who wanted to hold me, kiss me and talk to me. A couple of them even took me in the pool, and debated with each other how I wanted to be held. Really, I would much rather have watched from a comfy chair, but I didn’t mind too much.

These are lizards. Vic says I'm not allowed to eat them.  As if!

These are lizards. Vic says I’m not allowed to eat them. As if!

The next few days passed slowly, and were a ton of fun. My Family shared meals and drinks with all of the surfers, and I got a ton of attention. A couple of the nights we stayed up late, as the surfer boys had bought several bottles of something called ‘tequila’. This made them all pretty silly, but I still got a ton of attention. Jason spent some time working, Victoria read and hung out with me by the pool, and we had a lot of delicious food. We went for a walk into the town of Los Cerritos, where everyone was so nice. I got to stretch my legs a bit, and saw a bunch of other dogs and people. There was even a big blue box on one corner, which Victoria called a “taco stand”, where a woman made huge burritos for Victoria and Jason. They were pretty excited about it. We had a lot of fun hanging out with all of our new friends, and relaxing on the comfy sand. The only real problem was getting the camper comfortable. When we pulled in Jason didn’t realize how much of a slant we were on. The first night was pretty bad. My Family felt like they were going to slide right out of bed the whole time. The next morning Jason dug up a bunch of sand and set it under the wheels, finally getting us level. It seemed like sweaty work, and I was pretty happy that I didn’t have to do it.

I could smell in the air that things were different down here. It was hotter than where we had been before, and there were tons of palm trees like we have at home. I saw all sorts of little creatures, too. There were stick bugs that spent all day trying to climb up the table leg in the kitchen, tiny lizards that scurried along the edge of the roof, and more bugs than I could even try to catch. Apparently we had passed something called “The Tropic of Cancer”, which is an imaginary line humans have drawn on the planet. I don’t understand this that well, but I guess it means we were in a really different part of the world now.

Even though we never made it back out to the beach, this might have been my favorite place ever. I could tell that Victoria and Jason really didn’t want to leave. We even ran into our friends Andre, Marcia and Olivia again! They had spent a night at the terrible RV park on the beach, and  they decided to join us at the surf camp. It seemed like they had fun there too. After four days My Family decided it was time to move on. We packed up really slowly, because it was seriously hot. I was panting pretty hard, so Victoria and Jason forced me under the shower a couple of times. I don’t really like this that much, but I did feel much cooler afterwards.

This is Vincent.  I'm pretty sure he lives at the coffee shop.

This is Vincent. I’m pretty sure he lives at the coffee shop.

We drove for only a few minutes before pulling into a place called ‘Baja Beans’. This was a coffee shop, which I guess My Family desperately needed at that point. Anyway, they were really happy with the food and drinks they got, and I even got a little taste myself. There were a couple of nice dogs there, and the space was beautiful so I was more than content to hang out while My Family enjoyed their coffee.

After that we drove right back to the surf camp. I didn’t really know what was going on, until I saw Jason come back to the big truck with one of the surfer boys, a nice person named Steve. He had to get to a place called Cabo Pulmo, but I guess he didn’t have a big truck of his own. Jason and Victoria wanted to help him out, so they moved some stuff around and we left again, this time with another passenger! I wanted to sit in his lap to welcome him to the adventure, but Victoria made me stay with her.

We passed back over the Tropic of Cancer when we were heading to Cabo Pulmo. Still not sure what that really means...

We passed back over the Tropic of Cancer when we were heading to Cabo Pulmo. Still not sure what that really means…

We drove on from there, quickly passing through two big beach towns. My Family called this place ‘Cabo’, and even though it was really pretty it seemed like we weren’t going to stop there. Victoria said it was too expensive, and Jason said he didn’t want to stay somewhere so ‘touristy’. I don’t know, the beach looked pretty cool. Anyway, we left those places behind and headed up a really pretty road, with mountains covered in mist in the distance. We stopped once to fill up on gas, but the whole station was empty. I’ve never heard of that before. I know, I’m a dog, and I don’t know much about cars. But that seemed pretty odd to me. Anyway, we found gas at another place, then turned off on the road to Cabo Pulmo.

After a while the pavement stopped, and suddenly we were bouncing down a really rough gravel road. It kept going on and on, and I could tell Jason and Victoria had no idea that Cabo Pulmo was going to be so far away. Steve was really thankful for the ride, and I could tell My Family really didn’t mind. It was ‘part of the adventure’, as they would put it. Once Cabo Pulmo came into view, no one talked about the road anymore.

Cabo Pulmo: Worth the drive down the long bumpy road!

Cabo Pulmo: Worth the drive down the long bumpy road!

This place had one of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen. You couldn’t force me into that water, though. It looked really rough. But it was so pretty, and there was almost no one there. Apparently Cabo Pulmo is within a national park, and most people come here to go diving. There’s something called a live coral reef there, which I guess means there’s all sorts of fish and animals you would get to see. I knew my family wouldn’t be doing that, but they did really enjoy the tiny town set close to the beach.

It was already getting late when we got there, so My Family decided we wouldn’t be heading to Los Barriles as planned, but would spend the night here. We dropped Steve off so he could set up his own camp, and My Family found a nice lady named Nancy, who owned a restaurant where we could stay. We set up in their driveway, went for a little walk, and then went inside for dinner. It was really pretty outside, with a fire and candles on the tables. Victoria loved all the decorations for Halloween, while I think Jason was happy to have a nice dinner. The food was super tasty, and My Family started chatting with a couple of people from a town called Mexico City, which is also in Mexico, but pretty far away. Victoria was excited to talk to them, because she wasn’t sure if we should go there or not. That couple had traveled quite a bit, and after talking to them for a while they sounded pretty certain that we should skip Mexico City this time. Jason was more than happy to take their advice, especially after hearing about all of the other places they recommended. We thanked them and headed back to the camper for the night.

It was the end of a very long day, but it seemed the roosters wanted to stay up and chat. I was happily drifting off, but the roosters were crowing what seemed like every five seconds. My Family couldn’t understand why this was happening. These guys are supposed to talk during the day? Anyway, a couple roosters around there didn’t get that information, and kept chatting all night long. The next morning I could tell that My Family hadn’t slept all that well. We packed up pretty quickly and found a place for breakfast. The food was pretty good, and Jason liked watching the dive instructors all drinking beer and watching something called ‘football’ first thing in the morning. After breakfast we got back in the big truck and headed up to Los Barriles. It was a short and pretty drive, and My Family is pretty excited to spend some time in a real town. We found a nice RV park to stay in, where I guess we’re going to spend at least a few days. Victoria said the RV park is full of snow-birds but I haven’t seen a lot of birds yet, just a lot of older people who like to talk to My Family a lot. I’m not sure what’s to come, or if we’ll see any of the snow birds, but if it’s anything like the last week I’m sure I’m going to love it.

PS:  If you want to see some of the photos My Family took last week, they are on Facebook.


03
Nov 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja, Mexico

DISCUSSION 5 Comments