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 4 Comments

South of the Border

Me and Victoria on the beach near San Quintin. I got to run around off leash!

Me and Victoria on the beach near San Quintin. I got to run around off leash!

Today is the end of our first week in Mexico. It’s a whole different country, and it’s amazing. There’s something about it that just feels familiar, almost like I’ve been here before. Victoria says there’s even a town in Mexico called Chihuaha, so maybe that’s where I’m from? I don’t know, but so far it just feels like home.

Tensions were running high… Adios, America!

So, the border crossing: My Family was really stressed out about this. I know that Victoria had spent a long time researching the process, and especially what it was going to be like taking me across. We all stayed up really late the night before, trying to get ready. I was so tired, but my Family really wanted to make sure everything was going to be okay. Victoria thought about getting me ‘USDA Certified’, whatever that means. Jason thought that made me sound like a steak, which is a little concerning. Victoria decided it sounded like too much work so the plan was to try crossing without my USDA Certification, and then head back to San Diego if there were any problems.

I don’t really know what all the fuss was about. The border crossing took all of ten minutes. Yes, there was a big fence, and some scary men carrying big guns. But everyone was so nice. Jason said the Border Patrol Agents prayed over the back of our camper, and laughed at our ‘Perro Peligroso’ sign. Hey, I’m a lot tougher than I look! Even the ‘Red Light’ stop as we were crossing was super quick. Suddenly we were off again, into a whole new world. I could tell we were in Mexico, because things just smelled different. Victoria said this was a place called Tijuana, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. It was big and kinda dirty, but beautiful too. The locals burn garbage here, which smells kind of delicious.

Wonder if we'll see the King and Queen of La Bufadora?

Wonder if we’ll see the King and Queen of La Bufadora?

We drove right through Tijuana and got on a road called ‘Mex 1’. I think this might be the same road we’ve been on this whole time. But it felt a bit different. We drove on through some beautiful countryside, into a town called Ensenada. This is really more of a city than a town, which I know means there’s a lot more people, more buildings, and a whole lot more dogs. We stopped off here so Victoria and Jason could get a cell phone and an internet connection. Not sure why that’s such a big deal, but Jason was really happy about it. I mean, we’ve got our whole home in the camper. What would we ever need to call someone about? We drove on through Ensenada, and south of town near a place called ‘La Bufadora’ we found a campground right next to something called an ‘estuary’. It’s sort of like a river, but when we got there it was mostly just mud, with funny looking birds walking around pecking at things. There was also a castle on the campground, and I think the people who owned it live there. They must be the King and Queen of La Bufadora. There were a couple of nice dogs, and kids riding bikes all around. Victoria and Jason opened up a bottle of Vic’s favorite wine to celebrate crossing the border. Do we always get to celebrate something so simple? Does that mean I get a treat the next time I come when asked? Anyway, after that we snuggled up for the night.

The next day the muddy estuary was full of water! It was like a whole different place. We packed up the camper and got back on the road, headed for a place called San Quintin. It took us several hours to drive there, but the countryside just got more and more beautiful. We stopped along the way for shrimp and fish tacos, which of course I got to sample. There were some other Americans there, which people here call either ‘touristos’ or ‘gringos’. They were nice, and said hi to me. We kept driving, and ended up at a campground called ‘Cielito Lindo’. This was right near the ocean, but we couldn’t see it from our spot. We were basically in a parking lot, staring at the back of buildings. I didn’t know why we decided to stay here, until we started walking towards the beach.

Heading to the beach in San Quintin. I had no idea the fun that was waiting for me!

Heading to the beach in San Quintin. I had no idea the fun that was waiting for me!

We walked down a dirt road, and my Family let me off of my leash! I almost couldn’t believe it at first, but they just kept letting me run around. I ran circles around them, sniffed all sorts of things, and then I saw these amazing sand dunes, which were much MUCH bigger than me. We crossed those, and there was the ocean. And I was still off my leash! I couldn’t believe it. I never got to be off leash on the beach at home. We ran around for what felt like hours, and we were the only ones there. I even dipped my paws in the water, and played a game where I would bite at the foam that came up on the beach. It was turning into maybe the best day ever.

Our own private beach... no leashes necessary!

Our own private beach… no leashes necessary!

I knew it wouldn’t last. When we got back to the camper, Victoria and Jason left me inside so they could go out for dinner. I wasn’t going to get to try any of it! What felt like days later they came back, silly from Margaritas and praising the restaurant’s incredible crab and shrimp, and the super nice people that worked there. Turns out, the whole reason we were camped in the restaurant parking lot is because Victoria wanted to try their crab. To make matters worse… no leftovers. Yep, basically the worst night of the trip.

The next day we packed up to get back on the road. I’m glad we had plenty of food and water with us, because this ended up being one of the longer days we’d had. Jason and Victoria were talking about gas for the big truck, and wondering if they would be okay. It was going to be 200 miles between gas stations, which sounds like a lot. As we made our way towards a town called Guerro Negro, on the border between Baja Norte and Baja Sur, the view out the window kept changing in amazing ways. We drove through the desert, past a town called Catavina, and saw cactus, and this field of huge boulders, and funny trees called “Cirios” that I’d never seen before. Victoria said that it looked like Dr. Seuss did the decorating, whoever that is. We met a group of surfers who had driven from a country called Canada in a funny van, and they skateboarded down the huge hills, even with trucks around! We stopped for water and they chatted with my Family a bit, suggesting some spots to camp up ahead.

Victoria said Dr. Seuss must have made these trees.

Victoria said Dr. Seuss must have made these trees.

This is a cactus. Potentially painful to pee on.

This is a cactus. Potentially painful to pee on.

As the hours rolled by, we knew we wouldn’t be to Guerro Negro before we had to stop. My Family decided to just pull off the highway, find a beach and camp for the night. They call this ‘boondocking’, which is one of the sillier human words I’ve ever heard. We passed a bunch of roads off the highway, but My Family couldn’t decide which one to take and then Jason decided finally to just pick one, so we left the highway and drove into the desert!

We were now on the bumpiest road I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if you could even really call it a road. It was more of a dirt track, covered in rocks, with huge gaps we had to crawl up and down. Jason was pretty grumpy at this point. He hadn’t eaten lunch, and he always gets grumpy when he forgets to eat. I know the feeling! Victoria and I didn’t like the bumpy ride much, and I was standing as still as possible until it was over. Finally we found a place to stop. The trip was rough, but it was worth it. We were right on the edge of the most perfect beach I’ve ever seen. There was a hill of rocks, and then perfect, white sand. Our paw and footprints were the only ones you could see for miles. There was one more truck in sight, far in the distance, with a couple of men who were throwing the rocks aside. Jason said they were ‘crabbing’. Does that mean they were in a bad mood?

Our boondock beach paradise.

Our boondock beach paradise.

That night the moon was full, and the water kept rising higher and higher. The ocean was so loud, I didn’t know if we were ever going to get to sleep. Jason kept checking the water line with our big flashlight, I guess to make sure we didn’t get washed away? We were totally safe, and had a super comfy night under a ton of stars.

It was just us as far as I could see or smell.

It was just us as far as I could see or smell.

The next morning we packed up to complete our drive through the desert. We crossed another border, between the North and South of Baja, and the people there were really nice as well. The Border Agent asked us if we had any fruits or vegetables, and then if we had any “beards”. This made Jason really confused, and I saw him touching his face. After a bit of broken Spanish My Family figured out he was asking if we had any birds with us! He taught us the Spanish word, and we helped him figure out how to say it in English. It was pretty funny. We drove on from there, towards a place called Bahia Concepcion. We spent a couple more hours on some twisty turny roads, up and down a mountain, and finally came out on the whole other side of Baja! Oh, and I forgot to mention, when we crossed the border we also crossed into a different Time Zone. I know, I didn’t understand that at first either. But apparently people say it’s a different time depending on where they are. Baja Norte is part of what’s called ‘Pacific Time’, which is what it’s like at our old home in Venice. Baja Sur is in ‘Mountain Time’, which is like in Colorado, when we first picked up the camper. We drove through Guerro Negro and found a small town where we could stop for lunch. Victoria bought a delicious seafood soup from a stand at the side of the road, and I got to try some. I love how much food I get to try in Mexico!

The desert is covered in these tiny red flowers.

The desert is covered in these tiny red flowers.

A short drive later we left the desert behind and found Bahia Concepcion. This was definitely one of the most beautiful places we had seen so far. It’s a huge bay on the Gulf of California, with a bunch of small beaches for camping. We were headed to a place called Buenaventura Resort, where they had places to camp, a restaurant and free internet. Jason was pretty excited about this last part because he had more work to do. When we got there we found a bunch of people who speak English, all drinking and having a great time together. We had a delicious dinner, and I met a couple of dogs. More on them later.

Beachfront camping in Bahia Concepcion.

Beachfront camping in Bahia Concepcion.

We set up quickly and then hung out with this great American couple named Mike and Megan. They were in Baja to teach children to swim, and Megan grew up right around the corner from our home in Venice! It was nice to see some people that still smelled like our old home. We had a fire, and the other camp dogs hung out with us. There was Bo, a nice boy dog who really liked me, and Zora, a big dog who loved to hang out with all the campers. I knew this was going to be a nice place to stay for a while.

This is Bo. I think he might have been in love with me, ’cause he wanted to hang out the whole time.

This is Zora. I think she was in love with my Victoria and Jason, 'cause she kept snuggling into their laps.

This is Zora. I think she was in love with my Victoria and Jason, ’cause she kept snuggling into their laps.

Luckily, that was the plan. My Family said we were going to stay for a few days, so I wouldn’t have to get back in the truck for a while. Best of all, I got to be off leash almost the entire time! I ran around the beach, and Victoria brought me into the water a little bit. I’m not a big fan of that, but my Family seems determined to turn me into a ‘water dog’. We’ll see about that. We spent a couple of great days at the Buenaventura Resort, relaxing on the sand, running around with the other dogs, eating delicious food and enjoying a couple of conversations with other travelers. We even met a couple who have been coming to Baja longer than My Family has been alive. They even lived on a boat for five years! We heard some pretty neat stories, and really enjoyed our time here. We might have even stayed longer, but Jason kept crashing the internet trying to use something called ‘Skype’, so we left after two and a half days. Victoria was okay about leaving this place even though it was so beautiful because the sand fleas really like biting her. She it’s because she has “sweet blood” and that all the bugs like to bite her so really, anywhere we go she will get bitten. Since then she’s been spraying “bug spray” all over herself which makes her smell pretty terrible but she says it will make her a lot less itchy.

Right as we were packing up the car to leave, a man drove up in a truck selling all kinds of things My Family normally buys in a market. Victoria kept saying “No, gracias” to everything he was offering us until he said the magic words ‘Pineapple Empanadas.’ Then she was all “Si! Si!” and bought a couple and let me tell you, they are amazing. I’m not sure why they don’t make them in Venice but I’m hoping we get to have them all the time here in Mexico! Did I mention how much food I get to try here? Mexico is the best! Anyway, as soon as we finished our Empanadas, we hopped back in the truck as usual.

I'm starting to really like our new home, even with all the driving.

I’m starting to really like our new home, even with all the driving.

Thankfully, we didn’t have far to drive. Just a couple of hours later we found a town called Loreto. This is a pretty big city for Baja, with restaurants, banks, supermarkets, a town square, and some really pretty buildings. Victoria read in one of her books that this is one of the oldest towns in Baja, dating all the way back to the 1600’s. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but Jason was pretty impressed. We were headed to a place called Loreto Shores Villas & RV park, because we heard from some other travelers that we wanted to meet that this was a nice place. It was pretty cool, but was more of a parking lot near the beach. Victoria did some laundry and Jason caught up on work. There was a pool that looked pretty nice, but I got left in the camper while Victoria and Jason went for a swim. Just as I was getting bored our new friends showed up. Their names are Andre and Marcia, and their adorable little girl Olivia, and they are on their own adventure. They are from a country called Brazil and they speak the same language as My Family (English) and another one called “Portuguese.” They have a camper that’s like ours, but a whole lot bigger, and they are driving all the way to the bottom of South America. They invited us to a steak dinner, which was really delicious. I got lots of kisses from Olivia, and we heard all sorts of stories from their adventures so far. I know my Family hopes we’ll run into them again, as we’re all headed south.

We were all pretty happy to leave the next morning because, boy, is Loreto noisy. All night the dogs-with-no-homes were barking and howling and running all over town! And roosters were screaming all night even though they are only supposed to tell us to wake up in the morning. Ugh! We stopped for breakfast in Loreto on our way out and I got to try ‘Chilaquiles’ which is one of Jason’s favorite breakfast foods, and now mine too. We drove up into the Sierra Giganta (basically a big mountain) and the slowly back down through farmland. It was very pretty but now we are in Ciudad Constitucion in a motel parking lot. We are the only travelers here so it’s not that much fun, but Jason was getting tired of driving all the time and Victoria said it would be a good place to stop for the night. I can’t wait to get to the beach again!

PS: If you want to see some of the photos My Family took this week you can check them our on Facebook!

24
Oct 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Baja, Mexico

DISCUSSION 6 Comments

South on the One

Me, bundled up on our last night in Mendocino. Brrrr!

Me, bundled up on our last night in Mendocino. Brrrr!

So, we’re in Mexico! Mexico is a “country,” and apparently we used to live in country called America, but now we live in a truck and are going to be visiting a bunch of countries after Mexico. Cool, right? Anyway, we’ve actually been here for five days, and it’s amazing, you guys! Before I tell you about that though, My Family said I have to tell you about the second half of our trip through California so here goes. Honestly, I barely remember it at this point, except that it was cold! When we left the town of Mendocino I was just about done with all of the shivering and the layers, and was more than happy to hear we were headed south. I don’t know much about directions and all that, but I know that south means closer to Venice, and it was almost always nice and toasty warm in our wee blue house.

The ocean on our way to Sonoma, we’re definitely not in Venice anymore!

From Mendocino we headed towards the town of Sonoma. It was so nice at the campground we found, sunny and warm, and there were dogs and kids and all sorts of fun stuff going on. Jason was a bit disappointed that we had to leave just as soon as we got there, to go get money from the ATM. Apparently, this is a machine that helps you pay for things. We took care of that pretty quickly and were settled into our campground in no time. That night we had a great big fire, and even though it was still chilly I was nice and cozy in Victoria’s lap. Our neighbor was playing the guitar, which sounded pretty nice too. Victoria said it was ‘classical music’, whatever that means. But it was soothing and good, and in no time flat I was asleep.

Twisty turny roads on the way to San Francisco!

The next day we got up pretty early and spent a long time in the car. We were headed towards San Francisco, and My Family was pretty excited. We were going to visit some new friends and spend a night in a house. That got me perked up in a hurry. But before we got there we had to go up and down some of the biggest hills I’ve ever seen. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, which made Victoria very happy. Jason pointed out some town called Alcatraz, but it doesn’t sound like anyone lives there any more. I don’t know why – it’s on an island that looked kind of pretty.

Anyway, after we got into San Francisco, I was amazed to see a huge town! I hadn’t seen that many people in what felt like forever. San Francisco is filled with great smells, lots of dogs, plenty of corners to explore, and streets that had Jason almost panicking. We drove on a street called Divisadoro, and I thought we might just slide right back down before we got to the top! It was nothing but huge hills, up and up we drove, and My Family was plenty nervous. They also had to pee really badly, and I know from experience that’s not a good combination.

My new friend, Bruthcar. He does NOT like to share his food but he's fun to play with!

My new friend, Bruthcar. He does NOT like to share his food but he’s fun to play with! (Photo by Roger)

Once we got to our destination, we found a great welcome by a couple named Diane and Roger. They have a great house, and they love dogs. In fact, their dog Bruthcar might be the biggest dog I’ve ever seen. He was happy to share his toys, but he got really annoyed when Diane shared his gourmet food with me. I mean, this dog gets people-food! On a giant white people-plate! Lucky!

I’ve never seen these people before, or I would have recognized their smell. Victoria said they met through something called ebay, and I did recognize a chair in their living room that used to be in ours, back when My Family first took me in. This was the first time Victoria was meeting Diane, and they were really excited to see each other. We had a delicious dinner together, and I got more treats than I’d seen in what felt like weeks! We also got to take a long walk through the neighborhood, checked out a place Jason called “The Haight”, and ran up and down another bunch of gigantic hills.

The beach in Monterey. Still lots of rocks but at least there is sand here!

The beach in Monterey. Still lots of rocks but at least there is sand here!

Although we had a great time, shared one of the comfier beds I’ve ever been in and stuffed our faces what seemed like the whole time, the next morning Jason and Victoria said we had to go. I probably could have stayed in that comfy bed forever, but it was time to keep moving south. So we made it back down those huge hills, left San Francisco and started even more driving. I was okay with it at this point, with a full belly and a good night’s sleep. We stopped in a town called Monterey, and the second Victoria opened the door I smelled the ocean! There were seals that sounded like dogs, huge birds that looked like they might have wanted to have me for a treat, and all sorts of delicious smells. The people were happy, the sun was shining and it was basically a good day to be a dog. It wasn’t nearly as cold either, which certainly helped. We stopped for lunch so Victoria and Jason could have clam chowder. There were some grumpy people on the patio with us who didn’t like that I was there, but I just ignored them and enjoyed the bits of clam and calamari that My Family gave me to try.

Big Sur. My Family thought it was beautiful, I thought the big rocks looked like monsters coming out of the ocean.

Big Sur. My Family thought it was beautiful, I thought the big rocks looked like monsters coming out of the ocean.

After that we got back in the car and drove for a long time. It was pretty out the window, but that doesn’t really matter much to me. Victoria and Jason liked it, though. They were in a great mood, until the sun started getting low in the sky. We were on some super twisty turny roads in a town called Big Sur, and Victoria and Jason weren’t sure where we were going to spend the night. All of the RV parks were full, and the Parks and Forests were still closed. Like, for real? I still don’t get how you can close a forest. But anyway, Jason was getting pretty tired of driving at this point, and when we reached the campground we were trying for and found it still closed, I could smell My Family starting to worry. The only options were to keep driving and hope that some sort of campground was open, or follow directions Victoria had found up a dirt road across the street. They chose the dirt road.

We drove up even steeper and more twisty roads, higher than I could remember going on a single road. There were all sorts of other campers just pulled off on the side of the hill, some with kids, some with dogs, and some just watching the sunset. We went higher and higher, and Victoria was starting to get really concerned. The sun was almost gone, and the campsite we were trying to find didn’t seem to be getting any closer. By the time we reached the road it was supposed to be on it was totally dark. Now I was getting nervous, because I could smell Victoria panicking. We drove even further up a rocky dirt trail that was now closing in on either side of our big truck. I didn’t know if we would ever get down again! Finally, Jason found a place to turn around, we got back onto the pavement and chose a spot to pull over and set up for the night.

Our morning view from the top of the mountain.

Our morning view from the top of the mountain.

It was quiet and pretty lonely. I could smell all sorts of animals, and Jason might have been a bit worried too. He strapped a knife to his waist, and kept shining the big flashlight around the hills. My Family ate cold leftovers, didn’t give me any, and we went to bed.

The next morning we woke up to what felt like a different world. We were really far up this mountain, totally alone, and you could see all the way to the ocean. I spent some time sniffing around, while Jason and Victoria laughed about the amazing spot they had found and how nervous they had been. A couple of other people stopped by to check out the view, so I guess it was pretty good. It took us quite a while to get back down the mountain, and then even longer to get away from the scary road on the side of the highway. When My Family was ready to stop for lunch they found a town called Cayucos. Now this was starting to feel like home. There was a beach, all kinds of birds, and definitely delicious food. Victoria spotted a place called The Smokehouse, and that lunch was one of the best of the trip so far. I got to have smoked salmon and a bit of shrimp, so it was a win all around! After that Victoria and I ran around on the beach while Jason spent some time on the computer doing something called “work.” We bought some cookies at a shop nearby and kept going down the road.

These are Elephant Seals. I was not allowed to play with them.

These are Elephant Seals. I was not allowed to play with them.

The driving is still kinda boring if you ask me, but we do get to see some pretty cool stuff. We stopped at one place where there were literally hundreds of these huge animals laying on the sand! Victoria called them elephant seals, and they were pretty cute. They almost sounded like dogs, but you could smell they were really different. We spent what felt like forever standing there checking them out. I made sure to poo in a really awkward spot so Jason would know I wasn’t particularly thrilled with this long a stopover that didn’t involve food. So back in the car we went.

Our campsite in Santa Barbara county. I think this was a better choice than breaking into the forest.

Our campsite in Santa Barbara county. I think this was a better choice than breaking into the forest.

You would think My Family would have learned their lesson by now, but again we found ourselves still driving when the sun was going down, with no particular place to stay. We drove into a beautiful forest, where everything was still closed down. Luckily, there was a campground that was open, and it was pretty awesome. It was HUGE! There were hundreds and hundreds of people there, all having parties and hanging out with their families. There were other dogs, too, and a couple of them even came over to our camp to say hi. We found a nice spot with lots of trees across from a big family playing music in a different language than My Family speaks. Jason laughed that it was “a preview”, but I didn’t really get the joke. It wasn’t as cold as it had been, but I was still more than happy to snuggle up under the covers at the end of the night.

This is the Santa Barbara Pier where I got to have lobster tacos for the first time. They were delicious!

This is the Santa Barbara Pier where I got to have lobster tacos for the first time. They were delicious!

The next day we didn’t spend quite as much time in the car, which made me very happy. We ended up in a town called Santa Barbara, which my family had been to before. They didn’t take me last time, so I was pretty happy to check it out for myself. Santa Barbara had a great pier, and delicious lobster tacos. I know, because Victoria let me try it. She’s the best. After a great lunch we enjoyed our first really warm day in a long time. I was even able to take my hoodie off. We walked on the beach a bit, checked out the art that some people had made and were showing off along the bike path, and then headed back to the car to go find a wine shop that My Family had tried to go to once before. We found it, and I was all excited to see what the fuss was about, except they tied me up outside! I let them know I wasn’t happy about it. Jason didn’t understand why I was so upset when I could even see them through the door, but I just don’t like it. The owner of the shop came out to pet me and say ‘hi’, and after Jason came out to talk to him he even let me come inside! He said they had a “don’t ask, don’t tell policy, as in don’t ask permission and I won’t tell you she can’t come in” which they laughed about. I just don’t get these people jokes.

My new friend Cherry, she likes to share her food and toys. She kind of looks like a ghost here. Victoria says she's not a ghost but that the picture is "blurry" because Cherry moves so fast.

My new friend Cherry, she likes to share her food and toys. She kind of looks like a ghost here. Victoria says she’s not a ghost but that the picture is “blurry” because Cherry moves so fast.

A few minutes later we got back into the car and headed for the town of Topanga. This was a really pretty place with more big hills, lots of trees and one of my favorite stops yet. We were staying with friends called John, Toby, Lulu and Zelda, and they were pretty cool. They have an awesome dog named Cherry, who was really nice to me right away. She also protected us from the coyotes, which spent a lot of time howling and generally making a racket. They sounded pretty scary, so I was glad that Cherry was there. We had dinner together, which smelled really good. I even got to lick the lasagne pan, which may have been the best treat ever in my entire life. We had a lot of time there, and I could tell that My Family would have been more than happy to stay longer. But the next day, like always, we packed up and hit the road.

The next stop was in Carlsbad, to visit with Jason’s family. I really love them a lot. Their dog Lilly is always smiling, and we got to play together a lot. They have stairs that you can run up and down, and landings you can jump off that are a lot of fun. I got to try something called “pot roast,” which was delicious, and Jason even got to have a birthday cake! I didn’t get any cake, but he seemed pretty excited. Jason and Victoria spent the next three days pretty much ignoring me, running constant errands. Luckily I had Lilly to play with, and a little girl named Abby who liked to rub my face and give me hugs. We had a comfy bed to sleep in, and after a while I began to wonder if this was the end of the Big Adventure. After all, we had spent what felt like forever living in the camper, going from place to place to place all the time. We had been in freezing cold, been up in the mountains, down on the beach, and basically everywhere. We had met so many great people, eaten so many yummy meals, met all sorts of dogs and smelled some of the best smells ever. That was it, right? That had to be it.

Now I know that was just the beginning of the Big Adventure. After three days with my extended Family we packed up and I suddenly found myself in the big truck on Victoria’s lap again. We were going even further south, farther than I had ever been before…

PS: If you want to see some of the photos My Family took you can find them here!


22
Oct 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

California, USA

DISCUSSION 3 Comments

And So It Begins

This is basically where I spent the first week of my Big Adventure. Thankfully, My Family didn't get rid of MY bed.

This is basically where I spent the first week of my Big Adventure. Thankfully, My Family didn’t get rid of MY bed.

So this is the ‘Big Adventure’ Victoria and Jason have been talking about for so long? Well, I didn’t especially love how it began. They woke me up at 5AM to pull the last comfy thing out of our home, the mattress. Victoria and Jason were laughing the whole time, but I’m not really sure what was so funny. They emptied the rest of the house, which made me pretty anxious, scrubbed the house clean (Victoria kept saying it was “probably for no reason”) and put all of our stuff in the big truck and the comfy box.  I didn’t really get to say goodbye to my friends Beverly and Wickets, but their family came over to say goodbye, which made Victoria cry. Finally, Jason grabbed me up and we were off.

We spent the next three hours driving around while they ran errands and I waited in the car. This seems to be a common theme for this ‘Big Adventure’, and I DO NOT approve. After a few more stops we drove on, and suddenly our little blue home was far behind us. We drove a long time, and didn’t stop until it was almost dark. This was another one of those “campsites”, so I knew we weren’t going to stay long. We set up right by a big river that sounded more like the ocean. Apparently, this is the town of Sequoia National Forest, and My Family was all in a fuss. It seems there’s this thing called “the government”, which decided they didn’t want the forest to be open anymore. I don’t know how you can close a forest, but apparently it’s closed. Still, we got to go on a long hike up a mountain and sniff around our neighbors’ campsites. But when Victoria and Jason took me for a walk to the general store, the people there told us we were lucky they were still open. The National Forests are going to be shut down. That’s going to take an enormous gate.

Crossing the river to go on a hike

Crossing the river to go on a hike

We still had a lot of fun before we had to leave. Jason was worried about the fire ants, and Victoria liked watching him put the fire out with sand. Sand is one of my favorite things, so I definitely knew how she felt. We stayed in this place for two nights, before an old lady ranger with a nose ring told us we had to leave. Time to pack up and get back on the road.

Victoria was really worried we wouldn’t find a comfy home for the night, with this “government shutdown” going on. We didn’t get to see the sequoias, which Jason said would be the biggest trees I’ve ever seen. In fact, there’s a tree called General Sherman, which is one of the largest living things on the planet. That would have been cool. Instead, we left for the town of June Lake, in the Inyo National Forest. Victoria and Jason were both pretty relieved that the campground was still open.

I've basically spent the last week inside the camper because it's so cold outside of Venice.  This is my view.

I’ve basically spent the last week inside the camper because it’s so cold outside of Venice. This is my view.

It was beautiful, and really quiet. But I’m not sure why they wanted to come here. It was really REALLY cold. I took one step out of the camper and couldn’t stop shivering. I spent the whole time layered up in both my pink hoodie and my puffer jacket. When I did go outside I saw deer, which are pretty but don’t want to play. Victoria was pretty worried about bears, and kept shining the huge flashlight into the bushes and asking where the bear spray was.  She didn’t need to worry, I could smell that no bears were around, and we were totally safe.

So this is interesting… Did you know that when it gets extra cold water turns solid? It’s called ice. I didn’t know that, and apparently neither did My Family, because that night when they tried to wash dishes the water in the hose turned into ice, and the whole sink and stove in the camper flooded. It was a mess to clean up, and Jason was panicked that they had already broken our new home. The stove didn’t work after that, and the next day Jason called the people who made the camper to tell them what happened. They laughed at us for being from Southern California, but told Jason that everything would be okay in a few days. Right after that a different ranger came over and told us we would have to leave the forest. It was closed…

I'm pretty sure we've spent most of the last week driving.  It's not so bad because I get to sit on Vic's lap and look out the window.

I’m pretty sure we’ve spent most of the last week driving. It’s not so bad because I get to sit on Vic’s lap and look out the window.

We hopped back into the big truck and stopped by a “RV Resort” nearby. They had showers there, so Victoria and Jason finally got clean. I know I only have a bath now and then, but they were starting to smell. From there we drove around what Victoria called “the June Lake Loop”, which just seemed like more boring driving to me. An hour or so later we stopped in a town called Kernville, so they could get coffee and I could run around the big lawn for a while. I wanted to put up a blog post there, but Jason and Victoria were busy eating, drinking and hogging the computers.

After they ate breakfast (and didn’t share any of it), we kept driving, eventually ending up near a town called Lake Tahoe. Jason didn’t know where we were going to spend the night, until Victoria saw a sign pointing towards a hot springs and campground. They thought that sounded good, so off we went. I never got to see the hot springs, as they left me in the car (again), but Victoria and Jason came back smiling and relaxed. I’m glad they had a nice time, but maybe next time they will take me with them?

Jason looking at the big trees.

Jason looking at the big trees.

We stayed in a really cool campground, with plenty of people to meet, huge pinecones to play with and lots of trees to sniff. But we were absolutely freezing. Look, I am not made for cold weather. My tummy is hairless! After that night, Victoria and Jason decided a change of plans was necessary. They didn’t want to keep going north, as they thought it would only get colder. It could get colder?! So instead, we drove for hours and hours and hours, until the sun had set.

That was the craziest part of the whole week for me. The road was all twists and turns, and we had to drive really really slow. The trees were HUGE. Apparently, these were Redwoods, and it seemed like they were leaning over us, wondering why we were there. Everyone was getting tired and grumpy after such a long day in the car. And where were my treats? We finally found a market, where I was left in the car (note the pattern) while Jason and Victoria went for food. At least I knew I’d get some treats after that stop. Back on the road, we looked for a beach campsite, but those were way too cold. Victoria saw a small sign in the town of Mendocino for a campground, and we finally pulled in for the night. We’ve been here for four nights now, which is pretty cool. It feels like home, except still way too chilly for me. Tomorrow we’re going to start heading south again, towards something called “the border”. I hope it’s warm there.

More big trees, Mendocino-style.

More big trees, Mendocino-style.

Some numbers from my first week on the Big Adventure:
Pieces of sausage eaten: 2
Pieces of bacon eaten: 2
Pieces of bacon eaten that Victoria and Jason didn’t know about: 1
Pieces of pate, brie, grilled cheese, and breakfast sandwich eaten: 0 (my family needs to learn how to share)
Dog fights: 1 (dogs on the road apparently don’t know what “get off my lawn!” means)
Hours spent waiting all alone in the big truck: 5

P.S. If you want to see some of the pictures my family took during the first week of the Big Adventure, you can check them out here!


08
Oct 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

USA

DISCUSSION No Comments

Home is where the couch is

Camp Dog5AM. My Family leaps out of bed. You have to understand, this is not at all normal. The alarm blared, and instead of Jason hitting snooze and Victoria tucking me back in I was forced to get up. A quick walk on freshly watered grass, and suddenly we were getting into that big white truck again. The mountain of boxes and bags that were taking up all of my carpet space in the living room were packed with us, and off we went.

1PM. Finally, a pee break! This place smelled way different.

12:32AM. (The NEXT day!) Apparently we were in a town called Colorado. I’ve never been in a car for that long in my entire life. The pressure in my ears told me that home, with the sunny spots, the sand to run in, my two beds and all of my toys was really far away. And my ears kinda hurt. I got to ride on this wheelie thing that My Family carried all our stuff on. They thought it was pretty funny, but I liked being rolled around, even though I fell off once. We stayed in a hotel called Comfort Inn. Victoria said it was “just okay” but I loved it. Our room had two giant beds to jump on, the whole room was carpeted and there was a special area in the backyard for dogs to run around in.

The next morning, at a place called Phoenix Pop-Up, I found out where all our things (and us, apparently) were going to live. This place was really hot, and me and my new friend Shadow could only really lay on the driveway, making our best sad eyes. Then My Family got really excited when a huge box with windows was put on the back of the big white truck. So get this, the box has a couch and even a place for my bowls. It’s going to be our home soon.

The comfy box, popped up.

The comfy box, popped up.

Victoria and Jason were pretty excited to spend the night in this comfy box. They drove us to a campsite, which was something like what we did at Expo. But this was way cooler. We were in a forest by a lake, with all sorts of bugs to hunt and other dogs to check out. The air felt different here, cleaner maybe. It was pretty hot during the day, and I smelled so many new things. When the sun went away I started shivering, so Victoria made me put on my pink hoodie (which I secretly love, but don’t tell anyone!). That night I discovered there’s also a bed in the comfy box. I had to be lifted into it, but it’s even better than our bed in the blue house. I think I like this so far.

Me, at our first campsite, Lowry Campground

Me, at our first campsite, Lowry Campground

We got up pretty early the next morning and packed up. The big box is staying with us. It’s called a “pop-up camper,” and it carries all of our stuff. My Family says this means we can go anywhere we want to now, but we just got back into the big white truck and drove for hours and hours. When we stopped to go for a walk, I heard Victoria say this place was called Utah. It was dry, red and dusty, but really beautiful. We didn’t stay long, and I ended up back in the big white truck for a few more hours. I realized I could drink water out of my bowl and bury my food in my blanket if I got Victoria to let me sit under her legs. After that I never saw my travel bed in the back seat again.

Best Pee Spot ever

Best Pee Spot ever

When we finally stopped, it was like a whole other world! Nothing but big, red, smooth rocks everywhere. It was so dry but the ground was lovely and warm under my paws. My Family called it Arches, in the town of Moab Utah. I didn’t get to see any arches up close, because all the signs said that dogs were not allowed on the trails.

Lots of red rock in Arches

Lots of red rock in Arches

Look, an Arch!

Look, an Arch!

Our campsite was maybe the coolest place ever. Giant red rocks everywhere, and a field of bushes surrounded in red dust. This wasn’t sand; it didn’t squish through my paws, so it wasn’t great to run through. It was still pretty fun to lay on… until I realized that I could jump into the mushy chairs that fold up or, if My Family helped me, I could even lay on the super comfy couch inside the camper. That was definitely the place to be once Jason started cooking up sausages. They smelled so good that I didn’t even mind when that thing on the wall with the red blinking light started beeping over and over again. Victoria waved a towel at it, but Jason decided that it was bad, and it had to sit on the table without a battery until after dinner. It didn’t beep again, and I got to have some sausage. Whatever Arches is, it’s awesome.

Jason liked our campsite too... especially the cold beer.

Jason liked our campsite too… especially the cold beer.

The sky was big in Arches.

The sky was big in Arches.

The next day we got back into the big white truck and kept driving. They kept talking about The Grand Canyon. We stayed the night in Jacob Lake, but I didn’t see any lakes. I did see plenty of water because it was pouring with rain almost the whole time. I don’t like when it rains because my feet get wet but Victoria made me put on my raincoat and go for walks; she even made me stand outside in the rain while they got burgers from a restaurant for dinner. I didn’t like this town so much, but the next morning the rain had stopped and before we got back in the big white truck I got to run around in the forest. It wasn’t that bad after all.

I didn’t know what The Grand Canyon, or even what a Not-Grand Canyon was until I saw it, and when I did finally see it I almost ran the other way. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this place, but The Grand Canyon is the biggest hole I’ve ever seen. Giant. Huge. I can’t even imagine how many dogs it would take to dig a hole that deep. Jason was reading a sign and going on and on about ecology and erosion, but there was a nice Lady sitting near us who really liked me so I basically tuned it all out.

Seriously. Big. Hole.

Seriously. Big. Hole.

We got to a new campsite, which was right near the edge of The Grand Canyon. Don’t worry, we were totally safe. The big white truck was parked on a driveway, and our whole setup was pretty cool. I got to hang out with My Family the whole time, sitting in the mushy chairs, laying on blankets, going for walks and making new friends. The trees were so big that I couldn’t even see the tops, no matter how hard I squinted. There were plenty of new smells and strange noises, and I got to lie in the dirt for as long as I wanted to. Lots of people we didn’t know kept stopping by to talk to Jason about our new home, which was fun because I like making new friends.

Just like a living room, but outside.

Just like a living room, but outside.

Later Jason and Victoria hung big fabric-y ropey things between some of the trees, and before I knew it we were laying in them. They’re called “hammocks” and if you don’t have one you should get one. It was like being on a lap and tucked under the covers all at the same time. I think I’m starting to understand why My Family jumped out of bed so early the other day.

Seriously. Tall. Trees.

Seriously. Tall. Trees.

After a yummy dinner and a campfire we got back in the camper, and when the sun came up again we packed up and hit the road. Before we had driven very far, Victoria asked Jason to pull the truck over to look at some animals. I actually smelled them way before My Family even noticed them, but I wasn’t too bothered. They’re called Bison and they are sort of like the biggest dogs you’ve ever seen, but they have giant heads and aren’t that interested in playing. Jason took some pictures and we drove off, leaving The Grand Canyon behind.

Haha, look at his giant head!

Haha, look at his giant head!

Another long drive and we were in the town of Sedona Arizona. More red rocks, even bigger than what we saw before. I thought our next stop would be another campsite, but before I knew it we were walking into a place that smelled like only one thing: the vet’s office. I didn’t know why we were there, but it couldn’t be good. Suddenly the nurse was taking me away, and My Family was walking out the door! Believe me, this was not what I had in mind for the day! Where were they going? Were they coming back? Would I ever see my family again?!

Luckily, they picked me up a few hours later, after the vet did some weird stuff to my bum. I guess I hadn’t really noticed, but Victoria had been worried about me for a couple of days, but once she found out I could take some medicine and this thing called “giardia” would go away, she calmed right down. My Family let me dash outside and away from the vet’s office, and a little while later we were at another campsite. This one had huge campers, way bigger than ours. My Family was excited because we had air conditioning in the camper, thanks to something called an ‘electrical hookup’. I have to say, it is nice to have somewhere cool to go sometimes. We went on a walk, and Victoria made me jump into a river. I don’t really get that whole jump-around-in-the-water thing. It was cool on my tummy, but I much preferred getting wrapped up in a blanket and snuggling on the couch after that. Another yummy meal and it was time for bed.

My least favorite place, Sedona.

My least favorite place, Sedona.

The next day My Family seemed sad about going home. That’s just crazy. Our home is awesome. I think maybe they were sad because they knew we had to drive through a town called The Desert. I’ve never been somewhere so hot! Many, many, many hours in the truck and we were finally home. I was happy to have my beds back, and the rest of my toys. Now the camper has come off the big white truck and it’s sitting in the driveway. I love our home, but on the camping trip I got to spend all day and night with My Family… I’m not sure which one I like better. Maybe that was The Big Adventure Victoria and Jason are always talking about?

PS: If you want to see what My Family thought about our trip to pick up the comfy box, check our their photos on Facebook.


23
Aug 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

USA

DISCUSSION 2 Comments

Venice Life

This is me at the beach, my favorite place

This is me at the beach, my favorite place

Venice. It’s where my Family and I call home. For now anyway, before I’m forced to live in the back of a pick-up truck. Oh, am I still harping on about that? I am? Okay, I promise to stop complaining. Anyway, I thought I’d start put together a selection of photos of what I love about living here before I am ripped from my favorite home ever.

Not entirely sure what this is but there are always people milling around, taking or dropping off new books, which means there are always people waiting to pet me.

Not entirely sure what this is but there are always people milling around, taking or dropping off new books, which means there are always people waiting to pet me.

Every time we go by this truck on a walk my Family stops and stares. I wish we were living in this one on our Big Adventure. I'd actually be able to get into it on my own.

Every time we go by this truck on a walk my Family stops and stares. I wish we were living in this one on our Big Adventure. I’d actually be able to get into it on my own.

Good advice.

Good advice.

Going for walks in our town is fun because there are plants everywhere just waiting to be peed on. It also makes things pretty.

Going for walks in our town is fun because there are plants everywhere just waiting to be peed on. It also makes things pretty.

In Venice the artists even work down on my level! Thanks guys!

In Venice the artists even work down on my level! Thanks guys!

 

PS: If you want to see what my family loves most about living in Venice, check our their photos on Facebook


14
Jul 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

USA

DISCUSSION No Comments

Overland Expo 2013

Relaxing at camp

That’s me trying to relax at camp.

One day my Family made me get out from under the snuggly covers REALLY early in the morning. They put a bunch of stuff in the big truck and we hit the road. I didn’t even get to enjoy my standard two-hour lay about before actually getting out of bed. We drove for what felt like forever. When I did pop my head up by the window I saw lots of desert and not much else. Eventually there were mountains, and lots of trees, and a long, winding road that led us to some place my Family called ‘Overland Expo‘. They were pretty excited about it.

Overland Expo involved something they called ‘camping’. This seems to mean putting up a temporary house called a ‘tent’ in the middle of a hot, dusty, dirty, dried out lake filled with cow poo. Of course, I wasn’t complaining about the cow poo. When I was able to sneak some, it was fun to roll in. And delicious.

That was about it as far as fun was concerned. We got up with the sun and I spent the day being dragged from class to class, where other people said a lot of words that, honestly, sounded pretty boring to me. There weren’t many snacks, the water was warm, and the ground was covered with tiny pebbles that hurt to walk on. And yet they continued to drag me from place to place. I walked ALL DAY, more than any dog should ever have to. I mean, what happened to nap time? They even made me wait outside while they went into the Zane Grey Museum! I don’t know what that is, but Jason seemed pretty excited about it.

So many different kinds of trucks.  My people tell me we're getting a pop-up, whatever that means

So many different kinds of trucks. My Family tells me we’re getting a pop-up, whatever that means

The campground was filled with all sorts of trucks like ours, many of which had those temporary housing structures built right on top of them. Apparently, we are getting something like that, but ours will ‘pop up’. I guess that will be our home? There were bigger homes on wheels too, loud things with something called a ‘generator’. I hope we don’t have to get anything like that. Jason wants a ‘winch’, but there was some concerns about weight, so I don’t really know what’s going to happen there. Worst of all, I didn’t see any comfy couches to speak of.

This is where we lived.  It's called camping.

This is where we lived. It’s called camping.

It got really cold at night, but my Family seemed to want to stay up anyway, even when the wind was blowing so hard it actually knocked me over! I did start to like our tent, especially the puffy bed covered with blankets. And there were lots of friends to play with, of all shapes and sizes. There was a donkey that sang every morning to wake us up, and all sorts of horses, though they didn’t really want to play with me. And the other people there were so nice. Everyone gave me treats and bits of bacon, and all the kids wanted to pet me. Still, I was happy when we finally packed up to head home. Victoria and Jason seemed proud of me, and of how I did on our first camping adventure. But you know what? I didn’t see any beaches to lay on, or sand to dig in. If that was a preview of our Big Adventure, I’m glad it’s over for now.

PS: If you want to see the pictures that my Family took, they’re on Facebook.

 


21
May 2013
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

USA

DISCUSSION No Comments